In this third snippet of Nightmare City, Eden is trying to find Greyson, the – literal – man of her dreams, who she manifested from a nightmare.
I closed my hand around the knob and pushed the door open. Empty concrete greeted me as I slipped inside. I spotted a light switch just before the door clicked shut behind me, and hit it. A dim bulb hanging from a cable in the ceiling illuminated the stairwell. Concrete stairs wound upwards, disappearing around the bend. I could only see a few steps ahead. Greyson – if he was there – would hear me coming up the stairs. I wasn’t going to try to sneak up on a hunted man.
I took a deep breath, gathering courage. “Greyson?” I called upwards. “Are you there?”
Nothing stirred. I waited one heartbeat, two, three. Anticipation and dread jittered through my stomach like electrified marbles. “Greyson?”
Maybe he was sleeping. Or wounded. He’d looked unharmed on TV, but that had been hours ago. If he’d faced those hellhounds again, he might have been hurt. And he had been shot right after manifesting. Maybe he was bleeding to death up there. Maybe he had already bled out.
I started up the steps, Aunt Vy silent and light in my hand. I lost all sense of direction on the winding staircase. Somewhere in the middle, I stopped and called up once more.
He either wasn’t there, too weak to answer, or dead. Or waiting around the corner to ambush me.
I ignored Aunt Vy and carried on up. Coming around the bend, I found the last step at eye level. Eight more to go. Five. Three, two…
A shadow loomed in the doorway. Light caught on metal. I brought Vy up just in time, blocking the blade angling towards my throat. I ducked to the side and rammed my opponent with my shoulder. He went down, his sword striking the low-hanging bells before flying into a corner of the small chamber. A clear, high-pitched chime rang through the air. Before he could get up, I laid the tip of Aunt Vy against his neck, a gentle kiss of razor-edged steel. My gaze slid across gray-brown eyes, high cheekbones, full lips. My body screeched to a halt as if I’d run into a wall.
I focused on that spot where blade met skin rather than on his face. It held too much power over me. Even without looking at him directly, I could tell that he appeared tired, battered, confused.
“Elysia?” His voice was smooth and deep. It slid underneath my skin and wound its way around my heart like a warm breeze after being lost in a snow storm.
“Elysia?” he repeated.
I grabbed Aunt Vy’s hilt tighter.
“I can end this for you now!” she said. “Just let go of me and let gravity do the rest. I’ll slice right through his neck on my way down.”
I couldn’t move.
“No.” My voice was rough, toneless. “My name is Eden.”
He blinked, trying to make sense of what I was telling him. “But you dreamed of me.”
“Yes, I did. But I’m Eden. Not Elysia.” Not anymore.
“You’re the spitting image of her,” he insisted.
“That’s because I dreamed I was her.”
“Oh,” he said. Hope fled with that single word. “I thought I’d finally found her.”
“You were looking for her?”
Preorder Nightmare City as ebook or paperback here to find out how the meeting between Eden and Greyson goes as soon as the book is published on November 26.
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