Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Marked Excerpt - Myka by Emerald Barnes

The Marked Excerpt—Myka
“So how long have you been an artist?” Milo asked. 
“I’m hardly an artist,” Myka said, “but I started drawing and painting seriously around fifteen.” 
“What were you working on the other day?” 
“Just the mountains behind the school.” 
“Could I see it sometime?” 
“It’s not good.” 
“That’s not what I asked.” His voice was light. 
“You can see it right now if you want,” she tried to shrug it off as nonchalant, but her stomach twisted in knots. 
“I do.” 
She grabbed her bag and pulled out her sketchbook. Opening it to the drawing, she handed it to him. 
He studied it and said, “It’s good.” 
He searched through the other pictures without asking and stopped at one before she could get it back. She turned her head away, staring at a painting of a brown coffee mug on an ivory background hanging on the wall of the coffee shop. She knew exactly which portrait he stopped at. She’d forgotten about that one. 
“Me?” he asked. 
“I’m sorry. I’ll throw it out.” Her stomach fluttered wildly. 
“Why?” She faced him, confused. 
“Because I like it.” 
“I’m . . . glad?” She suddenly found the table interesting. 
Last night, Myka had been alone in her dorm room while Olivia was out with friends. She didn’t want to run into Preston again after the incident in the gym with Milo, so after she’d finished her homework, she pulled out her sketchbook and drew what was on her mind. Milo. In the picture, he didn’t look angry, but he wasn’t smiling either. He was more thoughtful and concerned; the same look he always wore. 
“Do you want it?” she asked. 
He raised his eyebrows. 
“The picture. You can have it.” 
He sat in silence for a moment. “I’d love it.” 
He handed the book back to her. 
“I’ll give it to you when we get back to school,” she said, slipping the sketchbook into her bag. She checked her phone while she had her hands in her bag. Preston had sent her a message, but she didn’t reply. 
“Is everything all right?” Milo asked. 
Putting on a smile, she said, “Everything’s fine.” 
“Is it Preston?” 
“What did he say?” 
“He asked where I was.” 
“You didn’t reply?” 
Milo nodded, but his eyebrows knit together. 
“Don’t worry. I won’t tell him,” she said. 
“Thank you.” 
Myka wasn’t keeping this secret from Preston solely for Milo’s sake. She had a feeling it would be a lot better—and safer—to hide this from Preston. 
They fell into an awkward silence as her phone continued to sound in her purse. 
Milo said, “He’s relentless.” His eyebrows formed an even deeper line as they drew in together. Was he angry that he was texting her? She wasn’t sure why he would be unless he was jealous of Preston. But he had nothing to be jealous of. What should have made him angry, like it did her, was the fact that he was so possessive. 
“Yeah. He is.” 
She turned off her phone. He shouldn’t be so possessive of her. She didn’t like him acting that way, and it was beginning to anger her. 
“Maybe you should message him.” 
“And tell him what? You don’t want him knowing we’re out.” 
“You’re right.” 
“I’ll deal with him later.” She didn’t want to ruin a perfectly good evening with Milo simply because Preston was blowing up her phone. He could deal without talking to her for a while. It wasn’t even like they were dating. He didn’t own her. 
When Myka finished off her coffee and cinnamon roll, Milo asked, “Are you ready to go?” 
“I am.” They threw away their paper cups and plates then headed outside, turning left. Milo held out his arm for her, and Myka looped hers through his. They walked arm in arm down Main Street, looking into the store windows. 
“Can I ask you a question?” Myka said. 
“Won’t you get in trouble for jumping the wall at school, or since you’re in good with Headmaster Knight, can you get away with it?” Myka hoped her voice was light enough for him to figure out she was joking about the last part. She was still curious to know the answer, though. 
Milo laughed. “I don’t usually get caught.” 
“So why do you jump over the wall?” 
“To escape.” 
“Escape from what?” 
Milo fell silent, a contemplative look overcame his face, and Myka wondered just what he was running from. But sometimes you didn’t need an excuse to run away and hide from life. She could relate. 
He was different than when she’d first met him. She thought he was this broody jerk, and although he was still broody, he wasn’t a jerk. She couldn’t explain it, but she might be able to relate to him more than she first thought. 
