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Showing posts with label excerpt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label excerpt. Show all posts

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Apocalypse Gene

Here's an excerpt of The Apocalypse Gene by Suki Michelle and Carlyle Clark:


Excerpt – Chapter One – The Good As Dead:  Olivya has just learned that her mother plans to upgrade their home-based hospice center to euthanasia, a service called “deliverance”.  GAD is short for “Good-As-Dead”. The first “customer” as arrived:

Deliverance. Olivya hated that slithery word, that thin euphemism. Why not call it what it was? Murder. Her legs tensed, straining to run through the front door, down the street, east to Lake Michigan, and keep on going, right into the cool deep waters. Instead, she crept to the foyer, careful to stay out of Mama's line of sight.
The new GAD lay mummy-bound in a pale blue blanket. This one had no intention of hanging out in a tranquilized coma or happily zoned on Hypno-Peace. He just wanted out. She wanted to look into the soul of this death-wisher. Did it take courage to broadcast that invitation to the Reaper? You are cordially invited to escort me to oblivion.
The sickly sweet stench of diseased flesh and stale urine wafted from the GAD. His sweat-soaked orange hair lay like worms on his forehead. Straps held his wrists to the side rails. His lips fluttered with each labored breath. She frowned. He looked just like all the others. Nothing special - shrunken, coma-tranked, and reeking. Was he a coward or a hero? The answer didn't show in his face, but she could find it in his aura.
A chill breeze rippled, raising gooseflesh on her arms. Maybe the old Reaper was already standing right there, ready to claim his prize. If she allowed herself to fully Sight, would she see Death's black robes, its bottomless eyes rimmed in bone? She wanted to curse it, spit in its hideous face. Like Papa, this newcomer had set out a welcome mat for Death.
Mama would be furious if she caught her gaping, disobeying orders to stay away. Olivya would have to hurry, but a moment was all she needed.
She closed her eyes, lifted her defenses and willed the Sight to come. Colors, shapes and lights swirled behind her lids. She compressed them into a single point of white-light deep inside her mind, then she opened her eyes.
The GAD's aura, at first vague and wavy, sharpened into view. Despite the drug-induced coma, misery rose from him in sluggish waves. The dull red of malignancy throbbed against a background of greenish-gray - similar to the other Good-As-Deads, but somehow weightier. Intuition told her to look more closely.
Faint hues darted behind that auric death-shroud, ghosts of the man's former emotions. A streak of robin's egg blue, shimmers of peach. An eerie feeling came over her. Something looked familiar about this combination of gentle pastels in this particular pattern.
The face of a smiling man rose in her mind's eye, one who had always been patient with the friendless psychic girl. Mr. Gragg. Her Seventh Grade English teacher from the old brick and mortar. Could this be him? It looked nothing like him. Mr. Gragg had been thick-muscled and robust, his hair a riot of bright orange ringlets. Yes. That pastel aura was Mr. Gragg's. She recognized the colors of his unique, unflagging kindness. Why him? Then again, so many in the world had cancer. Why not him?
Olivya caught Mama's voice in the kitchen. “Any family?”
“Not any more,” the deliveryman said.



***

Excerpt – Chapter Two - Mikah:  Mikah, an unitiated member of the Kindred clan, dreads his encounters with the Kindred leader, a demon hybrid who goes by the name of Prime . . .

It wasn't just the thought of Initiation and what it might do to him that made Mikah sick with dread. It was the fact that he'd have to be alone with Prime, close to the monster's twisted energy and constantly morphing shape, that hideous creature near enough to touch. He hated thinking about that cellar-dwelling thing, yet his presence permeated the Complex. Prime. The Ancient One. Vile. Disgusting.
Sometimes at night, Mikah would gaze out his bay window, dreaming about what it might be like to plunge through the glass and ride the gravity express straight down to eternal nothingness. He'd catch a glimpse of a lurching form among the trees, a darker dark in the shadows, oozing through the expanse of park-like grounds that joined the Complex with the shores of Lake Michigan. He’d spy Prime, the monster, slipping along the beach in random directions, as if lost.
That shape sometimes caught the moonlight, a pale glow darting among the perfectly manicured hedges at the Complex boundaries. Prime. No boogieman. Real. He'd haunted Mikah's nightmares since he was a little kid. Lately, the changes had accelerated. Prime was growing restless, leaving the Complex more and more often, capering and shrieking about the grounds.
Just a week ago, Mikah caught a rare sight of Prime inside the Complex, slinking past an open door in one of the first floor parlors. He looked thick and clumsy. Then yesterday, Mikah saw the beast again. He'd changed, become taller, oddly flexible, and lighter on his feet. Only Prime's brown, shapeless robes stayed the same, and the absurdly long black patent leather dress shoes sticking out beneath his hems.
“You should not put your attention on him,” Changarai said.
“My shield is up. How did you know I was thinking of Prime?”
“You wear the same expression you did as a toddler when Prime was near. One doesn't need psionic ability to recognize fear.”
“Yeah, well. It's just another thing that separates me from all of you. I fear him. You worship him.”
“You will too,” Changarai said. “Soon.”
No way would Mikah stay alone with that shambling horror while they're at the Gathering. Then he relaxed. He wouldn't be alone tonight. He'll be with Olivya.


