Sunday 11 December 2011

Excerpt from Sinful...

As soon as Abe stepped out into the bright sun, she felt the intensity of Sebastian’s gaze on her. It itched at her skin until she couldn’t help but roll her shoulders. If he stayed this close to her, they’d never make it out of this without hitting the wall she so desperately wanted to avoid.

Sometimes, she wondered why the hell she listened to Liv in the first place. Maybe her older cousin’s control over the organization had started to blind her in other departments. As much as she loved her, things had always come so easily to Liv. That she’d offered up Sebastian so quickly for this endeavor should’ve roused Abe’s suspicion, but she was beyond desperate. If Lloyd didn’t completely disappear from her life soon, she would go insane.

There are already too many things on my plate to add insanity to the mix. Not that the authorities wouldn’t label her delusional and completely insane, already.

“Hey,” Sebastian said casually as he took a drag from the cigarette between his fingers. The soft, warm breeze swept those long strands of dark hair off his forehead long enough for her to gaze into his eyes. He closed one eye as he exhaled some of the smoke.

She crossed her arms and faced him, trying very hard not to give in to the urge to tap her foot or to think about just how stunning his eyes were. She lived in a damn mansion, but everywhere she went, Sebastian happened to be there. Was it pure coincidence, or was he going out of his way to corner her?

Knowing what she’d become, she couldn’t help but feel like it was the latter. Did he have to make smoking—something she usually abhorred—look so sexy? Standing against the wall and wearing his bright red T-shirt and faded jeans showed off just how fine a male specimen he was.

She needed to get her mind out of the gutter before she did something stupid.

Abe took a shallow breath. “What are you doing up here?”

“It’s nice to see you, too,” Sebastian said with a grin. He flicked the cigarette over the side of the roof, making some of the ash fly into a swirl in the air. “Did you get your business all taken care of?”

“Not exactly.” Shit, why had she admitted that?

He took a step forward, interested. “Really? Anything I can help you with?”

If you’ve got a magnet strong enough to lure spirits that refuse to abide by the rules, then sure. By all means help me. Of course, she couldn’t say that. “No, I’ll work it out.”


“You’ve got a lovely garden up here.” He motioned at the many rosebushes crowding the other side of the roof.

They were her pride and joy, roses in every color. All perfect and beautiful, even when their cycle of life was complete, and she used them for other things. A way to recycle or reincarnate living things, just as she hoped was the result of her intervention with human spirits.

“Thanks. This is where I find my solace.” She unfolded her arms. “It’s where I come to get away from everything and everyone.”

“Oh, right. I understand.” He threw the cigarette on the stones near his feet, squashed it with his shoe, picked it up, and slung it over the side of the roof. Sebastian’s legs were so long that one more step, and he’d almost reached her. He never took his eyes off hers. “Let me get out of your way, then.”

Abe sighed as he walked past. She hadn’t wanted to but caught his hand before he left. An electric shock ran up her fingers, and she dropped it. Shit he’s so cold. “You don’t have to go.”

As Sebastian turned to look at her, he rubbed the hand she’d touched against his jeans. “Are you sure?”

She shrugged. “It’s refreshing to see someone else up here. Ryu and Kimi don’t like to leave the house much.” That they preferred the darkness and isolation this place offered seemed to be an understatement. The truth was much more sinister. Neither of the twins could just up and go anywhere—not without being properly released first. When Haru passed away, he’d given Abe everything he owned. His children had been part of his property. If she hadn’t laid ownership to them, someone else could’ve taken them. Haru hadn’t wanted their custody to fall into the wrong hands.

“This is the second time I’ve been up here. It’s peaceful.” A cloud of darkness crossed over his eyes for a split second and faded just as quickly.

“Oh?” She raised an eyebrow in question. Most of the time she locked the roof door, even if the key was easily accessible in her office. That it had been open when she’d gotten up here hadn’t even occurred to her until now. Maybe Kimiko had unlocked it for her. It was the kind of details she took care of. “Was the door open when you came up?”

