Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Awakening 3 By Jeanie Grey

Nearly fifty years after the events of Awakening 2, Lilly decides to stop running away and returns to Italy only to find the threat of a vampire civil war growing. With the help of Beth, Carrie and Jamie, Lilly learns how to face her feelings about her tragic past and to accept that, whether Torren wants her or not, her heart wants him. But when she finds Torren in Rome, not only is he still with Vittoria, he doesn’t seem to remember Lilly at all.
Can Lilly convince Torren to leave Vittoria to be with her and help the Organization find a peaceful solution to the conflict, or will Vittoria and a vampire war come between Torren and Lilly and their happily ever after?

Excerpt 1
“Torren?” she said again, a little louder, and this time Vittoria’s head snapped up and her eyes, narrowing to slits, locked with Lilly’s. In them, Lilly saw fear, anger, hatred. She supposed she could understand that. But that wouldn’t deter her, either. She was just about to say Torren’s name one more time when his head cocked slightly to the side and then, following Vittoria’s gaze, slowly rotated in her direction. Those impossibly blue eyes came to rest on her, and it was as if a warm wind blew through her. There was another shifting and clicking into place, but this time it was inside her. That gaping hole she’d carried around with her for years was filled. Torren gasped and started to rise, but Vittoria put her hand on his arm, and he settled down again. “Hello,” Torren said. His voice—that voice like velvet over marble—was full of wonder. Hello? That was it? After all these years, a casual hello was how he greeted her? Lilly’s stomach dipped, and then, as she continued to stare into his eyes, as she watched his gaze roam over her features without a hint of recognition, her stomach full-on sank. Excerpt 2 “I’m just trying to understand…was she always like this?” Lilly asked. “Like what?” Torren said, genuinely confused. “So…selfish and self-serving. I mean, was she different as a human? Is that why you fell in love with her?” Torren sat up, struggling to maintain his temper, reminding himself that Lilly had very limited experience with Vittoria. “Lilly, I realize that what you’ve seen of Vittoria has not given you a very good impression of her, but I have known her for a very long time. She is a good person, if a bit impulsive. She cares for me deeply, and it was her love for me that led her to try to ease my suffering. I’m not saying she was right to do what she did, but she certainly isn’t unfeeling.” Lilly softened immediately. “Oh, I’m so sorry, Torren. I shouldn’t have said that. I can tell that you care deeply for her.” Somewhat mollified, Torren settled back against the pillows again. He took Lilly’s hand and kissed her knuckles. “Apology accepted,” he said. “Thank you.” She settled back against him and ran her hand over his chest to his bicep. “I can only imagine how hard this decision must have been for you. I want you to know that I’m truly grateful. You won’t be sorry.” Torren stilled, trying to understand what Lilly was talking about. “What?” “I just mean that given your history and how much you care for her, it must have been hard to leave her and come here.” “Not really,” he said, still not getting it. “She was out when I left.” “Oh! Did you leave a note or something?” “Yes, I let her know I was coming here and didn’t know when I’d be home.” It was Lilly’s turn to pause. “Home to collect your things, you mean?” “What?” he repeated. Lilly sat up and looked down at him, doubt welling in her eyes. He sat up too and studied her. “When are you going to tell her?” she said carefully. “Tell her what?” Torren replied, and only then did he begin to guess what she meant. Her next words confirmed it. “When are you going to tell Vittoria that you are leaving her for me?” Excerpt 3 Moving faster now, high on the music and the promise of blood, Vittoria pulled the boy and Lilly down a back hall that was even darker than the main room past a small line of people waiting for the bathroom and through a door that had an Out of Order sign taped to it. She made sure both her charges were all the way in the room before letting go of Lilly’s hand and shutting the door. A dim light flickered on, powered by the motion detector, casting a yellow-green light over them. The room was no bigger than a closet and half-full of boxes, but there was enough room for the three of them. At least for what Vittoria had in mind. She grinned at the boy, who was squinting a little in the sudden light, and used her palm against his chest to slowly push him up against the wall. His eyes darted over Vittoria’s shoulder toward Lilly and back again, his pupils dilated, and the scent of his arousal filled the room. Vittoria licked her lips and pulled his head down. His lips were warm and tasted sweet. She resisted the temptation to puncture his lower lip and instead moved her mouth across his cheek and then down to his neck. She licked the spot she was going to bite, and he moaned and ground his erection against her, grasping her bottom with both his hands and actually pulling her up off the ground a little. Then she sank her teeth in. First chapter (Note: These books don’t have chapters. They’re broken down into three parts, and each part has multiple scenes of varying lengths. What follows is the first two scenes in Part I of Awakening 3.) In the dream, Lilly drifted underwater in a deep, vast ocean. The light seemed to be coming from all directions at once, so she couldn’t tell which way was up or down. Her lungs burned. She knew she would have to take a breath soon, but there was no air. She flailed her limbs but didn’t seem to move at all. Her body felt heavy; her chest ached. She knew she was going to drown. * * * From beneath the calm surface of the sparkling blue Adriatic water, Lilly Frank’s dark head and smooth pale skin silently emerged. She sucked in a deep breath and her lungs stopped stinging; she’d stayed down for the full twenty-two minutes she’d learned was her body’s limit. The stark contrast between the chilly water and the afternoon sun beating down on her shoulders and neck sent goose bumps racing across her skin. Water droplets sprayed in all directions as she shook her