Trembling With the Strings

Gracie Harper is the second oldest of five children. Her older sister, Katelynn, insists that the world has it out for her. Her oldest brother, Marcus, is always trying to save his siblings from constant beatings. Johnny, the second youngest, tries to stay away from any bad situations. And the youngest, Demetrius, is hardly old enough to understand what goes on in his household.

Gracie's worst fear has always been her and her siblings drifting apart. They all promised each other that it would never happen, but there is always the lingering threat of being split up. They know that they're all they've got, but what happens when someone new is added into the equation?

In a game where vampires might be against you, you'd better focus on just getting out alive.
  1. Detroit, Michigan; 1991
    As long as we had each other, nothing could happen that we couldn’t handle.
  2. All We've Got
    I took in a shaky breath and repeated in a whisper, “We’re all we’ve got...”
  3. Home Is Nowhere
    "They're more my kids than anyone else's."
  4. Little Miss Sunshine
    "Surely you don't mean to give your son a human being."
  5. The Paper Boy
    "I can't stand my brothers, but I know I'd miss them eventually if they were eaten alive by bears."
  6. The Infamous "What If?"
    I suppose that's Karma for you.
  7. Little Manly Men
    I only hoped they wouldn't need to be making a visit to the emergency room!
  8. Lonely Pianos And The Sad Notes They Could Play
    I’d managed to get totally lost right when my headache vanished!
  9. The Term "Bang" Becomes Redefined
    “What’s a timid little girl like you doing here?”
  10. Home Of The Giants
    “Marcy, what is going on?”
  11. The Magic Number
    “Seven horses?” I gaped. “What do you need them for?”
  12. Snake Woman
    I cried out as the pain got more excruciating. Was she biting me?
  13. You, Kind Sir, Are On Crack!
    “There’s this pain in my ass named Darius.”
  14. Angels Shouldn't Lie
    I know it sounds crazy, but I knew he was smiling.
  15. Is That Magic Pixie Dust?
    “Oh, Marcy—What are you doing? Oh my God, it smells horrid!”
  16. Like I'd Go Near You Without A Restraining Order
    “I promise I won’t go stark raving mad. Better?”
  17. Pretty Boys And Rich Kids
    Darius’ eyes clouded over in anger and he lunged across the table, knocking Lyndell to the floor.
  18. Those Heels Would Clash Anyway
    “If he’s getting some, I want some, too.”
  19. Read The Bold Print
    I couldn’t tell what it was, but curiosity got the best of me as I pushed it open a little more.
  20. I'm Sexy
    I didn’t ever want to go through that again.
  21. C'est Un Crêpe
    “Just put it in your mouth!”
  22. Vampires Suck
    ”But since when do you listen to Darius?”
  23. Best Friends
    “You can put me through all the pain you want, just please let me go ease hers.”
  24. I Want To See Them Suffer
    “I want to see someone suffering just as much as we had.“
  25. Open Books And Lost Chapters
    As if my heart hadn’t already shattered!
  26. Curious? You Should Be.
    “To tell the truth, I’m a little curious.”
  27. Good Ol' Oregon
    “From the drums to the mandolin, I can play it all.”
  28. More Bad Puns
    He was perfect at the guitar—just as I had expected—but his voice was something else.
  29. How Dare You Wear Pants?
    All that mattered was that he didn’t kill Lyndell.
  30. Blissful Minutes In Lonely Seconds
    I hated the guy, but he just fascinated me a great deal.
  31. Break My Heart, Why Don't You?
    “Put down my little brother,” Marc demanded, glaring up at the giant before him.
  32. I So Hear The Remorse
    “You changed my Gracie, and now I won’t ever get her back!”
  33. The Star Of Broadway
    He mumbled, “I love you.”
  34. "I Love You" Is In The Script
    “Why don’t I just go finish things with Marcus? Will that change your mind?”
  35. I'm Going To Hell For This
    “I—I’m in love with you.”
  36. We'll Burn Together, Baby
    “Who told you about Luna?” he demanded, jerking me up and slamming me into the wall.
  37. It's All For The Plot
    “That’s horrible advice. I think you’re trying to kill me!”
  38. Oh, Clumsy Me!
    “Gracie! Shut up, I know your name,” she hissed, suddenly shoving me to the wall.
