I've been a failure with Teaser Tuesday again, haven't I? No worries though, loves. I fully intend to make it up to you today. I have a teaser from Stricken for you, and it's a bit longer than usual! It's also not been through the BEE or pre-readers, so please forgive any errors. They're my fault entirely!
Stricken is Book One of The War Scrolls series. It's about a Hafling (half-Fae, half-human) warrior, and the little human who just might be the key to saving his people. Things are never that easy though, are they? Anya and Kaeden are both haunted by pasts they can't outrun, and a future they might not survive. A new demon war stretches on the horizon, and old alliances will shatter. For the first time in memory, humanity meets evil face to face, and this time, they might be required to face the horror alone.
As with Fade, there is an apocalyptic element to The War Scrolls series. If you're familiar with the Dead Sea Scrolls, you probably recognize the name. The War Scroll is one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and contained prophecy regarding the final battle of good and evil. Yikes!
For a more complete summary of Stricken, check out the Cookie Cave.
"You look tired." Anya fought the urge to lift her hand and touch Kaeden's face.
"I am," he said, the corner of his lips turning up in a half-smile.
He stared down at her, his half-smile slipping. He looked at her then like he had earlier, before he kissed her. His eyes swirled with a dizzying parade of emotion. She couldn't read them all, but she understood enough. He felt as torn as she did.
"Will I remember you five years from now?" she whispered, her heart aching with fear that she would forget him like she had so much else, and with fear that she would remember him. That he would haunt her long after she walked away from this nightmare, and from him.
"Do you want to remember me?" He took another step in her direction.
"I don't know." She frowned a little, confused. "You feel safe to me. I don't think I want to forget that."
Kaeden reached out and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. He cupped her cheek gently in one big hand. "You are safe with me," he whispered. "I won't let anything hurt you, Anya."
She stared at him a moment. He'd promised before that he wouldn't hurt her, but even then an unspoken fear stood between them like a wall. A little voice whispered that if she got too close, he would hurt her as badly as the things in her past hurt. That voice stopped whispering when he kissed her today though, and wasn't that odd?
"You hurt me today," she whispered.
He bowed his head, letting his hand fall away from her face. "I'm sorry I hurt you."
Her heart ached a little at the agonized way he said it. As if he cared a little bit more than he should, too. As if he hated himself for turning away from her. "Why did you?" she asked, not accusing, but curious. She wanted to understand him. She needed to understand him. "You wanted me, didn't you?"
His gaze sought hers again, honesty shining from his Fae-bright eyes. "More than you know," he said.
Anya took a deep breath, letting her lungs fill with air even as her heart filled with his confession. He did care, maybe as much as she did. But . . . "It doesn't change anything, does it?" she whispered.
"Do you want it to?"
Part of her, a large part, wanted the way they felt to change things. In a matter of days, he'd slipped beneath her defenses and made her yearn for something she couldn't even really define. More than safety and security, she ached for home and belonging. For a place that didn't hurt her, and someone to catch her when she fell. But . . . she couldn't have that if it meant facing this world every day for the rest of her life, could she? If it meant watching him die? She wasn't ready for that. She might never be ready for it. Her shoulders slumped, the breath she'd just taken expelling in a long sigh. "I'm sorry."
Kaeden gave her a sad smile and reached for her again. He swept a finger beneath her eye, collecting the teardrop she hadn't even realized had fallen. "No apologies," he whispered, bringing his finger to his mouth. His tongue darted out and lapped that single bead of moisture from his fingertip. "You owe me nothing."
Then why did this hurt? Why did she feel like crying?
Well, I'm glad I'm not Anya or Kaeden at the moment, aren't you?!