head. With one hand she removed the diving mask, and the other wiped the sheeting water back away from her eyes, which were calm but had a haunted look about them. She had hoped that the busy, multi-colored world below the surface and then the sting in her lungs would be enough to take her mind off the small, dense stone in her chest, but these strategies—like all the others she’d tried lately—had failed. Her back to Susak Island, Lilly’s gaze swept the horizon to the north and then drifted westward, where she knew the shores of Italy lie drowning in the setting sun. Only recently had she realized that for the past three years she’d been circling closer and closer to Torren’s homeland, a place she hadn’t returned to since the night she was kidnapped and tortured. That night Torren was reunited with Vittoria, and Lilly had seen in his eyes a mystical wonder when Vittoria had called him a name unfamiliar to Lilly. That night he’d brought her back to life and Lilly had lost everything all over again. The distant sound of a motorboat rescued her from dwelling on these thoughts. She listened for a moment and decided it was the afternoon patrol. Not wanting to be caught swimming in protected waters, she turned toward the island, realizing only then how far out she’d come. Swimming the several miles back to the island gave her the opportunity to push herself; she put all her energy and concentration on the strength and speed of her strokes and kicks and soon reached the base of the cliffs against which the seawater pushed. Knowing that the patrol always gave half a kilometer clearance around the island, she swam underneath an overhang in the rock where she would be indistinguishable in the shadows even if they knew where to look for her with their binoculars. As she waited for the patrol to round the point and pass by her, she contemplated the heavy feeling that had followed her around and had become harder and harder to forget over the last several years. The heaviness had been with her for as long as she could remember—even in her human life—but it had intensified after she’d risen from the stones of that dungeon cell and Torren had been too lost in Vittoria to notice as Lilly walked out the door. Over the years it had come and gone; she’d learned to leave it behind by keeping busy—focusing on her martial arts training, traveling, exploring continents and the limits of her new vampire body—but it had never hung on like this before. For the last eighteen months she’d lived like a hunted woman, moving every few weeks to a new place, looking for solace in others’ blood and beds, trying to substitute some other emotion for the ones that plagued her night and day. But she finally had to face the fact that none of that was working anymore. She needed a new plan. She considered her options. She could return to Dubrovnik, where Lorenzo—a human she’d met and taken up with almost a month ago—was waiting in his three-room apartment to lick the salt from her skin. But she’d been easily annoyed with him for the last week, and her interest in him had disappeared completely after she’d caught sight of his profile in a certain light and realized how similar his facial features were to Torren’s. For a wild moment her heart had leapt into her throat—fear, desperation and longing had overwhelmed her. Since then, she’d barely been able to look at him, and not even the knowledge that he could bring her to orgasm over and over again was enough to lure her back into his bed. She could run again. Find a new town, new surroundings. There were still continents she hadn’t explored: Antarctica, South America, most of Africa. But just the thought of more aimless wandering exhausted her. She could go back to China and her favorite master, Master Chen, to resume her training in wushu and tai chi. A person could spend a lifetime exploring the forms. But she’d already dedicated ten years to studying with him—not to mention another two decades mastering several other martial arts—and the forms no longer held her interest like they once did. Besides, she’d practiced on her own ever since then and the heaviness was still there. As she rejected the available options one by one, the heaviness grew denser; her chest constricted and her breath came shorter. She grabbed onto a nearby outcropping of rock so hard the sharp edges drew blood. She tried to will herself calm, to take deep breaths, but the heaviness expanded, threatening to annihilate her. Then she remembered Beth, and a glimmer of hope shone through. Many years ago, she’d invited Lilly to join the Organization. The heaviness eased a little, allowing her to breathe again. She couldn’t run anymore, but maybe she could do something constructive. She could participate in meaningful work and help to build a better future. Yes, that was the answer. She would return to Italy and join the Organization. Maybe she could live with Beth and Carrie, and participating in those two communities—at home and the larger vampire one—would give meaning to her life. She would have purpose. Briefly she wondered whether the weight in her heart was due to her physical proximity to Italy, but then realized that she’d felt it just as strongly when she’d visited China the previous spring. The mere fact that she’d been circling closer to it over the last few months seemed proof that she was no longer afraid of the place and her history with it. It was decided then. To Italy she would go to build a new life for herself. With that thought, hope radiated its full light in her heart. She felt lighter, could breathe freely again. When the patrol boat passed and rounded the bend, the sound of its motor fading as it continued on to its next destination, Lilly pushed off from the rocks, certain that this new direction would bring the lasting change she sought.

Jeanie Grey is a feminist reader and writer of romance and erotica. Her short stories have been published on deadlyeverafter.com and thedarkerhalf.com. For more about her work and her views on writing romance and erotica, please visit her website at http://jeaniegrey.blogspot.comYou can also connect with her on Twitter (@jeaniegrey), Facebook and by email at writejeaniegrey@gmail.com


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1 comment:

Thank you for visiting today :)