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On The Edge of Humanity

Vampires are born not made.

The gene that creates them lurks in human DNA.

As a foster kid being bounced from home to home, I didn’t give much thought to the fanged members of the population.

Until my twin brother, Sam went missing.

Dragged into the principal’s office at my latest loathsome school, I meet the darkly appealing Webb London…

My world as I know it implodes. Part of a secret Navy SEAL team of natural-born vampires, Webb reveals an evil cartel has abducted Sam to claim an agent in his blood.

But what flows through his veins runs through mine as well.

A dormant gene, if activated, is all it will take to transform me into a vampire. Now, that could be my only hope to save Sam. Time is running out, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. His life, or my humanity?

One way or another, nothing will ever be the same.

On the Edge of Humanity is the first book in The Vampire Navy SEAL series and is the beginning of Jo Mason’s story as she navigates the world of vampires and meets the hot vampire SEAL Webb London. The book is packed with edge-of-your-seat action, intrigue, suspense, and an emerging romance. This is an upper young adult/new adult paranormal military romance series.

Series reading order:

  1. On the Edge of Humanity
  2. On the Edge of Eternity
  3. On the Edge of Destiny
  4. On the Edge of Misery
  5. On the Edge of Infinity
I couldn't put it down. The characters are well developed and you'll fall in love with them right away. This story grips you from the first page and doesn't let go!
Amazon Reviewer

Chapter 1


I was trapped in a world where I didn’t belong. A world where my dad had discarded me as if I were a piece of trash. A world where danger constantly surfaced, even in places I called home. I couldn’t say when I came to the decision not to be a victim anymore.

After my mother died, I spent most of my life in foster care, traipsing from one foster home to another, always wondering where I was going to sleep and what I was going to eat. Life sucked with a capital S. My only family was my twin brother, Sam. We didn’t know why our father abandoned us. But if I ever got the chance to meet him, I was going to kill him.

My gypsy-style life had forced me to face all kinds of challenges, and none were good. I hated my life, I hated school, and most of all, there were days when I hated living. I hid behind Sam, who always protected me and even fought my battles when I needed him to.

I shied away from people, especially bullies at school and one boy in particular, Blake Turner. I wished I had the courage to stand up for myself, but fourteen years of foster care had taught me the art of avoidance. I hid behind books and read constantly, trying to transport myself into another world where I was free, where I became the hero of the story I was reading. I desperately longed for a mom and dad who loved me and friends—lots of them—who supported me.

My only friend was Darcy Rose, and I wasn’t even sure why she wanted to be friends with someone like me, the outcast of the school, the one they called Moonbeam because of my silver eyes. I had Blake to thank for that—he pointed it out every chance he got.

Darcy and I had first met in gym class last year after Blake tripped me during a soccer game. I’d fallen face-first into the wet mud, and Darcy ran over to help me. We’d been friends ever since. I guessed she felt sorry for me.

Tonight, I was feeling sorry for myself, but a wave of trepidation also coursed through me. I stood alone in the kitchen, instructed by my foster mom, Hilda, to clean it up while she retired to her sewing room upstairs and her gross husband, Cliff, sat in his fat leather chair, watching TV. I was her slave, only there to do her chores—to clean her house and bow to her every need. To think I’d thought the stepmother in Cinderella was bad. I wasn’t going to a ball, and midnight wasn’t my deadline. I had only a few minutes to clean the kitchen before Hilda came down from her sanctuary to inspect my work. Afraid of being separated from Sam and sent to a home for girls, I obeyed.

As I wiped down the kitchen table, I contemplated what I was going to do with a full week off of school for Easter vacation. With Darcy out of town, I had to find something to keep myself occupied. I didn’t want to hang around the house, enslaved to Hilda or Cliff. They would probably make me wash windows or clean their tile floors with a toothbrush, which didn’t sound like fun. As I weighed my limited options, rage bubbled to the surface. While the last five foster homes had been tolerable, Hilda and Cliff’s screamed danger. Sam and I had been with the Birches only for a short while, and in that time, we had followed every one of their house rules. But there was one rule I refused to obey.

Sam wasn’t home yet from baseball practice, so I covered his dinner and placed it in the microwave for later.

