Copper Descent

A friend of mine and fellow Fox Hollow author had her book released on Monday. Angela Hartley writes New Adult Horror, which means the story should be sexy and scary. I haven’t had time to read it yet since I am finishing up my second book under deadline, but I’ll post a review when I do get to read it. In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from Copper Descent:

Copper-Descent-front_cover

“So are you ready to go, Squirrel? Why does your dad call you that, anyhow?” he asked, reaching out, but Nina hesitated. Calmer now, she considered making amends with her mother. She could take the necklace back and convince her parents to stay home tonight, but on a whim, she decided to grab Nate’s hand instead.

Warm fingers possessively closed around cold ones, filling her with heat. As she looked down at their dark skin entwined, she admired how the tones matched perfectly, like a nice caramel toffee twisted together. Nate was right, leaving the resort would be good. A twinge of guilt threatened to change her mind, but she brushed the feeling aside. She was tired of trying to please her mother.

“When I was little, I had really fat cheeks, like a squirrel packing around nuts. After a while the nickname just stuck. Know this—if you tell anyone about the fat cheeks, I will kill you,” Nina said, her eyes glaring with intent.
“Your secret’s safe with me, scout’s honor,” Nate swore, standing at attention with a mock salute.

“I know it is,” Nina replied, meaning far more than just the nickname. He had earned her trust, something she believed no one could ever gain. Her heart felt lighter knowing there was someone who accepted her exactly the way she was.

Going to the movies with Nate was easy. There were no awkward silences or pretenses between the two of them. His laid-back attitude caused Nina to relax into the moment and enjoy watching characters go through hilarious family drama during the holidays. After the movie they laughed together, recounting some of their favorite scenes as they walked across the parking lot. He had fulfilled his promise. All of Nina’s cares had disappeared by the time he put his hands on either side of the car, pinning her against the frame. And suddenly, she had a new worry.

His face softened as he looked down at her. Moving in slowly, he gave her time to get used to the idea. With her heart jumping out of her chest, she anticipated and anguished over the possibility of a kiss.

Initially, his lips brushed over her forehead, and he smiled as Nina’s anxiety bubbled to the surface, escaping her mouth in a little squeak. With a soft chuckle, he moved to her cheek and lightly touched next to her ear, causing her pulse to quicken as she took in a sharp breath. Her nerves couldn’t cope with anymore teasing, so she decided to take matters into her own hands. Wrapping her arms around his neck, Nina jumped up and planted her lips firmly on his as the snow fluttered down in big, gigantic flakes. Nate stumbled back in startled surprise, catching himself before they toppled onto the slushy pavement. Tightening his arms, he lifted her and took control as his mouth parted over her lips.

Nina was certain they were melting a ten-foot section of snow in every direction with the heat radiating from their bodies. Nate made her feel safe, yet she could taste something wild and primal under the surface begging to break free. A part of her wanted to push him past the point of restraint. The thought empowered her. Feeling reckless, she molded her body to him like liquid against unyielding steel, but instead of accepting her eager offering, he stopped. With a whine of protest Nate placed Nina back on the ground, untangling her arms from around his neck. He rested his hands on the hood of the car and Nina noticed how they trembled. His eyes burned with intensity as he drew in a deep breath and exhaled in a throaty chuckle.

“Now that was certainly out of the ordinary. I can see you’re gonna keep me on my toes, Squirrel,” Nate commented in a not-so-steady voice. He opened the passenger door and gestured for her to climb in. Gazing into her eyes, he planted another kiss on bridge of her nose before she sat down. “We could definitely be good together. Think about it, okay?”
There was little else on Nina’s mind as they drove home in silence, exchanging smiles and anticipating another goodnight kiss.

But as they pulled back onto the familiar streets, something cued in the pit of her stomach, changing her life in an instant. In one moment Nina was full of happiness and hope, in the next, reality was crashing down around her feet. In Greek mythology, it was believed that the gods played games of chess on unsuspecting humans. Christianity explains this phenomenon as torment brought about by the original sin, while Buddhism declares that suffering is inevitable.

Nina had studied many belief systems in search of a place for her disjointed existence. None of them, however, gave her any kind comfort when she saw the police car parked in front of the resort. Concreted in her seat, she watched as the small crowd gathered by the doors turned their pitying gazes in her direction. Nate rolled down the window and held her hand as the highway patrolman approached the car.

“Nina Douglas?” the officer inquired. Her head felt like a foreign object, nodding of its own accord. “I’m afraid there has been an accident…”

Those seven little words shattered Nina’s snow globe into a million pieces.


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