At long last, I’ve finally found the courage to post another #teasertuesday! I won’t lie, I’ve struggled the past couple of months with finding the inspiration and will-power to post anything concerning my work/writing life. For at least the first few weeks after cancelling my pub-plans for 2020, I just couldn’t bring myself to write a single word. I wasn’t too worried, though. The writing bug always comes back eventually. Over the last month, I did a lot of facing the facts and discovered along the way I still love this. I love writing, and reading, and being part of the bookish community. So I don’t plan on stopping, not ever.
This winter, I’ll be participating yet again in the Days of Fantasy for Christmas book event I helped start with Prism Book Tours. Since I re-released an upgraded version of Stay last May, I decided to enter the event with it in Dec. Which brings me back to why we’re revisiting Stay today. 🙂 Stay was a stand-alone, but I still plan to expand the story into what will be the Cursed Gods series. So prepare yourselves for wonderfully confused gods and the mortals that bedazzle them. Enjoy today’s teaser!
Stay (Cursed Gods #1)
Time often passed me in leaps and jumps. I do not know how long I sat there, pressed against the building after the last car had gone. The sky had shifted color, however, behind that thick veil of gray to a hidden dawn. Still I rested deep in my memories, the closest I could come to dreaming.
Despair was the color of my nightmares. I realized then that I was still shivering, and the recognition hit me with a cloud of terror. I could feel the cold. Staring at the vacant street in a numb shock, I was too afraid to ponder why.
Chloe called to him before he walked out, “Don’t be jealous ’cause the boss likes my breasts and not yours.” She laughed loudly.
“Last chance to catch a ride with me, Chloe.”
“And chance being stuck with you for more than ten hours? In your dreams, big guy. Later!”
My skin tingled the nearer he came and burned with an inner fire once Cain stepped out the front door into the storm. Snow had caked my cloak with a fine layer of white dust. Had I not lived at the edge of the emerald sea in my human years, I would have thought to be afraid.
From the safety of my hood, I took him in. He was coated by a heavy leather jacket, a skin-tight woolen cap, scarf, and gloves he was currently blowing warmth into. Shaking out his limbs in a way that was entirely too familiar, Cain turned his head and froze. I flinched when his gaze found mine. How could he see through my cloak again? I should compel him to look away, but I didn’t want him to look away.
Gather your senses!
While I struggled to find my sanity, Cain drew closer and startled me by the sound of his voice. “Miss? What are you still doing out here?” Glancing down the street, he shook his head. I could feel his frustration. “You know it’s already twenty below? You’re gonna freeze if we don’t get you home.”
Tilting my chin up to meet him, I felt the snow graze my bare skin and gasped at the sensation. I pushed my cloak aside and held my bare arm out to feel the wind slide through my fingers.
“Are you wearing anything underneath that cloak of yours?” he asked. When I didn’t answer, he grasped his head in his hands and let them slide down his cheeks with a frustrated groan.
I kept my hand outstretched and spoke, my voice raspy with disuse. “Can you feel it? It’s so cold.”
“She speaks after all,” he said with wide eyes. His smile turned inward and tugged one corner of his mouth into an upturned grin. “Yes, it’s cold—damned cold—meaning you’ll freeze to death if we don’t get you some shelter.”
Something in his words surged inside of me and gave me the energy to stand. Before I could take another step, he was there, clutching me around the waist and helping me out of the drift. I turned and found the stubble on his strong jaw with my fingertips and smiled.
Cain’s jaw slackened, and he blinked rapidly before finding his voice again. “Can I help you get a cab at least?” He sounded doubtful, as though he already knew I had nowhere to go but with him.
Certainty claimed my conscience at the thought.
This is the answer, to go with him.
He pushed me back by the shoulders so he could look me in the eye and offered another grin. “Guess that’s a no, huh?” His brow furrowed when I shivered. “You’re freezing…” His hands moved to pull mine from my cloak and began to rub them down.
His warmth sank through his gloves and into my skin. There was a moment when our eyes met and he seemed to question his actions. Confusion was pushed aside by determination in the end. In him I saw for the briefest of moments, for the first time in a century, the strength of men.
“I’m Cain, by the way.”
He paused after but didn’t press for my name. I watched him fight the war within himself. Would he leave me here? Could I even follow him now I was beginning to feel again? My eyes fell to our joined hands, where his thumb brushed slow circles over my upturned palms. My shiver came not from the cold then.
“So,” he began, almost nervously, “I don’t normally do this, but…would you want to come with me? My place ain’t much, but it’s warmer than this.”
I smiled at this impossible human and said, “Yes.”
to be continued…