Separating the kitchen from the family room was a paneled wall with a staircase to one side. I tiptoed over to the door and peeked up the stairs. The rat-a-tat of the sewing machine filtered down the staircase. I imagined Hilda was working out her own frustrations—all the better for me.

A sports announcer’s voice filled the family room. I peered around the banister. Cliff’s eyes were closed, his mouth hanging open.

I skulked back into the kitchen, and a floorboard squeaked in the process. I stood still for a moment and listened. The sewing machine still hummed, and Cliff began to snore.

I bit my lower lip then gave the kitchen one last glance. Satisfied it would pass muster, I grabbed the handle on the utensil drawer and pulled it open. I fished around the messy drawer until I found the corkscrew. It was stuck in the back under a bunch of plastic spoons. I gently plucked it out of its hiding spot and placed it into my sock. As I did, the creak of the stairs startled me, and my heart rate increased. I hurriedly smoothed my pant leg when Hilda walked in.

“Jo, what’re you doing?” Hilda asked in a raspy voice that sounded as if she had just smoked a carton of cigarettes.

“Ma’am?” My hands were shaking, so I grabbed the towel off the counter and made it look like I was wiping them.

She glanced around and sauntered over to the refrigerator. “Where’s your brother?”

“I don’t know.” I wasn’t sure if I should move. The wine opener was digging into my ankle and on the verge of slipping out of my sock. “May I be excused?” I asked.

Hilda pulled out a can of beer and closed the refrigerator door. Her short black hair was styled into a bouffant, and thick, bushy eyebrows overpowered her brown eyes. I wanted to give her a pair of tweezers, so she could shape them.

“The kitchen looks good, so sure. It’s Friday night. Do you have plans?”

My plan was to run, to get away from her and the hell I was in. “No, ma’am.”

“A pretty sixteen-year-old girl like you doesn’t have any friends?”

My jaw dropped. She’d called me pretty. I was shocked she had the nerve to deliver a compliment. That was a first. “My friends are heading out of town for spring break.” Darcy was going on a cruise with her parents. Lucky her. She had asked me to go, but I couldn’t even afford a McDonalds meal, let alone a cruise vacation.

“Are you okay, Jo?” Hilda asked.

My face must’ve had a blank look on it. “I need to use the bathroom.”

“Well go, then. Don’t let me stop you.”

I walked a few steps then stopped just to be sure the wine opener wouldn’t fall to the floor. With it still hanging in there, I said good night to Hilda and left.

I headed to my room, which was located down a small hallway off the family room. As soon as I closed the door, I let out a deep breath, slid down the wall, and sat on the floor. My heart raced, and I took a few deep breaths to calm my nerves. I hate this place. Hell has to be better than this.

I pulled out the corkscrew and touched the tip of the screw with my forefinger. I rubbed it too hard, and a tiny speck of blood surfaced. This will do nicely.

I suckled my finger, and a spark ignited inside me. The candied taste of that small drop of blood awakened my taste buds. My pulse quickened, then my head began to spin. What the heck is going on? Why would blood taste as sweet as a watermelon candy? It had always had a metallic taste to it before. This is crazy. I immediately wiped my finger on my jeans.

I shook my head a few times to erase the thought and surveyed my ankle. A couple of scratches tattooed the side near the bone. It was nothing to worry about. It beat getting caught by Hilda, the wicked witch of New England. The first night in the house, I’d dropped a glass of soda, and it had shattered. She yelled, berating me until I broke down in tears. Ever since then, I was careful not to awaken her evil side.

I closed my eyes, inhaled, and hugged my knees to my chest. I sat still, relishing in the quietness of the room. My life had to change. I wasn’t sure I could handle two more years in foster care. But then again, I had no idea where I would go when I turned eighteen. I let out a deep sigh. I had two years to think about it—if I made it that long.

I uncurled my legs and stood up. It was almost nine o’clock, and Sam still wasn’t home. I was starting to worry. But it was Friday night, and maybe he was hanging out with his best friend, Ben.

The heat kicked on, and hot air started blowing out of the floor ducts, causing my cheeks to flush. I went over and raised the window, letting in the brisk April air, which tickled my hands.

I unpacked my backpack, placing my books on top of the dresser. I looked over at the clock on the nightstand, and five minutes had ticked by. Come on, Sam, get your butt home. Maybe if I thought it really hard, he would come walking through the door.

