Thursday, February 6, 2014

Excerpt! Sneak Peek at Mystic ~ Markaza

Hello and happy Thursday, good people of the blogosphere! Today I'm giving you all a sneak peek into the pages of Mystic ~ Markaza, the sixth and final book of the series. It's been outrageously popular (especially since I released the five in one book) and I've had a few messages from readers asking when Markaza will be released. Answer: I'm going to try to have it out before UtopYA Con in June of this year. I have a good bit of it written and am almost to the point where the big baddie begins to cause trouble for the world. This one is a full length novel, so it's taking me a little longer.

After all, we have to have some burning questions answered before the girls can fight! What the heck will their powers be used for? You'll have to wait and see. But, here's a snippet for all those who've been asking. Kindly remember it's unedited and a NEW ADULT novel. There's some strong language in here. Grab a cup of coffee, relax in your chair, and get to reading. I hope you enjoy it.

This is for those of you who read chapter one of Markaza in the back of the last book, Coralie. It's around 3200 words so be prepared to read for more than a minute.


Chapter Two ~ Happy Birthday!

Markaza woke up screaming. Her vision from the night before paralyzing her body as the horrors replayed through her head.

Sunny was standing on the tarmac at a small airfield, watching the instructor show them how they’d be tethered to the seasoned skydiver. Her face was lit up; eyes sparkling with excitement.
 
Markaza was inside Sunny, feeling everything she felt. Her thoughts were as clear as a summer sky.

When the instructor showed the girls where the straps would go and how their tandem partner would have to hold on, her heart leapt in her chest. What a thrill it would be to have her body strapped so tightly to his! Antsy, her mind playing out sexy scenarios, she bounced from foot-to-foot, not hearing half of what was being said.

He paused. “Sunny, are you listening?”

“Yes.” No!

“Okay, let’s continue.” His lecture went on for another ten minutes before he finally told the girls to get their harnesses on and follow him.

Sunny stepped into hers and buckled the straps like she thought she remembered seeing the hot instructor do it. Satisfied she was good to go, she sauntered over to her friend. “Holy hell he’s hot! Which one of us do you think will get to be strapped on to that?”

The friend giggled. “Maybe you will. It’s so cool of your mom to sign us up for this!”

“Right? I’m so excited!” Sunny’s feet went into a tap-dance as she waited for the others.

Once everyone was geared up, they followed the instructor to a place where a group of young men were waiting.

Her heart started beating double-time. These dudes were as good-looking as the one who showed them how to get into the gear! She smiled and locked eyes with a boy who had brown hair that was almost shoulder-length, warm green eyes, and a perfect set of teeth. He smiled back and she felt her face grow warm at the contact.

They were assigned their jump partners and, as luck would have it, Sunny ended up with the one she’d been eying.

He approached slowly, looking like a bronzed god, and her brain played scenes from every romantic movie she’d ever seen.

“Hi,” he said.

“Hey.” She wanted to slap her forehead for being lame.

“You excited about the jump?”

She nodded, feeling like if she talked, she’d sound stupid.

While the other team members were getting ready, Sunny and her jump partner sat down and chatted. She found out he was seventeen and had already made twenty jumps solo.

“Yeah, I just fell in love with it from the first time. This is only my second go-round with tandem, but I’m sure glad I’ll get to wrap my arms around you.” His gaze was smoldering and her ability to talk whooshed right out of her again.

All she could do was smile while her inner-goddess danced and sang a happy song.

They climbed into the plane and everyone sat down for takeoff. He reached over and grabbed her hand, caressing her thumb with his own as they rolled down the runway.

Roaring of the propeller was drowned out by her heartbeat echoing in her ears.

They reached jumping altitude and everyone was buckled to their partners. When he put his arms around her, she melted back into him. Instructions were being shouted over the din of the engine, but all she heard was his whispered words. “You smell so good.”

At once, the door was opened and the first pair of jumpers dove out. Screams of the young lady wafted back through the door as she experienced the first tingles of free-fall.

Sunny was shuffled to the opening. “Don’t be scared. I got you.” He had to yell because of the rushing wind, but she was grateful for the reassurance.

She leaned over and looked down. Squealing, she jumped backward, making him stumble a little.
He put his hand over hers and pulled her tightly to him. When the boss yelled, “Go!” they tumbled out into the open air.

Wind.

Warmth.

His strong arms around her body.

Her hair blowing around her face.

