New Release Blitz ~ Screaming by Jayce Carter (Excerpt & Giveaway)

Screaming by Jayce Carter

Book 3 in the Larkwood Academy series

Word Count:  92,780
Book Length: SUPER NOVEL
Pages: 337

GENRES:

CONTEMPORARY
EROTIC ROMANCE
MÉNAGE AND MULTIPLE PARTNERS
PARANORMAL
REVERSE HAREM

Add to Goodreads

Book Description

 

Run or fight—I’m not the same frightened girl they silenced anymore.

I did it—I’m out. After a year imprisoned and tortured in Larkwood Academy, I’ve finally escaped, leaving destruction in my wake. Now that I understand what Larkwood is actually doing, now that I know just how deep their evil runs, they’ll stop at nothing to find me and keep me silent. Since getting locked up, I’ve wanted nothing more than to go back to my old life.

However, my old life, my old friends, don’t fit the way I remember…

With the men I’ve fallen for, Wade, Knox, Brax, Kit and Deacon, at my side, I struggle to figure out exactly where I belong. Should we run? Hide? Fight? Can I turn my back on everyone and everything I’ve come to care about over the last year for my own safety, or will the siren’s song of Larkwood Academy draw me back to my own destruction?

Reader advisory: This book contains scenes of incarceration, violence and assault, as well as instances of inadequate parenting.

Excerpt

Hera

I might have escaped Larkwood, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that they were right behind me, that if I let my guard down for even a moment, they’d grab me again and drag me back to hell. Every sound, every person that passed, it all put me on edge.

“Here.” Knox made me jump when he caught my hand from behind and pressed something into my palm.

I glanced down to find a couple of folded twenties there. I frowned, then offered him a questioning glance.

“Don’t worry—I didn’t do anything weird to get it. I just used my powers to convince someone to hand over his wallet. Given the very nice sports car he was driving, I doubt he’ll miss it all that much.”

I let out a relieved breath. If it were Brax, I’d have worried he might have left a body behind. With Knox, a fear that he’d done something he hadn’t wanted to get the money had hit me. Hearing he hadn’t soothed my fears.

It had been nearly a week since we’d gotten out of Larkwood. The first trek through the open desert had been the worst, and we’d moved fast, pushing ourselves to our limits. Thankfully, with my hearing, I’d been able to identify helicopters and patrols before they got close. This was the second town we’d stopped at, since we hadn’t wanted to stay long in the first. We’d only remained in the first long enough to get a change of clothing.

We’d picked up some items from a thrift store, paying for it all with money Brax had—I sure didn’t ask him how he’d gotten it. It had left me in a baggy cable-knit sweater and jeans with large rips in them—far more casual than I’d been used to in my old life and yet not the clothing I’d had in my life at Larkwood.

Wade had found a pair of slacks and a long-sleeved shirt, Brax a large hoodie and jeans, and Knox wore a rather loud Hawaiian button-up short-sleeved shirt, a windbreaker and a pair of shorts that made him look like a surfer. We resembled hopeless fashion rejects, but at least we didn’t look like escaped prisoners. The long sleeves allowed us to hide our Larkwood bands as well.

I tossed food into my basket as Knox walked beside me, picking things with a good shelf life and plenty of calories. I had no idea what the future held, where we’d go, what we’d find there, which meant we needed to make the best out of what we could find when we got the chance.

I peered behind me, wondering where Brax and Wade had run off to. It was best for us not to be too close in public since a group of four brought more attention than a pair did, but I struggled not to worry when I couldn’t see them.

“They’re picking up some goods at the general store down the street,” Knox said. “I gave them some of the cash I’d gotten.”

I nodded to acknowledge the information, then reached for a pack of cookies from the shelf. They made me pause as I looked at them, the same brand that Brax and Wade had fought over in my room before.

“You sure we need those?”

I thought back to Larkwood, to the chaos we’d left behind. I remembered the way Wade had stood between me and the shades who had wanted to kill me. Next, I recalled Brax fully changed into his berserker form, blood dripping from his huge body, the way he’d taken out everything that risked me before he’d rumbled out “mine.”

We’d gone through so much, suffered so much pain to get us here. Cookies seemed a small price to pay.

Knox set his palm over mine, which made me realize my hand still hung in mid-air. He guided me back to drop the cookies into the basket while offering a kind smile. “Comfort food is important, right? In fact…” Knox pulled away and walked toward the end of the aisle for a moment. He plucked something from a shelf, then jogged back and tossed it into the basket.

I peered down to find a king-sized chocolate bar.

“You complained about the lack of chocolate before. I figured you deserved something nice, too.”

I couldn’t stop my smile, not just at the thought of tasting the candy but also at Knox’s sweetness.

Now is not the time to act all smitten.

We had bigger things to deal with than my feelings toward Knox.

