We’re still doing teasers for Tuesday’s release of Grimm Tidings…and we’re getting back on track, back in order.
There was one time when she actually felt part of this new world.
And it was when she was fighting.
Cincinnati suited her, because lately, the city was infested with parasei demons and that meant she got to fight a lot and kill a lot. As she cut through a throng of the nasty things, Celine smiled with hot, violent pleasure. Blood stained her hands and she didn’t care. One of them got close—too close—and as a knife cut into her side, her own blood joined the mix. The pain was there, vicious and bright. But she didn’t care.
Now she felt like she was part of this world.
Now she felt real.
Now she felt alive.
And it wasn’t until it ended and she saw that she was bleeding from half a dozen wounds that she even slowed down to breathe. Breathing was overrated in this life anyway. Panting, she turned around, went to say something.
And one of the parasei leaped up.
She saw him and she jerked her knife up. Her hand was slippery, though, too slippery from all of the blood and she wasn’t able to block it well. She lost her grip on her weapon as the parasei laughed, a wild, delighted laugh as he drew in closer.
Celine went down.
Struggling under the man’s weight, she tried to get to another one of her weapons.
Hands closed around her throat.
“Careless little Grimm…”
She sneered at him, still scrabbling for a knife.
He leaned in and licked her cheek. The feel of his tongue sent a shudder of revulsion rushing through her and she swore, a lingering panic rushing in. Those memories, too many of them and too many of them were clear, rose up to taunt her. In the back of her mind, an ugly, depraved scream raged.
“Fear. I taste your fear…”
Hell, she could taste her fear. Taste it, feel it, hear it—
The parasei all but crushed her into the ground and that only made it worse. Sensory memory slammed into her, making it worse—the pain. It had torn through her—ripped her—no, no, no, NO!
She screamed and managed to get a hand free. But before she could make contact, the demon was gone.
Gasping for air, she sat up, scurrying backward as her eyes struggled to adjust and see.
It was Jacob.
A sob escaped her.
The long leather coat he wore whirled around him as he flung the parasei across the alley. Tears blinded her and she scrubbed them away. In the time it took for her to do that, he’d already killed the demon.
Killed it, and was walking toward her, his face tight with fury, his eyes cold.
She closed her eyes.
Here we go again…
It had taken him nine months, but he’d finally gotten the picture. She wasn’t right for this, and now he’d make sure Will got the message.
Good. The sight of his fury, his frustration, was a cold splash of water in her face and she was able to think, able to shove aside the slick, icy panic. He was done with her. Wonderful. He’d dump her on Will and she could tell that bastard a thing or two—
“You won’t be seeing Will any time soon,” Jacob said, and his voice was strangely gentle, considering the fury she’d glimpsed in his eyes. Strange, that. She didn’t know if she’d ever seen him angry…
Wait—what? He wasn’t taking her to Will?
“No, sweet, I’m not.”
For a moment, she was too surprised to think. Then, finally, she managed to say, “Haven’t I told you to stay out of my head?”
“I’m not in your head, darling. You just put your thoughts and fears out there for all to see. Me, the demons, everybody. Bloody hell, a mortal with not a drop of empathy could pick up on what you’re feeling. ‘I hate this life, I made a bad choice and I want to undo it—would you please kill me?’”
She stared at him.
Heart still racing from the terror she’d felt earlier, the fear an ugly, slippery tangle in her belly, she shook her head. “I don’t—I’m not—”
“You are.” He held out a hand. “Come. I’ve had enough of this.”
She stared at his hand.
“Enough of what?”
“I said come.”
Narrowing her eyes, she glared at him. “I don’t care to be bossed around.”
“Too sodding bad.” He bent down and fisted his hand in her belt, jerking her to her feet.
“What the—you son of a bitch—”
She went to smack his hands away and he caught her wrists. The moment his bare flesh touched hers, the world exploded around her. Stunned, she tore away from him and he let her.
The word was lost. The world was lost. She couldn’t hear herself speak. Couldn’t hear herself scream. And scream she did. Long and loud. But the wind tore it away from her, like it never existed.
She was foundering, faltering, falling.
Sucking in her breath, she threw out her hands, desperate for something to cling to.
The only thing she found was Jacob.
He was there.
He was solid.
He was real.
And he was warm, strong.
In the rush of ice and wind and nothing and darkness, he was there, with his arms around her, his mouth by her temple and she thought maybe, just maybe, she heard him speaking. She couldn’t see him, but she knew it was him.
And this time, she heard her own voice…and his answer.
“It’s time you see some things clearly, Celine. Well past time.”