Posts in category Excerpts

Deeper than Need…five days left!

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“You try and take it easy if you can,” she murmured. “You look like you’re having a rough one there, Noah.”

A rough one . . . maybe that was why he did it. Reaching up, he touched his fingers to her cheek when she went to pull away.

She stilled.

The voice of reason, rational thinking, restraint . . . the voice Noah expected to hear whispering to him from the back of his mind was silent as he leaned in and pressed his lips to hers.

Just a light, easy kiss. Almost impersonal. Impersonal . . . if anything could be impersonal when a man had spent so many nights dreaming about a woman. If anything could be impersonal when the heat of her skin reached out to tease him, even though inches separated them and the scent of her, sweet woman and lavender, rose up to taunt him. If anything could be impersonal when her lips parted on a gasp and he caught the first hint of her taste.

If anything could be impersonal when he lifted his head and saw her staring up at him, her gaze smoldering, smoking, as if it held all the heat of the sun. It was almost too much and he had to fight to keep from hauling her back against him.

Another kiss, just one more, he thought. Deeper, harder

A car sped by and he heard Micah’s voice bounce off the glass as the boy called for his mother, but the words made no sense.

Trinity licked her lips, her lids drooping down to shield her lashes.

Aw, now that wasn’t helping at all. “It just got a little bit better,” he murmured, stroking his thumb over the path her tongue had taken.

She eased back, a slow blush rising up to stain her cheeks pink. But she didn’t look away.

“Should I apologize?” he asked.

She reached up and closed her hand around his wrist. “I’m hoping you won’t. If you do, my day is probably going to take a turn for the worse.”

 

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Excerpt from THE DEPARTED

 

due out in January…

For so many years, cold had been a part of Dez’s life. The departed felt cold. The long empty nights she spent following leads were often cold. She went home to a cold, empty bed and she awoke to a cold, empty house.
She was more used to cold than warmth.

So it was something of a shock when she drifted awake and found herself surrounded by warmth. She stiffened, the breath locking in her throat as she stared at the wall straight in front of her, unable to move, hardly able to think.

A hand rested on her hip and in that moment, as her mind tried to figure out just what in the hell was going on, it started to move, stroking upward. She shivered, feeling an odd, tickling sensation in the wake of his hand.

“It was a mistake insisting on the three months,” Taylor said quietly, his voice muffled against her neck.

She lay still, not moving, hardly daring to breathe. Even when his hand rested on the curve of her nape, she didn’t move. “I knew it then, even if I couldn’t have made myself say it. I can say it now. It was a mistake . . . and I’m sorry.”

Dez closed her eyes. Swallowing, she asked, “Why are you in my bed, Jones?”

For the longest time, he was quiet. Then, he finally, he pressed a kiss to her nape and replied, “Because I seemed to have a lot of trouble walking away from you last night. I needed to tell you that, needed to tell you I was sorry.”

“Okay. You told me. You’re still in my bed.”

He let go and she felt something fall across her neck. Reflexively, she caught it, but she didn’t look down because he’d caught her hip and started to tug, slowly. A gentle, unyielding pressure.

She could have resisted it, but that would have felt more than a little childish. She settled for keeping her eyes closed—that was only a little childish, right? Even as she lay there clutching whatever it was in her hand, she kept her eyes closed. Even as Taylor guided her to her back and pressed a hand to her belly and even as her heart skittered and danced in her chest.

She couldn’t look at him. She didn’t dare.

“I have the hardest damn time putting you out of my head.” Taylor brushed his lips over her cheek.

She had to bite her tongue to keep from hissing out a surprised gasp. Don’t listen to him. Whatever new game this was—

Then his lips covered hers. Thought stopped. As his tongue stroked along the seam of her lips, Dez opened for him with a startled moan. What in the . . .

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Hunter’s Fall…Random Snippets

 

 

“Well, that was fun,” Sheila said, her face pink and her eyes gleaming at him despite the bruising around her left eye.

Normally, Dominic would have stared at her and laughed. She was black-and-blue, and that was her idea of fun? But just then, he heard another whisper. It’s long past time that I do this.

…what…? He staggered, all but swamped by a wave of misery—her misery. His woman…his witch. Pressing the heel of his hand to his temple, he braced the other against the brick wall nearby, barely aware of Sheila’s odd, worried gaze. “Hey…you okay?”

No. No, he wasn’t.

