Excerpts

SIX. Chapter One.

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As promised, here is the first chapter of SIX. November 16th is the new release date! Write it down. Tell your friends. Do a little dance. 

-Rachel 

Chapter One

January 10th, Midday

My body is tired. Running is something I have not done since childhood. The dark part of my body can go on. The human part wants to rest. Nothingness is even darker than I imagined it would be. Thick, black trees cover the gray hazy light that I can usually see in the sky. The air smells different, my skin feels odd, and my anger is still tepid. I wait for it to leave because it makes me feel awkward. Having never been able to control my fear, I now wonder if anger laces every waking moment. On its own, I prefer it to fear because it is more bearable—it drives a response from somewhere new. All of the sub-emotions connected to anger are flashing through my system. They are powerful and unrelenting.

My worn out boots crunch the ground as I walk. The echoing noise only serves to make me angrier. The sounds will give away my location and the dark witches will know where I have gone. It is not a matter of if they will. I know they will come after me. I take off my boots, strip off my socks, and continue to tread lightly on the cold ground. For a moment I forget why I do not want the witches to find me, but then I remember her dead body and her whispered last words. They were not empty words as so many of the words she spoke throughout my lifetime. They will kill you when they are done with you. Just like they killed her after her job was completed.

Anger. The emotion is blistering.

I will remind myself of her words when I feel the urge to return to my fated life.

I urge my feet to move faster through the forest to explore. I force my blue eyes to glow a magical bright white to cast addi- tional light on the trail ahead of me. When I hear something move in the distance, I freeze. The black trees look icy but it is just an illusion—they are very much alive and thriving. After the old world fell, magical spells encased the new world to keep it from dying off. I think perhaps it is a tree making the noise, but then I hear a low, gruff growl. I know then that the creatures have found me.

They are glistening, humanoid killing machines that have forced me indoors for most of my life. The wretched creatures are why my fear never left, because they refused to go as well.

I shut my eyes to hide the light that signals my otherness and the growling immediately ceases. Walking a few paces away to a large clump of trees, I slump against a trunk and heave a sigh. Quietness surrounds me as I lace my boots back on. Next, I dig my fingers into the murky, ashen dirt by my sides, desperate to keep my magic quelled. I have been wandering aimlessly, without a stopping point, and my magic is urging me to use it as a solution.

Vibration uncontrollably wracks my humming frame. It signals the magic now coursing through my body, just as vital as blood. Forcing the urges away like I used to do is no longer an option. I am eighteen and the transition is almost complete. My humanness is almost gone. Now, I am more dark witch than anything else. I would pretend for my human mother, but now there is no point. I can be what I was born to become.

My stomach suddenly growls, reminding me of the human parts that will never disappear. I clutch my middle and think about my worn storybook that I left behind in my home. I want to go back for it, but know I cannot without the witches catching me. Something buried deep inside heaves when I think of my home, my book, and my dead mother. My memory knows the story from my book by heart so I begin to recite it in my head. The familiar, hollow words calm me—they make me forget, they numb me.

I hear movement again and know without a doubt it is coming from the trees. I look up and gaze at the static branches and the still leaves. I feel the anger leaving as I take in my surroundings. With the creatures at bay, I realize I am comfortable in nothingness. I feel I do not exist to anyone else—it satisfies me completely. Nature blankets me wholly. It is an entity that has long forgotten my name. Hearing another rustle, my eyes spark white.

“Turn it off!” A female voice hisses from above. My eyes glow brighter in fear.

“I’m serious, bitch. The savages are here.”

The creatures have a different name in nothingness, as do I. I know they are one and the same. I still cannot urge my blue eyes to come. The terror and anger are back and stronger than ever. Rasping hot, stinking breath is so close I can feel it prickling my exposed skin.

The girl’s voice sighs loudly above me in the trees, and then I hear a brisk flick of something. An arrow hisses through the air and hits the savage directly between the black, protruding eyes. It falls toward me, but I nimbly move away from its hulking, slimy corpse. Swallowing loudly, I examine the steaming monster on the ground in front of me. I have never seen one close up. Growing up I would watch them from my bedroom window as they hid behind trees and stalked in the fields by my house. They sensed I was not human and they wanted to kill me. When my magic got stronger, my mother did not let me leave the confines of the house’s walls. Because of this creature and many more like it, I was a prisoner.

Remembering why it is on the ground and not brutally ripping me limb from limb, I warily look up.

A girl drops down from the trees, lithe and graceful. I stare at her, committing every feature to memory. The girl is my savior. She wears a worn plaid shirt and torn blue jeans. Her bow and quiver swings on her back like a brave warrior and her eyes do not glow, nor are they a recognizable human shade. Her eyes are a milky silver. She is one of whom my mother spoke. I know she is not a dark witch. She is a darkling—a half-human, half-dark witch. The girl is like me.

She suddenly yells, “I said turn it off! You freak!”

I flinch away from her. I do not understand her words and her tone is unfamiliar. She bends over the savage and grasps the head. I shudder when I hear her hands press into the goopy flesh. As she jerks, tendons fray and the head eventually pops off the body. My eyes widen in shock. I have never seen such brutality.

“Savages?” I ask. She tosses the head several feet away and then meets my gaze.

“Yes, freak. Savages…and more will be here soon if you don’t turn that shit off!” She points at my face, indicating my eyes as she kicks the corpse away and readies her bow to shoot again. I introduce myself.

“I am Emmalina Weaver.” My eyes are blue again—my dark side buried. I look at her from the back. She is small, yet strong. Pulling the bowstring back, she locks her sights on something and holds her breath. In response I hold my breath, too. She does not let the arrow go though. She slowly lowers her bow to aim at the ground and turns to look at me curiously.

“Well, well, Emma. Finally pulled your act together? Took you long enough. Nice eyes by the way.” The girl squints in the darkness to peer at my face.

“I am hungry,” I say quickly, in hopes of deterring her from realizing our differences. My blond hair contrasts starkly compared to her black, chin length hair that is similar to the dark witches that killed my mother, the common features I am sure most share. “Oh, Jesus. You’re hungry? You are really far gone, aren’t you? Fuck. I should just put you out of your misery now…just say the word,” she says icily. She places her hands on her hips and raises one eyebrow. The girl has asked a question I do not understand so I smile.

She raises her bow up, readying to shoot—in my direction. “No, please do not shoot me. I am frightened!” The girl cackles, her smile touching her eyes. “Okay, not all the way gone, then.” I passed a test. I smile back at her. She shakes her head as she lowers her weapon. “They are going to fucking kill me for this,” she says, stomping one foot on the ground. Her words confuse me. I want to ask if she knows where I can find food, but she was not happy when I told her of my hunger, so I ask her a question instead.

“Who? The creatures will kill you?” I ask. It seems to me that she is prepared to take on the creatures—or anything else that lurks in nothingness. I would be dead if not for her lethal shooting and decapitating abilities.

She swings her bow down by her side as she scans the forest. “No. Not the creatures.” When she finally looks at me, she closes her eyes and sucks in a deep breath. She opens them and her eyes rove my body a few more times.

“The dark witches killed my mother this morning. They came for me, but I ran from them. I will hide in nothingness,” I tell her, hoping to portray humanness by sharing a story. Though saying the words aloud makes me realize my plan is not solid. I have nowhere to go.

“Today? They came for you today?” Her forehead wrinkles and I sense fear in her voice. I am aware of it, just as I was able to sense it in my mother.

“Yes. Today,” I say.

She scans the woods once more while asking, “You ran? Why?” I am hesitant to tell her—I think she will not comprehend my reasons. I look down to the ground and answer her honestly.

“Because I felt.”

Her head snaps back to look at me. She looks me up and down twice more before saying, “Then let’s get you the fuck out of here before the next thing you feel is death.” She extends her small hand toward me. Her eyes are a mix of worry and bravery.

“Okay,” I say while wrapping my hand around hers. I know what death means and it frightens me. Trusting the girl will keep me alive. She can protect me from the savages, which seem my greatest threat at the moment.

As we walk, the girl bends down and beheads another creature with one hard jerk. She picks up the stinking, sopping dome and throws it without releasing my hand. Pulling her bloody arrow out of the creature’s chest, she then slams it back into her quiver. Casually the girl says, “I’m Lana by the way.”

The girl is a savage of a different kind.

© 2013 by Rachel Robinson. All rights reserved.

SIX Excerpt

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I’m pretty excited to share a small snippet of Emma and Finn with you. Here is one of my favorite chapters. :) The e-book in all formats will be released by Eternal Press on November 1st. 

Chapter Fourteen

July 17th, Midday

The weight of the pendant at my throat keeps me awake. I pulsate with a warm, tingling sensation that stems from inside of me. The feeling has nothing to do with my magic. I cannot stop smiling. The stone is meant to dull my dark side, but I do not expect it to cause such a surge of longing for Finn. This is a gift from him. A very considerate gift from him.

