Friday, May 18
By: Joanne Brothwell
Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent creature.
Using mysterious abilities, Sarah escapes, only to run directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But why is Evan out in the forest so early in the morning?
Sarah learns her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child, an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others; unfortunately, her indigo aura is highly desirable to those who wish to steal her powerful essence.
Soon, Sarah falls deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart, but she can't ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, forcing her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.
Here is a little taste of what you will find in the eventful and entertaining Stealing Breath by Joanne Boswell
“I suck at pool. Seriously,” I said as Evan set all the balls into the little triangle. I’d only played pool a handful of times.
“I’ll teach you. One lesson and you’ll be set.” He handed me a pool cue and grinned.
“All right, but no laughing at me.”
Evan’s smile softened. “I wouldn’t laugh at you.”
The way he looked at me made my heart flutter in my chest. Could he see how much he affected me by just looking at me? There was no doubt in my mind that he could read me like an open book. My cheeks continued to warm up, and now I was a little hot under the collar, too.
He winked. “Why don’t you break, and then I can see what’s going wrong,” Evan suggested. He leaned against the pool table with his cue. In his blue jeans, black tee, and dark leather jacket, there was a reason why every girl in the bar was watching.
I glanced around. Only fifteen or so people were here, being that it was middle of the week. I didn’t really want my pool lesson to be observed by everyone in town. Public humiliation was not something I particularly enjoyed.
“All right.” I leaned forward and placed my stick on the table, holding it in the weird little triangle I’d been told to make with my fingers, and aimed on the white ball. I took several little test movements, and then I hit it.
The cue nicked the ball on the right side, sending it forward with a sideways spin. It hit the triangle of colorful balls with a wimpy little click. The colored balls spread out, just slightly. I cursed and straightened up.
Evan was still watching the balls move, and then he looked at me, nodding. “I see what the problem is. I’ll show you what’s going wrong, if you’d like?”
“Sure. I’d like to not be the source of entertainment in the bar.”
Evan chuckled, the sound lighting up the room around me. “Okay, let’s start with your fingers.”
He came up beside me and gestured toward the table. I leaned over and placed the pool stick on my fingers, the way I’d been shown by Tyler, my Ex.
“I think this is the main problem. See how your fingers are so unstable in this position?” He leaned forward and our bodies came into contact as he stretched out to touch my fingers. The weight of his muscled arm settled alongside me and when his hand touched mine, a palpable buzz glided through my body.
My breath caught. Evan’s hand stopped moving momentarily, as if he felt it too.
He glanced at me, and then he went on. “If you set your hands up like this….” He moved in closer. “Do you mind…?” I shook my head as my throat went dry. The hard length of his body pressed into me, his breath warm on my cheek. His heady fragrance infused my senses, leather, mint, and man. I struggled to focus on the white ball at the end of my cue, too distracted by his warm fingers gently moving mine.
His hands were soft, but the skin calloused enough in places to show he didn’t avoid hard work. Each finger was long and tapered, with perfectly shaped nails. He positioned my hand and the triangular shape between his thumb and forefinger caught my eye.
“Your brother, how did he burn you?” I pointed to the scar on his hand.
He took in a long, deep breath. “It was an accident while we were camping.”
“That must have hurt.”
He chuckled. “Yes. It hurt a lot.” His gaze returned to my fingers holding the pool cue.
I debated questioning him further about the scar, why it was so symmetrical, and why it seemed to be a distinctive shape, but was so distracted by the sensation of his body alongside mine, the questions scattered in my mind and dissipated like smoke in the wind.
“There. If you can maintain that position while you concentrate on the white ball, it will make a huge improvement in your aim.” He stood upright and backed away, and I instantly missed that warm heat against my left side. “Okay. Go for it.”
I focused on the white ball, my thoughts tangled, and my breathing pace irregular. I hit it, and while this time it didn’t spin, the shot was still weak. The colored balls barely even moved.