***

Except – Chapter Three – That Familiar Malevolence:  This a scene from Olivya and Mikah’s first meeting face to face.  They have escaped a Shivpack, a gang of vicious street thugs, by sliding into a rushing stream that runs through the abandoned Lincoln Park Zoo . . .

They barely heard the last as the stream swept them away. After what seemed like a long time, they reached a sturdy bush on a muddy bank. They grabbed it and pulled themselves up, soaked and shivering. The grassy sides of the moat, though wet, were less steep here. Olivya scrambled to the top, Mikah close behind. Her thigh burned where the fence had caught her jeans. She peeled back the torn denim. A deep scratch, puffed and red, but the bleeding had stopped.
Mikah swiped at the splotches of mud and grass from his clothes. Olivya checked him out beneath half-lowered lids. The moonlight illuminated him, as if his strange aura attracted and magnified its glow. She'd never seen anyone so beautiful, almost pretty, but rugged and rough. His skin was the color of sweet tea, a pale creamy brown, incredibly smooth. Latino? Indian? No. Arab. Maybe Native American? No way to tell. He was all races, yet no race. Strong jaw, full lower lip, shining black hair, broad shoulders. He removed his light cotton jacket to wring it out. He wore a form-fitting black T-shirt, now wet and plastered to his smooth, wide chest. His torso V'ed down to narrow hips and long-muscled legs. She glanced back up to his face to find those periwinkle blue-violet eyes staring straight into hers.
She looked away, busily rubbed mud and grass off herself. Just great. She was supposed to be angry with him and he had just caught her, well, ogling. And she was furious at him again, doubly so, for making her feel embarrassed. He was the one who should be humiliated. After all, hadn't she just caught him in a lie? Didn't he scare her half to death with that insane light show? He didn't even care that her leg was cut, and it hurt like hell, and, and− “You little liar!” She shoved her face into Mikah's. “How do you move that way - blurry and super-quick? What the hell did you do to Ripper? And why did Mako run away like a frightened dog when you barely touched him?”
Mikah shrugged and sighed. “Olivya, it's complicated.”
“Use small words.”
“I'm not entirely human.”
Olivya ground her teeth. More lies. She watched his aura, waiting for it to turn lemon-green with deceit . . . and waited. It gleamed steady, a truthful apricot-orange. She took a step back. “O-o-okay?”
“I sensed you were special the first time our holo-sims chatted,” he said, “but I didn't realize how talented you are, how intense your Sight. I wonder if you even know.”



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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Hellsbane Excerpt



Title: Hellsbane (Hellsbane, #1)
Author: Paige Cuccaro
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: Novel
Release Date: December 2011
ePub ISBN: 978-1-937044-64-0
Print ISBN: 978-1-937044-65-7
 
Books 2 and 3 coming May 2012 and January 2013!
 
 
A HELLSBANE BOOK - Book One - by Paige Cuccaro
 
 
Emma Jane Hellsbane just found out she’s not human—or, at least, not only human. She’s half angel, too, and now Heaven’s got a job for her: round up all the Fallen angels and their red-skinned, horned devil-demon minions and boot their butts back into the abyss. Only problem? The demons and their Fallen masters fight back…and they don’t fight fair.
 
Luckily for Emma, she can put a stop to the constant threat of having her head hacked off if she figures out which Fallen angel is her father—and then kill him before he kills her. Of course, in the meantime, she’ll have to avoid accidentally seducing her angelic mentor, help an old friend conquer his own Fallen sperm donor, and basically save the world from a cataclysmic divine smack down.
 
