Book Title: Evanescent (The Sempiternal Series, #1)
Author: Sara V. Zook & Wendy S. Chartier
Release Date: February 23, 2014
Hosted by:Book Enthusiast Promotions
A moment is all it takes. Even the strength of a devoted warrior angel is no match to the pull of love … or is it lust? Sarenah isn’t sure. She needs to see him again. The brief intensity between them was too powerful. It eats away at her mind, but why? The elements of the world seem to be telling her something isn’t right. There’s a secret no one wants Sarenah to know. Why can’t she remember things such as becoming an angel? What happened to her past? The protection of the light is about to cease, but her heart and mind repeat one word incessantly, one she cannot ignore … Draco.
Sparks danced up into the night air as another section of the house burst into flames. Sirens blared in the distance. I sat with my head in my palm at the top of a tree looking down.
The wind picked up and the fire spread. Screams came from inside the house.
I tapped the side of my face as more sparks shot upward past my head. So beautiful were these little beams of light amongst such tragedy that was occurring before my very eyes. I wanted to reach out and touch the sparks, let them linger on my fingertips.
A tanker pulled into the driveway as a coughing female exited the home. An ambulance came next, its flashing lights spotlighting the woods next to the house. Paramedics jumped out of the vehicle and hurried toward the female.
The very way his body moved when he walked had made my chest tighten. I looked up and our eyes met. For an instance, he stopped moving, his stare burning into the very pit of my being. One of my wings almost flopped down because this creature had taken me by surprise, but I remained in control of myself.
I had run into creatures of the dark before. We merely ignored one another’s presence and kept going about what it was we were supposed to do. This time had been different. This creature’s magnetic force drew me in.
He was unlike any demonic form I had even known to exist. He was tall, muscular with long, dark hair … almost man-like. His eyes were mesmerizing. His sly smile drew me in even more.
A loud explosion echoed into the darkness followed by an enormous cloud of gray smoke. The female cried out as firemen kicked down the side door of the house and entered.
More firemen clamped their hands down upon a huge hose as the water was turned on and squirted upward and then down trying to quiet the flames. The roof of the house crackled from the intensity of the fire.
A male child was tossed down from one of the upstairs windows and into the arms of a fireman standing below. His mother rushed over to him and swooped him up in her arms as the paramedics pried the coughing child from the grips of the hysterical mother and took him to their vehicle to examine him.
He walked over to me, unusually close, the heat from his skin leaping onto mine. He held up his open palm. As if entranced, I placed my hand upon his and our fingers laced together. Suddenly the darkness of his eyes were illuminated with swirls of hypnotic colors circling each other in the very middle where his pupils should be.
I knew I shouldn’t be here, shouldn’t be touching this sinful creature before me, but I couldn’t stop. His touch was hot with a passion I had never known before, yet so familiar. I was caught in a trap that I never wanted to get out of.
His other hand dug into the back of my hair and jerked my head back, his breath hot on my neck, his eyes peering into mine.
“How many more, ma’am?” a fireman shouted out above the sirens.
The female just stood there in front of the smoldering shelter before her, both hands covering her face, ashen filled tears falling from the edge of her jaw.
“Ma’am!” the fireman hollered out. “Who else are you missing?”
The wind changed directions. I looked up to see another angel passing by carrying the breeze along with her. She raised her hand ever so slightly to wave. I nodded at her.
The fireman covered his nostrils with the inside of his arm as the wind carried the sultry smoke toward him.
The female seemed unaffected by the smoke. She just kept staring at that front door, her apprehension more of a focus now as she waited. “Two,” she finally replied.
“Did she say two?” another guy asked.
“Two?” he asked her again to confirm.
Never looking her way, she nodded. “My husband, he went back in for our oldest son.”
“Who are you?” I whispered, my chest heaving up and down from his firm grasp on my hair. My anger flared. I should kill him for putting his hands on me like that, but it felt so good.
He narrowed his eyes at me for a moment before answering, “Draco.”
