Thursday, July 25, 2013

Nathan Squiers #2: Crimson Shadow: Sins of the Father Excerpt

The excerpts being featured today are from Nathan Squiers' Crimson Shadow Series. The first was from Book One, Noir. This excerpt is from Sins of the Father and later, a NEVER before seen, first look at the third book in the series, Love You to Death will be published at 1 p.m. central time!

Sins of the Father

It was nearly midnight when Xander got to Estella’s. His blood was still boiling from the encounter and he could feel his body shaking from the lingering adrenaline still coursing in his veins. This and his lingering panic distracted him and his jump onto the roof was overshot and clumsy and he cursed to himself as he had to work against fall over the edge.

Her window was closed in response to the chilled night air—proof enough that she hadn’t “seen” or predicted his arrival—and he smiled. He’d been hoping to surprise her with the gift, and if she’d been expecting him it might have meant she had cast her sight spell on him and was already aware it.

He carefully opened the window, cringing at the random creaks and groans that the old woodwork gave as it slid upward. Finally, he had it open far enough and he slinked in with all the swiftness and stealth of his kind.

Estella was, thankfully, still asleep; her slowed heart rate and steady breathing during his entrance confirming that she wasn’t just pretending. He smiled at the scene as he approached and pulled the small box from his pocket and put it on the bedside counter. After a moment of thought he carefully flipped open the lid and turned it towards her so that it would be the first thing she saw. Then, satisfied that the gift was properly displayed, he turned away and headed back towards the window. He was halfway there when a soft, panicked moan escaped his sleeping lover’s lips and he turned to look at her outlined form as it momentarily pitched in the bed, rolling over once, then again, then once more. She whimpered again, this time sounding defeated, and finally came to rest on her back.

Xander frowned at this and turned back again, retrieving her desk chair and setting it beside the bed. Settling in beside her, he reached his left hand out and rested it on an exposed portion of Estella’s forearm and giving it a gentle squeeze so that she’d be subconsciously aware that she wasn’t alone. Though he very rarely used physical contact as a means of energy transference—feeling that it was easier and to do so from a distance with his aura—even he had to admit that, in a case like this, it served his purposes well. It was one of the first lessons he’d learned after being introduced to the world of mythos: the ability for aurics to physically pull energy from a victim through their writing hand or push a controlled amount of their own energy into a recipient with their opposite hand. In Xander’s case, his right hand could drain life-energy if he so desired, but with his left…

Gathering a bundle of positive energies, he allowed them to flow out of him and into her and he watched with a satisfied smile as her distressed features melted away into calmness. Her aura brightened with the donation and rippled with fresh vitality as a gentle sigh issued past her lips and her hand moved and came to rest on his own, clasping it tightly. Despite this calculated gesture, she remained asleep and Xander, realizing that he neither could nor wanted to leave, gently shifted from the chair to her side in the bed.

“You’ve always been right about me,” he whispered to her, “even when we were little, you were so… so damn perfect! And, even then, I knew that there would never be anybody or anything in my life that made the pieces fall into place just the way they needed to. Even when that…” he inhaled, feeling a tear welling in his blood-stained right eye, “… when that monster was with us—waiting at home every fucking day to torture and torment me—I was somehow able to forget about how, sooner or later, I’d have to go back to it; somehow able to not be afraid. And all… all because you—you and your damnable happiness; that beautiful light that you’ve always just offered to anybody in need of it—were nice enough to not see me like everybody else did. You’re the best thing that’s ever happened to me, Estella. I couldn’t try to pretend that there was something sharing that list. Hell, I’d be fucking dead for sure if it wasn’t for you!” he shook his head and sighed, carefully laying his thumb on her cheek. “That night—when we were finally reunited and you made me promise that I’d come back after I killed Kyle—I…” he bit his lip, “… I’d lied to you. I’d lied, and I’m sorry for that; I wish I could take it back now, but… I don’t know if I could. I’d spent so many nights for so many years hoping to escape all the pain. I’d even lost you, and I know that was my own fault… but I had nothing left to live for.” He fought the growing knot in his throat as another well of tears splashed from his eyes. “And then you…”—he shook his head—“you fucking made me promise to come back; you made me! You made me… and, even after so many years of being out of your light—without that intoxicating joy of yours—you made me want to live again!” an inhale snagged as a sob fought to get out and he clenched his eyes to keep from falling into a coughing fit. As he steadied his breathing and regained himself, he brought his gaze back to his sleeping lover. “I’m not smart enough to know how to tell you how much I love you, Estella, and I don’t think I ever will be. No matter how many added years I have to try.” He smiled, “So let me do the next best thing for you, Estella: let me always be there to show you—even if I can’t say it right—how much you’ve always meant to me. Let me spend this new life not fighting to end it, but fighting to make it something great; something that I can dedicate to you for giving me that chance. Let me dedicate my life to proving how much I love you.”

He sighed as he finished, staring into Estella’s serene face. Even though his rant hadn’t awoken her, her aura seemed brighter than it had before he’d spoken, and, as he traced her angelic features with his superhuman eyes, he saw a faint smile creep over her porcelain features.

Taking this as all the response he needed, he gently pulled her into him and closed his eyes.

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