How about a sneak peek of my next Federation novel, INSATIABLE? I wrote this particular scene while listening to Oh Fortuna from Carmina Burana. In fact, this scene came to be early on and I had to put it aside until the time was right. I can still see Daniel’s face, hear the pinging of spent shells hitting the road beneath his feet.
A hand shoved her to the ground. Shouts rang out, wrapped in the pop, pop, pop of weapons fire. She stayed, her arms clutched around his ankle. He changed his stance so that she rested between his legs, changed his stance to protect her better. And he did it all automatically.
She did not look at the men in the trees, did not look at the men crouched at the next corner shooting round after round, all set to kill her. They would not harm her; she knew that instinctively. Knew Daniel Haws would kill a thousand men to save her, knew he’d give his life for her. This last bit scared her more than the men trying to kill her. This last bit was a bigger threat than any, because he was her everything, and she would not survive losing him. So she looked up at Daniel, into his face, and held on to her certainty that no one was better than he.
Spent shells showered around her head, glittering in the sunlight
with a sick sort of beauty. The ones that touched her bare skin burned as they bounced, hitting the ground, still smoking. Their metallic ping sounded over and around the other sounds, all chaos. The stench of the powder within the shells hung in the air, stinging her nose, making her eyes water.
His face was stark, a mask of furious, righteous anger, a vengeful angel. Each shot brought the energy rebounding through his upper body, and she watched, fascinated, as it bounced against him over and over, but he never lost his focus.
All around her she heard screams of rage and pain, the percussive thump as bodies hit the ground. The thick, coppery scent of blood mixed with the stench of the spent shells, the acrid wash of fear coating it all.
They’d been ambushed as they neared the portal and had fallen back into a small garden off the main street. Julian, Vincenz and Marame had split off as Carina grabbed her blaster. Andrei had melted off, disappearing like smoke, only to appear for a moment in a splash of red and disappearing again.
Daniel, brooking no argument, had shoved her down and begun shooting at the men trying to close in. She curled into a ball, not wanting to choose that moment to push back. He was the expert. She wasn’t so stupid she didn’t understand that when an expert gave you instructions, you took them.
She wanted to help, but she wanted him to live, wanted to live herself. So she stayed at his feet, looking up at him as the light glinted from his hair, dark like roasted kava, so beautiful, even as an avenging angel, he shone.
The paving stone she rested her elbow on splintered, driving shards of rock into her skin. She barely held in her cry of pain, but it sang through her system nonetheless.
Moments later, he said her name, hauling her up to his side as she struggled to get to her feet. He didn’t drag her, he simply held her with one arm, shooting with the other as they rounded a corner and Julian came out, pulling them both into the building and slamming the door in their wake. If she hadn’t been so terrified, the sheer gallantry and skill he showed would have wowed her.
The silence settled in, deafening after the chaos outside.
Daniel set her down in a far corner, patting over her, holding his bloody hand up as if she’d done it on purpose. “Are you all right? Did you get shot? Tell me now!”
“I-I don’t think so.”
“Blood! Carina, you’re bleeding.” He tried to rip her clothes back to look, but she slapped at his hands. His face was set; he was on a mission.
“The rock splintered. It hit my arm. I’m cut, not shot. Stop! Stop it!” She yanked his hair, hard, and finally he seemed to hear.
He froze, blinking several times until he pushed her sleeve up with a hiss. “Stay right here. Do not move.”
As if she would with him in such a lather! “Bossy,” she managed to say, and his shoulders eased a bit as she’d intended.
Marame looked over and grinned. Andrei was suddenly there, kneeling, looking her over, a question in his eyes. Vincenz stood near the windows, out of sight but watching the street. Every once in a while, he looked over at Carina, and she smiled, reassuring him.
“Move,” Daniel said to Andrei. He settled at her feet and began to clean her arm when Andrei moved to the side.
Andrei tweezed the small shards of rock out of the wounds.
Julian came back in. “We have to move. They’re not too far away, going house to house. Can she travel?” He indicated Carina with a tip of his chin.
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