December 21, 2012

Deleted Scene : Zoe and Jake - The saga continues...


This is a scene I removed after our first read through because I wanted Jake and Zoe's relationship to progress a bit differently. I really liked it though and didn't want to get rid of it completely, so here it is!  

Deleted Scene: Zoe and Jake's conversation by the fire after she recovers from the poisoning. 
  
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
   “Are you okay?” Jake asked. His voice was low and resonated deep inside me someplace, stirring a memory I couldn't quite remember.
“Yeah,” I said, leaning my head back on the couch. “I'm a mess, but we all know that already. Now we can add drunk to the mix. Yippee.” I raised my arms and let my fingers flit in the air emphatically before letting them drop back down again.
Jake smirked and walked towards me from his leaning stance in the doorway. His forearms flexed as he pushed up the green sleeves of the thermal shirt I'd watched him remove earlier at the gym.
Oh my God, Harper's right. I did take every opportunity possible to stare at Jake. Everything about Jake exuded masculinity. I couldn't look away as he walked toward me--his muscular frame, contemplative topaz eyes, and prowling gait made it impossible. I suddenly felt anxious and....too warm.
Motioning to the couch, he asked to sit. 

“Of course," I chirped a little too high for my liking. I looked down at the Husky at my feet and busied myself petting Cooper. I was distracted every time I looked at Jake, and I needed to think of what to say next. I needed to figure out what it was I really wanted to say to him. Agh! I groaned inwardly. There were too many questions...too many thoughts, and I had no clue where to start.
“We're never really been in a room....alone," I said stupidly. "I mean, I feel like there's so much to say to you, but I'm not sure where to start." I glanced over at my half empty beverage sitting beside me. "Or ir now's the best time to say them,” I laughed, trying to play off my discomfort.
“Maybe nothing needs to be said,” Jake offered, but I wasn't surprised. He was a man of few words, that was one thing I did know about him. 

Jake leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees. Cooper stood and meandered over to him, placing his head in his master's calloused hands.
“There are things that need to be said," I answered adamantly. "I'm leaving soon, and I need to say things before-”
“Still?” He sounded surprised. After everything that'd happened, I couldn't blame him for his confusion.
I nodded. “Let's not go back and forth with the whys." I glanced over at him for the first time since he'd sat down. "I know you don't understand, but I have to do it."

Jake seemed unfazed by my words as he stared into the fire. 
Unbidden, is disapproval bothered me, and I felt the need to defend myself. "I'm one person, I'll be fine," I said with false confidence. "It's easier to take care of one person instead of seven, right? Besides, I told my brother and Dani about the Colony, we're not meeting there. You don't have to worry about that.”
His jaw tensed but he didn't move otherwise. “What does Harper think about all this?” he asked severely. His eyes scanned toward me, gleaming in the light of the fire. His stare heated my insides.
“Harper doesn't have a say," I bit out. "No one does. Why does everyone keep asking that? I'm a grown woman. I may not have any brute strength, but I'd like to think I'm smart enough to hide and survive for a few days. It's not like I'm going out there completely unarmed.” I glared at him, “It's my decision and I really don't understand why everyone seems to think they can change my mind. It makes me want to go all the more,” I admitted.
Narrowing his eyes, he looked away, searching the room for answers he wouldn't find.
“Plus, since the transfusion-”
“You don't know that'll work,” he said breathily.
I threw my hands up in exasperation. “You're right, but it might. I recovered from near death in three days, Jake. What makes my surviving out there alone so impossible?” 

Jake didn't have answer. His pained expression told me as much. Interrupting his thoughts before I lost my nerve, I continued,“You saved my life, again, Jake.” I knew I was pointing out the obvious, but he wouldn't talk to me about it.
A fierceness enlivened his eyes. “Don't! I brought that crazy bitch here. It's my fault she-”
“Stop blaming yourself for everything!” I snapped back at him and took a deep breath. “Jake, you can't read minds like I can." My voice was weary. "Do you know how stupid I feel not to have known what was coming? Not to have known how horrible she really was? I had a feeling she was crazy, and I ignored it because I'm too stubborn not to. I didn't want to deal with whatever the hell's happening to me so I pretended it was all my imagination. Look where it got me." I paused, "It's not because of you.”
 Jake
remained silent, brooding beside me. 
“You need to let go of this whole bodyguard thing, Jake. You can't protect people all the time. You can't protect me forever. You've already saved my life, twice."
We sat in silence a while longer before I realized this was the perfect time to say everything I'd wanted to spit out since the first time we'd met. I cleared my throat and started hesitantly. "I'm extremely grateful that you saved me, don't get me wrong...but, I'm not your responsibility. Clara isn't your responsibility. Your sister made her own-”
“Please don't.” His eyes closed as he tried to reign in his control.
In the dimming blaze of the fire, his jaws moved in the shadows, clinching in determination. “What are you thinking?” I asked. I heard the plea in my voice and felt myself unraveling like spool of unkempt yarn, frayed and wild. I wanted to know more about the man sitting beside me than I'd ever wanted to know about anyone.
 