No one said being Heaven’s bounty hunter would be easy. But with a name like Hellsbane, Emma Jane was born for the job.


“Perhaps you’ve mistaken my statement for a request,” he said. “It wasn’t.”
“Ah. So it’s like that, is it?”
He snaked an arm around my waist, jerked me to him so our bodies were flush against each other. I gasped, my hands going to his chest on reflex.
“Yes,” he said. “It’s like that.”
A soft wind shifted through my hair, and the world around us blurred as if in motion. But our feet hadn’t moved. The overlook, the cars, the townhouses, the sky, everything raced past us.
Then it was gone. Darkness engulfed us, with only the distant stars twinkling in the vast emptiness. My hands leached around Eli’s neck, brought us cheek to cheek.
“You’re safe in my arms, Emma Jane. Always,” he said, his lips brushing my ear. A shudder traveled straight down to my center with the sweet sound of his words. The man had an orgasmic voice. What a waste.
His embrace loosened, and I leaned back enough to see his face. A soft glow lightened the shadows from behind me, just enough to cast a silvery glow over his expression. Time and space suddenly rushed in on me, and my brain spun like I’d been twirling around on my toes for an hour.
I let go of him with one hand, pressing it to my forehead to stop the spin and to keep my brain from coming out of my ears. “What was that?”
“Your mind is struggling to match speed with your body. May I help?”
I’d told him once never to use his power to give me false rapture, but it was like asking a fish not to swim. I nodded and he rested his hand over mine, the warmth of his skin heating through me. The nauseating twirling stopped.
“I hoped moving slower would help lessen the shock, but it seems the effect allowed your vision too much time to try and compensate,” he said.
“We moved at angelic speed?” I asked, guessing.
“No. I am able to travel at the speed of thought. We moved an increment slower.”
“Um, thanks.” I tried to see over his shoulder, to get my bearings, but I couldn’t push up on my toes. I moved the muscles, and nothing happened. I looked at my feet—there was nothing beneath us. No floor, no ground, no...anything, just more blackness and millions and millions of distant twinkly lights.
An icy bolt of panic shot up my spine and I clutched at Eli. My gut twisted and a scream caught in the back of my throat. Eli hugged me tight.
“Where are we?”
“Look behind you,” he said.
It took a few seconds of internal argument, but eventually my courage rallied, and I glanced over my shoulder. “Is that...”
“Earth,” he said.
Sheer awe loosened my grip. I shifted my feet to his—I had to stand on something—and turned, holding his hands to my hips to anchor me, my back to his chest.
The world looked exactly the way it does in all the pictures...but so much more. More beautiful, more breathtaking than any picture could capture.
There was a storm swirling over one of the oceans, and night was quickly approaching for half the world. A thick line of darkness crept over land and water as the planet spun. On the other side, brilliant light ate away the darkness at exactly the same pace.
“This can’t be real. How?” I asked, my brain fighting reason and everything I knew about space and time and reality.
His hands slipped over my belly, his embrace enveloping me. “In the arms of an angel, Emma Jane, all things are possible.”
My eyes closed, and I leaned back into his chest. I tried not to enjoy the feel of him around me, but the heat of his body, the comforting strength of his muscles, and the sweet, summery scent of his skin decimated my willpower.
“Behold what your birthright has brought you, Emma Jane,” he said. “No mortal human could claim as much.”
I opened my eyes and felt that rush of awe all over again at the view. “It’s amazing, Eli. Thank you.”
“This is only the beginning. You have been chosen to battle creatures far more powerful than mere mortals. You are not like other humans; you cannot be. Your task requires much of you, and for it, much has been given. Time and space unravel for you to traverse with the same intrinsic understanding as those you hunt. The world is quite literally at your feet.”
Before I could take a breath, I found myself staring out over a large valley and an ocean beyond. Gone was the great global marble spinning in the endless black of space. Suddenly, I was blinking at a waking cityscape miles below with large water inlets and busy harbors. There was blue sky above me and green land below. We were back on Earth.
Hard, unrelenting wind whipped my hair, making it hard to see. But I could make out the white sand-lined shores and the short mountain ranges that blocked sections of the city from the ocean.
“Where are we?” I yelled, but my voice was lost on the roaring wind.
Eli tucked me under his arm, and silence descended over us like he’d closed a door. My hair floated back against my head and I could stand on my own. I shoved at the strands over my face and tried to clue in my brain. “Brazil.” Eli pointed at the city. “Rio de Janeiro.”
“It’s beautiful.” My gaze followed the landscape below to the base of the mountain, then to the long winding staircase tracing up the side until they disappeared far below the edge of the outcropping we stood on. It’d been nearly six a.m. in Pittsburgh by the time Eli and I left Earth, which made it nearly seven a.m. in Rio, and the city was already bustling.
What are we standing on? I fisted my hand around Eli’s jacket and leaned over for a better look. “No way. Christ the Redeemer? Seriously?” We were on his arm and I looked to the left at the huge, white, carved face of Jesus.
“Remarkable, isn’t it?” Eli said. “And yet it pales in comparison to the miracle that is you and those like you.”
He smiled wide, so pleased with himself, and I could almost forgive him for not warning me one wrong step could send me tumbling over a hundred feet to the very, very hard landing below.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rue Volley Series






