Exclusive Excerpt from Repeat Offence
by Jackie Keswick
The First Life
I woke to darkness and silence, face down on a surface that was neither hot nor cold, neither hard nor soft. It was smooth, and flat, and yielded by a small amount as I planted my hands and pushed myself carefully upright.
My knees and back protested when I shifted, as if I’d lain motionless for far too long. I moved my head from side to side, arched and straightened my spine to loosen tight muscles. Then, kneeling in the dark, I swept my outstretched arms up and to the sides, trying to find edges, objects… anything that could tell me where I was. My questing hands passed through empty air, unimpeded except for an unfamiliar weight that dragged on my shoulders.
I ran my hands up my thighs, across my hips and chest. My skin felt cool and dry under my palms, and when I reached to touch my back, I encountered a row of long, silky feathers starting beside my spine and extending in an arching sweep beyond the reach of my fingertips.
I was naked.
In the dark.
With wings on my back.
None of it made sense.
When I’d woken after my battlefield death, I’d been clothed—in unfamiliar garb, admittedly—but I hadn’t been naked. Now those clothes were gone along with everything else I remembered.
Where was the hall where we’d woken?
Where was the Judge?
Most importantly, where was Hiro?
And why, of all things, did I have wings?
“Hiro?” I called for him, louder with each repetition until I screamed his name, but the darkness had no echo. It had no answers, either. I could have been the only one alive, and there would have been no way for me to know.
I pushed to my feet and took step after step with my arms stretched in front of me, moving slow and unsteady like a blind man. The wings dragged along the floor with a soft rustle, no use in the lightless space. My prison appeared without bounds. Whichever direction I moved in, I found neither walls nor doors.
If this was to be our punishment…
You will spend your lives on opposite sides of the veil, taking turns living and watching.
About Repeat Offense
It should have ended with their deaths.
But dying in a wash of blood was just the beginning.
Sentenced to eternal life for sacrificing themselves in battle, warriors Taz and Hiro must take turns living as human and Guardian on opposing sides of the veil with only a chance to catch a glance of each other in the moment of death.
Until an attack forces Taz and Hiro to make a choice. Should they cling to what little solace they’ve carved out for themselves? Or should they sacrifice their lives to save countless others and risk the wrath of the Judges for a second time?
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About Jackie Keswick
Jackie Keswick was born behind the Iron Curtain with itchy feet, a bent for rocks and a recurring dream of stepping off a bus in the middle of nowhere to go home. She’s worked in a hospital and as the only girl with 52 men on an oil rig, spent a winter in Moscow and a summer in Iceland and finally settled in the country of her dreams with her dream team: a husband, a cat, a tandem, a hammer and a laptop.
Jackie loves unexpected reunions and second chances, and men who write their own rules. She blogs about English history and food, has a thing for green eyes, and is a great believer in making up soundtracks for everything, including her characters and the cat.
And she still hasn’t found the place where the bus stops.
For questions and comments, not restricted to green eyes, bus stops or recipes for traditional English food, you can find Jackie Keswick in all the usual places:
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