Honorary Chick – Esi Sogah

Pops Sogah 1Can we get a KickAss round of applause on this one, as we welcome Senior Editor for Kensington Publishing Corporation, acquiring for Kensington and the Zebra, Lyrical and Dafina imprints. Say hello to Esi Sogah. For her sins, Esi is also my editor on the Willow Park Romance series. I think she needs another round of applause, just for putting up with me.

Esi, tell us a little about yourself.

I was born…OK we can skip ahead. I’ve been in publishing for about a decade(!) now, beginning my career at Avon Books. There I worked mainly on historical and paranormal romances, and helped spearhead the launch of Avon Impulse. In 2014, I joined the Kensington publishing family, working on romance (mainly contemporary), mystery, and fiction. I’m a huge theater buff and a recovering TV addict. I’ve never learned how to say no to potatoes and I hope I never will.

What are the top three mistakes authors make in writing and submitting their work?

Too much exposition—I know you hear this all the time, but nothing will drag the pace of a book down more than too much exposition. More subtly, stating a character’s emotions but not showing them play out. It keeps your reader at a distance and if that emotional connection isn’t there, the book isn’t going to work for them.

Lack of research—look into the house and the editor you’re submitting to. Make sure your work is something that fits with what they’re doing. If you can’t tell, that doesn’t mean don’t submit, but don’t say “I hear you’re looking for YA” if you have no idea if that’s true.

Ground your characters in reality—even it a choice advances your plot, make sure it’s something a character (especially your heroine) would actually do in real life. So if you’ve got a romantic suspense novel about a stalker, the heroine shouldn’t be okay with having a virtual stranger in her home just because you and your readers know that he’s the hero.

Now for some fun! Rapid Fire Questions:

Favorite Things: Candy, Musicals, Naps
Pet Peeves: Slow walkers (true this, she route marched me around NYC recently), writing that’s in love with itself
Addictions: Candy, Musicals, Naps J Also British TV mysteries

Kick Ass Superpower: Making people laugh at inappropriate times

Your best book boyfriend:

  • For the night: Sebastian from Lord of Scoundrels or Colin Bridgerton from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (or, in the immortal words of the internet, why not both?) – I’m with Esi on this, why not both?
  • For a dirty weekend: Silas Smith (Blood of the Wicked by Karina Cooper)
  • To have and to hold: Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

Thanks so much to Esi for being with us today. Any questions for her, please post in the comment section and we’ll give her a nudge to get back to you.

What if you fly- Part 13 FINALE with guest author Kim Smith

what_if by Erin Hanson  Please welcome another guest author for the next installment of our serial story, What If You Fly? As always, if you want to read the entire story, it’s available on Wattpad. 


She heard his muttered curse.

“David,” she responded, trying to rise from the fog her brain had sunken into. “I’m not sure I’m—“

“—ready to hear this? Too late, Cupcake.” He lifted her in his arms. “You’re a part of it. Have been ever since Mazie and I got in town. I brought all this bad news with me. I’m sorry, Liv. But if you’ll work quickly to get over our past, maybe we can get on with a future. That is, if they let us live that long.”

She wriggled and made him put her down. The blood from the crumpled man’s form had begun to travel. “For crap’s sake, David, don’t let Mazie in here. She cannot see that.”

As if she had been conjured, Mazie walked out into the garage.

David turned and blocked the view. “Can I just say, you have impeccable timing, little girl?”

Mazie grinned up at him, a stuffed dog lolling over her arm. “I’m ready to go to Grammy’s, Daddy.”

He ushered her to the opposite side of the car and settled her into the back seat. Olivia gingerly stepped over the body and slid into the front passenger’s seat. David slid an S&W under his seat before turning the key in the ignition.

Olivia’s knees had turned into pudding and the sight of the gun had been the last straw. “Why do you have that? And what the, you-know-what, is going on?”

He grinned at her as he backed down the driveway. “Let’s just say that I got into some gambling debt after we parted company. The people I owe money to are after what I owe. They won’t stop with breaking my legs. I came to town to bring my child to the one person in the world who would take care of her while I try to fix this once and for all. They found me a lot sooner than I thought they would.”

“Me?” She was dumb-struck. Where was the child’s mother?

He read her mind. “Her mother is dead. You’re my last hope, Liv.”

“Does she know?”

“Yes, and no. I gave her the six year old’s version. It was tough on both of us, and then I had to plan…”

“And what is the plan, David? You’ve put both of us in danger now, and neither of us is prepared for anything.”

