Exclusive excerpt and Giveaway (US only): Take a sneak peek into AJ Larrieu’s Twisted Miracles, the first book in her new Shadowminds universe
Please welcome author AJ Larrieu as she brings us an exclusive look inside Twisted Miracles, the first book in her new urban fantasy series The Shadowminds!
[quote]My hero and heroine are both “converters.” In the supernatural world of Twisted Miracles, this means they can change energy from one form to another using their minds. They’re telekinetic, but they can also create light and heat. In this scene, the hero has conjured up an orb of light using his powers, and the heroine wants to learn how to do the same thing. Of course, that means letting him into her own mind in a way she’s been trying to avoid…[/quote]
“Is that thing going to burn me?” I asked, and he laughed.
“Nope.” He reached out and ran his fingers through it. “It’s just a little warm.” The ball wobbled in the air and then steadied itself, or maybe he steadied it.
“How do you do that? You’ve never told me.”
“It’s not easy to explain.”
From where I was sitting, I couldn’t see his expression, but I could feel his breath on my shoulder. I remembered the look on his face two days before, sitting next to me on the log as we ate together, waiting. I knew that if I turned, I’d see that same expression—patient, calm, and underneath, the barest undercurrent of hope.
“Show me,” I said.
Shane went very still. The ball dimmed a little and dipped lower. “Are you sure?”
The light spun barely an inch above the map. Slowly, I reached out and ran my fingers through it just as he’d done a moment before. They tingled with electric warmth, but I didn’t pull away. Shane still wasn’t touching me, but I was aware of every part of his body behind me. I nodded.
The light winked out. Shane got to his knees and pulled me back, settling my shoulders against his chest. His hands slid along my arms until our fingers were laced gently together and his jaw was pressed to my cheek.
“Relax.” His voice came in my mind, soft and deep. “Let me do the work.”
I took a deep, halting breath. Shane’s mind brushed against mine, asking for entrance against my shields. I was so used to having them up around him, I wasn’t sure I knew how to let them down. Shane’s lips were next to my ear and he whispered, “Just let me in. I would never hurt you.”
“I don’t know how,” I said, and Shane shifted behind me, pressing his body closer to mine. He stroked my arms and nuzzled my neck. The pressure of his mind grew more insistent, sharper.
“Do you trust me?”
I could feel the strength behind his words, and I knew he’d be able to push past my defenses whether I allowed it or not. I hesitated for a second, then I decided. “Do it.”
I expected him to break through in a single, powerful thrust, but it wasn’t like that at all. He nudged through my shields softly, layer by layer, his mental touch as gentle as his hands roaming over my arms and shoulders. He kept going until I felt him in every part of me, until I was shuddering with the intimate intensity of his mind filling mine completely. It was as though I was gently possessed, invaded by a familiar spirit.
“Like this,” he said, and my hands rose up, palms curved and facing each other. I tensed, unnerved by the feeling of another consciousness controlling my body, but I made myself let go, made myself surrender. My hands moved closer together, and a sensation like pressure built in the hollows of my palms. Shane guided my mind, showing me how to focus my power, and the pressure grew. My eyes flew wide open as the first motes of light appeared. They multiplied and collected into a tight ball, floating in the space between my hands. I gasped, and the ball of light crackled, white with energy and pulsing.
“Hold it. You take over now.” He began to slide away from me, his control receding.
“No! I don’t know what to do.”
“You’ll be fine.” He relinquished his hold on my mind, forcing me to take control. I concentrated on the ball of light in my hands, willing it to hover a few inches from my nose. It was like trying to hold a full beer bottle with only my pinkies—I had to focus to keep it from rolling out of my mental grasp. The ball spun and wobbled, throwing strange shadows onto the sides of the tent and shrinking as I struggled to keep it motionless. I could only manage it for a few minutes. When I released my focus, the light dissipated in a burst of sparks.
I slumped back in Shane’s arms, exhausted.
“Harder than it looks?” he asked, amused. It was completely dark in the tent again.
“Much,” I said, panting.
“It gets easier.” He smoothed sweaty strands of hair away from my face. “You did great.” He began to retreat, slipping out of my head. It was an aching, empty feeling, and it took a moment for me to recognize it as the same pain I’d lived with for years in San Francisco. For the first time, I realized what it was. Loneliness.
“Wait.” I laced my fingers through his again.
Shane went perfectly still.
“Stay.” Before I could change my mind about it, I turned my head and kissed him.
[quote]Thanks so much for letting me share a little bit of Cass & Shane’s story today on GraveTells![/quote]
Always lovely to have you, AJ! Thanks for the exclusive peek into Twisted Miracles!
More about the book
Cass Weatherfield’s powers come with a deadly price.
Cass knows it was her telekinetic gift that killed a college classmate five years back, even if no one else believes her. She’s lived in hiding from her fellow shadowminds ever since, plagued by guilt and suppressing her abilities with sedatives. Until the night her past walks back into her life in the form of sexy Shane Tanner, the ex-boyfriend who trained her…and the one she left without saying goodbye.
When Shane tells her that his twin sister, Mina—Cass’s childhood friend—is missing, Cass vows to help, which means returning to New Orleans to use her dangerous skills in the search. But finding Mina only leads to darker questions. As Cass and Shane race to learn who is targeting shadowminds, they find themselves drawn to each other, body and soul. Just as their powerful intimacy reignites, events take a terrifying turn, and Cass realizes that to save the people she loves, she must embrace the powers that ruined her life.
About the author
A.J. Larrieu grew up in small-town Louisiana, where she spent her summers working in her family’s bakery, exploring the swamps around her home and reading science fiction and fantasy novels under the covers. She attended Louisiana State University, where she majored in biochemistry and wrote bad poetry on the side. Despite pursuing a Ph.D. in biology, she couldn’t kick the writing habit, and she wrote her first novel in graduate school. It wasn’t very good, but she kept at it, and by the time she graduated, she had an addiction to writing sexy urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Her second manuscript, Twisted Miracles, was a finalist in RWA’s Golden Heart® competition in 2012. The book kicks off her dark, romantic urban fantasy series, The Shadowminds, which follows a group of humans with unusual powers through New Orleans’ supernatural underworld. A.J. is currently a working biophysicist in San Francisco, where she lives with her family and too many books.
Read our review of AJ’s novella, Anchored here. Fans of Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series should definitely check this book out!
Find AJ online at her…
Giveaway (US only)
AJ is giving away some very unique and one-of-a-kind prizes during this tour, and each hosting blog will give you more chances to win! To enter to win, let AJ know what you thought about the excerpt above or ask her a question about the series by leaving a comment, then fill out the prize widget below. If you win, we’ll contact you by email. Here’s what AJ is giving away on the GraveTells stop! This giveaway ends on April 25, 2014, open to US mailing addresses only. Good luck!
One winner gets the following:
- A handmade bookmark made from reclaimed Louisiana cypress
- A mug “advertising” the B&B where much of Twisted Miracles is set.
- A hand-tied lavender sachet
- One e-copy of Twisted Miracles OR, if winner has already purchased it, one copy of any available title by one of the wicked-talented authors who “blurbed” Twisted (Jenn Bennett or Kristin Miller (any format, print or e-book)).
For more information on all of the giveaway items, please see this blog post!
Follow the tour
Scroll down a little on this page to see the other tour links as they’re posted, and to check out extra chances to win.