Lana looked worried as we walked back to the circle hours before. She would not tell me why and though her mood was sullen, mine still soars high in the hazy, perfect sky. I throw the thin blanket off my body and walk to my window. Sleep will not come and the need to speak with Finn is all-encompassing. I want to know what the necklace means. I want to see his lazy smile. I want the rigidity of his shoulders gone. I want the female darkling that eases this to release him to me—to where he belongs.

I quickly peek at Lana, snoring loudly without a care in the world. I smile as emotions flood my body. I feel the emptiness filling, the void being bridged, and the fluttering of my heart connecting the mangled pieces that form Emmalina Weaver–the person, not the empty vessel for magic.

I run to the lagoon. I relish in the feeling of the pendants bouncing off my chest in rhythm with my feet pounding ashy ground. Clothing still on, I run directly into the water, sink below the inky liquid, and open my senses. Noise is gone and I only hear my heart hammering in my chest. When I surface, I behold the sight I so desperately crave. My stomach twists and I recognize the feeling…the desire.

It is Finn.

His gaze fixates on my chest, staring at my newly acquired pendants. When Finn meets my gaze I see so many things. I am sure he has always looked at me like this, but I never had the ability to see the emotions behind it. He looks at me with approval, with desire, pride, and honesty—I almost combust with emotion. I smile. He smiles. I push forward to close the distance between us.

“You are back. I missed you,” I say. Finn just stares at me as if he has never seen me before. He has not seen me like this, I think.  His gaze traces every curve of my body until he decides to study my face. Lips parting, small breaths pushing through his lips, his grin widens. I grab my necklace and tilt my head to the side. “I got a gift. I am not sure who it is from and I had to battle a savage for it,” I admit, my tone teasing.  He moves closer to me in the water as I speak.

“That is a pretty impressive gift. Someone must really care a lot about you,” he says while rubbing the back of his head with one hand, ruffling his brown wavy hair. He purposefully averts his gaze sideways.

“That or someone wants to kill me,” I point out. He faces me and grins.

“How does it make you feel?” Finn takes another step in my direction and brushes the side of my face with the back of his fingertips. I do not feel anything except his touch. It is so soft like a kiss, yet so purposeful, and so full of feeling. I lean into his hand and press it against the side of my neck. He brings his other hand over and twirls my necklace in between his fingers.

“All I feel is you, Finn,” I tell him honestly. Anticipating his words, I watch his lips, unwilling to miss their perfect movement. He drops his hands and the absence of his touch brings me back to his question.

“Now, tell me what you feel,” he whispers.

Something inside me clicks. “I feel things I remember feeling when I was younger,” I say, twining my nails into the chain of my necklace. Finn watches my fingers with proud affection.

I remember my mother’s face. She is cradling me in her lap, telling me stories from the old world. Her face is happy and animated. I think she looks prettiest when she tells these stories. I want to be inside her stories. I want to dance in the phenomenon called rain. I want to chase fireflies on a hot summer night. I long for a pretty summer dress that wisps at my ankles while I walk barefoot on grass. She tells me of ice cream cones that hold sweetness so bold it stings your tongue. It all comes coursing through me at once. I see the memories flash before my eyes. Tender kisses, dancing in the kitchen, frolicking in the large open field.

Then, I see the specific memory—the one that haunts me. It is the memory that consumes my being with longing because I have been unable to attach an emotion to it. I feel as if I am in that memory at this moment.

“I’m going to get you Emmalina,” my mother says. I run so fast that my tiny heart is thumping rapidly. Sticky sweat surrounds my face and mats my hair at my hairline. My feet are bare and the gray haze is the lightest I ever remember it being. I look over my shoulder and laugh as I see her running after me. She has her hands stretched out toward me and her brown hair bounces as she runs. It is a dream in slow motion that I get to relive. The moment is perfect. Her smile is electric. Her voice is sweeter than any treat from the old world.

“You cannot catch me, Mommy!” My singsong child’s voice rings back at her. I want her to catch me. I want her hands tickling me. She grabs me and lifts me under my arms, and up over her head. I can touch the sky. I am flying. She spins around in a circle but I do not look around. I look at her smiling face. It is so cheerful, it is so perfect. It holds the same emotion that I feel in this moment.

We are complete. I am not empty.

