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Monday, March 23, 2009

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Joss Ware - Excerpt 2

Excerpt from NIGHT BETRAYED, by Joss Ware

Then all at once, Selena realized the significance of what she’d somehow ignored, and her brain refocused. “You really know how to work these?” She waved her hand to encompass the old machines called computers.

“Yes.” Theo looked sidewise at her.

“How?” she asked, mystified.

“I’ve been working on them for longer than you can imagine. I’m kind of a genius with computers and electronics.” The flicker of a smile returned to his lips and eyes. “My twin brother and I both are.”

“There are two of you?” The horrified words slipped out before she realized it. Then she laughed a little at the delighted expression on his face. “You must have turned your mother’s hair white by the time you were ten.”

“Somehow Lou doesn’t come across as reckless as people seem to think I am.”

“You don’t think you’re reckless?” she asked incredulously.

“I’m still alive aren’t I?” he replied. Then he raised his gaze and their eyes locked. “Thanks to you,” he added, his voice pitching lower.

Her throat dried and all she could remember was being pulled up against his solid, body last night. She was suddenly very aware of the fact that they were alone. Again. And he was looking at her in a certain way.

No more pity-kisses.

“Last night was definitely not a pity-kiss,” he said. “Selena.”

“Did I say that out loud?” she said, then clamped her mouth closed.

“Yes,” Theo replied, that smile playing about his lips. He stood now, shoving the wheeled chair away behind him. He seemed taller than she remembered. And broader. And whatever annoyance he might have had about her disappearing last night seemed also to have evaporated. “I can’t stop thinking about you.”

He shook his head, folding his arms over his torso, continuing conversationally—as if they were talking about the weather and he didn’t quite understand why it was raining when the sun had been shining all day. “I find I’m fascinated by you, about what you’re sneaking out for at night, what you’re wearing around your neck that you don’t want anyone to see...what it’s like being the Death Lady and holding the hands of people dying, and how you do it every day without fail.” He nodded, his eyes holding hers. “How you got to be so strong, and why you do what you do. And other things, like the fact that you don’t eat very much and that you like to run in the morning. And where in the hell you got red toenail polish.”

“Um,” Selena said, trying to tamp down the warmth that was flushing through her. She was trembly all of a sudden and her stomach was all aflutter. Good grief.

And then...He’s fricking serious. He really wants to know about me. Both delight and terror rushed through her.

“And,” he stepped closer to her, “how I’m going to make it clear to you that I don’t give pity kisses. Not even for women who bring me back to life.” His hands landed gently on her shoulders and she felt his shoe bump against her bare toes.

“How many of them do you have?” she managed to say, realizing belatedly that her hands had risen and settled flat onto his broad, warm chest. Wow. Solid as a brick wall.

“How many of what?”

“Women who bring you back to life.”

“Only one.” He started to lean in, then stopped and pulled back. Selena released the breath she’d been holding, startled out of the warmth he’d lulled her into. “Make that two.”

“What?” she asked, her voice rising—partly in surprise and partly to hide her disappointment. “You’ve been brought back to life before?”

His lips curved and one of his hands shifted to flick a heavy lock of hair off her shoulder, then slide along its length. “Well, technically, yes. When I was a baby, the umbilical cord was wrapped around my neck and I came out blue everywhere, limp as a wet noodle. Heart stopped and everything. There was a nurse who did CPR—she breathed inside my mouth—and brought me back to life.”

“A nurse?”

“But don’t worry,” he added quickly. “I don’t remember the incident at for all intents and purposes,” he said, slipping his hand around the back of her neck, lifting her hair, cupping her skull, “you’re the only woman who brought me back to life. And this is most definitely not a pity kiss.”

She met him halfway as his lips moved to add, “ least on my end.”
Selena’s laugh was smothered by his mouth. She closed her eyes as their lips met, softly at first and then hungrily. He held her head with strong fingers as the kiss turned deep and sleek. Beneath her own palms, the planes of his chest shifted and his heart bumped fiercely.

