BEFORE READING, PLEASE BE AWARE:
This post contains excerpts from my upcoming book, Power, Book 2 of The Soul of Voodoo Series.
If you have not read the first book, entitled Control, you need to be aware that this chapter excerpt may contain spoilers…I do not recommend reading it before you have read Control. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
*This excerpt contains adult content and adult language…lots of adult language.
I cursed my stupid luck when I realized that it was past one in the morning, we wouldn’t be able to see Andre until visiting hours at nine. Frustration and disappointment weighed heavy on me, but rather than pout about it, I decided to use the time to figure out how I could leave the safety of the house and how I could get Andre back to normal.
“Mrs. B, are the gree gree sachets strong enough protection for me to leave the house and visit my bo…uh, friend in the hospital?”
She looked from me to Lance and her smile faded a little.
I am such a giant turd.
I had to stifle the urge to pinch my own head off, not that I could. Unfortunately. Instead, I squeezed Lance’s hand and brought it up to my lips to brush a quick kiss across his strong fingers. He chuckled at the gesture and softened his stance slightly.
I couldn’t keep freaking out over every little slip, this situation was about to get crazy complicated, so whether I liked it or not, it was time for both Lance and me to get thicker skin.
“Yah, y’all be protected. Y’all protectin’ each other now, huh shaa?”
She placed one hand on each of our chests as she spoke and her wrinkled face split into a huge grin. I felt warmth seeping into me from the contact with her hand and glanced down to where it rested. A glow had appeared underneath her small hand and I watched in amazement as it gradually brightened, showing the silhouette of her frail bones.
I looked over to see Lance watching the same phenomenon on his own chest. He looked away from the power display and our eyes met. In the second that it took to register our shared confusion, the glow released a flash and I saw Mrs. B tumble backward.
Lance’s tone was soft as he questioned, “Mrs. Broussard, are you okay?”
Lance and I pulled apart and immediately fell to the floor beside Mrs. B’s trembling form. I had seen her fall, and although falling is never graceful, I had to admit that she did it well. She didn’t fall so much as roll backward, like a turtle rolling on its shell.
She lay flat on her back with one thin arm flung over her eyes; her body continued to tremble slightly. I wondered if the flash could be some type of electrical current that we unknowingly produced as some freakish byproduct from merging our souls.
Lance gently tried to move the arm that was covering her face; she had begun to wheeze slightly. As he was slowly lifting her arm away from her face, the wheezes turned into cackles and I let out a breath as I realized that she wasn’t truly hurt. She was laughing her ass off!
Lance’s brows knit together in a tight frown, “Mrs. Broussard, you scared the ever-lovin’ crap out of me. I thought you were hurt.”
“I’m glad you aren’t hurt, because I have to say, that was pretty damn cool,” I proclaimed.
The cackles had died down and tears of mirth were leaking out of the corners of her eyes as she cracked them open to look into Lance’s worried face. She patted his cheek softly and grabbed his hands to use as leverage while she struggled to her feet. Just as she had calmed enough to speak, and finally answer some questions, the front door flew open to reveal James, looking like crap on a cracker. His face was slack and his body drooped in exhaustion.
“Honey, I’m home,” he said loudly as he stumbled forward a few feet and slammed the door closed.
No sooner than the words had exited his mouth, he fell back against the door and slid to the floor. His eyes were already starting to droop and I knew we wouldn’t be getting any information for the next several hours unless we could drag it out of him before he passed out.
I watched his eyes close heavily and felt anxiety start to bubble up; I didn’t want him to pass out until I had a few answers. I needed to know more about what had happened with Andre. I couldn’t stand envisioning him alone and broken in a hospital bed. I had healed Lance but didn’t know how or understand why, I needed to figure it out so that I could heal Andre as well.
“James! Wake up heifer!”
He cracked his eyes open and chuckled at me, mumbling something that sounded a little too much like, “tramp” before his lids started to droop again.
“Why you don’t give him a little juice, huh shaa?”
“Uh, sure, if you think that will help,” I responded. “Lance, do you have any juice? I guess orange juice would be best…”
“Mais non! Use your power,” she snapped at me. “Couillon!”
