Rising Tide: Dark Innocence
The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 1
by Claudette Melanson Genre: YA Paranormal
Rising Tide will sink its fangs into you, keeping you awake into the wee hours of the night
Could Maura's life get any worse? ...turns out it most certainly can.
Isolated and sheltered by her lonely mother, Maura's never been able to make friends. She seems to drive her classmates away—except for the odd times they pay enough attention to torture her—but she doesn’t understand why. Maura considers herself to be a freak of nature, with her unusually pale skin and an aversion to the sun that renders her violently nauseous. Her belief is only worsened by the fact that almost everyone around her keeps their distance.
Even her own father deserted her before she was born, leaving Maura alone with her emotionally distant mother, Caelyn. Even though Maura is desperate for answers about her unknown parent, Caelyn remains heartbroken and her daughter can’t bring herself to reopen her mother’s wounds. Or is there a more sinister reason Caelyn refuses to utter a word about her long-lost love?
When a cruel prank nearly claims Maura’s life, one of her classmates, Ron, rushes to her rescue. Darkly handsome & mysteriously accepting, Ron doesn’t seem to want to stay away, but Maura is reluctant to get too close, since her mother has announced she’s moving the two of them to Vancouver…nearly 3,000 miles away from their hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania.
If life wasn’t already challenging enough, Maura begins to experience bizarre, physical changes her mother seems hell bent on ignoring, compelling Maura to fear for her own life. Vicious nightmares, blood cravings, failing health and the heart-shattering loss of Ron—as well as the discovery of a tangled web of her own mother's lies—become obstacles in Maura's desperate quest for the unfathomable truth she was never prepared to uncover.
2015 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Winner for YA Mystery 2015 RONE Award Finalist for YA Paranormal 2015 New Apple Top Medalist for Young Adult EbookChosen as one of 400 for the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award for 2014!!!
Praise for Rising Tide:
"This captivating and commendable work had me immersed from the beginning. The story flows from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional skill when it comes to storytelling."
"Mrs. Melanson’s writing is so descriptive and talented. Throughout the entire story, I felt like I was watching a movie."
"Melanson grabs you from page 1 and doesn't let you go until the very bitter end, only bitter because the book is finished."
"I found pure delight in this book and will recommend it to other readers."
"The writing by Claudette Melanson in this novel is top notch and I can see the movie rights for this being grabbed in no time."
˃˃˃ Sure to become one of the Books to Read of the year, Rising Tide: Dark Innocence isn’t the usual YA tale of vampires. Full of Mystery and Suspense, this Vampire Mystery Thriller packs just enough Romance & Humor, while delivering plenty of Dark Fantasy served with a side of the Supernatural. Maura, in the midst of her vampire awakenings is unarguably a vampire in denial. It is a novel that is certain to become one of the classic paranormal and fantasy books of its time--the series is not only for Teen & Young Adult readers, but has been well-received by many adult readers, as well. Maura doesn't live in Castle Dracula in Transylvania, but she must still discover the bloodlines constructing the creature she is destined to become, while overcoming social issues, such as bullying, that rock her world while coming of age. She is an strong Urban Scienece Fiction & Fantasy female protagonist readers love.
There was no shock strong enough to stop me then. Just a greedy, driving impulse pounding through every cell. I was hungry, and I wanted beyond all wants, to eat. A red film pervaded my eyes, turning the world crimson. My pulse screamed inside my head, exiling all other sound. And the boy’s blood called to me, drawing me down to my knees on the ground beside him.
“Maura!” From somewhere very far away, part of me acknowledged Ron’s voice. The reverberation was enough to draw me up, up, up from where I was, at present, drowning in gluttony at the taste of blood. Not quite enough though; I continued to lap at the side of the nameless boy’s head.
“MAURA!!” Ron’s voice was much more forceful then—a force to be reckoned with—and rife with shock. But he didn’t settle for shouting at me. I felt him behind me, hooking his hands under my shoulders and jerking me to my feet in an instant.
He whirled me around, roughly, and I found myself staring blankly into his face, trying to focus. “My god! What are you doing?!!” He was shouting at me, his face not an inch from mine, but I still couldn’t come around from my bloodhaze completely. I wanted to shove him away…violently…and reattach my mouth to the bloody wound at my feet.
“Stop! Leave me alone!” I fought against him until I saw Shane coming through the door after us. He stopped short and stared at me, his mouth gaping open with shock, fear in his eyes. Ron pushed him back inside, slamming the door in his face.
He turned his attention back to me and shook me forcefully. “Maura.” My name came out a rough whisper. “What’s wrong with you?!!”
He wiped the back of his right hand across my mouth. The left came up after to cover my mouth and nose, attempting to sweep away the bloody mess with his fingers. I heard from that small, not-in-control part of my mind again. A tiny voice wondering exactly what was happening. The part in control didn’t care about anything except his exquisite scent. He smelled better than the pizza, better than the boy’s blood… I struck at him, precipitously, like a viper. He narrowly avoided the sink of my teeth into his skin.
I had to give Ron credit; he only looked frightened for a moment. In the slice of an instant, he composed the look on his face, bravely took another spit-laden swipe at the corner of my mouth and jerked the door back open.
He hauled Shane out by the front of his shirt and then slammed the door shut—that time in Merina’s astonished face—once again.
Shane’s eyes slid toward me, then flicked quickly back to Ron’s face. They stayed there.
“Shane.” Ron said his name with calm and quiet. “This guy fell and hit his head.” He inclined his own toward the figure sprawling before us. “Maura was trying to help him by cleaning up the wound.” He said those words with such weight, as if he were burning them into Shane’s head with a branding iron. “You got that? She was helping him.” When Shane didn’t respond he shook him firmly, as he had me before. “Do you understand?”
Shane snapped out of the trance he’d seemed trapped in. He looked from Ron’s face to my own, blinked a couple of times and then nodded his head. He licked his lips before he spoke. “Yeah. Yeah, I‘ve got it.” He shook his head to clear it, and Ron released his grip on Shane’s shirtfront.
At that moment, my head snapped around to the left corner of the house at the sound of approaching footsteps. Caelyn glided into my view, as smooth as silk in her tight black-leather jacket. The expression on her face was enough to render my knees incapable of supporting my weight. I slid toward the ground, but Ron hauled me back up immediately. I tried to form words, but my vocal cords didn’t seem to be working. My head was starting to clear to the fact that Caelyn was going to kill me, slowly, painfully… I looked up to Ron, fully mindful he had no power to save me.
Undertow: Death's Twilight
The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 2
Maura finally found the truth she was always seeking…or has she?
After being left in the dark for all of her life, Maura’s father, Maxwell, has finally returned to reveal sinister family secrets Maura could never have dreamed possible—including his revelation that she is one of The Born. But his daughter soon discovers both he and her mother are keeping pieces of her reality hidden, still. As Maura struggles to unravel the mysteries surrounding her new existence and discover every piece of the cryptic puzzle, life appears intent on casting stumbling blocks across her path with every step forward.
Tragedy seems to stalk Maura, and those around her, as she stumbles along, altering the young changeling’s family, just when they have all come back together. The changes left in its wake could be for the better, or may threaten their existence, entirely.
With the arrival of Christmas comes the opportunity for Maura to draw close to everyone she loves—and finally reunite with Ron, the man she loves. But permanence has always eluded her, and in her current state of flux this pattern endures, as fate seems intent on snapping the threads that bind her to those she holds most dear. Maxwell’s good intentions pave a road for Maura, littered with misery, while her mother, Caelyn’s, desire to shield her family from pain may tear her away from them, altogether. The perfect happiness in the young vampire’s grasp is so easily swept away and dragged under, out of reach. Can Maura erupt from the darkness and confusion to break the surface and find the life she’s always dreamed of?
In the midst of chaos, assistance materializes in the form of another of her kind—ephemerally beautiful, yet explosively volatile, this new vampire may prove capable of unlocking the puzzle-box Maxwell seems intent on securing from her sight. Maura will discover the darkest parts of herself in her quest to understand the being she is destined to become. Her newfound friend has some shady intentions of his own—such as thwarting the love that has grown between Maura and Ron. Following in the wake of the impulsive vampire’s misguided instruction may further pull a naive Maura down into the depths of ultimate despair, heartbreak…and even destruction.
2015 Readers' Favorite Honorable Mention for YA Horror
2016 New Apple Summer eBook Solo Medalist for YA Horror
Praise for Undertow:
"This series offers so much: the heartwarming family moments, the comedic back and forth banter between characters, life lessons tragically instilled."
"I actually cried during a few parts of the story."
"The story is well written and gripping until the very end."
"If it’s written by Claudette Melanson, you’re guaranteed to have an amazing piece of literature that anyone can enjoy."
“W-w-what?!!” seemed to be all I could manage in way of a response.
