So I gave you the BLURB and I've shared some teasers. I think it's time for another longer tease.
For your pleasure, I give you a piece of Rebel Souls in Elias' point of view.
“You should be more aware of your surroundings.” A gasp slips out as she spins and faces me, her hair leaving wet marks on the sweatshirt that hangs loosely over her body.
“Well you shouldn’t tell someone to find you and then hang out in the shadows of the darkest possible corner you can find.” She sits across from me and curls herself into a ball as she tucks her feet underneath her. It’s not hard to notice the way she cradles her arm against her side. Guilt tries to force its way into my conscience, but I resolutely push it away.
“There are worse things hiding in the shadows than me.”
Claire doesn’t hesitate with her response. “I’ve met them already. Remember?”
“I do.” Your screams are permanently seared into my memory. “I only have one thing to ask you tonight. I need you to tell me everything you remember about what happened with Sophia.”
She pulls the sleeves of her sweatshirt over her hands and swallows. “I don’t remember a lot of details….”
I want to tell her she’s lying. I know she remembers every last second from that night. There’s no way she could forget, if what she said earlier was the truth. But if she wants us to help her, I need more of the story.
Looking up at her, the usually hardened shell that surrounds Claire isn’t there, and I take advantage of it. Images of her shutting down completely at breakfast after I snapped at her flash through my mind, followed by the softer, passive girl that called to me from the bathtub. Instead of demanding she tell me what she does remember, I regroup and change my approach.
“I want to help you, but I need you to help me, too. I know this isn’t easy for you, but you’re safe now. No one can get to you, but they can still hurt her if we don’t find her soon.” I make sure to keep a gentle tone as I speak.
The moon shines down on us as Claire thinks over my plea. She lifts her chin and her eyes catch mine. “Do you think she’s still alive?”
Her question isn’t the response I expect. I know the statistics. I know I shouldn’t lie to her; get her hopes up. But I don’t listen to my own thoughts. “I think anything is possible.”
She nods with zero emotion on her face. “Where do you want me to start?”
“I want you to tell me everything — about you, Sophia, the men who attacked you — any small details you might think are unimportant. I need to know it all.”
“Just like I told the police, then?” Claire sighs and looks away.
I catch her chin in my hand and turn her head back in my direction. “Do I look like the police to you?” My calm demeanor is now stern and serious. Her eyes widen and she shakes her head the best she can in my firm grasp. I kick myself for lashing out at her so easily and cling to what little control I have left of the situation. “Forget everything you told them. Right now it’s only you and me talking, and once you tell me, you won’t have to tell anyone else ever again.”
She doesn’t pull away. I still have her right where I want her. “Promise?” she whispers.
“I promise,” I reply back without thinking. Another fucking mistake. We don’t make promises we can’t keep. But those two words do something to Claire. She relaxes, the reassurance washes over her, and I drop my hand from her face. I didn’t mean to keep physical contact with her for that long.
“I used to think the night my parents died was the worst night of my life,” she begins. “But I was wrong. The night Sophia was taken…I lost everything I fought so hard to keep.”