Today, as part of The Midnight Dragonfly Series Tour, hosted by IB Book Blogging, we have the author, Ellie James here to give us a glimpse into her books. She has provided us with a secret scene, a scene from Dylan's point of view. Here's what she has to say about it!
Secret Scene 3
Every now and then a character comes along who spins a story in an entirely new direction. Sometimes these characters are planned; sometimes they’re walk-ons. Regardless, they’re not supposed to be important. They’re not supposed to blow up the plot. They’re not supposed to torture the writer. But, inevitably, they do.
Dylan Fourcade is such a character. He showed up during the last third of SHATTERED DREAMS, the first Midnight Dragonfly book. He was supposed to be a minor, secondary character. Yes, I intended for him to cause conflict between Trinity and her boyfriend, but he wasn’t supposed to touch her soul—or mine. Heck, there was a strong possibility he was going to die somewhere in the second book, BROKEN ILLUSIONS.
But from the moment I first saw him standing there, statue still in the shade of his father’s back porch, everything changed, and I wanted to know more. I had to know more. So did Trinity…and readers. I was blown away by the response to Dylan, who had such a small role in Shattered Dreams. By and far the most common comment about Shattered was…more Dylan, please! Once Dylan came onboard, readers automatically found Chase, Trinity’s boyfriend, tepid. Truth be told, so did Trinity, which became a huge part of her conflict going forward. She thought Chase was the perfect guy. She’d had a crush on him since the first day of school, when she first saw him in homeroom. He was that guy, you know? Good looking. Quarterback of the football team. Popular. Charismatic. The kind of smile that makes a girl feel like she’s the only one in the room. As she got to know him, she fell hard and fast. He was…perfect. Until Dylan came along. Trinity noticed. Readers did, too. Some
reviewers blasted me for pairing Trinity with the wrong guy. But that had evolved into a major part of the plot, Trinity’s struggle with the illusion of perfection, versus the reality of it. Sometimes the right guy comes along at the wrong time, in the wrong clothes, and stirs all the wrong feelings.
So anyway, there I found myself with Dylan, with me wanting to know more about him, with Trinity wanting to know more, with readers wanting to know more…except he was like all Mr. Secret Guy. He wasn’t someone who would just sit down and spill all that he knew or was thinking, all that he felt. He had his reasons for trying to stay in the background, in the shadows, all of which blew up in his face as the story barreled on and Trinity’s precognitive visions put her in greater and greater danger. All the while I found myself longing to see the world through his eyes. However, since the stories are told through Trinity’s eyes, I never could.
Water beat down against his shoulders. Cold, he knew. The hot never lasted more than ten minutes, and she’d taken most of those. But from the moment he’d pulled her from the river, he’d refused to let himself feel a thing. It was better that way. Safer.
She was here. In his apartment.
That was not part of the plan.
He was supposed to watch her, keep an eye out for her. Make sure no one tried to hurt her. If the wrong person found out she’d told the police what she knew, what she’d seen—
He slammed off the water, just as he slammed off the memory of her parents’ funeral. He’d only been four years old, but their death would forever be a stark line in his life.
After running the towel along his body, he draped it around his shoulders, yanked on his jeans, and stepped into the silence. His apartment was long and narrow, three boxy rooms with a narrow hallway running along one side, his bedroom in the middle.
He found her in the kitchen, standing in front of the open fridge with her hair wet and slicked back from her face, his favorite black t-shirt dwarfing her shoulders, falling to mid-thigh like a dress. He’d given her a pair of shorts, too, but he saw no sign of them. Her feet were bare. In her hands, she held a beer.
The sight of her eyes, wide and exposed, vulnerable in a way that twisted him up inside, drove home the enormity of his mistake. He should never have brought her here. His father’s house. That’s where he should have taken her.
She did not belong here. Not now.
But here she was.
“You sure about that?” he asked, staring at the beer. He’d put money on the fact it was her first.
She pivoted toward him, her eyes going wide and dark the second they met his. Her mouth tumbled open, her chin lifting in that way he remembered from the last time he’d seen her.
That was the only similarity between then and now.
“You’re fast,” she whispered.
He stepped toward her, his smile dark and appropriately slow. “Only when it’s called for.”
Damp hair fell against her face. She edged back, keeping the same distance between them—until the her legs bumped the cabinets.
He didn’t stop, kept right on eliminating the distance between them. His kitchen was small, so it didn’t take much.
Watching him, she brought the bottle of beer to her mouth and took a long, defiant swig.
The wince she tried to hide almost made him laugh. Almost.
Here in the small kitchen, with the table on one side, the fridge on the other, the cabinets behind her, she looked smaller than he’d realized when he held her along the riverbank. He tried not to think about those moments—or the ones immediately before, when he’d run shouting her name, still several feet away when she screamed and fell into the river. A few seconds longer and the water would have kept her.
Refusing to think about that, knowing that it was dangerous to let himself go back to those moments, to feel what he’d felt, he flicked the bottle from her hands.
“Come on,” he said as flatly as he could. “Get your stuff.” She didn’t belong in his apartment. No good could come from that.
He was taking her to his father’s.
Her eyes flared. Her chin went up. “No.”
Less than half a foot separated them, but he destroyed most of that, moving to stand so close she had to tilt her head up to see him, just like when she’d lain sprawled in his lap along the levee with her hair tangled in his hands. She’d opened her eyes and looked up at him, and for a second there, he would have sworn she knew. She remembered. Everything.
Why are you holding me, she’d asked.
He’d told her the truth. You asked me to.
Someone else, he realized now. When she’d gazed at him like that, with warmth and recognition and longing, she’d thought he was someone else. The other guy, he knew. Chase. The one who had no idea who she really was…the one who’d walked away from her only a few hours before.
