Hello everyone! Today I have an awesome special excerpt from Kai’s point of view. I read it already and all I can is HOT DAM!
I’d always lived life like a game, moving my piece along the board, taking pleasure where I could, but feeling otherwise numb. Until a surprise playing piece came along and fucked it right up. Life was still a game now, only the rules had changed and nothing made sense anymore, starting the moment she walked away from me at LAX airport. I thought she’d fight me harder, kind of hoped she would, but in the end she went quietly. And it killed me. I hadn’t slept at all our last night in L.A., and I could hardly keep my eyes open on the first day of the drive east. There was nothing to do when you drove by yourself except think. I’d never before feared my own thoughts, but she’d poisoned me with her damned hope and goodness. And love. Over and over I saw her in my mind as she was that night sitting on the bed, like a still shot captured on my brain’s screensaver—the fluorescent pink aura, shockingly beautiful, surrounding her skin while she squeezed a pillow to her nearly naked chest. That image. It did me in. It stirred me and sliced me. I’d never in my life wanted anyone more than I wanted Anna Whitt that night. Her voice when she’d told me not to stop…I swear…her voice caressed every inch of me. She was the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Angel and vixen. And I could have had her. I could have taken her places she never dreamed existed, and she’d have never seen the world the same again. But I couldn’t have that. I didn’t want her to change. It was bad enough that she’d changed me. When I saw her love for me, swirling around her like some fucking beacon, I wanted nothing more than to crawl back into that bed and give her every part of me. I’d never felt that before—an urge driven by something far more substantial than lust—an urge that required letting down my guard and allowing her to fill a long-vacant, deep void within me. It was then I knew without a doubt we had to stay away from one another, or end up dead. Because when I was with her, nothing else fucking existed. Or mattered. So I took her to the airport, and then I drove. I finally stopped after midnight, having driven nineteen hours. The lobby of the small hotel had been empty that night except for me and the girl behind the check-in counter, probably nineteen or twenty-years-old. She was shy of me, peeking up through her lashes as she took my cash and typed my information into the keyboard. “Are you traveling alone, Mr. Rowe?” she asked as she slid the room key across the divide. When I saw the blood rise up her neck to her cheeks, my body picked up on the signals, but the sensation felt surprisingly dull. This was the perfect scenario. The door of an office stood ajar behind her, empty. I appeared to be a lonely traveler. She was bored and curious, with a blended aura of hazy gray nervousness, orange excitement, and a streak of red. Favorable conditions. Anna was gone. I’d cut those ties. It was time to get back to work. But when I looked at the girl’s face, the strangest thing happened. I found myself wondering if she had parents at home who loved her like Patti loved Anna. I imagined those parents nursing her broken heart the next morning when she came home with a fake phone number from a boy she’d fallen far harder for than she’d intended. Poisonous thoughts. One more night off. Just one more and I’d get back to work. I took the room key and told the girl good night, then turned and went to my room. Alone. The next night I stopped in a college town. I used my fake ID to get in a bar. It was crowded and, strangely, I wasn’t feeling it. Like I said, the gameboard of my life had become a confusing place, and I’d lost all sense of direction. A girl in a blue summer dress with brown curly hair stopped in front of me and tilted her head. Fuzzy aura. Drunk. Looked different than Anna in so many ways. “You look sad,” she’d said. I shrugged. “I’m alright.” Her eyes widened. “Do you have a freakin’ British accent?” she’d asked in a high-pitched, excited voice. Here we go. “Well, technically there’s no such thing as a British accent, you see. I’m from—” “Oh, my gawd!” She’d cut me off and thrown her arms around my neck, planting a kiss on my lips, then suddenly pulling away. “Wait. You don’t, like, have a girlfriend or anything, do you?” For a moment I felt slightly ill. It took a moment for me to shake my head. “No, luv. Wanna get out of here so we can talk properly?” Her eyes lit up, and I let her lead the way. As far as my body’s urges and my safety as a Nephilim, it was a relief to be back to work. But on every other level I felt like a traitor. A fraud. A failure. Not someone worthy of a girl like Anna’s love. I hoped she’d get over me quickly and move on. I hoped I’d never see her again. That was the summer. I saw Jay at gigs all the time, but never Anna. I was the one who’d talked the band into giving Jay’s song a shot, thinking maybe it would get Anna to another gig so I could check on her without having to deal directly with her. But it hadn’t worked. Only the other four Neph were able to get her to come out, and I’d made a debacle of that night. By fall my curiosity got the best of me and I hit up Jay about this field party. It had been over two months