Excerpt from Blood and Light

Chapter 17...entitled "Tuning Fork"

This is one of many favorite exchanges that occurred between Rue Volley and Joshua Barrington in my first book in the series I am writing. Joshua is trying to teach Rue how to "bond" with her blades so that she will become a warrior like him and as usual the situation goes crazy on her, as it always does. Rue is still trying to accept and learn how to be a protector...aka" Vampire", for all intense purposes. This is three pages of chapter 17 and I hope you enjoy it....who knew that fighting with a blade could feel so good:)~Rue

I gripped my blades and grumbled. He was toying with me now. I'm gonna knock him out. I pressed my hand against the ground and his trail opened up to me...swirling in black color. I flashed forward and I scanned the trees and everything around me. All of a sudden the trail ended and I skidded to a stop. I looked up and rolled out of the way as Josh dropped down from a tree above me. I pushed myself up and left one leg extended as I raised my head to look at him. He flashed towards me and I flipped my blade in my hand and rose up, hitting him in the side as he passed me by. He groaned and skidded to a stop behind me and I spun around. He rubbed his ribs.

"God I wish that you would stop doing that." he said.

"I could have hit you in the "you knows." I said as I looked down his body.

He laughed. "The 'you knows'...I like that."

I smiled and flashed towards him, he twisted his body and I missed him, I almost ran into a tree. I stopped and jerked my head, to move the hair out of my face. He stood there and turned the blades sideways in his hands.

I looked at him and grinned. "You ready to do this for real?" I asked him.

He looked me up and down and grinned. "I'm ready to do all kinds of stuff with you."

"Shut up." I said as I came at him.

He stood his ground and our blades hit, light flashed off of them and my heart started to beat harder in my chest. We stood there, face to face, with blades glowing.

He leaned towards me. "You are getting me hot." he whispered.

I yelled out and slid my blades downward, the metal made a slicing sound as I went down...I ran under him, between his legs and then kicked him in the butt, as I kicked my leg out behind me. He stumbled forward and turned around biting his lip.

I stopped and laughed at him. "Smooth." I said.

He flipped his blades into the ground and they hummed like a tuning fork as they swayed back and forth. He closed his eyes and held his hands out, palms up. I watched as black color started to swirl around his blades, it went upward...almost like a tornado in slow motion. He opened his eyes and his pupils looked black as night. I watched in wonder. I need to know that trick. He placed his hands out over both of his blades as they shot out of the ground and into his hands. A trace of black mist trailed behind them and started to roll around his feet.

"Now I am centered." he said to me.

I gripped my blades tightly in my hands, I suddenly got the feeling that I had not seen him battle for real yet, although I knew this was for sport. He took a stance with me that I had seen from him before. His heartbeat slowed, his breathing slowed, and the glow on his blade pulsated with each breath that he took.

"Okay, I need to know how to do that." I said as I relaxed my hands. He grinned at me.

"I told you that it is all in how you focus. The blades are an extension of you, they feel as you do...if you are not focused, they will not serve you."

I looked down at my blades and then threw them at the ground, they laid there on their sides. I looked up at him and he walked towards me.

"Pick them up." he said kinda forceful.

I leaned down and saw that his feet were right next to mine. I stood up and felt a humming in my body. I think I blushed, but I couldn't tell. He walked behind me and I felt the heat coming off of him. He reached around me from behind and put his hands on mine. I looked down at my blades and he raised my hands just slightly and flipped them towards the ground. I let go and both of my blades stuck out from the ground with that tuning fork hum coming from them, like his had. He held onto my hands and rubbed his thumbs across my palms, I took a breath, a little staggered...I didn't mean too. I felt his breath on the back of my neck. He held my hands out at my sides and placed them palm up.

