Sneak Peek of Reap

I opened my eyes but had to squeeze them shut against the harsh lights. My lids felt swollen, heavy with fatigue. My eyes burned, tears leaking from their corners.

It was the most uncomfortable of feelings.

I must have been dreaming.

“Hello?”

Although the word seemed alien to me, almost as if I had never heard it before, I instantly understood its meaning. The voice that had spoken was warm, making me feel as if I were suddenly sitting in front of a fireplace, wrapped in a heavy blanket, flames crackling. The heat of the word practically licked my skin.

Again, I tried opening my eyes, this time a bit more cautiously. Blinking, I slowly adjusted to the artificial lights, now able to see.

I found myself staring back into a pair of bright blue eyes, a look of wariness in their depths. For a brief moment I couldn’t look away as I stared up at him. Then he cleared his throat and glanced away, as if uncomfortable with my gaze. With the spell of his eyes broken, it was then that I noticed I was lying on the ground—no, on hardwood floor.

And with not one, but three interested faces peering down at me.

I sat up, then winced at the abruptness of my movement, bringing my hand to the back of my head.

Pain, my mind whispered.

“Careful now.”

I directed my eyes toward the person who had spoken such kind words. It was the first person I had noticed, the one with the blue eyes and the warm voice. His voice was deep and calming, and as I sat there I tried to think of the emotion I should be experiencing. Inhaling softly, I closed my eyes, ignored the painful throb in my head, and waited for the proper term to flutter into my mind.

Gratitude.

“Where did you come from?”

Satisfied I had found the correct word, I opened my eyes again to the voice speaking to me. It was a pleasant voice, reassuring to say the least, and immediately captured my attention.

At that moment, I didn’t notice the black hair atop his head, a striking contrast against his blue eyes that looked like I was staring into an ocean. I didn’t notice that the corners of his eyes crinkled up when he smiled kindly at me, complementing the single dimple in his right cheek. By just looking at him, anyone could tell that he was someone who knew how to laugh. But I didn’t notice any of that.

All those things I would notice later.

I stared at the corner of his lips as he continued to speak, not toward me, but to the others present in the room. “Guys … I don’t think she understands a word I’m saying,” he mumbled softly, as if afraid I’d be insulted at the notion of not comprehending him.

“I like her,” stated the girl kneeling next to him. She looked quite outrageous wearing a short black dress with a black choker wrapped around her neck, pink shiny embezzlements adorning it. Her white-blonde hair was extremely long, almost past her lower back. I directed my gaze to her face and found blue eyes staring down at me.

Her eyes were identical to the man’s.

“It’s always the silent ones we should be weary of.” The words themselves were harsh, but as I looked to my right I was greeted by a kind smile with equally kind brown eyes behind wire-framed glasses. They belonged to a man casually sitting on a couch, his shoulder-length dark brown hair tied back. As he continued to stare, he tilted his head to the side as if analyzing a computer software program that wouldn’t work properly.

I guess I was the computer software program.

“James, help me out, will you?” the man with the blue eyes asked calmly. The man on the couch, James, stood up and slowly sauntered over to my side, then both he and the blue-eyed man grabbed my arms and brought me to my feet. I didn’t protest, shuffling alongside them as we entered a kitchen, where they placed me on a wooden chair next to a table.

Sinking down into the hard chair, I averted my eyes downwards and focused on a crack on the wooden table. I knew I was still being stared at, three pairs of eyes boring holes into the crown of my head.

It was difficult not to look up but I managed. I needed a distraction, so I started to trace the crack on the table instead, feeling the texture of the wood as it scraped against my skin.

I find wood to be … quite rough in manner.

“Here you go.” That calming voice spoke once again and I looked up to find a glass of orange juice placed in front of me. It was at that instant that I realized that I was thirsty. I reached for the glass, instinctively bringing the rim to my lips. The juice was cool down my throat.

Refreshing.

This was familiar: the taste of juice in my mouth. Closing my eyes, I licked my lips slowly, trying to memorize this feeling. Perhaps if I stayed like this long enough, I would be brought back to that time of familiarity….

“Yo, Briggs!” James voice beamed through the room and I startled, setting the glass on the table. I hadn’t noticed the front door had opened—I believe an apartment building was where we were located—and a new presence had entered the room. I looked over to where a figure stood by the stairs, utterly still. Although we were indoors, he wore sunglasses. And even though I couldn’t see his eyes, I knew they stared directly at me, hard as stone.

He didn’t like me.

If the man with the blue eyes was warm like a fire on a cold winter day, this man was like the wood I had just caressed: rough, jagged.

Broken. 

Excerpt from Reap, originally published October 11, 2013. Reap has been since republished, along with Sow, under the title, Never Letting Go.

