READERS join us for Lots and Lots of prizes.
Each and every week (excluding some holidays) there will be giveaways offered. View the guest post here and you can enter the weekly Rafflecopter giveaway AND stop by to chat with authors and fellow readers at the CK Reader Giveaways Facebook Page. They’ll also be quotes and book passages.
Our special guest today is Marta Szemik. Welcome, and take it away Marta!!
Thank you Ciara for hosting this event every week and for the opportunity to take part in the readers giveaway.
Each time I sit down to write a book there are parts I love in particular. Today I’d like to share with you my favorite excerpt of “Marked: A Two Halves Novella”, which is free on Amazon and other retailers. I lost myself in the character so much, I truly felt like I was Xander, the shapeshifter. Here it is:
My bones cracked as I sprang up, shifting into an eagle. The sprouting feathers from my wings lifted me above the trees. My gaze focused on the clear sky above me as I soared higher and higher, wanting nothing less than to feel lost.
Below me, Mira and Eric stood with their heads tilted back. I could hear my sister’s voice inside my head: “Come back to me, Brother. I cannot lose you.”
“You won’t. I just need some time.” Solitude was the only way to clear my mind.
When they disappeared from my view, I landed on the edge of a cliff on the face of Mount Owen. The wings stretched and skin began to envelop the feathers as I shifted into my human form. My clothing magically returned to my body; all I had to do is ensure I phased to the same size. With my back pressed against the rock, I gazed out at the morning fog wrapping wisps around the treetops and blanketing the Grand Teton Mountains. I inhaled the crisp air and closed my eyes, letting the sun glow orange behind my eyelids.
A long breath out emptied my lungs as I relaxed my jaw and tried to concentrate on the forest—the way the leaves shuffled against one another as the trees swayed in the breeze. Not something a human would notice. The sound reminded me of Ma’s shell chimes, which I’d broken a few years back when Mira tackled me. High off the ground, in this exact spot, was the only place where I heard that sound, a sound I loved.
It wasn’t Mira’s fault she attacked me; I’d deserved it. We’d had one of our arguments over the marking. How could the decision be so easy for her and not for me? Was it because she always made the right decisions and I the wrong ones?
I wanted to know who I was, instead of feeling empty. My soul lingered in a vacuum. I hated the nothingness inside my chest, despite my heart: a useless existence of a powerful shape-shifter. More than twenty years had passed. How long were the keepers expecting us to live in this endless oblivion? We’d finally decided the age we wanted to be; now we wouldn’t get older or younger, unless we wanted to. The only piece missing was who we were supposed to serve—the keepers or Aseret?
A rustle in the brushes below overpowered the hypnotizing chime of the millions leaves and drew my gaze to the ground three hundred feet below. I closed my eyes. The cracking of dry branches was distinct, yet the feet that broke them were delicate. Lucky twigs, I thought, surprised at my sudden need to see those feet.
The overpowering scent of red roses hit my nostrils, and without another thought, I dove off the cliff as if I were diving into a pool of water. Halfway down, I shifted into an eagle, spreading my wings to slow my momentum, then into a squirrel to jump from higher branches to lower ones, and then back into my human form just before reaching the forest floor.
Crouching, I scanned the bushes, then straightened, holding my breath. A ghost would have been louder. I couldn’t see anyone and perked up my ears like a hunting cougar, intent on finding the feet that brought me down to the ground level. She remained quiet. My nostrils flared as I inhaled the rosy aroma.
Behind me. I whirled around.
The woman hid behind a spruce. The wind sprinkled its needles onto my head.
“Who are you?” What I’d meant to be a command came out as a whisper.
“Please don’t hurt me.” She stepped out, her hands crossed at her chest, seeming afraid, but even if I wanted to hurt her, I had a feeling she could defend herself. Black hair spilled down her front in curls, contrasting with her white, sun-shy face. The wind gusted as if summoned, causing the smell of roses to intensify; I pictured them blooming around her, but I couldn’t see any.
“Why would I hurt you? Don’t be afraid.” I stepped forward.
“You’ll hurt me,” she said as if certain.
“I promise I won’t. And my promise is true. Who are you?”
“My name is Xela.”
“I’m Xander.” I licked my lips. My attraction was undeniable. My gaze slipped to her thighs as I wondered how strong they were. Was the laced see-through skirt meant to induce lustful thoughts? If it weren’t for the black shorts clinging to her hips, I’d have had her by now. She wasn’t a shifter, so when I saw her breasts perk up I knew it was a hormonal change as blood flow through her veins increased. I grinned as she sauntered toward me. She accepted my assertion.
“Hello, Xander.” Her voice sang, drawing me in. The roses bloomed again, their perfume settling on my tongue. Bracelets dangling from her left wrist twirled down her arm toward her elbow when she lifted her arms to gather her hair into a bun. I followed the movement of each finger. Her neck was longer than I first perceived, and the low-cut, fitted tank top seemed smaller than before. A stray curl caressed her face. She lowered her hands, and before the bracelets slid toward her palm, I saw the mark.
Marta Szemik is an author and a writer. As a mom of two and a wife she enjoys using her family’s attributes in her writing – just because they are unique:) A great skier (in her kids eyes), she loves the outdoors. Very often she can be found creating new worlds in front of her computer. Her favourite pass-time is sitting on the front porch with a cup of coffee. Powerful writing with colorful characters who make you cry, laugh and wish they were real intrigue her. She has a sarcastic sense of humor and those close to her know that she can make a joke out of almost anything, but she could never do stand up comedy.
You can find Marta at: