Thursday, April 30, 2015

Marked Excerpt, dark segment

Good Morning!

Hope everyone is having an awesome Thursday so far. As you know, I am currently writing the first book in the Shadows in the dark series, Marked. I am expecting release early June, however, because my first official signing, Naughty in the south author event, is only a month away I'm having to prepare for it alongside writing, so it may be coming a little slower than you guys are used to with me. For that I apologize. All future signings should be much smoother. I posted this excerpt for a friend in my group last night and I had an awesome response, so here it is. I'm giving it to you as well. This is dark romance. If you are NOT into dark reads this won't be for you. Hope this gives you a little sneak peak into Kaston.

XOXO,
C

* Spaced for easier reading since you paragraph indents, unedited.*

Excerpt:
I place my palms flat on the dresser and look at the man in the mirror. I don't recognize him. He's dead inside. Everything I've ever known has changed in an instant without my consent. The world is full of hatred. I know that now. I understand completely...but what do I do about it? "What do you fucking do about it, Cox?" I scream into the reflection in the mirror. "Huh?"

I punch my fist into the mirror, watching it crack from the center and spreading outward like a spider web. One word: pain. Physical pain hides from this. This type of pain there is no escaping from. This type of pain changes a man, making him one of two things: good or bad. 

I look down at my hand: blood. The beautiful red color catches my attention. It runs down in a steady trickle. The twitch is back. Now, it's stronger than ever. A drip falls to a spot on the wood. I inhale. A high is starting to form. What does this mean? Grabbing the sides of the dresser, without thought I slam my forehead into the mirror, shattering it more.

I look at the gash that now resides in my skin. More blood. I close my eyes as it runs down my nose. My head is starting to pound. When it reaches the tip I touch my index finger to it, stopping it. I pull it back, looking at the bright red on the end of my finger. I rub my thumb and index finger together, circling the blood between them. It's a sign. I know what I have to do. 

I push off the dresser and leave my old room, in search of something, but not sure what. I'll know when I find it.

Follow the mind.
Trust the heart.
Forgive.
Never forget.
Protect those that are important to you.
Never feel.
Pick a side: good or evil.
Kill or be killed.

I mentally repeat the rules over and over as I walk through the mansion he's built; the very one I grew up in...with him.

I look around: the master bathroom, his bathroom. I open the cabinet underneath the sink and rummage through his things. There it is. What I need. I pull out the small, but slightly heavy device, and plug it into the wall. Flipping the on switch, I stare in the mirror as it vibrates in my hand.
I close my eyes. "Tell me what to do," I whisper. 

Keep our worlds separate. Never be recognizable. Today we do business, tonight we rid the world of monsters, one at a time. Be them to defeat them. 

His words echo in my mind as I lift my shaggy hair and place the blade of the clippers at the base of my hairline. I glide them back in a straight line, watching as it rids me of hair with each swipe. I repeat in rows, my chocolate brown hair falling into the sink. Ten minutes to finish. One step down. 

Tossing the clippers on top of the counter, I leave the old me behind. Walking into his bedroom, I detour to his closet, opening it. Two different worlds reside here. Business to the left, a stranger to the right. He could change them with a flip of a switch. It's my turn. I go for the right, grabbing a pair of faded jeans and pulling them on. Luckily for me we were the same size; another sign of my destiny presenting itself.
I grab a hoodie, black, the color of death. It fits my mood perfectly. I pull it over my head, letting it fall in place. I walk to the center of his wardrobe and separate it, revealing a safe. I key in the code: my six digit birthday, her six digit birthday, and the year he lost her and gained me. It opens, revealing all of the major necessities for ensuring I leave nothing of myself behind. Tonight, I become a ghost. He was smart. He always covered his tracks.

I grab what I need and lock it back, making sure to cover it before leaving. It's nightfall. I walk into the main corridor. Jose. I flip my hood up as he turns toward me. "What do you want to do?"

"Do you have the file?"

He hands me a folder. I take it. I open it and quickly scan the contents. His photo sits on top. "This is him?"

"Yes. The informant has his location. Just tell me when. I'm ready."
I hand it back to him. "Read me the hit." 

He shuffles through a few sheets of paper. "Murder. First degree. All women. He prefers blondes, middle to late twenties, all married to wealthy men. He sexually assaults them and snaps their necks upon climax, leaving them to be found. He's never been caught."

My jaw steels. Fucking sick bastard. "Who put out the hit?"

His eyes scan the sheet. "The husband of the latest kill. Her name was Melody James. Husband was well known and liked by many. He owned half of the city he was from, only a few hours from here. He witnessed it. He left her long enough to retrieve something in their hotel room and walked out as it happened. The guy disappeared as he approached the body. He went to the police, but they had no evidence to take the suspect into custody. This one is local, but he's been spotted here in town. You need weapons. A new shipment arrived yesterday."

"Not for this one I don't." I look at Jose to make sure he understands. He was important to Dad. "Tonight you drive. Nothing more, nothing less. Do you understand?"

He starts to shake his head. "Do you understand, Jose? This isn't up for discussion."

He tucks the folder under his arm and turns for the door. I follow. Showtime. 

***
Jose pulls the black SUV into the alley. Dad kept black cars only, because they blended more with the night. It's dark, the only light coming from above the back door of the hole-in-the-wall bar a few feet down, not far from the dumpster. "What's the plan?"

Propping my elbow on the door, I place my fingers over my mouth as the words exit my mouth. "We wait."

"We could be here a while. It's still a while until close."

"This we have time for, all the fucking time in the world."