"Close your eyes." he said calmly. I closed them.

"I want you to feel the metal, cold and hard...listen to the song they are singing to you...it's only for you."

I slowed my breathing and focused on the metal, and it's song. My heart slowed, I could see color swirling behind my eye lids...blue, with traces of silver. He let go of my hands and backed away from me.

"Now look, Rue."

I opened my eyes and saw blue swirls coming out of the ground around my blades, it snaked upward. I opened my mouth and breathed it in, it tasted like honey in my mouth.

"Now place your hands over them and call them to you. You don't have to say it out loud, they will hear you."

I placed both my hands out, palms down over my blades and I called to them. They shot upward and I felt them slip into my hands...for the first time. They felt like they had a heartbeat...my heartbeat. I held them up and watched the blue color swirl on the blades and around my wrists, it felt like a cat rubbing against me while it purred. I grinned as I looked up at Josh, who stood there with no expression on his face.

"Did I do it right?" I asked.

"Yes...you did. I shouldn't be surprised that you got it on the first try, you are a quick study." He said as he leaned down and turned his blades in his hands. He came at me in a flash and I instinctively spun around, bringing my blades down to my sides. His blade struck mine and I felt an adrenaline rush go through me, unlike any I had ever had. My heart fluttered. he flashed to my ear.

"Feels good doesn't it?" he whispered.

I nodded as he brought his blades up in a blur and I brought mine up to counter him. I sucked in my breath as the metal clashed together. My body hummed and my breathing staggered.

"You need to calm down." he said.

I lowered my head and closed my eyes. I felt like I had just been kissed. I raised my blades and looked at them. I saw my reflection in the metal and my eyes swirled light blue and white. I lowered it and looked at him.

"I feel funny." I said.

He laughed. "Of course you do...fighting with your blades is a seductive experience."

I ran at him in a flash and every move he made, my blades came down and hit his. I started to gasp after the sixth hit and I stopped. I staggered back from him and gripped my blades. I reached up and wiped the sweat from my forehead. He came at me and I countered his every move, with each hit I started to make noises and he stopped. I stood there panting and my eyes felt glossy. I didn't know what I was feeling, but I loved it. He grinned.

"I think you are enjoying this too much." he said.

I flashed at him and suddenly I felt a tremor in my body, I fell to my knees and gasped. I threw my head back and then fell to the ground.

"Oh my God!" I yelled out.

He ran to me and knelt down. I kept my head down and tried to breath. I don't know what just happened, but it was the best feeling in the entire world. Well, I kinda know. I kept my head down, realizing that the embarrassment was coming. I peeked up at him, my face flush.

"I think that I just..." I whispered.

"Holy shit." he said as he touched my back.

I stood up and stumbled, then backed away from him.
"Don't touch me...not right now." I said.

"Listen Rue...it's okay, I should have warned you to control yourself. I just didn't think that you would, ya know...have an orgas.."

"Shut up Josh!"

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

EXCERPT: In the Shadows

In the Shadows
By Julieanne Lynch

Published July 21st 2011
Strict Publishing International 
ISBN 9780857791962

 “In The Shadows”, the first of The Shadows trilogy, is an urban fantasy of vampires and the supernatural, and much, much more.  In the shadows you will find lust and passion, battles for power and for blood, and death and fear around every corner.  In the shadows you are carried away to an unknown future.  Your destiny awaits, and you are no longer who you thought you were.  You have a thirst, for blood perhaps, but a thirst for very much more than that.

Giselle was a normal girl with an attitude common to most girls of her age.  Her family might not have been perfect (whose is?) but she loved them, and her future looked bright.  She had an awesome best friend and a steady boyfriend, but how could she possibly have been so wrong about someone she loved?  And how could she have been prepared for the darkness and for what she was to become?

“In The Shadows is a must read for anyone who loves urban fantasy.” ~Review by Dawn and Wini Book Lovers
“ Julieanne writes so eloquently you can feel and picture everything Giselle is going through, with no question as to what role every character in the book plays.” ~Review by Ada McEwan
“Julieanne is a great story teller with a vivid imagination for the supernatural. I absolutely love everything about it.” ~Reviewed by Firefly and Wisp


And now, for the excerpt you've all been waiting for!