But he hadn’t realized that at the time. There’d just been he way she felt in his arms and the way she’d looked at him, and the cold, stark realization that he’d almost been too late.
I don’t want to go home, she’d said.
Now he knew why. “Hiding doesn’t get you anywhere,” he said, and though he meant the words to be matter-of-fact, they came out hoarse instead.
She shifted, her breath oddly uneven. “Who says I’m hiding?”
“You’re here, aren’t you?” With someone she had no reason to trust.
Glaring at him, she slipped the bottle from his fingers and indulged in another long, slow sip. “Maybe this is where I want to be.”
Everything inside him tightened. He tried to read her eyes, to understand what she was thinking—feeling. He was a stranger to her, but that wasn’t what he saw. The faintest trace of recognition glowed there, like a star in a distant galaxy, dim, muted, but bright in its own right, its own time and place.
“Maybe…” she whispered—and through some hazy, distorted reality he saw her, saw her stepping closer, saw her pushing up on her toes, saw her lifting her face—but he couldn’t make himself move, couldn’t make himself turn away, not even when she brushed her lips against his.
Everything shifted. Roles reversed. He wasn’t the stranger, she was. He wasn’t the one in control, the one making things happen.
Against a blur of vertigo she lifted her hand first to his bare chest, then up to slide around the back of his neck, sending dark lightning streaking through every cell of his body. He braced himself against the onslaught, even as she shifted her mouth to gently kiss the corner of his, over, and over—and over. Before, on the riverbank, when she’d drifted through the darkness, he’d pulled her back, putting
his mouth to hers and giving her breath. He’d brought her back.
This wasn’t about breath.
On a low roar he ripped himself away, jerking back from her and grabbing onto the ends of his towel. “Careful, little girl,” he warned, harsher than he intended. “You don’t want to start a game without knowing who you’re playing with.”
Because he knew. God help him, he knew.
Things that she could only imagine—dream. Remember.
It all burned through him now, an inevitability he’d done his best to whitewash from his mind.
“Don’t tell me what I don’t want,” she cried, and God, her voice broke on the words. Tough, brave Trinity. She’d stood there showing not a trace of reaction when his dogs had raced toward her. She’d kept her composure when he pulled her from the river. She’d barely reacted to the revelation that there’d been no one following her, no one with a knife. Not that anyone else could see, at least. She’d kept it together through all that. Until he tried to warn her away from him.
Then her voice broke.
And something else. He saw it in her eyes, a stabbing vulnerability that socked him in the gut and made him want to crush her in his arms—
“That’s all anyone has done my whole life,” she said, more quietly this time. “Don’t let anyone know,” she went on. “Don’t let anyone see. Don’t ask questions. Don’t make waves. Don’t take chances—” She broke off, her eyes filling. “And look where that’s gotten me.”
He tried to breathe. He tried to make himself take another step away from her. “You’re not thinking straight,” he said gently.
“How do you know that?” she tossed back. “Maybe that’s exactly what I’m doing, for the first time in my life.”
“What?” The word practically tore out of her. “You don’t like what you see?”
On the outside he froze. Inside, he burned. “Do I look like someone who doesn’t like what he sees?”
She swallowed hard. “Then what?”
He tried to find the words, but before he could, she backed away. “Omigod,” she whispered. “You think I’m a freak, don’t you?” The words were raw, hoarse. The tough façade crumbled. “You saw me running. You saw me run from something that wasn’t there. You saw me—”
He moved so fast there was no time to think, breathe, only to reach for her, to take her by the shoulders and pull her back to him. “I don’t think you’re a freak.”
Her eyes widened. “Then—”
He told himself all the reasons he should turn away, walk away. She was free of the past. She was living a new life. She had no idea of the birthright waiting in the shadows, the danger.
She was crazy about someone else.
He told himself all that in the slam of one heartbeat, and then he violated them all, and pulled her closer. “Godd*****—”
That was the only warning she got.
He dragged her toward him, his hand finding the side of her face for a fractured second before his mouth came down against hers, and all the pieces from before, the jagged slivers that hadn’t fit together, settled wordlessly into place.
About the Midnight Dragonfly Series:
Glimpses. That’s all they are. Shadowy premonitions flickering through sixteen year old psychic Trinity Monsour’s dreams. Some terrify: a girl screaming, a knife lifting, a body in the grass. But others--the dark, tortured eyes and the shattering kiss, the promise of forever--whisper to her soul. They come without warning. They come without detail.
But they always mean the same thing: The clock is ticking, and only Trinity can stop it.
Find out how in Shattered Dreams, Broken Illusions, and Fragile Darkness, available from Griffin Teen!
Live the Mystery:
Haunted Destiny, Griffin Teen, a free short available via all online booksellers
Shattered Dreams, Griffin Teen, on sale now via all online booksellers
Broken Illusions, Griffin Teen, on sale now via all online booksellers
Fragile Darkness, Griffin Teen, coming November 27, 2012
About Ellie James:
Most people who know Ellie think she’s your nice, average wife and mom of two little kids. They see someone who does all that normal stuff, like grocery shopping, going to soccer games, and somehow always forgetting to get the house cleaned and laundry done.
What they don't know is that more often than not, this LSU J-School alum is somewhere far, far away, deeply embroiled in solving a riddle or puzzle or crime, testing the limits of possibility, exploring the unexplained, and holding her breath while two people fall in love.
Regardless of which world Ellie’s in, she loves rain and wind and thunder and lightning; the first warm kiss of spring and the first cool whisper of fall; family, friends, and animals; dreams and happy endings; Lost and Fringe; Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews, and last but not least…warm gooey chocolate chip cookies.
Follow Ellie on Facebook
Her next book, FRAGILE DARKNESS, is available from Griffin Teen November 27, 2012.
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