  39. Don't Trust A Hoe
    “I was talking to Marcy just now about something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time.“
  40. A Little Thing Called Incest
    “Who? Who’s here?”
  41. Locked Doors
    He was nowhere to be seen, so I slowly eased the door open.
  42. Like A Slap In The Face
    “So what were you and Marcy talking about yesterday? Why did I have to leave?”
  43. The Joys Of Being Able To Speak
    “You’re going to be mine and mine alone—forever.”
  44. There's Still A Line To Cross, Buddy!
    “I’m not doing that!”
  45. Kill The Engine, Stab My Heart
    “Why the *** would I want three kids running around?”
  46. Sheath Your Roaming Eyes!
    “But you love kids, don’t you? Why don’t we have our own? Right now.”
  47. Kids Say The Silliest Things
    ”...It’s not ever going to work as long as He’s here,” he mumbled, leaning against me.
  48. It's Just Another Love Game
    His eyes were on Bryce as if he was trying to make him jealous or something.
  49. Pricks Are Such ***s!
    “I don’t care if he made you frisky!...“
  50. An Eye For An Eye And The World Is Blind
    His face was twisted up in anger, and he dropped me all of a sudden.
  51. Mindless Slaughter Fuels The World
    “You’re first.”
  52. Godforsaken Monsters Have Feelings, Too
    I was a monster just like my future husband. I knew it.
  53. Trembling Bodies And The Fangs That Shook Them
    “I thought about getting mad, but Marcy talked me out of it.”
  54. Broken Promises Will Eat Us Alive
    “I know you too well, and I could kill you so very easily.“
  55. Curiosity Should Be A Sin
    Hey, I was curious. “Why can’t I see it?”
  56. Old Habits Die Hard If They Die At All
    “No! How could you? I’m not being a filthy leech!”
  57. Go Whine To Your Psytchiatrist Not Me
    “Yeah. New daddy,” I mumbled, eyes hardening as I glowered at him.
  58. There's An Expiration Date On Your Soul
    He was royally pissed with me, but I didn’t care too much—or at all really.
  59. Sweet, Pacifist Little Dante; Not
    I screamed when he shoved me to the wall, death in his eyes.
  60. Keep Your Change To Yourself
    Forever had a fateful ring to it.
  61. Goodbye, Cruel World; Hello, Bryce
    Something wasn’t right...
  62. I Never Liked Allusions
    I honestly had no idea if Darius would make any attempt to find me, but I had my hunches.
  63. Family Affairs
    “I have three children at home and they’re not my kids.“
  64. Daddy?
    He’d probably stick a knife in my stomach and then shoot me in the head.
  65. I Can't Do This
    “Are we having a family meeting in here or what?”
  66. Runaway Daughter Number Two
    I tried to tug off the ring, but I couldn’t.
  67. He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not
    As she walked past me, she put her hand on my shoulder and told me to “be gentle”.
  68. It Tastes Kind of Like Shame
    “I think the baby...wants blood.”
  69. It's Called "Bonding"
    She looked him up and down and I wanted to claw her eyes out.
  70. I Can Resist Anything But Temptation
    He had a paper cut, but I wasn’t too worried about it.
  71. When Thy Heart Ceases To Beat
    “Can’t they save him?” I whispered, a little afraid to hear the answer.
  72. One Is A Lonely Number
    “She’s just...gone?”
  73. The World Stole The Faith Right Out Of My Soul
    He collapsed suddenly, all the fire gone from his eyes.
  74. Brother's Lullaby
    I walked after him, but he shook his head, leaving me all alone in the quiet bedroom.
  75. They Say That Boy's Got Sass
    “Why couldn’t you have just let me die?”
  76. "Annoyance" Becomes Personified
    How did they get the nerve to just show up at the doorstep?
  77. Up In The Hayloft
    “Darius, she’s my sister. What was I supposed to do?” I asked him, stepping up to him.
  78. Hide And Seek Was Never So Fun
    I hadn’t been thinking. My hand just kind of acted on its own!
  79. That's All She Wrote
    Come to think of it, I hadn’t seen his mother...
  80. Anne Creperum
    “Would you mind to tell me about her?” I asked, smiling apologetically.