He nodded. “It was open last night, too.”

Now, she had no idea what he meant. If there was one time when access was locked, it was during the night. In spite of the wards and guards she’d paid dearly to have installed around the grounds, other things could still manipulate their way in. The Crosse Funeral Home attracted a lot of attention. Mostly from those in need of their specialized skills, but there were others who lurked nearby for malicious reasons. Lloyd had been one of those.

“You were up here last night?”

“Well, technically I suppose it was this morning.”

Abe couldn’t stand the buzz his proximity roused along her skin. She headed toward the roses, instantly inhaling the precious, sweet scent of them. The smell calmed her nerves and momentarily made her forget about all of the problems needing her attention. She had to get Jack Kowski back to perform her duty before his burial the next morning, had to keep her distance from Sebastian, ensure Lloyd was gone once and for all, and of course needed to get into the right state of mind to perform the ritual that would ease the chunk of her problems.

She closed her eyes for a second, swaying when an undercurrent of rotten stench raced up her nose. Where the hell’s that coming from? She took a quick step back. Her eyes flew open, but she nearly collapsed to the ground. A sharp pain pierced her chest, as if someone had just taken a piece of her heart. If strong hands hadn’t wrapped around the back of her arms, she’d have gone down for sure.

Her breath came in spurts. Quick breaths helped her calm down long enough to whisper, “Thanks.”

Sebastian’s grip on her arm was firm but gentle. He stood so close behind her, she could feel his chest against her back. His breath was warm on her neck, and that electrifying sensation rocked her body. She couldn’t resist his touch, not even with the clothes between them. The thorns beneath her skin moved in fast succession. So quickly that if she looked down at the fitted sleeves, she knew the spiked ends would already be piercing the fabric. If the thorns pricked Sebastian and drew blood, they’d be headed for disaster.

“Are you okay?”

She nodded. “Sure. You can let go now, but thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Sebastian stepped closer. His hands lingered on her arms, while his smoky breath sped up. “If you ever need my help, just call on me,” he whispered near her ear.

A shiver of delight raced down her spine. “I’ll remember that.” Abe wanted—no, needed—to push him off her. The sensations he roused would soon manifest in the swirl of uncontrollable lust already winding up from her lower abdomen. If he didn’t get away from her soon, she’d have no choice but to throw herself at him. Then, her desired plan wouldn’t happen, because once she got physically involved with this man, she wouldn’t be able to force the horrid plan she intended for him.

He suddenly yanked both hands away from her and swore.

Abe looked over her shoulder. Sebastian was staring at his fingers, raising one to his mouth. She spun around and smacked it away before he could taste the blood. “Don’t lick it!”

“Shit, what the hell just happened?”

She sucked in a breath that almost winded her. If the thorns didn’t dissipate soon, he’d know something terrible was going on with her. “Did you skim one of the thorns?”

His brow creased, and he looked from her to the roses and back again. “I suppose…though I wasn’t standing that close to the bushes. What happened to you? Are you sure you’re okay? Why the hell did you just hit me?”

“I’m sorry, but if you were scratched by one of the thorns and licked the blood, you might get sick. I use powerful stuff to keep the pests away.” There, that wasn’t such a stretch. She did use powerful pesticide, though the thorns that had broken his skin were from her body and not the flowers.

He gave her a quizzical look. “Are you sure you’re okay? You looked like you were about to pass out.”

She nodded, widening the gap between them and reaching for the comfort of a pink rose petal. “I’m fine. Sometimes, I get a little woozy after I…” What was the point of finishing the thought? If Abe wasn’t careful, she’d be spilling all of her secrets to him. “You said that you came up here last night? Why?”

SINFUL is now available in eBook, Kindle and paperback.

::: If you enjoyed this excerpt, be the first to send me an email (click on the Contact Me tab) to let me know... and I'll send you a copy of the whole eBook. But you have to be quick, this is only for the first person who contacts me :::

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