Thursday, April 24, 2014

Teaser #1 for The Decaying Empire

Before I get to the meat of this post, I wanted to thank each and every one of you who left a review for The Vanishing Girl! As an author, there is nothing better to receive than feedback—both positive and critical—on our work, and reviews function as a type of currency in the literary world, so yay, more gold bits for The Vanishing Girl! ;)

Now onto the good stuff. Below I’ve inserted the first two scenes for The Decaying Empire as my first teaser. More teasers to come in the future, but I hope this quenches your thirst for the moment. I hope you enjoy!

(By the way, I apologize in advance for some of the weird line breaks below. Something got lost in translation when I copied the text to my website. I tried meddling with it, which only made it worse—go figure.)

The Decaying Empire: Teaser #1 

*Warning* these scenes are unedited and are subject to change. 


It felt like surfacing from a deep abyss. The darkness gradually lightening, the freeze inside me slowly thawing. Fingers and toes began to twitch. I’d forgotten they were there to begin with.
“She’s coming out of it.” The voice sounded far away, as though I was hearing it through water.
My body felt heavy and stiff, and my mind was slow and sluggish. But with each passing moment, they moved a little faster. Then my eyelids fluttered, and light filtered in and out.
It felt like … resurrection.
I ordered my eyes to open. It didn’t immediately happen, but once it did, they focused on the plain white ceiling and the florescent lights glaring down at me. I registered the shadowy silhouettes surrounding me for a split second.
And then I disappeared.

I blinked a few times, confused. Cool air brushed against my bare skin. I was naked and curled up on my side in someone’s room. I pushed myself up with my arms and brushed away locks of my hair. Absently I noted that it was longer than I remembered.
I heard someone curse behind me, and then the sound of footfalls as they walked towards me. That voice … it was familiar, and it had my heart speeding up.

I threw a glance over my shoulder and locked eyes on a devastatingly handsome man. Devastatingly handsome. It was a term Ava and I used to describe especially attractive men. Ava. My friend. The information surfaced from somewhere deep inside me, and I filed it away to analyze later.
The guy stopped in his tracks. His eyes widened and he inhaled sharply. A beat passed before he spoke. “Ember?” he whispered a name—my name, I realized—like it was a prayer, his voice both fearful and reverent.

A sense of deja vu washed over me as I heard his voice and drank in each of his familiar features. His golden hair, his tan skin, and his muscular body, which seemed even larger than I remembered it. The dimples that should’ve decorated his cheeks.
I remember. 
This man, I knew his secrets; I shared his pain.
I loved him.
His name came to me, and with it, the feeling of pure happiness. “Caden.” My voice was hoarse from disuse, but I savored the sound of his name on my lips.
His face cracked. “Ember,” he repeated, his voice breaking. And then he closed the distance between us. He fell to his knees next to me, and gathered my body to him. The thick bands of his arms wrapped around me, pulling me close.
“You can’t be real,” he whispered into my skin. Beneath me, his body began to shake as he held me to him, and I felt wetness where his face pressed against my shoulder. Tears.
Even locked within his tight embrace I managed to run a hand through his hair. I didn’t know how to console him; I didn’t really know what was going on myself.
“This must be a dream,” he whispered.
“I … I think I’m real.” I should’ve sounded more certain than I did.
“You died, Ember,” he said, his voice ravaged. “I saw it. Oh God, you died.”
I stiffened at his words. A dozen memories bubbled to the surface, and with each one I reclaimed a piece of my identity.
I was Ember Elizabeth Pierce. Age eighteen. I could teleport, and I worked for the government. I went on deadly missions.
And I was in love with Caden Hawthorne, the man who rocked me in his arms.
I inhaled sharply as some of the haze that clouded my mind dissipated. Dissipated only enough to know that there was still so much more I needed to remember.
I ran my hand through Caden’s hair again and brushed a kiss against his temple. “I’m alive,” I whispered. I wanted to add, I remember you, but I wasn’t sure I remembered everything. Just enough to feel the ache in my heart and the flutter in my chest. Love. It was the only sensation that could feel light and heavy at the same time.
Instead I said, “I’m sorry I’ve been … gone.” How long had I been gone, and where had I been? “I never wanted to leave you.”
I felt Caden still. He pulled away from me, his face the picture of anguish. He brushed my hair away from my face, and his eyes devoured me. A shaky hand lifted and the tips of his fingers grazed my cheek.
A tear spilled from one of his eyes. “Jesus, you are real.”

***
If you liked what you read, click here to add The Decaying Empire on Goodreads to your “To Read” list. If you haven’t yet read The Vanishing Girl, the first book in this series, you can read more about it here!

Hugs and happy reading,
Laura