It’s time for Snippet Saturday! Each week has a theme or is author’s choice. This week the theme is Author’s Choice.
This week my snippet comes from Love Immortal, which a stand alone vampire romance novel, and another of my favourite stories.
It’s a shorter snippet this week, finally. This scene takes place on the back of a nightmare during which Julian, a three thousand year old immortal, relived events in his past but with Lauren in place of many of her predecessors. Lauren is the current reincarnation of a demi-goddess and it is his eternal duty to protect and awaken her, but Julian is beginning to realise that there is something different about her, and she is awakening long dead feelings in him.
Julian sat up with a jolt, trembling and cold. He couldn’t breathe. He needed to breathe. He needed to escape. He gulped down air so hard it burnt his lungs. His heart hammered against his ribcage, filling his head with a staccato beat. He needed to get to her.
He clawed at the air and then realised there was nothing there. No rubble blocked his path. No dust choked him. No sound of battle came to his ears.
Gradually, the darkness faded, revealing the unlit bedroom surrounding him. He quickly reached across the bed and fumbled with the lamp on the wooden side table there, almost knocking it over. The light was bright when it came on but it was a relief. He should have turned it on when he had come into the room. He shouldn’t have slept in the dark.
Still trembling, he sat back in the middle of his bed on top of the pale green covers and looked down at himself. He must have fallen asleep before undressing. His jaw tensed and he ran shaking fingers through his hair. Images of his nightmare flashed across his mind and he clenched his fists. He wasn’t there. It wasn’t happening again. The pain in his heart reminded him that it had been once and part of his nightmare could come true.
He needed to see her. He had to make sure that Lauren was alive.
Julian swung his legs over the edge of the bed and tried to stand but his knees gave way. He hit the wooden floor hard. Every muscle in his body quivered—weak and tired, unresponsive. He knelt on all fours, breathing hard, and tried to convince himself to move. He had to move. He had to check that Lauren was safe.
He ripped open the twin clasps that held his coat collar closed and sucked in deep breaths. Slow. Steady.
It took every ounce of his will to crawl to the door across the room and pull himself up. He leaned into the cream wall beside it for support, his legs threatening to give out again. He didn’t dare close his eyes. He didn’t want to go back to the darkness, not until he was able to face it, to bear it for her. Several attempts to open the door failed but eventually it gave and he made it out into the hall, his limbs shaking so much that he felt as though he wasn’t in control.
He wasn’t. Panic and fear were. Two emotions that he was too familiar with for his liking. He grew frustrated at himself for being so weak but the sense of need spiralling through him crushed any strength that anger might have given him. Only his need to see her gave him the will to continue and he stumbled on unsteady legs towards her room, leaning heavily against the wall, and then tripped across the hall to her door. He grabbed the handle to stop himself from falling, determined to overcome the weakness infesting him.
The door opened and he fell into the room, hitting the floor hard. His eyes immediately sought out Lauren. He had to see that she was alright. If he could then this feeling of desperation would pass. Fear would no longer rule him. He would be strong again, for her.
She lay on the bed to his right, the blue bedclothes barely covering her breasts. Moonlight cascaded through the crack between one set of curtains and over her skin, highlighting her peaceful face as she slumbered, unaware of his fear and pain. Relief and comfort eased him and gave him the strength to stand. He pushed himself up and crossed the room to her.
Her heart was calm and her breathing was steady. They soothed him. A need surfaced with him, so intense that he couldn’t deny it. He had to touch her. It didn’t matter that it was forbidden. He needed to feel that she was safe and here with him at last. In this moment, he didn’t just want to break the rules, he wanted to shatter them.
Julian hesitated and then reached out and swept the short strands of her red hair from her eyes. The touch became a caress before he could stop himself and he brushed the backs of his fingers across her forehead. Her skin was warm and soft, smooth against his. His hands trembled, his breathing shaky. He was so weak for her, but this time that weakness felt stronger than ever.
Stronger than his weakness for Illia had ever been. He didn’t understand it. Didn’t try to. He just accepted it. Lauren affected him deeper than her predecessors. He needed her.
His frail legs threatened to give out but he refused to leave. He needed to stay a while, to take in the sight of her until he was sure that she was real and it had only been a nightmare.
Lauren rolled her head into his hand. Her face became shadowed but he could still see her, continued to watch her sleep. His heart whispered that he wasn’t strong enough to lose her this time. He absorbed the soft warmth of her against his hand and vowed that he would do anything to protect her. Anything. He wouldn’t fail Lauren.
His breathing slowed and his heartbeat steadied, matching Lauren’s.
He stroked her cheek, fascinated by the satin feel of her skin. Being with her like this made him realise that something had changed in him over the years and filled him with a sense that his feelings had altered in some way. He felt different.
Lauren’s rosy lips parted in a sigh.
She felt different.
Julian ran his fingers over her brow.
She was beautiful in a way none of them had been.
Did you enjoy the snippet?
More about the book:
Rescued from werewolves by the most breathtaking man she’s ever seen, Lauren is dragged into the fight of her life and a dark world she never knew existed. There, she discovers that she’s the latest reincarnation of a goddess and must drink the blood of her immortal protector, Julian, in order to reawaken and continue her three thousand year old mission to defeat Lycaon, the original werewolf.
With the help of Julian and an organisation of people with supernatural abilities, Lauren fights for her life, their future and the fate of mankind against Lycaon and his deadly army, but can she succeed when Lycaon has killed all of her predecessors?
Can she crack the armour around Julian’s heart and seize her happily forever after with him? And can Julian bring himself to trust Lauren with the fragments of his heart after everything he’s been through?
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