Enlightened: A Tale of Love and Light by Melissa Lummis
About the book:
Loti Dupree fears that when her husband died, she lost her soul. Harboring a painful secret, she flees her life in a small Appalachian town for the ashram, the spiritual retreat where she trained to be a yogini. But she is running from more than grief. An ominous nightmare the night before she leaves sets her on a dangerous path of self-discovery that challenges everything she believes – and threatens her life.
While dodging psychic attacks from an unknown assailant, she struggles with her growing attraction to a broody, handsome and completely frustrating vampire. Loti races to understand who and what she is before her anonymous enemy catches up with her.
Loti thought she couldn't survive her husband’s death, but among healers, witches, and vampires, she discovers not only a future, but a family.
Loti bolted upright in bed, screaming into the blackness. Throwing off the covers, she staggered into the living room where she collapsed in front of the fireplace, wheezing. The full moon poured an eerie blue light over everything. She crawled on her hands and knees to the fireplace and leaned against the river rocks. Despite their radiating warmth, she shook as fear twisted her insides. Her home vibrated with a sinister energy, and she hugged bare arms around trembling knees. With a foul taste in her mouth, she jerked at the creak of a settling board. Her whole body tensed as she got the unshakeable feeling that someone was watching her.
Hmmmm, hmmmm, hmmmmmmm
She froze at the sound of someone humming an off-handed tune, the hair on her arms and the back of her neck standing on end.
Mmmmm mmmmm hmmmm hmmm
Dizzy and sick to her stomach, she thought, Call Rachel. Her frozen muscles thawed, and she dove for the phone on the writing desk tucked in the corner of the dining room. Fumbling with the receiver, her fingers shook as she dialed. While the other end rang, she counted her breaths— inhale one, two, three, four—
Hmmmm hmmmmm hmmmm
Holding her breath, she cowered in the corner between the desk and French glass doors, trying to make herself small and invisible. There was a click on the other end.
“Hi, this is Rachel. You’ve missed me, but I’d hate to miss your call. Please leave me a message and a number, and I’ll get back to you. I promise.” Beep.
“Rachel, are you there? Pick up.”
“I have no idea what time it is, but I’m coming over. Something’s going on. I’ll explain when I get there.”
She hung up and surveyed the open space of the great room. It was like a fishbowl. Four years ago, she and David fell in love with the house because it was the closest thing to living in the outdoors without setting their living room up in the yard. Now it felt like a stupid idea. There was nowhere to hide. With the lights out, she could see the naked dogwood tree through the front door.
The dense air caught in her throat and her blood roared in her ears as her eyes fixed on a dark blob on a branch. With quivering legs, she slid her back up the wall and took a tentative step forward, squinting. The shape was like a cardboard cutout or something not living. Tense with the effort to be quiet, she crept across the room, but the thing turned around and looked straight at her. A raven? She took off like a shot, diving into the bedroom and slamming the door behind her.
Shaking uncontrollably, she grabbed a pair of gray sweat pants and an old pink pullover from the closet floor, tucking them under her arm. She tugged a boot on, hopping across the floor on one foot. Cracking the door open less than an inch, she peered through the little space. The raven was still perched in the dogwood. She bolted for the closet by the front door. Yanking her shearling jacket off the hanger, she felt for her purse and keys on the top shelf. She paused.
Hmmmm hmmmm hmmmm
Clothes and purse dangling from her arms, she burst out the front door, sprinting across the circular driveway to her Jeep. Leaping in, her hands shook so bad it took several attempts to fit the key into the ignition. The car roared to life, and she threw it into reverse. Flipping on the headlights, she wrenched the gearshift into drive and stole a glance at the dogwood—yep, still there—then spun the wheel, spraying gravel. The raven flapped fitfully and took off as she careened down the driveway, leaving long divots in her wake.
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