The day is almost here, you guys, and the real countdown has begun. As promised last week, the rest of Chapter 1 of Power is below. (You can find the first half here.) First, a few things…
Confessions of a Bookaholic and A Life Bound by Books are hosting Indie/Small Press Month and to kickoff Power’s launch, I’m their author of the week! Yesterday we had a little interview with a bit of a tease and tomorrow they have questions for Alexis, Tristan and Owen. Friday will be a giveaway. So go check it out!
I’ve been getting tons of questions about the release as far as timing, formats, pre-orders, etc., so tomorrow I’ll be posting all the info you need to know.
This weekend, my publisher and I “holed up” together to go over last-minute proofs, and we figured, what better place to isolate ourselves than on Captiva Island, the main setting of Power. We spent the majority of our time in the rental, glancing longingly at the beach from our balcony in between chapters, but we did have a couple of chances to get out. Girls gotta eat, after all. So I have a few pictures to share from my visit with Alexis, Tristan and the gang.
The excerpt comes after the pictures, so if you’re not up-to-date on reading, stop scrolling unless you want to be spoiled.
|Could be Alexis and Tristan’s house on Sanibel Island?
|The coffee shop where Blossom’s vampire-barista-love interest works.
|The new Captiva safe house! Nice, eh?
|Finally, the couple themselves – they were a little shy about their beach hair. Bahahaha!
Now, for the rest of Chapter 1 of Power, Book Four in the Soul Savers Series, releasing August 24th…
Tristan, they’re here!I yelled at him as I ran toward the club.
I stopped at the door, waiting for him to come out, and wondering if I should somehow get the outside loiterers indoors to safety. My heart pounded, but rather than feeling scared as I always had in the past, I actually felt excitement as the adrenaline pumped through my veins. I hadn’t been in a fight in ages—in fact, I wore my leathers and carried my dagger for the first time tonight since last September. I palmed the hilt of my cloaked dagger and a burst of power surged through me, as if the weapon knew it was finally released from its spot in the boring closet and returned to where it belonged: in my hand. For the first time ever, I felt like the warrior I was supposed to be, every bit as powerful as Tristan.
But that didn’t mean I didn’t want him with me. So why did I sense him still inside, as if nothing was going on out here?
Tristan! Get your ass out here.
I felt out for the Daemoni as I waited. They hadn’t moved yet from where they’d flashed onto the island, close to the shore on the far side of the nightclub. And a new signature popped right into the middle of them. A familiar one, although we hadn’t heard from its owner since he disappeared after the trial. The sounds of a fight broke out immediately. Vanessa’s mind signature finally moved at an inhuman speed.
Owen’s here! He’s fighting them by himself. Let’s go!
Confident that would get Tristan’s attention, I bounced on the balls of my feet with impatience, but he didn’t come flying through the door. What the hell was he doing? Was he really that distracted? I couldn’t stand here doing nothing anymore. I ran toward the fight, Vanessa close behind me. Ah, crap. She was herding me right toward the cluster of Daemoni.
I stopped, ready to take her on by herself. But she blurred right past me. Surely she had to have smelled me, but she didn’t even hesitate. She headed straight for the others.
I stood in the middle of the dark street, flabbergasted for a moment. But I knew what I had to do—I couldn’t let Owen fight unassisted. My heart raced harder and my hand shook a little as my thumb slid over the stone in the dagger’s hilt to expose the weapon. It would be stupid to do this alone, but if Tristan didn’t get his act together, I’d lose the opportunity to recover my pendant and my protector.
“You are not alone.”
I nearly jumped out of my skin at the sound of the soft woman’s voice in my head, vaguely familiar but not mine. However, it wasn’t attached to any mind signature around. And although the internal voice didn’t belong to me, I somehow knew it came from inside me.
“You have what you need within you, Alexis. I am here.”
The voice did anything but comfort me. Memories of Psycho and Swirly Alexis came to mind instead, and I wondered if I was losing my sanity again. I’d slowly but surely become used to voices in my head since the Ang’dora, but this was different. I released my hold on the dagger’s hilt and massaged my temples.
Get a grip. You’re just panicking.
I drew in a deep breath and blew it out slowly. The voice didn’t return. Hopefully, it had been some strange fluke, my subconscious finding a different way to try to calm me. My mind remained quiet, even as I reached out again to track the nearby mind signatures.
The fight between Owen and the Daemoni had escalated, and Vanessa was about to land in the middle of it all. A yelp of pain in the voice of my protector shot through the quiet night, and my body immediately responded.
Tristan, I’m going in without you! I called out as my legs carried me down the street. I reached out to the other Amadis soldiers, as well, ordering them to join us. Tristan finally appeared by my side. Owen, we’re coming!
“Leave me alone, Alexis!” Owen barked in my mind just as we rounded the corner to the fight. Just as the Amadis appeared, too. And just as the Daemoni flashed out of sight, Owen on their trails, and Vanessa on his. But we were physically too far away to catch hers.
