Fun fact: Clay is my assigned editor through my publishing house, so he's the one who's been polishing up my stuff after Amy and Adrian are done with it.
Without further ado, here is your WIPpet. Again, if you're just joining, a WIPpet is an excerpt from a current work in progress. The only rule is that is has to have something to do with the date. Example: today is 10-16-2013, so you're getting 39 paragraphs from Book Three. 10+16+13=39 So far, everyone has loved the excerpts I'm featuring from Alaria and Braxton, so today I'm giving you a little something different. The first scene is an Alaria/Braxton excerpt, and the last scene is between Gabriel and Braxton, showing the obstacles to their relationship. Enjoy! Oh, and when you're done, go here and read the rest of the wonderful WIPpets.
The voice that came from her was not her own. “Alaria’s not home right now. I never dreamed it would be so easy to get her. She’s still so enmeshed in the dream plane that she used as a Devil that it was child’s play to lure her there and take over.”
Braxton measured the distance to Alaria with his eyes. He shifted his body into a stance conducive to leaping. “What’s the endgame here?”
“Are you really that stupid? Your friend is going to jump, and her brains are going to splatter on the ground. This is going to be good.” Alaria’s face split into a hysterical smile and her eyes swam with terror. She jerked and wobbled on the railing and with a single shriek, toppled over.
Braxton lunged across the narrow balcony and grabbed her hands. The force of her weight pulling down on him nearly took him over the tipping point, but he locked his feet into the railing and strained to pull back. After five terror-filled seconds, he regained his balance and looked down.
Alaria, her hair whipping around her face from the wind and clad in nothing more than a button-down flannel and underwear, dangled helplessly. She struggled to pull her hands free, the magic’s hold on her still strong. Braxton tightened his grip and yanked on her.
“Alaria, dammit, I know you’re in there! Wake the fuck up!” He heaved backward and groaned at the dead weight. “If you don’t, I’m going to come over and we’re both going to die.” His voice softened. “Come on, baby, open your eyes. Look at me! You can beat this bastard. He’s not stronger than you. Concentrate on my voice and find your way back. You can do this! Don’t you let him win. Don’t you dare let him win. I need you, Alaria.”
Her whole body shuddered and her eyes cleared. She turned and saw the distance between her feet and the ground and screamed. She struggled, trying to climb up him, fear driving her movements. Braxton groaned under the weight and swore.
“Dammit, Alaria, work with me. I’ve got you. I’m not letting go. I need you to bring your feet up and find the ledge.”
His voice washed over her, calm and sure. She stopped struggling and looked up. “Okay. I can do that. Okay. Don’t drop me. God, Brax, please don’t drop me.”
“I’ll never drop you. Lift your feet and find the ledge.”
She wrapped her hands around his wrists and lifted her feet. In order to find the edge of the balcony with her toes, she had to lift her knees into her chest. After ten heart-stopping seconds of flailing, her toes brushed against the concrete and she slid her foot, inch by inch, onto it.
Braxton nodded. “I want you to let go with one hand and reach out to grab the railing.”
As soon as she pulled her left hand free, he grabbed her right with his own. She thrust her arm through the metal spindles and gripped it tightly. She stood up slowly and Braxton released her other hand to wrap his arms around her and lift her over, cradling her body against his and pulling her back onto the balcony. Without putting her down, he carried her into her hotel room and deposited her on the bed, leaving her long enough to close the balcony doors.
“What the hell happened?”
Alaria rubbed her hands over her face. “I don’t know. I went to bed and got sucked in to the dream plane. Garrick wiggled inside me. I don’t know how the hell he did it, but it was almost like I was being possessed. I could see what was going on and feel what he was making me do, but I couldn’t stop him. I struggled, but he was too strong. When I fell off and you grabbed me, it was like I woke up and I was dangling there. I think my brain was convinced that I was dreaming.”
“I think you had to be. Garrick is a warlock. He can’t possess humans.” He looked around the room. “Didn’t you put protections up?”
Sheepish, she shook her head. “No. I never expected an assault by a warlock. Gabe said the Devils were lying low and I figured we were safe from that shit.” She chuckled. “Good thing you’re a light sleeper.”
Braxton perched next to her on the bed. “Do you need me to stay with you or are you okay?”
She leaned her head on his shoulder for a moment. “I’ll be fine. I’m gonna put out some herbs and try to go back to sleep.”
He reached out and let one finger drift down the line of her jaw. “If you need anything, I’ll be right next door.” He dropped his hand to his lap. “Try not to dive off the balcony again. I’m getting too old for this shit.”
“I don’t want to hear about you being old.” She drew her legs up so that she sat cross legged. “Thank you, Braxton. Without you, I’d be a pile of goo on the pavement.” She laid her hand on his cheek and leaned forward until their foreheads met. “What the hell are we going to do about this?”
Braxton closed his eyes. “Ignore it and hope it goes away?”
“It’s a completely human thing. We’re both hurting and gravitating toward one another. Stressful situation, lots of hormones. It’s a recipe for disaster. We’re both in love with other people.”
“Neither of whom are here, or seem to have a fucking clue what we’re going through.” He sighed and leaned back. “I should get back to my bed before we do something we’ll both regret.”
Alaria stood and padded to the balcony doors. “You should probably go out this way since I don’t think you stuck your key in those boxers before running to my rescue.”
He looked down at his black boxers and grinned. “You’d be very right about that.” He brushed by her and went out the door before turning. “Goodnight, Alaria.”
Alaria stared up at him, her heart pounding in her chest and her blood rushing through her veins. She reached out and laid her hand against his chest. “Kiss me.”
He leaned down and brushed his lips over her forehead. “That’s a supremely bad idea.”
Breathless, she moved toward the heat rolling off of his body. “I don’t care.”
Braxton stared down at her, his eyes dark and tumultuous. “Fuck it. Me either.”
*** And here's your second scene.
He pulled the doors shut behind him and went in his own. Gabriel stood in the middle of his room, his face arranged into an expression of neutrality and his hands on his hips. Braxton sighed and closed the doors.
“What do you want?”
Gabriel glared. “I came to help when I sensed what Garrick was doing. Imagine my surprise when I saw the embrace between you and Alaria.”
“I’m not having some testosterone fueled fight with you, Gabe. What happened is between me and her, just like anything that goes on between the two of you is between you and her. I don’t owe you an explanation.”
“I’m not here for an explanation.” Gabriel smiled coldly. “Hear this well, boy. You may be the one she turns to in her tumult, but it is me that she will spend the night with. You’ll be sleeping here, alone, and I’ll be with Alaria.”
Braxton ignored the pang in his chest at the truth in the words. “Borrowed time.”
“Be that as it may, you won’t even have a real chance until my time runs out. If it runs out.” He patted Braxton’s shoulder as he brushed past the other man to go to the doors. “She loves me. Her human body desires you the same way it desires food. There is no emotion behind it.”
What do you think? Let me know in the comments and check out the interview with Clay tomorrow!