Wednesday Randomness: 3 Truths & A Lie

Happy Wednesday, lovelies. I’m taking a break from blowing my nose – it’s a full time job right now, people – and getting this post done. This week, we’re telling three truths and a lie about ourselves.crossed-fingers

To make things a bit more interesting – anyone who correctly identifies which of the following statements is the lie will get their choice of ebook from my backlist. I’ll be posting the answer on Friday (3/15) Good luck. 🙂 

I spent more than one summer traveling hundreds of miles in the back of a VW minibus/van that makes Bron green with envy (See what I did there…)

I’ve only lived in two states – Michigan and Minnesota. Midwestern girl, I am.

I don’t care for chocolate. I could take it or leave it.

One of my guilty pleasures is watching Lip Sync Battle.


See what the other ladies have come up with and see if you can spot their lies.
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. JamesKris Norris

 

Wednesday Randomness: A Few of My Favorite Things: Beauty Products

This is going to be a fairly short post this week. Why? Because I have very few beauty products that are favorites. I have really, really sensitive skin – that has gotten even more sensitive in the past, oh, two years or so. I have yet to find a facial cleanser that does not make me feel like my face is on fire and in danger of falling off my skull – even the so called “for sensitve skin” products. Same goes for moisturizers. Which really sucks because my skin is dry too – I can play pictionary on it with my fingernail. It’s just sad.

BUT there are some things I have found that work for me, though, and have a permanent place in my life.

96070-OrganicCoconutOil

Coconut oil – Seriously, I love the stuff. So many uses and I definitely use it because it doesn’t make me hurt or make my skin break out. I use it as a eye makeup remover, hair treatment (sometimes with other things but it’s fabulous on its own), on dry, cracked skin in the winter, as lip balm in a pinch. And there are other uses, too, but those are hte big ones.
k2-_fe574aa5-486f-41f7-bfe5-cea393559be2.v1

Aloe Vera Gel– Not the kind with any alcohol or coloring or all the things you can’t pronounce. The best is straight from the plant but if you use a good amount, hit Amazon and find some. It’s worth it.  Aside from the wonderful healing properties of aloe vera, there’s a lot you can do with this stuff. Seriously, Google it. The big thing I use it for is “aloe packing”. Since my skin is so sensitive and try this has been a life saver (and you would never use the icky green gel that is full of chemicals and alcohol for this!) and I just started doing it. Basically, you put the gel on your face, and you wait for your skin to soak it all in, then you put on an other layer. You do this until your skin just won’t absorb anymore. It’s lovely and soothing.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.50.39 PMSay Yes to Coconut Lip Balm – This is the lip balm I carry with me everywhere. I love it. And my lips thank me for it.                                      Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 9.49.50 PMSlow It Body Wash and Lotion – I discovered this whilst getting the hair ripped from my legs. A truely joyous experience. I don’t use this on my face, mind, but I love it for everything else. The first ingredient listed? Aloe. LOVE. It keeps my dry-ass skin hydrated and feeling smooth. And it really does seem to slow hair growth down. So win. These are products sold through European Wax Centers, and I’m not sure you can order online or anything. I just get mine when I endure the torture in the summers. (But I buy enough and still use even when I’m not waxing. It works and I’m not straying from it).

And that is it from me. I don’t really have any fave makeup – mostly because I suck at makeup so I rarely wear it.


Dont’ forget to check out the other gals’ posts. I know I will be…hoping to find some new favorites!
Brownwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jenny Trout | Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. JamesKris NorrisPaige Prince

 

Wednesday Randomness: Write What You Know?

Happy Wednesday! Today’s topic is whether we agree or disagree with the old adage “Write what you know” and why.

I didn’t realize how tough a question this was until I settled in to write this post. I actually don’t have a definitive answer to this.

As a writer, I write plenty I don’t know – I don’t know what it is to be a vampire or a faery or a witch or a reincarnated king, and I’ve written every single one of those. Aside from the fantasty aspect, I don’t know what it is to be a man, yet I write from my heroes’ POVs in every book.

But (you knew that was coming, right? The big “but”), when it comes to writing, say the fantasy stuff, I do know it, because I make it up. It’s my creation, my worlds. I write notes (lots and lots of notes), I make sure everything is consistent and don’t change willy nilly. The rules of those worlds are concrete and remain so through the book and/or series.

