Book Blitz - Excerpt & Giveaway - The Last Starling by C.L. Denault


The Last Starling by C.L. Denault
Publication date: December 24th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult

“They’re coming.”
Words of warning haunt Jayce Wakefield’s dreams. He doesn’t believe them any more than he believes in the blue-eyed raven delivering the message. It’s totally absurd. They’re just dreams. He has nothing to worry about.
Or does he?
Jayce’s life revolves around three things: being a senior, worshipping a girl he can’t have, and killing vampires. As a werewolf, his job is to protect the Starling woods. That means taking out any bloodsucker who dares to cross the Boundary. And since his autistic brother can’t handle wolfing out, it’s up to Jayce to keep pack territory safe.
But between the dream-raven, humans going missing, and vampires acting weird, he’s losing his grip on reality. Add to that a runaway in his territory, and he welcomes the distraction. The fact that she won’t talk about herself makes him obsessed with learning about her past. The deeper he digs, though, the more she withdraws. It’s not until her life is threatened that he discovers the truth. Who she is. Why she’s there.
And the sinister darkness headed for them both.


EXCERPT:

The Last Starling by C.L. Denault


In the very center is our cage. Round, tall, and wide, made of thick steel bars. Built to withstand several hundred pounds of raging werewolf. Or in this case, a skinny-ass vampire.
It’s sitting cross-legged on the concrete. No robe, raven mask, or gloves. Gramps must have had it stripped, because it’s down to a ragged pair of briefs. Makes sense. The more skin exposed, the more vulnerable it will be to sunlight.
“Jayce.” My dad’s in a folding chair off to the side, several feet from the cage. There’s a coffee thermos in his hand and a magazine in his lap. “You shouldn’t be down here.”
“I had to see it,” I say, stepping closer to the cage. The Trespasser doesn’t move a muscle. It’s male—or was, before it turned—and thin as a whip. White, papery skin. Spotty facial hair. Red-rimmed eyes with purple smudges underneath.
Sadly, it reminds me of Connor.
The magazine falls to the floor as Dad gets up. “Go upstairs.”
“Just one look. Please.”
He hesitates, probably considering what Gramps would say if he knew I was down here. Walking over to me, his eyes scan my bare chest and legs. “You all healed up?”
“Yeah. A little dizzy from the adrenaline, but I’m good.”
“You took a huge risk out there.” He’s using his dad voice, not his Beta voice, so I’m safe. “Going face-first for the chest? Not smart.”
“I know.”
“Always attack from the rear. Or the side.”
“I know, Dad.”
He frowns. “You obviously don’t. That thing almost gutted you. Staying in wolf form will heal gouges, but spilled intestines are a different story. You could have died.”
“I’m sorry,” I say quietly, and as Dad opens his mouth to respond, I hurry to add, “I didn’t have a choice. Aiden was hurt, and it was trying to kill him. I had to stop it.”
“You’re a firstborn. You can’t risk—”
“My life?” I cut in. “What’s life without my pack? I can’t be an Alpha someday if there’s no one to lead. I did it for all of us—and not blindly. I knew I could take that thing down.”
“How?”
“I just knew. In my gut. So I went for it.”
Dad doesn’t respond. For a long moment, he stares at me in disapproval. Then his frown becomes a smile. Small, but pleased. He puts his hand on my shoulder.
“You fought bravely, son. Aiden owes you his life, and we all owe you our gratitude.” His smile widens. “I’m very proud of you.”
Smiling back, I let his words sink in. The words of a Beta, the future leader of our pack. They both soothe and heal me. They’re what I wanted—no, needed—to hear and are worth every injury.
“Thanks, Dad,” I say.
He squeezes my shoulder, and the hitch in my chest comes back. I fight it off by turning my gaze on the Trespasser. It still hasn’t moved. Maybe it knows it’s facing its demise. Or maybe it’s just listening. Good.
I’ll plant some fear.
“What’s going to happen to it?” I ask my dad.
“I don’t know. That’s up to our”—he gives me a warning look—“Alpha.”
“Right.” I say it in a way that lets him know I catch his drift. Our piss patrol is an effort to make the Trespassers believe Gramps is still actively patrolling the Starling. They fear the pack, but they fear him most of all. He leads us, teaches us strategy. Here, on our land, what he says goes. The thing in the cage believes that.
We can’t let it think any different.
I take a step toward it. Then another. It doesn’t move, so I walk as close I dare. When I get within a few feet, it lunges. Fast, a blur through the air, its arm reaching through the bars.
Just as fast, I duck. Grab its arm and twist.
It drops to its knees, hissing.
Turns its black eyes on me.
I give it a quick, hard smile. Whatever Gramps has planned for this thing, I hope it hurts. I want it to suffer—horribly, like the helpless, unsuspecting humans it feeds on. I want to watch it die with its mouth locked open in terror.
Like Cathy.
It hisses again. Glares at me. My smile widening, I lean in close to it, breathing in its cold, nauseating scent. Then I tell it what I think about every single Trespasser that dares cross my path.
“You are so dead.”




Author Bio:

C.L. Denault is a speculative fiction writer who loves dreaming up tales of adventure and intrigue. A former systems analyst, she gave up her nerdy code-writing skills to care for her family (including a son with special needs) and currently lives among the vast stretches of cornfields in Illinois.
Writing and working out are her biggest passions, along with coffee and sci-fi. When she’s not hanging out with her husband and kids, she can usually be found at a library or tucked away in the shadowy corner of a hip coffeehouse. She’s also been glimpsed sneaking into her garage, late at night, to work on her time machine.

She enjoys connecting with people—especially those from other planets, nearby dimensions, and the future. To find her, just visit her website or social media pages. Or use a Stargate. Whichever is easiest.

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