Excerpt from In the Shadows:

I felt his eyes on me before I returned the look. He knew what I was thinking and, like always, he knew the right way to cheer me up. Best friends where like that, and Alex was without a doubt my knight in shining armour. He was like my shadow, and the last six years proved to me just how dependable he had become.
“We need sugar and lots of it,” he practically shouted, pulling into the lot.
“But we’ll be late for school... I can not have another detention, Alex, and besides, I need to see Marc before class,” I sighed.
“Well, Marc can wait... Strawberry glaze or chocolate sprinkles?” he asked me as he got out of the car.
Alex winked at me, and I giggled like a little girl following him.
“One of each,” I said. “It’s a Monday, I need me some sugar.”
Grabbing hold of his arm, I held onto him and ignored the sneering looks from a group of girls leaving the cafe.
“Still slumming it I see, Alex. Call me when you man up,” the local slut hollered as she walked across the lot with her minions in fold.
I ignored them and their giggles, and walked inside, escaping to our favourite table.
“Bitches,” I scowled, looking out the window. “Who does she think she is?” My face reddened with anger.
“Ignore her, G. She’s harmless.”
“Why are you always defending her?” My voice was now an octave above a whisper.
Grabbing the menu from me, he threw it on the table. “Look at me... They can say whatever they want; they can make as many comments, and it won’t change a thing. You’re my friend, Giselle... And besides, you look way better than them.”
Laughing, I looked back outside and watched Evie with her perfect body driving off in her perfect car, and I felt sick inside.
“Marc seems to think she’s great.”
“Marc’s an ass,” Alex said as he looked over the menu, pouting his lips at whatever he fancied. He did that when something appealed to him.
“Alex!”
“Well, think about it. He’s dating you, and yet he has time for said ‘bitches’. Give me a break. If you were my girlfriend, and this is just hypothetical, I wouldn’t let you out of sight or give them asses reason to pick on you, but that’s just from my viewpoint... Now let’s order. I am starving.”
The small bistro was buzzing with customers. The delicious scent of freshly made coffee filled the air; it woke up my taste buds. Its bright and bold colours hurt my eyes. Shades of orange, lime green and sunbeam yellow had been painted abstractly on the walls, reminding me of summer. Even the ceiling reminded me of the ocean with its cool shades of baby blue. Somehow, it had become a place of comfort to me. The people reminded me that I belonged here and, like always, Marion was the first to come welcome us and take our order.
“Morning, you two. The usual?” she asked. Turning to face me, she smiled and her voice softened. “How is your mother, Giselle?”
“Hi Marion, um, yeah the usual, but can I have a side order of arsenic to go?” I laughed. “Um, mom is good, thanks.”
“That’s great, sweetheart. Give her my love.” Laughing, she walked back towards the counter, shaking her head.
Alex sat forward, his brilliant green eyes staring hard into mine. “Arsenic?”
“Well, it was either that or crushed glass.”
We both burst out laughing, getting the attention of the people on the table next to us.
We were like two naughty school children. Giggling as we ate, we did not care who scowled at us. It was just Alex and me, in our own world and nothing was going to break that bond - ever.
Of course, the ride to school was becoming increasingly uncomfortable. My pain increased with each kilometre the closer we got to school. I knew I had to face Marc at some point in the day, but to be honest I was too pissed off with him to really care about why he had dropped me for some lame party in town.
My stomach spun and I was nervous as I got out of the car. Marc was standing over by his truck on the far side of the lot and there was no avoiding him. He stood with Aaron and Doug, and watched me as I tried my best not to look at him. But it was so hard. He and his beautiful puppy dog eyes always got to me, and I knew I would be putty in his hands.
Yet, I wanted him to squirm just a little while longer.
Alex swung his arm over my shoulder and pulled me in close to him, reassuring me that my impending confrontation would be fine. I wished I had his confidence in me.
“Relax. Just keep eye contact and scowl. Scowl like a mad woman,” he whispered as we parted company. “Laters, Bergman,” and he was gone.
I was on my own.
Marc eyeballed me as I slowly made my way over to him. The bell rang and people bumped past me as they rushed off to homeroom. I, on the other hand, had to lay a few things to rest before I could face my day of boredom and its side helping of bitchiness.
“Hi!” I greeted all three of them.
“Um, morning, G,” Aaron said as he nudged Doug in the arm.
Guys must have some sort of secret code, because without Aaron saying anything, they both looked at each other, then at Marc, and left.
“You took your time coming in today,” Marc said as he slung his bag over his shoulder.