Blue skies and fluffy, white clouds as far as she could see.

Brown and green landscapes, broken only by the appearance of the white dot of a house now and then.

It was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen.

When he squeezed her, she fell a little in love with him and her entire body tingled. Adrenalin rushed through her veins, causing her to scream, “Woooohoooooo!” It was a welcome release.

She could hear him laughing as he let go of her so he could pull the ripcord.

A jerk.

Pain searing through her inner-thighs.

Suddenly, she was falling again. She couldn’t feel him near her anymore and she grew cold. Her body began to flip and bend in awkward ways as the speeding wind abused it.

A scream ripped from her throat as she plummeted toward the ground; completely out of control. Her heart did flips inside her body and caused her throat to constrict. Then, everything went quiet except the rushing sound of the wind and her jumpsuit flapping. I’m going to die.

She quit fighting and was flipped upside down just in time to see the ground as it rushed at her face.

Her body slammed into it like a bullet into a target.

Markaza buried her face in her hands and screamed again; letting her feelings flow out with the sound. Death. The word consumed her mind and she recognized the agonizing fear for what it was. Never had she been in the body of the person who died. She began to shake so hard, the bed banged against the wall as it moved with her tremors.

Her mother rushed in, gathering the girl up, trying to console her. “What happened?”

“I… I… Where’s Nancy?” Markaza screamed.

“I don’t know! Can’t I do anything?” Her mother screamed in return, flapping her arms like a penguin’s wings.

“No! Get her! Find her! Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” Only Nancy would listen and not have Markaza committed for what she saw.

An agonizing five minutes passed, during which she collapsed to the floor and cried, letting the sobs tear from her lips, not caring who heard.

Nancy arrived and sat down on the floor. “What is it, child? What did you see this time?”

Markaza threw herself into the woman’s lap, wrapping both arms around her waist. “Oh my God it was horrible! Nancy, we have to do something!”

Rocking the distraught child, Nancy used an even voice when she spoke. “Calm down. I can’t understand you when you’re hysterical.”

Markaza gulped for air, taking it in like she was being suffocated. Her stomach settled as her hair was stroked. “Sunny died.”

“Baby, you’ve seen these kinds of things every year since you were just a little thing. What was different this time?”

“I was inside her head. I saw what she saw; felt what she felt. I died, too,” Markaza whispered. She pushed back and began to tremble again. It started deep in her belly and radiated out through her limbs, causing her words to come through chattering teeth. “She went skydiving and got severed from her partner when he pulled the chute open. We hit the ground… What do I do?”

“Oh my God.” Nancy’s eyes were wide and blank, her lips were pressed together, and her hand flitted up to touch her forehead. “I’m so sorry. I can’t imagine…”

“It was horrible.” Rapid breathing ensued and Markaza could feel she was losing her grip again. “What do I do? If I call her, she’ll think I’m a freak! She’s the only friend I have.”

“Let me think. Just try to calm down, okay? We’ll figure it out.” Nancy pulled the girl back up and embraced her. “Shhhh…”

They rocked for a long time. Markaza felt her body relax; sure the woman would know what to do next. After all, she’d saved almost everyone for the last six years.

“Okay, I’m gonna call Sunny’s mom. I’ll tell her you said Sunny was going skydiving but we decided to have a party for you and were wondering if she could come. That’s all I can do.”

Markaza nodded. “That sounds like a good plan. But what if her mother says no?”

“Then you’ll have to call Sunny and hope she listens.”

A knot of dread tied itself around her body, holding her prisoner, but she agreed.

Nancy pulled out her cell phone, got the number from the rolodex on the office desk, and dialed Sunny’s mother.

“Hi, this is Nancy, I work for the Turner family?

“Yes, hi there. I’m calling because it’s Markaza’s thirteenth birthday today and we’ve decided to throw her a party. I was wondering if Sunny—

“Yes, I realize this is late notice and she did tell me Sunny was—

“Yes, ma’am. I understand. I’m sorry to have bothered you.”

Markaza’s heart was bouncing around like it had been put on a trampoline. Looking at Nancy’s face when she hung up and turned, Markaza knew she’d have to call and sound like a crazy person. After pulling her thoughts together, she picked up the phone and dialed Sunny’s cell number.

“Hey, girl! How are you?” Sunny sounded like she was smiling.

