The Missing…excerpt

Since it releases in just over three weeks…maybe we should do an excerpt or two here over the next couple of weeks.

“You worry me,” he whispered, his breath dancing across her skin like a faint, teasing caress.  “You don’t eat.  You hardly sleep.  You drink too much.”

Tensing, she tried to move away from him.  Cullen wouldn’t let her, though.  He ended up crawling into the hammock with her, cradling her up against him.  He made it seem easy and Taige lay there wishing the damn thing would flip them out onto their butts.  “I eat enough.  And I drink because I don’t want to dream.  I hardly sleep because I don’t want to dream.  You don’t like it, then stop showing up in my dreams.”

These dreams weren’t any more real than his love for her had been.  She knew that, so seeing him looking at her like she was the center of his world was like plunging tiny, needle sharp shards of glass into her skin.

His hand came up, cradling her face for a long moment and then he smoothed her hair back.  “What happened?”

Taige flinched as though he’d jabbed her with a hot poker.  She shook her head and tried again to pull away. “I don’t want to talk about it.”

“You never do.”

She sneered at him.  “You’re nothing more than my imagination, you know.  Since I imagined you, wouldn’t it make sense that you already know what happened?”

“Taige.”  A warm hand curved over her neck and then a hard mouth pressed a gentle kiss against hers.  She shivered and then opened her eyes, stared at Cullen.  His lids were low over his eyes but that couldn’t hide the frustration she saw there.  His hand tightened on her neck but he didn’t say anything else.  He just eased her body back up against his, holding her tight.  She buried her face in the front of his shirt and wished this was real.

If it was real, she could tell him.  She could cuddle up against him and cry herself dry and maybe the ache in her heart would ease a little. Maybe if she cried hard enough, maybe if she told him all the vile crap she had been forced to wade through for the past decade, she could breathe without feeling like there was a band around her chest.  She could sleep deep and easy without nightmares, without guilt.

But it wasn’t real.  Cullen’s presence in her dreams came from years of loving the bastard even after he’d kicked her out of his life.  These dreams were a sham, something brought on by her weak, needy heart and she hated them.

Suddenly desperate to wake up, to get away from him, she shoved against him, hard and fast.  She ended up flipping the hammock over but she landed on her hands and knees–and away from him.  He swore under his breath and reached for her but Taige scrambled away.   “I don’t want you here, Cullen,” she said, squeezing the words through her tight throat and wishing she could scream it at him.  Wished she could hit him and do something to ease the pain inside her.

“Yes, you do,” he whispered, striding towards her.  She brought her hands up, ready to punch him if he came any closer.  Cullen was ready to risk it, apparently, because he just kept coming. She swung towards him and he blocked the first punch.  The second one caught him on the chin, but he still reached for her, pulling her up against him.

Taige struggled, kicking at his shins.  But her bare feet weren’t going to do much damage.  She ended up with a sore foot and that only made her madder.  “Let go of me, damn it,” she snarled.

“No.  I did that once and I’ve hated myself ever since.”


Don’t forget, if you pre-order the book or buy it during release week, you can be entered into a contest to win an ARC of FRAGILE.  Details here