As for writing from a male POV… Well, conversations in this house do get interesting. I’ve been known to ask the hubs and any other male foolish enough to hang around how they would react to a situation, etc. Not saying I write how a typical man would react, think or feel, but again, I build the character and him consistent thoughout.

See how it’s complicated? Yes, write what you know, but if you don’t know it…

1) Research the crap out of it – a profession, a specific event, a locale, a time period, etc.

2) Make it up, create something, but make sure it’s consistent.

And here comes another BUT… When it comes to making it up? That works when it comes to fantasy and paranormal. Even when it comes to building an individual character, but I’ll be flat out honest here, there are things I won’t write because I don’t feel I have the perspective or knowledge, even with research, to do it well. There are some things, I believe, that without firsthand experience, I can’t write effectively. And I’m okay with that. I’ve enough to work with, and plenty of fantasy/paranormal stuff to keep me busy. LOL

So yes, write what you know. Research. And feel free to make stuff up, but FFS, be consistent. There, that’s my answer. LOL

And that’s all I’ve got this week. It’s been a rough one, a tad stressful so far. So this is me tonight….

scrubs-head-explode-o

 

Okay, that MAY have been averted by channeling Olivia Pope (from Scandal)

tumblr_mygrkl7NaX1s5icoio1_400

 


Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. JamesKris Norris | Paige Prince

Until next week!
Hugs,
~J

Your Lies – Chapter Two

Also available to read on Wattpad

http://embed.wattpad.com/follow/JessicaJarman

**Comment below to be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card. Comment on both chapters for two entries. Drawing on 4/30**
April’s Winner: Ali
Congrats, Ali! Happy Reading! your lies banner

<<< Chapter One

Chapter Two
~Maddock~

Everything.

The whispered word dripped with disgust and pierced the excited, nearly euphoric, bubble that had surrounded me since the rally had begun. Christ, not two minutes ago, I’d been flying high—happy to be doing something meaningful and important and hoping to spend some time with the beautiful blonde with the big blue eyes.

I’d had some doubts earlier when I’d seen Delia throw away the flyer, but convinced myself it didn’t mean anything. So many handed flyers and pamphlets to anyone who crossed their paths out on the quad. I’d tossed more than I could count without even looking at them. I figured that was what had happened. Seeing her while I was addressing the crowd seemed to confirm that.

“What do you mean everything?” I asked.

She just shook her head.

“Why don’t we just head to the café?”

I didn’t know why I suggested it. I didn’t even know her well enough to push this. Seriously, I should be walking away right about now. It wasn’t as if campus was lacking options when it came to pretty girls. Walking away was definitely the way to go, but…fuck it. There was just something about her I didn’t want to walk away from.

“Come on,” I continued. “We’ll have coffee and talk and figure this out.”

“There’s nothing to figure out,” she spat. “It may be hard for you to understand, but I don’t want to go anywhere with you. I don’t want to be around you. I don’t want to see you.”

My gut soured, and a cold sweat broke out all over my body. The vehemence in her tone, in her stance… I’d never been on the receiving end of something so harsh. It didn’t sit well with me, and I struggled to understand where the hell it was coming from.

“It’s not like I’m going to force you to spend time with me, but…” I frowned. “You seemed interested before. No, you were interested before. I didn’t just imagine that.”

“No, you didn’t,” she said slowly, gripping the strap of her bag so tightly her knuckles whitened. “But that was before.”

“Before what?” I stepped forward, freezing when she flinched.

She recovered quickly and squared her shoulders, meeting my gaze fully. “Before I realized what you are.”

Anger flared at the contempt in her voice. “And what is that exactly?”

“A hate-mongering, prejudiced asshole.”

My jaw dropped; shock coursed through me frigidly. She was a Sympathizer, I realized, and had misunderstood what I’d said at the rally. She didn’t understand what I was trying to do.

“I’m not,” I protested. “I want to help magic users. I don’t hate them, Delia, and I’m not trying to make anyone hate them. I’m as much a Sympathizer as you are.”

