Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

In honor of the upcoming release of Heart of the Warrior, I pulled an excerpt from Rise of the Fallen where we get a tiny glimpse of the building relationship between Sev and Ari, as well as the strained between Ari and Micah. Enjoy!

Micah hauled his ass to AKM. He decided to skip the haircut Tristan had suggested, going straight for the training center after checking the dashboard. Thank fuck the place was empty. Micah wasn't in the mood for a whole lot of hey-buddy-where-have-you-been? Which was exactly what he feared he would get when someone saw him. Trace, Malek, and Io would know not to bug him, but Arion didn't seem to get that Micah didn't like to talk, and Micah hadn't figured out the new guy, Severin, just yet. And Tristan was Tristan. He'd be all up in Micah's ass for weeks.
He had been going at the weights for a good half-hour and was in the middle of an eight-rep of bench press when Arion appeared at his head, spotting him through the last four. Banging them out, Ari helped him re-rack the bar as Micah sat up.
"Hey, Micah. Are you sure you should be hitting the weights this hard?"
Micah glanced askance at him, his trademark scowl firmly in place. He noted how Ari eyed the loaded bar with concern then dropped his gaze to the faint, almost-healed scars on his arms. Arms that probably looked much too thin to Ari to be pushing that kind of weight.
"You got something to say to me, Ari?" Micah's gruff voice was full of fuck-off-and-mind-your-own-business. It was clear Arion thought Micah's head was screwed on either too loosely or too tightly, but either way, it meant he thought Micah was in no shape to be here working, let alone pumping out eight reps at 315 pounds.
Arion shrugged, wavering briefly. The two had never gotten along, and Micah had a way of intimidating those around him. Maybe it was his brooding silence or the ever-present scowl that never left his face. Hell, it could have been the nonverbal fuck-off his body language threw out like a warning beacon: Leave this one alone, or he'll fuck your world right to hell and back.
But Arion always seemed to find the courage – or was that stupidity – to go on chasing the Devil. Fucking hell, did Ari think he was a priest and Micah was a soul that needed saving? Sometimes Micah wondered if the fucker had a death wish or if he simply enjoyed stirring Micah's pot. Every time they had one of these discussions, Micah thought Arion was ready to back down – that he had finally realized that Micah didn't appreciate his invasive prodding. Then he seemed to gather his courage and plod on, pissing Micah off even more. As if Arion had room to talk for the fucked up life he lived. One of these days real soon Micah had a feeling he and Ari were going to throw down if this shit didn't stop.
He just wanted to be left alone. Let his soul burn in hell. As long as it meant he would have his privacy, Micah didn't care.
"Where have you been, Micah?" Arion said, shaking his head in frustration.
Micah turned his head and glowered. The little asshole had done it again, keeping on when he should have just walked away.
"Fuck off."
"You look like shit. How much weight did you lose? Thirty pounds? How much? And what the hell did you do to your arms?"
This was how Arion was, a pain in his ass and a thorn in his side. "Who died and made you my conscience?" Standing, Micah blew him off and started to walk away, but that little cuss just got up and followed.
"Nobody, but…"
Micah spun and grabbed Arion by both shoulders and shoved him against the wall, growling. "Everyone else gives me my space, why can't you?" Giving him another hard shove, he knocked the back of Ari's head against the wall.
A chuckle brought Micah's head around. The door to the gym was propped open and Trace was standing just outside, a spank-ass grin splattered on his puss as he nodded once at Micah. He chuckled again and walked on.
Micah turned back and released Ari and smoothed his sweat-soaked hair off his face.
Ari's eyes flashed wide as he reached around and rubbed the back of his skull.
"What's going on?"
Micah turned again and saw Severin enter the training center, his long, blond hair pulled back. The new guy whipped the towel from over his shoulder, his eyes flicking between Micah and Arion before leveling an icy glare on Micah.
"Nothing," Micah said. "Ari and I were just finishing. He was agreeing to leave me alone. Weren't you, Ari?" Micah gave Ari a pointed look to emphasize that their discussion was over.
"I can see that." Severin stepped in front of Arion and bristled as if preparing for a fight.
Micah picked up the protective energy rolling off Severin like ripples in water after a rock broke the surface. He frowned curiously through narrowed eyes as he glanced back and forth between them. What the fuck was brewing between these two?
"It's okay, Sev," Arion said, stepping out from behind him.
"No, it's not okay." Sev looked over his shoulder at Ari. "He's being a dick."
Micah scoffed, drawing Severin's attention again. "Cool out, pretty boy. I won't hurt your boyfriend. And you couldn't take me, anyway."
"You think?" Sev tossed his towel to the side, taking a step forward like he was ready to throw down.
"No. I know." Micah knew not many could take him down. Even with his massive weight loss, he was bigger, stronger, and more ruthless than most. Severin was a big-ass boy, though, with shoulders wide as a Mack truck – wider than Micah's, even though Micah had him in the height department. Still, Sev was young. But Micah had superior strength.
With a last, lingering glower in Arion's direction, he turned and walked out, leaving them behind so he could escape to the showers, where he hoped to get some privacy.

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