I love sharing sneak peeks! Hope you enjoy this look into Three Times Torn, a mature young adult, paranormal romance; Book 2 of A Burdened Novel (Due to some strong language, this read may only suitable for readers 16+)
Here's a look into Chapter 11.
“How was your day?” He adjusts me, cradling me in his arm. I bend my legs, propping my feet on the bench of the gazebo, enjoying being held.
“It’s getting better.”
“I’ll assume that I have something to do with that. You should thank me.”
Snorting, I tease, “I would if that wasn’t a cocky thing for you to say.” He smirks and his brows jump. “How was your trip?”
“It wasn’t a trip. Trips are enjoyable, and I enjoyed none of it. But I’m alive. You’re alive, and no one here is hurt, which is good. But my time away was hell, and I’m not looking forward to doing it again.”
“Did you miss me?”
“That’s not the appropriate word to use.”
I blush. “You know what? I’ve decided I am going to kill you.”
“I doubt it,” he retorts with a single laugh.
“No, really, I am. For putting me through this. These last few days have been hell.”
“I know, Sparks. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t leave me anymore. You leave, I leave. If not, you stay,” I order. “Everyone but you gets the option to stay back. I don’t like it.”
“Nope, not trying to hear it. I’ve said my peace.” I shift my gaze to the dimly lit fountain in the middle of the gazebo, now with carnations surrounding it. The light shines through the peddles, casting colors of orange, yellow, and red on the white furniture.
“You’ve gotten bossy lately.” He slides his hand across my cheek and turns my head to face him. “I said I’m sorry. Forgive me, okay?”
I stare into a clockwise mixture of emerald and chocolate, nodding. “I missed you,” I breathe, getting lost in his eyes as they swirl to another color. His soft breaths flutter across my face. My gaze drops to his slightly parted lips. Those soft lips fall onto mine, and I sink into the sky. His sky. Submerged in a cloud of love, I fly home, settling in my comfort zone.
He leans up, bringing me with him. I sit upright on his lap and his arms loosely wrap around my hips. My body doesn’t alight, but my heart blisters. Roughened beats attack my aching chest, causing my breaths to catch. Seconds hold the oxygen hostage before staggered breaths expel from my lungs against Nathan’s face. I gasp, panting—nervous. My hand’s are clutched around his neck, and it’s not until I let go, do I realize how tightly I was squeezing him.
He breaks away from me, confusion thick in his eyes. “What is that?” he mutters to himself, an edge of agony in his voice. He rubs his hand along his neck, and my nail prints slowly disappear.
I reach for my chest, gritting my teeth against the ongoing pain. It doesn’t last long, but it’s hurting like hell. It lets up, and through a sigh, I ask, “What just happened?”
Exhaling, he thinks before answering, “You’re mine.” He places his hand on my chest, feeling our heartbeat. “My defensive shield’s wrapped around your heart.” His hand rises to his chest. “It’s harder now. More of a solid thump instead of a beat.” Moving my hand to his chest, I compare it to the beat I remember. “That is going to take some getting used to,” he adds.
My heartbeat feels choked. Instead of the rapid double beat, it’s a single thump with a three-millisecond count before I feel it beat again. Thump. Thump. Thump. I don’t know what to make of it. “Why?”
He shrugs. “For completion of us, maybe. My coming over you. Imagine how it’ll feel when we’re made.”
“Yeah. It’ll happen in the future. You think you’re just going to stay my girlfriend and we keep doing this the wrong way? Nah.” His brows jump. “You’ll be my wife, and all our actions will be legit.”
“I like the sound of that,” I say, sealing the space between us. Bright, orange-brown eyes swirl before me. I love that color in him.
“Me too,” he murmurs, cupping my face in his hands. He kisses me with the same softness as before. It feels right like everything is finally perfect if only for a moment.
“Wait,” I draw back and hurry to speak before he can read it. “Who do you feed off?”
“Who the hell told you that?” he asks, slighted, brows knitting, darkening the shadow over his deep chocolate eyes.
I press my lips together, taken aback by his animosity toward my question. “Why does that matter?”
He clears his throat, and his eyes swirl hazel. His discrete color that helps make him unreadable. I don’t like it when he blocks himself from me. “When I fight, I will. Sometimes,” he says shamefully.
“Am—.” I pause, thinking of his answer before I ask the question.
“No, Sparks. It’s nothing like that. I don’t want to feed off you. I’ve stolen enough from you, wouldn’t you think. You expect me to take your being too?”
“No. But I want to know if I’m good enough, or why you wouldn’t ask, or I don’t know. Why you might’ve been holding yourself back from something you need.”
Shaking his head, he corrects, “Burdened’s don't need to feed. We survive fine without it. Feeding is giving into your demon; the demon needs to feed. Feeding off your mate is just wrong. And it hurts. I’d get nothing but high and then feel bad that I used you.”
“Taylor says she feeds off Justin, and Scott feeds off Glen.”
“So what?” he scoffs, disgusted and annoyed by the topic.
Pulling my brows together, I study him. “You feed, just not off me?”
“Just sometimes. I don’t like that. Not anymore. Don’t worry about that. Bonding is enough. I don’t need to nearly kill you and leave you hanging onto life by a string while I’m something six times worse than stoned and over fueled. That shit doesn’t sit well with me. You’re my lady, Sparks. You know how I felt about bonding; how I feel about it, let’s not make this shit worse for you than it is.”
“No. I don’t want it. Just curious why you’ve never mentioned it.”
He nods. “One day, I’ll show you what it’s like for me to feed on a human. You’ll be incredibly disgusted and think less of me as a man. But if you’re that curious. . .”
“Uh. Nate, is there anything else I’m missing out on with this? My Sephlem notebook is getting full.”
He laughs. “Ah, maybe.” Waiting before he continues, he says, “Stop listening to my sister. She’s darkening, Roehl’s seizing her mind and I’m sure there’s some shit she’s holding back on telling us about what happened. Don’t let the shit these other couples do spark your interest. Seriously, I care about you in a way that’s different from the way other’s care for their mates, from the way a husband cherishes his wife, more than the way humans desire the thought of eternal life. So I don’t use you to stay leveled, or happy, or filled. I’m here with you because without you, for me, there’s no fight—I’m nothing if you’re not with me. Maybe it’s because you hold my heart in your chest, or because every time you breathe I inhale your air, or see through your eyes. Maybe because I feel your flesh on mine and I’m forced to cherish you in a way that requires I do because without you I’m barren.” He grumbles. “I just mean, I don’t want to hurt you. You asked me not to murder us. I’m trying my damnedest not to do that, Sparks.”
I blush. “I didn’t think you heard me ask that.”
He nods, leaning his head back with closed eyes. Leaning forward, I kiss his lips saying, Thanks for caring more about me than you do yourself.
Our relationship may have been forced, our love may even have started forged, but I want us to be comfortable, steady, a force, not ruled by fate or desire. But nurtured by devotion and acceptance.
Dammit, I love you.
A terrified scream blares from the house.
Nathan and I jump up, sprinting for the back door.
There’s never a dull moment.
We race through the kitchen to the hall, searching. We round the corner to the living room, finding it empty and then down the hall to the great room. Pounds and ruckus from something falling on the upper level shake the walls. We charge for the stairs. Glen’s cry for whoever to stop rattles my panic.
Halting in the doorway of Glen and Scott’s room, I swallow hard.
A man built like a monster troll stands over my friend’s cowering body. Olar and Scott struggle against a hold that has them pent against the walls, one I assume has something to do with the over-sized man’s arms being splayed out at his sides, aimed in their directions.
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