“Yeah, but that’s my business,” I bitterly retorted.
“G, you’re meant to be my girlfriend. Maybe you should start acting like it.”
“What? Are you for real? You’re such an ass, Marc.” Anger began to boil inside me, and I walked on ahead of him.
“Giselle, wait,” he called after me. “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry doesn’t even cut it, Marc,” I sighed. “You blew me off for what? Drinks with the ‘guys’. I went to so much trouble. Can you imagine how dumb I felt waiting for you to turn up?”
“I really am sorry. I didn’t know that Andy was going to some frat house. If I had known, I wouldn’t have gotten into the car. I swear, G, I would have shown up; only, things got out of hand.”
It was so hard staying mad at him. I really wanted him to grovel more and feel like total shit, but I couldn’t do it to him. I adored him and wanted to make up so badly.
“It was our anniversary, Marc. Four years is a pretty big deal... But, you can make it up to me,” I said coyly.
Looking up into his delicious blue eyes, I felt my anger melt and I was more than ready for our make up kiss. Pulling me in close to him, he cupped my face in his hands and gently pulled my mouth to his. I could smell his cologne, and as it danced in circles around my nostrils I kissed him back, our tongues lightly brushing together.
The kiss got a few whistles of approval and a stern mouthful from Mr. Green.
“What is the meaning of this public display of... of...” he stuttered.
“Affection,” Marc tried to finish the line for him.
I held in my laugh as he led us into the school and straight to Principal Brooks’ office.
Standing outside Brooks’ office, neither Marc nor I said anything, but his smile said it all. We were back on track.
“Bergman, Clark, g.. g.. get in here now,” Green bellowed from the doorway.
Marc entered the office first, and I hastily stopped at the door, avoiding eye contact with Brooks.
“Bergman, close the door when you’ve decided to join us,” Green said sarcastically as he folded his arms. His face was red and swollen, and by the looks of things the night before had been a heavy one. Everyone knew he was a little too fond of the booze.
“Giselle, come in and close the door,” Principal Brooks directed me.
Obediently, I shut the door behind me and stood close to Marc, trying my best not to laugh. When I get nervous, I tend to mask my feelings by laughing or making light of the situation, but right there and then I doubted my humour would have been appreciated.
“Giselle, I am very disappointed in you. How many times have we had this discussion? You are always late for school, you’re behind in your assignments and, to be blunt, I am getting quite sick of your casual display of affection with Mr. Clark.”
I could not believe it. He was pinning it all on me.
“But…” I tried to speak.
“Enough of your excuses. You’re on detention for the rest of the week. I believe you should be in English, and if you make it quick I am sure Ms. Royston won’t add to your ever growing record of disobedience.” He ushered me out of the room. “Marc, this game on Friday night...” The door closed and the conversation became nothing more than muffled voices.
As I made my way to class, I could not have felt more pissed off.
Walking into the already quiet classroom was bad enough, but having Evie smugly looking at me as I fumbled through my bag was the last straw.
“When you’re ready, Giselle,” Ms.Royston said.
Sitting down, I looked around for him, and there he sat, smiling at me, showing concern with those luminous green eyes, and instantly I felt calm.
“You okay?” he mouthed at me.
Nodding my head, I tried not to distract Ms. Royston, but failed.
“Is there something you’d like to share with the rest of the class, Giselle?” she asked me.
I could feel my cheeks going red and my heart pounded hard in my chest.
“No.” My voice quivered.
Everyone was looking at me and I could feel Evie’s eyes staring hard at me, but I refused to give in and just stared ahead.
“Really? Well, maybe you can take part in our class discussion. What is Atticus’s relationship to his children like?” She sat back against her desk and folded her arms, waiting for my input.
Oh my God, I thought.
I had read the book, well, only slightly, but God, I didn’t have a clue. My face became redder and redder as I slowly died inside.
Alex spoke up. “Atticus is a kind and I suppose loving father. He reads to his children and offers them comfort when they need it. He is also capable of teaching them pretty harsh lessons, like when he allows Jem to come with him to tell Helen Robinson about Tom’s death. But he is also a very wise man, one who is committed to justice and equality, and his parenting style is based on fostering these virtues in his children - he even encourages Jem and Scout to call him “Atticus” so that they can interact on terms as equal as possible. Well, that is what Giselle and I discussed earlier.” He confidently sat back in his chair and grinned at me.
“Well, that was…” Ms.Royston began, but then the bell went and I was out of that room in a flash.