He released me as I stood up straight facing him. I knew who this strange creature was. I had heard about him on my travels. He was a solider of the dark, his strength witnesses marveled at. Most of the soldiers of the dark were cowards who slithered here and there with little, if any, common sense about their purpose or duty at hand. It was said that this Draco’s loyalty surpassed all others. But there was one other tidbit I had heard that was even more unusual. Those who worked with him, who were on the same side, seemed to like him. It was a concept unheard of for the dark side. Everyone was your enemy and everyone hated each other.
“And you are?” he asked.
If I said my name, he’d know who I was as well, and he’d run away. My intrigue was far too deep to have him disappear just yet.
“It doesn’t matter, does it?” I said.
He smirked, a dimple forming in the side of his cheek as he did so.
What the heck was wrong with me? I wanted to run my fingers over his lips. I should’ve reigned in those thoughts faster! I had urged myself to try to focus on what was happening around me, not to look at him.
Part of the roof began to sink until finally caving in with a horrific, crushing noise as it broke bits and pieces of the house that had stood underneath. This caused another flame to appear in a new section, the orange and blue colors lapping up all the oxygen around them.
The female was still standing in front of the door. I looked at my fingernail. A male child cried out from the door of the ambulance, the noise terrifying the poor thing.
“Get Jeff out of there!” a fireman shouted as he fumbled to remove his walkie-talkie from his belt. He pushed a button down on the side of the small device. “Jeff, can you hear me? Jeff, are you okay? Jeff, get out! Get out of there now!”
Another siren echoed in the distance attached to another tanker. I frowned and looked up at the stars dotting the skyline. I felt my mind drifting to him again.
He took a step closer to me again. I backed up. Amusement danced in those eyes of his. He reached out again, I moved back another step.
“Surely, you’re not afraid of me?”
Forbidden was more like the term that came to mind. We weren’t to interact with creatures of the dark, and likewise, they with us.
I knew I should reveal to him my name, but I didn’t want to. I wasn’t thinking clearly. My head seemed to be filled with fog. I told myself to pull it together. I was a warrior angel, not some addle minded girl.
I wondered why he didn’t at least take me as a creature of the light. Couldn’t he sense the light? Perhaps it was my enormous wings the color of coal tucked in securely to my back. They always gave me the appearance of being a darker shade than the other angels. I could only make the assumption that this Draco took me as one of his own.
His hands grabbed onto my waist and pulled me forward into his chest.
“Draco … no,” I whispered, but in my head I was saying YES.
“Say it again,” he pleaded, his lips gliding across the top of my forehead as he spoke.
The energy I felt within me being next to him was unlike anything I had ever experienced before. It engulfed every inch of me.
“Say what?” I asked, completely aware of how close our faces were.
He chuckled, the noise radiating into his chest that I now realized I had both of my hands pressed against.
I looked up at his face, his square jaw, and his stormy eyes. My lips parted and with a smirk I said, “No.”
A growling noise escaped from his throat. He narrowed his eyes, his hands around my waist pressing me tighter into his body.
“You dare defy me?” he whispered.
I stared back with my left eyebrow arched, not allowing my eyes to turn away from him so he knew his intimidation couldn’t make me cower.
“You’re not afraid?” He inspected every inch of my face as if memorizing each feature.
My body tingled from the overwhelming emotions. I had never felt this strange before. There was an ache in the pit of my stomach and a comfort in staring in this dark creature’s eyes as if he had put me under some sort of spell.
I reached up and let my fingertip trace the edge of his bottom lip. I grinned.
The female gasped as she saw the front door broken apart from the inside. Smoke poured out from the enflamed house, its beams and foundation creaking on the brink of crumpling completely down.
Out came the fireman, a small child in his arms. She rushed to him. The firefighter handed him over and then fell to one knee on the ground.
The medics came to attend to the male child, his face covered in soot, his dark eyes huge at the scene before him.
“It’s okay, ma’am!” the medic yelled out. “We got him! He needs oxygen!”
The medic had to practically pull the child out of his mother’s arms. As he did, she drew her fingers into her mouth, her moist eyes returning to the fireman who still was kneeling down.
