printed copy

Living Violet: The Cambion Chronicles #1

Jaime Reed

ISBN 9780758269249
Publish Date 12/27/2011
Format Trade Paperback
Categories KTeen Dafina, Young Adult
List Price: $9.95

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Book 1 of The Cambion Chronicles

He’s persuasive, charming, and way too mysterious. And for Samara Marshall, her co-worker is everything she wants most—and everything she most fears…

Samara Marshall is determined to make the summer before her senior year the best ever. Her plan: enjoy downtime with friends and work to save up cash for her dream car. Summer romance is not on her to-do list, but uncovering the truth about her flirtatious co-worker, Caleb Baker, is. From the peculiar glow to his eyes to the unfortunate events that befall the girls who pine after him, Samara is the only one to sense danger behind his smile.

But Caleb’s secrets are drawing Samara into a world where the laws of attraction are a means of survival. And as a sinister power closes in on those she loves, Samara must take a risk that will change her life forever…or consume it.

“Jaime Reed breathes fresh life into paranormal romance. I loved it!” —Lee Nichols, author of the Haunting Emma series

Chapter One

Love indulged the masochist.

Truer words have never been spoken, if I do say so myself. It’s a philosophy that has kept me sane for as long as I can remember and helped me survive the weirdest summer of my life. On the flip side, it’s very entertaining what love will make people do. It’s a great way to spend your lunch break.

Sitting on my car hood, sucking down a Big Gulp, I watched the pinnacle of love unfold before my eyes. My best friend, Mia, and her on-again off-again boyfriend, Dougie, squared-off like prize fighters in the middle of the outlet center parking lot.

This week’s drama included props. Dougie pivoted along the concrete, ducking and avoiding death by the finest designer handbag money could buy. Through the litany of screams, cusses, and purse swinging, I figured Mia had caught Dougie hanging out with another girl. Mia could be a little high-strung sometimes, but when it came to her man, she advanced to straight head case.

That jealous insanity went both ways, depending on the day, and much amusement awaited all who watched.

“God, you’re such a liar! How could you do this to me?” she raved.

“Chill, baby! She was my cousin!” Dougie escaped the oncoming blow from Mia’s handbag by an inch.

“You lying piece of crap! I’ve met all of your relatives, Douglas. She never came to your house before.”

Dougie ran in circles around her, the blood rush turning his face beet red. “She just came into town! I swear, baby.”

“Why didn’t you introduce me, huh?” Mia wiped her sweaty brown hair from her forehead. “What, are you ashamed of me?”

He paused, clearly hurt at the suggestion. “No! Why would you say that?”

“Liar!” Her purse swung at his head, but missed.

Dougie grabbed one of the straps, and the two began a full tug-of-war in the middle of the parking lot. Weekend shoppers watched in horror, covering the ears of their children from the curses flying in the air. At any moment, someone would definitely call security, so I decided to leave the lovebirds to their own devices.

“Hey, guys,” I yelled behind me. “I gotta get back to work, but I’ll see y’all later, okay?”

“Okay, I’ll call ya!” Mia yelled back before shoving Dougie in the chest.

I dumped my cup in the trash, then entered the side door of Buncha Books. The air-conditioning slapped me in the face and pushed the June heat back outside. Mellow jazz rang through the speakers in a chronic loop from the satellite radio. Tourists and townies overran the floor in a slow, indecisive dance around the bookshelves.

I strolled through the main aisles, past the kiosk of new releases and bestsellers toward the customer service desk in the center of the store. Working at Buncha Books since sophomore year taught me a few tricks of the trade, namely to never get caught on the actual book floor. I also discovered that if I didn’t make eye contact with the customers, they wouldn’t talk to me. That policy remained tucked in my back pocket until my shift started. Casting a wary glance over my shoulder, I singled out an empty computer and clocked back in.

Stealth infiltration and quick reflexes allowed me to reach the other end of the store without incident. When I breezed by the magazine aisle, I caught something odd in my peripheral, a scene disturbing enough to break my stride. I stopped, blinked a few times, and then backtracked to the Home & Garden section to confirm what I just saw.

Caleb Baker, the assistant manager in the music department, held some redhead in a devastating lip-lock. She didn’t seem to have a problem with the public tonsillectomy, but this wasn’t the type of customer service the managers urged us to practice.

Just as I turned to leave, his gaze met mine.

Caleb’s looks would never stop traffic, but he was worth a second glance with his deep dimples, and the most intense violet eyes I had ever seen. Despite his claim of authenticity, eyes that color shouldn’t exist in nature— eyes that now reflected every purple tone of the color wheel.

Light brown strands draped over his face as the two continued to slob each other down. If they didn’t come up for air soon, Caleb would no doubt suck the life out of her. From what I hear, cheap hotel rooms existed for such an occasion, and there were plenty in the area to choose from.

