December 29, 2017

SURPRISE!! Shatter Second Chapter Reveal!

What?! Bet you didn't see this coming :) 

Well, there's another surprise... Chapter Two is in Jax's POV!! 


Yup, that's right! If you know how Fracture ended, you should know why I felt inspired to add a second POV to this book! The story just demanded to be told through multiple perspectives, and I hope you enjoy jumping inside another character's head! I know I did :) 


Shatter goes on sale in just FOUR days! Hope you love this early preview!

               

If you missed the first chapter reveal, read it here!

~~~

Shatter 
(Midnight Ice Book Four)


Chapter Two
~ Jax ~


Was that me? he thought. Did I say that?
Jax had spent the past ten minutes throwing everything he had against the mental wall separating him from his body, the black abyss stretching endlessly between him and the real world.
Stop! he’d screamed.
Stop!
He’s alive!
He’s here!
He’s me!
Wait!
Come back!
Wait!
Wait!
Wait!
And then suddenly, the word was flying through his lips, strangled and strained, the desperate plea of a dying man as it flashed through time and space. His lips moved, formed a shape. For the barest moment, he felt the rumble of his vibrating vocal cords, the scratchy sensation of a word fighting its way up his throat, the taste of humid air on his tongue.
“Wait!”
And then the rubber band snapped, and he was flying back, back, back, a comet in the dark, playing on rewind as he was thrown through ebony space and shoved into the farthest corner of his own mind.
But he’d done it.
I spoke, Jax thought, triumphant. Never had the simple act of speaking seemed so glorious, yet a brilliant glow flashed through the shadows surrounding him, full of fight and pride. Because he’d broken through. For an instant, Jax had broken through Samael’s hold.
And if he’d done it once, he could do it again.
He was sure.
He’s alive!
He’s right here!
He’s
That’s quite enough from you, Samael snapped, voice omnipresent as it cascaded over Jax—not quite as self-assured as it had been the night before. Yet a wave of pressure slammed into Jax, knocking the words from his thoughts, leaving him somehow breathless, as though the shadows were suffocating his mind.
He mentally blinked, trying to focus, trying to stretch his awareness and reconnect with the world. After a few minutes, the darkness cleared, giving Jax a moment to gaze through his eyes like a window to the outside—not able to move them, not able to shift his own attention, not able to speak. But able to see, able to observe, and that at least was something.
Every head in Sonnyville was turned in his direction.
His sudden outburst had caught everyone’s attention. Some eyes held curiosity, some concern, some confusion. He only cared about one set—deep-blue sapphire irises that were watching with love. Not an ounce of doubt flickered in Pandora’s gaze, not the slightest bit of suspicion. Worry, maybe. Confusion, possibly. But her trust shone through, unbreakable after everything they’d been through, everything they’d overcome.
See me, Dory.
Please, please, see the real me.
See through his ruse.
But she didn’t. And she wasn’t. And distantly, he felt her fingers squeeze tight, encouraging as she continued to gaze up at him.
“My father,” came the deep, raspy sound of his own strangled voice.
Oh, Samael was good. He was very good. Of all the ways to play this moment, he’d chosen the perfect one. Because those blue eyes deepened with understanding, with sympathy, making it clear Pandora was not at all aware of the true reason that shout of wait! had torn through his lips.
“My father,” Samael continued, perfectly convincing as his attention jumped from Dory to the quaker standing a few yards away—the person who was there in place of Jax’s father. “Where is he? Why didn’t he come with you? He’s the head quaker—”
“He is no such thing,” Malcolm Scott answered, voice as cold as the one he’d used with his daughter. The sound made Jax shiver, made him want to curl his fists in anger.
Jackass.
But that gut reaction only made it easier for Sam to put on a believable show. The devil rode the wave of Jax’s emotions, curling his fingers in and clenching his arm muscles.
“Your father is a traitor,” the director continued. “He and your mother aided and abetted known fugitives,”—their child, you mean, and the love of their child’s life—“they ignored direct orders,”—easy to do when those orders are to help murder an innocent woman—“and, worst of all, they spread lies and tried to pull other titans to their cause.”
Cause? Jax thought, mulling over that last point. Did they try to overthrow the director? Were they planning a coup? Were they telling other titans about what we’d found out, that Dory didn’t need to die, that the director and many directors before him had lied?
Pride swelled in Jax’s chest, a heat that pushed against the darkness surrounding him. Pride and hope. Because he’d believed in the titan cause once, and he loved his parents, and deep down, he knew that his people could achieve the greatness they were destined to achieve. The titans had grown power hungry. They’d been corrupted. And there were some who would never change. But there were others who might take this moment in time to correct the mistakes of the past and to move on to a better future if they were given the chance.
