A teaser snippet from Paralyzed...
"Fuck, I forgot the scorpions. I’ll be right back, guys.” Thornton disappeared with a gust of air, rustling Amara’s hair.
Reaching up to brush the blonde strands out of her eyes, Amara scowled at her brother’s lack of manners. She was surprised when Asher grabbed her wrist.
“Mara, I need you to read this script.” He placed her hand down on the book he had been studying.
She felt a shiver at the awkwardness of his touch, and glanced at him shyly. “Is this Phoenician?”
“I think so. Could be Etruscan,” Asher said with a frown. “Doesn’t matter—can you tell me if you think this is the right incantation?”
Amara felt a blush darken her cheeks. She found it flattering that Asher still valued her opinion, but she was ashamed that she could not help him. “I—I don’t know how to read foreign languages with my prana,” she admitted.
“Really?” he asked in surprise. “Then how have you been practicing all this time?”
“Pax usually translates it for me,” she said with embarrassment. “I’m sorry I’m of no use to you.”
“Here, it’s pretty easy,” Asher said, pressing her hand firmly against the book and separating her fingers individually. She was suddenly very glad that she had recently gotten a manicure. He rested his large hand on top of hers, and released the dark blaze of energy that she had seen so often whenever anyone translated a manuscript. “Thousands of years ago, someone penned these pages—they probably had their hand resting on the book, really focused on the words as they wrote them. They were totally engrossed in the task, thinking about the value of these sentences and the curves of the letters; they probably imagined that someday, people like us would be reading them. Either way, there’s a little bit of that person’s soul left behind in the book. The ink is organic, so if you release a bit of prana into the book, you can connect with the ink, and reach across time to derive its meaning.”
“That’s amazing,” Amara said, feeling the warmth of the energy surrounding his hand. “I didn’t know that was how it worked.”
“Try to create a prana pattern that matches mine,” Asher said, gently pressing the back of her hand. “Then close your eyes and let the black energy just merge with the ink before it travels back into your body, and into your mind. Then you’ll understand what it means.”
Amara closed her eyes and tried to follow his instructions. She was afraid that she would release too much prana and destroy the book. She could not breathe without having Asher’s scent fill her sinuses, and she could not concentrate at all with his proximity. She felt her skin break out into goose bumps because of the sensation of his hand resting on hers. “I can’t do it,” she whispered.
“Let’s see—there’s an incantation which can help you focus,” he said in a low voice. “It’s been a while since I used it, but maybe I can remember.” He pulled his lips to one side thoughtfully as he searched his memory. Finally, he spoke:
Words of deepest midnight, from a distant mind;
Cross now the parchment, ancient tongue, and time.
Amara nodded and mentally repeated the words until the meaning of the Phoenician text became clear to her. Her eyes widened in surprise. “I understand it, Ash! It says—oh, what the heck does that mean?” Her brow furrowed in concentration. “A cavernous chest reveals an unsealed channel—it doesn’t make sense, even in English. What is this gibberish?”
“That’s what I’m asking you!” he said with a laugh.
She couldn’t help giggling as well. “I guess I’m still not much help—but thanks for teaching me. You’re a really patient instructor.”
They smiled at each other, and that was how Thornton found them when he returned.
“Whoa,” the blonde man commented as he examined their position. “Am I interrupting something?”