The Rise of Chaos by AnnMarie Stone
The Reborn series, Book #1
New Adult ~ Paranormal Romance
**Previously Published as “Anastasia’s Suffering”**
All Anastasia has ever wanted was to start a new life, a normal life, a life without her parents. As soon as Anastasia gets that chance however, she discovers quickly that a normal life was never a possibility for someone like her.
Anastasia has always known that she was different, but she has never understood why. Two mysterious strangers, identical twins, offer answers that she desperately seeks, but can she trust what they tell her? One is evil and a creature of Chaos, the other is Light and a being filled with a Pure soul. Unfortunately for Anastasia, it’s no longer clear which is which.
Chaos had already separated Anastasia from her soul mate, weakening her own purity. With her defenses down, she is a perfect target for Chaos to seep in and take control. Chaos has already corrupted her father, could she be next? Or will her determination to save her true love from the same fate be enough to protect her from corruption?
When Chaos threatens to extinguish Light once and for all, Anastasia will have to decide which side to fight on. The unique abilities that have always made Anastasia different from everyone else are the very same abilities that may save or condemn her.
I found myself in the forest again, or at least I thought that’s where I was at first. The same familiar Oak trees surrounded me, but there was a subtle difference. This time, I could see large trails that were clearly manmade. The trees canopied over the trails. There was something uniform about them. I felt as if I knew where to go, despite not fully recognizing where I was. I began following the trail as if it was a trail to my home that I would have normally taken without a second thought. It was guiding me to where I needed to be. It was different somehow. I was anticipating the moment when I would meet up with my love, but some part of me worried he was not coming. This was an entirely new dream. One that may have had nothing to do with him.
As the oaks grew bigger, the wider the paths became. I knew that this place had been manufactured. It was no longer in a natural state. It was beautiful. I found myself happy and content with the amazing landscape and the gorgeous serenity that surrounded me. Then I saw the bridge. It was breathtaking and something that I could only have concocted in my mind. How could a bridge hold so much beauty? Somehow, it did. I felt drawn to it. As I decided to move toward it, I realized that I had already changed my course.
The bridge was small and arched over a stream that was connected to a nearby pond. As I approached, the sky seemed to get brighter. I could see a stunning white Swan, wading in the pond. The bridge was made of stone. As I inched closer I could see the bright yellow steps within the stone walls of the arch. The oak trees cast a light shadow over the bridge, but I could see that the bridge was no longer empty.
I felt my love approaching the bridge from the other side of the pond before I ever saw him. He must have sensed me as well. He smiled when he finally saw me. I’m quite sure that I returned the smile, with the same love that he held for me. He walked to the center of the bridge at the highest point and waited. I ran to him and wrapped my arms around him as tightly as I could. Until that moment, I had no idea how much I craved his embrace and his touch.
He opened his mouth to speak, but I could not hold back any longer. I stifled his words as I pressed my lips to his, pulling myself closer, pressing the length of my body to his as if we had molded into one. The feel of his lips on mine as we kissed transcended anything that I had ever thought about love. I felt tingles from head to toe. I felt sparks of electricity everywhere he touched me. It was so amazing. As our lips and tongues explored each other’s mouths, I felt his hands sliding further down until he reached the small of my back. He continued to caress my hips, pulling me closer until I could feel his hard body pressed so tightly against mine.
In that moment, this man that I loved, that I knew nothing and everything about at the same time, was all that I could sense as the world around us disappeared. He was my world and I was his. I could not let go of that kiss. I didn’t know when I would get the chance to feel this bliss again. But alas, he reluctantly pulled his lips from mine, but did not release me from his loving embrace. He held me so close that I couldn’t feel anything but his body against mine. My eyes were still closed from the kiss and it took me a moment to regain my composure. All of that from a single kiss? Taking a deep breath, I slowly opened my eyes to take in all that I could before the dream faded away and left me alone in my room. For a moment, we stood there on that beautiful bridge, looking into each other’s eyes and holding on to the moment. Oh what a moment it was.
“My Love, you have come to me. I can’t believe that you are here.” I was so shocked to hear him speak, that it took me a moment to process his words.
“I have come to you?” I was more than a little confused. “You just spoke to me! I have waited so long to see your face, and feel your touch. And now I can finally hear your beautiful voice!” I was elated. The dream wasn’t fading. We were in each other’s arms, and speaking to each other!
He chuckled. “Yes. It’s the same for me. I have been learning how to send these messages, but something always messed them up before. I can’t believe it finally worked.”
“Maybe it’s this place? It feels…magical.”
“You know, I think you’re right. I’ve tried the lake so many times and kept failing. I was tired of waiting, so I thought I’d give the pond a shot. I’m so glad I was right.”
It was wonderful to hear his voice and for him to still be there. I didn’t want to wait any longer and I reached for him, placing my hands on either side of his face. I pulled his lips to mine again. My need for him was overpowering my need for information. He returned my kiss and picked me up, setting me down on the stone wall of the bridge. The kiss turned more passionate as I wrapped my legs around his waist. It was my turn to caress his body. I placed my hands on his sides and slowly moved them up around his back and up to his shoulder blades. He cupped my face with his hands as he tenderly kissed me, deeper and deeper, moving his hands to my hair. There was so much need, so much desire and lust, yet it was all shadowed in comparison to the pure love that surrounded us.
