Welcome to the July edition of Excerpt Monday! For all the details, please go here and read all about Bria Quinlan and Mel Berthier’s most excellent brainchild.
This month I’ve pulled from one of my paranormals, a vampire historical I now call Eternal… but only until something better strikes me. It was titled Midnight Sun once upon a time, but that has since changed for reasons which are probably obvious. This one is completed and I’m about 2/3 of the way through revisions, though I’ve stalled to focus on other things. But I really love this story, and these characters.
My vampire hero is in a bit of a snit here. :-) He’s trying to protect the heroine from eeevil–namely, a cruel, centuries-old vamp who’s obsessed with her and stalks her through every reincarnated form she lives. But she’s testing his own restraint…
I hope you enjoy!
When she was fairly certain the entire house was abed and Lily was resting comfortably, Fallon slipped outside into the darkness.
Her heart was pounding. It hadn’t stopped since seeing her sister again. Jonas’s shadow had seemed to hover over the entire encounter, as well as the rest of the evening spent in Lily’s company. She hadn’t been able to shake off its presence, to dispel the knowledge that she was in debt to him for her happiness, that he had brought to her the dearest thing in her life. She wanted to erase his pain just as he had erased her own. She was going to.
He would probably burst a blood vessel over her going out in the dark alone. Indeed, it was probably foolish. But she had glimpsed him heading out to practice with his daggers as he often did just after dark, and she knew right where he was.
Which was fortunate. He was dressed entirely in back and if not for the moonlight glinting from the silver blades as they flipped through the air, she might have missed him.
Dark eyes flickered toward her as she approached, then focused on his target once again. She paused, giving him plenty of space, reluctant to admit to herself that she was afraid to get too close. “Jonas?”
Surprisingly, he didn’t respond, not even to exhort her to go back inside. She watched the grace of his lean body as he took aim, the bunching of muscle beneath dark fabric as he released. A split second later, in the time it took lightning to shoot across the sky, the blade slammed firmly in bark.
She tore her gaze from it and looked at him, something trembling in the pit of her stomach. “I wanted to thank you for seeing to my sister’s safety. She’s very happy to be here. I think she looks better than I’ve ever seen her.”
Exhausted of blades, he strode toward the tree to retrieve the four that were planted there without another glance at her. For all the attention he gave her, she could have been invisible. Heaving a sigh, Fallon crossed her arms and looked toward the house where Lily was sleeping in her bedchamber. “Do you plan on ignoring me forever? If so, tell me now and I will never bother speaking to you again.”
“I accept your thanks.”
She waited for him to say more, but he took position once again, flipping three of the knives to the ground in quick succession, stabbing them into the earth. It wasn’t until then that she actually heard the finality in his tone. There seemed to be a delay between her ears and her brain where he was concerned. Just like that, she had been dismissed.
“I know you’re the only person in your universe, but need I remind you there is a big world out here, and other people in it who need you.”
A blade thumped into bark.
She drew a breath and rushed on. “You cannot keep shutting us all out. Your brother needs you, I need you…”
He didn’t care. The stiffness of his posture, the dark ice in his eyes, told her that much. Or else he was still so angry with her he refused to acknowledge the truth in her words. Either way, there was no need for her to stand here wasting her breath on him. But her mouth wouldn’t stop speaking.
“Ignore me, then. Forget me. Let Arric come and take me. At least then I’ll not be around to annoy you any longer.” He had the audacity to laugh then, the sound as cold as it was infuriating to her. “I see. Forgive me my lunacy for thinking you might give a damn.”
Skirts swishing about her legs, she whirled away, her strides too long and filled with too much purpose as she climbed the hill toward the house. Damn him! Damn his darkness, and his depression, and his damned gallantry, damn it all! Damn him even for knowing that he affected her this way…damn him mostly for that.
From behind her and through the rushing in her ears came the whoosh and thump of another knife hitting the tree, this one louder and harder than the ones before it. And then came his voice, bleak and sullen as the night enshrouding them.
She shouldn’t have turned so quickly, so readily, and she hated herself for doing so. She should have kept walking, ignoring him, subjecting him to the same humiliation she’d just suffered. But his voice…she could never defy that voice. She could never deny it something it asked for, and beyond all hope, it had asked for her.
Wordlessly, she stared at him, watched him glare at the spot where his blade had just punched through bark. Watched as he turned, and leveled her with those eyes that flashed strangely as the moonlight pooled in their depths.