Her shoulders shook as she laughed, a false and empty sound that grated. “Oh yes, you sympathize and care about the animals, the abominations. That much was very clear.”

“I never called them that!”

“Oh, you’re right. You didn’t,” she sneered. “You just compared them to rabid animals. Called their magic an abomination. Never mind that it’s a part of them.”

“You’re misunderstanding what I—”

“No, I’m not. You’re calling for magic users to be banned from campus, to be caged like animals, kept separate from the good normal folk. But it’s okay, because you sympathize and find it oh so sad, right? You arrogant prick. Stay the fuck away from me.”

She turned on her heel and jogged away as I stood in the middle of the pathway staring after her like an idiot. How had that gone so spectacularly wrong?

* * * *

“Fuck, what is going on with you?”

I looked over as Mark Greenley bumped shoulders with me. On my other side, Kevin Johns snorted. A bunch of us were hanging out in the quad between classes, enjoying what was sure to be one of the last warm days of the year. Books were out and open around us…and ignored.

I rolled my eyes. “Nothing’s going on with me.”

“Bullshit,” Mark said. “This is the first time in two weeks you’ve even hung out with us.”

“Yeah, you’ve been a moody fucker ever since the rally.” Wes Anders didn’t bother opening his eyes or shifting from his position stretched out on his back.

“Which is stupid, because it was awesome. A great turn out, tons of support,” Kevin chimed in.

I didn’t answer. My lack of good mood had nothing to do with the rally, and everything to do with a certain girl. Who happened to be sitting at one of the tables on the other side of the courtyard with a group of people. As much as I’d tried not to think about her the last couple weeks, Delia was never far from my thoughts—neither were the things she’d said. The way she’d said them. And if that weren’t bad enough, it seemed like she was everywhere. I saw her when I was walking to classes, when I swung by the café, when I was studying in the library or the commons. She was every-fucking-where.

“You’re pissed ‘cause the bleeding heart Sympathizers are doing their own rally now, aren’t you?” Mark nodded knowingly.

“What are you talking about?” I snapped.

There was a reason I’d never identified myself as Sympathizer to my friends, even though I’d told Delia the truth—I honestly saw myself as one. I didn’t want to see anyone hurt, and I wanted magic users to be free of the burden they carried.

“I thought you knew,” Mark said. “You keep looking over at them, frowning. I figured… The tiny brunette at the table you’re staring at is organizing a little event.”

I shifted my gaze from Delia to the girl sitting next to her. Their heads were bent together as they talked, and at that moment, Delia threw her head back and laughed before wrapping her arm around the other woman’s shoulders in a half-hug.

“Since we had a rally, the magic users and their supporters, their ‘Sympathizers’,” Kevin air quoted, “argued it was only fair they be able to hold one of their own on campus. And they were given approval. Can you believe that?”

“It’s their right,” I pointed out.

“It shouldn’t be,” Mark muttered. “They shouldn’t even be here.”

Everyone murmured their agreement, and the discussion took off about the dangers of magic users, not only on campus but anywhere. It was familiar and, as I watched Delia smile and talk with her friends, nauseating. My jaw ached from clenching it so tightly. I didn’t know what my problem was. Nothing was being said I hadn’t heard before—it wasn’t anything I hadn’t said before. Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to join in the conversation. And I couldn’t stop looking at Delia.

When she stood and left the quad, I grabbed my books, shoved them in my bag and jumped up. Ignoring the calls of my friends, I took off in the direction Delia had gone. I hurried through the pathways between buildings, scanning until I saw her.

“Delia!” I called, sprinting to catch up.

She turned, and my chest tightened when her smile immediately morphed into a frown when her gaze landed on me. She sighed loudly as I came to stop in front of her.

“What do you want?”

I chuckled even though her resigned tone cut. “Just wanted to say hi since we seem to keep crossing paths.”

“Yeah, that’s unfortunate. You think on a campus this size we could avoid that altogether, wouldn’t you?” She patted me on the arm. “We’ll just have to try harder.”

I covered her hand before she could pull away, capturing against me. “Maybe I don’t want to avoid seeing you. I actually rather like it.”

Her fingers flexed, digging in, but she didn’t try to pull away. It might have been me being desperate, but I took it as a good sign.

