Sun & Blood Moaning Cavern Excerpt
Title: Sun & Blood
Sentinel Rising – Book 1
Author: Crystal Frost
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 26th March 2022
This excerpt holds a special place in my heart because the information for Moaning Cavern was taken from a memory of a dear friend of mine who gave her permission for me to use her experience in Sun & Blood. Please join Violet, Patrick, Vikter, and a bunch of other teenage wolven in Calaveras, California at the Moaning Cavern...
The group moved toward the cavern entrance, shifting until they were single file. Their footsteps clattered against the metal staircase and Violet was grateful she didn’t have a concussion anymore because this would have sucked.
Violet looked up from her feet to see one of the guys ahead of her crouched so he didn’t smack his head. The stairs were almost like a bunch of ladders linked together. It was important to watch your step—and your head—many of the guys had to go down sideways and crouched.
For the second time in one day, Violet was extremely grateful for her lack of height.
“Looking tasty today, snack.”
A shiver rolled up her spine as Vikter’s hot breath trailed over her neck. He must have crouched real low in order to do that because she had already gone down a couple stairs.
“Why did you have to end up behind me?” Violet growled as she looked over her shoulder at him before taking another couple steps.
“Oh, I’m exactly where I wanted to be. No one was going to stop me.”
“What do you want?” Violet asked through clenched teeth as she moved to one side to put her foot down on the next set of steps.
“I wanted a minute alone with you. With this single file business, you’re stuck with me until we reach the bottom.”
“I like that you’re feisty.” He chuckled and her head tipped back when he tugged on her ponytail. “I bet we could have a lot of fun. You should let me take you on a date sometime.”
“I know at least two people who would probably kill you if I agreed to that,” she warned as she moved to another set of stairs.
Vikter chuckled darkly and his voice sounded much closer when he said, “I’d like to see them try.”
Violet groaned. She would have rather been lonely than have to deal with his chatter the whole time.
Laughter filled the fissure behind her and many wolven in front of her turned around and began laughing as well. Confused, Violet secured her footing and turned to look back, expecting to find Vikter in her face.
Instead, a smile lifted one corner of her mouth at the sightof Vikter stuck a few steps behind her. He jerked about trying to get free, but his shoulders had wedged perfectly between the sides of the fissure. Panic began to settle over his face when he realized he really couldn’t move forward.
“Stop laughing and get me out of here!”
That only made them laugh harder.
“I guess you should have been paying more attention to where you were going instead of messing with me, huh?” Violet lifted a brow and smirked at him.
Vikter’s face started turning red and she briefly wondered how long it would take before it turned purple, but the fear in his eyes clawed at her soul.
Closing her eyes, she shook her head and drew in a deep breath. “I can’t believe I’m about to do this.” She climbed the steps between them to get a better look at how his shoulders were positioned. “You need to go backward, not forward.”
“I tried that. It didn’t work. What do you know, anyway?” Vikter snarled.
His eyes were fading in and out of gold which shortened their time to get this solved. If word got out that one of them was stuck, an employee would come help. The humans couldn’t find out, or even suspect, what they were.
“Vikter,” she tried his name and thankfully it pulled his attention to her instead of the laughing teens around them. “Try again, but this time move one shoulder like you’re moving sideways instead of trying to get both out at the same time.”
“Why should I listen to you?”
“I’d be happy to leave you here to get laughed at by every-one. My brother hates you and I can’t stand you, but I care about the clans.” She lightly punched his stomach, “Now do what I said. Turn your left shoulder behind you.”
The order made his eyes flare gold, but he listened and tried to do what she said. “You’re still moving both shoulders.” She ducked her head around his legs and glared up at the guy behind Vikter. “You! Stop laughing, or I’ll make sure you’re the next one to get stuck.” The guy sobered up quickly, and his buddy behind him snickered. “Hold his right shoulder in place so we can move his left one.”
“I can do this by myself,” Vikter growled.
“Shut up.” Violet snapped at him and moved to stand by his left side. “On the count of three: one, two, three!” She pushed as hard as she could against his left side while he moved and the other guy held and pushed against his right shoulder in place.
The rip of fabric filled the fissure that had gone quiet and a small yelp followed. Vikter was free, but he held his left shoulder tightly and glared at her.
“You’re welcome.” She rolled her eyes and continued down the steps telling others to keep moving as she went.
A second guide’s voice called out to them as they appeared on the upper platform, “Ah, I thought we lost half our group for a minute there. Come on, file in here and make your way down the stairs to the second platform at the base of the cavern.”
Violet tried to push away from Vikter, but he kept annoy-ingly close. She finally settled along the railing and stared at a sign that read, ‘Moaning Cavern - Calaveras California.’
She tried to listen to the guide because he was a fountain of knowledge, but she kept missing bits and pieces.