“You haven’t been sleeping well,” Knox said, the words so unexpected I frowned at the change in topic.

I tucked the basket into the crook of my elbow so I could sign. “What?”

“You’ve been waking up from nightmares. Are you reliving what happened?”

I gulped but shook my head. “I’m tumbling into this endless void of darkness. It feels like I’m drowning, and no matter how I kick, I can’t reach the surface.” Even admitting the dreams that had plagued me every night made me shudder.

“Kit.”

That took me by surprise, and I jerked to a stop.

Knox, however, kept speaking as if the topic weren’t awkward at all. “Your bond with Kit. I’m going to guess he’s trying to reach you through it, and when you resist, that’s why you get that sinking feeling.”

He wouldn’t hurt me like that.” I might not be certain of many things, but that I knew for sure.

“No, he wouldn’t on purpose, but he might not realize it’s causing you any distress. It might be like…being blindfolded and screaming for someone, not realizing they’re right next to you. He might be reaching for you but have no idea you can feel it.”

Now that sounded like the man I know. “What should I do?”

“Talk to him.” At my look, he laughed softly. “If Kit wants to find you, he can. You need your sleep, though, and you won’t get any if this keeps up. So talk to him.” After a moment, he added quietly, “You’ll probably feel better after checking in with him anyway.”

Which was true… Leaving the way I had without a real goodbye to either Kit or Deacon hurt. The memory of Deacon’s face, the way he’d stared at me as if I’d broken his heart, was almost as bad as the nightmares.

In fact, no matter how much I wanted to ignore it, the feeling encompassed more than just the two of them. I’d left so much back at Larkwood, so many people hurting. Why was I free when they had to stay there?

Instead of dwelling on it, I told myself that I’d brave that conversation when I fell asleep that night. I’d force myself to confront that darkness and Kit.

I owed him that much, didn’t I?

“Shit.” Knox’s curse took me off guard, pulling me from my little pep talk. He wasn’t the sort to swear much, and I hadn’t done anything to earn a reaction like that as far as I knew.

I pulled back enough to peer at his face, finding his gaze not on me but up and to the left.

I turned, my blood running cold when I realized what he stared at. On the television a breaking story ran, and above the newscaster’s shoulder? Knox’s, Wade’s and Brax’s faces stared back at me.

The words that ran along the bottom edge of the screen talked about the escape from Larkwood, though they only mentioned the other three. Nowhere did they imply a fourth person had participated.

Why doesn’t it include me?

“We should get going,” Knox said, his voice low. “You check out, and I’ll head next door to grab Wade and Brax. Meet us on the side of the building.”

After I nodded, he headed out, his face down. Thankfully, the three looked different enough in regular clothing than the sweats the pictures showed. Besides, most people ignored news reports like those, assuming that such things would never touch their lives.

I paid quickly, a gesture toward the large scar at my throat when the cashier had tried to strike up a conversation. My fingers ached from the heavy bags, but just as Knox had said, I found all three men around the side of the building.

And boy did Brax look angry. Still, the expression fit rather well on his face. In fact, if he really wanted to hide who he was, the best way would have probably been to smile. No one would recognize him like that.

Brax narrowed his eyes before swiping his hand out and taking the bags from me without asking. “No idea what you’re thinking, but I don’t like that smirk.”

I shrugged rather than admitting or denying anything.

“Looks like this might be our last family outing,” Wade said.

“Why wouldn’t they include Hera, though?” Brax asked.

“It has to be a ploy.” Knox pressed his lips together for a moment. “Maybe the Warden hopes that will get us stuck, that it’ll force her to act alone so guards can look for Hera?”

Maybe…though the more I thought about it, the less that made sense. “I think she doesn’t want it known I’m at Larkwood at all. She’s keeping it secret to leverage that information, which means she can’t admit I’m not there anymore. She probably can’t even tell my parents, because if she did, they’d stop helping her.” Even saying that hurt, making a deep spot inside my chest ache, the part that still craved a family.

Wade reached for me and entwined his gloved hand with mine, his tight grip reassuring.

His touch made his point loud and clear—whether or not my parents ever accepted me, I had people. No matter how hard it had been to lose my voice, it had taught me how much a person could say without ever speaking a word.

So I squeezed back as we headed off toward the empty store we’d broken into the night before to sleep at.

Things might look bad, and they might just get worse, but I wasn’t alone.

Buy Links

Choose Your Store
First For Romance

About the Author

Jayce Carter

Jayce Carter lives in Southern California with her husband and two spawns. She originally wanted to take over the world but realized that would require wearing pants. This led her to choosing writing, a completely pants-free occupation. She has a fear of heights yet rock climbs for fun and enjoys making up excuses for not going out and socializing. You can learn more about her at her website.

Giveaway

Enter for the chance to win a $50.00 First for Romance Gift Card! Competition hosted by Totally Entwined Group.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: