Happy first day of August. It's one of my favorite months of the years but I'll keep it a secret as of why for a little while longer. Instead, I'm going to jump right into sharing a part of book one of the Experimental Heart series. This is an unedited excerpt and because it's coming from a book that isn't exactly close to being released, these excerpts I'll be sharing my change and will have their errors fixed before the book is released.
Excerpt from Chapter 25:
The sun was low, casting long shadows across the courtyard. I struggled, but my two captors held me in place. Anger boiled in my chest and there was nothing I could do. I couldn't believe this was happening. After all this time, building everything up to what it was, it was all about to crumble around me. I felt so helpless.
They held her down on her knees some ways off from me. The longer I watched, the more I struggled. I had to get out of this situation. I had to get her away from here. I wished Ryoko and Rylan had been here. I wished they hadn't been sent off on some false mission that was just a way to keep them away. No one could help us.
The crowd that had formed around us parted, and a tall man with short black hair steadily made his way to the center where she was being held. It was Zarda and carried a gun in his hand. I felt my heart stop. It was too soon. I needed more time to think. My struggling became more vicious as he came closer. I needed to get free. I needed to get her free.
Zarda stopped a few feet away from her and waited. I knew he was waiting for her to look at him, but she didn't.
"This could have been avoided," he told her. "You would have been better off doing as you were told."
She didn't acknowledge him, making him scowl. He lifted the gun. She looked over at me through her aqua hair that hung over her face, and I felt my body freeze. My blood ran cold as I gazed into her aqua eyes. She was so sad. So weak looking. She wasn't the same woman I once knew. Over the years something had happened. Something inside her had started to give up. I did what I could to help her, but eventually, even that wasn't enough.
"You should have listened," he mumbled. "This could have been avoided if you had listened. There is no room for imperfection. Goodbye, my dear."
She didn't flinch at his words. She didn't look to face the gun as he pulled the trigger. She just stared at me. It was as if she was trying desperately to find the words to say something before it was too late. I, too, wanted to say something to her before it was too late. But it was already too late.
I watched her body jerk as the bullet entered her skull. I saw the blood. I watched her body go limp. My heart felt as though it was about to burst from my chest. I wanted to cry.
My eyes snapped open and I bolted up in bed. I gulped as my breath came out in ragged gasps. I felt cold from the sweat that coated my body. It had only been a nightmare and yet it had felt so real. I could feel the breeze. I could smell the blood. I heard the gunshot ring through my ears. The memory was so vivid and painful. I hated it.
I pulled my legs up to my chest and wrapped my arms over them. I buried my head and tried to control my breathing to no avail. The memory was too painful. My chest felt tight and my body ached all over. I felt my nails dig into my arm. I felt my flesh tear and the blood trickle down my arms. I wanted the pain to go away. I didn't care how. I just didn't want to feel it.
My grip on my arms tightened at the sound of Raikidan's voice. Of all the times I could be in pain and not want anyone around, he had to be here. I didn't want anyone to see me like this.
He sat down next to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. "Eira, are you all right?"
I buried my face deeper into by folded body. I couldn't answer him. I knew if I did, I wouldn't be able to lie to him. I was startled when Raikidan pulled me into his arms and held me close to him. I felt the warmth of his bare chest and strong arms envelop me protectively.
I didn't fight him. I didn't want to. I wanted the pain to go away. I wanted to know someone cared, even if it was just for a moment. I curled closer into Raikidan's embrace, and he responded by resting his head on mine and tightening his grip.
"Do you want to talk about it?" he whispered.
I shook my head.
He wasn't going to press and I was grateful. He respected me enough to give me that privacy. My eyes closed halfway and I sighed contently as I felt Raikidan's hand stroke my hair. It was comforting and relaxing.
"It's was painful to remember…" I whispered quietly. "So painful…"
Raikidan hushed me softly. "It was just a nightmare. It's over now. You're safe here."
I was safe. I liked the sound of that. I liked being safe. I yawned quietly and snuggled closer to him. I didn't care how out of character my actions were. I didn't care about anything I normally cared about right now. For once in my life, I was safe for a night. For one night, I was respected for me and I was okay with it all. I could sleep knowing, even though it was one night, I had a taste of something I had always wanted. My eyes closed fully, and I didn't fight the sleep that begged to take me over.
I didn't care I was about to fall asleep in someone's arms. I didn't care if it came to bite me in the morning. I'd deal with the consequences then, but now I would sleep soundly, knowing I was safe from anything as long as he was here.