by Carrie Butler
Series: Mark of Nexus (#1)
Available as of March 7, 2013
Amazon | Barnes & Noble
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.
Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…
Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.
They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.
Not that he’d ever answer the freakin’ door.
I was about to retreat to my spot on the sofa, when the door jerked open with a barely-perceptible whoosh of air. My hair fanned at the abrupt vacuum, and I swallowed, feeling everything I’d planned to say disappear with a single glance. “Wallace…”
It looked like he’d just escaped a brutal assault, leaving half of his face swollen, red, and glistening with sweat—his left eyelid lowered at half-mast. “What?” he snapped, swiping the back of his wrist under his nose.
“I…I…” My voice jumped an octave. “Are you okay?”
His narrowed, unfocused gaze met mine. “I’m fine.”
He didn’t look fine. He looked dead.
“I just thought I heard something and wanted to check on you.” My adrenaline fed off of his fearsome exterior, burning my legs with the desire to run. It was like meeting the manifestation of our fears for the first time. He seemed so different from last night. “I-Is there someone with you?”
His austere features darkened, and he shifted from one side to the other. “Sure you wanna ask the crazy guy?”
Ouch. Okay, I deserved that.
He gripped the doorknob and tilted his chin, looking past me. “How about you?”
I turned as Aiden paled and backed away. “N-No,” he sputtered. “I-I mean you’re not crazy. You’re just…” He rubbed his hands on his pants. “Sorry, she just gets worried about…stuff.” Swallowing hard, he jerked his head toward his own door in a gesture for us to go. “We’ll leave you alone now.”
My heart raced. I was petrified, but my mind was reeling with possibilities. If I left, I’d have to forego what little ground I had already gained. Was it worth it? I couldn’t just spout idealistic lectures and then punk out when it came down to it, could I?
“Look, I just wanted to see if you were okay.” Also, please don’t hurt us.
“Well, you’ve done your good deed for the day.” Wallace stepped back and started to close the door. “You’ll sleep well tonight.”
“Wait! That’s not what I—”
“Goodnight.” He shut the door with a soft click.
Carrie daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.
You can find Carrie...
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