  81. Vulnerability
    “Gracie, she’s in hell,” he told me, looking up at the ceiling for a second.
  82. Just A Little Insecure
    “It’s like wearing a raincoat in the shower: what’s the point?”
  83. Prostitution Is The Oldest Profession
    “I used to get so much pleasure from prostitutes like you,” I whispered in her ear...
  84. Jump Aboard The Welcome Wagon
    And here I was, back at my old crummy house with new fixtures at every turn.
  85. The Hunchback Of Notre Dame
    ”...I had to eat my cereal while looking at your face on my milk carton!”
  86. My Heart Can't Take Any More Surprises!
    “Calm down. So why hasn’t Darius come after you yet?“
  87. The Blame Game
    She was right. His eyes lit up at first, but then he scowled, sitting right behind me.
  88. You're Not A Guy I'd Take Home To Mom
    “Don’t get smart with me. I can wait,” he muttered, collapsing on the couch.
  89. We'll Be Together Forever
    I tried to pull myself from him, but I felt the gun press to the side of my head.
  90. World's Best Mom
    “I could have you killed for going against our agreement—and for kidnapping my fiancée.”
  91. I Be A Blacksmith
    “Oh, Gracie and Darius! What a surprise,” Lyndell said, not sounding shocked at all.
  92. I Swear To Drunk, I'm Not God
    “You’re my fiancée! I want the world to know that you’re having my love-baby!”
  93. Learn To Let Go Even If It Kills You
    “I don’t want to talk to you,” she hissed, turning away again.
  94. Get Well Soon
    “I feel like I just got run over by a truck repeatedly.”
  95. Sterile White Rooms
    “Darius didn’t just catch a cold. Someone wanted him out of the picture.”
  96. This Sunset was Staged
    What was I supposed to do if he didn’t come back to me?
  97. Cold-Blooded Killer
    This was not the time to be a weak little girl and run to mommy.
  98. Sweet Nothings Can Mean Everything
    It must have tasted pretty damn good.
  99. Not Mine
    Three months and my baby wouldn't be my baby any longer.
  100. What Do You Think? certainly wasn’t my house or anywhere I’d ever been before.
  101. A Rape Whistle
    “Someday that will make you a faggot,” Darius warned him.
  102. ...And Then There Were Two
    “Grace, I killed my brother,” Marcus sobbed.
  103. The Death Penalty
    I was afraid I’d have to kill her for taking a single step in her mother’s general direction.
  104. Those Who Choose Hell
    “Gracie.” His voice was so cold just then. My little Marty...
  105. Rated "Arrr!"
    “Yeah, I will. And, Gracie, don’t be so scared. I’m great at sitting on kids, I promise.”
  106. So Alone
    “Darius, stop. There’s nothing you can say,” I snapped...
  107. The Siblings' Agreement
    “Why are you acting so chummy with Lyndell?”
  108. Cold Shoulders Make Long Winters
    “I just wanted to know: did you ever get my little present?”
  109. A Day In The Life
    “I don’t hate you!” he hissed quietly, glaring. “You’re just—you’re impossible!”
  110. Silence isn't so Golden
    “Lyndell isn’t that bad,” I mumbled without thinking.
  111. Primal Instincts
    "He’s like an animal, you know?"
  112. Knights In Shining Armor
    “I find it hard to believe that a six-year-old boy came up with this all by himself.”
  113. Holding a Cloud
    She knew that I loved her, but she still threw that in my face.
  114. Walls
    “But now I’m thinking we need a guest list!”
  115. Brotherly Love
    “Marcy, we all miss her, but please don’t cry.”
  116. Long-Necked Doom!
    Mothers were practically dangling their children over the beasts.
  117. Honesty Is The Best Policy
    “It’s about my parent—my dead parents.”
  118. A Walk In The Park
    “I apologize. My name is Lady.”
  119. I'm A Delicacy In Some States!
    She caught my wrist as soon as my hand fell on the door handle.
  120. Aches and Pains
    “I don’t love you anymore!”
  121. Phantoms
    I could feel everything she was feeling, and the fact that I felt her pain was not a good sign.
  122. Dressed To Kill
    “Remember you will die.”