Of the year and a half I worked here, that kid weirded me out in one way or another. Not to mention the number of women who chased after him on a regular basis. This fact went unnoticed and unaddressed by everyone in the store, including the managers, which disgusted me even more. Having seen enough, I walked away toward my station before my lunch came back up.

Cuppa-Joe was a coffee shop in the back of the bookstore, the place where people kicked back and talked trash about everyone; the cesspool of company gossip and customer-bashing.

I closed tonight with my weekend partner in crime, Nadine Petrovsky, a Polish exchange student at The College of William & Mary, and one of the most cynical people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. Guys came to the café just to hear her exotic accent and watch her work. One glimpse of her explained why.

Model scouts would salivate over her European beauty: her long wheat-colored hair that reached her butt, and her freaky green cat eyes. Too bad none of the attention interested her. Having no time for the BS left the girl cutthroat and caustic. She was just too focused to let a guy or anyone else slow her down.

Nadine stood in front of the barista machine, rinsing the steam wand, when she caught me in the corner of her eye.

“You’re late,” she noted without looking up.

“Sorry. Mia and Dougie were having it out in the parking lot again.” I tied my hair into a bun and grabbed my apron from the back kitchen.

“Oh yeah?” She craned her neck, straining to see the front of the store. “Their fights are good. They need their own sitcom.”

“I told them that.”

Worry lines etched her forehead as she shook her head in disapproval. “Their relationship isn’t healthy, Sam.”

“What relationship is?” I tightened my apron, then went to the sink to wash my hands.

“The sane kind.”

“Well, as soon as I see one of those, I’ll let you know what I think.”

While drying my hands, the second reason why I hated customers approached the counter. A kid dressed in all black with a dog collar leered at me.

Nadine kept herself conveniently busy, so I made my way to the register. “Can I help you?”

“I’d like an iced chai latté,” the boy said, deadpan. It was hard to tell if the kid was high or half-asleep, or whether he was, in fact, a boy. His parachute jeans dragged the floor like a prom gown, the cuffs frayed and dirty, hiding the clown boots underneath.

I rang up his order and shot Nadine a look, which she mirrored perfectly. After he left, I leaned against the counter and laughed.

Nadine didn’t smile, no matter how hilarious the joke, which I’m sure made her a real delight during the weekdays when she babysat preschoolers in daycare. Instead, she wiped down the work area with aggravated swipes.

“I hate those Elmo goth kids,” she griped. “What self- respecting sociopath drinks chai anyway? What do they know about real torment? Let them survive a concentration camp and then they can complain.”

“It’s called ‘emo,’ ” I corrected her. “And your great grandparents didn’t even get to the camp before the U.S. troops came in.”

Nadine moved to the back counter and checked the timers on the coffeepots. “It’s still torment. And if you say ‘emo,’ I say ‘Elmo’ because they are equally childish.”

Shaking my head, I watched her in amusement. “You don’t know what his home life is like.”

“Everyone knows what his home life is like. He doesn’t get along with his parents. He stays in his room and whines and writes bad poems about being a vampire.”

Laughing, I stepped to the espresso machine and stole a shot.

“Hey, it’s your turn to wipe the tables.” Nadine tossed me a rag. “And don’t forget to put back those magazines.”

Groaning, I dragged my feet to the sitting area and gathered the discarded cups and straw wrappers. Seeing no one else in line, I took a moment to return the magazines to the racks. When I had finished, I turned around and met Caleb, still as idle and unproductive as when I last saw him.

He sat on a reading bench by the window, holding his head in his hands. Afternoon light showered his back and crowned his dark hair in a golden halo. Normally, I would’ve ignored him were it not for the slight tremors that rocked his body. Was he crying? Did he and his new arm candy have a falling-out? It was just off-putting to see a guy cry, but no tears fell and none were wiped away by his hand. His body teetered back and forth, and I half expected him to start begging for spare change. How long was his break anyway?

I went over to him and tapped his shoulder. “Hey, Caleb. You okay?”

“Yeah,” he mumbled from under his hands. Thankfully, I didn’t smell any alcohol on him, but he definitely wore the hungover look. Then again, he always looked like that.

One hand reached for the sunglasses hooked on his collar, while the other shielded his eyes—whether from shame or the glaring lights, I wasn’t sure. I also wasn’t sure about the source of the purple rays leaking between his fingers.

For a split second, a cast of purple flooded his eyes, swelling in a florescent glow. Caleb quickly turned his head, leaving a streak of color dragging through the air in a residual haze. That was an interesting trick for someone who supposedly didn’t wear contacts.

