Hard Work

Today's Thursday Excerpt over at Nine Naughty Novelists, is supposed to be "the scene you found hardest to write". Well, I had a problem with that. My hardest scenes to write all tended to be big time spoilers. Not wanting to give too much away I didn't know what scene to post.

So, the following scene is something of a compromise. It's the lead in to a much harder scene. I'd say "enjoy" but what kind of sickos do I think you are?

This is from Dream Under the Hill, book eight in the Oberon series. It's my darkest book to date--a title it will probably keep for some time, now that my daughter has succeeded in talking me out of killing off most of the vampires in my new Children of Night series. It's also my longest book to date  and that's really not likely to change! But it's a damn good book, if I do say so myself...

Why don’t you cut the crap and tell me what happened to your face?” Liam demanded as he tracked her into the kitchen. Cara was breathing hard, hugging herself again and staring into space as though pondering what her next move should be.

She turned and frowned at him, her expression cold. “I told you. I fell.”

“No, you didn’t. Now, quit lying. I want the real story.”

“Yeah? Well, I was there, so I’d think I’d know if that was the real story, or not.”

“Is that a fact? C’mere, sunshine,” Liam said as he grabbed hold of her arm. She yelped in protest, but he ignored it and dragged her out of the kitchen, through the butler’s pantry, back into the dining room and over to the mirror that was hanging above the buffet. “I want to show you something.”

“Now, look there,” he instructed turning her face toward the glass.

She did. Briefly. Then her gaze slid away. “I know how it looks, okay? I don’t need to–”

“No, you don’t know.” He lifted her chin again. “If you did then maybe you’d understand why no one believes you when you say you fell down the stairs.” Their eyes met in the mirror, he smiled at her grimly. “Now watch, and let me show you what I see.”

Gently, using the tip of one finger, he touched her face. The scrape on the underside of her nose. The bruise beneath it, just above her lip. The tiny rip at the corner of her mouth. The slight swelling on the edge of her jaw. Four marks. Evenly spaced. In a diagonal line.

“Do you see those?” he asked.

Cara nodded, barely breathing, her gaze fixed on his finger.

“Good.” Still watching her watch him, Liam made a fist. He brought it slowly to her face and positioned it just so, the knuckles lining up almost perfectly with the injured places...

Cara gasped. Her eyes grew wide as she stared at her own reflection. Liam knew the exact moment when awareness hit her, when the sight of the girl in the mirror, a man’s fist planted square in her face, struck home. A shudder wracked her whole body. He took hold of her shoulders and turned her toward him, holding her close.

“Shh,” he murmured, “it’s okay. Just tell me what happened.” She was crying so hard he didn’t know if she could even hear him and it suddenly occurred to him that they were in far too public a place to be having this conversation. He pulled her back into the pantry and closed the door.

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Read another excerpt HERE

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