Sample Sunday – Forbidden

forbidden_teaser

Forbidden, the newest Djinn Wars novel, comes out in a few days — on December 1st — so here’s a little peek at what’s in store!

***

She was falling, plummeting into a dark limbo that seemed to press down on her lungs and made her stomach feel as if it had lodged somewhere in her esophagus. At first she thought she must have been knocked off her stool by the blast, but it shouldn’t have taken this long to hit the floor, should it? And then when she did finally land, dropping the device and pliers she held on impact, what she felt under her fingers was rough, gritty sand, not cool linoleum.

Blinking, Jillian raised her head…and then wished she hadn’t. The sky wasn’t a sky at all, but an ever-shifting maelstrom of colors that flashed in and out of existence, colors she couldn’t even begin to name, angry, searing, leaving nightmarish after-images flaring on her retinas. All around were jagged rock formations, some of which were marred by what seemed to be caves. To her confused eyes, those openings looked like dark, hungry mouths.

Her breath caught. Or rather, she realized she couldn’t breathe, that when she tried to pull air in through her nose, it seemed to lodge somewhere in her throat and never make it any farther than that. Her lungs ached, were on fire.

She couldn’t even scream. No air. The alien landscape spun around her, a red haze beginning to blur her vision. Somehow she found the strength to inch herself toward the device, instincts screaming at her that it was the reason she was here, her only means of escape. But it had fallen so far away…a yard at least. Under these conditions, it might as well be a mile.

No strength. The red haze began to shift to darkness, and she knew her body was giving in, every cell in her being shutting down from lack of oxygen. She would die here…and she didn’t even know where “here” was.

Maybe she’d be with Jack soon.

Then, improbably, there came the sound of swift footsteps on the hard-packed sand. Someone knelt next to her, was grasping her by the shoulders and lifting her from the ground. She blinked in shock, saw impossibly blue eyes boring into hers.

No, that couldn’t be right. Jack had brown eyes.

The stranger put his hand on the back of her neck and placed his mouth on hers. For a single startled second, she wondered incongruously why he was trying to kiss her. But then a welcome gust of air — real air — filled her throat, and she gulped it down, sending the stranger’s breath into her oxygen-starved lungs.

And again. And again.

Those eyes remained fixed on hers. After he had shared half a dozen breaths with her, he said, in a deep, rough voice, “Who are you? How did you get here?”

Jillian shook her head. Although he’d brought her back from the brink, she knew if she opened her mouth, she’d release some of the precious, life-giving air he’d provided. Instead, she pointed at the box.

The stranger looked over at it, his heavy brows pulling together. “One of those things? I thought they were only for repelling djinn.”

So he knew what the device was. And, although her brain was still befuddled from a lack of oxygen, she realized, looking at the man before her, that he probably wasn’t an actual man at all. He was too perfect, from those startling blue eyes to the straight, elegant nose and full, sensual mouth. By all rights, he should be dead in this place, but he looked healthy and strong, muscles sculpted and full beneath the tatters of the clothing he wore.

He had to be a djinn.

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