“Okay! Damn, you don’t have to be so bitchy…”
I stomped toward the door, frowning and muttering under my breath, “…call me a dumbass one more time…”
I squat down next to James, unsure of what to do, so I grabbed one of his big hands and held it between both of mine. Nothing happened, but I would be damned before I asked Mrs. B for help.
Her attitude was wearing on my nerves and as grateful as I was for everything she had done, I needed a break from her. I was becoming agitated; it felt as if her eyes were burning a hole in the back of my neck.
After a few more seconds with no change, I decided that it probably wasn’t working because my mind was busy directing a multitude of negative thoughts toward the wrinkled old crone who stood behind me.
I closed my eyes and imagined myself as I pushed the negative thoughts away and locked them up behind a heavy door. Once I had removed the distraction, I focused on the warm hand that I held, noting the weight of it and the calloused ridges along his knuckles. I felt a slight tingle along my palms and I smiled as they began to glow softly.
I felt a burst of pride when James’ eyes opened after only a few seconds. After a minute, he pulled his hand free, sat up, and then leaned back against the door. His pleased expression faded into wary confusion as he stared at me with narrowed eyes.
“Damn, ho! How did you get so strong so fast?”
He suddenly shifted his gaze to Lance, and his mouth dropped open. His eyes widened comically as he shifted them back and forth between Lance and me. He was speechless for the moment, but I knew it wouldn’t last long.
Lance grinned and stated jokingly, “I think you broke him.”
I scooted back quickly and covered my ears, Lance’s statement snapped him out of his bug-eyed trance and it was only a matter of time before the squealing started.
“OH. MY. GAWD!!”
Lance and Mrs. B. flinched at the sudden verbal explosion.
Heh, heh, heh, I totally called it.
“You porked her!!”
“Porked? Really, James?”
I could have been talking to a piece of pork, for all it mattered. James was in the zone, so I just sat back and got a little more comfortable while I waited for him to get it all out.
“OH MY GAWD!! You banged Buff McHunkypants!! Is he ‘Buff’ all over, Celie? Can I call him Buff Thickchubbypants now?”
Oh my, I think that might be his best one yet.
I turned my head to look up at Lance and had to stifle a giggle at his expression of shock. He looked slightly queasy as his mouth fell open and the color drained from his face. Mrs. B, on the other hand, looked positively gleeful! I didn’t even attempt to cover up my giggle as I watched her gawking at his pants while she surreptitiously scooted toward him.
“I’ve always heard that everything is bigger in Texas, Celie. Is it? Huh? Is it, Celie,” James questioned conspiratorially and nudged me with his elbow.
He then turned his face toward Lance again and finally shut up as he took notice of what Lance was wearing…or, more specifically, what he was not wearing. I felt a little sorry for him as he began stuttering, I knew exactly what James was thinking and nodded in silent agreement.
Yep, Lance is truly magnificent.
He had turned slightly, the top button of his jeans was unbuttoned and the waistband hung precariously low, revealing the upper curve of his muscular buttocks. I sighed heavily as I visually followed the curve of his back, finally reaching the wide expanse of his shoulders.
The muscles of his shoulders bunched as he unfolded his arms from across his chest and dropped them to his sides. Three sets of eyes flew to his abdominal muscles to ogle them shamelessly as he tensed in embarrassment. I could hear James’ unsteady breathing beside me and smiled as I realized I sounded the same. My fingers twitched involuntarily as my tactile memory recalled the heat of his golden skin and the springy texture of the light brown hair sprinkled across his chest.
I tried, without success, to tear my eyes away from him and focus on something else…anything else. Unfortunately, my eyes chose not to get on board with that plan. Instead, my gaze merrily followed the narrow path of hair down his chest as it dissected the muscular ridges of his abdomen, and then disappeared underneath the worn zipper of his jeans.
Uh, what was that?! Please tell me I did not just purr!
I looked around and pretended that nothing had happened, only relaxing after I felt sure that I had been successful. I took a deep breath and turned, making eye contact with James who offered me a gentle smile.
I returned the smile, glad to see that he had finally settled down. I had a pretty good idea how to kick start my healing power, but I needed to know exactly what happened when Andre had his seizure. A coma was significantly more serious than fatigue, so I would still need some direction from him and probably Mrs. B.
