Hannah Black used to be a medical doctor. Back before she was taken by the Imperium, held and tortured via isolation and beatings. She’s a shadow of her former self when Vincenz Cuomo finds her imprisoned in a lab he’s set to blow up. And from that moment on, Hannah grabs hold of her life, of her future and is determined not to let go. She’s broken in a lot of ways. Wounded. Messed up and befuddled. But she’s also strong, intelligent and brave. It’s through her path back to herself, through her growing and deepening connection with Vincenz and Julian that she beings to understand and believe the things they tell her.
“They’ll tie it down. Cover all the places the sand can get in. It messes with the inner workings of everything,” Piper explained.
“I like it that you tell me things. Can I help?”
Piper smiled and took her hand. “Yes. Come on. I’ll show you what needs to be done.”
Piper never treated her as if she were fragile. Though, Hannah thought as she locked the tie into place, Piper had seen Hannah at the very worst. Had seen her that day when Vincenz had come to free her. Then again, Piper had been drowning in her own grief at the time. Still, Hannah liked just how utterly matter-of-fact Piper was. Hannah never felt as if she had to hold herself together so tightly when she was with the other woman. It was a relief to build a slow friendship with someone who never seemed to want to fix her or think she was about to fall apart at any moment.
She only had that with Julian and Vincenz, though they both worried for her.
“Nice job,” one of Piper’s people said to her as he checked over Hannah’s work. “Let’s get inside. There’s a feast waiting.”
Julian approached, his hand out, and she took it, smiling. “Food.”
“I know. You’ll like it.”
The air hummed against her skin as she turned her face up. There was so much chaos in the environment there. The shuss of sand and dirt sliding together off in the distance.
“Do you like how it feels here?” he asked as if she’d said it aloud instead of thinking it.
“It’s raw.” She licked her lips. There weren’t a thousand barriers between Hannah’s senses and the world around her. Not here. Here it was unvarnished. “What’s the smell in the air?”
“Ozone. The spark of the big storms. It builds up and around, like a tunnel of wind and earth. Sometimes so fast it can tear the flesh from bone. Not here, but out in the wild areas. There’s lightning in the center. Out in the wilderness there are patches of scorched earth turned to glass.”
“Really?” How thrilling to see nature do something like that.
“Would you like to see it? After the storm breaks and it’s all clear, of course.”
She squeezed his hand. “Yes. Yes, please. I’d love to see that.”
He pulled her toward the largest building. “Then that’s what we’ll do. Living quarters up here. Vin has taken our bags in already. Come on inside so they can lock down the rest of the house.”
She followed him, breathing in the strangeness in the air.
He paused after he’d closed the door and latched it, setting a seal. “Me? Oh, yes, beautiful Hannah, you always stir me up.”
She smiled, flattered. “Oh. That’s nice. I meant the atmosphere here. It’s twisty and turny. Nothing knows what it wants. So it does it all. Churning. The air, the elements all churn against one another. Beautiful chaos.”
He leaned down and kissed her with so much gentleness it made her heart ache. “Your mind is so beautiful. That’s exactly what it is here. That’s why the storms are the way they are. The magnetic fields in the planet are unbalanced. Not in a catastrophic way. But not everyone could survive here.”
She shook her head. “No.” But she could. Maybe.
From very early on I had Monica Bellucci in my head as Hannah was on the page…
Today’s prize is a signed copy of Mesmerized. I’ll choose from the comments to this post and announce in tomorrow’s winner’s post. Good luck!
April 29th, 2012 at 4:48 am · Link
Nice excerpt. I can’t wait to read Captivated to meet these characters.
April 29th, 2012 at 5:05 am · Link
It’s great to get to see Hannah’s healing process from close up. You’ve always had me wondering how Sera managed to survive her breakup with Ash. But being part of a larger group -for Sera it was the military – might certainly do the trick. And having two great guys to support you also helps. So there’s a parallel to Sera, Ash and Brandt, because their real HEA only started when they committed to each other. Hope to catch a glimpse of them in Captivating. I love revisiting characters from previous books 🙂
April 29th, 2012 at 5:26 am · Link
Can’t wait read more about Hannah and see the progression of their relationship.
April 29th, 2012 at 5:45 am · Link
After the excerpts I’ve read I can’t wait to learn more about Hannah, Julian, and Vincenz.
April 29th, 2012 at 6:44 am · Link
Just a couple more days….
April 29th, 2012 at 7:06 am · Link
Hannah’s journey was a tough one but I really grew to have respect for the character. She endured more than most men could. I love this story.
I have my copy of Mesmerized.
April 29th, 2012 at 7:18 am · Link
I find it interesting how well you can balance strength and…well, fragility is the word that comes to mind (at least, my mind–not sure it’s ultimately right)
April 29th, 2012 at 7:33 am · Link
I love the excerpts you show us. Thank you!