He was hearing her voice again. He could hear her. Clear as day. Clear as a bell. Like she was standing right next to him, murmuring in his ear.

Past time she do what? he thought, half panicked. He was so focused on her, on her voice, he wasn’t aware of anything, of anybody else.

I have to let you go. All these years, I waited for death . . . knowing I’d finally be with you, and now, death has denied me. I’m not meant to find you.

The hell she wasn’t—he wanted to scream. To snarl in sheer frustration. Over a dream. Over a woman who didn’t even exist.

The blood roared in his ears. Dimly, he heard Sheila shouting his name. Heard the scrabble of claws on concrete. There was a howl. Danger—danger—His body tried to scream the warning at him, but he was lost, caught in the spell of his woman’s voice as she continued to whisper inside his head.

I don’t know why. But I’m not. So I need to let you go.

Good-bye, my love . . .

His heart no longer beat that much, but it still functioned and as her voice echoed in his mind, Dominic felt a tearing pain, unlike anything he’d ever known.

 

June 7

You can also read the prologue and chapter one

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Hunter’s Fall…Random Snippets

 

 

There was one more good-bye she needed to make.

One more dream to kill.

Once she was out of the cemetery and away from any prying electronic eyes, she lifted her face to the sky and called her magic.

It carried her away, sweeping her across miles and miles, over land and ocean. It was nearing dawn when her feet alit on the ground.

She breathed the air in, filled her lungs with the scent of the forest—trees, moss, the morning dew. She stared around her, amazed to realize she barely recognized the place. Centuries had passed since she’d seen this bit of land. No sign of Oneoak remained and logically, she hadn’t expected to see anything of the long-gone village.

Even the trees were different. The land. Peering up at the sky, she searched for something that she recognized. But there was nothing.

Swallowing the knot in her throat, she started to walk.

Although the land no longer seemed familiar, she knew where he rested. She could have found his grave had she been forced to stumble blindfolded through a snowstorm.

There was nothing to identify it. No marker, no stone. But she knew. Deep inside, she knew. Settling on the ground next to his grave, she rested a hand on the earth and said, “Hello, lover.”

 

June 7

You can also read the prologue and chapter one

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Hunter’s Fall…Random Snippets

 

 

You’re too pretty, she’d told him.

Dark, velvety brown eyes.

Long-fingered hands . . . almost elegant.

Her heart skipped a beat as her imagination kicked into overdrive. He was touching her and she was helpless as he lifted a hand to cup her cheek, angling her head back.

Tears burned her eyes.

Just before he would have kissed her, she flung herself out of the chair, landing in a heap on the floor.

“No,” she whispered, shaking her head. She couldn’t do this. She’d refused to let herself dream of him in the past year, refused to let herself take comfort in his presence. In those dreams, she’d felt almost happy . . . and she couldn’t be happy. Would never truly be happy and having it in her dreams, only in her dreams was just too much.

Too painful.

“No,” she whispered again, shuddering.

The spell was shattered and Nessa found herself on her hands and knees, staring at the book. It lay just inches from her hands.

Swearing, she shoved upright and kicked it away. It ended up under the bed, but she didn’t bother retrieving it.

Nessa cast a look around the room.

Enough. She’d had enough.

“Damn it.” She shoved a hand through her hair, fisted it in the blond strands. She jerked at it, hoping the light tug would help clear her mind, but it did nothing.

Her head ached, her heart ached.

Confusion and chaos reigned inside her.

All from a bloody picture on a damned book.

And she was so fucking tired of it. So tired.

“I’m stronger than this,” she muttered. Slowly, she turned and stared into the mirror hanging over the fireplace.

She was stronger than this.

“By God, it’s time I started acting like it then, isn’t it?”

 

June 7

You can also read the prologue and chapter one

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Random Snippets…Hunter’s Fall

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Because she knew she’d come too close to death, Nessa didn’t leave the school the minute she had the strength to climb out of her bed.

She should have felt at home here. After all, she’d taught in this school for many, many years . . . back in that other life. That other life. She smiled without humor. She could break her life into two parts now . . . no, three.

Life with Elias. Life after Elias. And now . . . life after death.

Nessa didn’t want to be here. She didn’t want to be around another soul—not a friend, not a student. Nobody. She couldn’t risk it. Another loss would destroy her.

Where’s your strength now, you stupid old bitch?

The sly, insulting whisper of Morgan’s voice stirred something inside her, the first embers of anger, self-disgust. Something. But she couldn’t very well get angry, now could she?

