NO LOVE FOR THE WICKED (coming August 13, 2013) excerpt from Chapter 1:
I stepped out at the same time Trench Coat guy did. He lit a cigarette and kept his distance from the woman. She didn’t sense him yet, but her defenses were still up. Her voice intentionally carried through the cold air. “Yeah, headed there now so I should be at your place in, like, ten minutes.” She laughed. “Sure. Tell you what. If I’m not there in exactly eleven minutes, call 911.” Impressive.
I stayed on the opposite side of the street, a block behind the guy. I heard him chuckle behind his cigarette as she picked up her pace. He had seen her try to turn on her phone in front of the club then watched her struggle to walk with a don’t-mess-with-me attitude. He watched her now, the swivel of her hips under that tight little skirt. He had all kinds of pictures in his mind about lifting that skirt and listening to her screams.
I stumbled and closed my eyes to his thoughts. What the hell was wrong with people? Being with a man wasn’t supposed to be like that. The bittersweet scent of musk and metal wafted through my senses. Theo’s dark smirk flashed in my mind. Quickly, I pushed the image away. No distractions tonight. I needed to get through this and stay focused. When I opened my eyes, Trench Coat guy was almost two blocks away. Shit.
The next instant, I was across the street, right behind the guy as he strolled into a parking garage. The woman’s voice faded as she hustled up the garage’s enclosed stairwell. When the sound of a door opening echoed through the stairwell, the man started running, taking two, sometimes three steps at a time. I didn’t bother keeping pace. I just met him at the door. He slowed when he reached the landing. His eyes darkened and a smile crept across his face. My breath caught. I’d seen transformations like this before. Much, much worse than this, actually, but the effect was still the same. It was a slight shift in features—a deepening in his eyes, a curl of his lip – but it was the same as if he had pulled off a mask, removed the handsome façade to reveal the monster that really lived there. Playtime was over. He reached for the door handle. I dropped my invisible shield.
“What the fuck!” he shouted as I body slammed him face-first into the door. He was a whole foot taller than me so I jammed my shoulder into his lower back to keep him in place. He wriggled against my hold but I barely noticed. I had to concentrate. Turning invisible, listening to other peoples’ thoughts—those abilities were nothing. But this newest power had taken me months to hone. If I could totally control it now, I knew I’d be ready. I curled my nails into his lower back and focused my power into my hands. The bones popped and stretched as they transformed into leathery, elongated manacles. Claws. I twisted my wrist and sliced through his coat and shirt until I felt the warmth of his blood tickle my fingertips.
He saw me from the corner of his eye and his knees buckled. I brought my face up close to his. Blood dripped onto the floor around us. His flesh and the door behind him darkened to a deep shade of pink. I paused. My eyes were turning again. Damn it, I still couldn’t completely control that one.
A vision of Theo popped in my head. Held down in a field like this, his body drenched in sweat and blood. My father standing over him, killing him with unseen knives as Theo begged for mercy. Around them, the field was littered with the bodies of the rest of the team. My chest tightened in a painful ache. Pain pierced my side as if I were the one being stabbed. I stumbled forward. No!
The image vanished as quickly as it had appeared. What the hell? Thirteen steadied me. “What is it? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. It’s nothing. I just – I was just thinking about what you said. What it might be like for your team if they tried to take down one of my relatives now. You know, without knowing what they were really up against.” I looked back at the field. Still barren, but sunlight peeked through the clouds now, brightening the gray. “It was nothing.”
Nothing except my option of leaving evaporating with the fog.