Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Driven (Auralight Codex: Dakota Shepherd, Book 2.5) by Shei Darksbane

Release date: September 22, 2015
Subgenre: Urban fantasy

About Driven


Dakota Shepherd never thought learning to drive could be such a pain. It seems like every truck she touches ends up dead, but Raelya kindly offers to teach her anyway. Her first lesson in a secluded lot seems to be going pretty well, until someone ends up dead there too.
A sleepless night. An untold tale. A deadly betrayal.  
Dakota stumbles upon a long-held secret that could tear the pack apart. Tasked with settling a decades-old score, Dakota is driven to seek justice and set things to rights before an unforgivable crime goes unpunished forever. 



After wrecking two trucks in the past month, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson. You’d have been wrong. Additionally, considering that neither of the trucks in question had belonged to me, you’d think people would have stopped letting me near their trucks by now. You’d have been wrong again.
Raelya parked her little truck in the empty parking lot, a deserted place where a hiking trail-head used to be. But now that this side of the mountain was part of a wildlife reserve, the spot was abandoned and secluded. Perfect for our purposes. Raelya turned to face me, pretty blue eyes sparkling mischievously. “So, here we are. Are you ready?”
“If I say I’m not, will you just go on driving me around forever?”
Raelya put on a show of thinking about it, then tapped my nose. “Ah, no.”
“But Raelya,” I whined, drawing out the vowels in her name, “driving is scary.”
Raelya shook her head, her golden braids dancing over her fair shoulders as she popped her door open and slid out of the driver’s seat. “Perhaps a time will come when you need to drive yourself. You would rather have a better lesson than the incident with Jack, yes?” She tugged her sky-blue tank top down over the top of her cut-off denim shorts.
I sighed. “Okay, you’ve got me there.” Frantically backing a truck down the driveway while being chased by a werewolf bent on one’s blood was no replacement for actual driving lessons.
Raelya smiled at me. “You will be fine, Dakota. I will be right here with you.”
Raelya’s smile warmed my heart. She was my packmate, my best friend, and as far as my wolf was concerned, she belonged by my side. She always made me feel safer and happier. I slid over into the driver’s seat, putting my hands on the steering wheel. “All right, all right. There. You happy now?”
Raelya nodded and closed the door, trotted around to the passenger side, and slid into the truck beside me. “We will take it slowly. Start by putting your foot on the brake.”
“Hold on! Don’t rush me.” I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, then opened my eyes and started adjusting my mirrors. As I nudged the rear-view mirror significantly downward to suit my much-shorter-than-Raelya height, I peered into my own light golden-brown eyes and sighed. 
I was nervous about driving. I was twenty-eight and had never learned how to drive like a normal person because of some blackouts I’d had as a teen. Living in Knoxville near the University, I’d managed to get by without driving for over a decade, but now that I lived in the mountains of Gatlinburg with my pack, I’d decided that it was time to learn.
I brushed my short brown hair back from my face and pulled on a pair of lightly-tinted sunglasses. “All right. Let’s do this,” I whispered to myself, though I knew my sharp-eared packmate would hear me.
I put my hands on the wheel at two-and-ten, just as Raelya had taught me, then looked down at the pedals near my feet. “Okay. Which one is the brake?”
Raelya raised an eyebrow at me. “I thought Jack had taught you that much already.”
I stuck my tongue out at her, put my foot on the brake, and pulled the gear-shifter-stick-thingy until the truck was in drive-forward-mode. Raelya nodded her approval. “Good. Now take your foot off the brake and put it onto the gas pedal, slowly.”
I did as Raelya instructed, easing my foot off the brake and onto the gas. The truck jolted forward, startling me. I reacted by snapping the brake back to the floor. Raelya steadied herself with an arm and smirked at me. “Here we go.” She shook her head.
Over the next hour, Raelya taught me all the basics. I learned that the brake and the gas were to be operated with the same foot, never simultaneously, and that the gear-shifter-stick-thingy was called the gearstick or shifter. I didn’t have to ask which term was preferable to use around werewolves. I learned how to use the blinkers, the parking brake, and the windshield wipers, how to shift gears safely, and never to mess with the radio or check my phone while driving.
The sun set on our practice and Raelya instructed me to turn on the headlights. The bright lights were blinding at first, reflecting off the pavement, but I blinked a few times and my eyes adjusted quickly. “One of the benefits of being a werewolf is that you have excellent night vision. However, that can also be a weakness. Other cars passing with their high beams on will blind you easily. You have to learn to tilt your head enough to avoid them without looking away from the road.”
“Can’t I just eat any cars that blind me?” I made “claw-hands” and swiped at the air in front of me playfully.
Raelya snorted and shook her head. “No, Dakota. You can not eat them.”
“Pfft,” I teased. “What good is being a werewolf if you don’t even get to eat other cars for blinding you?”
Raelya snickered at me and thumped my shoulder softly. “Pay attention to the road. Now, take us once more around the lot, and we will park and swap for the night.”
I grinned over at her. “Isn’t that just how it goes? Say one word about eating other cars and the driving lesson is over, just like—”
Raelya’s eyes widened. “Dakota!”
I snapped my eyes forward just in time to see the man lit-up by my headlights as I slammed my foot onto the brake. The tires squealed so loudly in my ears, I winced at the sound. The truck wasn’t going that fast, but it was fast enough to be too late. I felt a bump as the tires went over something and the truck screamed to a stop.
Raelya and I were both out of the truck in a flash. I threw myself from the vehicle and wheeled around to seek out the man I’d just hit, smeared on the road, no doubt, dead to my stupidity. My heart beat loudly in my ears as I rushed behind the truck to see—
Nothing. There was no man on the ground, no streaks of blood trailing behind the truck. No one stood anywhere in the secluded, empty lot. Raelya and I were alone, gaping at the empty space behind the truck, staring into the night where no tragedy had befallen anyone.



About Shei Darksbane: 

Shei Darksbane is a blue-haired geek with a love of awesome stories of all kinds whether they come in the form of books, shows, movies, comics, roleplay, video games, music, art, theater, etc.

She is a proud lesbian and feminist, a human rights activist, and a passionate person in general who loves the wonderful, beautiful world and the incredible creativity of humankind. She refuses to give up believing in magic, fairies, and monsters under the bed, and she feels sorry for those who do. She lives with her wife who has been her partner for over 15 years, their awesome daughter, Rune, and one really cool cat named Velvet.

Shei studied Illustration at the Academy of Art University, worked as a professional illustrator for a while, then gave it up to focus on telling her own stories instead. She turned to writing, inspired by her wife who is also an author, Annathesa Nikola Darksbane. Now she writes Urban Fantasy in a world they have been crafting together for more than a decade, and she has enough stories to keep her busy for the next several years.

When she isn't writing, co-writing with Annathesa, or working on their cover art, she spends her time roleplaying or playing video games with her family, reading, listening to music, singing, geeking out over her favorite shows, artists, authors, and musicians, or dreaming about traveling and seeing all the awesome places and peoples in the world.

Website | Twitter

No comments:

Post a Comment