Monday, June 6, 2011

Launch Party: Soul Bound

My final post of the day is about my new paranormal romance, Soul Bound. Thanks to all of you who read my excerpts and watched the trailers. And thanks again to Judy and Marianne for inviting me to the party!

It's been years since Seattle cop Jessica Hammond thought of the boy who broke her heart in high school. So when she is caught in a hail of bullets and facing certain death, she has no idea why it's Nathan's face that flashes into her mind as she prepares to die. Jessica survives unharmed and is deeply unsettled by the experience. Desperate to escape her thoughts, she jumps on a plane to Vegas.

The intrigue deepens when she discovers that Nathan is also there, performing his New Age magic act in a large casino. Drawn to the show, she is mesmerized by him. When Nathan takes her to his bed and unleashes a different kind of magic, Jessica knows that the fates brought them together. But Nathan can't protect her from the curse of his heritage and Jessica soon learns that loving him could take her life.


“I need a volunteer from the audience.”

Nathan Cain’s midnight blue gaze slid along my row of seats, crawling ever closer to me. I tensed; sure I could almost feel its approach. But it didn’t land on me, not straight away.

“Will it be you, Madam?” Nathan said to the audience member sitting to my left. The edge of his mouth lifted in wry humor when the woman shook her head so vigorously, my seat wobbled beside hers.  His gaze shifted to the man on my other side. “How about you, Sir?”

My heart beat once, maybe twice, before Nathan's stare found me, as I knew it would.
“Or will it be you...Jess?”

Pinned against the back of my seat by no more than the intensity of his gaze, I didn’t react at first to the sound of my name on his lips. Seattle seemed a million miles away and high school almost as many years ago, and he had no reason to remember me the way I did him.

Nathan strutted to the edge of the stage, the shape of his long legs outlined in almost obscene detail by black leather trousers. The shift and roll of the clearly defined muscles shaping his torso and abdomen told me his feet were actually on the ground but, with the dry ice swirling around his shins, I could swear he floated towards me like some errant spirit. A tangle of silver crucifixes, gothic charms and skulls with ruby eyes, suspended from thick chains around his neck, swayed hypnotically across his alabaster skin as he moved. His
face creased into one of the half smiles I remembered so well and I knew he was coming for me.

I swallowed hard when he crouched to put a hand on the floor of the stage and leapt to stand in the aisle in front of me in one fluid, catlike movement, his stare never wavering. He stalked towards me and reached for my hand before I had time to let out the breath I'd been holding. He leaned over my seat, blocking the glare from the gaudily lit stage and sending his large frame into near silhouette. Yet his kaleidoscope eyes still sparkled, their dark blue flecked with gold and brown, reflecting the soft glow of the house lights.
I experienced a moment of déjà vu. If I had the power to look away, I wouldn't have been surprised to find I was still a sophomore, sitting next to that empty seat in English class, waiting with pounding heart and baited breath for him to walk in to the room.

Nathan's dark, shoulder length hair fell forward when he reached down for me, casting his pale, almost Messianic features, wide mouth and high cheekbones into stark relief. His touch on the back of my hand sent a sizzle up my arm, kick starting my brain into action and my heart into a sprint.

“Pick someone else,” I hissed at him, trying to warn him off  with the kind of stern look that worked on the perps back home. Except here, I didn't have the uniform, my gun and a shield to back it up. He simply smiled, and wrapped his palm around my wrist. I resisted the pull but his fingers gripped tighter, gentle yet firm, and I had no choice but to comply. I stumbled and put my free hand against his chest to steady myself, snatching it back when Nathan's hot, slick skin burned my palm.

“Don’t you trust me?" The deep, honeyed tones of his voice still had the power to mesmerize and before I could gather my wits and repeat a plea to be left alone, he turned to the audience. “Come on, Ladies and Gentlemen, give her some encouragement.”

The Vegas crowd, already very impressed by Nathan’s brand of New Age magic, and high from too much sun and free booze, erupted into rapturous applause.

This is what you came for, stupid!

I tried to ignore the taunts of my inner, angst ridden teenager, the one who had never gotten over the loss of Nathan – the one who had taunted me into coming here tonight with a plan to seduce him. The one who hadn't allowed for the fact that Nathan's magnetism might have multiplied so much so, that I would still feel like a gawky kid beside him.

The captain had insisted I take some time off until the shrink said I was fit for duty. I should have known to keep my mouth shut about the voice I'd heard, but post traumatic stress robbed me of my common sense I suppose. A month spent sitting at home watching daytime TV drove me stir crazy, so I followed the wild impulse to get out of Seattle and leapt on to the next available flight to anywhere. Until I saw his name on the billboards lining the route to my hotel from the airport, I didn't know Nathan would be here too. Random luck had brought me to Vegas, but now I was here...and he was here and, well, maybe everything happened for a reason.

"Don't be scared, Jess. I'll look after you."

Nathan's breath caressed my cheek and I started, surprised to find him so close. Jess. Nobody had called me that for years. Not since the summer after he'd left town, taking my heart with him, and I'd forbidden anyone from uttering that word ever again. To hear my old name on his lips took me back in a way nothing else ever could. For a moment, just for the briefest second, the glitz and glamour of Vegas faded away and all I could see was the mysterious and enigmatic young man with the spiky hair and the sad smile who had ignored my fragile teenage heart up until about six months before he moved away.

"What do I have to do?" I whispered, conscious of the strangers watching our every move.

"Just help tie me up, that's all." A suggestive glint in Nathan's eyes did nothing to make me feel better, despite the enticing image of him bound and at my mercy that flashed into my mind. His gaze flicked over me and I prayed the hot weather hadn't frizzed my hair. Taming my unruly curls into a sleek sheet of burnished bronze had not been easy. But I'd wanted to look good without coming across like I'd tried too hard, and smooth, sexy hair, tight but not too obvious black jeans and a simple white peasant blouse had been all I could come up with at such short notice.

"I don't remember you being this much of a wuss at school."

I didn't let the challenge slide. "I'm still braver than you, Cain."

The corner of his mouth hitched up into another quirky grin and his fingers tightened around mine. "I've told you before, Jess, people with brown eyes shouldn’t try to tell lies."

A thundering guitar riff tore out of the speakers, filling the theatre with sound and leaving no chance to protest further or come up with the kind of sassy reply I wanted to give him. Acting like a frightened little virgin wasn't part of the plan. Okay, so I didn't actually have a plan, but if I did, squirming like a bug under a microscope definitely wouldn't be part of it.

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Unique story concept for a paranormal. Love it!