Summit at Sunset - By Jaz Primo

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This novel is dedicated to the loyal group of Sunset Vampire fans who have been so kind, encouraging, and supportive of me during the journeys of Caleb, Katrina, Paige, and Alton throughout their exploits. Without fans, novels are nothing more than creative repositories of undiscovered dreams and passages...

All my love and appreciation to my wonderful wife, Lori, who continues to support, promote, and encourage my passion (or rather, obsession) for writing. Sincere, heartfelt thanks to my family and friends, who continue to bolster my confidence during the weak moments on the sometimes rocky road of the creative process. As always, thank you to my dear friends Jimmy, Jessica, Teresa, Crystal, Victoria, Amie, Lisa, and Shannon for their invaluable support, encouragement, and beta-reading. A special shout-out to Victoria and Jessica for their amazing assistance with the meticulous proofreading process!

I’m mesmerized by the creative genius of my cover artist, Al Slark. He has once again surpassed himself with the novel cover for Summit at Sunset. Thanks for putting such a wonderful face to my novels! My continued thanks to Brandon for his masterful assistance with “spinning the webs” and creating “font-tastic” opportunities for me. Special thanks to my wonderful editor, Julia, for her keen eyes for correction and insight into proper storyline development.

Chapter 1: House Guest

On a cool mid-April night, Caleb Taylor carefully maneuvered through the thick undergrowth of the forest. Despite the oppressive darkness from all sides, it was a beautiful moonless night for a hunting excursion. Caleb paused at the edge of a break in the trees to appreciate the evening’s gentle breeze.

Enough to mask my exact location, he speculated.

He had learned not to let the prey’s scent be acquired too easily by the predator, or else the hunt ended rather quickly. Glancing at the illuminated face of his new watch, he calculated the span of time that had passed since he had entered the forest.

Always fighting the clock.

Despite his preoccupation with quietly navigating his way through the pitch-black terrain, he took the time to breathe in the fresh scent of the forest. He attempted to gauge his location against the preliminary reconnaissance he had conducted prior to sunset. As he stepped past a tree and under one of the overhanging branches, he pivoted his body closer to the ground and heard a small tearing sound. With a quick tug and a sharp scrape against his left arm, he felt a stab of pain as needle-like brambles raked across his skin.

“Damn,” he muttered under his breath, tentatively probing his left arm where his clothing was torn.

Glad I’m wearing older clothes, he absently credited before quietly proceeding on his way.

A minute passed before he heard a small shuffling sound not far from his location. He froze, grasped the trunk of a nearby tree, and scanned the area in the direction of the noise. His heartbeat increased slightly, and he momentarily closed his eyes to concentrate on calming himself.

Peaceful forest, calm forest, peaceful forest.

As his mantra ended and he opened his eyes, he was more at ease and continued to sweep the area visually. His eyes widened with sudden recognition as he stared between the tree trunks across a distance of approximately sixty feet at what appeared to be two small orbs of bright green. A predator’s eyes.

Realizing that all pretense of stealth had been lost, he turned and fled in the opposite direction through the bushes and tree limbs in a race against time. An image of a rabbit running from a fox flashed in his mind.

Barreling like a bullet through the darkened forest, he heard the sounds of his closing pursuer. The ground dropped sharply before him, and he half-tumbled down an incline, barely managing to keep his balance to the bottom. He righted himself and turned to run, but was startled by a whooshing sound from above. A dark image leapt over him and landed beside him with a heavy thud. He staggered backwards with surprise at the towering presence before him, crowned ominously with glowing green eyes.

“Enough!” a woman’s authoritative voice commanded. “You violated our agreement.”

“W-What?” Caleb stammered.

He craned his neck upwards to make eye contact with the tall, imposing woman standing before him. Her long, red hair was pulled back tightly over her head and tied into a neat ponytail. She had a model’s high cheekbones, and her shapely form was displayed by a pair of faded jeans and long-sleeved shirt. She was beautiful and, best of all, his to adore. Katrina Rawlings was his mate.

My vampire, he

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