“James, I need to know…”
I stopped talking as he held his hand in front of my face.
“Hold that thought,” he said as he hopped up and walked through Lance’s house into his kitchen.
He had been gone a moment before I heard the refrigerator open and the clinking sound of dishes, and then he was walking back toward us, carefully balancing a small plate in between his large hands. I looked at Lance questioningly but he simply shrugged and raised his eyebrows, appearing equally confused.
I wondered briefly if James was working on some kind of spell, but my confusion turned to discomfort as he drew near. He set the little plate down right in front of me and I felt my stomach knot as I looked at the little saucer of milk.
Son of a whore! He heard me, dammit.
“Here Celie, I thought you might be hungry,” he said as he softly stroked my head. “Good kitty.”
“Just shut up, you really don’t have much room to talk.”
James smiled broadly and shook his head in agreement, “I know… All I can say is, damn!”
I stifled a giggle and started to stand up, reaching out for Lance’s hand when he offered it. As soon as our hands connected, he lifted me straight up into his arms and pulled me tight against his chest in a basket hold. I blinked up at him curiously, but he ignored me and turned toward Mrs. B.
“Mrs. Broussard, why don’t you and James head over to your house and fill each other in on what you know of our history,” Lance stated calmly.
“Uh, Lance,” I asked slowly, drawing out the sound of his name. “Are you going to put me down anytime soon?”
“Nope,” he replied succinctly, and then continued to speak with James and Mrs. B.
“I’m through playing Scooby Doo with this shit, so here is what we are going to do…” his voice was polite but firm as he took charge.
I stared up at him in amazement as he began to compile a comprehensive list of questions he wanted answered before we headed to see Andre at the hospital. His voiced rolled out, smooth and confident, as he listed generic concerns, and then broke them down, identifying where we needed background information to complete specific tasks. Mrs. B and James wore twin expressions of rapture as they listened to him, their heads bobbed in unison as he identified his expectations.
He was the definitive leader, gaining control over a situation that had been uncontrollable thus far. I didn’t hesitate to jump on board as he spoke, but that didn’t really surprise me, I had complete faith in him and his ability to handle whatever curveball was thrown at us. My mind wandered back to through our relationship and I marveled at the level of trust I had in him after such a short time. Still, I never questioned it and I knew instinctively that I would never need to.
“First thing that we need to do is get Andre back on his feet, he’s part of this and we need him,” his arms tightened around me imperceptibly, but his face remained impassive while he substantiated Andre’s connection to our future.
“I think I’m correct in assuming that there is more to this curse than we had originally thought?”
After receiving simultaneous nods from James and Mrs. B, his brows knit together in a small frown of concentration and he quieted for a moment.
He is so freaking sexy.
I felt a blast of heat and a sultry smile slid across my lips.
My eyes traveled slowly over his face, lingering on the firm lines of his mouth. As I stared, the corners deliberately tilted up into a smirk and I gasped, feeling the heat pool in my belly before burning a path straight south, causing me to wiggle around in his arms.
“Alright, that’s enough for tonight. We should get some rest if we want to be at the hospital for visiting hours.”
Mrs. B and James headed for the front door, I vaguely listened as they discussed what they would start working on, and where James would sleep for the next several days. We had all agreed to stay here until we understood a little more about what was going on and what we could do about it.
Mrs. B had already walked out, but James turned around to blow me a kiss before following her. I laughed at his gallantry and blew him a kiss in return as he turned toward the door. However, before he made it through, Lance called out to him and waited while he turned back with an expectant look on his face.
“I just wanted to clarify a couple of things. The change that you noticed between Cecelia and me, is due to the merging of our souls,” he stated as if it were the most normal thing ever.
James’ look of shock was priceless, but I actually worried for his health and well-being after Lance’s next bombshell.
“Also, I did not bang Cecelia; you don’t bang someone who makes your soul sing.” He cocked his eyebrow up and grinned, showing off his dimple as he added, “However, you can rest safe knowing that I’ll be making her body sing be tonight.”
Without saying another word, Lance turned and headed toward the bedroom.