"Romeo Redeemed," the highly anticipated sequel to "Juliet Immortal," will be released October 9th. Thanks to Stacey Jay, for providing us with this new excerpt from the beginning of Chapter 2. This scene takes place right after Romeo has returned to Dylan's body in order to win Ariel, save her from the darker parts of her natures and earn himself a place among the Ambassadors of Light.
Cursed to live out eternity in his rotted corpse, Romeo, known for his ruthless, cutthroat ways, is given the chance to redeem himself by traveling back in time to save the life of Ariel Dragland. Unbeknownst to her, Ariel is important to both the evil Mercenaries and the love-promoting Ambassadors and holds the fate of the world in her hands. Romeo must win her heart and make her believe in love, turning her away from her darker potential before his work is discovered by the Mercenaries. While his seduction begins as yet another lie, it soon becomes his only truth. Romeo vows to protect Ariel from harm, and do whatever it takes to win her heart and soul. But when Ariel is led to believe his love is a deception, she becomes vulnerable to Mercenary manipulation, and her own inner darkness may ultimately rip them apart.
Hate, him, hate, him, hate, him. My feet pound the beat and my thoughts scream the words. I hate Dylan Stroud. I can’t believe I let him touch me. I should have known better. Things are never going to change. I will never change. I’ll always be the Freak with the scars, even when I finally make it out of this town. Tonight proves it. I’m stupid. Crazy. Broken. And I always will be.
How else could I have thought I was falling in love with him?
I should have realized it was a joke. But I didn’t, and by tomorrow the entire school will know that Dylan and I almost did it. Or maybe he’ll tell everyone we did. I wouldn’t be surprised. Then they’ll have one more thing to pity me for, the girl who lost her virginity on a bet. Maybe Dylan will even tell his friends that I took the money he offered, and Hannah and Natalie and all the other girls who look at me like their worst nightmare come to life will think I’m a whore in addition to being the most pathetic loser on the planet.
Stupid girl, stupid freak, stupid girl, stupid freak.
I pull in a breath and choke on it. I wish we’d gone off the road. I wish we were both dead. I taste salt at the back of my throat. Tears burn my eyes. I want to stop running, lie down in the middle of the highway, and wait for some unsuspecting person to run me over. But I can’t. Because the only car on the road is his car, and I won’t give him the satisfaction.
If he wants to hit me, he’ll have to pull onto the shoulder.
The headlights behind me get brighter, a slow creeping glare that makes me feel naked. I want to crouch down and cover my head with my arms, but I don’t. I keep running, facing forward. Even when Dylan’s car putters up beside me and the passenger window buzzes down, I don’t turn to look. I won’t let him see that he’s made me cry. Again.
“Why don’t you get back in the car?”
Why don’t you choke on your tongue and die?
“Please, Ariel. I just want to talk,” he says. “I think there’s been a . . . misunderstanding.”
I stumble, but don’t fall. That wasn’t what I was expecting him to say. I was imagining angry words and threats and maybe something thrown from the car as he sped by. But whatever. Anger, fake apologies—what’s the difference? It will all end the same way, with Dylan in control because he knows I had a horrible crush on him and believed every false thing he said and did. I even believed he was as nervous about our first kiss as I was. I believed I made him ache and want the way I wanted him.
Not anymore. “Leave me alone.”
“Ariel, please. Listen. I—”
“Leave me alone.” I run faster. My eyes scan the woods at the side of the road. I wonder if it’s worth running into the darkness to get away from him.
“No. I can’t leave you alone.”
I can’t leave you alone. He says it in his sexy voice, the one he used when he called to ask me on this joke of a date. He’s trying to lure me in again, and I hate him for it. Almost as much as I hate myself for noticing how lovely he makes everything sound. Listening to Dylan talk is almost as good as listening to him sing.
His voice is what pulled me in from the start, the way he sang “Bring It On Home to Me” like he knew what it felt like to love someone so much you’d give anything to be with them. Every time the choir members practiced for their performances during the spring formal, I’d have to stop painting the backdrops, close my eyes, and soak Dylan’s voice into my soul.
And then one day I opened them and found he was singing right to me.
Our eyes caught and held, and neither of us could look away until the song was finished. By the end, my heart was racing so fast I was afraid I might faint. He’d confirmed it. I just knew he felt the same way I felt. Compelled. Seduced. Enchanted. It was like I’d always dreamed falling in love would be.
Then I saw that text from Jason, and Dylan offered me fifty dollars to let him take what he wanted in the backseat of his car and set my gauzy, romantic dreams on fire.
For more information and to see more books by Stacey Jay,
you can visit her site at http://www.staceyjay.com.