He rose from his seat and paused at the shocked look on my face. He shifted his feet and messed with his hair, trying to play it off as if he’d been caught with his fly open. However, the only things I caught were vision problems and a bad vibe.

I took a step back. “You sure you’re okay? Are you sick?”

My question made him laugh, but it sounded dry and full of bitterness. “You have no idea,” he said before marching back to his end of the store.

My mom taught me not to judge people, but damn, that kid was out there. I didn’t know much about him, but that only made the fact that much more tangible. Something told me that ignorance was bliss when it came to Caleb Baker, so I went back to work, hoping for a distraction.

But the damage was done. My curiosity had been piqued, and that hungry creature wouldn’t let me rest until I fed it.

About Jaime Reed:

Jaime Reed discovered her love for storytelling at a young age as an outlet for her overactive imagination. After leaving art school, she returned to Virginia, where she works as a graphic artist and co-producer for an independent film company.

Photo credit: Lifetouch

Average Customer Review

Based on 3 reviews

Customer Review

Page Turner (Tuesday, August 21, 2012)
Reviewer: Stacey P

A new series that you will enjoy! A twist of romance mixed in with supernatural that is sure to draw you in! Sam is ready for her senior year, slaving away at the bookstore to save money for her dream car, and trying to spend time with her best friend, Nadine until something odd starts happening -- women are dropping like flies because of unknown heart problems – and the clincher is they are all dropping when around her coworker. While Sam is unlike the other girls around Caleb, she continues to desire the truth, getting caught up in Caleb’s secrets, which she soon realizes she will have her own secrets to keep as well. This novel will leave you on the edge of your seat, turning page after page.

A Solid Start! (Thursday, January 5, 2012)
Reviewer: Amy

Before you ask…no, not one vampire in sight! I would say, ‘YAY!’ but I’m afraid my house might get burned down. This is a fantastically fun YA paranormal that is a truly exciting debut for this author.

Samara Marshall is fun, entertaining, sarcastic, and spends a great deal of her time watching her best friend, Mia, beat the heck out of her boyfriend, Dougie. In fact, that’s exactly what she’s doing when our story opens, sitting on the hood of a car downing a Big Gulp and watching the action. Samara works inside Buncha Books at the Cuppa-Joe coffee shop that’s located in the back of the bookstore. Nadine, a polish exchange student, is the manager and seriously funny. Another co-worker of Samara’s is Caleb Baker, and he is more than a bit odd. It seems that every time Samara looks at the guy there’s some girl locked to his lips. And this is not exactly a drool-worthy dude. He’s cute, but nothing to write home about in Samara’s mind. The only thing he does have going for him are these deep purplish-blue eyes that seem to stun every girl on the planet and make them swoon.

One day, Samara notices yet another young woman attached to Caleb’s face, and then later notices that she is being pulled into an ambulance right outside in the parking lot. The girl had a heart attack, and she is far too young to even think of having one.

Samara also has a pretty fun home life. Mom and Dad are divorced and Dad is remarried with twin girls, but the parents still seem to get along quite well. The only thing that’s a bit negative is that Mom believes that she will never find another man, and is more than a bit lonely.

As this humorous tale moves forward, through various circumstances, Samara and Caleb end up on a date. Caleb, who is always shoving sugary foods into his mouth and offering one-liners to the women who drop at his feet, seems to really like Samara. Perhaps it’s because she wouldn’t swoon over him if he paid her to. Of course, when Samara finds out what, exactly, Caleb really is and the secret he‘s been hiding, swooning is definitely out. For many people, screaming and running to the police would be in, but as Samara learns more and more about Caleb’s particular situation, an odd type of feeling seems to come over her. Could it be love? After all…is it even possible to love a…?

Nope. Not gonna’ tell, guys and gals. This is such a fun read that I’m going to leave it all up to you to find out Caleb’s secret. Being the first book in this new series, there is far more to come, but my advice is that you must definitely give this one a shot!

Great new YA urban fantasy series (Monday, November 21, 2011)
Reviewer: Mel Thomas

This book was a page turner and I didn't want to put it down. Fantastic beginning to a new YA urban fantasy series. I loved the characters. Samara was funny, smart, sarcastic and very likable. Caleb was a very interesting character and his supernatural gift/curse is something I'd only encountered outside the YA genre. I don't wanna spoil it for anyone so I won't say what he is. Just know he's charming and funny and has a sweet tooth to rival mine. The secondary characters were just as entertaining; Nadine was snarky and full of spunk and Mia and Dougie cracked me up.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book even though part of it broke my heart. This book had everything; humor, great character development, enough action to keep you intrigued, romance and witty dialogue. I can't wait to see how the changes in Sam's life will affect her. Really looking forward to the second book in the series, Burning Emerald.

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