The final book in the Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy is filled with exciting battles, family, and friends. Since I’ve shared excerpts of the first two books, Chosen and Shunned, here is an excerpt from Reckoning. I think it will give you a fun glimpse of Jael’s life as a vampire slayer in the Amish community.
Jael slipped up the stairs to her room with Bruno at her heels. She changed as quickly as she could. Scratching the big dog behind his ears, she opened the lid of her hope chest and took out her weapons. She slipped a knife in her boot, a stake in the waistband of her jeans and crawled over the windowsill. “Bark real loud if Gram knocks on the door,” she told Bruno, then jumped to the tree limb and swung down.
She made her way around the rear of the house, took the scenic path through a cluster of trees bordering the outhouse, ran the last few open yards to the barn and concealed herself behind the flatbed wagon. A flock of geese honked overhead, flying in a V toward Loon Lake. Elsa rattled around in her pen, knocking the water bucket over that Grandda had put in there earlier. Jael stilled her heart and listened.
The vamp was definitely still inside the barn. Now that she was close, her foot throbbed with a vengeance. She glanced toward the house. Time to take care of business before her grandparents realized she was MIA. She bent low and slipped under the rail fence behind the barn, making her way to the livestock door Grandda used to let horses in or out of the corral.
The door was heavy, splintery wood, gray and weathered by wind and rain. The handle, rusted but solid. She pulled it open just enough to slip inside, and let it fall closed behind her. Darkness enveloped her and she paused to let her eyes adjust.
Grasping the stake in her hand, she moved forward. A flutter of wings revealed a startled barn swallow’s nest in the rafters. She glanced up in time to see a dark shape hurtling toward her. He knocked her to the ground but she managed to shove him off and send him smashing into the wall. The old barn creaked and groaned from the assault.
Jael scrambled to her feet, searching for the stake on the straw strewn floor. The vamp growled low in his throat and rose up from beside the wall to face her. His teeth glowed in the dim light as he snarled like a wild beast and leaped at her again. She dodged left, ran at the wall, did a backflip and landed in front of him with a wide grin.
“Practice makes perfect,” she stated with personal satisfaction, then narrowed her gaze on the vampire before her. “Ever think of trying a new dentist, cause that overbite looks like it might give you some trouble.”
“The Bishop sent me to check on ya, see if ya was ready to join the fold like a true follower,” he said with a slow shake of his head, “but he doesn’t have any idea who ya really are, does he?”
“I’m Jael Shetler. And you?” She held out a hand as though it were a formal introduction.
He ignored her outstretched hand and tipped his hat back on his forehead to see her more clearly. His skin looked greasy, as though it were covered in petroleum jelly. Ick! What was that about? His lips lifted in a slow snarl. “The Chosen One. I’ve heard of you, but I didn’t know if the prophecy was true.”
“What? The Bishop doesn’t like to talk about me?” Jael asked, hoping to keep this dumb vamp blabbing long enough to get some serious information before she had to stake him. “I suppose news of my eminent victory over him and his minions could be kind of a downer for you all, right?”
His hands clenched into fists at his sides and a slow hiss whistled past his teeth as though he no longer had control of the urge to kill her. “Your death will bring me great power. The Bishop will give me vhatever I want.”
“And what is it you want, hmm?” She saw the stake behind him, dangling halfway through a crack in the floor. Great. She’d have to improvise.
He took a tentative step forward as though testing the ground, his eyes never straying from her face…or was it her neck? They were simple creatures. One-track mind. “I vant to taste the slayer’s blood.”
She smiled. “Yeah, right. I can’t help you with that. I already gave at the blood drive for Red Cross. But maybe I could give you a taste of something else. Do you like pain?”
Fangs extended, eyes red with the fires of hell, he growled low in his throat like a siren before a storm.
She anticipated his lunge with a jump kick to his chest. He flew back, hitting the ground with a thud, but was on his feet again in a flash. This vamp was faster than others she’d fought in the community – and she assumed older – if his knowledge of the Chosen One were any indication. Obviously the Bishop had not shared the prophecy with all of his followers.
The stake was still out of reach, practically under his foot. He saw her shift her gaze and looked down. The vamp’s smirk was reminiscent of her Uncle Jacob’s when he bent down to look inside her parent’s wrecked vehicle and saw her mom crushed and dying. Fury enveloped her and she moved so swiftly that it took him by surprise. She spun around, kicking him in the side of the head and sending him careening back into the support beam of the barn. The wood cracked with a sharp pop on impact and the ceiling rained down particles of dirt and sawdust around them.
Jael stooped to pry the stake out of the crack in the floor and the milking stool flew past her head, missing her by inches. Before she could get her fingers around the handle, the vamp had wrenched a garden hoe off the tool rack nearby and swung it at her. She ducked and rolled, avoiding being brained like the head of a dandelion, but now out of reach of her weapon.
“You’re not so tough without your little vooden stakes, are ya?” he taunted, flipping the hoe around like a baton master. What – did he go to martial arts school too? Terrific.
She heard Bruno bark and knew she had to step it up. “Tough enough,” she said, and grabbed the end of the hoe as he swung it at her, wrenched it from his grip, and cracked it over her leg. She tossed the tool end away and gripped the remaining splintery sharp handle. “Any last words?”
His red eyes widened and he leaped for the edge of the hayloft above their heads – at least a six-foot jump – grasped it and flipped onto the platform. Was he the missing link or something? Jael didn’t have time to think where all this was going. She had to finish off this bloodsucker before her grandparents discovered her missing. She placed the handle of the stake between her teeth and ran at the post, scaled it far enough to grasp the cross beam and swung herself up onto the hayloft platform.
She looked around. Where did he go? Did he just disappear into thin air?
The Vamp stepped out of the shadows and swung a pitchfork at her. She dodged left, grabbed his arm and twisted it behind his back until she heard a crack. The pitchfork fell off the platform and landed on the ground below. He groaned and dropped to his knees. She grasped his hair and pulled his head back, looked into his eyes and plunged the stake through his heart. His body crumbled to dust in the blink of an eye. He was old. Maybe as old as the Bishop.
Bruno was still barking. She had to get back in the house, pronto!
Jael swung down from the hayloft, picked up the pitchfork and broken hoe and propped them in the corner by the tool rack. She shook straw out of her hair and dusted off her jeans. Another quick glance around and she was out the door.
“Vhy do you always lock that door?” her grandmother asked when Jael pulled it open moments later.
She gave a huge yawn and rubbed a hand over her face. “Sorry, Gram. Old habit.”
“Did you fall asleep? No wonder you didn’t hear me vhen I called. All that runnin’ after school is wearin’ ya out. You should let Miss Johnson drive ya home.” Gram turned and headed down the stairs. “Your grandda is waitin’ for his chicken and dumplin’s. Ya best hurry.”
“I’m coming.” Jael put her arm around Bruno and kissed the fur between his eyes. “Thanks buddy,” she whispered. “I owe you one.”