My long-lost father had appeared, after seventeen long years…and informed me I was turning into a vampire. My hold on reality was tenuous at best. The very air around me felt watery and surreal. In fact, I was reasonably sure I had to be dreaming.
My father, Maxwell, had released me from our first-ever embrace, and I’d begun to back away—an auto-response to his little revelation. He stood with my mother now, both hands out in a conciliatory gesture. “Now, Maura, please calm down…”
“Calm down?!” My voice came out shrill and thready. He’d just said something utterly ridiculous—impossible. I threw both arms around my ribcage, trying to stabilize myself somehow. My breaths were coming so fast; I was sure I’d hyperventilate.
My mother finally spoke, after her long silence, “Maura, it’s okay.” She was advancing very slowly toward me.
I didn’t feel like anything would ever be okay again. What my father had divulged defied reality itself. That tiny, but logical, voice in my head I’d been hearing insisted they explained a lot of things happening lately. Like the bloody tears smeared across my face and hands... But vampires weren’t real!
The disease I’d inherited must’ve possessed the capability to deteriorate the mind in order for my father to believe such a thing. *Then why does Caelyn believe it too?* my mind asked. Or was she merely going along with his maniacal raving to avoid upsetting a dying man? I looked back and forth between them and another realization struck.
“It was him! This is who you’ve been with at all those ‘work dinners!’ We saw you!”
There! I’d let the cat out of the bag about me and my best friend, Susie, following Caelyn after work one night. Once I’d put two and two together, I became so enraged, all thought of ludicrous vampires was chased from my head.
My mother’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “Excuse me? Did you just say you’ve been spying on me, Maura?” My father simply stared at the ground.
That was the last straw. “You have the nerve to be angry about me spying on you?!! You’ve been keeping me from my own father!!” I was screaming now. “How could you?? How could you?!!!”
Caelyn’s mouth was moving, but no words were coming out.
I continued to scream at her, my temper completely beyond my control. “We’re both sick, maybe dying, and you sneak around behind my back.” My brain connected more dots. “And you?!” I pointed a trembling finger at Maxwell. “You didn’t want to see me? Or are you just completely out of your mind, spouting nonsense about vampires?”
My father’s head jerked up suddenly when that word escaped my lips. His eyes darted to either end of the alley, and I noticed small groups of people peering in, most likely in response to the volume of my shrieking.
His expression switched from alarmed to a combination of stern and resolute. I’d seen an identical look on my own face in the mirror before. He moved past my mother --reminiscent of a mannequin stuck in suspended animation—to grab me firmly by the arm. “Come along, Maura, we are leaving.”
There was no arguing with that vicelike grip. He towed me along and collected my mother in similar fashion, as we moved toward the end of the alley from which I’d originally come. A lingering assault of the senses flashed in the forefront of my mind, overwhelming me. I unconsciously muttered, “Sushi.”
“What?” my mother asked, glancing over at me like I’d grown another head.
“I planted that suggestion,” he explained to her calmly.
“Oh! I see.”
I felt my legs go weak again…and the fog that had stolen my consciousness before started creeping in from the corners of my eyes.
Riptide: Betrayal of Blood The Maura DeLuca Trilogy Book 3
Maura has never felt so alone in her life…nor has her existence ever been so overshadowed by peril…
Not only do both her parents—her distant but loving mother and recently- returned father—remain absent from her life, but due to the hideous error in judgement executed in collusion with her best friend, Valdamir, and adoptive sister, Susie, Maura has been cut off from the pair’s friendship and support, forbidden by both her father and the fallout from the dire outcome to see either of them. The heartbreak she suffers, brought on by the weight of these estrangements, is only intensified by the continued mysterious absence of her supernaturally-destined mate, Ron…whose disappearance delivers grave consequences Maura would have never dreamed possible…
Despised by her vampire cousin, Aldiva, for reasons Maura cannot yet comprehend, the young changeling will be forced to guard her back with every step, as she comes to realize this member of her vampire family would love nothing more than to bring about her demise. Aldiva’s wrath calls forth other members from both Vancouver covens, forcing them to rush to Maura’s aid—even though her father, their king, has expressly forbidden the other vampires to initiate contact with his daughter. Will her extended family on Vancouver Island obey, abandoning Maura to her doom, or will they instead rebel against Maxwell’s wishes in order to save her life?
