Monroe leaned back and scratched the back of his neck. “I’d never really put much thought into it until I was older and thought maybe there was a darkness following me around. Now, I’m not so sure. Never believed in curses or anything supernatural, but this kind of feeling in my chest—I ain’t sure it could be anything else.”
“There is darkness in your soul. A curse,” I told him. His eyes met mine. “I can see it strangling you. It’s not a feeling or a shadow, it’s as real to me as the moon in the sky. It’s a serpent around your neck, an endless pit of darkness swallowing your soul.”
“Is that what you see when you look at me? A tortured soul?”
I looked down at my hands, trying to force my gaze away from the snake slithering up Monroe’s side. Its tail rattled and scales rustled when it rubbed against the fabric of his thin T-shirt.
I couldn’t force myself to look, to accept that the snake was part of him, that they would always be one and the same. It had wrapped itself around his neck, and as badly as I wanted to look at Monroe and see a man, that’s not what I saw when I looked at him.
“Levi,” he said gently.
“It’s almost always there, coiled around your neck.”
I nodded. “Your soul.”
“How can you see things like that? How can you see a person’s soul?”
“Our family blood is laced with something that pulls darkness our way. It’s in our blood. We can see and feel things most people can’t. And while my gran could talk to those who have passed, and Mama can sometimes see things that haven’t yet happened, I’m a magnet for darkness.
“Evil things love me, Monroe. And it’s so damn tough trying not to love them back.”
He leaned over. I closed my eyes.
I thought of the swamp out back, its thick, mucky waters and evil that whirled beneath the surface. How badly I wanted to dip my fingers into its pools, to feel the cool wetness of it against my skin. I yearned to fill my lungs with it, let it brush its fingers against my body, to hold me tight, to turn all the light around me into darkness.
A hand rested on the side of my neck.
I opened my eyes.
It wasn’t Monroe’s eyes I saw. It was the swamp. His soul was that swamp, those deep, dark waters, and I wanted it—him—so fucking bad.
“You have to go.” His voice was hard.
“Because you look like you did that night I found you half-drowned in the swamp. You look reckless, and you have to go.”
His hand slipped away. The place on my neck where he’d touched me felt like ice. He walked over to the chair, picked up my bag, and headed toward the door. I stood and followed him.
When I was barely outside his front door, I turned. “It’s not your fault a curse is haunting your soul.”
“That doesn’t make it any easier.”
I knew it was wrong to ask, but I couldn’t seem to help myself. I asked anyway. “Can I stay?”
Monroe’s jaw locked. His knuckles turned white as he squeezed the doorframe. “No.”
“Because you’re a little too close to heaven, Levi. And I’m a little too close to hell.”
He stepped back and closed the door.
Title: Poison Tongue
Author: Nash Summers
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: August 10, 2016
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Page Count: 199
Levi Bell can see a person’s soul just by looking into their eyes. In Monroe Poirier’s eyes, he sees the devil himself.
When Monroe moves back to the small Southern town of Malcome, Levi is repelled by the darkness of the stranger’s soul. But Levi is cursed to love things dark and wicked, and he’s seduced each time he looks into Monroe’s eyes—and drawn to the swamp behind the old Poirier house.
As strange occurrences begin to happen when shadows and visions visit him in the night, Levi sees a flicker of something good in Monroe’s soul. But the need to submerge himself in the swamp’s murky waters grows stronger as Levi’s desire for Monroe becomes unbearable.
In his struggles to help Monroe save his soul, Levi will have to decide if it’s worth losing his own.
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Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. As if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash also enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line.
Needless to say, she’s a bona fide hell raiser.