“Sometimes, I feel the same way. I would run outside at random and hide in the woods back home. There is this tree that has huge roots. I’d climb those roots and sit there for hours, watching the small creek run beneath it. It’s relaxing.” 
“Do you miss that?” he asked. 
“Yeah. Sometimes things feel overwhelming, like the walls are closing in on me. I think it’s claustrophobia, but I don’t know for sure.” 
“I understand that feeling well. It’s like the academy isn’t big enough for me, like I need to be somewhere else.” 
She nodded. “I can’t imagine that being raised there made it any easier on you.” 
“It didn’t.” 
He fell silent again, and Myka knew that was the end of the story. At least for now. 
When they arrived at the boutique shop, Myka asked, “Do you mind if we go in here?” 
“Of course. Anything you want to do.” 
He opened the door for her, and she walked inside. The cool air felt good on her skin, and an apple pie candle burned on the counter a young woman leaned against. 
“If you need any help, let me know,” she said in a heavy, Southern accent. 
“Thank you,” Myka answered. 
She supposed Milo would be bored with shopping, but she found the store quite charming. There were lots of brightly-colored clothes, purses, and big jewelry Olivia would love. She walked to the jewelry first and browsed through it. She could hear Milo’s quiet breathing behind her. “I didn’t figure you for a jewelry type of girl,” he said playfully. 
“I’m usually not,” she answered with a nervous laugh. 
She looked at the necklaces; one, in particular, caught her eye. A silver necklace with a large turquoise crescent moon charm hung on the shelf. Myka held the cool stone between her thumb and index finger, admiring it. 
“Do you like it?” Milo asked. 
“So much.” 
“It’s beautiful, fitting,” Milo said, inching closer to her. 
As he moved behind her, the heat of Milo’s body warmed her, along with the whisper of breath against her ear. Her stomach fluttered, and she took in a deep breath. He reached for the necklace, and his fingers brushed hers as he took it in his hand. She let her hand linger before she pulled it away. She turned to face him as he watched her every move. She leaned closer to him, and he inched closer to her. She wanted to kiss him, to feel his hands on her, and to taste his lips. 
She pulled away quickly and fumbled through, “I saw a cute purse. Over there.” 
Myka backed away and bumped into a rack of clothing. She turned around and walked across the store to the purses and looked through them, regretting not kissing Milo when she had the chance. Embarrassed didn’t even touch how she felt about what had just happened. There was no reason why she had pulled away from him. She wanted to kiss him, but when he was close to her, she freaked out. 
Milo walked up behind her, keeping his distance. She had just succeeded in pushing him away. 

Yep. She was an idiot.

Link to the official book trailer:
Link to the official Knight’s Academy Playlist:
About The Marked: Knight’s Academy Book 1:
Myka Williams has never fit in with her peers, and although her adoptive parents are loving and supportive, she feels most at home alone in the woods.

When she's offered a full scholarship to Knight's Academy in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, she takes the opportunity for a fresh start. She soon learns that Knight’s Academy is more than just a school. Within the stone walls of the institution, humans and vampires are mixing, and their offspring are going unnoticed.

As Myka falls prey to the evil plan of the school, she makes a chilling discovery about her own heritage and realizes that she’s at the Academy for more than just an education. Myka must yield to her birthright at the risk of losing everyone she loves or succumb to the fate that Knight’s Academy has in store for her—a fate worse than death.
Where to Buy The Marked:
About Emerald: 
Emerald Barnes resides in a small town in Mississippi and has the accent to prove it. She’s an auntie, a youth leader, a Whovian, a little bit of a nerd, a reader, a writer, and a family-oriented person. God is number One in her life, and she thanks Him continuously for His love and favor. She’s addicted to tv and binge-watching shows, and she has a thing for superheroes.
Connect with Emerald:
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