Jax wanted to be one of those people.
And maybe, just maybe, his parents did too.
“Where are they now?” he heard his own voice ask, steeped in faux concern. Jax seemed to be the only one to notice how false the emotion felt as it rolled off his lips, slick and overly weighty.
“They’re at the enclave under house arrest until we determine what to do with them,” Pandora’s father answered. Finally, a bit of emotion seemed to flicker in his eyes, the briefest fog of grief, blown away like smoke in the wind. “And that is all I will say about it now.” His focus shifted back to Pandora. “Tonight.”
She nodded, lips pushed together as she tried to be strong. But Jax could see through the tough exterior she was trying to put on. He could see the girl underneath, the one still desperately waiting for her father’s approval, the one he accidentally fell in love with after years and years of simply trying to make her smile. Pandora might have grown up, her body might have filled out—with some pretty killer curves, he had to add—but in many ways, she was still that little girl he’d first seen staring out her window and up at the stars, searching for solace in their sparkling light.
He remembered the moment as though it had happened yesterday. Jax had been sulking in his room, hiding in the dark, still not-so-silently protesting the fact that his parents had forced him to move to a new enclave, to leave all of his friends and his abuelita back in Spain, to leave the heat and the sun for a place tucked deep in snowy mountains where the wind always nipped at his skin. And then he’d seen her light flick on, watched her slowly slink across her bedroom and hug a stuffed animal to her chest, subtly wiping at a tear that had slipped from the corner of her eye. Her lower lip had been pouted out, wobbling so much that even through the space between their houses the movement was obvious to him. And then she crawled to the window and lifted her face to the stars as if searching for something—a friend, an answer, hope. And he couldn’t help it. The very sight of her brought a song to his lips. So he grabbed his guitar, tried to awkwardly strum a few of the chords his father had started to teach him, and released the melody springing to his lips.
She’d dropped immediately as though caught in the act. But right before she disappeared beneath the ledge of her window, he’d seen it. The slightest twitch of her lips. A curve that started at the edges and then stretched wide, as though it just couldn’t be contained. That smile had changed his life. It made him strum his guitar for another half hour before finally finding the courage to speak and ask her name. It made him come back again and again and again, because he’d never seen anything more beautiful. And in all his life, that simple fact had never changed.
Dory’s smile could light up the world.
His world, at least.
But at the moment, it was nowhere to be seen, buried deep beneath the mountain of pain only her father had ever been able to unleash. Though now, rather than silent tears and secret hurt, she stared at him with defiance and anger and a power that was undeniable.  
She’s going to forgive him, Samael sneered. The sharp thought exploded angrily, dripping with disdain as it cut through Jax’s memory, pulling him back to the world. Samael grabbed Pandora’s hand, then tugged her ahead of the crowd so he could lean down and whisper in her ear.
“You’re not seriously going to meet with him tonight, are you?”
Pandora glanced up at him, wavering on a precipice, unsure. “I—I have to.”
“Why?” Samael retorted, letting his favorite emotion—anger—get the best of him. “You don’t owe the titans anything. We don’t. You did their dirty work. You saved the world. Let them figure the rest out on their own. Let’s get away from this, from them. Let’s just go and start our lives somewhere else, somewhere the titans will never find us.”
Pandora gasped, gazing up at him with surprise. “Jax.”
Yes, Dory.
Listen, listen.
You know I’d never say this.
You know this isn’t me.
Deep down you must know.
“We can’t leave, not now,” Pandora continued, shaking her head. “Not like this. We have to at least stay until the dust settles. Maybe after I meet with my dad things will calm down. Maybe they’ll understand that we did the right thing. Maybe they’ll listen. We have to try. If only so the next generation has the chance to do better.”
“Why?” Samael countered, voice a snarl. “They’re murderers, all of them.”
Pandora’s eyes widened, two blue bulbs unable to understand what she was hearing.
Yes.
Yes.
“Even your parents?” she asked quietly.
Jax’s entire body shifted. He felt the exact moment that Samael realized he’d lost his cool, recognized the instant that his calm façade slid into place. The emotion fizzled out, swallowed by the darkness laying claim to Jax’s mind, and a cunning control took over. Jax’s hands lifted to cup Pandora’s cheeks. His fingers slid into her hair and then along her throat, possessive as he gripped her neck. His hold shifted just enough to force her to look up at him submissively, and he took a step closer, domineering as he used his height to lean over her. She shifted her gaze from his left pupil to his right, searching for an answer in his eyes, unaware of the subtle changes that had completely changed the dynamic between them.