“… this staircase we are standing on was one of the first arc-welding projects to ever have been completed… built in 1922… scrap metal from a World War One Battleship… It’s one hundred feet tall and spirals seven and a half times…”
“Knock it off, Vikter,” Violet growled when the irritating wolven male flicked her ear. She winced when her voice echoed in the cavern.
“Is everything alright up there?” called the guide from below and Violet looked down to see him staring up at the stairs from the base platform.
“All good!” Violet answered and gave a thumbs up, but with how far up she still was, she would have been surprised if he had seen it.
They all clambered onto the base platform, and the guide waited for them to settle down before asking, “Who knows how many steps we just took?”
No one answered.
“You just walked down one hundred and forty-four stairs. You are welcome to look around. Take a few minutes to enjoy the cavern before we make the trek back to the top, but first, I want to show you something.”
Violet ducked between two wolven males and around a couple holding hands to distance herself from Vikter. Some-one stepped into her path and she ran into his chest with a quiet, “Umph.”
Sweet, chocolate peppermint wafted over her with a hint of cedar and she breathed deep, letting the smell calm her down.
“Violet?” Patrick whispered her name and she shoved away from him as fast as she could, but he held her arms to keep her from knocking into whoever was standing behind her. “Easy.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into you and I’m sorry I smelled you, gah, that’s so weird and—”
“Shhh,” Patrick placed two fingers over her lips to stop her rambling before leaning over to whisper in her ear. “Wolven already have good hearing and now you’re in a place that echoes.”
Heat poured over her face and down her neck. Turning her head, she placed her lips near his ear and whispered, “Thanks for stopping me.”
A shudder rolled through Patrick. He shook his head as a response, then slid his hand down her arm and wove his fingers through hers.
Her heart hammered in her chest and she was so grateful wolven didn’t have that good of hearing, otherwise everyone would have been staring at her tomato-red face and telling Jax she was holding hands with his future beta.
That thought alone should have made her pull away from Patrick, but the connection felt beyond incredible and Jax wasn’t there. Holding his hand, breathing in his scent… it was the piece of her that had been missing since he backed off months ago.
He wasn’t guarding her. He wasn’t following any orders. He was simply being in the moment with her. Something she wasn’t sure she had ever seen him do.
“So, if everyone is ready,” called the guide, drawing her out of her thoughts, “I will turn off all the lights.”
“What?” Violet asked, clearly having missed something.
Patrick chuckled and leaned over to explain, “It’s to show what it was like for the miners who only had one lantern.”
All the lights went out.
Complete darkness surrounded them.
Wolven eyesight required a hint of light to be able to see at night. Even starlight was enough. Granted, Violet’s abilities weren’t as strong as the others, but she couldn’t see a thing.
A few growls went off and she thought someone was crying, but with the amount of echoes the cavern created it was hard to tell for certain. One thing was sure, though; she was not the only wolven uneasy without the ability to see.
Patrick’s fingers squeezed her hand lightly, making her jump. She’d forgotten they were holding hands. Her free hand wrapped around his forearm and clutched it to her chest like he was her lifeline.
His body shook with a silent chuckle, and he slipped his arm free of her grasp to wrap it around her waist. There, in the pitch-black cavern, Patrick held her against his chest. His warmth and sweet, intoxicating smell relaxed her and she leaned into him. Something touched the top of her head and she was about to ask if he had kissed her when the guide spoke up again, ruining the moment.
“Settle down, please.” Once everyone was quiet, he lit a single flame lantern.
In a world of wolven, being average can get you killed.
Without a wolf spirit of her own, Violet Draven is basically a souped-up human and an easy target. When her twin brother Jax makes enemies with the future alpha from a neighboring clan, she tries to stop him. A concussion sends her to the Sentinel Clan's doctor where the results of her recent tests reveal more than she bargained for. Determined to prove her worth, Violet trains with the best in the clan, but she's still considered a liability. To protect her, Jax orders his best friend to guard Violet, making the fight against her forbidden feelings for her new bodyguard even harder to hide.
Meanwhile, retaining control over his wolf is vital if Patrick Cowen is going to keep his past a secret. After losing his family more than three years ago, Patrick found a home in Sentinel Clan and worries about what will happen if anyone gets too close to him. Holding everyone at arms-length is the only way he knows how to protect his new family, but his eighteenth birthday, and first shift, draw near, testing his tenuous control. His combative wolf spirit won't go down without a fight and if Patrick fails, everything he cares for will be lost.
Driven by blood lust and the desire for power; rogue, red-eyed wolven begin attacking the clans. Their savagery knows no bounds. They have only one rule.
Submit or die.
Thank you for reading the Moaning Cavern excerpt from Sun & Blood!