Her heart pounded a searing tattoo through her veins. Fallon at first thought he didn’t look like himself at that moment, only he did. It was just some horribly magnified version of him, ragged and worn and savagely masculine, that stalked toward her then. His ebony hair blended with the blackness of the unlaced shirt that parted over his chest, cloaking him with the same velvet hues that colored the air around them. She could see the strong line of his collarbone, the shadow of dark hair that dusted his chest. He was so startlingly virile that she felt all at once stupid and contrite in front of him. A little girl who had just burned herself despite all his warnings not to play with fire. She swallowed thickly as he reached her.
“What in the hell do you want of me?” he demanded.
Anger rushed up to replace the muddle her mind had become. “You brought me here, protected me, but now that I need you, you ignore me. I don’t understand, and I can’t take this any longer.”
“What is it about me that offends you so? I’ve been afraid to inquire, but no more! You just asked what I want from you, Jonas, but don’t you see? Are you so blind?” Her chest heaved, words crowding around her lips, clamoring for escape. She couldn’t speak them. She couldn’t…
I only want you!
He was utterly still, watching her, waiting in some wrenching mixture of dread and enthrallment. She turned away. Her heart was going like mad and she couldn’t have him stand there and look at her that way, not after he had so ruthlessly shattered her all those nights ago. He would never want her. Why had she come here tonight? How stupid could she have been?
She hadn’t even the time to take a single step before his hand closed about her arm, gentle and yet with a firmness she doubted she could have broken even if she’d wanted to.
“Wait.” Just that. One word, and she was going nowhere. His fingers reeased her without turning her around. “’Tis not I who is so blind.”
She wanted to look at him. She couldn’t. If she did… “How do you mean?”
He exhaled slowly, deeply, and she felt his breath rustle the hair at the back of her neck. Her eyes closed as that little tickle seemed to turn into a full body caress. “Kiss me again,” he whispered. “I’ll show you.”
Oh, sweet, merciful God. She remembered how his lips had burned. She remembered the ache of longing. Surely if she felt that again it would shatter her, no matter how she wanted it. “I can’t. I didn’t ask for you to bring me here. I didn’t ask for your protection. I did not ask to feel this way about you, and I am not about to ask you to feel something you can’t. Coming out here has been a mistake. I don’t care anymore.”
She was scrounging the dregs of her soul for the one measure of pride she needed to walk away, to breathe truth into her bravado. It was nowhere to be found. Jonas had said her name again, damn him.
It was the only warning he gave. Just her name, whispered. Raw.
The next instant, she was swept around and into his arms. Like steel they surrounded her, unbreakable, inescapable. The only place on earth she wanted to be. The desire he wove about her as she was crushed against him was nothing short of preternatural, as if he were a sorcerer casting his dark enchantment. “You liar,” he said. And his mouth fell on hers.
She gasped his name against his lips, feeling in one instant as if she’d just been thrown from the earth’s surface and was spinning dizzily through the heavens. Finding an exquisite point between tender and ravishing, his tongue lined her bottom lip and she opened helplessly to it, let it delve between her teeth. Liquid heat flowed through her belly and spurred her own fierce reaction. She drank in the intoxicating warmth of his breath, buried her fingers in his hair and silently dared him to try and escape her this time.
He was right, after all. She was a liar. One of the vilest sort, if she’d ever tried to deny that she wanted him.
Links to other Monday Excerpts:
Mel Berthier, Urban Fantasy (PG 13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG)
Kinsey W. Holley, Paranormal (PG)
Caitlynn Lowe, Epic Fantasy (PG)
Dara Soren, Paranormal (PG)
Babette James, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Christina DeLorenzo, YA (PG 13)
Nika Dixon, Romantic Suspense (PG 13)
Bryn Donovan, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Kaige, Historic Romance (PG-13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Adelle Laudan, Contemporary Romance (PG 13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
RF Long, Paranormal (PG13)
Rebecca Savage, romantic suspense (PG 13)
Crista McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG 13)
Leigh Royals, Historical Romance (PG 13)
Jax Cassidy, Contemporary Romance (R)
Maya Doyle, Paranormal Romance (R)
Cate Hart, Paranormal (R)
Ali Katz, Historical Erotic Romance (R)
Inez Kelley, Romantic Comedy (R)
Aislinn Kerry, Paranormal Romance (R)
Elise Logan, Fantasy Romance (R)
Alina Morgan, Urban Fantasy (R)
Vivienne Westlake, Erotic Historical (R)
Stephanie Adkins, Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Evie Byrne, Medieval Paranormal Romance (NC 17)
Kim Knox, Erotic SF Romance (NC17)
Lauren Murphy, Erotic Romance (NC 17)
Kirsten Saell, Erotic Romance (NC 17)