Jax banged his fists against the wall of darkness holding him back.
But fighting was useless.
Samael was in control now.
Nausea rolled through him as he watched Pandora’s expression change, defiance and fight shrinking away as she fell back into a role her soul remembered.
“What about backpacks and smoky bars,” Samael whispered with Jax’s voice. But the tone was different, magnetic in a way Jax didn’t think his own had ever been. Evil acting under the guise of love.
But Pandora ate it right up.
Her body slackened. Her eyes softened. Her strength waned.
“Jax,” she murmured, a weak argument.
“We could go to LA right now,” Samael continued, tugging Pandora closer with a dream that didn’t belong to him. “You could go to college. I could sing. We could do everything we ever wanted to if we leave right now, before they have a chance to reel us back into their mess. We could be free. We earned it.”
“We did,” Pandora agreed before closing her eyes and taking a deep, lingering breath. Jax could almost see all their nights in the tree house play behind her eyelids, all the times they spent imagining the perfect future. They both wanted that childhood hope to come true.
But not like this.
Never like this.
Come on, Dory. You’re stronger than this.
You’ve never let me push you around. Not ever.
Punch me out.
Roll your eyes.
Give me some of that adorably frustrating attitude you love so much.
I love it too…sometimes. Most of the time.
Okay, not really, but
Her eyes opened.
Jax held his breath.
Samael continued to use Jax’s body to coerce her agreement, stroking her skin with his thumb, sending a pleading look with his eyes.
“But we can’t,” Pandora said, voice loud and firm.
That’s my girl, Jax thought, relief a wave washing over him as the darkness around him seemed to flare with veiled fury.
“We have to see this through, Jax. And we have to talk to my father. And we have to help your parents. I’m not sure I even know why we have to, but we have to.”
Samael recognized that now wasn’t the time to push.
He relented.
He leaned back, giving Pandora space, giving her time, falling back on the one thing most master manipulators shared—patience for the kill.
“So…that went well.” Kira’s voice broke through the tension as she sidled up next to Pandora with Luke and Tristan in tow.
“Now I see where you get that infamous titan charm,” Luke teased.
Kira and Pandora both elbowed him at the same time.
Samael lost interest, and his mind drew back, forcing Jax to do the same as the image of the real world blurred and his focus turned inward.
The inky swirls infiltrating his mind began to whirl, to spin, charged with something Jax didn’t understand. But whatever it was, he didn’t like it.
Close call there, Jax shouted into the void, hoping to distract Samael from whatever dark ruminations he was beginning to weave.
Hardly, came the tired drawl Jax had learned to loathe.
A few more conversations like that and I’ll be free of you in no time.
Your attempts at subterfuge are embarrassingly transparent, Jackson. Spit it out, or do me the favor of kindly shutting up.
The reply was biting.
Too biting to be completely honest.
Jax was getting to him. Maybe not a lot, but enough for now.
What are you planning? Jax asked. There’s no need to lie. It’s not like I can do anything to stop you.
Very true, Jackson, Samael agreed. The tone of his thoughts gained a sinister glee. Pandora and I will be together and free from the titans, and there’s absolutely nothing you can do to stop me.
So, why not tell me your plan? Jax pushed, hoping to play on his pride and force out some information.
But Samael was smarter than that. I keep my cards close, Jackson. I always have. And so far, it’s done me well.
You call this well? Jax snorted. Stuck in someone else’s body because the woman you love shoved a sword through your heart?
Oh, naïve boy. Samael laughed lightly. The sound sprinkled like burning rain across Jax’s mind. You’re there. I’m here. The titans are weak. And Pandora is just as in love as ever. I’d call this very well indeed.
Jax shivered as Samael fizzled away.
What have we done? he thought hopelessly as the darkness pushed in around him, shoving him back into the corner that was now his home, back into his velvet grave.
His mind drifted to Malcolm Scott’s words.
The only people who stood against him are weak and vulnerable, while he is probably free and preparing to unleash a revenge thousands of years in the making.
I said you’re a fool.
You all are.
And maybe they were.
Fools.
Fools in love.
Fools to believe in hope.
Fools to want the impossible.
But he didn’t regret a thing. Not a thing.
Pandora was safe. She was alive.
Yet he couldn’t ignore that little twinge in his heart or the whisper in the back of his mind wondering what in the world they’d done.
Wondering what in the world they’d set free.

~~~

I hope you enjoyed the second chapter :)

Shatter is available for pre-order!

               

YAY!!

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