INBETWEEN (Kissed by Death, #1) by Tara Fuller (August 7, 2012)
life has been a freaky—and unending—lesson in caution. Surviving
“accidents” has taken priority over being a normal seventeen-year-old, so
Emma spends her days taking pictures of life instead of living it. Falling
in love with a boy was never part of the plan. Falling for a reaper who
makes her chest ache and her head spin? Not an option.
It’s not easy being dead, especially for a reaper in love with a girl fate
has put on his list not once, but twice. Finn’s fellow reapers give him
hell about spending time with Emma, but Finn couldn't let her die before,
and he’s not about to let her die now. He will protect the girl he loves
from the evil he accidentally unleashed, even if it means sacrificing the
only thing he has left…his soul.
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Sometimes Emma made me feel so alive, I almost forgot I was dead.
I sank down onto the side of her bed, amazed by the blazing wildfire that swept through me whenever Emma was near enough to touch. I took a deep, unneeded breath, and settled down on my side next to her. The mattress didn’t sink. The springs didn’t groan with the weight of an extra body. The distance between us was an impossible void. Inches that might as well have been miles. Miles that left me wanting in so many ways that I ached.
Even the sun couldn’t resist her. Its glowing rays caressed her skin, and stained her hair the satiny color of summer wheat. Before I knew what was happening, my hand followed their lead. Cells ignited. My skin burned, screaming with the agonizing need to touch—
“What do you think you’re doing?”
I jerked my hand away just as Easton melted up from the polished hardwood floor beneath the window. Like an oil slick coming to life, he unfolded his long, shadowy legs until he was just an ink blot against the square of tangerine sunrise behind him. His violet eyes pinned me like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
Which, I kind of was.
“Nothing,” I lied.
“Yeah, looked like nothing.” He strolled across the room accompanied by a wave of sulfur and smoke, the black serpent tattoo on his neck glinting. “What were you planning to do, recite her poem? I swear to God, if you were still alive I’d confiscate your man card.”
I ignored the barb and scrunched up my nose. “Jesus, Easton. Don’t they have a shower somewhere between here and the afterlife?”
“Screw you. You didn’t just have to tow somebody’s grandpa to Hell.” He brushed something chalky and grey off of his cloak and a shudder worked its way down my spine. God only knows who or what it belonged to. “Besides I wasn’t the one about to feel up a sleeping human.”
“Save it.” He waved his hand. “We have work to do. I don’t have time for your useless obsession with the human today.”
“Will you please stop calling her that?”
“What?” Easton glanced up from Emma’s vanity, where he’d been inspecting the various lotions and bottles like he was on some alien planet. Then again, Easton had been dead for something like four hundred years, so all of her stuff probably was sort of alien to him.
“The human. You make me sound like a freak. It’s not like we’re a different species for God’s sake. We were humans, too, or don’t you remember that far back?”
“Were. Past tense.”
We could have gone back and forth like that for hours, but the call came. It always did. It started in my bones—a cold so cutting that it sliced through me like a machete. When I looked up, Easton’s jaw was clenched, his muscles taut and ready. He slowly closed his hand around the handle of his scythe that burned black and softly smoked at his side. I flexed my fingers as the icy ribbons of death worked their way through each one of my limbs.
“Can you take this one for me?” I asked. “You’re already going to be there, and I just got back—”
“No,” Easton said. “Hell no. I have my own job to do. I can’t keep covering for your sorry ass. Besides, you’re already on thin ice with Balthazar. Don’t push your luck, Finn. Just keep your nose down, collect your souls, and thank the Almighty that you don’t have my job. Now let’s go.”
“Yeah, but…” My eyes returned to Emma. Sleeping. Perfect. Safe.
“For the love of God. She’ll be fine, you pansy.” Easton clamped a hand over my shoulder and dragged me from the bed.
“How do you know?”
He shrugged. “I don’t.”
With that he vanished, consumed in a flash by the keening wails of the damned. The screams beckoned. Clawed at me from the inside out.
Rule one as a seeker: Death doesn’t wait for anyone.
And it sure as hell wasn’t waiting for me now.
This excerpt is the property of Entangled Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.