It’s Friday, and as I promised over on my Facebook Page, today I am giving you all a little peek into the dark new world of The Guardian’s Choice! If you’ve read The Guardian’s Mark then you know that things in Zerah have changed… forever. Now the Guardians must pick up the pieces of their shattered world and lives and discover who they really are without the constraints of the Guardianship placed upon them.
This peek is the first meeting of my hero and heroine in this world, and with so much history between them, the things that go unsaid are just as meaningful as those that are actually spoken between them.
Copyright © Isabelle Santiago, 2012
All Rights Reserved.
Amaya pressed her eyes shut tight and waited for his next move in terrified silence.
“Where are the marks?” he asked, his voice a powerful rumble against her hair.
She opened her eyes to find his hand tracing the curve of dark, thick lines of charcoal on the self-portrait hanging from the wall.
“Your marks,” he said again. His fingers curled back into his fist, as if he fought against his very nature not to caress the feminine jaw pictured. Her jaw.
She stared at the darkened half of her drawn face shaded in angry, messy lines with no care for detail or completion. The part that remained masked from the world.
She’d spent one long, sleepless night sketching the image that stared back at them. But with each stroke, she felt as though she lost control of her hands. They demanded to expose the secrets that she kept.
“Is this what you see when you look in the mirror?”
“Not all of us have the luxury to kill with a thought,” she whispered through clenched teeth. “For most of us, these marks are less a blessing, more a curse.”
“You think I kill out of enjoyment? That I find pleasure in the souls I rip straight from people’s hearts?”
“That’s not the kind of man I am.”
“I don’t know the kind of man you are anymore,” she answered honestly, confused by the disappointment in his voice. “I don’t know anything about you.”
“You called and I came. I came for you. Isn’t that enough?”
“You came to kill me.”
“No,” he said, his voice a luring caress against her ear. “I came to free you.”
“What could you possibly free me from?”
“The dreams that inspired the paintings on these walls. The madness. I can make it all stop.”
“How?” she heard herself ask, lulled by his mesmerizing promises. Her feet weren’t responding to the tiny voice commanding them to run.
“Let me claim your mark.” Soft fingers left a burning trail along her arm. Her marks lifted like shadows that had been embedded in her skin. “It will be like none of it ever existed.”
The world dipped into itself, stretched until time and space collided.
“No more nightmares,” she said, clutching her tightening chest. The sounds of the gallery grew muffled and further away as though she were sinking deeper and deeper into the ocean.
“No more nightmares.”
A very small part of her knew what he was doing. He was killing her. Slowly taking away the piece of her soul that made her a Guardian. But the promise of mental peace was too great. Her head bobbed, falling forward helplessly.
“When you open your eyes, the Old World will have never existed. No loss, no pain, no duty.”
“No Phoenix.” The words tumbled from her lips, a sudden, sobering afterthought. “No Phoenix.” She fought the tidal wave of power that threatened to engulf her. “No! NO!”
She ripped her arm from his enticing grasp and ran.