As I said in yesterday’s post, I don’t think any of the passages I picked are major spoilers, but I suppose they might give away a little, so read at your own risk!
Charlie – I always tell my students, pay attention to any seemingly unimportant characters an author takes the time to describe or develop. Chances are they’ll reappear and be far more important than they seemed at first glance. This is certainly the case with Charlie, who actually appeared, though was unnamed, in Unveiled. Here’s an excerpt with Charlie and Alex.
When all the mundane moments—dinnertime banter, tea with Sarah, Tuesday nights with Rocky, and just about every pleasant moment with Markus—were stripped away, what was left was a highlight reel of tension and terror.
“It really wasn’t as bad as all that makes it sound,” she said, unsure whom she was trying to convince.
Charlie looked up from the last notes he’d scribbled down. “Funny, isn’t it, how both species have the same survival instinct to persist even when all the evidence tells us it’s not worth the effort?”
“Maybe it’s our hearts that tell us to persist for the sake of those we love, those who make it worth it.” It was just another part of being interdependent. She thought back to her web of loved ones. She told Darian her feelings would get her killed, but they’d saved her more than a few times, too.
Charlie dropped his gaze back to his notebook. “Maybe, but as we both know, that list dwindles the longer you’re a part of this life.”
Sensing a grief only one kind of loss could evoke, her hand went to her mouth. She glanced at Rocky who nodded.
“Charlie, I’m so sorry. I only meant to help that night. I never thought—”
“Of course you didn’t. No one apart from a few monsters in my coven could have predicted that. I didn’t when I stepped forward.”
Alex’s jaw dropped. He had volunteered to take the beating that nearly killed him? “You meant to take the blame for all of them,” she said. His mild manners and unassuming dress hid so much she never could have predicted, even after sensing him for the last ten hours.
He nodded. “But Leonce knew I was doing it for the very reason you said, to protect those I loved.”
“So he took the one you loved the most. Sick bastard,” Rocky spat as he paced the cell.
Torie – Torie’s story first appeared in “Unknown,” a short story from the series that I wrote while still drafting book two. I always knew she’d play into the series, I just wasn’t sure where. Unbound not only had a place for her, the story required her.
Torie stood with Alex and the two males on the bank of the river that ran through the center of Bristol feeding into the bay. There was a layer of ice over its surface. It looked deceptively safe, which was why every other winter someone lost his life trying to cross it. Bodies were rarely found. Winter searches were dangerous, and the current this close to the ocean was swift and strong. This year it was going to be a foolish teenage girl, walking home alone in the dark at the start of a nasty snowstorm.
Sage turned to Torie holding a rock the size of a basketball. He made eye contact and held it. It was uncomfortable, but she knew if she couldn’t answer the question forming in his head with absolute certainty, he’d walk away.
“You’re sure about this?” He was thinking of the million reasons not to help her. She kept thinking of the one good reason to follow through. It was the right thing to do. For her, sure, and her family. But also for the people she didn’t want to hurt but knew she’d have to if she remained with the Vengatti. And for the people she could help if the Rectinatti could learn to trust her and were willing to train her. They did it for the human. Why not her?
The human willingly runs into danger to help other humans as well as her coven. And she’s old enough to understand the responsibility that comes with her gift and her place among us. Sage answered Torie’s unspoken question in matching silence.
I’m running to keep myself from becoming one of those dangers. And I’ve kept what I am a secret since I was four in order to protect my family. I know a little about responsibility.
Sage held her gaze. I’ll buy that. But you’re still a kid; I’m not sure you can really understand what you’re giving up until it’s too late.
“I’m sure,” she answered aloud. The certainty of it stole her breath away. But Sage seemed to understand the difference between pain and doubt.
He nodded, took her coat from her and wrapped it around the rock to give the divers something to find. He hurled the boulder to the center of the river where the ice was thinnest. It crashed through the surface leaving a hole large enough for a slender teen to have fallen through.
That’s it for new characters, at least important ones. But there’s plenty of action for some of the minor characters from other books in Unbound, too!