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Sneak Peek of Rowan, Blood Crave 2

I wanted to post an excerpt of my upcoming novel, Rowan. It’s the continuation of the Blood Crave Series following Dahlia and Fallen Tears. So if vampires and such are up your alley, check them out! There’s a twist, I tell you. A twist!

Below is an excerpt taken from Chapter 1. It’s in a random section (didn’t want to post the beginning; gotta leave some suspense).

Trying to remove all thoughts of him, Rowan focused on the task at hand. She sucked hard on the last remnant of candy, then stepped out of the shadows and onto the main street. She knew she’d catch the eye of some pathetic twenty-something year old. As of now, she didn’t give a hoot who it was. She just wanted—no, needed—one thing.

Blood.

She caught sight of a somewhat nice-looking blond walking across the street. He looked strong and healthy, definitely able to do the job, not dying on her and all. Humans who were frail had a tendency to not recover from the stress their body went under while being fed on, no matter how little blood she would take at times.

Rowan also learned sexuality was just as powerful as the ability to manipulate people’s thoughts. She’d use either, depending on her mood. It was why she’d dubbed herself the Charmer. Vampires had scary reputations and she didn’t really think she was scary. She’d changed from the old Rowan, having been on her own for so long, but she wasn’t creepy.

Or was she?

Ignoring the thought, Rowan tilted her head, calmly waiting for her meal to cross the street. She tracked his steps with her eyes as he made his way over, walking toward her. As he passed by, she grabbed onto his essence, tapping into his thoughts. She instantly felt a sense of urgency coming from him.

He was late in arriving to a friend’s condo, a new one, and couldn’t find the address. He felt slightly agitated at being lost, especially in a new city where things were so unfamiliar. Being a guy and all, he didn’t dare ask anyone for directions.

Typical.

Eyes raised, Rowan unconsciously popped another candy in her mouth.

Three.

She silently fumed, yet another reminder of him. No time to be distracted, Rowan, she thought to herself. But her candies were rather addicting, especially when caught up in the chase.

Eyes narrowed on her target, Rowan focused once more. She waited two beats before following Blond Boy from behind. A few more strides and she quickly caught up to him, falling into step thanks to her long legs. She managed to ‘accidentally’ step on the heel of his right sneaker, forcing him to stop as he spun around. Annoyance clearly flashed across his expression but it quickly disappeared as his gaze rested on Rowan. His eyes roamed up and down her body unashamedly, a smile growing on his face.

Boys were too easy—a pretty face and they were hooked. Internally, she rolled her eyes at his response. She could tell he no longer thought of being lost.

Frankly, it was quite pathetic.

Putting on an apologetic face, she frowned, stepping forward. “Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t hurt you, did I?” She brushed a hand against his upper arm for added affect and knew he worked out from the bulge felt beneath his clothes. She felt the shiver vibrate through his body from her contact.

Hook, line and sinker.

She rather enjoyed this game of cat and mouse. It gave her something to do and, to be honest, it was rather refreshing. Mind control wasn’t as entertaining and she didn’t do it unless needed.

“No. Um, no, you didn’t. I’m fine.” His voice pierced through Rowan’s thoughts, sounding slightly off centered, almost like a pubescent boy. It didn’t match his physique at all. She watched him swallow deeply, clearing his throat. Rowan bit her lip, trying to hide the smirk forming on her face.

She instantly let go of his arm, eyes widening. “Well, then. Now that I know you’re fine….” She took a step back, smiling as she slowly walked away. She accentuated her stride, allowing her hips to sway gently back and forth when—

“Wait!” She paused in mid-stride, her smirk quickly forming again. Smothering her smile, she changed her expression to one of apologetic sincerity. Hands clasped together, she turned to face him, watching as he jogged over. He stopped, only mere inches away from her.

“What’s your name?” he murmured.

Her candy having dissolved, Rowan chose to suck on her tongue instead for the lingering taste, then gave her upper lip a quick swipe. She watched his blue eyes flicker to her mouth as he followed her movements. She slowly exhaled, her breath filling his nostrils before finally answering.

“Rowan.”

He continued to watch her mouth, not saying a word. He sure was slow. Although aroused, which was easily seen by his dilated eyes, his quick, shallow breaths, the way he looked at her, he didn’t make a move. Rowan was sure if he had his way, they’d be staring at each other all night long.

That was so not happening.

Impatient, she pursed her lips, deciding to take things into her own hands. He was definitely not the pursuer. Taking a closer step to him, she brushed herself firmly against him, feeling his body stiffen. Slowly moving her mouth toward the shell of his right ear, she whispered something any guy would love to hear. Her devious smile locked in place, eyes glinting wickedly.

“Would you like to have some fun?”

Excerpt from Rowan, Blood Crave 2. To be released April 2013