Today you aren’t getting a Monday Muse. Instead, you get a sneak peek into Martyrs! That’s mostly because I was swamped this weekend getting final preparations in place for our coming baby, attending Christmas parties, and visiting friends from out of town and I TOTALLY forgot to do a Monday Muse. Conveniently, though, today is also the birthday of one of my favorite characters in the series!
Sounds like a perfect excuse to get out of a Monday Muse by giving you a taste of the novel.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy it!
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But when he reached the bottom of the steps he paused. A man stood in the center of the room. Had he been there the whole time? Darius couldn’t remember. His shined, leather shoes glistened with blood.
Darius recognized him. His suit. His stature. His steely gray eyes.
The man from the market.
A wide, wicked smile spread across his face. He held a knife in his hand. The blade dripped crimson.
Darius took a step back. Noel moaned again.
Suddenly the front door to the bar flew open. A woman, dressed in all black, rampaged into the room. The man didn’t have the chance to react as she tackled him into the ground. Bodies crumbled beneath their weight.
As they struggled, she looked over her shoulder. Her dark eyes met Darius’s and she screamed, “Run!”
For a moment, Darius couldn’t move. It was her.
She screamed at him again, “What the fuck are you doing? Run!”
The world snapped back around him, and he ran. Noel’s limp body dangled from his arms as he hurried around the fighting pair and into the street. There were people everywhere–strangers dressed in black and beige. They wore protective gear–armed to the teeth. Several SUVs were parked along the street.
“Help me!” Darius screamed. People rushed around him, surrounding the building. One man came up to Darius and swore.
“Rose is inside,” a woman said from beneath her helmet. A blonde ponytail stuck out from the base of her neck. “Orders?” The first man didn’t say anything to her as he scooped Noel out of Darius’s arms.
“You need to listen to me,” the man said. “We need to get you out of here. Now.”
But Darius didn’t move. He couldn’t. The medicine in his pocket felt like an anchor. He turned back toward the bar as a group of armed men and women approached.
The man called him back. “What the hell are you doing? Get in the car!”
Darius hardly heard the order. He ran back into the main room. The man and the woman were still fighting, wrestling on top of bodies and blood. They didn’t notice him as he climbed the stairs again and threw open the door to the apartment.
He wasn’t sure what he’d been expecting to find when he walked into the studio. Lindsay wasn’t there. Instead, the floor was streaked in blood, thick dark lines that extended from the center of the room to the doorway. A woman stood by the window. As he entered, she turned toward him. Her face was plain, almost boring, but contorted in hate. She, too, had a knife in her hand.
Without even thinking about it, Darius said, “Where is she?”
The woman didn’t respond with words. She simply took a step toward Darius, and then another. Her flat lips curled up in a smile, and Darius realized she meant to kill him. Before he had the chance to turn away, she attacked.
She was quick. Darius barely managed to dodge as she thrust her knife at his stomach. He turned, and she lashed out. He blocked the blow with his arm. The blade bit into his skin, and he cried out. Warm blood rushed down to his elbow. Darius tore away and swiped at her. His open hand knocked into her wrist. The weapon flew out of her fingers and slid across the floor.
Before she had the chance to recover, Darius barreled into her. The two of them tumbled to the ground and Darius threw his fist into the woman’s face. She didn’t seem bothered by his blows–like he was a child striking a stone. Her hand darted out and she furiously grabbed Darius by the throat.
Her grip was surprisingly strong. Darius gasped as she got to her feet and lifted him off the ground. His eyes widened as, in one swift movement, she hurled him backward.
Before he knew what was going on, Darius’s back collided with the window. The glass behind him shattered, and he fell.
The last thing Darius remembered was the sunset sky. The clouds were stained the color of blood. Then, everything went black.