Stolen, the first Djinn Dominion novel, comes out in just a few more days! Here’s a sneak peek:
She eased out onto the street, hugging the wall of the storefront next to her and wishing that it had an awning or some other kind of overhang, just so she wouldn’t feel so exposed. Since there was none, all she could do was hurry forward, her feet taking her closer and closer to downtown with every step. She didn’t know the area by heart, but she did know that if she could cut over to Main Street, she could follow it through the semi-industrial area on the west side of the 5 Freeway all the way to downtown. It would be slow going, but there were enough buildings and warehouses in between here and her destination that she should be able to hide from time to time, whenever she started to feel hinky.
A shadow passed overhead, one far too large to be a pigeon. Leila glanced up and saw the djinn descending toward her out of nowhere, the cobalt silk of his garments fluttering in the breeze, silent as death.
The terror that exploded in her chest was so intense, she didn’t even have time to utter a curse. Instead, she took off running, even as her gut told her that there was no way she could outrun him now, not when he was so close.
But she had to try.
A burst of speed took her to the opening of another alley, and she zigged down there, praying it would be enough of a feint to throw him off but knowing it wouldn’t. Her heart pounded and her breath came in quick, terrified pants, but her feet still moved, pounding into the pavement, achieving a burst of speed that took her another hundred feet into the alleyway.
Now she did hear footsteps behind her, a strong, purposeful stride that echoed off the walls of the buildings to either side as his boots touched the asphalt. She didn’t dare look behind her, though, didn’t dare do anything that might slow her down.
A wall was coming toward her. Leila pulled in a gulp of air and looked from side to side. No, this wasn’t possible. The alley couldn’t be a dead end. It had to branch off to one side or another. But as she approached that wall, with its markings of angular graffiti and daubs of pigeon droppings, she realized that the alley did in fact end here. There was no escape, no way out.
Stiff with terror, she forced herself to turn. Her hands clenched into fists, broken nails digging into her palms.
The djinn stood there before her. The same breeze that had sent the newspaper rustling down the alley before now caught at his robes, causing them to ripple gently. This close, Leila could see the gold border woven into the fabric. It glinted in the afternoon sunshine, shimmering like the gold bracelets her grandmother had smuggled in her clothing when she escaped Iran after the Shah fell.
A step closer, then another. The djinn’s heavy dark hair ruffled in the breeze as well, touching his fine, wide cheekbones, causing one lock to fall over his brow.
Now the wall was at her back, the rough cinderblock seeming to bite through the T-shirt she wore. Although the day was warm enough, she thought she’d never been this cold, her entire body trapped in a sort of frozen terror.
He paused about a foot away from her, coal-black eyes scanning her entire person, top to bottom and back again, until he stopped and held her gaze for a long moment.
A shudder went through her. Would it have been better or worse if he wasn’t so unbelievably handsome? It wasn’t really fair for a destroyer of worlds to look like a male model.
Then he spoke. His voice was deep but soft, with a faint accent she couldn’t quite place. “Why,” he asked, “are you so afraid?”
Stolen will be out on April 18th, but you can pre-order it now and have it sent to you automatically on release day!