He didn’t feel too young to her, not now, not with this demand and confidence, not with the solid muscle and strength against her. Her body had turned warm and liquid, awakening from a dormancy due to neglect. Selena stopped questioning, stopped resisting, and when his hands moved down along her back, following the line of her torso, she eased into him, molding her body into his.

Theo gave a soft little groan and shifted, pushing her back against something solid, holding her there so their bodies lined up, imprinting every curve and every rise into the other. If she had any lingering doubt about pity kisses, it was effectively erased at that point. His desire was blatant, and the gentle, insistent pressure as their hips ground together had her pressing just as hard back into him.

“Jeeezz...uzz,” he muttered, disentangling their mouths and burying his face into the hair by her ear. “Selena....” He breathed roughly, nipping and sucking along the line of her neck so that she twitched and shuddered against him.

She murmured her pleasure, sliding her hands under his shirt, feeling the flat slabs of his pecs and skimming over the tight nipples, aware of the faint trembling beneath her fingers, deep in his muscles. He was warm and sleek and her world had turned hot and much that she hardly realized it when he pulled back, tugging her with him.

The next thing she knew, he pulled her onto his lap, her toes bumping the base of the chair as she straddled him. Theo grinned briefly up at her, but his mouth was tight and his eyes hot as he slipped his hands beneath her loose shirt. She resisted instinctively when he tried to lift it—no, no, not in the light!—and he seemed to get the message, instead moving to her spine.

As her bra loosened and sagged, Selena arched toward him, half aware of the hot sun streaming through the window on behind her and the way his hands moved around to cover her breasts. Ahhh. His thumbs were firm and his palms warm as he lifted, pressed, stroked.

Now she had her hands on his shoulders for stability, her eyes closed, allowing the pleasure to grow and roll, unfurling from belly to chest to between her legs, where she pressed against him. His hair was warm and soft, thick beneath her fingers...his shoulders wide and square.

Theo moved beneath her as he bent and pulled the vee of her tunic to the side, finding one of her nipples and covering it with his warm, sleek mouth.

Selena jolted at the spike of sensation, then gasped as it didn’t stop, didn’t relent...but became a long, slick tug, a sensual dance of tongue and lips sucking, swirling, stroking. The hot shaft of pleasure arced through her, from her belly down south. She shifted on his lap, her fingers digging into his shoulders, heat and pressure building and throbbing between them.

Suddenly, he released her with a soft groan, leaving her nipple wet and throbbing, chafing back beneath her tunic. Pulling her up against him, his arms bundling her close, he slammed his mouth over hers once more. The kiss burned, deep and fierce, as his hands shifted down to her hips and jerked her close, into him, settling her legs wide against him. She felt the throbbing settle between them, his erection hard and waiting, she herself full and wet, the seams of their jeans meeting and intensifying the sensation.

And then, once again, he was shifting her, and once again, she moved at his direction—hazy, full, aroused—her legs coming together, sliding to one side of him. Before she knew it, he’d jammed his fingers down beneath the loosened fly of her jeans, down beneath the hot cotton of her panties, and into the sleek warmth that pulsed there.

They both groaned and sighed at the same time, and Selena’s eyes flew open when he first touched her. She nearly jolted off his lap, but he held her steady, safely, his fingers so long and easy, sliding and stroking where she was full and ready.

Oh God... She held on to him, lifted her hips as her jeans opened wider, feeling the stream of hot sun blasting through the window over her head and shoulders. His fingers...a wide, determined plane, curling and and slipping, coaxing smoothly and evenly, as his own breath hitched and roughened against her ear.

“Yes,” he whispered into her skin. “That’”

As she released herself, sliding wholly, into the pleasure, it took a moment before the sound registered in the depths of her lust-fogged mind. But then, all of a sudden, she heard it.


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