The emotion rips me from the inside. “I feel joy,” I tell Finn as I throw my head back laughing at the sky. The emotion tears through me more powerful than anything else, filling me with purpose. I am elated, delighted, I feel contentment and relief. Excitement courses through my veins more powerful than dark magic. It is incomparable. I splash the water at my sides and giggle because I want to, not because I think it prudent. I am so happy I remember her—thankful Finn has forced this from me in his own way. I jump toward him and he catches me under my arms.

He lifts me above his head and I feel like I am floating on a cloud in an alternate universe. He spins in one slow circle. I gaze down at him knowing this is what my mother wants for me. I vow to make her sacrifice worth it.

Finn laughs loudly—a hearty, meaningful laugh. We revel in this perfect moment together just Finn and I and our joyful laughter.

I know then that his laugh is the only sound I like more than my own heartbeat.

© 2013 by Rachel Robinson. All rights reserved.

SIX Cover Reveal. Part 2.

SIX Cover Reveal. Part 2.

Here is the second piece of the cover for SIX.

Also, a snippet :)

Lana and I perch on the top of the thick fence, our backs to the palace. What we glimpse in front of us has frozen us to this spot.

“What the fuck is that?” Lana whispers.

It is the abandoned city. Black smoke still rises from the cracked streets. Tall buildings with their tops demolished litter the deconstructed skyline. Up close it looks more tormented than from the balcony at the palace. Creatures that are indistinguishable control the gray atmosphere in every direction I look. Their scaly wings cut through the air as easily as a knife through skin. Small fires rage throughout as far as the eye can see. Life has forsaken this city long ago. My life has been split into two categories at this moment.

Before and after.

Embraced Prologue

Hi friends, family, readers, Samantha lovers! I have to tell you that I had a really hard time pulling an excerpt from Embraced to share with you. I ended up deciding on the prologue with the hopes all my limbs stay intact. :-)

Rachel

PROLOGUE

“We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black

The knife came out of nowhere. It sailed in my direction, threatening a fate worse than death. It was another betrayal. I caught the handle using quick reflexes. Shock yielded quickly to anger. I swallowed hard, lifted my chin, and boldly met his gaze. I lowered the knife to my side and watched in horror as he approached, murderous ire permeating his features. He stopped in front of me. He was close enough for me to feel his hot, heavy, erratic breaths. I clenched the handle of the knife, unsure if I would be able to harm him; the man I loved. His face, a glowering mask of rage, suddenly transformed. He was a tortured, desperate man. I knew then that my man was gone. My magic started pooling around me. The attack was imminent. He grabbed my hand holding the knife as his nostrils flared with fury. I was breathless and numb, hung in the moment like a puppet on weakened strings.

“Stop, don’t do this.” My voice wavered as resentment masked my haunting despair. His sturdy grasp stayed on my hand as he shut his eyes tightly and tried to calm his breathing. I took the moment to plead with him again, although the cast to defend myself was on the tip of my tongue.

“Please, just talk to me.” My talisman tattoo lit as it did in any heightened emotional state. Without taking his gaze off mine, he raised my hand very slowly and pointed the knife straight at his shirtless chest directly above his heart. Blood welled where the tip pierced his skin. I was a prisoner to his grip, unable to move for fear I’d harm him further. He twisted the knife deeper until a steady stream of blood ran down his chest. Bile rose in my throat and strangled any words that would help the situation. He finally spoke.

“Do it, Samantha.” His voice was sharp but the pain in his eyes seared my heart. I shook my head subtly and with a pang realized he was serious. This would be the end. I regained an ounce of composure but my response was feeble.

“You don’t have to do this. There’s always a way.” Not so, my heart whispered back. He didn’t believe my words either. He quirked his mouth up in one corner as he shook his head in disagreement.

“I am disgusted with myself. Help me, Samantha. Only you can ease my torment.” I bit my quivering lip as I listened to the man I loved beg to die, pleading to end his life because of our differences.

He pointed with his free hand to the bloody knife and his heart. “This is yours. Shut it down or let it live, but make a decision. I can’t deal with this anymore.” A tear sneaked out the corner of my eye. His beautiful wide eyes were questioning. It was like some sixth sense finally awakened him. He knew exactly what I would do.

“Kiss me or kill me, Samantha.”

I hesitated briefly then screamed out in horror as he pulled my hand. The knife went in further. He knew I wouldn’t stop him.

Coming August 2013…

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At first sight.