“You’re both going to Mazie’s maternal grandparent’s house. He’s a retired cop, and has connections to keep you safer than I can. His place is like an armored castle. Meanwhile, I’m going to disappear for a while.”

She gasped. “Again? You’re leaving me again?”

“Let’s get one thing straight, Liv. I intend, at the very least, to remain in contact via phone, although I hope for more. Bill, Mazie’s grandfather is working to get us into witness protection. I just have to pull the heat away from her…you…us. Once it all gets set up, we can have that life we talked about so many years ago. Mazie trusts you. We just have to trust one another, right?” He glanced over at her. “Please, Olivia. There is no one else I trust not to turn me in.”

“Don’t be so sure,” Liv answered. “Part of me wants you to stop this car and let me out. Let me out of this whole stinking business. Part of me wants to beat the snot out of you for waltzing in here and ruining my life. AGAIN. I mean, that was a real man, with a real bullet—you know.” She glanced over her shoulder at Mazie. The child was sleeping. “I used to think I knew what was what with you. Now? Not so much.”

“Please, Liv. I need you. Mazie needs you. It was kill or be killed. He would have hurt Mazie, so I took him out. I’ve never been an angel, but you know me, or at least you did. I’m still in here.” He tapped his chest with a finger. “At least some part of the guy you used to know is in there. Right now, he’s a little screwed up, a whole lot scared because I have to run. Have to. But I swear on my baby’s life I‘ll be back. Be back with no issues and this nightmare will be over. We can start again. She needs a good woman to be her mother.”

“Is that a proposal?”

He grabbed her hand and squeezed. “It’s just a down payment, but there’s plenty more where that came from.”

She straightened and stared ahead at the road winding before them. “I have said a lot of terrible things about you in the years gone by. But you know what?” She looked over at him. “I never said anything about insanity.”

“We’ll go slow,” he promised, lifting her fingers to his lips.

“Damn skippy. Painfully slow.”

He stroked her hand with his fingers, relaxing her. “Does that mean you’re ready to do this?”

She closed her eyes and whispered. “I always was a sucker for a dare. Geronimo.”


A great big THANK YOU to all the authors who participated in our serial story What if you Fly. If you’d like to know more about them you can find out more by clicking on their name.

Xio Axelrod

Kim Loraine

Jami Denise

J.R. Richardson

Kim Smith


This has been great fun. It incredible how many different twist the story took. Hope you all enjoyed it as well. Standby for more great stuff from the Chicks.


What if You fly – Part 11 with guest author Jami Denise

What if You fly – Part 11 with guest author Jami Denise

Today we have another guest author taking the story and twisting it her way. Please welcome the amazing Jami Denise.

what_if by Erin Hanson

I jackknifed off the bed, startled and panting.

“Just a dream. Holy crap.”

With my hand over my heart, I closed my eyes and tried to gather my wits. Normally, I wasn’t a big drinker, but after the episode earlier that evening, I’d been a basket case. Confused and agitated, I’d spent the remainder of my evening alone with a bottle of five dollar wine and a box of stale donuts.

It was all too real. The light, the way David looked at me as I slipped through the night and away into nothing locked into my mind like an anchor. A dream like that had to be due to the freaking wine.

Who dreams about aliens for crying out loud?

A deep breath and a few scrubs over my eyes and I stumbled out of bed and in search of coffee and aspirin.

“I’m never drinking again,” I grumbled to myself.

Dinner had been interesting—if not completely awkward. I wasn’t sure what he was up to, but he was pushing his agenda fairly hard. There was something off about him, however. He seemed agitated and nervous, looking over his shoulder and tapping his fingers against the table.

Other than that, he’d been charming and fun, but the more time I spent with him, the more I realized he hadn’t changed much. That hurt. Stuffing away feelings for so many years left me bitter and jaded and after an hour with him and Mazie, my padding fell away just enough to invite the memories.

When I reached the kitchen, I went straight for the coffee maker and shoveled a few spoonfuls into the filter and filled the tank with water. I didn’t even want to think about it anymore—at least not until I was full of caffeine.

Work was about the last place I wanted to be, but at the very least, I’d be too busy to think about David and the fact that I’d agreed to have dinner with him again. Alone.

Twelve hours later, I pulled up in front of David’s house, worse for the wear after a long day of dealing with children and nursing a hell of a headache. So many times I’d considered cancelling, but a part of me was curious to find out what he wanted to talk about.

He’d been elusive when I asked straight out what was going on, but after the dream and the strange hints he’d dropped at the diner, I was ready to find out what the hell was going on. Not only that, I wanted to finally get our past out of the way once and for all. I was sick of living in my self-imposed limbo. Closure was the only way I’d ever be free of David Ray.

Mazie met me at the door, smiling as wide and bright as the horizon and wearing the cutest little green dress I’d ever seen.

I had to admit—I adored Mazie. Hard not to. There was something special about her, and it outweighed the heaviness in my heart that came with her father. When David came back to town and I found out about Mazie, I admit—I was resentful. How could I not be? She was part of a future I had no part in, a future I thought would be mine.

Her tiny ringlets were pulled into one high ponytail at the crown of her head and I’d never seen a child more adorable in my life.

“Mazie, don’t you look pretty. That’s a very fancy dress.”

Smiling, she held the corners of her skirt and swayed back and forth. “It’s only for special occasions. Daddy said I could dress up since you were coming to dinner.”

Her smile was contagious and when her father walked up behind her, looking like he’d just stepped out of a photo shoot for some high priced cologne, I nearly lost my footing.

Would I ever get used to how attractive he was? Probably not, but I had to keep my distance, and hold on to my composure. Nothing could happen between us, for many reasons. The more I reminded myself, the more I wanted to say to hell with it all.

“Liv, glad you came.”

The corners of his eyes crinkled when he smile, which I loved. Truth was, men really had it easy. The older they got, the most handsome they became, and he was no exception. My gaze traveled over him, and once again my eyes were drawn to the way his shirt fit across his shoulders like silk on glass.

“Dinner is almost ready. Drink?”

I nodded and handed him my coat. “Yes, please.”

What I didn’t say was that a little hair of the dog paired with some liquid courage was exactly what I needed. The way he smiled at me told me he knew exactly what I was thinking.

When I drove up to his house, I was shocked. He’d obviously done very well for himself. No surprise there. He’d always been driven, even at a very young age. I’d always had the impression that his father had a lot to do with his ambitions, however.

After fixing me a drink, he sat next to me on the sofa while Mazie went up to her room with her Nanny.

“David, what’s going on?”

He ran his hand through his hair and stared down at the glass in his hand. He looked pensive, irritated. Tired.

“Liv, we’re in danger.”

I barked out a laugh. “What are you talking about? You’re freaking me out. After all these years, you owe me an explanation.”

He sighed and looked up at me, frowning. “When I left, it was to save your life. I thought I could keep you safe, but they know.”

This was nuts. He was acting like a lunatic, talking in circles. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“You. They know about you, Liv.”

The cup crashed to the floor as I stood and put my hands on my hips. “Who knows, and what do they know? You’re talking in riddles.”

“You’re my weakness, and they know it. They’ll use you to get to me.”

“Who?” I yelled.

The look on his face turned my blood to ice and I froze.

“The Cartel.”

Check out the full story on WATTPAD.

What If You Fly – Part 10

what_if by Erin HansonOh, we are heading into the home stretch with our progressive fiction. The guest author we had scheduled for today had some things come up, so I’m pinch hitting for her today. Want to see where the story came from? You can start at the beginning and find each installment  on OUR BLOG or at WATTPAD.

For now, here is part 10!

David lunged toward her, only to be restrained when the nightmarishly tall Taryn seized his arms. The Lumeri easily lifted David until his feet dangled six inches off the ground. The fear and rage on David’s face was the only thing not obscured by the haze of the transport beam immobilizing Liv. She beat her fists against the glowing wall, screaming as fiery heat pulsed from hand to shoulder.

The alien who claimed to be her brother tossed the sensory blocking he’d just removed to Taryn, who caught it and in one swift move, slammed it back into David’s chest. He went instantly limp in Taryn’s grasp, only to be encased in the bright white light of a beam similar to the one surrounding her.

Mazie screamed as another bolt of light descended from above and swathed her.

“You said they’d go free,” Liv screamed at her brother. “You promised you wouldn’t hurt them if I went with you.”

The price on their heads is too high. Liv’s jaw ached—dull, constant and painful pressure—while her brother forced his thoughts directly into her head. Our father insists we bring them back to Lumeri. He’ll require the ransom money to finance his invasion plans.

Taryn released his grip on David, who despite of his immobilized state remained upright. Taryn stepped back and beat his fist against his shoulder then his chest, and addressed her brother. “Uomo, This one is ready for transport. The sensory block is complete. He will not be able to move until we are ready to return him to Aldoria.” His voice from within the transport cylinder came out a distorted grunt.

Uomo? That name was familiar. Hadn’t she heard her earthly guards whispering that name just after Liv and David had broken up all those years ago. She’d been in the hallway double checking to make sure she’d returned her trigonometry book to her book bag when their voices echoed out of the kitchen.

They said Uomo is alive.”

Her father snorted. “They have to be mistaken. We’d know. The signs would be evident. She’d come into her powers if he were. You know the glow would be obvious. Have you seen any signs of it?”

“I have not, but you know the luminescence could be latent. She is not fully of age yet.”

“You worry for no reason, woman. The rumors of Uomo’s continued existence are just that. Rumors.”

Their conversation had been hushed, but urgent and angry, but they’d hushed the second she’d walked into the kitchen. Her ‘mother’ had started banging pots onto the stove, while the man she’d thought of as father hid behind the morning newspaper. And that had been the end of.

Her brother’s grin pulled his features into a grotesque mask. The fierce glow in his brilliant blue eyes was beyond otherworldly. Liv had never seen anything that looked close to the color, and it terrified and oddly soothed her to know hers were probably glowing with as much intensity.

Liv swept her glance from her brother to lock eyes on Mazie. The girl had shrunk back against the glowing wall of the beam surrounding her, biting her lower lip, tears shimmering in her eyes, but not falling. Brave little munchkin. And to think, just a short while ago, the biggest thing she’d feared had been standing up in front of the audience, performing her song in the talent show.

David had spoken into her mind. Liv decided to try to reach out to Mazie in the same way. Possibly they shared a similar connection.

Liv pressed her palms to her thighs, attempting to focus her energy and concentration on the little girl. “Mazie, baby can you hear me?”

Mazie’s mouth formed a perfect little O, her eyes widening to the size of saucers, as she nodded. “Why is this happening, Miss Buffenbarger? Is my daddy okay?

“I’m not sure, honey. But I think he’s okay.” Liv drew on every bit of her teacher training and tried to put as much reassurance into her smile as humanly possible. Oh, hell, she wasn’t human, was she? “I promise, I won’t let anything bad happen to you or your dad. Do you believe me?”

Mazie nodded.

Liv broke the connection between her and the little girl, and projected her thoughts toward David. Where earlier they’d had a clear connection, now, she encountered a cloudy wall. The sensory block must affect his brain waves, or pattern, or whatever. She pulled her thoughts back.

Uomo had been watching her attempt at silent communication and turned his glare on her. “You will not be able to communicate with the Aldorian while he wears the block. If I have my way that will be forever. And if you wish to save the little Aldorian,” he inclined his head toward Mazie, “I suggest you hold no further private conversations with her.”

Liv drew a deep breath and squared her shoulders. “What do you want with us?”

The light encircling her grew brighter and colder and louder, humming like intense white noise. Liv pressed her hands against her ears and saw Mazie do the same, her face scrunched up, as if in pain. A curious pressure enveloped Liv’s body, creating a weightless, floating feeling. She felt as if she were being lifted upward.

Uomo threw his back and grating laughter filled the air. “Sister,” he said. “Prepare yourself. You are about to meet our father.”

Gemma Sig-1a

What if you fly- Part 9 by Kim Loraine

Welcome Guest Flash Fiction participant Kim Loraine:-) Thanks for being an Honorary KickAss Chick and adding to our story!

Interested in starting at the beginning? You can find it all here on OUR BLOG or at WATTPAD.

what_if by Erin Hanson



“I know you’re there, Aldorian filth.” Taryn’s voice rumbled over the quiet hilltop as he surveyed the grounds. “I can smell you.”

Tendrils of fear mixed with a fierce need to fight had Olivia tensing in her spot next to David. How had she come from an elementary school talent show to an intergalactic war? She breathed as quietly as possible, afraid Taryn would hear her.

Her heart raced as the same thought circled in her head. What do they want from us?

David’s muscles jumped under her hand and he locked eyes with her, a question on his face. She could feel their connection throughout her entire being, an almost uncontrollable pull to be near each other. He let out a soft breath and closed his eyes, resting his forehead against hers.

They want you.

