But back to Soulbound. Here's today's excerpt. And don't forget to comment, tweet and/or FB about it to get extra points for the gift card and book giveaway!!!!
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“Is something wrong?” he finally asks, letting his hand fall back to his side. There’s no impatience in the question, no condescension. Just an honest concern that has me forgetting the whispers about him. Or at least putting them aside for a while. Despite my best intentions, I lower my guard.
“You mean besides the fact that I just humiliated myself in front of my entire coven?” I answer, settling down beside him as he takes off his socks and shoes.“And what looks like a fair amount of outsiders as well, don’t forget.”
“Gee, thanks. I was totally in danger of forgetting that, so I appreciate the reminder.”
“I do what I can.”“And not a thing more, I bet.” I narrow my eyes at him. “You need lessons on how to pretend to give a damn.”
“Oh, I give a damn, Xandra. I just didn’t think you’d want me to lie to you. I can try, but I warn you, I’m not very good at it.”“Someone like you doesn’t have to be.” I, on the other hand, have spent my whole life living a lie. Trying to be who my parents want me to be no matter how hopeless I am at it.
“Someone like me?” There’s a dangerous note in his voice now, but I don’t care. I’m feeling reckless.“I’m not stupid. I know who you are. Someone like you doesn’t have to answer to anyone.”
This time it’s his eyes that narrow. “You’d be surprised.”To the side of us a peach tree bursts into flame. For a moment, Declan looks stunned, like he can’t imagine how it happened. I wonder what that would be like, to have so much power that it could just leak out like that without me even noticing. I don’t think I’d like it—I’m too much of a control freak.
A second later, the fire goes out as suddenly as it started. He doesn’t say anything else and neither do I. Instead, we just sit here, the tension between us ratcheting up with each minute that passes.
“So, why did you come?” I finally ask. “You don’t know my family, don’t know me. You aren’t even part of our coven. So why did you travel halfway around the world—”“Halfway across the country, not the world. I was in New York before this.”
“Whatever.” I couldn’t care less about semantics when there are questions I want answers to. “So why, out of all the places you could be right now, did you choose to be here?”“Because you’re here.”
My gaze jumps to his. I’ve been careful not to look him in the eye since those first moments, scared of what I might find. Now, I know that fear is justified. Power—overwhelming, unimaginable power—swirls in the obsidian depths and I can’t look away. I’m pinned, as trapped here as I was back there on that stage. More so, really, because here it feels like there’s no escape route. No back door to scuttle out of. Nowhere to run.I desperately want to look away. But the pull is intense, like he’s reached out and grabbed me and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I’m playing prey to his predator.Even worse, there’s a strange lethargy pulsing through me. Pulling me into him. Pulling me under. I start to fall . . .
No! I don’t know what game he’s playing, but I won’t be anyone’s pawn. Not anymore. When I jumped off that stage tonight and ran away, I started a new path for myself. A new life. Instinctively, I know that this isn’t it.I finally find the strength to wrench my gaze from his and as I do, I feel this pop, like I’ve ruptured something deep inside. I gasp, wrap my arms around myself in an instinctive bid for comfort. Declan doesn’t react at all, doesn’t move a muscle, but I think he felt it too.
When silver sparks of energy whip through the air around us, I’m sure of it.Reaching a hand out, I capture one of the sparks. I can’t stop myself. I want to know, for just a second, what that kind of power feels like. It sizzles against my skin, crackling and spitting, burning me, until I open my fingers and let what’s left of the spark fall back out into the air.
My palm throbs where it touched me, white hot and painful. It takes all my energy not to flinch, but I manage it. It’s my turn not to react. Except, Declan knows—just as I did with him. He reaches out, gently cups my hand in his own. Strokes the fingers of his other hand lightly over the burn.It should have been smooth, easy, but the second his skin brushes against my palm, the entire world ignites. Fragments of memories I shouldn’t have rush at me—terrifying, fascinating, compelling. I close my eyes, try to block them out, but they’re still there behind my eyelids. Still there, deep in my mind as every nerve ending I have lights up like it’s Christmas at Rockefeller Center.
I order myself to pull away, to break the connection this one last time, but I can’t do it. The pleasure, woven as it is amidst the pain, staggers me and I can’t do anything but sit there and soak it all in.The pain dissipates as suddenly as it came, but in its place . . . in its place is a silver Seba, identical in all but color to the one on Declan’s neck.
“What did you do?” I gasp, looking at the new mark on my palm. It shimmers in the moonlight, is the most beautiful—and frightening—thing I’ve ever seen.“That wasn’t me, Xandra.” But he looks shaken as his fingers close around mine in a grip so possessive it makes my breath catch in my throat. I start to pull back—this is too weird, even for the daughter of witch royalty—but then I realize his hand is shaking even worse than mine. It’s enough, that hint of vulnerability, to keep me here when every instinct I have screams at me to flee.
“What—” My voice breaks and I clear my throat, try again. “What’s happening?” The sparks aren’t stopping. In fact, they’re spinning all around us like a freak, midsummer snow flurry—growing hotter, more plentiful, the longer we’re touching.Declan doesn’t answer, just shakes his head. I get the impression, right or wrong, that for all his power and experience he doesn’t know what’s going on any more than I do. I take a step back and electricity arcs between us, flowing from him into me and back again.
Every cell in my body is vibrating with it, every nerve ending screaming with the agony of it. Just when I think it’s over, that the electricity is going to rip us apart, he does something even more unexpected. He leans forward, and slowly lowers his mouth to mine.Rockefeller Center turns into Mardi Gras, the Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve all rolled into one. Too bad I never thought to wonder what happens after the ball drops.