“Maddock,” she whispered.

“Look, I hate that you think I’m a prejudiced ass. Hate it,” I admitted, trailing my fingers over her knuckles, dipping my head slightly to meet her insanely gorgeous blue eyes. “Can’t we just get that coffee?”

She pressed her lips together then slowly drew her hand away. “I…I don’t think so.”

“Delia, I—”

“No,” she interrupted. “We’re too different.”

“You don’t know that,” I argued. “Because you don’t know me. You saw me speaking to a group, that’s it. Give me a chance to explain, to clear up what you misunderstood.”

Her expression softened, and the corners of her mouth quirked up. “I didn’t misunderstand. You are a very effective public speaker, and were very clear in what you were saying.”

“I can’t stop thinking a lot about what you said.” I shoved my hand through my hair in frustration. “If you thought I meant those things…”

Delia took her phone out and looked at the display. “I have to go.” She stepped away but stopped to gaze at me, her smile small and sad. “Maybe there’s a reason you can’t stop thinking about it, Maddock. Maybe a part of you—even a tiny, tiny part—realizes what you’ve been saying and fighting for is wrong.”

Heart pounding, I called out after her. “Are you always going to be running away from me?”

She spun around, but kept moving, walking backwards. “As things stand now? Yes. But…”

“But what?”

“Show me you’re someone I want to be running to.”


Click the banner below to read Chapter Two of Kris Norris’ amazing Red Sky Dawning.

RedSkyBanner

Wednesday Randomness: I Spend Too Much Time…

I have many things I spend way too much time doing – I can procrastinate with the best of them, believe you me. But I don’t think my list of things I waste my time on is going to be much different than anyone else’s.

Reading – A constant my whole life. Best form of escaping, then, and it’s no different, now. Whether it’s a good novel, and interesting non-fiction read or a filthy fanfic, reading is a big part of my life. You won’t hear me say often that anyone can spend TOO much time reading, but for me… Yeah, sometimes, I’m reading when I should be doing something else – like finishing a book. *hangs head in shame*

TV/Movies – More TV than movies, really, but I’ve been known to marathon some good films. But I definitely watch too many TV shows. I very rarely watch episodes when they air on TV. No, I wait until later when I can watch and watch and watch…

netflix-marathonYeah, Merlin, Dr. Who, Broadchurch, The Fall, The Walking Dead, Arrow, The Flash, Friends, Psych, Supernatural…. Honestly, the list goes on and on. I have to be super strict with myself not to start watching a show when I should be working, because, despite my best intentions…

netflix1

Social Media – Twitter and Facebook? I look at the clock and realize waaay more time has passed than I thought. And anyone who knows me knows I spend more time on Tumblr than I ever should. it speaks to me. In so many ways. But mostly in this way

tumblr_nn2wqomdUF1qe5awno2_540

or this way…

tumblr_nn6tksBlvl1r5dpsxo1_400

I could keep going but… Well, you see what I mean about spending too much time? I’m trying to finish a book! I’m on a tight deadline and pretties (aka the life ruiners) keep distracting me! 🙂

And that’s where I’ll end it. Those are my top three time sucks – reading, watching TV/movies, and social media…


Go and see what the other ladies spend too much time doing!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones  |
Kellie St. James Kris Norris | Paige Prince

Until next week!
Hugs,
~J

April Song Writing Prompt – “I Will Possess Your Heart”

songprompt1I had a whole other story in mind for this song – “I Will Possess Your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie – which is a favorite of mine, btw.

But, I realized that idea…was something that would be much, much too long for something like this. So I switched gears.

Right now, I’m firmly entrenched in my Albion Circle series – writing like crazy on a story and characters I love. So, I decided to stay on that path with this month’s song prompt. Well, mostly on the path. Tthis is a slight detour as it’s a glimpse inside the head of Mordred – the not-so-good guy. o.O


~Mordred~

We belonged together.

Why didn’t Annwyl see that? Why didn’t she understand that Merlin wasn’t her other half? I was. I always had been, from the very beginning. He just got to her first.

