Hi everyone, welcome to the fall YA Scavenger Hunt! I’m so excited to be a part of the purple team this year! Go Purple!
This year, I’m hosting the wonderful S.A. Larsen.
S.A. Larsen is an international award-winning author of the middle grade fantasy-adventure MOTLEY EDUCATION and the young adult contemporary-fantasy romance MARKED BEAUTY. When she’s not chasing her characters around a graveyard or antagonizing them with young love, she can be found in Maine with her husband and four children. Visit her cyber home at www.salarsenbooks.com
Check out her website and join her mailing list HERE.
She has given us a deleted scene from her award winning book, Marked Beauty. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
About Marked Beauty:
Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.
Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.
Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.
After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger. As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.
Deleted Scene from Marked Beauty
Between his visit with the Adorers and his conversation with Anastasia, Viktor realized he was far more invested in her than just saving her life, shielding her from Callista, or using her to break his curse. He wanted all good that life could offer her. Most importantly, he wanted her alive. Ensuring her safety if something happened to him was the next plausible step. All he needed was to get her to ask.
Roxi slipped into his car. “You’re exhausted.”
Viktor stared at her fingers. “I’m not taking any of your energy and messing with my memory.”
“Look.” Kahl nudged Viktor’s shoulder from the backseat. “Sebastian.”
“Now,” Justice leaned forward from the backseat, “what could your former Rifter bro from the Dusk Court be doing here where this Ana chick lives?”
“Justice,” Kahl warned.
“No, he’s right to wonder,” Viktor said. “Even though Caspian denied any involvement with that dark energy, when I first saw Sebastian on campus I wondered if he sent him.” Viktor turned to Roxi. “Go to your room before Sebastian gets inside.”
Roxi pecked him on the cheek. “I can handle Sebastian.”
“Sis, don’t take any chances,” Kahl said.
Roxi didn’t respond, simply latched the passenger door.
“Sebastian could be working alone,” Kahl said.
That was true, but Viktor couldn’t worry about reasons just yet. He needed to secure whatever headway he’d made with Anastasia, as little as that was.
“Kahl and I will go around back in case Sebastian decides to make a quick getaway,” Justice said, and both exited the car.
Viktor shifted in his seat.
Anastasia needed stronger protection, but a personal invite was required for that. Viktor had been nudging her to ask all week, but she was a stubborn girl. Asking for his protection would serve the same purpose as if she pledged her allegiance to his League. This would obligate them to shield her from Callista and any immortal threat. Of course, he would have to eventually come clean about possessing her bloodprint.
Now, outside her room, Viktor sensed her tension. Thin pages fluttered in the air as a book lobbed across the room; his keen hearing had no trouble picking up that. She mumbled, her words breaking up. Her breathing slowed. A gush of sorrow rolled over him. Feeling her anxiety pierced his armor, the metal box entombing his heart where he’d promised never to let another visit. It would end in disaster.
Being infected by a Rifter and not dying had been hard for him. Accepting himself had been harder. Even worse had been the guilt of surviving when other Lynceus had fallen. But his father being made to watch Callista’s poison alter Viktor’s genetics while he lay dying was what haunted Viktor most.
His father had been struck first, battered body a heap on the ground, eyes blank and hollow with breaths petering from his chest. Viktor was so distracted trying to save him, he hadn’t notice Callista. Father and son watched each other—the father dying and the son coming into a new life.
Viktor evened out his breaths. He mentally reached for Anastasia’s energy. She’d fallen asleep. He could almost feel her. Just a few more…
Birds swooped overhead in their shared netherworld. Sunlight trickled down, highlighting the tall grass that waved in the warm breeze. Anastasia teetered on her boy boots, a mere yardstick from him. Her hands fondled the edges of her jacket, her hair bunching atop her shoulders.
“You look worried,” Viktor said, realizing that bothered him more than it should.
“I’m not now that you’re here,” she said.
Did she really mean this? Would she accept him?
He gathered her hands in his and guided them to his mouth. His lips tenderly pecked at her fingers. She traced the light stubble on his face, her eyes easier on him than they should be.
“You remind me of someone,” she said. “Did I see you in a movie?”
Her innocence was adorable. “No.”
“But I keep dreaming of you.” Her cheeks flushed. “Who are you?”
She wasn’t ready for that truth. “Part of your dreamworld.”
Her eyes traveled to his lips, and he gathered all his strength to muffle the growl within him. Did she want him to kiss her? Oh God, he wanted her to.
There is was. What he wanted—her.
She had peered beyond prophesy and into his heart. She’d changed him. He’d never let anything happen to her.
Their sunlight dimmed. One of her hands slipped from his face, and space skulked between them. He reached for her waist, but a force tugged her from him. He couldn’t hold on. Her lips moved, but he heard nothing, the volume of their world muted.
Sebastian breached their backdrop, spying from the perimeter of their wooded lot. Roxi must have lost him. His energy was changing Anastasia’s dreamland. Where were Kahl and Justice?
The grass faded. The expression on Anastasia’s face ripped a hole in Viktor’s gut. Her figure blurred then dimmed, becoming transparent, until Viktor was abruptly staring at the inside of the Charger. He’d been yanked from her dream.
“No!” he roared and kicked his driver’s door open.
Roxi had been right. He was exhausted, needed time for his life force to heal. But Anastasia couldn’t be alone with Sebastian, even in her mind. Rubbing his temples with his thumbs, Viktor sent a mental message. Roxi! Find him! Kahl! Tell Justice to do some damage!
Though Roxi was a much younger Lynceus than the others and her telepathic ability was new, she was fairly good at using it. Some of their kind, like Justice, never learned to use it.
Viktor closed his eyes and pictured Anastasia—her fair skin, her soft touch, the innocence in her eyes from their private time at the bonfire. His eyes moved rapidly beneath his eyelids, and her name swirled off his lips. His aura swelled and their energies stretched, reaching for each other. He could almost touch her. Their connection was unique; they just needed to learn how to control it.
The instant Viktor was back in their dreamworld he spotted Sebastian along with the limousine they’d seen the other day.
“Get away from her!” he yelled.
Sebastian tensed and retreated, fading into nothingness, but not before he smiled.
“I’m here.” Viktor gathered Anastasia in his arms.
“You came back.” Her voice muffled against his chest.
“I’ll be here to protect you as long as you want.”
“Good,” she whispered. “That’s what I want.”
Finally, her allegiance was his. He’d broken every personal rule dreaming with her, but it had been worth it. If his absence must happen—and after their car ride, he believed that was where this was heading—Viktor’s Solstice League was now bound to care for her.
He cradled her chin in his fingers and leaned in to kiss her forehead. Though still in her dream, Viktor sensed that odd energy increasing; the weather was off, and the air was thicker.
Something was coming.
Wasn’t that a great scene? I was totally enthralled and had to keep reading, so I ordered a copy. Once a reader, always a reader.
For your next stop, check out A. G. Howard, an AMAZING author who’s written some of my favorite books! (sorry, fangirling here, but I LOVE her books).
Once you’ve entered my giveaway, click HERE to check her out! It’s for one of 4 electronic copies of my books, even When Darkness Falls, the same one that will be given away to the winner of the Purple team’s scavenger hunt! Good luck, and I hope you have a great hunt!