The second is a bit of action—had to keep this one short so as not to give away anything. In The Marked, I wanted to show how Dancia is growing and changing. Her talent is developing and so is her confidence. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some speed bumps along the way. Dancia never wanted to be a hero, let alone the keeper of an astonishingly powerful paranormal talent. It doesn’t help that she’s still got some doubts about Delcroix…if you thought Dancia’s world was complicated in The Talents, just wait until The Marked!
Thanks so much to all the lovely folks who have followed the tour, and special thanks to Damaris and the lovely ladies at Good Choice Reading for hosting me today! Please, remember to stop by my website, say hello on Twitter, or check in on Facebook. I love to hear from readers.
* * *
XX put his hand on my shoulder and took a step toward me, his face grey and drawn.
“Is there more?” I asked. “More that you aren’t telling me?”
Warm, strong hands found my waist and pulled me close. He touched my face with one hand, shaking his head in wonder. “Dancia, you never give up, do you?”
As was always the case, my brain started to fog up the second he touched me. I struggled to hold on to my thoughts, to keep pushing at something that had seemed vitally important only seconds before, but became wholly irrelevant when XX’s arms were around me.
My words came in slow motion. “Is that a bad thing?”
“No.” He leaned forward, whispering, his breath warm as he gently kissed my neck. “It’s who you are.”
The kiss caught me by surprise. I stood still, wanting to savor the feeling as long as I could.
He did it again.
I forgot about the Irin. I forgot my own name. Nothing mattered but his lips on my skin. I wrapped my arms around his neck and touched his hair, my knees like jelly.
“I guess this wasn’t the best Valentine’s Day,” he said.
I shook my head slightly. “Best Valentine’s Day I’ve ever had.”
* * *
“Dancia, what are you doing?” Mr. Fritz shouted, covering his face and crouching down.
“I’m fighting. Just like you wanted!” I tried to think, to clear my mind the way I’d been taught, but it was too full. The debris of scattered thoughts, confusion, and anger had turned into mountains, filling my head with demands for attention. The pain wanted me; the black lines and forces wanted me. Mr. Fritz was yelling, and Barrett was smirking. Suddenly, I was desperate for it all to be silent, for the earth to return to normal and the branches to stop raining from the trees.
But I was no longer in control…