Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently splits her time between her apartment in downtown Vancouver and her sailboat, where a book and a bottle of wine are always at hand. Karna is hard at work on her next novel.
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Then he proceeded to take off his suit. He flung the jacket onto an armchair across the room and began unbuttoning his shirt. I didn’t know where to look, my cheeks growing hot like I was a naïve teenager. I’d seen him shirtless before. Hell, I’d seen and felt every single part of that man. Still, it didn’t make the feeling go away.
“Feeling bashful?” Now his tone was smug.
I looked up and his shirt was off. His body was pretty much the same as I remembered, but wider, in a more athletic and lean kind of way. He’d grown into it and taken great care of his body over the years. His abs and arms looked like he’d do chin-ups in his spare time, yet it was still very elegant and subtle. His skin was a dark bronze, shadowed by the lamp.
“No,” I answered.
And I’d totally forgotten he liked to go commando.
“Oh my god,” I cried out, shielding my eyes and facing the wall. “Please, put some pants on. Or underwear.”
“Say ‘Oh my god’ again, I liked the sound of it,” he said and I could hear him coming closer. “It reminds me of old times.”
“Javier, I’m serious.”
“When are you not serious, Ellie?”
I kept my eyes clamped shut until he started shuffling through the drawers. “Okay, okay, calm down. There, I have pants on now.”
I bent down and snapped up my pajama bottoms and a t-shirt then walked past him to the door, not wanting to risk a look in his direction. When I came out of the bathroom, after a long, hot and much-needed shower, he was already in bed with the lights off. This was exactly what I was counting on. I wanted to go to sleep on my side of the bed and be done with it. No thinking about the situation, no chit chat.
I crawled in, pulling only the sheet over my body and faced the wall. The moon was bright on my face.
After a few moments, when my heart rate had started to calm and I was beginning to forget where I was, Javier called out softly. “Angel?”
I wanted to pretend to be asleep. I wanted to ignore him. But he’d used a name I hated and I was sick of hearing it.
“Please don’t call me that,” I whispered back, pulling sheet closer around my shoulders.
He turned over in the bed and suddenly he was right behind me, causing the hairs on my neck to rise. “Why not?”
I tried to steady my breath. “I’m not your angel.”
“You’re someone’s angel. God’s.”
“God’s? How can you call me an angel when you think I’m no good?”
“There are fallen angels, too. Angels with dirty wings.”
“Lucifer was a fallen angel,” I pointed out.
“You’re right. But Lucifer had no moral code. You and I, angel, I think we fell somewhere in between all of that. We made our place. Our own home.”
I closed my eyes at his words, my soul and heart and everything getting sucked back into a vortex of memories, all bright, shiny, and good. Memories of him and I together, memories I thought I’d done away with.
His lips were at my ear, his warm hand on my shoulder, holding me in place rather than giving comfort. Instead of stiffening, my whole body relaxed into it.
“We evolved, Ellie,” he whispered, sending shivers down my back. “And we’ll keep evolving.” Then he moved away, back to his side of the bed, cozying up under the covers.
I didn’t fall asleep for hours.
Excerpt from Shooting Scars ©2013 by Karina Halle. All rights reserved.
Series: The Artists Trilogy—TAT #2
Length: 265 pages
Publisher: Forever (August 20, 2013)
Sometimes the right choice can be the deadliest. When Ellie Watt made the ultimate sacrifice for Camden McQueen, she never thought it would be easy. But walking away with her ex-lover, Javier Bernal, in order to ensure Camden's safety has brought a whole new set of dangers. With Javier's plans for Ellie growing more secretive by the moment, Ellie must find a way to stay ahead of the game before her past swallows her whole.
Meanwhile, Camden's new life is short-lived. Fueled by revenge and pursued by authorities, he teams up with an unlikely partner in order to save Ellie. But as Camden toes the line between love and retribution, he realizes that in order to get back the woman he loves, he may have to lose himself in the process. He might just turn into the very man he's hunting.
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