Since I've ben inundating youw ith stuff about Tie Me Down, I thought I'd talk about something totally different today-- namely, the Young Adult Paranormal I'm writing that is currently out on submission (fingers and toes and assorted other body parts crossed that it sells, pleeeeease ;)
So anyway, here's the first few pages of the book I am currently calling Rip Tide. I'd love to hear what you think of it.
“Hey, Tempest, shake a leg!” Mark, my on-again, off-again, presently on-
again boyfriend dug into the waves, hard. “We’re going to miss it.”
“Chill out,” I yelled back, even as I paddled faster. “We’re almost there.”
My built-in wave radar was telling me we still had a couple of minutes before the wave crested—but, like Mark, I wanted to make sure I was in the best position to catch it. It was probably going to be the last one we had time for this morning. Already the sky had lightened, the pink and lavender streaks that had ushered in the dawn changing to the usual blues and ice-grays of a February morning over the Southern California Pacific.
The waves kicked up spray—ice cold and salty sweet-- as we crashed through them. A snapper hit in front of me but I ducked through it. I was angling for the bigger wave behind it, focusing on it like a shark on a blood trail. As I did, the resentment I usually felt toward the Pacific and its siren’s song drained away.
I was vaguely aware of Mark and some of my other friends laughing and joking as we worked our way around to catch the party wave, but then even that was gone and it was just me and my board and the vast and endless ocean.
The wave started to crest and I pushed up quickly, smiling as my board responded like it was just one more part of my body. But then, it had always been like that—from the first day my dad paddled me out to sea on his board when I was no more than five—the ocean, the board and I were one.
“Looking good,” Mark called to me and I threw my head back, laughing the way I never dared to on land. But out here it was hard to hold back, even harder to resist the pull of the water and the sheer joy of the roller coaster ride.
The wave we were jumping in on wasn’t particularly big or particularly complicated—but surfing it was enough to send exhilaration rushing through me. More than enough to make me feel powerful and capable and, for a few short minutes, in control of a life that was rapidly spinning beyond my command.
The water surged beneath my feet and I shifted a little, searching for the sweet spot I knew was just a knee bend away. Laughed, again, as I found it. Braced for the downside—
I never caught it.
Instead, my legs turned to jelly beneath me.
Throwing my arms wide, I struggled to regain my footing. Seconds passed—one heartbeat, two-- long, strung-out moments of utter astonishment. And then I was falling, tumbling into the waves with no more control than a rag doll.
Shocked—I couldn’t remember the last time I had actually wiped out—I kicked out, tried to scissor my way back to the surface.
I didn’t move—couldn’t move.
My legs had gone completely boneless, flopping helplessly in the water no matter how hard I struggled to move them.
Heart pumping like a piston at full-speed, I tried not to freak out. No big deal, I told myself, clawing at the water with curled fingers. I’d been swimming in the ocean since I was a toddler. I knew what to do.
Using my hands to spin myself around, I kept my face turned towards the surface and started the long trek back up towards air.
One foot, two—it was hard going but I was rising. Relief coursed through me. See, Tempest, I told myself. You can do this. Just another day in the—
The undertow grabbed me.
I froze for a few crucial moments, my brain and body simply shutting down despite the adrenaline slamming through me like the craziest party drug out there.
The rip tide swirled and danced around me.
Pulled at me with greedy fingers.
Tossed me around like I was nothing more than random driftwood.
And still I couldn’t move, couldn’t respond.
I was dragged deeper, into colder water, the ocean crushing in on me from every side while wave after wave plowed into me, over me.
And that’s when it really hit me--I was trapped. One more victim caught in the brutal grasp of the Pacific at dawn.