EXCERPT #1: GABY & LEILA, SNOQUALMIE FALLS, WASHINGTON
Some days it just didn’t pay to be dead.
“It’s not fair,” Gaby panted as Leila pulled ahead on the hillside. All those hours as the victim of Bill-the-Hun on her BodiesByBill exercise tapes and she was eating Leila’s dust? Of course that hole in her side wasn’t helping things. And – was blood squishing into those overpriced new trainers Leila had insisted they buy?
Behind them she could hear the disciplined beat of pursuit. Well, sure they can concentrate on chasing us; they don’t have to worry about how to get blood out of $240 sneakers.
“Do something,” begged Leila.
“I’m an accountant,” gasped Gaby. What does she want me to do? I could give the IRS an anonymous tip, but satisfying as it might be to contemplate those guys having to cough up receipts for our murder during the audit, I don’t think it’s going to get us out of this.
Leila was several yards ahead of her by now, the trees giving way to the sheer drop of the cliff ahead, with the roar from the falls just beyond.
“I’ve got you Leila.” The voice echoed from beyond the cliff face. “Trust me.”
“Thomas!” Without breaking stride Leila ran straight for the cliff edge and leaped.
Come on. Who trusts someone enough to leap into space?
“Gaby-mine.” Luic’s smoky velvet voice called out as the first shots kicked up the dirt beside her. Without thought, Gaby dove for the cliff edge. She almost enjoyed the moments of free-fall before his arms surrounded her.
“Hell agrees with you,” he grunted. “I think you’ve gained weight.” He went into a swooping glide before his wings pumped, pulling them upward.
“If you do that again,” Gaby warned, “I’m going to be lighter after I throw up. And, come on Luic. Wings? That’s just so wrong.”
“I got them when I was commissioned.” He spread them for another showy glide. “What do you think?”
“I think the puking sounds better and better.”
His chest shook with laughter under her cheek. “You’re taking this a lot better than I expected. I’m surprised you jumped to me.”
“Two reasons,” she muttered into his neck. “First of all, I’ve been dreaming of falling for the past five years. And usually I die in those dreams. Again.”
“And second,” Gaby pointed out, “if you can’t trust the angel you killed, you might as well give up.”
In honor of Valentines Day, I took part in Heather Webb’s Where’s the Love? blog-hop by posting a scene between Leila and Thomas.Scene Intro: Fleeing midnight assailants a year ago, 18-year-old Leila and 19-year-old Thomas, her assigned Protector, stumbled onto a Null City Metro train bound for the year 1890. Charged one year of their lives as train fare, they’ve spent that year pretending to be brother and sister. ****
Hurry, she wanted to tell him. But he was her careful Thomas. Each button he opened had to have the skin it revealed thoroughly kissed. She thought she would scream by the time he finally spread open the sides of her blouse and pushed it from her shoulders. He froze.
Sucking in about half the room’s oxygen, he managed to pull away from her.
“No.” She blinked up at him and moaned. “Not the Protector face. You can’t seriously be considering…”
“Maybe we should stop.” Gripping each arm of her chair, he lurched to his feet.
Before he could say anything, she launched from the chair in a rush that ended with her arms around his neck and his own arms closing helplessly around her. “I’ve been thinking about this for the past year.”
He still looked worried. “Have you ever…”
Leila laughed as she pulled him into the bedroom. “Thomas! Focus.”
He lay beside her and he was her Thomas, so carefully stroking her, telling her silly things like how much he liked her belly button, and then kissing it and moaning and repeating he really liked her belly button.
She woke in the middle of the night spooned against him, his big hand splayed over her stomach. Very carefully so she wouldn’t wake him, she pressed a soft kiss to the pillow next to his face. “I trust you, Thomas.”
In the moonlight his eyes gleamed silver. “Then don’t waste those kisses.” He laughed and pulled her mouth to his.
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