Title: Stealing Breath
Series: Stealing Breath, #1
Author: Joanne Brothwell
Release Date: March 8, 2012
Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent... creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn't even know she had. Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning? Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child-an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence. Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.
His eyes flashed mischievously. “Do you want to swing? I’ll give you an under-duck?”
I stared at him. “Are you serious?”
He held his hand out to me and I took it. Off we went, across the clearing toward the playground. At first he tugged gently, and then he let go and began to jog, running circles around me as I walked.
“Catch me if you can!” he said with a mischievous grin.
“You’d better run a lot faster than that!” I took off after him, and before long, we were in the middle of a game of tag. The burning pain in my calf was still sore enough to slow me down and my body strained to cope with the abrupt changes in momentum as I continually shifted direction to catch him.
Finally, I stopped and placed my hands on my hips. “Really mature, Valente,” I said.
He winked. “Time for that under-duck?” He looked over at the swing set and then back at me, eyes flashing. “I’ll race ya!” He took off before I had a chance to respond.
I watched him go, enjoying the view of his running style. Perfect posture, wide shoulders, tight butt. I followed him to the swings where he held onto the chain and gestured to the seat as if he was offering me a chair in a fancy restaurant.
“Why thank you, sir,” I said. “Now, what about my under-duck?” I plopped onto the crescent shaped seat, my knees squeezed together, my feet sticking out at the sides, way too close to the sand-covered ground below.
“Scared?” he asked with a wink. His eyes glittered in the moonlight.
“Bring it on.”
He went around behind me, grabbed the links of chain and pulled me as far back as the seat would go. Then he took off running, pushing me by the butt in front of him. He kept pushing until I was up so high that my back was nearly parallel to the ground below. A wild, weightless sensation followed, and my stomach seemed to fly up into my mouth, and then I was rushing backward toward the ground at a break-neck speed. I squealed.
Momentum took me right back to the start and when Even turned around to face me, he was grinning like a mad scientist.
“Holy hell, Valente!” I yelled.
“Scared now?” he said with a laugh.
I began to drag my heels in the sand to slow myself, and then I jumped off, landing in front of him. He reached out, and I took his arm, the momentum propelling me forward so that I spun him and then ended up in his arms.
“Scared, aren’t you? Come on, just admit it.” His eyes crinkled up in the corners.
I jutted my chin out in defiance. “No. Not even a little bit.” He chuckled and looked down at me, sweeping a stray hair from my face. I was suddenly very aware of how our bodies were connected from the waist all the way down.
I looked into his eyes, savoring his warm breath caressing my skin. His hand slipped around to the back of my neck and his lips touched mine, so lightly I could hardly feel it. Then I tasted him, the heady combination of mint mixed with spice flooded my mouth. I pressed my lips against his as my body turned into a live wire.
His lips crushed mine and I snaked my fingers through his thick hair. A light breeze swirled around us, ruffling his bangs against my forehead and tickling my skin.
Suddenly, my body turned buoyant, like I was floating, higher and higher. All around me was a warm, bubbly sensation, like every cell in my body was air soluble. Behind my eyelids, sparks of blue, purple and pink exploded against a stark black backdrop. It was happening again. It wasn’t just in my imagination or a response to stress.
What was this? It didn’t matter. The sensation felt good and I wanted more.
Then the silky, floating sensation began to break apart, as if it was splitting and thinning behind me, transforming into a hard, cold net. I shivered, as if my body had re-animated. A disconnected sense of panic rose within me, to try to hold on to that warm, dreamlike state for as long as possible. Immediately, I felt the whole of my body return, every joint, ligament and muscle.
I opened my eyes to see Evan’s face, his fingers stroking my cheek while looking down at me with a gentle smile. His eyes blazed an indescribable electric blue.
“What happened?” I whispered.
“I don’t know.”