It was his voice in her ears, but not from his lips. An involuntary gasp escaped her and she cringed, heart hammering in her chest and a cold sweat covering her.

Her? They wanted her. What could she give them? Nothing.

Liv, they want to keep us apart. There’s never been an Aldorian and Lumeri pairing in the history of our kind. The prophecy of the elders says the fruit of our union would bring great change to our world—a new species with untold power.

 That’s why your parents—no, your guards—got so angry when we were kids. That’s why they didn’t want us together.

 You can’t know how hard it has been for me to stay away from you. We were fated to be together. It has been written for thousands of years. It is the reason for the uprising. The Lumeri don’t want another species weakening their control. Your father tried to have you killed the moment you were born a girl.

 What? My father wanted to kill me?

Nausea clawed at her throat. Her own father wanted to kill her.

 Not the father you know. The parents who raised you are humans. After my family heard of your birth and of your father’s plans, they kidnapped you and had you sent to Earth … with me.

 Her knees wobbled as she let it all sink in. Her parents weren’t her real parents and she was basically alien royalty, apparently with telepathic powers. She wondered briefly what other powers she might have. Her whole life was a lie. Even her feelings for David weren’t her own. They’d been arranged thousands of years ago by people who didn’t even know her.

 Taryn’s gravelly voice broke through their connection. His words sent shivers down her spine.

“Give us what we want and the child can leave with you. Give us what your family stole.”

A sharp pain blossomed in the center of her forehead, forcing a cry from her unwilling mouth as a hard, angry voice sounded in her head. Sister. Come home.

She pushed away from David, confusion coloring her emotions.

“Sister?” She directed the word at David and his face paled.

“No. It can’t be him. He’s supposed to be dead.”

A soft thud sounded from across the hill. David’s eyes rolled back in his head. He slumped to the ground in a graceless heap.


She fell to his side and immediately began assessing his body for some sign of injury. It was a dark, moonless night. The only light came from the soft glow of the glass case holding Mazie; not enough to see clearly. She resorted to running her fingers over his neck and chest searching for some kind of wound, praying she wouldn’t find blood. Her hand ghosted above a cool, flat disc over his heart. Her first instinct was to pry it loose, remove the offending object from him, and bring him back to her.

“I wouldn’t do that, little sister. The sensory blocker can only be removed by a trained professional. You’ll trigger the self-destruct function and electrocute your beloved.”

She spun around from her crouching position to see the lanky man they’d noticed standing in front of her earlier. His eyes burned the same sapphire color as hers, and his voice was the one that had echoed in her head.

“Kassia, I can’t believe it’s you,” his voice broke as he approached her.

“My name is Olivia.”

His lips tightened into a thin line. He didn’t like that, but she couldn’t help correcting him.

“Fine, Olivia. If that is what you wish to be called, that can be arranged.” He held a hand out to her, but she stayed put, not willing to go with this stranger, even if he was her brother.

“Fix him.”

“I can do that, but not until you agree to come with us. You need to be where you belong.”

She balked at his suggestion. “I belong here. Where I have lived my entire life. I don’t know you. So far, all I’ve seen is that you like to steal kindergarteners and shoot unarmed men.”

He laughed, the glow of his eyes brightening. “He is not as defenseless as you might think. Aldorians carry many defenses that can’t be seen.”

“Take that thing out of his chest.”

“Come with us. Come learn which side you are supposed to be on and I swear to you, I will fix him.”

Her heart stuttered. If she didn’t go, David would die. But if she did, what might happen to her? And what about Mazie? Her eyes drifted to the sleeping child.

“Mazie goes free. Now. Call it a gesture of good faith.”

He flicked a glance at Taryn and nodded once. The glass melted away, seeping into the ground. Mazie blinked her eyes, offering a soft yawn. The little girl stepped out of the remnants of the chamber and locked eyes with her as Taryn stood close behind.

“Fine. I’ll go with you, but I need to see him safe.”

Her gut clenched when her brother’s lips spread in an unnerving smile.

“Good girl. Stand right there. This will only hurt for a second.”

A bolt of electricity raced through her body, burning and immobilizing her as the transport beam encircled her. She watched as her brother extracted the sensory blocker, and David came around. His gaze connected with her, and his beautiful face took on an anguished expression.

“Liv! No! What have you done?”


Stayed tuned for part 10- coming next week. Can’t wait to see where the story goes!







