Today I am proud to host Inara Scott author of The Marked.
But before we get to the fun stuff here is more about Inara!
Inara was born in the winter wonderland of Buffalo, NY. She promptly commenced complaining about being cold, and didn’t stop until she moved North Carolina to attend college. Eventually, she settled down in Portland, Oregon, which is a lot like Buffalo, but without all the snow. After college, Inara spent time teaching outdoor and environmental education, but given her love of writing (and let’s be honest, arguing), it was only a matter of time before she ended up in law school. Today, Inara juggles every career she can think of, most at the same time. She practices law, writes romance and young adult fiction, and does frequent school visits. Her debut young adult novel, THE TALENTS (formerly released as DELCROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES) was a 2010 Oregon Spirit Book Award Honor Book. THE MARKED (A TALENTS novel), will be released in April of 2011. Her most recent contemporary romance, RULES OF NEGOTIATION, was inspired by her years of practice in corporate law. That, and a very active imagination.
Now here is Inara to introduce this cool scene!
For those who haven't read The Candidates/The Talents, you should know there are two boys: Cam and Jack. Jack's the bad boy, and he gets a lot of attention. In fact, I'd say the majority of my questions from readers are about Jack. Where is he? Is he coming back? Is he okay? :-)
Well, for all of you who asked, this is a little prequel scene for The Marked...a shot from Jack's point of view, which occurs shortly after The Candidates ends.
I was used to running—and hiding. I’d been practicing since I was a kid, when it was my mom and me running, and the one we were hiding from was my dad. But this was different. These people knew how to track. Every time I thought I’d lost them, a new, suited figure would appear, casually scanning the crowd. Or there would be a woman standing at the edge of a park, pretending to be reading a book, but never glancing down at her hands.
A teenager studying the crowd at the mall.
An older man, his hand resting at his hip.
Catching sight of me the moment I let down my guard.
With no way to earn any money and no one to ask for help, I had to resort to robbing convenience stores. I hated doing that, though not because I had any compunction about breaking the law. Let me tell you, I lost that a long time ago. No, I hated stealing because it drew attention. Even those idiots at the 7-11 had some kind of direct line to the local TV news. And they had cameras. There were always cameras.
I headed down I-5 toward Portland. I tried hitching, but I didn’t like standing beside the road and having everyone look at me, so I got off the highway pretty quickly. Later that night, I stole a car from a motel. That worked better but there were too many cops around, even on the back roads. I ditched it a few miles outside of Portland, and walked the rest of the way into town. At least once I was there I could get some help. My old gang wasn’t pretty, but they knew how to hide someone.
I refused to use my freak-power. I don’t know how they tracked it, but it seemed the moment I flexed my mental muscles, their snipers popped up all around me.
I ended up in Portland on a hot, sunny day. I knew most of the gang would be downtown or by one of the bridges, but those spaces were too public, especially when the weather was nice. Instead, I walked down the paved path that ran along the east side of the Willamette River. When I was several miles from downtown, I followed a footpath into the wooded area between the path and the river. It was quiet here, with only the whir of bike tires on the path and the distant sound of a boat on the river breaking the silence. I walked past the remnants of an old campfire, and skirted a pile of garbage. Homeless people lived down here, when the weather was decent. This area wasn’t always safe, especially after dark, but I didn’t worry about it. I could protect myself.
When I got closer to the river, I found an overturned log and sat on top of it. I wished I had brought a water bottle, or some food. My stomach rumbled and my head spun a little. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a full meal.
Now that I’d stopped moving, the hopelessness of my situation finally hit. What was I going to do next? Rob a bank? Head for Mexico? Their snoops could find me there. They could find me anywhere.
For a moment, the image of a girl with blonde curly hair and piercing blue eyes filled my mind. I wondered what she was doing. I wondered if she missed me.
I wondered if she was with him.
Without realizing, I’d made my hand into a fist, and started to punch the soft, decaying bark of the tree underneath me.
“You alone down there?” a voice called out behind me.
I jumped, so startled by the intrusion that I almost fell off the tree. The guy approaching me was beefy, with thick biceps that strained the edges of his faded red t-shirt. His face was round and soft, and in another setting I might have guessed he was friendly. Maybe even kind. But then I saw the intensity radiating from his eyes.
Nothing friendly about that.
I forced myself not to react visibly, but every muscle in my body tensed.
“Yeah,” I said. “What’s it to you?”
He ambled over and extended a large, meaty hand. “I’m Thaddeus.”
He gave me a firm shake, but I had the feeling if he wanted, he could have swung me around in the air like a toy. He dropped my hand and then turned to the river. A thick layer of brush, blackberry brambles, and cottonwood trees blocked our view, but the sun reflecting off the water sparkled through holes in the foliage.
“Bet you’re hungry,” he said.
I stared at his broad back. “What makes you think that?” My heart started to pound. Was he one of them? Without moving, I began to draw in energy from the world around me, feeling it crackle in my chest.
“I wouldn’t,” he said calmly. “The others are right behind me. They won’t appreciate it if you try something.”
Did he know what I was doing, or was it just a really good guess? I supposed it didn’t matter; I redoubled my efforts, and then imagined the coil of air looping around his neck.
“What could I do against you?” I scoffed. “You’re like, ten times bigger than me.”
Adrenaline and fear mixed together. After weeks of running, I was ready for a fight.
“Let’s not play games, Jack,” Thaddeus said. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around the trunk of a tree. With an exhalation of breath, he squatted slightly and then stood, pulling the tree from the ground like picking a daisy. I heard cracking from somewhere at our feet, and a small collection of branches fell from the sky. Then he rotated the trunk in either direction, turning left and right, snapping and ripping whatever roots were holding the tree into place.
He was one of them. But why all this fuss? Why spend time proving his power? Why not simply kill me and be done with it?
“I won’t be watched,” I said flatly, coming to my feet. “I’d rather be dead.”
Thad nodded and tossed the tree to the side. It crashed through the underbrush, landing with an enormous thud. Then he turned back to me. He wiped his hands together and smiled. “I agree. I’ve come to give you a different alternative.”
So cool! I always wondered what happened to Jack and this explains some questions I had while reading The Marked.
Here is some more about The Marked: In her second semester at a boarding school for teenagers with special powers, Dancia Lewis faces danger from both inside and outside of Delcroix Academy.
All of her life, Dancia Lewis has wanted to use her powers for good. And now that she’s learned the truth about Delcroix Academy—and herself—she may just get the chance. But being part of Delcroix’s top secret Program isn’t anything like Dancia expected. She has to ask herself: what happens to the Talented kids who refuse to pledge their loyalty to the Program? And why did her friend Jack run away rather than join? Dancia’s adorable boyfriend Cam insists they need the help of every Talented student to defend Delcroix from dangerous enemies outside their gates. But Dancia has to wonder: what if Delcroix’s most frightening enemies come from within?
To find out more check out my review of The Marked!