since I’d seen or heard from her. I wasn’t certain he’d bring Anna, but I was hoping. Hope. Stupid fucking word. I only wanted to see her to make sure she was okay. I felt a bit responsible for her since I’d been the one to introduce her to the Neph life. She probably wouldn’t come, smart girl that she was. I didn’t let father see the Halloween costume I’d rented. It was the ultimate way to hide from people. Only one girl would be able to recognize me in the giant, hairy gorilla costume, and that’s what I was counting on. She would see an ape with a badge. Halloween had always been my favorite holiday: girls dressing in ways they normally wouldn’t dare. Inhibitions down, even without drugs and alcohol, and dark exhilaration in the air. Tonight was no different. I scanned the field. The gorilla head smelled rank. And it was hot inside the damned thing. Not my best idea ever. Between my nerves and the lack of ventilation, I was sweating. I looked through the mesh eyes at the crowd. There must have been several hundred people there to see the five bands play. Not our band tonight, unfortunately. The only time my head was truly clear was when I played. I focused my eyes, pulling each face into clear view from across the field. In such a big crowd, it was easier to find someone with my sight than my hearing. I wondered what she’d be wearing if she came. I had an image of Anna dressed as a sexy angel in my head and I couldn’t get it out. My eyes stopped on the fuzzy blond head of Jay with an eye patch and a fake parrot propped on his shoulder. Next to him was a small, green witch with a ratty, black wig and pointy hat. She also wore a badge only I could see. I grinned to myself inside the mask as relief flooded. I shouldn’t have been so happy to see a girl. In fact, I’d never once in my life been desperate for a particular girl to be at the same place as me for reasons other than pure lust. I wouldn’t approach her. I didn’t know how she felt anymore. A lot could change in two months, especially when I’d done my best to push her away and there were better alternatives for her out there. Better alternatives. I felt the burn rise up as I remembered the sight of her with Kopano. First as they stood together smiling at the rail of Double Doors, oblivious to the fact that I was watching. Then as they talked together at the party afterward. The thought of it made me want to rip off the gorilla head so I could breathe easier, but I wasn’t in the mood to be recognized by anyone other than her. I’d asked Marna that night if she’d seen any bond between Anna and Kope. I knew she would be discreet and honest. She said she’d seen flickers of mutual attraction in the kitchen. The thought of it still made me want to put my hand through something, anything, preferably his face. “Attraction is the weakest bond,” Marna had said, “You know that, Kai. It’s fickle and fleeting.” But it didn’t matter what she said. There was no reasoning with the beast of envy. I shouldn’t have given them a hard time. He was quite possibly the only man on earth worthy of her. But I was accustomed to getting what I wanted, and for the first time ever, I couldn’t have it and I didn’t want anyone else to either. Impossible thoughts plagued me. Impossible desires. Dangerous dreams. I watched her now as she glanced down at herself, then crossed her arms, looking self-conscious in the tight, black dress. She obviously wasn’t comfortable with her chest size. I’d never fully seen them but I’d seen a lot in my life—everything from holy-fucking-huge down to bite-sized, so I had a damned good imagination about Anna’s sweets. Anyway, boobs were excellent fun, but they’d never been my favorite feature. Right now I had a view of my fave from Anna’s side profile. My eyes outlined the curve of her back down to her waist, landing on her round arse, triggering a deep, intoxicating stirring within me. Good thing the bloody ape suit was roomy. My thoughts sobered and my pulse spiked when I realized she was looking at me now, recognizing me. We both stared forever before she finally waved. I lifted a paw and chuckled at Anna’s greenness. I noticed there was another girl with them. I focused my hearing on them. “—are you waving at?” the girl asked. She was dressed like a provocative Minnie Mouse. “Um, that big monkey,” Anna said. “I think he’s staring at us.” No, I’m staring at you, I wanted to say. They both looked at me, so I lifted an arm and scratched the furry armpit, which made them laugh. I thought I recognized the girl as the one Anna was dancing with at that lake party. I still loved thinking about how I stole her away from that wanker in the bedroom that night, and the look on his face. It was one of my few prized memories. Too bad he hadn’t tried to fight me. My only consolation was that Jay had drawn blood. Anna turned away from me and started chewing on her nail. She wasn’t coming over. Stubborn thing. I promised myself I would wait for her come to me, but I was impatient. I wouldn’t talk to her for long. Just one moment. Just to see. Just to get my fix. And then I could leave. I walked to them and pulled off the costume head, shaking out my sweat-dampened hair and sucking in the fresh night air. Both of the girls’ eyes widened. Minnie’s white polka dots were temporarily covered over with red. She had a