Markaza took a deep breath to steady her nerves. “I’m okay. Hey, I was thinking about having a birthday party today. I know I said I wasn’t going to, but I thought maybe you could blow off that thing you were going to and come see me instead!”

“There’s no way you’re asking me to blow off skydiving to come to a party you just decided to put together, right?” Sunny laughed. “Have you gone crazy?”

“No. I just thought you might be able to re-schedule.”

“What is it? Are you jealous because I didn’t invite you to come?”

Girls could be heard giggling in the background.

“No.” Markaza’s heart sank.

“Then why bother suddenly throwing yourself a party that you know I can’t come to because I have plans?”
“I… I thought, maybe…”

“Seriously, what’s really going on? Can’t I do anything without you?”

“I saw you die while you were skydiving!” The words flew from Markaza’s mouth before she could stop them.

“Oh my God! You’ll resort to anything! Girls, listen to this: Markaza says she saw me die while I was skydiving.”

Giggles echoed in the background again and someone shouted, “What a freak!”

Markaza’s blood boiled.

Sunny laughed and snorted. “You’re so lame. Go have your stupid party with no one there. I’m out.”
“Fine! When your fucking head slams into the ground, remember I tried to warn you, bitch!” Markaza’s phone beeped, signaling the call had been ended. She looked up, tears streaming down her face. “She wouldn’t listen. I lost my temper. What can I do now?”

“I was afraid that was going to happen,” Nancy said.

“Oh, you have no idea what I just did to myself. Now those cows in the car will tell everyone at school what happened. If Sunny dies today, I’ll be a freak show. Not to mention I’ll be losing someone I thought was my friend.” Markaza started to shake again. “Guess I just did that anyway. Why does this stuff happen to me? What did I do to deserve this curse?”

“You can’t look at it that way. Instead, think about all the people you’ve saved with your gift.”

“Funny thing; I don’t think they ever would’ve been in danger if it wasn’t for me. It seems the people I love the most are the ones who get hurt.”

“I’m still here and in one piece.” Nancy smiled.

Markaza shuddered. “Yeah, and I’m trying to work out why that is. Of all the people I care about the deepest, you, Mom, and Dad seem to all be immune.” She let out a sigh. “It’s weird. You’d think you three would be among the first to get hurt.”

Nancy laughed. “You sure have a way of making people nervous. Don’t jinx me, okay?”

“Okay. Sorry. This thing with Sunny has my head all messed up.”

“You did what you could. So did I. If people won’t listen that’s not our fault.” Nancy brushed Markaza’s hair back. “Why don’t I bring you something to help you sleep? You can pass the day that way. You need to calm down; your face is still all flushed.”

“You’re right. Okay. Thanks.”

Nancy returned a few minutes later with some pills and a glass of water.

Markaza downed them and crawled back into bed.

“You want me to stay until you fall asleep?”

“No. I’ll be okay.” An odd numb feeling had taken over her body and she wondered if she was experiencing shock. “I love you.”

“I love you, too. Get some sleep.” Nancy left, closing the door softly.

Markaza could hear her mother arguing with the woman in the hallway. They were doing their best to whisper, but the walls carried the sound.

“What’s wrong with her?”

“Nothing. She just had a scary dream.”

“Is she going on about those stupid visions again? I hear you two talking sometimes; you really shouldn’t encourage her.”

“I help her try to deal with what she sees. I don’t know if any of it’s real, but she believes it is, and I’m going with the assumption she’s not crazy.” Nancy’s voice got rough and low, like she was getting angry.

“I’m taking her to a psychiatrist. She needs help.”

“You do whatever you think you have to. She’s your daughter.”

“Yes, she is. You might remember that.”

Everything went quiet and Markaza fell asleep, the drugs making her feel heavy and peaceful.

Banging on the door roused her from her slumber.

“Markaza, wake up! Get out here!” It was Mom. She was having a fit.

Markaza ground the sleep out of her eyes and rolled out of bed. Her head spun and she sat back down.
“Are you up?”

“Hang on a second! My head is spinning!” After a moment she was able to walk to the door and pull it open.
Her mother was completely disheveled. Hair that was usually perfectly coiffed stood in every direction and mascara streaks—that for some reason went right into the wrinkles—marred her face, making her look really old. With her eyes as big as hula-hoops, she leaned down and whispered, “You have to come see what’s on television.” Alcohol wafted from her body and caused Markaza to gag.

“Geeze, Mom, how much have you had to drink?”

