Wheeeee, just a little over a week away from unveiling ZERO FACTOR, my very first release from the magnificent Samhain Publishing!
To celebrate, I've got another bit of excerpty goodness on tap -- Via and Locke's first kiss (which had absolutely nothing to do with love, and everything to do with staying alive). Enjoy!
Via knew her life was over. If she were honest with herself, part of her had known it the moment she had left the safety of the agridome. People like her could never put themselves in a position where they would be within spitting distance of the militia, much less work hand in hand with them. To do so was akin to bathing in jet fuel, then playing with a lighter.
And yet she had gone. Like a lamb to slaughter, she had gone.
It was okay, though. As long as she could save the others, she could be at peace with what had to be done now. Not that she was some kind of freaky saint or anything. It was just that as she’d sat in the transport drowning in images of what was to come, she had reached a very basic conclusion—she would rather die than live with the knowledge that she could have done something, but didn’t.
So she wasn’t a saint, and she sure as hell wasn’t even nodding acquaintances with that thing called bravery. If anything, she was too much of a coward to live with the guilt of surviving while everyone else got blown into unrecognizable bits.
“Via? What the hell—?”
She heard Weddo’s shocked voice, but it didn’t matter. What mattered was focusing on what she knew, what she saw, and pushing it with all her might into Locke. She wasn’t sure if she was doing it right. Hell, she didn’t even know if she was doing anything more than simply kissing a stranger and making a ginormous ass of herself. She had only done this sort of thing once before when she was fifteen, and it had been a total accident back then.
By degrees, the frenzied panic boiling through her blood eased like a tight fist unfurling, and new, thoroughly unexpected sensations began to seep in through the smothering veil of fear. For just a heartbeat the universe seemed to pause, a collective holding of breath while even the sound of the bustling city’s daily life came to a gentle stop. For Via, there was only this fragile moment as her mouth molded to his, and a shocking thrill of pleasure bloomed like fireworks in her brain when his lips softened and returned the pressure with interest. Her booted feet barely touched the ground as she kept her arms wrapped tightly around his strong neck, and delight mingled with relief when his free arm curled about her waist to bring her fully against the rock-solid length of his battle-hardened warrior’s body. His breath was warm, his taste tantalizing. The seductive nuzzling of his silk-over-steel lips against hers invited her untutored mouth to explore deeper, and she saw no reason why she should resist when she knew they were living on borrowed time.
A tremulous note of discord whispered from her psyche into his, a never-ending ricochet rippling noiselessly between them. The pleasure bounced back and forth as well, doubling and trebling as it went, but threaded through it was what the vision had shown her. But that was okay too. If this was to be her last moment of life, she was determined to pour every ounce of joy, vitality and pleasure she could into this kiss. If anything, she was happy for this final opportunity to go out with a bang.
“Lieutenant Locke, attention!”
It was the strangest thing, was all Via could think while her pulse pounded in her ears and in the lips that had become the most sensitive part of her body. It was as though she and this man—a militia man, for God’s sake—had discovered that with a kiss, they could create a magical little sphere where only they existed, and nothing of the gritty, desperate, dangerous place that was their world could encroach on their private slice of perfection. Then her lips drifted like a dream away from his, and the restless throb of the ever-bustling city once again filled her ears. But nothing felt the same. She wasn’t the same. As mad as it sounded, she felt changed from the inside out.
Were kisses supposed to change the world?
Via opened eyes she couldn’t remember closing, and gazed up in dazed confusion at the man she held with all the passionate fervor of a long-time lover. Where was the explosion? Had she interrupted the sequence of events? Was everyone safe?
Everyone except her, of course. Her safe life was officially over now that she had revealed to a gun-toting jarhead member of the militia that she was a psionic.