slight bump in the arch of her nose that gave her face a certain seductiveness, though she probably hated it. Girls were like that when it came to their bodies. I looked at Jay. “Arrgh, Matey,” I said, and he laughed, sticking out his hand for me to shake, which I did. He was a nice bloke. “What’s up man?” he said, more as a greeting than an actual question. I’d come prepared with a drummer joke for him, since he always liked to lay them on me. I told him the joke and he laughed wholeheartedly, just as I knew he would. We looked back at the girls, and I saw Minnie’s colors had settled back down. “This is my friend, Veronica,” Anna said in a level voice. “And this is Kaidan.” “Oh, I’ve heard all about you,” Veronica said with a big, knowing smile. Girl talk. Brilliant. I found nothing more amusing than eavesdropping on girls in conversation. They gave guys a hard time for things they said behind closed doors, but I can say with certainty that girls were far worse. I looked at Anna now. I didn’t like the green paint. It covered over her freckle. And what was that on the end of her nose? Only Anna would try to make herself less attractive. “Nice wart,” I said, then I flicked the dangling thing off without ever touching her skin. She gasped, and both of her friends laughed. “I told you it was stupid,” Veronica gloated. I watched while Anna rubbed her finger over her nose to even the paint. She went adorably cross-eyed in the process and I fought a smile. Anna and I looked at each other. I used to be uncomfortable under her gaze; the way it made me feel vulnerable. Now I welcomed that feeling, even for a moment. She crossed her arms again and said, “Your hair’s grown a lot.” “So has your bottom,” I responded without thinking. Ah, shit. I knew better than to make “growth” comments to girls. Her friends burst into laughter, and there wasn’t enough paint in the world to hide the shock on her face. “Dude, you can get away with anything,” Jay said. “I meant it as a compliment,” I said with honesty. Damn it. Why did being around Anna always turn me into such an arse? Veronica was still laughing when she grabbed Jay’s hand and led him away. He shot me a serious look of warning over his shoulder as they left, and I respected him even more for his protective feelings over Anna. Especially now that I believed without a doubt he didn’t fancy her. I shook my head to the side to get the hair out of my eyes while Anna shifted, biting her lip and staring at the grass. Say something, you git. I hadn’t a clue what to say. Should I apologize for the bum comment? No, best not to bring it up again, or to think about her gorgeous bum in general. “My dad gave me a cell phone,” she said in that sweet voice of hers, looking up again. The green paint and night sky made her brown eyes even darker. I pulled the cell from my pocket and blew a piece of lint from it. When I raised my eyebrows she started giving me her number, but the damned costume and my shaking hand were not cooperating. Without asking, she took the phone from me and programmed her number. That small act of familiarity, as if she had every right to touch my things, made something swell inside me. I wanted to throw her over my shoulder and carry her into the woods to claim her like the caveman my father called me. Right. She was staring at me. “How did things go with your father and the training?” I asked. “It went fine. I guess.” She answered quietly and crossed her arms. “I know my drinking limits now and all that.” I tried to imagine Anna drinking. Was she a silly or a sad drunk? I kind of hoped I’d never find out. “I understand what you meant now about the dangers of being together.” She moved closer and my breath stopped. “I didn’t get it then, Kai, but I do now.” And there was that look—the one that drained me of all strength and made me want to give her anything she wanted. I turned toward the stage where the music had begun, and tried to regain my momentum, but she kept talking. “I know it’s risky to see each other, but we could talk on the phone when your father’s not around. If you wanted.” If I wanted. She’d no clue how much I wanted. But I couldn’t have just a tiny slice of Anna. I was no masochist. It would have to be all or nothing, and “all” would ensure the death of us both. “That’s not a good idea,” I said. Even now, since we’d been standing there together, I’d not once looked around for whisperers. She stole my guard and turned me into a bleedin’ idiot every time. I turned from the stage toward a group of loud people behind us, but I couldn’t concentrate on a damn thing. “I think about our trip all the time,” she whispered. “Do you ever think about it?” Every day. “Sometimes.” I tried to look anywhere but at her. Anna grabbed hold of the front of my costume with her little fists, shocking me, and demanded to know why I’d invited Jay to this party. To see if you still love me, I wanted to say, but I didn’t. It wasn’t fair of me. I couldn’t look at her. It only made things unnecessarily harder when she tried to pry my feelings from me. But wasn’t that what I was trying to do? Find out if she loved me so that it could be hard, all over again? Who was I kidding? I was a complete masochist seeking out pain, and a sadist asshole as well, the way I kept hurting her. “I don’t know,” I ground out. She pulled harder, and