“Owen!” I screamed as I reached out for their mind signatures. They were gone. Not on the island at all. They could be anywhere in a 100-mile radius. I spun on Tristan and pounded him with my fists. “Where were you?” I yelled at him. “What the hell is wrong with you? If you’d been here—”
He grabbed my wrists and pulled me to him, and the rest of the Amadis slipped away into the shadows, not wanting to be a part of this. “I know, ma lykita. I’m sorry.”
I jerked backwards out of his grasp. “You’re sorry? Don’t you think you took that ‘let’s pretend we’re not together’ thing a little too far? And now Owen and Vanessa and my pendant are gone. Again! It’ll probably be another eight months before we get another chance, Tristan. Eight. Months!” I threw my hands in the air with my violent frustration. “Actually, we’ll be lucky to ever see Owen again considering what he just flung himself into. What the hell, Tristan?”
He looked at me with guilt-filled hazel eyes, the gold flecks dim. He scrubbed his hands over his face and exhaled slowly.
“I don’t know.” He rolled his neck and his shoulders, then stared at something off to the side, avoiding eye contact with me. His jaw muscle twitched. “An off night for me, I guess.”
“An off night?” I echoed, my words dripping with venom. “You don’t have off nights! You are the warrior who’s supposed to be ready for anything and everything. Remember that? Besides, you sure didn’t look off to me. In fact, you looked to be pretty onwith all those women.”
His gaze returned to me. “I admit I lost focus, but not because of them. Because of you. I didn’t like the damn act, especially when that guy put his hands on you. Then I was pissed and … I don’t know. Not right.”
“We’re supposed to be a team, Tristan. I need you.”
He pressed his lips together and nodded. Whatever had happened in that nightclub, he knew he’d been wrong. But he obviously had nothing else to say, so I broke my eyes from his, and my gaze traveled around the street where we stood. Stucco houses glowed white in the moonlight, and many flights of stairs twisted and wound around the homes, leading to those at the top of the hill. Not a single person sat outside on the various verandas and rooftops; no one climbed the steps. I opened my mind but Daemoni and Amadis alike were gone.
“Let’s just go,” I said with a sigh that sounded more like a groan.
I didn’t know what to think about Tristan’s behavior. We were on a mission. How could Tristan—Tristan, the experienced warrior—become so distracted? We’d fought side-by-side before. He couldn’t blame me, especially when he pretty much ignored me when I needed him most. But what else could have been going on?
We flashed to right outside the Amadis Island’s shield, then swam the rest of the way in. The physical exertion quieted my anger and frustration with Tristan, and then I completely forgot about it when a new idea occurred to me.
“Were they there for Owen?” I asked once we stood on the beach of the Amadis Island, dripping wet. I’d thought Vanessa was corralling me into the arms of the enemy, but she’d shown no interest in me. Had Owen been the one they wanted? But why? “What if …?”
I couldn’t finish the thought of what may have happened to him.
“I’ve told you before. Scarecrow can handle himself,” Tristan said, taking my hand. “Remember, he’s pretty damn powerful, even for a warlock.”
How could I forget? His extraordinary power was exactly why he was gone. He’d disappeared the day he learned the source of all his power: Kali, the evil sorceress whose spirit had taken over the body of Owen’s father, Martin.
I shook my head. “I still don’t get it. Why would he throw himself into the middle of so many of them? I don’t care how great he is, that was plain stupid.”
Tristan gave me a look, wordlessly reminding me I’d just about done the same thing. “You know why. He still needs time.”
I let out a harrumph. Everyone, including Mom, kept saying Owen was a grown man and needed to work things out the way he felt was right. Although the Amadis had rules, each member had free will. Well, everyone but us daughters, since the council tried to control us at every chance they could, but we’re a different story. As for Owen, if he wanted to abandon us to deal with his own issues, he could choose to do so. And apparently, that’s what he chose, still. But, he’d been so close to home. There had to have been a reason he showed up on that island tonight. He had to have been thinking of coming back. But if that were true, why would he follow the Daemoni when they’d left the island?
I kicked a stray rock on the path from the beach to the mansion, thinking about how much I missed my protector, my friend. Tristan missed him, too, I knew, and Dorian constantly asked about his uncle. But the way Owen had snapped at me earlier—he didn’t sound worried about my safety. Rather, he made sure I knew the door to his life remained closed. Why did he shut us all out when he needed us most? Because he’s a man. That’s all I could figure.
As we walked into the mansion, I expected to find it quiet and dark with Mom sitting in Rina’s quarters and Bree staying with Lilith. Dorian slept in his room—I sensed his dreaming mind signature. But Mom wasn’t in Rina’s suite. She came rushing from the sitting room, tears streaming down her face.
“Alexis, Tristan,” she croaked, her wet eyes flitting between us. Her hand covered her mouth as she shook her head. Mom rarely cried. Something was terribly wrong, and considering both Rina and Lilith had been on the brink of death for so many months, it wasn’t hard to guess what. And Mom had been down here, waiting for us, while Bree was noticeably absent.
“Oh, my God,” I whispered. Tristan’s arm around me was the only thing keeping me upright as my knees gave out from under me. Whatever had happened between him and me tonight became a distant memory—we would need each other in the days to come.