What if you Fly – Part 8 by  Guest Author Xio Axelrod

What if you Fly – Part 8 by Guest Author Xio Axelrod

what_if by Erin HansonDavid heard the tell-tale hum of a transport beam a split second before the circle of light appeared in the center of the clearing. Liv’s sharp intake of breath provided the soundtrack for his anticipation.

“Is that what I think it is?” Her voice caressed his ear as she leaned over his shoulder. He nodded in response, eyes glued to the landing spot. Two people materialized in the circle.

“Friend or foe?”

“Foe.” He didn’t recognize the smaller of the two, a spindly man with a shock of dark hair and the unmistakably arrogant carriage of a military leader. His jaw tightened at the thought. The fact that the rebel alliance touted themselves as soldiers of the righteous cause pissed him off to no end. His family had fought in the Great War, fathers and mothers alike. They’d put their lives on the line to keep the peace and save what was left of their civilization. Everything that the alliance had tried to destroy, all for the sake of power. And none of them was more ambitious than the other man standing one hundred yards from his clenching fists.

David may have growled.

“You know them?”

“The big one is Taryn Thar.”

“He has Mazie?” An iron edge crept into her voice that had David’s chest swelling with pride. She was a warrior, his Liv. Even if she didn’t know it.

“I wasn’t sure until now.”

“She’s just a little girl.”

“Doesn’t matter to them.”

Like all Thars, Taryn had never let anything like morals stand in his way. Towering to almost seven feet, and half as broad, Taryn was built for battle. Even now his hand hovered over the pistol at his side. Expectant. David’s eyes scanned the area for more activity. Where was Mazie? If they’d done anything to her, anything at all, he’d kill them without hesitation. Liv’s hand slid over his bicep, sending his blood racing away from his brain.

“She’s okay, David. They need her, right?”

As many times as David had fantasized about having Liv – Olivia – this close again, it was proving to be a distraction. The scorching chemistry between them, enhanced by their shared ancestry, acted as fuel to the flames of their rekindled attraction. That kiss, brief as it was, had seared him.

“Right. You’re right.” He dared a glance at her full mouth. Heat radiated in the small space that separated their bodies as they hid in the shadow of a large oak. The low hanging branches provided the perfect cover for seeing while not being seen. He pressed closer to the thick trunk. Liv hovered close behind him.

Every inch of David was aware of every inch of her.

Her elevated heartbeat, her shallow breaths, even the slightly floral-scented perspiration on her fine skin. There was fear, yes, anger too. But also desire. He fought a similar war.

He had Liv.

In the dark, on Spencer Hill, she clung to him. It was his high school fantasy realized, and his body responded to the conjured memories of their time together. Before everything had gone off the rails. He wanted to explain more about her origins. About them. Really needed to, and she deserved nothing less. He’d thought he had time. But now she was in the deep end with him, without preamble. And yet she’d come along, no questions asked, as he knew she would. Yeah, he had Liv.

And the rebels had Mazie.

Every fiber of his being wanted to charge into the clearing and rip to shreds anyone that had laid a hand on his precious girl. Cowards.

A cylindrical object appeared at the top of the beam and descended slowly toward the men below. Taryn’s eyes darted between the cylinder and the horizon. They swept over their hiding space. David tensed, but Taryn’s eyes never paused. Liv exhaled behind him, long and slow. When the object reached the ground, Liv gasped behind her hand.

There, encased in four feet of crystal-clear glass, like Snow White, was his daughter. Only the hand gripping his arm stopped him from rushing the clearing.

“Wait. Look.” Liv pointed toward Mazie’s reclined form.

“What, I-“

“She’s still breathing,” Liv whispered. “She’s alive.”

Sure enough, David could make out the steady rise and fall of Mazie’s little chest. His heart clenched. They’d likely drugged her, the bastards.

Oh yeah. He was going to kill them.


Want to see how it all started out? The entire story is available on WATTPAD: 

What If You Fly–Part 7

what_if by Erin Hanson

David veered off the gravel road and rolled to a stop at the edge of the wood. The bright gibbous moon hung high, painting the field silver. There was no one in sight.

“I thought you said they’d be at Spencer Hill,” said Olivia, peering over the tops of the trees toward the iconic mound rising above the landscape.

“We’ve beaten them here.”

He shoved the car in park and jumped out. Olivia met him on the driver’s side. He held out his hand, desperation tightening the lines of his face. No matter that she was doubting her own sanity, she knew David well enough to understand that this was real. Real fear. Real danger. She let him guide her into the dense woods surrounding Spencer Hill, her intuition urging her on.

