I’m doing another Teaser Tuesday today! (Okay,? if you? must know–it’s still Monday in? West Coast time. But, hey, for most of you it’s already Tuesday–that counts for something, right?)? This scene features one of my favorite characters from? my trunked? novel Tainted: ? Justin.
Set-up:? The MC is trying to recover from a karaoke fiasco a few nights ago, where she inadvertently tapped into her growing powers to enthrall the frat boys into love zombies while singing.? Most of the effect has worn off, except for the random guys still knocking at her door late at night, declaring their love for her.? Justin is a sort of mysterious character, a guy with strong mental powers, who seems? a little? odd and has questionable motives.? He’s an old acquaintance/friend of the love interest, the MC’s Protector Logan.? Beyond that, the MC doesn’t know much about him.? In this scene he just randomly shows up for a visit in the middle of the night.
By the time the third night after the karaoke-debacle rolled around, I was done.? At the first crack of a fist on my door, I staggered out of bed and stumbled to switch on my desk lamp, squinting into the harsh light.? Whoever was out there was about to get a lesson in the principles of harmonious dorm living.? Rule number one being: ? if you pounded on my door after midnight, I had free rein to kick your ass.
Whatever loitering moron awaited would be un-enthralled tonight, if I had to cut off his head to do it.? Between the enthrall-ees and the nightmares, sleep was becoming a distant memory.? Really not okay.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? I stalked toward the door, the icy wooden floor pulsing goosebumps up my legs. ? I was about three feet away when I heard an unexpected noise:? the lock clicking.? A millisecond later, the door burst wide open. ? I shrieked and jumped back, grabbing a hair brush off my dresser for protection.
And then my grasp on the hairbrush loosened when I saw who it was.? Justin.? Leaning casually against the door frame, like nothing was amiss.
“What, is there a sign out there that says AM-PM market or something?? Believe it or not, I am not open all night for business.? And I so did not just say that,” I moaned.? It wasn’t my fault, though.? Who expected anyone to function at their finest at—I glanced at the mocking digital glow from my dresser—1:23 a.m?? It was bad enough that the love zombies kept knocking after midnight.? Now I had to deal with a strange and possibly half-crazy Gifted guy as well?? ?
? I whirled around and stomped back to bed, plunking myself down before glaring over at him.? I chucked the hairbrush at my dresser with a satisfying crack.? “Look, I don’t know on which planet you learned proper etiquette, but here on Earth, we like to wait for people to actually answer the door.? You know, before we just go ahead and burst in using our special Gifts.? And what the hell am I saying?”? Argh.? I desperately needed sleep.? Was that really too much to ask?
Apparently so, because Justin strolled into my room, as though 1:00 am was a perfectly acceptable time for a social call.? “Sorry—I was afraid you wouldn’t answer.”? He pivoted my desk chair around and straddled it with annoying grace, crossing his arms over the top and resting his chin on his fist.
? “Yes, and there would have been a good reason for that.? I.? Was.? Sleeping!” I said.
? I didn’t know if it was lack of sleep, cheap dorm light bulbs, or some whacked out magic that lit his sardonic blue gaze with a suddenly appealing gleam. “Well, see?? That’s why I went ahead and opened it.”
“OH!”? Something was whacked, all right—him.? I clapped my hands to my cheeks and squeezed my eyes shut.? “I give up,” I finally said.? “Please, just tell me why you’re here, so I can go back to sleep. Sooner versus later would be nice.”? I sagged back against the wall and hugged my knees to my chest, reaching down to pull the snugly comforter over my frigid toes.
“Okay,” he said calmly, obviously not perturbed in the slightest by my outburst.? “I was just thinking—since you spend so much time training with Logan, it puts him at a ? bit of an unfair advantage.? So I thought I’d remedy that by coming by.”
I eyed my warm pillow with wanton longing before turning to address him.? “Huh?? What are you talking about?? What unfair advantage?”? And then it hit me—why was I even trying to have a logical conversation here?? The guy was an absolute loon.? “Oh my God, did you really come here in the middle of the night just to start spouting crazy?? Because, sorry, my mind only comprehends loony rants after nine o’ clock a.m. and about three cups of coffee.”
His forehead creased. “I’m not spouting crazy.? I’m talking about the possibility of our futures being linked.”
Loon or not, he had my attention now.? Unfortunately.? My mouth gaped open and I blinked several times. “Say what?”
“Logan hasn’t told you anything?”? He seemed perplexed, which was odd for Justin.? Usually his repertoire of emotions ranged from “bored” to “slightly less bored”.? Not that I knew for sure—I couldn’t read him at all, and quite frankly, I was okay with that.? There was no telling what insanity was going on in his pretty but demented head at any given time.
“Um,” I said, “if by anything you mean linked futures and unfair advantages, apparently not.”? And it still sounded like crazy spoutage to me.
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