Chosen, p.1
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       Chosen, p.1

           Barbara Ellen Brink
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Chosen


  The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy

  Part One

  Chosen

  Chosen

  The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy

  Part One

  Copyright October 1, 2012 by

  Barbara Ellen Brink

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced

  in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

  ~~~

  Cover Art by Katharine A. Brink

  Edited by Nancy Hudson

  ~~~

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or undead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  Table of Contents

  Chosen_1_An alien Amish freak

  Chosen_2_This little piggy

  Chosen_3_Cool as a Cadillac

  Chosen_4_The smell of a good slayer

  Chosen_5_Slayer should be seen not heard

  Chosen_6_They suck blood not dust

  Chosen_7_Valley of indecision

  Chosen_8_Tourist trap

  Chosen_9_A date with destiny

  Chosen_10_Rumors rising

  Chosen_11_Girls just wanna have fun

  Chosen_12_A night to remember

  Chosen_13_Bigger they are harder fall

  Chosen_14_Fight club

  Chosen_15_Wolf or dog-faced boy

  Chosen_16_A savage tale

  Chosen_17_Everyone talks

  Chosen_18_A place to call home

  Chosen_19_The Exodus

  Chosen_20_BO of the undead

  Chosen_21_The Shadow knows

  Chosen_22_Return to sender

  Chosen_23_Pre-birthday jitters

  Chosen_24_Truth and consequences

  Chosen_25_The hammer mightier than sword

  Chosen_26_Taken

  Chosen_27_Night Ops

  Chosen_28_Blood is thicker than water

  Chosen_29_Shattered

  Sample chapter shunned

  About the author

  Connect with author online

  Chapter 1

  An alien Amish freak

  The arid landscape stretched for miles in all directions. Nothing moved in the hot Nevada sun but a lone tumbleweed, tossed about by a sudden phantom whirlwind sending up a spiral of dust and debris. It petered out within moments, releasing the tumbleweed as suddenly as it was caught up.

  Miriam watched the particles fall back to earth. She felt a kinship to the tumbleweed, being blown across the country, here and there, never quite sure when the next move would occur, whether they would fall on safe ground or land in the middle of trouble. She was tired. Tired of running. Tired of hiding. Tired of preparing for an endgame that remained elusively out of sight. She often thought of Harrison Ford in The Fugitive and knew that if she were standing at the top of a dam and her enemies were pressing in behind, she would definitely take a flying leap and risk her life and the lives of her family in the pounding water hundreds of feet below. Anything rather than return to stand trial in the place she started from, tried by the creatures she once knew as family and friends. The outcome was already written, forged by the blood of those who had gone before.

  She planted her feet against the rough wood planks of the deck and stopped the bench-swing in mid-motion. A bead of sweat slipped from under her bangs and she wiped it away with the back of her hand before it could plop down onto the sewing in her lap. Some habits were hard to break. Sewing and mending came second nature, even though they could well afford to buy new. She finished stitching up the seam that had come apart on a pair of her daughter’s pants and bit off the thread.

  “What are you doing out here? It’s sweltering,” Jesse said, appearing at her elbow without a sound. Her husband could sneak up on a Leprechaun and steal the pot of gold before the little man had time to plant it at the end of a rainbow. He sank down on the bench beside her and slipped an arm around her shoulders.

  “Just thinking.” She reached out and rested her hand on his thigh. She could feel hard muscle beneath the fabric of his baggy shorts. “You been working out again?”

  “A little. What’s up?”

  She released a quiet sigh. “You ever wish we could live like other people? Eat out, join a bowling league, shop at malls, maybe take a family vacation to Mount Rushmore or something?”

  His eyes narrowed, but his voice teased. “What are you saying? You’d rather be married to a chubby, bald guy who likes to eat at the Rib-Fest every Friday night, works for the local contractor’s union, and sits in front of a TV watching football and drinking Bud light?”

  “If that chubby, bald guy was you.”

  “Good answer,” he said and grinned, “Because I noticed this morning in the mirror that my hair looked a little thin on top.”

  “Definitely your imagination.” She laughed and reached up to push her fingers through his shoulder length mane, loving the feel of it. His hair, the color of burnt caramel and just as thick, was one of the first things that attracted her to Jesse. She couldn’t imagine him without it flowing around his shoulders like a modern day Samson. “Your hair is thicker than Bruno’s,” she said, glancing toward their three-year-old Irish Wolfhound lounging at the bottom of the steps in the shade of the house. At mention of his name, the giant dog lifted his head, his tongue lolling from the side of his mouth. With no further acknowledgment, he laid it down again and let out a heavy sigh.

  “So what’s really bothering you?” Jesse asked, as she leaned her head against his shoulder. He shoved off with one foot and sent the swing rocking again.

  Despite the heat, she savored his closeness, cherishing these moments when she had him all to herself. He’d become so preoccupied with security and training and revenge. It made her wish for plain and simple times. “Same thing as the past sixteen years I suppose. Just a little homesick for Minnesota.”

  “We can’t go back there yet. Even the weather is on their side. The desert is the only place I can be sure to keep you safe.”