“Not nearly enough. Come on.” Mom grabbed Markaza by the hand and dragged her to the living room. “Look at that. It’s on every channel.”

A reporter was holding papers in his hand and looking at the camera with a gloomy expression. “It seems to have been incorrectly used equipment that cost this young woman her life.”

They cut to a video where a tiny figure could be seen plummeting from the sky.

“Her tandem partner said the buckles weren’t fastened properly. You can see in the video how she’s jerked up for a moment when the chute opens, but falls away from him when it begins to slow their descent. Let’s watch it again.”

It was rewound and played back, this time showing the entire grisly scene. When the parachute opened, the figure was flung away from the body it was attached to and went spiraling out of control before slamming head-first into the ground.

“They say her name was Sunny Carter, daughter of James and Melanie Carter. She was fourteen years old. We’ll bring updates as the investigation…”

Markaza fled down the hallway and dry-heaved over the toilet before passing out on the tile.

***

“When I woke up, my mother asked me if Sunny’s death is what I’d seen. I told her it was and I ended up at a psychiatrist’s office that same night. He put me on a bunch of pills that made me groggy and skewed my visions. I went months feeling like a zombie. I’m kinda surprised I didn’t walk around moaning and drooling all over myself. It was the first time I was heavily medicated for what they called depression.” Markaza paused and blew her nose. “Who the hell wouldn’t be freaked out? Geesh. Because of that little fiasco, I was bullied at school so badly, my parents had to pull me out and send me somewhere else.

“That’s how I ended up at Her Majesty’s Other Preparatory Academy—which we New Yorkers lovingly call Hemop. Those years were some of the best and the worst of my life.”

“So your mom thought you were crazy because you saw the death of someone and had the gumption to try and stop it?” Lily’s voice rose as she asked the question.

Markaza nodded.

“That’s more like hero stuff, in my opinion. What a bitch!”

“Yeah, well, she didn’t really understand, did she?”

“Still. Argh!”

“How about we take a little break before I get into life at Hemop?”

Everyone agreed and Markaza ordered dinner to be sent up. Nancy pushed a cart into the room an hour later.

All the girls hugged the woman and thanked her for being awesome.

She smiled at them. “Markaza’s been telling her tales, I see. You ladies doing okay?”

“We are,” answered Melody. “Thank you so much.”

“Good.” Nancy turned. “Markaza, we need to talk. It’ll wait until tomorrow, but I wanted to let you know.” Her voice lowered. “It’s about your mother.”

“Okay. I’ll come down first thing in the morning. Thanks.” Markaza hugged the woman and ushered her out the door. “See you soon!”

After they ate dinner, they gathered in the living room once again with a huge pot of coffee and a tray of fruit and veggies; courtesy of Nancy.

“Where was I?” Markaza asked.

“Ooh! You were gonna tell us about the shrink, the meds, and life at Hemop.” Coralie was sitting forward, looking eager for more. “I’ve heard of that school. Always wondered what it was really like.” She grinned.
“I promise not to leave out any of the gritty details.”

“Great!”

Melody swatted Coralie on the leg. “Shhhhh! Go on, Markaza.”

“Hemop is the priciest school in New York State and is K through twelve. My parents were trying to avoid sending me there, because they wanted me to hobnob with more ‘down to earth’ kids—or so they said. Let me tell you, Mom and Dad weren’t crazy. Those were some of the strangest teenagers I’ve ever met.
“It was like they’d never been real kids and were born as adults. They had perfect hair, perfect clothing, and perfect grades. I went to school with the president’s daughter, the vice-president’s son, and tons of movie star offspring.

“Because I started in sixth grade, everyone wanted to know where I came from the minute I set foot in the door. It was like I was famous.

“I also got my first period right before I transferred. Talk about dealing with a lot of shit! Ha!

“Of course, it didn’t take me long to realize, if I was going to survive, I had to pretend to be something I wasn’t.”

~ End of preview

 If you enjoyed that, consider picking up the Mystic Anthology of books 1-5. It's just $3 over on Amazon and you get over 100k words for your money. Plus, you'll get to read chapter one of Markaza!

Well, that's all for today, folks! Until next time, WRITE ON!

Jo

2 comments:

  1. What a beautiful, beautiful cover! (I rushed right through the story, wanting to read more. But oh, that cover!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The cover is wonderful! She's exactly what I pictured Markaza looking like. Enjoyed the excerpt too =)

    ReplyDelete

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