Saturday, 5:52 a.m.
The ringing in her ears surely was the sound of the world shattering. It was louder than the November air whistling outside as it tore leaves the color of fire and blood from the trees, and louder than the hum of the Chevy's engine as Adianna Vida pressed the gas pedal down further, accelerating past sixty . . . seventy . . .
Pushing eighty miles per hour, she twisted the dial on her satellite radio, turning the music up in the hope that it would drown out every other sound and thought. She wasn't even sure what she was listening to. It didn't matter.
She wondered if this was why Sarah had always been drawn to fast, flashy cars. Adia went for vehicles that drew no particular attention, cars she could get on short lease terms and trade in frequently, and she had always thought it was a little silly when Sarah picked out something that turned heads whenever she drove up.
But that was the way Sarah was.
Adia glanced at her instrument panel and realized the needle had just passed ninety. Where were the cops who were supposed to be patrolling this highway, anyway? Wasn't there anyone out here still serving and protecting?
She flexed her left hand, clenching her jaw to control a wince as she did so. Two of the fingers were broken. They wouldn't wrap around the steering wheel. The arm was still sore from a minor fracture she had received half a week earlier. She would have double-checked that the hastily tied bandage on her arm was still in place, but she didn't think it was a good idea to take her one good hand off the wheel, even to make sure she wasn't bleeding again.
At least the other guy looked worse . . . though that would have been more comforting if the "other guy" hadn't been a large bay window and some kind of ugly garden statue she had hit on her way down.
But it wasn't a complete loss. She had learned what she had needed to learn.
She had learned the last thing she had wanted to learn.
Adianna Vida, now the only child of Dominique Vida, matriarch of the ancient line of witches, wished she were still ignorant. It had taken a hell of a fight, but she had finally, unfortunately, throttled the information out of someone.
"Looks like she's decided to live, witch," a bloodbond had told her, the last word like a curse. "She's staying with Nikolas and Kristopher. Not that you'll find them. They've been hunted for more than a century. They know how to take care of themselves."
Sarah was still alive.
No, not Sarah. The creature who existed now looked like Adia's little sister, but she wasn't a witch anymore; she was a vampire. She had woken at sundown and had hunted. No one had been able to tell Adia who the victim had been, but Sarah's change had been traumatic, which meant the first hunt would have been fierce. She had probably killed.
And then she had decided to live as a vampire.
To continue as a vampire, at least.
Which proved it really wasn't Sarah, right? A daughter of Vida waking to find herself a monster should have ended it at that moment. She should have known that stopping herself then, before the vampiric power twisted her too badly, was the only way she could protect the helpless victims she would inevitably end up hurting in the future. But she hadn't.
Before Adia could learn any more, another bloodbond had leapt forward and sent them both through the window. Adia had wanted to fight at that point but had already found the information she needed, and knew that Dominique would disapprove of her lingering.
Realizing she was approaching her exit, she slowed--probably more abruptly than she should have, but who cared? It was six in the morning on a Saturday, and she hadn't seen another car in nearly half an hour. She was almost home, and when she pulled into the driveway, she would have to be fully under control.
She turned the radio down to barely a whisper, until she could hear the mournful wind again. In front of her mother's house, the trees were already nearly bare, except for a few golden leaves they still managed to cling desperately to. She sympathized; some part of her had been ripped away, as well, when she had let her sister die.
It took her two tries to get the car door open with the damage to her arms. The frigid air that rushed in to replace the warmth in the car was bracing and helped her calm her thoughts. She managed not to limp as she approached the front door.
Her mother was waiting for her in the kitchen, at the antique oak table where Adia had spent countless hours as a child studying ancient Vida laws.
Forty years old, Dominique had been the only child of her father's second wife. She had survived the deaths of her parents, her sister, a niece and a nephew closer to her age than her sister had been, and Sarah and Adia's father, and all Adia had ever seen from her was stoicism and the grim acceptance that a hunter's life was dangerous. Her practical short blond hair had occasional bits of gray and her Vida-blue eyes were perhaps a little more tired, but she still stood as if carrying the weight of the world were simply a task she had to accept.
And at that moment, she wasn't alone.From the Hardcover edition.
Excerpted from All Just Glass by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Copyright © 2011 by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes. Excerpted by permission of Ember, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.