Blood Exchange by Sandra Hood

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There are vampires in this story (because I’ve been in love with the mystery of vampires ever since catching some Dark Shadows reruns as a kid). But this is not a story about gore. And it breaks some of the "rules." The horrors of Blood Exchange reside less in the paranormal than in the types of choices we sometimes make in society and worse, the ones that are thrust upon us.

When I wrote Blood Exchange, I not only wanted to stick with some of the weird notions I had developed in my youth about how vampirism works, I wanted to explore how we humans react in the face of modern dangers cloaked in the “helpful” hands of government, when and whether true redemption is possible, and what we’re willing to tell ourselves we believe in when the stakes rise to the highest level.

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Emmalyn Trew followed her husband to Graceville, a town with little to lay its mark upon the map but the First Baptist Church, the smallest hospital in existence, and LifeShare – where Steven Trew manages the most sophisticated blood donor database in the nation.

At LifeShare, blood drives are everyday business, but this time something is different.

Someone is sick. Blood is everywhere.

When Emmalyn rushes her friend to the hospital, she has no idea she is witnessing the beginning of a changing world. Orders are given, and no one objects. After all, people finally have the miracle they’ve been waiting for. Why, then, is Emmalyn so skeptical? Because stories at the hospital don’t match? Because the database at LifeShare may have been compromised? Because no one is asking questions about what they've agreed to give up in exchange for their miracle? Or because the one thing Emmalyn may be asked to trade, she will never sacrifice.

Nicknamed Explorer by her father, Emmalyn discovers the one unlikely place in Graceville where she feels safe. In the face of a world where hope will be dictated and happiness doled out in government-mandated treatments, Emmalyn turns her attention underground. Do the tunnels beneath LifeShare hold the answers that can’t be found along the corridors above?

​Or does the answer lie with the stranger? Pale and secretive, with mysterious silver eyes that seem to follow Emmalyn’s every move, he reveals little other than he is not part of the agreement.

Faith and suspicion collide in this suspense with a paranormal edge where the key players must decide whether they could draw the line between an irresistible promise and the price for attaining it.