I looked at Evan, who smiled. Not a mocking smile…just a gentle, encouraging one. “Better. Now, let’s work on your shot.” Evan slid his jacket off and placed it on a chair, revealing ripped muscles beneath thin cotton.
He came up behind me and leaned into me once again. This time, his entire body pressed into mine. His warm, heavily muscled arm reached alongside mine once again, and I bent over, the sensation so intensely erotic, I felt dizzy. I struggled to even see the cue ball, much less try to hit it.
“Okay, so your fingers are in place,” he said as he re-arranged my hand slightly, my whole body tingling from fingertips to toes. “Now the key is to make sure you don’t tip the end of your stick up or down. It seems like you’re scared the cue will bite into the felt.” He turned toward me, and his minty breath caressed my cheek. I turned, and our faces were within an inch of contact. It was almost as if a tangible buzz had ignited between us.
What was it about this man that had me so lust-drunk and crazily out of touch with my rational thoughts? His personality was as beautiful as his looks, and I knew that was a big part of it, but there just seemed to be something between us that defied understanding.
Evan nodded and smiled, his gaze dropping momentarily to my mouth. He licked his lips and then turned his head. “You’ll need to let go of that fear.”
He reached around me then, and with his right hand, placed it directly on top of mine at the back of the cue. Every movement he made I felt, every breath he took, every beat of his heart. With every subtle change in his body, his muscles tightened and released. My breathing staggered, my heart stuttering.
He turned his face into mine and then whispered, quietly into my ear, “Ready?” His breath tickled my cheek and heat rose within my body.
“Yes.” I murmured. God, yes. I’m ready to push you down to the floor and jump your bones.
In a sudden move, he pushed our right arms forward and the loud crack of the balls connecting rang out. I blinked. The cue ball had stopped dead, while the target ball had gone directly into a corner pocket. Evan stood upright but remained pressed against me. I straightened and turned toward him. My left breast pressed against his chest as his right hand stroked my back.
“So that’s how it’s done,” I whispered.
“It’s that simple,” Evan said, looking at me with eyes lit up like jewels. He leaned forward, his soft lips brushing mine. I gasped as my body became infused with heat, my skin tingling. I struggled to maintain my grip on the pool stick, my left hand snaking up his hard torso.
He pulled back and gazed down at me with a soft smile. I swallowed.
“Let’s see what you can do.” He stepped away from me entirely. I couldn’t shake that odd sense of loss from his distance. I nodded, turning back toward the pool table, my thoughts jumbled, my body completely unhinged.
I walked around the table and back to the cue ball, now directly opposite Evan. I leaned over, carefully arranged my fingers, and glanced up at him. Evan nodded in encouragement. I took the shot, this time the ball connecting with its target just like it was supposed to.
Evan came toward me. “Perfect shot.”
“Thanks.” I smiled. “How about another lesson?”
Evan’s face broke out into a sly smile as well, and he moved toward me, eyes blazing. Without a word, he folded me into him, this time the pressure against my back even more exquisitely tight. It seemed every inch of our bodies was touching. His rough stubble rubbed the sensitive skin of my cheek.
He turned his face toward me, his arms encasing me and whispered, “Focus, Sarah.”
I took a deep breath, distracted by the warmth of our bodies, his raspy breath in my ear, the intoxicating scent of him. With every beat of his heart, mine echoed, until our heartbeats were unified, beating with exactly the same rhythm.
“Focus,” he said, his voice smooth, melodic.
That soft languor filled me, and I was floating once again, carried away by a buoyant sense of ecstasy. I opened my eyes and gazed at the cue ball, my body buzzing.
I put all of my energy into focusing, into making that ball sail across the table and connect with the yellow one, which would go directly into the right corner pocket.
I pulled back, aiming.
Before I moved, the ball sprung into movement and rocketed down the table, crashing into the yellow ball and sending it toward the corner pocket. But instead of going in, the yellow ball skipped the table and hurtled through the air, knocking over my beer bottle and rolling to the ground behind the table. My beer bottle spun on the table for a moment, and then slid off, smashing on the floor into a thousand brown shards.