Hi, guys! Erin here. Here is a sneak peek of Ever Touched, book #3 in my Fey Touched series, which will be released on May 1st. This part is from early in the book. Enjoy, and keep your eyes peeled for an announcement of its release (that’s like, 30 days from now! Holy cow!).
“What do you see? What do you see?”
Charles was experimenting again, which meant more serum.
The light was too dim and my eyes kept wanting to close. Charles had been slapping me to wake me up.
I hadn’t slept in a while. In fact, it was quite possible I’d not slept for at least twenty-four hours. My sense of time was completely skewed. It felt like night, but I supposed it could be morning.
I kept talking.
Every so often I caught sight of a person in the shadows. He never came forward, never helped or hurt me. He just stood there, observing, making notes.
He unnerved me.
“Another injection. Up it by fifty,” Charles said, and I jolted with the pain of it. No one was ever gentle. “It’s not clear enough.” He glanced at me. “Hang on. The ride’s about to get really bumpy…”
And bumpy it was. Images flashed in my mind’s eye like flashes of a camera: a man with black wings. A woman in armor and…wings made of…light? They were talking. She looked transparent underneath the armor. I relayed all of this to Charles, who took notes so fast I didn’t think he’d be able to read them later.
An explosion of white made me gasp.
“What is it, Fifteen?”
“I don’t…know.” My vision was completely white. I couldn’t see anything. Hands shook my shoulders roughly. “I…can’t see…anything…”
My jaw jerked to the side painfully.
“I said…what is it? Answer me!” His voice reverberated inside my head.
I squeezed my eyes shut. “No…”
“Yes!” Another shake.
“Doctor, don’t you think you should give her a rest? She hasn’t even slept. She’s probably exhausted.” The voice was new, and kind.
Charles was not one for kindness.
I held my breath, wondering how he’d react.
I opened my eyes. I could see again! I wasn’t blind.
A hand cupped my non-injured cheek. “There was too much accelerator in your serum. I’m surprised it didn’t kill your optic nerves.” His hand left my cheek, then came back with an ice pack. “This should help a bit.”
“Fine, let’s reconvene tomorrow morning, six o’clock sharp.” Charles gave me an assessing look. “Do be well-rested and ready, Fifteen.”
And then he walked out, slamming the door behind him.
The man who was helping me let out a breath. “He’s gone, probably for the rest of the night. Good. I don’t like the way he’s treating you.”
I finally got a good look at my savior. He had blonde hair and blue eyes. A nice smile. Elegant fingers. Was he a doctor, too? And was his kindness for real, or did he just want more predictions from me?
No one here did something nice without a cost.
I looked up at my savior and tried to smile through the last twinges of pain as my jaw healed itself. “Thank you. I… needed that.”
“What you need is sleep and proper medical care,” my savior said. He looked behind him, probably expecting Charles to show up and catch him helping me. “I can’t remove you from this room – or this chair, regrettably – but I can clean you up a bit. Would you like that?”
Hell, to finally be clean again? To not have blood stains all over me? And dirt and filth from not being able to bathe?
Oh hell. I probably stank. Badly.
But…he was offering, and I really wanted it. I swallowed hard. “Yes, I would like that. Please.”
“Okay, cool. By the way, I’m Galen. I’m one of Charles’s assistants. I’m not really supposed to be here. But I want to be.” He smiled. “Let me grab some stuff, okay? I’ll be right back.” He left out the door behind me.
While I waited, I mulled this over. He was an assistant, and breaking a rule by being here with me?
Galen. It was a nice name.
I wished I could at least move my arms. They were shackled to the chair, as were my legs.
Footsteps told me that Galen had returned. He was carrying a bucket of water and a sponge. He set the bucket down on the floor, pulled a chair up to me, and sat down. “That moment when you couldn’t see was so scary. I’m so glad you can see again.” He bent down to get the sponge wet. “I meant what I said. He’s lucky he didn’t blow your optic nerves.”
“What did he put in there exactly?”
Galen came back up and placed the sponge on my left arm, which looked brown with all the blood and dirt on it. And then he started scrubbing.
It felt nice.
“Well, it’s something to do with your precognitive ability and how your brain processes that information.”
“The visions,” I said, my heart thudding, my throat dry. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know now.
“Right.” He bent down and dipped the sponge back into the water, then came back up. He scrubbed up my arm and then worked on my forearm. “But I personally think it’s too strong, and could lead to optic nerve damage.”
“Oh, no,” I said softly.
“I’m sorry. I just want to tell you the truth. I could be completely wrong, though. It could have been part of the vision.” He smiled weakly. “The things you see…I wonder when they will come to pass. That’s the part Charles is having so much difficulty with. When. There aren’t enough clues to pinpoint it.”
His face brightened, and he didn’t seem as serious. I realized that he must be really into this stuff. It to me was business as usual, and a reason to be hurt and tortured. “You enjoy this, don’t you?”
Galen stopped mid-scrub. He’d started on my other arm. “Uh…well…yeah. My mother was a precognitive, and she died young, and I just…I want to help other precognitives.”
“I’m sorry for your loss.”
“Thank you,” Galen murmured as he started scrubbing again. “You do know how rare you guys are, right? Less than one percent of the world’s population.”
I closed my eyes.
A vision appeared. The woman in my mind was with someone, laughing, carefree. What I wouldn’t give to have her life. She wasn’t like me. I knew this.
But we were connected.
“What just happened?” Galen asked. I heard him squeeze the sponge, the water as it fell into the bucket.
My eyes opened.
“I wish I wasn’t here,” I whispered. “No offense. I’m enjoying this, right now, with you, but…I want to have a real life, you know?”
Galen nodded. “I totally get it. But most of you don’t get normal lives, you know.” He gently pushed my hair over my shoulder. “Excuse me, don’t mean to be forward. Just want to get your neck.”
“It’s okay,” I said.
“Cool.” He slowly moved the sponge over my neck and the hollow between it and my shoulder. All my nerve endings came to life, as if they were dormant before. I got shivers everywhere he touched, and with him so close…he smelled so nice, like earth and soap, and…
“Other side,” he murmured, dipping the sponge again. And then he started scrubbing, and I leaned my head back, and just enjoyed it.
Galen stilled, dropping the sponge. “Crap, I gotta go. Someone’s coming.” He grabbed the bucket and fled to the door.
He glanced back at me. “I’ll be back soon.”
“Thank you…” I said, but he was already gone.