Thought I'd shake things up a little bit today, with a few snippets from my books and a fun giveaway. But before we get to that, I'm going to be at the Fresh Fiction Teen Event in Dallas this weekend with a ton of other YA authors. Come see me if you get the chance :)
From Tempest Revealed:
“You wanted to walk,” I told him, making sure not to touch him as I stepped away from Mark. “So let’s walk.”
Kona nodded, then led the way down to the water. As soon as my feet touched the surf, my power welled up inside of me. I could feel it pushing up against the walls I used to cage it, pouring through cracks in my defenses until my entire body felt like it was burning up.
I glanced down, realized with a sinking heart that I was glowing, the phosphorescence that allowed mercreatures to see each other when deep in the ocean spinning out of my control. Usually I could tamp it down when I was on land, lock it away deep inside myself, but tonight that seemed to be beyond my command. Like so much of the rest of my life.
I looked behind me, saw that Mark was staring at the purple luminosity that surrounded me. I told myself that it was a good thing, that visual reminders of how different I was could only help convince Mark that we weren’t right for each other. But knowing all that didn’t keep my stomach twisting sickly.
“What’s wrong, Tempest?” Kona asked snidely. “Mark not so down with your mermaid side?”
“Mark and I are just fine, thank you.”
“Yeah, I can see that.” He turned away, looked out at the ocean and I regretted the churlish words. I had no business rubbing my relationship with Mark in his face. Not when I knew how much it hurt him—and not when he had done nothing but try to make my whole transition to being mermaid easier for me.
“Look, I’m sorry,” I told him. “I didn’t mean—”
He made a dismissive sound low in his throat. “It doesn’t seem like there’s much you do mean. Right, Tempest?”
“What are you trying to say?”
He just stared at me, his enigmatic silver eyes swirling with a mixture of rage and power and some other emotion I couldn’t begin to identify.
I sighed in response, frustrated with him and the entire situation. “Fine, if you aren’t going to answer me, can we at least talk about whatever it is you want to discuss? You came all this way to say it, so it must be important.”
He was quiet for so long that I started to think he wasn’t going to answer me. Then he said the two words I’d been fearing since I first saw him towering above Mark and me on the beach.
“We’ve got to do something. We can’t just sit here!” I whisper loudly.
The mother screams again and I’m out of the car before I can think twice about it. But then, so is Theo. Even as I do it, I know it’s a bad move, know we’re probably going to end up getting hurt, but I can’t just sit here and do nothing while those bastards hurt whoever they want.
“Stop it,” I yell, charging across the highway towards them. Maybe if we’re lucky, more people will step up. They can’t stand against all of us. “Leave her alone.”
The two men turn to glare at me, and I freeze under their stares. I can’t help it. I’ve never seen such dead eyes in my entire life. There will be no reasoning with them, no talking them out of leaving her alone. I don’t even have a weapon.
Their gazes rake me from top to bottom, and I feel the chill all the way down my spine. Eli was right. They’re not going to be content to just hurt me. Still, I won’t back down, won’t show fear. Like with any wild animal, it’s the kiss of death.
I know Theo’s right next to me. I can feel the warmth radiating from his body. Behind us, Eli is rummaging in the car for something—I don’t know what.
“Don’t worry, darlin’,” one of them says in a mockery of a Southern drawl that makes my skin crawl. “There’ll be plenty left for you when we’re done with her.”
He comes closer and Theo grows even tenser, though I didn’t know that was possible. He thrusts me behind him, stands up to his full height of six foot eight inches. And just watches, his face as blank and intimidating as ever. I know he’s scared, can feel the fine tremor shaking him, but he doesn’t back down an inch.
“Isn’t robbing them enough?” Theo asks. “Get what you need and move on.”
The second man points a pistol at Theo, cocks it. A scream wells up inside of me, an apology for putting us in this situation. Already the other men have finished whatever they were doing up ahead, and are coming towards us. We need to get back in the car before they reach us, but it’s already too late. I know it is.
There’s no way they’re going to let us just walk out of here.
“Why don’t you get back in the car, son? You don’t want to tangle with us.” This from the man with the gun.
“I’m already tangling with you and you need to let that woman go.”
“What I need is to let Mike here shoot your oversized ass.”
An older man fumbles out of the car behind us. “Leave those kids alone!” he shouts.
“Really, Grandpa? Are you going to stop us?”
Two more men get out of their cars and join us. “You’ve got what you wanted. Now leave us alone,” the first one says.
The two bikers exchange a look, like they know things are getting out of hand. Eli’s behind me now, and he grabs my shoulder, tries to shove me back towards the truck. “Get in, Pandora.”
Believe me, I want to. But standing here, watching these assholes figure out that things aren’t going to be as easy as they expect them to, makes me understand the power of numbers. And the power of speaking up. I’m not going to hide until they turn around and leave that woman, and these people, alone.
“Look, I’m going to give you one more chance,” the biker with the gun growls. “And then someone’s going to die.” He waves the gun around, pointing it at all of us in turn before focusing it on me. “My friends are almost here. Get back in your cars and you won’t be hurt.”
I know he’s right, can hear the other members of his gang running towards us, cursing. I don’t look, though. I can’t. I’m spellbound as I stare down the barrel of the gun pointed right at my chest.
“Leave us alone!” someone else yells. And I can see it in the way the gun shifts, feel it in the hate emanating from the man pointing it at me. I’m about to die.
I start to drop to the ground at the same time Theo broadsides me, knocking me halfway to hell and back. I hit the ground hard, Theo on top of me, just as four shots ring out.
Now for the giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite book so far of 2013 and be entered to win a bunch of fun Victoria's Secret bath stuff (shower gel, bubble bath, lotion, make-up) and an autographed copy of Emily McKay's The Farm, Ivy Adam's The International Kissing Club and one of my books (your choice).