Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Excerpt of Scardust by Suzanne Van Rooyen

Once my pulse returns to normal and the trauma of
reliving Raleigh’s memory subsides, I join him beside the
dilapidated Pontiac
“Anything deadly out here?” I ask. “Snakes, scorpions?”
Warily, I scan the ground before crouching next to him.
“Just me.” He meets my gaze. I don’t know how to
handle this. I have no idea what I’m supposed to say. Gently,
I lift a shaking hand off his knee and rub away a smear of
blood. An electric tingle sends a Mexican wave through my
body hair and a new memory crests over me: a psychologist’s
waiting room, watching the minutes tick by, a prescription,
pills popped, emotions numbed, and the knowledge that
Raleigh thinks he’s broken, that he’s worthless and deserved
what he got—Wayne’s retribution for Raleigh knocking out
his cousin’s teeth.
The memory evaporates and I’m left holding Raleigh’s
hand. His gaze sends shock waves down my spine, his eyes
bistre marbles. I brush a kiss across his knuckles.
“What—?” His voice catches in his throat, and I turn his
hand over to kiss the scars on his wrist. Fresh tears gather in
his eyes as I cup his face. Kneeling between his legs, I lean
forward and kiss his lips. An electric jolt sends a sizzling rush
along every nerve.“Stop.” The word is a whisper, and I instantly back off.
“I can’t... I can’t do this.” He looks at me with longing
in his eyes. Every nerve screams at me, the static tingle

becoming more painful the longer our physical contact
continues, but I don’t care. I won’t let go, not now.
“Why not?”
“How can you even think of kissing me when you know
where my mouth’s been?” he asks, reminding me of things
I’d rather not think about. “Or is it because you know I’m a
whore?” His words are sharp as sabers.
“That’s not it at all.”
“Then why?”
“I can’t explain it, but...” I take a deep breath, tasting
the heat and the desert. “I know how I feel every time I look
at you.”
“And how do you feel?”
“I’ve seen inside your life. You’ve seen mine, more of
mine than I even have.” I feel naked in front of him, exposed
and vulnerable, and I know he must be feeling something
similar. “Something special, something cosmic, is happening
between us. Hell, isn’t it enough that I want to kiss you?”
And hold him and make everything better.
“You must’ve hit your head real hard.” His tone loses
its flinty edge.
“I’ve seen your memories, Raleigh. You don’t scare me.”
Yes he does, but not in the way he might think he does.
“I’m the guy who fucks for money, who spent eight
months in juvie, and the last three years on anti-psychotics

after nearly killing a kid with his bare hands.” His words flow
thick and fast. “You still wanna touch me?”
“Yes.” And I do, because Raleigh didn’t deserve whatthey did to him, and he’s worth a hell of a lot more than
whatever his johns are paying. “I’ve seen you in those
moments. I’ve been you. I know how much you wish your
life could be different, how you’d do anything to make your
dream a reality.”
“What exactly did you see?” he asks, the wind whipping
hair across his face.
“Enough. And I want to know more.” Desperately, I do,
because somehow it’s in getting to know Raleigh that I get
to know myself.
“You’re loco.”
“Well.” A smile quirks up my lips. “I’m not sure I care.”
This time when I kiss him, he doesn’t pull away. I open my
mouth to his and his tongue darts between my teeth, his
fingers knotting in my hair. He pulls me to my feet and I let
him take control. He needs this, needs to know he’s the one
calling the shots.
Raleigh shoves me against the hood, leaning into me
as he trails kisses along my jaw to bite my ear, my palms
pressed to the muscular contours of his back. That feels so
damn good. He kisses me harder, his hands under my shirt. I
run my fingers up and down his body. God, he’s ripped: abs, lats, biceps, and that awesome V disappearing into his pants,
but I try not to get swept up in the moment, letting him take
the lead.
Another memory hijacks my thoughts, and I tumble into

Author Bio

The author of the YA novels THE OTHER ME and forthcoming OBSCURA BURNING, Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.

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