I stood by my locker, defeated by Monday’s usual round up, and I craved my warm bed. I wanted to escape the usual bullshit of school life and wanted nothing more than to run away, live my life far from here on the other side of the world.
“It can’t be that bad,” Alex said as he stood beside me.
“Wanna bet? I have just had the worst morning ever. I was hauled in by Green for kissing Marc, and now Brooks has me on another week of detention. My dad is gonna kill me.” Closing my eyes, I inhaled a deep breath.
“Ouch! But at least you have the prom on Saturday. That is something to look forward to, right?” He tried his best to make me feel better.
“With the way my week’s going, I doubt I’ll make it to Saturday.”
“Oh come on, G, play it cool. Just keep your head down and for God’s sake stay out of Green’s way,” he said as he hugged me.
“Yep, but easier said than done.”
The noise from the corridor began to fade and the bell rang again. I had an awful knack for being late for everything, and at this rate I was more than likely going to be late for my own funeral.
“See you later... I gotta go dazzle the lovely Ms Shultze.” He winked at me and left me alone.
I stood with my eyes closed for a few moments, trying my hardest not to succumb to the overwhelming feelings growing inside me. I wanted to cry. Hell, I wanted to throw a tantrum that a two year old could get away with, but knowing the endless chaos it would bring would probably ruin my school life forever. I played it safe and held my emotions in, like always.
Opening my locker, I searched for my algebra book. “Damned thing,” I cursed to myself. And instead I found a sealed brown envelope, lodged between my music folder and my copy of ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’.
Pulling it out I looked it over and then checked the corridor for any peering eyes, and opened the blank envelope. Inside, I found a disc and a small note. There was nothing else, and that was when I decided to let my curiosity get the better of me and I skipped the rest of the day’s lessons.
I knew no one would be home when I got there. Dad was away on another business trip and mom was more than likely planning some charity convention with the other contenders for ‘Mother of the year’.
Grabbing a bag of chips and a can of Pepsi from the refrigerator, I casually strolled into the family room, sliding the disc into the DVD player and pressing play.
Sitting back on the sofa, I chugged down half the can and started munching on my favourite snacks. Before I could swallow my mouthful, what I saw caught me completely off guard. Struggling to control the ever-growing knot in my stomach, my eyes filled with tears. I was torn in two, disbelief at what I was seeing and anger that this was no set up.
I wanted to scream, but my voice just would not come out.
Breathe Giselle. Breathe.
That was when reality really hit me and I started screaming, with uncontrollable sobs and tears that fell down my cheeks. My head pulsated as I searched through my bag for my phone whilst the audio played in the background. Her laughter and moans filled my head, and in a rage I threw the controller at the TV screen. It cracked, and the screen went dead momentarily.
Frantically, I dialled Alex’s number and paced, waiting for him to answer.
“Hello?” he answered.
“Alex... Alex...” I sobbed.
“Giselle, what’s wrong?” he asked, concerned.
“Oh God... Marc and... he…” I broke down.
“Where are you?” he asked.
“Home.”
I sat on the floor in the middle of the room, crying. Inside, my stomach churned over and over, and at times I felt like vomiting. But it didn’t happen. Instead, I inhaled long deep breaths to counteract my sobs. Dizziness plagued me as I tried to make sense of what I had just seen. Surely it had been some kind of sick joke, but it was too real. Marc had to have known about this, but I was at a loss as to what to do. If it was true, then things would never be the same again, and inside I could feel a part of me die.






About the Author:

Fiery Librian Julieanne Lynch is an author of urban fantasy books for both adults and teens. Originally from Northern Ireland, Julieanne now lives in Ireland, where she works on her Shadows Trilogy and other series full-time. Before becoming a writer, she considered a few different career paths, a rock star being one of them. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at The Open University, and considered journalism as a career path. However, she decided writing was the way for her and believes all of her education and reading prepared her for it.

An avid reader, Julieanne has always had an encompassing fascination with folklore. When not writing, she enjoys crime series such as Criminal Minds, CSI, NCIS and Cold Case, and loves anything with Vampires, listening to metal, meeting new people, drinking lots of green tea, and sharing her dreams with her children. She is a self-professed goth wanna-be,and is happy when left to write into the early hours of the morning.

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