I scoured the book for an excerpt that would properly portray Samantha in her best light. Maybe “best” isn’t the correct word. Her snark rivals mine *gasp* and there was one scene I kept going back to. So, without further ado, I give you Samantha and Malakai’s very first, very awkward meeting.  -Rachel

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            I first saw Malakai across the courtyard in the town square of Cadiza. It was winter and I was outside to get away from everyone else. The human had large bags in both hands. Fresh meat, I thought with a small smile, feeling sorry for his obvious auditing detail and jealous of his freedom all at the same time. He glanced in my direction and acknowledged me with a small head tilt, pausing to look at me a touch longer than normal. It was as if he saw me there first. It was an odd occurrence as I was usually the first horse out of the gate. I flashed him my best smile and returned to the open book in my lap. Maybe if I studied these spells long enough I’d be able to come and go as I pleased too. It was a doubtful sentiment, but I remained stubbornly hopeful.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw he was still standing there looking lost.  “He looks more entertaining than you right now,” I said to my spell book as I slammed it shut and trudged through the crackling, icy lawn. I knew what I wanted to do next―a test.

Touching my newly minted tattoo, I wandered toward the handsome stranger. First things first. Let’s see exactly what we’re working with here. I briefly shut my eyes to concentrate as my diamond-shaped ink lit up. I whispered, “The air is hot, the air is heavy, he’s unprepared, so make him ready.” The wind whipped around him, immediately responding to my cast. His battered brown leather bags were the first casualties, hitting the ground twenty feet away.  His shirt flailed wildly and was stripped off his well-muscled back in the next moment, despite his avid attempts to hold it on. I stifled back a laugh, biting my lip as I watched the shirtless stranger dance around the courtyard in the middle of winter. When he realized saving his shirt was a lost cause, he grabbed his pants, which were now threatening to take flight. I was caught up admiring my handiwork of a cast but even more caught up in the unbelievable body gracing this man. I must have been ogling with abandon because when I finally wandered my gaze up to meet his, he was staring directly at me with a menacing look.

I quickly ended the cast by mumbling, “The air is stiff, the air is cold, I say it now, release your hold.” I let go of my wrist and pointed up at the sky with a baffled look on my face. I shrugged and tried my best to look like an innocent bystander, hoping he’d turn his death glare elsewhere so I could escape―or stare at his almost naked body some more.

Unfortunately, neither happened. He wagged his finger to summon me over. With the wind gone, he started collecting his clothes. It was a lose-lose situation. I pulled my gloves higher hoping to hide my tattoo. I’d tell him I didn’t have my talisman yet, give him a little attitude, and be on my way if he so much as gave me an accusing look. Most witches in Cadiza feared the visiting humans because they knew too much and could get you into a lot of trouble with the Elders. Neither fact bothered me. He needed to know that.

I approached slowly while he was facing away gathering his bags. “Hey. Crazy weather today, huh?” I inched closer to make sure he heard me.

He shrugged on his shirt, effortlessly ruining my view. He turned around so quickly I thought he was using speed skill. “You must be Samantha Scott. I’ve already been warned.” He looked attractive even at his angriest. I blushed and wished I had worn something more girly. “I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your undefined skills as far away from me as possible. Jade is going to love to hear how your abilities to control the natural elements have progressed.” He raked a hand through his still-perfect sandy-colored hair and bent to pick up his bags, dismissing me without words.

Oh, pretentious was he? We’d see how far that got him. I may not have had anonymity on my side but I still had my attitude.  I tapped him firmly on the shoulder and waited for him to face me.  “Yes, I am Samantha Scott.” I pointed my finger into his chest as hard as it could and left it there. “If you, whatever your name is, want to get along here in Cadiza and live a long life, I would suggest you get a sense of humor quickly. While you’re so busy being a pious, self-righteous, boring human you should probably hit the gym. Windstorms are common in these parts as are rain storms.” I removed my hand from his chest and quickly touched my wrist, murmuring, “Thickly clouded, water to the brim, drench this man, make him swim.” I released my wrist as the clouds opened up and rain began to pour on him.

I took a few steps backward, never taking my eyes off his, and stood on the edge of his personal rainstorm. I squinted my eyes and cackled. “If your muscles aren’t up to par when your shirt is off, let’s face it you won’t be winning any wet-T-shirt contests around here either.” I turned on my heel and walked away, then wrapped my jacket a little closer and thought how miserable it would be to be wet.

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