Here is a sneak peek of Forbidden Fire, book #2 of the Forbidden Series. This will be available on March 27th, 2012 from Evolved Publishing, but I will be posting a few *unedited* chapters here to tease you!
Chapter 1: Sam
The warmth of Drake’s lips against mine sent spirals of butterflies fluttering in my stomach. His strong arms tightened around me just enough to make me feel safe without stealing all the air from my lungs. I rested my cheek against his chest and breathed in his unique scent—part campfire, part wind. Everything about that moment in our bed felt right… until the butterflies in my stomach turned into angry bees bent on killing me.
My legs itched with unseen bugs crawling through them; I couldn’t keep them still. Hot and cold, my body fluctuated between extremes as it tried to find a temperature to settle on. I opened my mouth to speak, but my throat refused to comply.
“Drake!” My mind called to him even as my body pushed away from his.
He held onto me, refusing to let me squirm away into my own misery. “Sam, what’s wrong?”
I tried to speak out loud again, but couldn’t. “I don’t know. Something is happening to me. Something isn’t… right.”
Drops of sweat trickled down my forehead and stung my eyes. I shivered and clutched at Drake. My hands wrapped around his inhumanly strong muscles as if trying to absorb their strength.
His hand dropped to my swollen belly and he switched to our mental mind link. ‘Is it our baby?’
My mental whimper made me cringe, but I couldn’t help it. My body had been invaded by aliens. I wanted to tear my skin off and crawl out of myself. A ball of anxiety grew in my chest, smothering any of the peace I had felt just moments before. “It’s not my stomach, it’s everywhere. Like a poison or… Ahhhh!”
The pain that ripped through me swallowed up all thoughts of words. If I hadn’t already been lying in bed with Drake, I would have crashed to the floor. A vague need clawed at me—some unnamable craving that made no sense to my mind but had captured the needs of my body.
Some thing was missing, and the absence of it sent my nervous system into chaos.
Drake covered me with a blanket and pressed his cool hand against my head. “I’m really freaking out here, Sam. You’re pale, clammy and you can’t stop shaking. I don’t know what to do. I think I should take you to the hospital.” His blue eyes tightened in worry.
I spoke through chattering teeth. “You can’t. Baby. Experiments. They might take me away.”
How to sum up all of my fears? My mind didn’t have the clarity of thought to tell him why this was such a bad idea. I had spent my whole life in a lie. At the Rent-A-Kid center where I grew up, I thought my paranormal ability to read minds was being used for good… mostly. Sure, some of my clients didn’t have the moral high ground, but neither did my targets with their perverse lies and false lives. I was a spy-for-hire to the rich and powerful and I had been one of the best at my job. At school, I was cared for and given the best of everything—education, food, clothes, living environment—and I had the best of friends and a purpose.
When I turned eighteen, I had a whole life waiting for me at Sarah Lawrence College. But none of it was real. They used me and my body as a tool to breed more paranormal kids. I had been raped—not literally—but for all intents and purposes. They had artificially inseminated me against my will and locked me up in a clinic. If it hadn’t been for Drake, I’d have never gotten out.
Drake and I had met telepathically, after they kidnapped and imprisoned him at my school. We had fallen in love before ever meeting in person. Through him, I had learned how to not only read minds, but control them—a gift I often wished I could give back. But it had saved us. We were free… but hunted.
We couldn’t go to a hospital where we might be reported or discovered. It was too risky.
I didn’t realize he had gone until he came back with a cool washcloth and pressed it against my forehead. “If you aren’t feeling better soon, we’re going to the hospital. I’ll do whatever it takes to keep you safe and get you out of there, if it comes to that.” He towered over me, muscles bulging, his spiky blond hair disheveled from our recent make-out session that now seemed so long ago.
My body shuddered, and not just because of my symptoms. Whatever it takes could mean a lot of things to Drake… including—but not limited to—physical violence and total mind control. The darkness of his paranormal talents scared me and seduced me in equal measure.
Time held no meaning as my mind darted in and out of memories. Past and present collided to create a full-sensory collage out of my life. Playing hide-n-seek with Luke (who always cheated by walking through walls when he was about to be caught) and Lucy… Mr. Caldrin critiquing my sketches and offering ideas to make them more realistic… targets changing faces, blending into the same person, their thoughts rippling through my mind like waves. Through it all, a demon stalked me in the shadows of my memories, never quite showing its face but instilling fear and foreboding nonetheless.
And then I dreamed…
The needle plunges into me, tearing through skin in one small, sharp poke. Yellow fluid drains from the vial and into my veins…
I float outside my body and see a younger version myself sitting on the hospital bed. My brown hair is longer, a child’s cut with blunted bangs and pigtails. My blue eyes look brighter, more innocent. “Why do I have to get this all the time? What does it do?”
Dr. Sato also looks younger, though very old to my child-self, her Asian features smooth and pronounced, her white coat and stilted accent forever the same. “You not get it all the time. Only every three months. It vitamin. It make you strong and healthy. Make you feel good.”
I struggle to slip into her thoughts, but it doesn’t work. It’s all mumbo-jumbo, the sounds foreign and harsh to my young mind. I have not yet learned the languages of others, except for one or two common ones. Her Japanese dialect is not common, and no amount of mind reading will change the fact that I cannot understand her words. Trying only gives me a headache.
And then it’s okay. I don’t mind not knowing—not hearing her thoughts. All is well.
Time slips forward and again I am in a hospital bed, only this time I am older… and unconscious. My legs are spread. A male doctor I’ve never seen sticks something inside me—
I scream. And scream. And scream.
But no one hears.
My sleeping form does not wake.
“Sam. Sam! Wake up.”
Fingers dug into my shoulders, pulling me from my dream fragments. Ghostly hands clawed at my mind and tried to carry me back into my nightmares, but Drake’s hold on me didn’t waver. His mind probed into mine; my consciousness had no choice but to wake up and take control.
My throat cracked when I spoke. “How long have I been asleep?”
He sat at the edge of the bed and kissed my head. “A few hours.”
“I feel worse than before I fell asleep. Like I ran a marathon on a hangover.”
He smiled. “You’ve never had a hangover, how would you know?”
I raised an eyebrow at him. “I don’t have to get drunk to know the aftermath doesn’t feel so great. Intelligent people learn lessons without having to make all the mistakes. Unlike some… who think that chugging beer through—what do you call those things? Beer hats?—is a genius thing to do.”
“That’s the last time I tell you any of my secrets.”
“Drake, I can read your mind. It’s not likely you’ll be able to keep them from me.”
“True. Speaking of reading minds… yours was screaming at me while you slept. Then you actually started screaming. What were you dreaming, hon?”
Only bits and pieces of my dream remained. The terror, the invasiveness… but no details. Something nudged at the back of my memory, though. An important piece of the puzzle that my subconscious mind needed me to remember.
“I think I’m hungry. Or thirsty. Or… something.” What? What did I need to feel better? I resisted the urge to scratch the skin off my restless legs, but it was so hard. Everything ached. Everything had a wrongness about it.
Drake left to get me food. I forced myself out of our Queen sized bed and made my way to the bathroom. I splashed warm water over my face and mentally listed my symptoms. Dizziness. Restless legs. Nausea. Anxiety. Shakiness. It was time for Google.
When Drake returned with a turkey sandwich, a salad and water, I was propped up in bed with the laptop on my legs.
My search results revealed a lot of bizarre stuff. But the most relevant answer?