I close my eyes, trying to mentally prepare myself for what I'm about to do. Hesitating in the moment can get you killed. I still can't figure out why he did it. He never changed the plan, no matter what the reason. Why this time? I listen to the silence, allowing my mind to roam. In the depths of nothingness in my mind, a creaking door opening makes itself known. 

I open my eyes to the sick fucker stumbling out drunk. It's funny, really, how predictable those of evil are. Of course he's going to use the back door, probably shopping for his next victim, the innocent that think the dark is fun. He might would have gotten in a few more arousals had he not pissed off the wrong person. He dropped a bomb...and now it's war. 

"Watch my back," I say while pulling the black, latex gloves on my hands. I open the door, stepping out. I stalk toward the end of the alley without making a single sound, watching him. He stumbles into the dumpster and props himself up on it, pulling a flask from his suit pocket before pressing it to his lips. Not only is he a sick bastard, but he's also a fraud, disguising himself as a normal human being. 

My mouth twitches as he tilts his head back, letting the liquid fire run down his throat. I close my eyes and envision the scene from three days ago, letting the anger and hatred devour every cell in my body. I stop in front of him and turn my body, now standing face to face with my arms by my side. 

His heavy eyes scan me. "You look like shit. Did a bar fight get the best of you? I'm guessing you were on the losing end." He laughs sadistically.

I tilt my head, a smirk playing out on the lower half of my face. Looking him in the eyes is like lighting a trail of gasoline. "I never fucking lose."

He glances at my covered hands and his eyes slightly wide. "Who the fuck are you?"

"You took something that was mine, something that I can never get back. For all intents and purposes you can call me a grim reaper. I'm only here to collect what's due. Hell's gates are open for you."

He pushes off the dumpster and stumbles forward, trying to push past me. "Fucking psycho. I don't have time for this shit." 

I grab him by the neck and squeeze, hard. "Awe....trying to leave so soon?" I tick my tongue to the roof of my mouth. "I don't think so." He grabs my hand, trying to pry it from his neck, but I'm stronger than him. I walk forward, toward the back wall of the alley, before slamming him against the brick wall. 

"What do you want from me? How the hell could I take something from you? I don't even know you." 

My teeth steel together. "You may not know me, but you knew someone important to me. In fact, you were the last person to see him alive, so look into my eyes and see if you can remember," I growl out. He looks away from me. I pull him back and slam him into the wall, harder this time. "Fucking look at me!"

He does as I say, studying my eyes as if he's trying to focus. The alcohol is inhibiting his memory. As if a light switch just got flipped, his eyes widen further. "I guess your itinerary from three days ago just came back to you?"

"He tried to kill me. It was self defense. What else was I supposed to do? Who the hell was he to you?"

That's the thing about a fucking pathological liar. They lie so much they actually believe their own lies. Sadly for him, I'm not a dumbass. I close in on him, bringing my lips just outside his ear as I dig my fingers into the sides of his throat, wanting like hell to rip it out. He coughs. "He was my fucking father. He may have tried and failed...this time, but I'm going to finish what he started. I'm cleaning up the trash on the streets. Your days of raping and killing innocent women are over. Since I just had to lay his body in the ground, you're next. Blood for blood."

"He-" I cut off his word by pressing into his vocal chords. 

I pull back and turn him around, his back against my front. "On your knees." 

He tries to beg as he follows instructions, but all that comes out is a gargled sound. "It doesn't feel good when you're on the opposite side of the line, does it? If you scream, I'll have my partner shove something so far up your ass you'll feel it in your throat, so you can feel what the women you raped felt. If you stay quiet, I'll make this as painless as possible." 

His breathing becomes uneven, quickening by the second. I cup one hand around the back of his head and the other on his chin. Adrenaline starts to spread through my body. "You have about five seconds to say your prayers and hope to God that he forgives the shit you've done, because if not you're about to bust Hell wide open. Five...Four..." He whimpers. "Three...Two...One." I swiftly twist his neck to the right, snapping his spine in two, just like he does to the women that have fallen victim to him. His body goes limp as I release him, letting him fall face first onto the concrete.

Something breaks free inside. I don't truly understand it, but I feel completely high right now. Maybe it's knowing that there is one less woman to be hurt in the world, but I feel like I'm on top of the world; untouchable. 

I turn to the SUV and wave Jose toward me. He nods and steps out of the vehicle, grabbing something from the back before making his way toward me with a gas can in his hand, setting it down beside us. Flipping the lid to the dumpster open, we both grab one end of the body, tossing it inside. Jose grabs the can full of gasoline and starts pouring it in the dumpster, drenching everything inside.  

I pull the small matchbook from my pocket with Dad's company logo on the front. He used to carry them around everywhere, stating they were great for business marketing with all of the smokers out there. The best business is always done over scotch and a cigar he would say. Opening it, I tear off a match stick and swipe the red end against the starter strip. It lights instantly, quickly burning down the wooden stick.
Throwing the match inside the dumpster, I turn and walk away as the accelerant causes a combustion and heightens the fire, consuming the entire inner contents of the dumpster. I hear Jose's footsteps behind me as we make our way to the SUV. "Rest in peace, Dad," I whisper. "It's been done."

I grab the door handle and get in the vehicle at the same time Jose does. "Do you need me to take you to the airport, boss?"

"No, Jose, you can take me home. I think I'll stay awhile. There are things that need to be sorted before I return to the states. Drive. I can't talk right now."

He quickly backs out and drives at a rapid speed, freeing the world from one bad soul. Now, it's time to find out what's next...

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