With nothing else to do, I changed into a pair of blue flannel shorts patterned with black cows and a T-shirt. Then I grabbed the wine opener and a John Grisham novel I’d borrowed from the library and climbed into bed.

I didn’t know if I would have to use the corkscrew, but I wanted to be prepared. I twirled it in my right hand and jabbed it in the air a few times. Maybe I should’ve taken a knife instead, but that would have been too risky. With my luck, I would’ve had more than just scratches on my ankle. I placed the corkscrew under my pillow and picked up my book. The Street Lawyer was just getting interesting, and I was hoping that it would keep me awake until Sam came home.

Books were my hobby, and every chance I had, I tried to escape reality by burying my nose in one. While I devoured most genres, I didn’t have a penchant for the paranormal, unlike the other high school kids. They were all gaga over the latest vampire book, and it made me want to puke. The undead didn’t excite me. Who would ever want to drink blood as their main meal?

I squashed the thought of blood and vampires and started reading. After two pages, my eyelids grew heavy. I shook my head, trying to stay awake, but the words became blurry. I blinked a few times. I didn’t want to fall asleep. I didn’t feel safe without Sam in the house.

As my head bobbed down, the aroma hit me, and my eyes popped open.

Cliff turned to close the door, stinking of booze and cigarettes. I fumbled for the light switch to turn off the bedside lamp. Maybe the darkness would give me the edge I needed for my escape.

“That’s not going to help you.” White specks of breadcrumbs dotted his beard, and his wiry hair was matted to his head. He inched toward the bed, opening his pocketknife.

I took a deep breath and swallowed hard, almost choking. My heart pounded against my ribs, aching to get out. Nausea rose in my throat as my breathing quickened.

My hand trembled as I flicked the light switch, sending the room into darkness. The night-light on the wall near the door turned on. Shit!

As I closed my eyes, I heard Sam whispering in my head. You have to fight back, Jo. I won’t always be here to protect you. You have to learn to stand up to people like Blake. What Sam didn’t know was that Blake wasn’t my only tormentor.

Cliff had snuck into my room one night, filthy drunk. At first, I’d thought he was lost, but when he whispered my name, I knew he had his wits about him. Thankfully, Hilda had been looking for him, saving me from his true intentions.

I expelled the air from my lungs in tiny increments, trying to gain control. My last breath released with a cough, the heat stinging my cheeks as the blood surged through me. My inner voice screamed, I’m dead. I know I’m dead.

I lay there, immersed in my own quiet hell. For the past two weeks, I’d feared him and those words he whispered again: “If you tell anyone, I will kill you and your brother.”

I desperately wanted to tell Sam, but I just couldn’t. He’d always had a short fuse, but lately, he seemed to get mad at any little thing. Besides, Sam had been in trouble with the cops and had even spent a couple of nights in jail. I wanted to protect him from himself, but more than anything, I was afraid that we would be separated if he ended up in jail for longer—or even worse, dead. I couldn’t let that happen.

Victim be damned.

Cliff’s breathing grew heavier as he reached the edge of my bed. The hairs at the nape of my neck stood at attention. I grabbed the wooden handle of the corkscrew when his rough calloused hand touched my ankle.

I froze.

“Sweet Jo,” he whispered, reeking of alcohol. As the heat from his breath sprayed toward me, I tried to erase the image of his jagged teeth and the crud lodged between them.

He slid his hand up my leg and air seeped under the blankets.

I gripped the corkscrew tighter, my hand shaking uncontrollably. Do it now.

A cold breeze blew in through the cracked window between my bed and the full-length mirror. Moonlight radiated in, casting a glow around the room. Just what I needed—more light.

With my body still as a board, I peered in the mirror, and the glint of a blade next to my leg reflected in the distance.

I closed my eyes and gasped when the cold steel blade scraped along my leg.

“Jo, I have something for you,” he whispered.

I spun around, aiming for his face, but he jumped back. His left arm got in the way, and I jabbed in the corkscrew as hard as I could.

“You want to play rough, little girl?” He pulled the corkscrew from his arm and threw it to the floor. “Well, let’s play.”

Blood dribbled out of the stab wound, glistening in the soft light of the bedroom. Bleed, pervert, bleed.

My hopes were cut short when he lunged for me. I rolled off the bed, and my left elbow broke my fall. The corkscrew lay inches from me, and I reached out to grab it, but he stepped on my hand.