Then, it was my turn to reluctantly pull away. I ended the kiss. We were breathing heavily as I buried my face into his chest.
“I hate to say it, but we should probably talk a little more and kiss a little less. We don’t know how much time we have.”
He lifted my face so that I could meet his eyes. I could see that he hated stopping as much as I did.
“You’re right. I have a message for you, although I wouldn’t really call it a waste if I don’t get to it.” His eyes took on a deeper look. I could see through him and into the soul that occupied his body.
“Well then, tell me the message and then we can get back to the fun part.” As I spoke, I brought my arms back from around him, making sure that I felt the curves of his muscled torso as I did. My hands found their resting place on his hips. As I looked into his eyes, I returned the deep meaningful gaze that he had just given me.
He cleared his throat and blinked.
“Um…yeah. Ok. The message.” He was stammering and it was actually quite charming. “Ok, so first. I am totally breaking the rules right now. I’m not supposed to contact you like this, but as you can see I’m drawn to you just as much as you are to me.”
“Yes, I can see that.” I smiled up at him, still sitting on the stone wall of the bridge. I gave him a light squeeze, almost a hug around his waist.
“I have to warn you about Lukasz. Have you met him yet? I was hoping to tell you before you met him, but I never got the chance.”
I was taken aback by his words. Why would I need to be warned about Lukasz? I dropped my arms from around him.
“I met him a few days ago, but he’s not the one to worry about. It’s his twin, Tristan that’s the one I need to worry about. Do you know them?”
“Everyone knows them. At least around here they do. They’re kind of famous. But that’s not the point. You need to know that he’s not what he seems.”
“What do you mean?” Should I tell him about my gift? That I can ‘see’ what people are, not just what they seem to be? Yes. I decided I should.
“I know them both pretty well. Are you aware of my gifts?” I really hoped he was. I didn’t want to explain it. He’d probably think I was crazy.
“I am and so is he. He can manipulate that gift, he is very cunning. He shares your gift, but he’s had many years to learn how to use it to his benefit.”
I was shocked. Could Lukasz really have tricked me? No. I didn’t believe it. I couldn’t.
“I will have to really think this through. I want to believe you, I really do. I feel like you believe what you’re saying. But Lukasz? I don’t know. I saw everything. I saw into his soul.”
“Anastasia, think about it. Really think about it. Did you see everything?”
I thought about it. No, I didn’t. He blocked parts. He even told me that. Could he have affected the entire exchange? Altering my perception of him?
“Do you have more to the message?” I didn’t want to talk about it, but I knew that at the very least I needed to gather as much information as I could.
“I saw it in your face. You remembered something. What was it?”
“I remembered that he shielded some parts of himself from me. If he can do that, could he alter it altogether? No. I don’t think he could have affected it that much, could he?” I remembered the picture that my mom had. Was I wrong? Lukasz said that Tristan had been following me for years, but could it have been him? He did have the photos.
“You just thought of something else, didn’t you?”
“Yes. My mom, but don’t worry about that. What’s the warning?” I knew the picture was important, but that was a long story and I didn’t think we had the time to go into it.
“Just watch what you think you know. Focus on the facts and don’t let him manipulate you.”
“Got it. I’ll be careful. Consider me warned.” There was so much more I wanted to ask, so much I wanted to know. How much time did we have though? “How did you know my name?”
“I’ve always known your name.”
Ok? “What about your name?”
“He said that you will know me as Andrew.”
I opened my mouth to ask him what that meant and all that came out was “Beep, beep, beep.”
Beep! Beep! Beep!
Abruptly, I returned to my room, the embrace of my love so far away. You have got to be kidding me!
“Andrew? Why do I know that name? Who’s Andrew?”
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I was born and raised in Arizona and currently live in Phoenix. The heat can be difficult during the summer, but I try my best to spend most of my time during the hottest months indoors writing. I would love to travel someday and I hope that my writing will take me many places and hopefully not just in my head. My favorite vacation spot right now is San Diego California, but my dream places to visit are all overseas. Although, since I have only seen a fraction of the United States, I would love to travel the nation someday as well. First on my bucket list however is to explore the historical landmarks in Greece and Italy, and the castles all over Europe.
Up until late 2013, I spent most of my adult life in college and working in sales and customer service type positions, while also raising my two incredible kids and serving three years in the Army National Guard. Then, I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a published author and I have begun to work on my writing full time. Writing for me has always seemed like an unattainable dream, but now I realize that some dreams are only unattainable if we do not attempt to reach them.
I completed my Master of Science in Psychology in the spring of 2013 and I have also taken some graduate courses in Ancient and Classical history. I’m scheduled to begin my doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) in August 2014. I believe that the knowledge I have gathered from my life experiences as well as my education have assisted me in creating some interesting and complex characters. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I have.