An excerpt from Goddess Marked

The moment when William and Sera first come face to face...

Water dripped heavily from his chin-length hair and ran down his tightly bunched forearms and scarred knuckles. Deep lines carved their way around his eyes, suggesting a hard life or an age older than hers. Or both. She couldn’t look away from him, not even if one of those bolts of lightning struck two feet away.
 
“Who are you?” He leaned a little closer, searching her face. “What’s your name?”
 
All the lessons her mother had given—about not showing your hand, and concealing your true identity, and not trusting anyone but yourself—washed away in the driving rain. Something deep, deep inside her was telling her to listen to this man.
 
“Sera,” she said.
 
“Sera. I’m—”
 
“William.” The letters she’d scratched into the dirt back at Viv’s floated across her vision.
 
His lips parted as he stared. “Yes.”
 
Why didn’t he look more shocked? She sure as hell was. “What are you doing here?”
 
“Your accent…I can’t place it—” His eyes narrowed, assessing. He cocked his head. “What are you doing here, hiding?”
 
Suddenly her throat was awfully dry. “I was asked to come to town. I didn’t want to walk back in the storm.”
 
“Hmm.” He drew a long, slow breath through his nose. “Or maybe you were looking for me.”
 
She gasped, air freezing in her chest. That was when she knew there was something else inside her. A presence. Something otherworldly and completely feminine. Because at William’s words, it purred with joy. With desire.
 
“But I wasn’t,” she lied. “I don’t know you.”
 
Amusement ticked up one corner of his mouth. “You knew my name. I think you know me, too.”
 
His feathery voice draped over her, heightened by the deep of the shadows. He seemed to be everywhere. Around her. Inside her.
 
A frightening longing took to root in her heart. In the warm place between her legs.
 
She closed her eyes and tried to gather herself. Tried to parse out what she knew to be absolutely true from the mysterious things that couldn’t possibly be fact.
 
“You know me,” he rumbled, “because I know you. Sera, with the black hair and deep brown eyes.”
 
“You can’t see my eyes.”
 
“Yes, I can. They’re still in my mind.”

(c) 2014 Hanna Martine Books LLC