This Saturday I'm having a Lineage Pre-release party. Why a pre-release party? Because I have been so backlogged with stuff and new clients popping up I haven't finished the thing. Plain and simple.
Also the book has now doubled in size, which is both wonderful and a royal pain in the butt. However it is coming... very soon. Can't tell you when because I'm still tied up but hoping by the end of the month.
Until then join us tomorrow for some wonderful authors and prizes.
Now here is a little treat for everyone, enjoy, share, pass the love, and keep your eyes open for more news on Lineage.
JJ Morris Novel 1
Slipping out of Marty’s third pick of jacket for me I tossed it on the pile of rejects, how hard was it to find a single jacket. That was the fifteenth one and I only had two maybes set aside with a giant pile of rejects.
Still another thirty to go, I laughed to myself in exaggeration. Looking at numerous selections my friends had laid out for me.
“Here try this one.” Jamie said with an excited tone picking up the deep red colored leather one I had been avoiding, and handing it to me.
Her choice in t-shirt I could get used to, but this jacket was way over the top for me.
“Don’t you think it is a little much?”
“No, it’ll look great. Just try it on.” She pushed and I took the jacket.
I found that humoring my friends was often the quickest way to end their insane ideas. Slipping into the jacket I straightened the collar and then turned to look in the mirror, surprised at how nice it fit. It made my shoulders look broader and less rounded, a detail I loved since it always looked like I was slouching when I wasn’t, and it tucked in at the waist giving a nice curved look to my figure I didn’t know I had. Turning to get a full view I felt my spirits lift even more as I noted the delighted look that had snuck onto my face. I liked this jacket, loved the cut and the way it felt hugging around me. It boosted my confidence to the point I was considering buying it despite the fact it was never something I would have glanced twice at.
“Wow, that is a bit much.” Marty exclaimed coming up to Jamie and me. “It’s a little loud for you Joey. I would go with one of the other ones.”
That was Marty, blunt and opinionated without a care to anyone else’s feelings. Jamie just waved her off but I knew I wasn’t going to buy the jacket, not now that I would have to hear Marty belly ache every time I wore it. Plus Marty had killed the excitement for me. She was right, this jacket was too much for me. Shrugging it off with a little disappointment, I tossed it into the rejects and grabbed another one to try on.
“Come on Jamie, we are heading over the Jazzie’s.” Marty said waving Jamie to follow along. “You can meet us over there when your done Joey.”
“Why are you guys heading there?” I asked.
Jazzie’s was the place to go for formal dresses, it was the only place that sold dresses for prom or formal dances unless you wanted to make the two hour ride to the next city where you could find a real mall.
This little collection of stores they called a mall was laughable. Sure you could find everything you needed to get by in life, and it was only a twenty minute drive from Portstown but it wasn’t a mall. Maybe an indoor shopping center.
There was only one level and about sixteen stores, plus a restaurant that served as the food court. A mall this wasn’t but when you lived in a small town having something like this close was a big deal. So I went along with calling it a mall.
“I’m going to get my Homecoming dress.” Marty said with a bright smile, the excitement brimming out of her.
“But you already have your dress for Homecoming.” I replied back and Ali and Jamie took that moment to walk away. Something was up.
“That dress I have wasn’t really the one I wanted,” Marty confessed and I knew where this was going. “So I’m going to pick up that other one we were looking at.”
I gave her a disapproving look, the one I often did when she was being a brat or impossibly selfish and unbelievable. This was one of those moments. I knew which dress she was talking about, the beautiful cream colored one that would look perfect with her complexion and golden hair. A little bit of delicate gold beading at the top. It was the same dress she saw Katie buying the day she had deiced to buy it herself. Once she saw Katie walking out of Jazzie’s with her neatly wrapped box that contained the cream dress Marty refused to buy it. It didn’t matter if she wanted it or that there would be many girls with the same dresses at the dance (the draw back of living in a small town), Marty could not be seen in something Katie would wear. Suddenly the dress had lost its integrity.
There was a million things I wanted to say to her, even scold Marty for being so shameless about it but the thought of Katie started to churn my gut again. I felt sick all at once and I had no energy left to argue the matter. Marty would buy that dress and wear it with pride no matter what I said. There was no making her feel bad about it, not when she was so set to buy that silly thing. It was after all, just a dress.
Feeling the exhaustion starting to take over I dropped the look and waved Marty way, “fine I’ll meet you guys there.” I groaned turning back to my reflection.