In addition to the menace personified in her unsolicited enemy, the unlikely vampire princess will find herself drowning as she is pulled down into the depths of a far more devastating crisis…one which may condemn her to a fate she considers much more undesirable than death. But in order to tear herself free from the deadly pull which is drawing her under, Maura must enlist the help of her preternatural family, exposing her newfound friends to a danger none of them have ever had the misfortune to face before. Can she be saved or will the riptide drag Maura under…along with those she loves the most…
2017 New Apple Solo Medalist for Summer eBook - Young Adult General Fiction
Praise for Riptide:
"I will scream it from the rooftops how much I love this series."
"I can only say that Riptide is one of the best modern vampire stories I have ever read, and I read them all from Stephen King to Ann Rice to Stephenie Meyer."
"Riptide was action packed and the fight scenes were well written but more than that it was the story of family and love, of taking responsibility, and dealing with hate when all sane avenues fail."
"The lore is superb, as is the writing. I can't wait to catch up with Maura again!"
I should have realized something was amiss before she laid a finger on me. A minute before, the air had swirled with snow. Snow was rare in Vancouver. Snow in September—an impossibility.
The iron solidity of my fear prevented an answer to her question from escaping my lips.
“I asked you a question, Changeling!” she hissed out into the silent, cold air. “Do you realize what a mess you have made of everything?”
I scarcely managed a “Y-y-yes,” in response to that. Aldiva lingered just at the edge of my peripheral vision, her pale-blonde hair shining like sunbeams through icicles.
“Did I find you?” she finished for me.
I gathered every fragment of courage within me, drawing it up from the very tips of my toes, and turned to face her.
She’d been so very young when she’d been turned. She could be no older than I and, perhaps, had been even younger. Her huge ice-blue eyes had probably been innocent at one time…when she’d still been human. Her pale, finely-chiseled features would have been angelic, excepting those cold, inhuman eyes. I didn’t miss the fangtips extended to light on her baby-pink lower lip. Surely, she feared my father’s wrath too much to eat me?
“Have you nothing at all to say, Changeling?” Her grip at my shoulder became frozen needles in my skin.
I tried to be brave. “Does my father know you’re here…with me?” I countered.
One side of her mouth turned up in a coy sort of way… Could she be attempting a smile? “That matters not at the moment. Would you not agree? I do not find your father in my line of sight. Do you?”
I felt it imperative to remind her of my father’s protection, anyway. “Maxwell… ummm…Dad…”
“I know what you did to your friend,” she stated, throwing my tenuous hold on my mental axis to the stabbing wintry wind.
My defenses kicked in, brought purely to light by some unfamiliar instinct. “I didn’t… It was Susie…” Shame flooded my entire being.
“You turned her. It was your doing, ultimately,” she articulated with icy absolution.
It hadn’t been I alone who’d turned her, but I wouldn’t have mentioned my lost friend, Valdamir, for a pint of fresh, warm blood. I feared for his life and safety enough already. Still, her words gave pause to the blood in my veins and reminded me of my part in the murder of one of my best friends, Amanda.
Aldiva stalked after me, toppling me over with the smallest push of her slight index finger. Her eyes blazed at me… I’d never known blue could hold such fire.
I scrabbled backward like an upside-downed tortoise—ineffective—my palms scraping over the thorny rocks. The saltwater’s sharp sting was barely registered by my mind. Her gaze was far more cutting.
If there had been anyone around to watch such a ridiculous display, I’m sure they would have been left bewildered—me, scuttling backward like the world’s clumsiest crab --backing away in horrified haste from a young girl of such slight stature, who appeared much more angel than demon from a distance.
“YOU broke our peace. You disrupted the harmony of my family.” She pointed her icicle finger at me as she hissed out her rage. “Maxwell can keep his mate, but I will deny him his daugh…”
The chilled idea of sudden, unavoidable death assaulted me with a cold unlike any I’d ever felt before—even the preternatural touch of my father’s skin—and it permeated me long after the threat had been nullified.
Aldiva’s words were cut short, and she disappeared from my line of sight, her iceblue cloak becoming a blur which perfectly matched her irises, as she was propelled a safe distance away.
Claudette Melanson writes dark fantasy, horror and children’s books in Kitchener, Ontario with seven bun babies at her side: Tegan, Pepper, Butters, Beckett, Sansa, Daenerys & Caramel. She graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a BA in English, BS in English Education and an MA in Literature. Harboring a deep admiration of vampires since the age of five left her with the desire to eventually become one, and now fuels the creation of her favorite paranormal characters. She hopes to one day work full time as an author, since there are many, many stories playing out inside her head.
In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.
Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.