Striding in to my study, I tugged my tie off and threw it on my desk before sitting in on of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. A few murmured words had flames springing to life, illuminating the darkening room. Another muttered spell, and a tumbler of brandy floated through the air into my waiting hand. I knocked the liquor back, relishing the burn as it worked it way down my throat to settle warmly in my stomach. I sent glass back toward the decanter to be refilled. Then, simply held the drink in my hand as anticipation flowed through me.

All day, I’d been waiting for this. Suffering through keeping up appearances, pretending to work for the bumbling idiot of a governor. Of course, he was firmly under my control, as was most of the staff. If I were to be successful this life, in this time, I needed to have power in the non-Magical world. The job was a means to an end, nothing more. But it kept me from maintaining contact with Annwyl. That required focus and concentration, and I couldn’t spare more than a few pockets of time through the day. And that wasn’t nearly enough. I needed more. She deserved more.

What Annwyl and I had, what we shared—no one else could understand that. Not Arthur and his followers, not Morgana, even when she was on the right side of the battle, and certainly not fucking Merlin. Even Annwyl didn’t fully understand. How could she? With Merlin in head? Well, this time would be different, because I was the one in her head now. I would have the time I needed with her, the time to show her the truth.

I know she thought I hated her, but my hatred never touched her. It was solely for Arthur and Merlin. I may feel anger at some of her choices—in this life and lives past—and lose myself in that anger, at times, but that was only because I cared too much. I loved her. More than Merlin ever could. It wasn’t a love born out of attraction and sex, but because she and I were of a kind. Underneath it all, Annwyl and I were the same. And it was up to me to make her see that.

I lifted the glass to my lips, thinking of what I’d have to do if I didn’t succeed. I never enjoyed taking her life. It hurt me to do so, and the guilt of failing weighed on me. But it was always a last resort, when it was clear she was too far gone to accept the truth before her. I regretted that her deaths were never easy, but if she couldn’t make the right choice, she needed to be used in a way to further the cause, to send a message to the Circle.

It wasn’t too late, this life, though. I still had time to make her see, to make her understand. I placed my brandy on the end table and settled back in the chair, closing my eyes, reaching out into Annwyl’s mind. Ready to spend some time with her and show her how things truly were. I would do everything in my power to succeed where I’d always failed.

And if she were too far gone, if Merlin and his king had corrupted her completely, I’d do what needed to be done. As painful as it would be, I’d reset things for her and start fresh in the next life.


Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “I Will Possess Your Heart”…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

Wednesday Randomness: 5 Words or Less – My Blog, My Fiction, My Creative Process

5wordsorless

My Blog – Challenging, fun, growing

My Fiction – Sexy, fun, entertaining, I hope.

My Creative Process – Maddening, Exciting, Always Evolving


Check out how the other ladies described these things!
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa
Kayleigh Jones | Kellie St. James Kris Norris

Until next week!

Hugs,
~J

Your Lies – Chapter One

I’m so excited to post the first chapter of my serialized story, Your Lies – and that Kris Norris is posting the first chapter of hers – Red Sky Dawning.

Your Lies is also available on Wattpad, with chapters posting there the same time as here. So if you prefer that…there you go. 🙂

http://embed.wattpad.com/follow/JessicaJarman

**Also, remember to comment to be entered in a drawing for a $20 Amazon giftcard at the end of the month**
April’s Winner: Ali
Congrats, Ali! Happy Reading
your lies banner

Chapter One
~Delia~

“It’s still secret, right? No one’s found out?”

I rolled my eyes, even though Mom couldn’t see me. Every single phone call either started or ended with these questions, and it was getting old.

“I’m not an idiot. I haven’t told anyone, and I won’t. You’ve adequately drilled that into my head.”

“Don’t take that tone with me, Delia. You’ve no idea how scared I—” Her voice cracked, and guilt swamped me.

“I’m sorry,” I said quickly. “But nothing’s going to happen, okay? No one knows anything about me.”

“But if you let it slip to one of your friends or if you lose control… Honey, maybe you should just come back home. You wouldn’t have to worry here about anyone finding out about your—” She sighed heavily. “About you.”

I shook my head and ignored the tightening of my throat. She couldn’t even bring herself to say the word. That was nothing new, though. She hated this part of me. Not the way others hated it or feared it—nothing like that. She loved me more than anyone, of course, but having this inside me put me at risk, and what mother wouldn’t loathe that?

“Mom, I want to help people, people like me, and I can’t do that there.”

“But you’d be safe!”

I closed my eyes against the sudden burning. I didn’t like that she worried, that I was the cause of so much fear and stress and had been my entire life. Sometimes, I wished I could do what she wanted—go home, live on the farm, safe and sound—but coming here was the first step in fulfilling my dreams. The first step in doing what I’ve always wanted to do.

“I’m safe here,” I assured her. “You’re forgetting there are laws to protect me, that it’s illegal to discriminate against me just because I have—”

You’re forgetting just how little those legal protections mean,” she shouted loudly enough I had to pull the phone from my ear. “They didn’t help your father; they don’t help anyone. If anyone finds out, you’ll be put on a watch list—the lists that aren’t even supposed to exist but do—and you will never have a moment’s peace. You’ll never be safe; always having to look over your shoulder.”

“No one knows,” I said in a rush, anxious to cut off the rant before it really began. “And no one will ever know. Dad taught me well, Mom. You know that. I’m just another student here, one of thousands. Nobody cares about me, and I’m not drawing attention to myself.”

A heavy sigh traveled through the phone. “Promise me you’ll be careful. Promise you’ll come home if there’s even a hint that someone knows or suspects.”

“Promise,” I said softly, as I always did.

I wished she’d ask me about my classes, about the people I was meeting, the things I was doing, but it was only the questions and the promises—every time. A part of me understood why—truly I did—but another part wanted her to be interested in my life. In me…beyond that one part. I glanced at my watch and stood from where I sat on my bed.

“I’ve got to go. I have class in a few minutes, and it’s across campus, so I need to hurry.” Grabbing my bag, I hoisted it over my shoulder. “I’ll call you over the weekend?”

“All right. Call sooner if you need anything.” She paused, and I could tell she wanted to say more, to keep warning me, but instead, she simply said, “I love you, Delia.”

“Love you, too, Mom.”

I ended the call and shoved the phone in my pocket as I left my room. I hurried out of the building and started the trek across campus.

“Delia!” Peyton Harding—a girl from my dorm—jogged up and fell into step beside me. “Study group around four. You coming?”

“Yeah. Where?”

“John wants it to be out here.” Peyton rolled her eyes as she gestured around the quad. “Everyone’s pretty much agreed to it. Figured we might as well while it’s still nice enough to, because before too long, we’ll be stuck inside.”

“All right. My class goes until three-fifty, so I’ll meet you here. Who else is—oof.”

“Oh shit, sorry! Wasn’t looking were I was going. Are you okay?” A strong hand wrapped around my arm above my elbow, steadying me.

I looked up and found myself staring into the clearest, greenest eyes I’d ever seen. I’d call them pretty if it wasn’t for the whole picture they were a part of. Messy brown mop of curls, high cheekbones, full lips that were turned down into a frown. No, pretty wasn’t the word I was thinking. Hot, sexy, breathtaking—those all fit.

“You okay?” he repeated.

Great, I was gaping at him like an idiot. I nodded and smiled. “Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. No worries.”

His frown transformed into a wide, bright grin, and there was the breathtaking. Damn.

“I’m glad.” He tilted his head and ran his gaze over me. “I haven’t seen you around. First year?”

I nodded, acutely aware of the warm weight of his hand still on my arm. Everything in me responded to his touch, and I breathed through it—the trembling, the heat swirling through my body, threatening to radiate outward—desperate to keep that reaction concealed, hoping he’d see nothing more than a shy girl gobsmacked in the presence of a hot guy. Which I was, but it was only a fraction of the story.

His fingers flexed, and he continued to smile at me. “I’m Maddock.”

“Delia,” I forced through numb lips.

“That fits—beautiful girl, beautiful name.”

Some shouting had him glancing over his shoulder. Relief and sadness warred within me when he let me go to wave at whoever had been trying to get his attention. I inhaled deeply and felt myself calm slightly. Until he faced me again, eyes crinkling as he smiled. Damn, that was cute.

“I have to go.” He actually sounded as if he regretted it. “I’d like to see you again, Delia. Come to the rally this afternoon.” He pressed a piece of paper into my hand, holding it firmly against my palm a moment. “Look for me after? Maybe we can get some coffee and get to know each other better.”

