Welcome to Swoon Sunday where you get to meet some of our swoon-worthy heroes. Today we have a visit from Jared Price from True Born by L.E. Sterling!
Jared, why don’t you describe yourself to us.
Uh, is that a real question? I don’t know, I guess you’d call my eyes blue, though when I’m going to shift I’m told they change to green. My hair is blond. I’m neither tall nor short. I like t-shirts. I wear them a lot. I especially love wearing them when they drive Lucy crazy.
What’s your profession?
I don’t know what you’d call my line of work. I work for Nolan Storm is what I do, and I do what he needs me to. When he needs me to make grown men cry…well, I’ll admit, sometimes I take pleasure in that. When he needs me to watch over spoiled little princesses I’d rather take over my knee – I do. Under great protest and not without bloodshed. And I’ll definitely complain about it. What is it with the spoiled ones?
Where do you call home?
I live in Nolan Storm’s penthouse apartment. Definitely one of the nicest, safest places to be in Dominion City right now. It’s enormous. Hell, it’s big enough to house a whole passel of us True Borns, which is good, since there is a whole passel of us. Granted, I’m one of maybe two of Storm’s people who actually lives in the apartment full time.
Do you have a special skill?
Do you count being charming? I excel at annoying Lucy Fox – which probably should net me an award, don’t you think? I also happen to be very good at ripping the limbs off of grown men who think they can hurt little girls. I am very, very good at that.
What is your biggest dream/wish/desire?
I’d like…I’d like to live in a world with no Plague. I want to exist without having to hide everywhere. Is there a city where True Borns aren’t treated like outcasts, where Lasters aren’t called “rabble” and tossed around like garbage? I’d like to live there. I’d even settle for a place that didn’t have steaming corpses all over the streets, cooking in the noonday heat. That would be swell.
Describe the craziest thing you have done.
There was that time I killed a Siberian tiger with my bare hands when they stuck me in the ring with it. People shouldn’t play games with True Borns. I’d have skinned it right there in the arena in front of all those sneering Upper Circlers if they’d let me have a knife.
What is one thing would you refuse to share?
My t-shirts. You can take my pants but listen, you can’t take my shirts.
Boxers or briefs?
Boxers. That is, if I have to be wearing clothes.
Early bird or night owl?
I take the night shift. Sometimes lately that’s been getting a little out of hand, though. The boss man told me to watch her, so I do. I go in when I know she’s asleep and just sit there across from her in that stupid chair and listen to her breathing. I hate it when she has bad dreams. And I swear I can tell when she’s crossed over and feeling something her twin is dreaming or feeling. Oh yeah, they’ve got that spooky twin thing going for them in spades. There’s just something about her face, her breathing, her smell. It all changes. It’s so subtle but it’s there. By the time she wakes up I’m usually gone. Luckily True Borns don’t need much sleep.
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Bored, rich heiresses from the Upper Circle. Oh, wait – I’d add her parents to that list. Man, those people piss me off. And I’ll throw in their mercs for good measure. For real…they call that security? Come on. I could have stolen the Fox sisters several times over before they’d even gotten out of bed.
And now for an exclusive, swoony excerpt about the first kiss that Lucy and Jared share:
Sighing, he pulls me over to the window seat, squashing himself in beside me among the embroidered cushions and decorative dolls. “What’s wrong?”
He takes one of my hands in his huge paw and with the other strokes my hair, as he had the night before. I hate it. Kind and caring Jared undoes me, unravels me until I no longer know whether I’m coming or going. Then jerkface Jared comes along and rips it all away. I am tired of wondering which version of him I’m dealing with. I try to pry us apart, but my hand sticks there on his chest.
“Don’t make me cry,” I tell him with a hiccup.
“Why?” The words are so gentle. “Lucy,” his breath whispers against the sensitive skin of my cheek. I go into shock when his lips scrape against mine. They’re softer than I could have imagined from such a hard man. His lips come down again. I feel my mouth open under his, hear a low, deep growl from Jared as the kiss deepens. I’m dizzy with him filling my mouth. The feel of him beneath my hands: strong, alive, pulsing with life. I think I moan as he crushes me to him, losing himself.
My hands tangle in his hair, and I’m pulling him closer, closer, needing more of his warmth, his fire. And then he wrenches me away from him. He stares at me with vivid green wild-eyes. So it’s not just when he’s upset, I realize as my stomach lurches once more. We’re both panting as though we’ve run a long distance. I put a hand to my lips, swollen now. So sensitive they feel like glass.
I’ve never been kissed before. Not my own lips, although I’ve been buoyed along by Margot’s often enough. But this kiss, forever seared in my memory, bears no resemblance to the sensations I’ve experienced through Margot. Jared shakes a little as he gets his breathing under control.
“Sorry,” he says.
He doesn’t look sorry.
“Don’t,” I say through my fingers.
“Lucy.” I bite down on my lower lip when he pulls my fingers away. Jared stares at it with a mixture of hunger and fascination.
About True Born:
Welcome to Dominion City.
After the great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…and their genetics damaged beyond repair.
The Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destruct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments that might prolong their life. The plagueresistant True Borns are as mysterious as they are feared…
And then there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot. After endless tests, no one wants to reveal what they are.
When Margot disappears, a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in the True Borns, led by the charismatic leader, Nolan Storm, and the beautiful but deadly Jared, who tempts her as much as he infuriates her. As Lucy and the True Borns set out to rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy stretching from Dominion’s street preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fox sisters?
As they say in Dominion, it’s in the blood.
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