Hi everyone! I know we've had a series of super hot excerpts by really great authors, but I thought I'd take today to shake things up a little bit. As I mentioned a few days ago, I'm finishing up my first young adult book, Rip Tide (which I think is going to be retitled Tempest by my editor) so I pretty much have mermaids on the brain. It's due on Monday, and I'm having a lot of fun writing it, so I thought I'd post an excerpt from it today. I'm really anxious to hear what you think, so leave a comment to be entered to win a bath set from Bath and Body Works. Happy Saturday!
Torn between what is and what should be, sixteen year old Tempest Maguire must decide just how far she's willing to go to defy her destiny. Add in her love/hate relationship with the ocean, her completely inappropriate crush on the new guy on the beach and an ancient underwater feud only she can stop, is it any wonder that these days she can barely stay on her surfboard? But with the fate of half the Pacific Ocean resting on her head, can Tempest get beyond her feelings of betrayal to fight the battle she was born to win?
Tempest is Coronado High School's surfing girl extraordinaire and queen of the too-cool-to-be-popular crowd. But she's got a secret-- one that's becoming harder and harder to hide the closer she gets to her seventeenth birthday. The daughter of a mermaid and a famous surfer, she's been drawn to the ocean her entire life-- even as she resents its powerful pull over her. Years before, her mother chose the Pacific over her husband and children, something Tempest has never forgiven her-- or the water-- for. But now, as the shadow of her seventeenth birthday hangs over her head, she knows that she must make a choice-- to embrace the gift of her mother and become mermaid or turn her back on the small window of opportunity and remain human forever. In her mind, there’s never been a choice—she’s human all the way. But as her birthday approaches, she begins to realize how little choice she might have in the matter …
His question hung in the air between us, a loaded gun ready to go off. Suddenly I wasn’t sure I wanted the answers.
I wasn’t sure of anything.
In less than two weeks my entire life had turned upside down, until normal was a world away and every day was just a little more messed up than the one that had come before it.
I stared at Kai and he looked so normal, so calm, so composed in the shadowy moonlight that for a second I doubted what I knew. Away from the water’s frightening and alluring grip, I couldn’t be certain I hadn’t imagined the last few, panic-filled minutes. And yet, it had to have happened. Right? Otherwise I was just going nuts, a thought I couldn’t bear to contemplate on top of everything else.
She wants you.
Kai’s words echoed in my head. Don’t give in to her. She wants you.
No, I hadn’t imagined anything—not six years ago and not now. Something had been in that water and Kai knew exactly what it was. “Don’t give into what?” I demanded.
Kai’s eyes grew wary, his face more closed off than it had ever been. “Let it go, Tempest.”
“Don’t do that.” The words were loud, disjointed, but I couldn’t help that. Violent shudders had begun wracking my body, making me teeth clatter together and my body jerk. “Something was trying to drag me under. I know you felt it, too.”
He came forward, wrapped an arm around my shoulders and pulled me into the shelter of his arms. He was big and broad and hot—an electric blanket wrapped around me, his warmth seeping through the cold that had invaded every part of me. A small section of my brain wondered how he could feel so hot when the water and air were both frigid, but most of me was just grateful for the heat. For the comfort.
But how could that be? I barely knew Kai, wasn’t even sure that I wanted to know him.
“The ocean around here is pretty unpredictable at night. The undertow—“
“I said, don’t!” I shoved away from him, though it cost me. Devoid of his warmth, I suddenly felt twice as cold, twice as bereft.
“I’ve been swimming in this ocean since I was a little girl. I know it better than anything else, and that was not an undertow.”
“So what was it then?”
“That’s what I’m asking you! You come here, all dark and mysterious, acting like you have all the answers. But you won’t tell me anything. I’m not an idiot, you know.”
“I never said you were.”
“Give me a break. You tried to convince me that what I felt out there was just the ocean.”
“It’s happened to you before.”
His words cleaved through the air between us, reminding me of what I’d come out here to forget. I wanted to whine that he wasn’t being fair, but figured that would make me sound like the idiot I’d just sworn I wasn’t. Or even worse, a baby. Besides, he was right. I had nearly bought it—
“Hey, wait a minute. How do you know about that? I met you after I nearly drowned that day.”
His eyebrows drew together and he was silent for a long time, as if searching for a believable answer. Finally, when the tension between us was as taut as a circus high wire, he muttered, “Mark must have told--”
“Stop lying to me!” I started down the beach, away from him.
I ignored him, kept walking. I was too furious to listen—or to pay any attention to where I was going.
“Stop!” I heard his footsteps pounding up the beach behind me, but was totally unprepared for the hand that wrapped around my wrist and jerked me to a standstill.
My temper flared even more brightly as I struggled to free my arm from his inexorable, but strangely painless grip. “You’re going to want to let go of me.”
“You’re going in the wrong direction.” He cast an uneasy glance down the beach. “Let me walk you home.”
“I don’t need a babysitter.”
“I’m glad, because that’s not the relationship I want with you.”
For long seconds I couldn’t think, my heart suddenly beating so fast I thought it just might take flight. I told myself it was stupid to get so worked up over those words—especially since I was still so angry that I wanted to lay him out on the cold, water-logged beach. But the warning didn’t work. Hearing him admit that the strange spark between us wasn’t all from my side did something to me.
I tried to take a breath, to swallow, but the inside of my mouth felt like I’d been sucking on cotton and a barbell had taken up residence in my stomach. Finally, somehow, I forced myself to ask, “What kind of relationship do you want?”
His black eyes were reproachful as he bent until his face was only inches from mine. “Come on, Tempest. I don’t want to play those games with you.”
The barbell grew heavier as my stomach clenched, but everything else about my body felt light, as if I would float away at any second. In the tension of the moment, and the closeness of his body to mine, I forgot about the strange force in the water. Forgot about my birthday. Forgot, even, about Mark.
“So what do you want?” I whispered.
His hands came up and tenderly cupped my face. And then he was so close I could feel the feathering of those impossibly long eyelashes against my cheek. My heart beat even faster and there was a roaring in my ears that had nothing to do with the ocean and everything to do with the riot of emotions twisting within me.
“You,” he breathed and the word brushed against my parted lips. I sucked it inside me with my next inhalation, held it there in my mouth, in my lungs, as I waited for him to close the scant distance between his mouth and mine.
But he didn’t move, didn’t bridge that last inch that separated us. As I stood there waiting-- trembling with anticipation and need and curiosity—it suddenly occurred to me that Kai wanted me to kiss him. He, too, was waiting.
I kept my eyes open as I melted into him, letting my hands slide up his bare arms to circle his neck. And then I did it, leaned forward that scant inch and brushed my lips against his own.
For a moment, everything seemed to freeze—the wind, the rain, my heart. Even the ocean with its never-ending cycle of waves seemed to hold its breath as it watched us.
It obviously wasn’t my first kiss, but it was so different than anything I’d ever experienced that it might as well have been.
Kai’s hands slid from my face into my hair, his fingers fisting in my wet curls as he kissed me again and again. Emotions rioted through me—joy, need, fear, confusion—so many that I could barely process them as his mouth moved against mine. All I knew was that I was warm, hot even, and that kissing him was like swallowing the sun.
Remember, let me know what you think of my first venture into YA. You'll be entered to win a bath set from Bath and Body Works!