I looked up at him. “Fuck you!”

“Big words coming from a little girl.”

“Does your wife know you rape sixteen-year-old girls? Do boys make the cut too?”

“I’ll show you how I treat little girls.” He grabbed me by my shoulders.

My feet dangled. I threw a left kick, connecting with his precious jewels. He let go, and I fell to the floor.

He lunged for me again with the knife pointed right at me.

My vision blurred, then a sharp pain hit me on my left side. I grabbed my rib. A sticky warmth trickled down.

“You asshole! You stabbed me!” I tried to rise, but my knees wobbled, and the pain soared through me as if he were stabbing me over and over again.

He knelt down, and his hot breath caressed my ear. “I’m not done with you yet.”

As I tried to breathe, the fragrance of my own blood wafted through the air, imparting the delicious scent of vanilla. Why does my blood smell this sweet?

I blew out the air in my lungs and blinked a few times, hoping it was all a dream. But when I opened my eyes, the beast was still there, a smug look painting his face.

I kicked, trying to fight my way out, which only caused his insolence to grow.

“Where ya going, sweet thing?” His voice oozed with slime. “There’s nowhere to run.”

“If you don’t get off…”

“What? What’re you going to do? Kill me… with a corkscrew?” He let out an evil laugh.

He was right. I had no way to get past him. He was six feet tall and weighed two hundred and fifty pounds. I didn’t have a chance in hell. He grabbed both my legs and pulled me toward him. My head hit the front of the dresser. Then he brought the knife up to my left cheek and began tracing the outline of my face.

I sucked air in and held it, afraid to move. I was sure I had one of those deer-in-headlights looks.

“You’re a beautiful creature, you know. And those strikingly silver eyes of yours are—”

I spat in his face.

He wiped the spit from his mouth. “You’re going to regret that.”

My vision flickered in and out, and I blinked. When the haze cleared, my brother, Sam, was standing in the room with a baseball bat in his hands and a murderous expression on his face.

With the knife now pinned to my left cheek, Cliff turned his head. “Don’t try it, lad, or your sister’s pretty face will—”

A door slammed.

Sam gripped the bat with both hands, as if he were standing behind home plate, waiting for the pitcher. “Take the knife away from her face.” His tone dripped with venom.

“Come any closer, kid, and I will carve your sister’s face up. She’ll look like the Bride of Frankenstein when I’m done with her.”

The tip of the knife punctured my cheek, and warm liquid oozed out. I drew in a breath as I raised my hand to my face. The pain stung me as if I had just pissed off a bumblebee.

Sam lunged at Cliff.

Cliff whirled his head toward me, his eyes bulging from their sockets, and drove the knife into my cheek. Pain shot through me, and my eyes watered, the salt from my tears stinging as it seeped into the cut. I froze, trying not to scream as I bit back the pain. If I moved even a tiny bit, the blade would do more damage.

Then the bat connected with Cliff’s head, sounding as if Sam had just hit a home run. Cliff shrieked so loudly that it reverberated throughout the room, and the walls vibrated. I held my breath, praying he would let go of the knife. But it was too late. He dropped his hand, pulling the knife with him, and the blade sliced through my skin.

I wailed as the blood gushed down my cheek and into my mouth. I didn’t know what to process first, the pain or the fact that I liked the taste of my own blood.

I placed my hand over my cheek and stood up on wobbly legs, using the dresser as an anchor to support my body. As I glanced around the room, all I could see was Sam standing over Cliff with blood dripping down the bat.

Then Sam shouted, “Jo, don’t pass out! I’ll be right there.”

My arms trembled. I couldn’t hold myself up much longer. Blackness filled my peripheral vision. As it grew darker around me, someone squeezed my hand. “Sam?”

“It’s me, Jo,” he said.

Tears streamed down my cheeks. “I’m sorry, I tried… I tried to take care of myself and protect you.”

He ripped off his T-shirt and placed it over my left cheek. “Shh.”

“What’s happening to me? The blood… I want more blood.”

“Everything’s going to be fine,” he replied.

I vowed revenge against the disgusting beast as the light around me flickered in and out. And then it was dark.

Copyright © 2021 by S.B. Alexander.

Loved this take on vampires. Had a very different spin on how they make the change and how important families are, even for vampires!
Amazon Reviewer

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