the amount of passion in her tiny form filled my body with a buzzing need that clouded my head. “I can’t keep living like this, Kai. I need to know how you feel. I need to know one way or another so I can have some sort of closure.” She still cared. That much was clear, and as much as I hated myself to admit it, I was relieved. But I needed to be away from her. I had to stop doing this to us. I had to stop thinking about her. “I thought you’d be over it by now,” I said, making the mistake of looking down into her little eyes, lively even in the darkness. “It doesn’t work like that,” she told me. I stared down at her. I needed to burn this bridge—to lie and make her believe I didn’t give a shit for anything but myself. But hadn’t I tried that already? Hadn’t she seen through me like no one else ever had? Damn her angelic see-the-best-in-people ways. Smoke from a nearby fire blew over us. “Don’t invite Jay to any more parties, Kaidan. If there’s even the slightest chance you’ll be there, I’m not going. It hurts too much to see you.” Even when she was being tough, she was too sweet, grabbing my heart and twisting. “So why did you come?” I asked. She didn’t answer, but her green face bore an expression of sad turmoil. Reaching up, she pulled off the tangled black wig and I felt like the wind had been knocked from my lungs. Her long, natural hair was gone. The new blonde style was sexy as hell, but a wave of sadness and loss rocked through me. She’d had to change. With or without me in her life, she was a Neph, and there was no escaping it. I gathered my voice and said, “You should go then.” Don’t go. Don’t bloody leave me. Throw your arms around me. I don’t care if you smear my face with paint, Anna. Tell me you love me. Show me you still want me. Torture me at bit more. Oh, God…she was walking away from me. Just as she’d done at LAX. I should have let her go, but she’d sapped my will. “Wait,” I shouted. She didn’t stop. My pulse shot into overtime. I pushed past people and ran forward, wrapping my hand around her tiny wrist and spinning her to face me. Fuck! How could she turn away and not look back like that? I yanked her closer, fully aware I was in Jekyll and Hyde mode like a psycho or something, but I was too weak to do what needed to be done. She was mine. Didn’t she know that? Because my body was screaming it—demanding me to stake my claim on her. Her eyes stared up at me with a mix of fear and hope, reminding me what a loser I was to keep doing this to her. Once again, I’d royally screwed everything up. I needed to let her go, but instead I found myself touching her face with a stupid paw, cursing the costume for getting in the way of feeling her soft skin, cursing her green paint for hiding her face from me. With a furry thumb I wiped the paint from above her lip. She yanked back. “What are you doing?” “I…” There it was. The perfectly round brown dot, at once innocent and sexy. “I wanted to see your freckle.” The inside of my costume was practically a sauna at this point. She overheated me. I wanted more than anything to snog her. One last taste. Don’t do it, you evil bastard. Don’t make it harder on her. Just push her away. “What do you want from me, Kai?” she whispered. I wanted everything, and it pissed me off. Why couldn’t I control these feelings? And why should I have to? It all filled me with a raging fury that made me want to pound something. Or someone. I gripped her tighter. “For starters? I want to introduce myself to every freckle on your body.” Truth. I felt her tremble in my hands, sending my body to its boiling point in the ape suit. “So, Just something physical, then? That’s all you want?” I hated myself for the desperation I felt. I was desperate for so much at that moment. If I couldn’t push her away, maybe I could force her to push me. “Tell me you hate me.” “But I don’t hate you. I couldn’t.” Her breath smelled like bubble gum, though she wasn’t chewing any. Everything about her was too sweet for me. “You could,” I assured her, pulling her tighter. “And you should.” She sounded like she was fighting tears when she said, “I’m letting you go, but only because I have to. I need to move on with my life, but I’ll never hate you.” Yes. Let me go. Move on. Then maybe I can do the same. “The one who got away,” I murmured. “Nobody got away.” She sounded fierce now. As she went on in her angry banter I forced myself to open my hands and let her go. She stumbled back, shooting me one last heart-breaking, wide-eyed stare. And then just like at the airport, she turned from me and walked abruptly away, her matted blonde hair falling around her. And just like before, she didn’t turn back. I roughly yanked the gorilla head on. It smelled as sour as I felt. Damn the Maker and the Deceiver. Damn them all.
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About the author:
After earning a bachelors in Creative Writing from George Mason University and a masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until becoming a mommy. Writing Young Adult (YA) stories gives her the opportunity to delve into the ambiguities of those pivotal, daunting, and exciting years before adulthood.
She lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, daughter, and son. Sweet Evil is her debut novel.
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