Catching the small gleam of victory on her face in the mirror as she walked away, I was so glad Marty had gone without another word. I was on edge today, held there by a mix of worn emotions and sore exhaustion. One wrong word and I knew I would lose it, but I didn’t want to fight. Not with my friends no matter how awful they were acting. Katie needed to go, as awful as that sounded she needed to disappear. Vanish into a tragic part of history because dealing with this was just too difficult for me. I didn’t like what it was doing to me or my friends. As much as the world in our little town seemed oddly the same it felt altered too. Not that I could visibly notice but it still felt off, but it would get better. As soon as Katie faded into a memory. It’s selfish of me to think such things, but I needed this nightmare to end.
“Having fun?” A smooth familiar voice asked from beside me.
I knew that voice.
A rush of excitement raced through my body and I turned. Blood rushing to my head from the swift movement causing the store to spin a little, or maybe it from the intense stare Cameron on focused on me.
“Why are you here?” I asked puzzled by his presence, it came out a little more surprised than I meant it too.
The blood that had rushed to my head started to race to my cheeks, flooding them with color. With that one causal statement he had frazzled my mind, not a single thought lingered as I looked him over just like I had at the diner. Drinking in his causal stance leaning against one of store columns and the snug white cotton shirt that hugged his body just under his open leather jacket.
His presence dominated the whole area—the whole shop. I had to turn away before I lost my mind completely or he caught me staring yet again. His words ‘just looking’ repeated in my head. It was such a broad statement with a slight suggestion hidden somewhere. Or was I just being a hopeful young teenager with raging hormones?
Even with my back turned to him his presence still effected me, numbing my thoughts and otherwise quick wit. The only thing on my mind was him at the Kitchen sitting there on his motorcycle, what a captivating image and it was burned into my memory with fine detail. Trying to steady myself I turned away looking down at the details on the jacket I had on, pretending they were far more interesting than my stranger.
“Are you following me?” I asked taking note to the fact he was appearing a lot.
“And if I am?” his voice was in my ear, so close I could feel his breath as he spoke.
He moves so fast.
I felt light headed again, dizzy even. The pounding in my head was no longer pain from hours of shopping or my exhausted nerves, but was echoing the sound of my rapid heartbeat. He was affecting me far more than I liked, and images of his sculpted chest in that plan white t-shirt made me ache. It would be so easy to lean back just a little and feel his chest against my back, he was that close.
“Are you a stalker or something?” I tried to sound cool and confident, but it came out in shaky words that stumbled over my tongue.
He chuckled and I felt his chest rumble at my back, what torture. Looking up from the not so interesting details of the jacket I took in our reflection, Cameron staring at me with intensity through his reflection. I liked the image of us together, him with his looming presence and me pushing the limits of my usually reserved nature.
“Why would I waste my time stalking you?” His words shattered me and the perfect moment.
“Not everything is about you, little girl.”
Little girl!? I’ll show him.
I could think of a thousand things I wanted to come back with, but the bitter sting of rejection and slap to my pride was holding them back. I didn’t want to sound like some wounded girl, it would only make his comment real and I was anything but a child.
Life had dealt me a wicked hand and I survived it when others would have crumbled. I was young, yes but a child…a little girl, no. I was more mature and responsible than people twice my age. The nerve.
Shrugging out of the jacket I tossed it on the discard pile and went to collect the few I had settled on. There was no reason to stick around so he could degrade me more. In fact I deiced to implement one of Marty’s tricks. Give the cold shoulder, let him stew in the fact I was big enough to walk away.
“Hold on,” he said grabbing my arm and drawing me back toward him. “I need something from you.”
The words just fell out, it was the first thing that jumped into my head and it was out of my mouth before I could think it through. Threatening this man was dangerous I knew that from last night, but no matter how many warning bells went off I wanted to fight.
I wanted to yell and scream to prove I wasn’t a push over like he thought I was. To tell Mr. Azure-stare just how wrong he was about me, and that I did nothing to deserve this strange and icy behavior of his. Instead I settled for a stare down, fixing my glare right on him to show just how serious I was. His eyes locked on me and the cocky smirk he had been sporting twisted up into a wicked grin. It might be twisted but I was beginning to think he enjoyed when I challenged him.