“How do you know they’re not already here?” she whispered.

He glanced back, his eyes sparking molten gold. More proof that she’d stepped into a supernatural world she hadn’t known existed a half an hour ago.

“Spencer Hill is the extraction point. They’ll take Mazie from here as fast as they can. If Mazie was no longer in this world, I’d sense that she was gone.” He paused in a pool of moonlight and gazed upward. His throat worked as he swallowed hard, his heart in his voice. “She’s still here.”

Olivia gripped his hand tighter and edged closer. “You can sense her?”

“Yes.” He lowered his gaze, drinking her in. “As I can sense you, Liv. As I’ve always sensed you. Felt you.”

It was Olivia’s turn to swallow hard. His words sparked a memory of their first kiss. Standing in the parking lot after a football game, they laughed about their panther mascot and the opposing team’s tiger breaking out into a furry fist-fight. David walked her to the passenger side of the car and leaned close from behind to open the door. Olivia didn’t move to give him space. She wanted him even closer. She covered his hand with her own still on the door handle. He froze then pressed his lips to the curve of her bare neck, her hair up in a ponytail. She tilted her head to the side, encouraging him. Hands on her waist, he twisted her around and pressed her body into the car with his own. A surreal moment stretched where nothing mattered but him and her and this undeniable attraction blazing like wildfire between them.

“Do you feel it?” he asked, leaning closer, their breaths coming faster.

She nodded. “Yes.” The energy buzzing between them felt unnatural…perhaps supernatural. When his lips found hers, tasting with gentle sweetness then melting into fevered desire, when he slid his tongue along hers with a deep moan, she knew he was the one. The one who’d take her heart and break it if he ever left, the one who’d ruin her for any other man.

And so he had.

Snapping back to the present, she stared up at the beautiful man who’d haunted her dreams, her nightmares, and had destroyed any chance of her loving another.

He pulled her closer and pressed their clasped hands to his chest. “Do you feel it, Liv?” His words echoed from the past.

With the fresh sting of her old heartbreak aching anew, she wanted to jerk her hand free and slap him hard for the pain he’d etched so deep. Something stopped her. A vibration of energy throbbed in her chest, or was it coming from David? Her skin tingled, the hair on her neck stood on end, her heart raced at the hum coursing through her body. Her chest rose and fell in rapid succession as a pulsing energy swelled and surrounded them.

“Is that you…or me?”

“Both of us.” His voice dropped low and deep.

He pressed so close, their clasped hands were trapped between their chests. Olivia couldn’t move, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t dare look away as David lowered his head and swept his lips once across hers.

“We belong together,” he whispered, grazing her mouth. “We always have.”

He lingered, waiting for her acceptance. Or her rejection. She could’ve spurned him. She could’ve pushed him away and hurt him as he’d hurt her, gaining some small satisfaction in revenge of the coldest kind. But that wasn’t who she was. A deep knowing resonated in the air. This moment was about more than their past or their future together. There was only one course to take.  She gave a single nod.

David released her hand, sliding his own to the small of her back and pulled her closer. He combed the other into her hair, holding her like his life depended on it. He angled his lips against hers, coaxing them apart. Gentle and soft.

A slow burn radiated in her chest. She pulled away on a gasp. His eyes flashed with unnatural luster. Then he smiled.

“What?” she asked, half-drunk from their brief kiss.

“Your eyes.”

“What about them?”

“Your inner light has finally ignited. As I’d hoped.”

“What does that mean?” she asked, still panting.

“Your powers are awakening.”

Unable to process all that she’d learned in such a short time, she somehow believed every word. A bone-deep knowing told her this was true.

“My eyes are gold like yours?”

“No. Brilliant sapphire.” He swept a lock of hair away that had fallen across her forehead. “So beautiful. I’ve heard of your kind and the beauty of your inner light for so long, but I thought I’d never see it for myself.”

Confused, Olivia frowned. “I don’t understand. I thought we were the same kind. You said I was like you.”

David’s expression softened. “We are from the same world, Liv. But I am Aldorian. You are a Lumeri.” He shook his head, smiling, even while his brow pinched together into a frown. “You’re not just any Lumeri. You’re the daughter of Darion, the leader of the rebels.”

“What! The ones who took Mazie?”

A twig snapped behind them. David pulled her back into the shadows.

“Shh. They’re here.”