“I-I’d like that.”

“Me, too.”

He released my hand then, after a quick nod in Peyton’s direction and another flashing smile in mine, he walked away. I watched him go—I was only human, and he wore those jeans oh so well—until I was jolted from my thoughts by a rough nudge on my arm.

“Wow,” Peyton drawled, linking arms with me. “Hot, majorly hunky Maddock Roberts just asked you out.”

I snorted, eyes still on where he now stood talking with a group of people. “Not exactly.”

“Meeting for coffee after his rally? That’s a date, my friend.”

No, it was— Oh God…was it? My stomach fluttered. I looked down at the paper in my trembling hand, and the flutters morphed into full on spasms, driving out the nervous excitement. Bile threatened to choke me as I read the bold print across the top—Protect Our Students. Ban Magic Users From Campus!

“Hey, something wrong?” Peyton asked.

I crumpled the flyer and chucked it into a nearby trashcan, ignoring the flare of prickling heat inside me.

“No,” I croaked. “Just don’t want to be late for class. The prof’s a real stickler about being on time and all that.”

I pulled away from her and set a quick pace towards my destination.

“Delia, wait! What’s the matter?”

“Nothing! Promise. See you at study group!”

When I turned to smile and wave at her—because I didn’t need anyone to be suspicious of anything; I needed to be normal—I saw Maddock Roberts a few feet from her, frowning fiercely at me.

* * * *

I was late for class, anyway. But it was all good, because I’d lied—the professor didn’t give a shit. I’d had to duck into one of the bathrooms, lock myself into a stall and calm down. Showing up to class with my magic going crazy, my hair practically standing on end and energy flowing off me in waves, wasn’t the way to stay unnoticed.

My mother would flip a nut if she knew I’d nearly lost control. In a very public place, no less. Over a boy. An absolutely gorgeous boy, yes, but a boy just the same. Stupid, stupid Delia.

I reined it in, though, and made it through class without blowing anything up, so win for me. Wouldn’t be so much of a win if anyone asked me what the actual lecture was about as my mind had been thoroughly occupied by a cute guy who apparently hated what I was and, if he knew the truth, would probably rather see me dead than date me.

Such was my life.

Now, as I entered the quad, the first thing I noticed was the huge crowd of people occupying the center of the large space. Shit, the rally. I stopped abruptly, got jostled as people pushed past me to join the group. And in the middle of it all was none other than Maddock Roberts, standing on the platform of one of the hideous abstract sculptures scattered throughout campus. He was speaking, loudly, but I was too far away to hear anything clearly. I couldn’t pull my gaze away from him. Those flocked around him were just as enthralled as I was with whatever he was saying, with his earnest expression, his animated gestures. Good-looking, charming, charismatic—didn’t it just figure he was the enemy? Someone to avoid at all costs?

Why hadn’t I read the freaking flyer before I tossed it? I could have made my excuses to Peyton and avoided the quad altogether. I glanced around. Besides the rather huge gathering, people were scattered through the courtyard, but no sign or Peyton or John or any of the others I’d studied with before. Relief filled me. I could just cut through, head to the dorm, and escape. Just tell Peyton later I couldn’t find them in the chaos.

That plan in mind, I started across the quad, skirting around the gathered masses. I tried not to listen as I hurried past, but try as I might, snippets of Maddock’s speech reached me.

“Safety should be our number one priority…”

“…don’t advocate any violence towards magic users, but…”

“Magic is a disease that should be eradicated to keep…”

“…wouldn’t allow rabid animals to wander about campus, why should we allow magic users the privilege?”

I nearly fell over stopping as quickly as I did. I struggled to control my breathing as I turned toward where Maddock spoke. I fought back tears as I saw those surrounding me nodding along with the poison he spewed. Over the pounding of my heart, which echoed in my skull, his words penetrated and filled me with a fear I’d never felt before in my life.

“They are just as dangerous. Do you want to be in the company of someone who could suck the life out of you with a look just because you said something they didn’t agree with or took offense to?”

“They should be put down!”

Maddock shook his head at the shouted statement. “No, that’s not the answer; that’s not fair. This isn’t something any magic user asked for—what’s inside them is a defect of birth. What they are is no fault of their own. Any violence against them is inexcusable.” His hand slashed through the air. “My father is part of a team of researchers who have been working for years to develop a cure for this…abomination. A way to rid these innocent people of the sickness that eats away at them, that corrupts them. And they are close, so close, but until that great day arrives, those with magic need to be contained. Where they can go and what they can do has to be limited. They need to be watched and monitored. As sad as that is, it’s essential, for everyone’s safety. Including theirs.”

He looked out over the crowd, and his gaze landed on me. Of course it did, because I was just that screwed. His bright grin stole my breath, again—but for very different reasons this time.

“There are people up here,” he gestured to his right, “who are waiting to take your signatures on our petition to ban magic users from campus. Rest assured, we aren’t asking to take away anyone’s right to an education. As part of our plea, we’ve offered suggestions, options for students who have magic—online courses, courses offered at locations set aside solely for their kind. Please sign, and be a part of this important movement. Thank you.”

He jumped off the platform and started making his way through the throng—straight toward me. Magic skittering just beneath my skin, I spun around and moved as quickly as I could in the direction of the dorm, away from the hate and prejudice, away from him.

I breathed a sigh of relief as I exited the quad and started down the far less crowded pathway between buildings.

“Delia! Hey, wait up.”

Short of running away and making a spectacle—which was the last thing I needed, and my mom would kill me—there was nothing I could do except listen to the slap of his shoes on the pavement as he caught up to me. My short-legged walk, no matter how hurried, was no match for his long, running stride.

“Thought we were going to grab coffee,” he said, slightly out of breath. “The rally ran a bit longer than I thought. Sorry about that, but it was a great crowd, don’t you think?”

Hysterical laughter bubbled up, and I was powerless to stop its escape. I kept telling myself to just agree with him, make an excuse to get out of coffee and get the hell away from him, but I couldn’t form any words. Couldn’t do anything but laugh.

He grabbed my elbow, pulling me to a stop beside him. I jerked away.

“Don’t—” I cringed at the volume of that one word, and drew on all my strength to lower my voice and control myself. “Don’t touch me.”

Maddock frowned and held his hands up, palms facing me. “Okay, okay! I’m sorry.”

“Whatever.” I shook my head and backed up a step. “Just stay away from me.”

My chest ached at the hurt, confused expression on his face, and I had to repeat his words in my head to stand firm. Disease. Rabid animals. Abomination. As charming as he was, as much as his feelings may be hurt, he thought of me as an abomination. That was what I needed to remember, right now.

“I don’t understand,” he said slowly. “I thought earlier that we’d… What changed between then and now, Delia?”

“Everything.”

Chapter Two >>>


 

Click the banner to check out chapter one of Kris’ Red Sky Dawning:
RedSkyBanner

Wednesday Randomness: A Thank You Note

bannerfans_15386690Despite the enormous distraction you are in my life, you are truly my happy place. What I turn to when I need some time away. I’ve so much to thank you for…

You make me laugh and make me think. You show me that I’m not alone in my thoughts, beliefs, and not even in my (apparently) strangely specific fetishes. 😉

tumblr_lqq7lxELJ71qb4794o1_250

tumblr_mjpm7n2kHr1r7lfr2o1_250
tumblr_mmyzhn4OgC1qma7m9o5_r1_250And you don’t judge that Colin Morgan seems to embody all of these.

You are so much more than a distraction, though. You are an infinite source of inspiration when I’m writing and trying to picture a character – an expression or way of moving.

hannibalstrokeswilltumblr_nbxfubKvrD1tjjvnuo2_500tumblr_m7ntc77NCn1rshbdvRM lip bitetumblr_ml1991SvYE1s71i6qo1_500

You never bring up the fact I look up more pretty men than anything else. You just get me.

And do I even need to bring up the enormous amounts of filthy fanfic you bring to me?

tumblr_lgo869fydC1qh58r7o1_500

Yeah, I didn’t think so…

So, thank you, Tumblr. For brightening my days and being so awesome.

Loves & Smooches
Jess


Wonder what the others are saying thanks to…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. James Kris Norris | Paige Prince