“Jeff, you okay?” another fireman asked him. He tried to help him up by putting his arm underneath him, but the man they called Jeff swatted him away.
“No, I got to go back in.”
“What? You can’t! That whole thing is ready to fall.”
Jeff stood up then and put his mask back on. “He was right behind me. He’s got to be right there.” His eyes met the female’s as he headed back to the front door.
Draco withdrew from my touch for a moment, his eyes turning from anger to astonishment.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
The corners of my mouth lifted upward in a small smile. “You feel it, too, don’t you?”
I could feel his heart hammering away in his chest, a vein protruding from his neck where a scar lay.
“I …” he mumbled, searching my eyes for an explanation for this intensity.
“You can’t let go of me, can you?” I asked, my hand running through the back of his black hair.
For a few moments more he studied me, but this time he didn’t pull away from my touch. He leaned in and pressed his lips against mine. As if I didn’t think the emotions could grow any stronger. My head was spinning in a thousand different directions. This was wrong but felt so right. He kissed me gently, and then I kissed back harder as if trying to melt into him but impossible to get any closer than we already were. My entire body felt alive, every nerve ending inflamed, the heat coursing through my veins. I felt so consumed by Draco. I couldn’t breathe, and I loved every second of it.
A stinging pain etched its way to a spot near where my wing attached to my back. I pulled back from Draco quickly, my hand releasing hold on him and trying to find the newly formed wound.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, his eyes on me, his arms still extended as I backed further away, the pain feeling as if one part of my skin was on fire.
It started to ease a little, but I couldn’t see what had happened to me. I felt exhilarated, exhausted and guilty all at the same time.
“Are you okay?”
Was he concerned for me? I watched him take a few steps toward me, his large, strong body moving in that rhythmic and enticing way.
“I … think so. Something’s hurting on my back,” I quickly explained.
His eyebrows lowered. He was concerned. A creature of the dark didn’t care about anything or anyone but themselves. He was a walking contradiction.
“Let me see,” he said, trying to look behind me.
Afraid he’d see my wings, I turned so I was facing him again. “I’m fine,” I snapped.
His eyes grew large, something stewing within them again as if trying to read my thoughts.
“Who are you?” he asked, the distance between us minimal, his hands up as if ready to dive back into what we had just been doing in an instant, but he was being careful. He didn’t want me to run away which I felt on the verge of.
“I can’t tell you,” I said, my voice crackling under the desire to leap back into his arms, but the burning still lingering on my back.
“Okay.” He lowered his hands. “What are you?”
I felt a tremendous pull on my heart. I took a step closer to Draco. His hand automatically weaved its way into mine.
“Whatever you are,” he continued. “You’re beautiful, and I’m drawn to you in a way I can’t even explain.”
I looked from his eyes to his lips, feeling the exact same way.
He pulled me close again, his lips gliding across mine.
I jumped back, the same unknown burning sensation in my back again.
He looked confused.
“I’m sorry,” I said. “Something’s wrong.”
“What could possibly be wrong?” he asked, his face one of utter rejection.
My heart was slamming against my ribs. The burning subsided slightly again the farther away I was from him. I took a few more steps backward. It felt even better. I wished I could see behind me to know what was going on, where this pain had erupted from.
“I have to go,” I told him.
He raised his arm up as if trying to hang on. “Please, no. Don’t leave yet. I don’t even know who you are …”
“It doesn’t matter,” I called out putting more distance between us so that I couldn’t see the twisted emotions in his eyes any longer. “This can’t happen again, won’t happen again.”
With that, I turned and ran until completely out of Draco’s sight, at which time I spread my wings and launched into the sky.
Sara’s: Sara V. Zook is a paranormal/fantasy writer. She is the author of the Strange in Skin Trilogy and Clipped. She resides in Pennsylvania with her 3 small children and husband.
Wendy’s: After being in the music and literary field for 12 years as an agent, in 2013 Wendy S. Chartier took her passion for books and formed her own publishing company, Planettopia Publishing, LLC.
Wendy resides in the Texas hill country with her husband, David, and their furkids, Azriel and Sophie.
a Rafflecopter giveaway