  123. Mother Dearest
    “You’re a monster!” Yvette screeched, lunging at me.
  124. Where's Daddy?
    Was everyone in my family a vampire but me?
  125. Undercover
    “I might know where she is, but I pray for her sake that I’m wrong.”
  126. The Beat Beneath The Blood
    My faith was being sucked out of me with each passing second...
  127. A Penny For Your Thoughts?
    “Maybe I finally grew up!” I snapped at him...
  128. Acidic Stares
    She’d been so lifeless for a whole month now.
  129. Everyday Heroes
    “Grace, I think we need to talk.”
  130. Aloha!
    “What are we going to name you?” he whispered softly...
  131. I Hate Pants
    “Would you call off the wedding?”
  132. Red-Handed
    “Do you guys want to go home?”
  133. Knock, Knock; Who's There?
    “So is there a reason you’re half naked?”
  134. Insight
    “You pushed him away, didn’t you?”
  135. A Literal Heartthrob
    Then the doorbell rang.
  136. Connections
    “I’m fine. Why wouldn’t I be?”
  137. You're Hired!
    “Why do you want to work here, of all places?”
  138. Hitting The Scene
    “Guess what I’m doing tonight! Go on, guess!”
  139. A New Level Of "Screamo"
    “...I heard that one of the bands has a really cute singer.”
  140. Kicked Out
    “You broke my heart once. Isn’t that enough?”
  141. Dragon Blood
    “I don’t think a stupid little blade is going to kill me.”
  142. Unexpected Company
    “I’m sorry; I didn’t know we had company.”
  143. Topic Of The Day
    “He saw right through me, I tell you. But I lost the battle already.”
  144. The Offer
    “You have to come to me this time.”
  145. Plan B
    “I think you’re making it too easy for him.”
  146. Grow Up, Kiddies
    I had always thought of Marcy as an overgrown child, but she certainly wasn’t...
  147. Rape Whistle; Revisited
    “So, I sleep-raped you? Well… Was it nice?”
  148. Famous Comedians And Epic Tragedies
    I skimmed through the book, wincing at every disease name I read.
  149. I Think My Heart Just Broke
    “...and now I’m losing my son? How is this fair? It’s not! It’s just not!”
  150. Sob Story
    “I will gladly give my life for his… So will you let me?”
  151. It Hurts, Doesn't It?
    And my face fell. Why didn’t he say it back?
  152. Bringing Hope To The Hopeless
    “Childish innocence, I suppose, is the most pure form of naivety there is.”
  153. Baby Sass
    ...Darius was choking on words as he tried to say something—anything.
  154. First Words Are So... Precious?
    “Oh, my God! You named it?”
  155. Awkward
    “I’d pay good money for those images of yours.”
  156. Missing You
    “Do you think he’d mind if I put him in a dress?”
  157. Seventeen Candles
    “Do you want to see your birthday surprise?”
  158. Warm Feet; Cold Feet
    He looked like he wanted to apologize, and he looked so guilty.
  159. The Difference Is You
    “Love,” he muttered, glancing up at me as he pressed the tips of his fingers together...
  160. Be Careful What You Wish For
    “So what’d you wish for?”
  161. No Longer A Raving Psychopath
    “My sister is officially…dating,” he muttered, pouting.
  162. Dry Eyes And The Flames Of Hell
    “I love you,” I whispered, finally able to speak without cries of pain.
  163. Night Scares
    “I know everything about Daddy and Mommy.”
  164. Ranting and Raving
    “What mother doesn’t love her child unconditionally? Tell me that!”
  165. Puppet Master II: The Sequel
    I screamed, shaking my head furiously. “Darius! You tried to kill me!”
  166. Houston, We Have A Problem
    “I’d like to talk to Mrs. Jameson, if I may.”
  167. Bribery
    I tried to make her shut up. I flailed and flailed, but she had said it.
  168. Breathe Softly, The Air May Shatter
    “...This little game is over, so stop playing dumb,” Darius demanded...
  169. Just Two
    “So are you okay with this?” I asked after a pause.
  170. Our Summer Home Is Made Of Aces
    I shrieked, fumbling to hold up the structure that shattered in my hands...
  171. Happy Endings! had taken time and strength, but I was happy.