  “I know.” She reached up and ran her hand along his cheek, the scritch of whiskers rough against her palm. “Everything depends on timing. She has to be prepared – thoroughly trained, and psychologically ready. As a Shunned One I understand all that. But as her mother…it terrifies me.”

  He pulled her closer and kissed the top of her head. “Me too.”

  “What are you two doing out here?”

  Miriam, startled by her daughter’s sudden appearance, laughed against her husband’s chest. “She’s just like you,” she muttered softly.

  “I heard that, Mom,” her daughter said from where she stood hovering behind the swing. She stepped around to face them, her arms crossed over her chest. In black stretch pants, a baggy, black t-shirt with the sleeves chopped off, and her feet bare, she looked like a homeless ninja. “You know, teenagers don’t want to hear that they’re just Xeroxed copies of their parents. Personally, I like to think I’m an original individual.”

  “You’re original all right,” Miriam said, unsure whether her daughter understood just how original she was.

  On the one hand, she was like any other teenage girl. She wanted to be popular, have a cute boy ask her out, be able to eat junk food without breaking out in pimples, and stay up late texting friends and reading romance novels. The simple things in life. At least the simple life she’d known. On the other hand, she was chosen, like Jael in the Old Testament, her namesake, who drove a tent spike through the head of evil Sisera. Since birth, they had been training and preparing her for this very thing. Yet, it would not be easy to explain to a girl who wanted to fit in, to maybe have
a sleepover with girlfriends on Friday night or go to a movie at the mall without her father hovering in the back row.

  “Did you finish practicing all the new moves I showed you?” Jesse asked, absently running his fingers over the smooth wood of the swing back. He still loved to work with wood, building and shaping objects of strength and purpose. Nothing too fancy or elaborate, but solid and dependable. The swing was his gift to Miriam at Christmas.

  Jael nodded and skipped down the porch steps to sit on the bottom rung and stroke Bruno’s head. “Can Brianna come over Saturday afternoon and hang out? We need to work on our science project together. She could sleep over and go to church with us Sunday morning. That way we’d only have to make one trip to town to take her home.”

  Miriam felt her husband tense, his answer already showing in the set of his jaw. She gripped his leg to ward off a brusque denial and spoke to the back of her daughter’s head. “Honey, I don’t think that would be a very good idea. It’s a long drive out here and her parents probably have much better things to do on a Saturday afternoon. Why don’t you plan to work on your project together in the science lab after school Monday, and I’ll just pick you up a little later than usual. Maybe I can do my grocery shopping or something and kill two birds with one stone.”

  “I knew it!” Jael turned around and glared back at them. “You never let me do anything fun. Brianna is the first real friend I’ve ever had! She doesn’t mind that I can’t go to any of the school activities, that I’m forced to wear the most hideous fashions, and that I live in the middle of nowhere. She likes me anyway. All I want to do is act like a normal person for a change. Can’t you understand that?”

  “We do understand that, Jael. But you need to understand that we are very private people and having visitors to the house is not...”

  “Not a good idea? You’ve been using that lame excuse like forever! Why isn’t it a good idea? Are you on the FBI’s most wanted list or something?”

  “Jael,” Jesse said, his tone brooked no argument. “Drop it. Your mother said no visitors.”

  She stood up and faced them, hands on slim hips. “Most of the kids at school think I’m some kind of freak. Am I a freak? An alien or something? Is that why we hide out here in the desert? Make sure nobody gets too close?”

  “Jael!”

  Miriam stood up and approached the steps. “Yes. We are a family of aliens.” She glanced back at her husband. His lips were set in a thin line, but he nodded. She continued, holding her daughter’s angry gaze with steady resolve. “We should have told you before, but we wanted to preserve your childhood for as long as possible.”

  Jael frowned, confusion masking underlying fear. “What are you talking about? I was just kidding.”

  “I know. But I’m not.”

  “Thee art no freak, daughter. Thee art Amish.” Jesse stood beside Miriam and tried to lighten the news by speaking like Weird Al Yankovic in his video spoof of Amish life. The video had rankled him when it first came out, but now he seemed to find humor in it. Or at least pretend to.

  Jael stared at them, dark eyes wide with something akin to shock. “Have you both gone crazy?” When they didn’t respond, she blew out a breath of frustration and moved past them. “Okay fine. I’ll call Brianna and tell her I’m an alien Amish person and that’s why I can’t have visitors.”

  Jesse caught her arm. “You need to sit down and listen.”

  “No!” she said, pulling away. “I just want to be left alone.”

  “Jael,” Miriam called out before she could disappear through the front door. “It’s time to grow up and accept what you’ve been called to do.”

  She turned around, still gripping the doorknob. “I’m only fifteen, Mom.” Her voice was soft and fragile and the look in her eyes was enough to put a lump in Miriam’s throat. But Jael slowly released her grip on the knob and stepped toward them, back straight, chin up, the way her father had taught her. “Never show fear or weakness. Stand straight and look your enemy in the eye,” he’d said many times over the years, training Jael in hand-to-hand combat.

  Jesse motioned toward the empty swing. “Why don’t you sit down?”

  Jael sank onto the hard wood bench as though her life was coming to an end. She bit at her bottom lip, and stared up at them.

  Chapter 2

  This little piggy…

 

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