Gabriela Whitley
Gabriela Whitley
The Rise of the Kingdom
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Gabriela Whitley’s life as a college senior is both ordinary and enviable. Blessed with beauty, brains, good friends, and a handsome, athletic boyfriend who adores her, Gabriela is looking toward a future filled with success and happiness. She has no idea that she is being watched by someone who longs for her—that is, until she hears a strange, distinctively seductive voice in her head one evening while searching the local bookstore for another great book about vampires. She is terrified and runs into the night, but finds herself inexplicably drawn to the handsome and mysterious stranger, whose name is Maddox.

Unable to resist the lure of Maddox and his world of vampires, Gabriela learns that he knows even more about her than she knows herself, such as her true past and the circumstances around her mother’s death years earlier. She discovers that she is no ordinary young woman but heir to the throne in a place that she thought existed only in dreams. But danger lurks there, too. For instance, Maddox tells her of his sister, Madison—but who is Madison really, and how far will she go to get what she wants?

As more and more is revealed, Gabriela is torn between fulfilling her destiny and returning to her perfect life, which is spiraling out of control. In a story both romantic and unnerving, every choice has consequences—and no one is immune to temptation.

The vampire stepped out of the woods at sunset and headed for the Bistro, clearly playing over every word her angelic voice spoke in his mind. Only hours from now, he would perch himself in the tree and listen to her read. At least he hoped she would.

He stopped suddenly as the rich eucalyptus scent filled the air around him. He turned swiftly and followed it, down the sidewalk and across the busy street, pushing through the rushing crowd of people near the entrance to the bookstore.

When he walked in, Gabriela was scanning her finger over the titles of the same bookshelf. He camouflaged himself in the leaves of the silk dragon tree in the far corner of the café and closed his eyes to concentrate on listening to her voice.

“Oh, which one is this? No, I have already read that one. This one

looks good. Vampire Theories Volume 1. Hmm,” she said, pulling the thin black book with red lettering on the spine off the shelf. There wasn’t an image on the front of the book, just a cursive script dripping down the book like blood. This looks interesting, she thought and flipped

the book over to read the back cover.

No, not that one. I’ve read it and it’s quite boring for your taste, he thought.

She gasped and dropped the book, looking around her.

He froze. Impossible.

“What,” she said, frantically. “Where are you?” She looked around drawing attention from others wandering near her, gaining looks of confusion. “Did you say something?” she asked the man with long dark hair pulled back into a ponytail. He glanced up at her, and then looked from one side to another, then back at her, his eyebrows wrinkled.

“Um, no ma’am,” he said, shaking his head and walked away.

“I’m losing it,” she said and laughed nervously. She shook her head, put the book back on the shelf, and walked out of the bookstore. The vampire followed, keeping his distance.

Gabriela turned cautiously on the sidewalk, glancing around her. An eerie sensation swept over her that someone was watching her, following her. She could still feel a presence in her mind as if someone was tapping into her thoughts. Quickly, she made her way into a crowd of people, walking with them towards the street that would lead her home.

The vampire slowed his pace. He knew he could communicate with other vampires, but it was an exhausting task. With her, he was at ease and energized. Unbelievable, how could she hear me?

“Who is this?” She shrieked. “Where are you? Why can’t I see you?” She looked around anxiously as she walked through the center of the plaza, still surrounded by people walking to the shops that lined the street. As she neared the Bistro at the end of the plaza, her heartbeat

quickened, knowing soon she would be alone.

The vampire spoke to her gently in his mind, “I do not wish to harm you.” He watched as she looked from one side to another walking quickly, yet cautiously. He could feel her fear. Her heart raced pumping the blood harder and faster through her veins. His mouth watered and his throat burned.

People passed her by, glancing at her curiously from over their shoulders, shrugging and continuing on with their agendas. She did not know whether to run or hide.

“Hiding would be pointless, Gabriela,” he said gently. Oops.

“You know my NAME!”

She ran passed a large group of people almost knocking down a girl close to her age.

“Hey! Watch where you’re going,” she snapped, shaking her fist at Gabriela.

“Please stop running so I can introduce myself.” The vampire quickened his pace. “Look behind you to your right; I am not far.”

She slowed to a walk and looked over her right shoulder. A very tall man, who stood out from the crowd, in a casual dark gray suit moved swiftly and elegantly towards her. Her pace slowed to a stop. Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. The stranger looked enchanting yet mysterious the way he glided towards her, his feet barely touching the sidewalk. He was intriguingly handsome. His hair, a rich dark brown that curled loosely, wildly sexy, flowing in every direction.

He held his hands out in front of him as he approached her. She gazed into his emerald green eyes, entranced. She was under his spell, unable to look away, unable to stop herself from walking toward him. He looked away at once.

After a moment, she shook her head. “What was that,” she asked. A tremor of fear rose inside her as he stood an arm length away.

“Gabriela, I do not mean to frighten you.” He did not gaze into her eyes as he did a few minutes before, knowing she could easily be his next victim. She intrigued him and he wanted to know more about her rather than her becoming his next meal.

LYANA JO, a graduate of Winghill Writing School and Long Ridge Writers Group, lives with her family on the outskirts of Wichita, Kansas, where she enjoys horseback riding, cooking, and writing from sunup to sundown. This is her first novel.

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