After all, the girl wasn’t wrong.

Nessa’s strength was gone. She couldn’t find that strength again, and she didn’t want to.

She just wanted oblivion and if she couldn’t have that, then she wanted peace and solitude.

If she was alone, then she wouldn’t come to care about anybody again and if she didn’t come to care, she wouldn’t be shattered by another loss.

“Too many losses,” she murmured to herself. Far too many.

As her strength slowly returned, so did lucidity. Clear thoughts weren’t particularly welcome, but she had to face the facts. She couldn’t keep doing this to herself. Even if she didn’t particularly want to live, she didn’t want her friends to pay the price, and sooner or later, that would happen if she kept to this road.

Kelsey visited often, using books, movies and bribes of French chocolate and plum wine to draw Nessa out of her shell. As fond as Nessa was of her shell, though, she let her friend coax her outside.

As little as she cared for her own neck, for her own life, she did still care for her friends and she was tired of making them worry.

Within a week, her energy was back.

Thanks to the food they’d been pushing on her, she’d put on a few pounds.

And her mind was all too clear. That was the bothersome part about taking care of herself. It was harder to avoid thinking about things.

Memories taunted her, and the ever-present Morgan renewed her assault with glee.

She was tempted—for the first time since she’d realized that the bitch had taken to haunting her—to tell somebody else about her hitchhiker, see if anybody might have a clue how to get rid of the annoying ghost.

But she didn’t. If she seriously put her mind to it, she could probably think of a way to rid herself of Morgan.

It’s a sad thing in life when one hesitates to rid oneself of an enemy. But if nothing else, Morgan was a constant in Nessa’s life.

“How low I’ve sunk,” she whispered, staring off into nothingness. She tolerated the presence of a murdering ghost, just because it meant she wasn’t alone inside her head.

The irony wasn’t lost on her.

She came awake to hear the high-pitched chatter of laughter and she groaned, rolling onto her stomach. She tugged the pillow over her head and tried to block out the sound of the students, but to no avail. She’d left the blasted window open the night before, forgetting that the students resumed their studies today.

For the past week, it had been relatively quiet. The students had been on spring break, but now the time for quiet was over. School was back in session.

Kicking her legs over the edge of the bed, she rose and stormed to the window, half tempted to mutter a spell that would darken the room again. She could pretend it was still nightfall.

Staring out the window, she watched them. They were laughing amongst themselves. A few were griping about an assignment they’d failed to do over the break. Others were loitering here and there, with that feigned air of apathy teenagers had long since perfected.

Across the broad expanse of green grass, Nessa could see the front steps of the school. Kelsey was there, along with some of the other instructors. They spoke to the children, answered questions and waved the students on when they lingered too long.

On the surface, it looked like most any other school. That was exactly what the mortal world saw—a school for the gifted and troubled. Gifted meaning highly capable, though, since naturally the mortal world didn’t tend to think in terms of witches, shapeshifters or vampires.

And Excelsior was a damn fine school—it provided a top-notch education, one of the finest private educations money could buy. It provided that . . . and a lot more. Many, though not all, of the students had no family to guide them through the training needed to attain control of their gifts.

Once the sun set, a new set of students would emerge from the secured, safe rooms under the school—the newly Changed vampires—there to learn control over their bloodthirst.

Excelsior was small. No fewer than two hundred minor students and maybe half as many adult students. A little world, isolated from the rest of mankind.

Nessa closed the window and jerked the heavy curtains into place. Turning, she stared at her room. She dismissed the bed without even looking at it. There was no way she could rest now. A headache pounded behind her eyes.

There was a neat stack of books on the little table near the window. Yet another offering from Kelsey. Depressed and tired, Nessa moved to the chair and sank down. She blew out a breath and glanced at the paperback on top. A pretty girl, dressed all in black. She flipped it open and saw another image just inside. The same girl, this time with a man. They stood close, not quite embracing.

Blood roared in Nessa’s ears as she stared at the man. Black coat, worn open over a bare chest, the long ends of it flapping about his legs.

Nessa’s hands trembled. Her heart began to slam against her ribs.

Dark hair . . . a strong jaw. She couldn’t see his face well, but her imagination was quite content to fill in the void. In her mind’s eye, she could see him.

Her dream lover . . .

The book fell from her slack hands, but she didn’t notice.

June 7

You can also read the prologue and chapter one

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