We stood there for what seemed like hours staring at each other, neither of us blinking or softening our hard stares. The sound of two store workers grabbed my attention, I readied to struggle or make a scene, whichever it took to get him to understand I was serious and pissed. Reading myself I waited for the two women to come into view, but Cameron moved first. Pushing me back into the changing area.
The heavy black curtain of the changing rooms parted as he pushed me through until I could feel something hard at my back. The curtain fell closed behind us, shielding our interactions from the open view of the store. We were alone, completely alone among empty dressing stalls, his body between me and the exit. My rage mixed with the edge of thrilled fear.
“What the hell?” I yelled. “I didn’t call the cops last night, and I am not going to say anything. I would rather just forget about it.” I assured him.
I tried to pull from his grasp by placing my free hand on his chest to push. It was a half hearted attempt that faltered once my hand landed on his firm muscles, my strength left me and I melted into the contact. Cameron didn’t waste any time grabbing my wrist and securing it against the wall at my side. The swift movement and command of my body left me flushed, what was happening. I was acting like a child, some teenager confronted with her first crush. Allowing him to do whatever he wished instead of screaming for help.
“Don’t you dare.” He growled, the smirk gone from his face. “You remember last night. Remember that danger, the very real threat that your life means nothing.”
I heard what he was saying, even understood what he was doing. He wanted me to be afraid, scared of that thing that had chased me and possibly of him. I was scared of both, but my fear of him was welcomed. It put me on a nice razor’s edge, the dark eerie nature of danger that radiated from Cameron was a cliff overlooking chaos, and I could stand there for hours staring into that abyss.
“I am not afraid.” I lied, “and you don’t scare me.”
My rebellious answer fell out before my brain could process, I could see the corners of his mouth start to twitch upwards once again. He leaned closer to me, his lips hovering near mine before moving to my ear. His breath hot and chilling at the same time.
“Don’t lie to me,” he warned with a soft growl. “I know you’re scared.”
I burned everywhere his breath collided with flesh, the hair on the back of my neck stood on end. Everyone inch of my body tingled, responding to every slight change in stance or subtle flex of his body, I became suddenly so aware of his over powering scent. One that was sweet like a warm summers night, but edged with the ozone of an on coming storm.
Violent and sweet, that was him. That was Cameron.
“Do me a favor,” he whispered as I lost myself even more to him.
“Why should I do anything for you?” I challenged back, I wasn’t going to completely let him win. His grip tightened on my wrist as I defied his request.
Who was this person I as becoming?
This wasn’t me at all.
So I could be a little stubborn sometimes, but I liked to think of myself as easy going. I kept my protests and opinions to myself and let my friends guide the conversations, or our activities. Conflict was not something I liked and yet I couldn’t help myself around him.
“Don’t be stupid and get someone else killed.”
Every warm intense feeling I had fell away with his words.
What did he mean ‘get someone else killed’? Was Katie my fault?
His words struck me deep and Cameron nodded as if he knew he had my full attention.
“You be a good girl and be in before dark.” Cameron commanded and I would listen because his latter statement left me afraid. That didn’t stop the rebel in me that wasn’t pleased with his tone, and offended by the way he worded it.
“You are not my father!” I hissed back. He scared me, his implications confused me, but I really didn’t like taking orders. At least not from him.
The edge of darkness flashed along the rim of his eyes as he released one of my hands, the tip of what I could only guess at the time was a knife pressed against my stomach. I could feel the sharp edge tease over my shirt and the little prick of the blade tip.
“If you want to stay alive, you will be in your house before sundown.” He warned again.
I wanted to deny him my obedience because it sparked a strange emotion, but something about his words disturbed me. It could have been his serious tone or the bite in his icy azure eyes, but I knew this was an order I needed to follow.
Cameron stood there for a long moment studying the look at on my face before sliding the item he had been holding against my stomach into my pocket. I felt his warmth through the tight material of the jeans as he tucked it away, lingering for a moment before withdrawing his hand.
“Encase of an emergency.” Then he released me.
By the time I realized he had freed me from his physical grasp, Cameron was already at the black curtain. His movements so fast, or it could have only seemed that way in my dazed state. Weakened and confused by the intense energy of Cameron’s that overpowered my own.
Whatever it was I took his words to heart. I would do as he asked because a little buzz of trust had stirred at his warnings.
He paused as he held the curtain open, the strange harsh light of the store flooding in ruining the enclosed intimate feel of the dressing rooms.
Glancing over his shoulder Cameron added, “I like the red jacket.” Then he was gone.