It’s nice to see Hannah becoming friend with Piper: she really needs people she can count on and Piper is obviously one of them.
Now that I know Monica Bellucci was a model for Hannah, I can imagine her much more clearly than before. I imagine her as a very strong character and I can’t wait to read more about her!
April 29th, 2012 at 8:16 am · Link
Thanks for the excerpt. It’s great to see who are the models for your characters. I’m really interested to see how Hannah is able to rebuild her life and heal through her relationships with Vincenz and Julian as well as reaching out to others around her.
April 29th, 2012 at 8:21 am · Link
What a beautiful, flawed character.
April 29th, 2012 at 8:58 am · Link
I really don’t know many actors or their names but this Monica Bellucci is beautiful. From what we know of Hannah she is a very nice choice.
April 29th, 2012 at 9:37 am · Link
Can’t wait for this to come out! Thanks for sharing the excerpt!
April 29th, 2012 at 9:42 am · Link
I really can’t wait to read more about these characters! Great excerpt!!
April 29th, 2012 at 10:41 am · Link
Fascinating excerpt, definitely makes we want to read more. I’ve loved each book in this series, the fluidity of how the stories progress forward. Eagerly waiting this latest. 😉
April 29th, 2012 at 10:55 am · Link
GreaT xcrrpt and chacter Ty
April 29th, 2012 at 11:02 am · Link
Beautiful, flawed and waiting to heal with the love of two extraordinary men.
April 29th, 2012 at 11:03 am · Link
SO excited can’t wait for it to be delivered to my kindle.
April 29th, 2012 at 11:04 am · Link
Great excerpt, it was a tease. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks.
April 29th, 2012 at 11:23 am · Link
Two more days! Can’t wait…
April 29th, 2012 at 11:27 am · Link
Sounds great – would love to win a copy of mesmerized and the rest of the series.
April 29th, 2012 at 11:34 am · Link
I can’t wait to read about these characters.
April 29th, 2012 at 11:39 am · Link
What a great excerpt – I am adding the book to my wishlist now 😀
April 29th, 2012 at 12:54 pm · Link
Release day is getting closer!! Thanks for sharing a bit of Captivated with us.
April 29th, 2012 at 12:55 pm · Link
Great excerpt. What a wonderful heroine.
April 29th, 2012 at 1:55 pm · Link
It’s always interesting to learn the inspiration for the characters.
April 29th, 2012 at 2:10 pm · Link
I enjoy reading the excerpts you give us, temptation!!!
April 29th, 2012 at 2:22 pm · Link
Thanks for the excerpt!! I can’t wait to read this books!!! These little snippets only make me impatient to read the whole book!!
April 29th, 2012 at 2:37 pm · Link
Oh I can’t wait for this book!! Great excerpt!! Those pictures of what Hannah looks like — so pretty!! Thanks for the chance to win!! 🙂
April 29th, 2012 at 3:50 pm · Link
I think you choice of Hannah is a good one!
April 29th, 2012 at 4:00 pm · Link
Love the insight into Hannah can’t wait for Tuesday to come I am very excited to read this book
April 29th, 2012 at 4:47 pm · Link
Thank you for a wonderful excerpt! It’s great to know who you had in mind when writing about Hannah. I’m really looking forward to reading Captivated this Tuesday.
April 29th, 2012 at 5:03 pm · Link
Just a couple more days and we’ll all be “Captivated”! Rock on, Lauren!
April 29th, 2012 at 5:22 pm · Link
I cant wait to read this. Only a couple more days!
April 29th, 2012 at 5:43 pm · Link
Ooh, you’re killing me, Lauren!!
April 29th, 2012 at 6:07 pm · Link
Nice choice,she’s beautiful.Great excerpt.
April 29th, 2012 at 7:10 pm · Link
Nice inspiration and excerpt.
April 29th, 2012 at 8:21 pm · Link
I love it 🙂 Sounds like my family when we all get together and are all talking over one another because we’re so excited to see everyone.
Can’t wait to read the whole book instead of snippets!
April 29th, 2012 at 8:40 pm · Link
I really really like her. Nice choice. I pictured her as more fragile in my head. funny how everyone has their own take on things.
April 29th, 2012 at 10:05 pm · Link
Great excerpt! Loved the inclusion of the pictures of Monica as Hannah 🙂
April 29th, 2012 at 11:02 pm · Link
Thanks for the great excerpt!
April 30th, 2012 at 12:30 am · Link
Can’t wait to read this!
April 30th, 2012 at 1:03 am · Link
Im never good at picturing what characters look like, so I always enjoy it when the author shares who their inspiration was.
April 30th, 2012 at 8:19 am · Link
I cannot wait to read this book! It’s sounds AMAZING!
April 30th, 2012 at 10:14 am · Link
I love that you are showing who you think each character looks like, it helps visualise the character in my head 🙂