“Nothing.” Jake stood and walked over to the mantel. Resting his forearm against the brick, he leaned in.
My brow furrowed in frustration. There was only one way to get any answers from him. Focusing on Jake, I probed and prodded for a way into his mind. He was concentrating on keeping me out, something I'd grown used to. But I pushed through his dense barrier of secrecy and seclusion, and I felt a tug on my consciousness. I grasped at it. Willing myself into his mind, I felt a rush of humility and restraint engulf my senses, and my chest grew tight and heavy.
Images immediately followed, flooding my head and comprised of feelings and emotions so convoluted I could barely discern them. They were spiraling around in my mind like a whirlwind of past and present.
 
My sheet-clad form lying in bed, stretching and smiling as I spoke to Harper standing beside my bed. I was completely oblivious to Jake's afflicted and envious thoughts as he stood at the doorway. The emotion generating from him was a numbing disappointment. Jake was disappointed in himself. He didn't want to care.

I could vaguely feel the heat of Jake's eyes on me, but he said nothing. I continued concentrating.

Clara's delicate hands were on his biceps, inviting him to follow her somewhere. A look of injury plagued her expression when he pulled away with the shake of his head. His distrust in her was apparent, but unable bring himself to send her away.

I was suddenly there in his mind. My crumpled, unconscious body heaved on the floor. My skin was pallid and a sweaty film covered my body. Jake bent down to pick me up, and a venomous blame consumed him, mixed with the acrid smell of vomit. “Find her before I do!” He yelled to someone else in the room as he lifted my limp body up into his arms.

Jake's arm was lying beside mine, completely still. Blood drained from a rubber tube connected to his vein, into a clear, plastic sack. The room was silent and sterile. Harper's grievous, shadowed eyes looked down on me, on Jake. Although Jake's face was a controlled mask of certainty, inwardly he pleaded for the transfusion to work. My heart was no longer beating, and a sense of helplessness and determination battled one another as he grasped for a single spark of hope.

Harper laughed and pulled on my hair. My eyes followed him, glinting in excitement and playfulness as we walked away.

From my peripherals, I saw Jake's eyebrows raise in curiosity, but I ignored him.

Jake's arms around me, the scent of lemons rushed toward him as my braided hair clung to his stubbled face. He was content, and welcomed the amusement and diversion our training exercise brought. I twist and turn in his arms, and a virile lust excited him as our bodies rubbed against one another.

His held his red stained hands up in disbelief and fear. Blood saturated his clothes and a limp body lay in his lap. I felt his grief so strong it shredded our insides.

“I didn't know,” I said absently, pushing his memories. There were too many of them, and they overwhelmed me.
“Didn't know what?” he asked, watching me closely.
“Any of it,” I said simply. Warm tears gathered in the corners of my eyes, teetering on their rims. Unable to distance myself from his thoughts, Jake's agony filled my head and heart. It was too heavy to swallow.
As my words registered on his face, a fleeting look of recognition and dejection fell upon his features. “Why would you?” he said, walking towards the window. Ominous darkness and shadows rustled beyond it.
I knew our conversation was over. Jake had closed down, and I was suddenly too exhausted and surprised by what I'd seen in his thoughts to argue with him about anything else.
Grabbing my clothes, I stumbled my way towards to door. I was tired and clinging to the last of my buzz as I looked back at him, still leaning against the fireplace. 
“Goodnight,” I said and rounded the corner, making my way down the hall to my sleeping quarters.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~

 I like this scene because the reader sees how Jake view's Zoe. This excerpt give the reader a better glimpse into Jake's mind, which isn't something we really get to see much. Although a similar scene is in the book, this one is a little more...desperate, and I didn't want to get rid of it completely. 

(Please note this excerpt is NOT edited because it was removed from the manuscript early on. It is a raw draft of my original version of the chapter this was extracted from. Please don't expect a polished work of art)

December 6, 2012

December 3, 2012

Whirlwind Finish: Wrapping Up Our FIRST Indie Book...

We have a RELEASE DATE: December 14, 2012

Yeah...we're just as excited as Sam and Dean...

We have a FINAL COVER:


We (almost) have ARCs!!!

Book one of The Ending Series, After The Ending, is almost out there for purchase. We've decided to use Amazon's KDP Select, making the ebook exclusive to Amazon.com for the first ninety days. It will also be available through Amazon and other major booksellers (i.e., Barnes and Noble) in paperback and hardcover (which is what we're REALLY excited to get our hands on).

As we reach the final stretch of independently publishing our first book, we felt we needed to express how much we truly respect and admire all of the indie authors who have come before us...and those who are going through the same thing as us RIGHT NOW. It's taken sweat, tears, sleepless nights, troubled dreams, oodles of anxiety, and more excitement and fulfillment than we ever thought possible.

In less than two weeks, our baby (in the form of a post-apocalyptic novel) will finally be stepping out into the world. Go get 'em, Kid.