Wow! I cannot even begin to thank you enough for all of your awesome support for ETHEREAL and for helping me name Celestra Book 7 ~*TOXIC*~! I am forever in your debt. In addition to that, here is the point of view from Gage (our winner). I’ll be posting Marshall, Logan, and yet another Gage very soon as an extra special thank you.
I’ve included the scene I’m flipping from EXPEL—in the event you wanted to compare Skyla’s POV with that of our not-so-beloved Gage. ;) I jest. Mostly.
All issues that may arise from this POV have been addressed in TOXIC. And, oh, how they shall arise.
(Excerpt from EXPEL Chapter 71)
Skyla’s point of view:
Marshall radiates a quiet repose. He bleeds most of the hour with a dry routine, espousing numbers, letters, and formulas as though he were reading a recipe from the back of a box, not his usual engaging demeanor. During the final ten minutes, he stares blank and wide in my direction as though he were looking through me, but the explosion of lust emanating from his being suggests he is rather focused on my person.
He hands a couple of students a stack of graded papers to pass out and takes a seat on the corner of his desk, openly pillaging me with a come hither look in his eye.
Chloe raises her hand, clears her throat to get his attention.
“Hands down.” He doesn’t bother breaking contact with me to reprimand her, doesn’t blink, just takes me in, absorbs every nuance. I can feel something shifting, crackling down on a molecular level. He’s calling me, encoding himself into my genetic design, grafting his soul onto mine. A strange pull takes over and I want to suction to him like a magnet. I seal my fingers over the rim of my desk and hang on, try to stop myself from doing something foolish like falling on my knees before him, begging him to take me in front of the entire class and Gage.
Ellis swivels in his seat. “I’m, like, really tripping out right now,” he gives a low guttural laugh. His eyes shine glassy pink.
I try to revert my energy to Ellis, his perfectly straight nose, his small bowtie lips, but I snap back to Marshall and gasp. Marshall has become a full glorious breath in an oxygen-deprived world. This spell—this bondage he’s placed me in is far too strong to ignore, and nothing in me wants to ignore anything about Marshall right now. Oddly, it doesn’t feel like I’m being controlled, it feels genuine and right.
I can feel Gage shifting from behind—the tension rising like mercury in the desert. “You have five fucking seconds to knock this shit off.” He booms over to Marshall.
The entire class takes in a collective gasp and turns towards Gage, but I can’t pry my eyes off Marshall. I’m so close to giving in, going over and drinking down a warm pool of kisses straight from his mouth.
Marshall’s lips curl into me. His chin dips into his chest while he molds my body with his eyes.
Gage spikes out of his seat, bullets to the front of the class. He picks up the metal stool Marshall usually lounges on and launches it out the back window at superhuman speeds—nearly decapitating the entire third row in the process.
A growl of thunder rolls into the classroom, accompanied with a hurricane level wind.
Gage clocks Marshall onto the floor and the two of them roll around like tigers, nothing but fists, a tangle of legs moving so fast I can’t tell which is which.
Ellis and a couple of other guys struggle to pull them apart.
Marshall pats his lip with the back of his hand and examines the crimson stain on his flesh before staggering to his feet.
“Your stay here,” Marshall seethes into Gage, “has just been markedly reduced.”
The bell rings.
“Take him directly to principal Rice. Inform her of the attack and let her know we’ll need the windows boarded up at once.” Marshall waves them off as they speed Gage out the door.
“He’s going to kill Gage because he loves you,” Chloe whispers the words in my ear like a necrotic poem. “The only thing better than me never having Gage is you never having him. All’s well that ends well,” she drips like a song.
I’m probably going to kill Chloe—and Logan is already dead.
Marshall and I will be the last ones standing.
What if that was the plan all along.
~*Gage Oliver’s point of view:
I press my hand into the small of Skyla’s back as we walk into Dudley’s class. Another hour with the clown who thinks he’s going to marry Skyla Messenger.
Right. I’ll go to the grave before that happens. Hell—I’ll come back from the grave to make sure it doesn’t happen. I’d gladly hand her to Logan before that atrocity ever takes place.
I slip a kiss beneath her ear before taking a seat behind her.
A dull laugh rattles through me at the thought of ever willingly handing her to Logan. That’s about as unlikely as Dudley.
Ellis walks in and nods over to me, stoned out of his freaking mind, per usual. Oddly enough, he considers himself a contender, too. Still can’t believe he thinks he’s got some emotional bond with her. The only bond they share is the weed she helps him hijack from his former self. Ellis’ definition of a relationship is a one-night stand. And, a lasting relationship is defined by whether or not he remembers her name in a week.
Skyla spins around, sinks those crystal cut eyes into me and smiles before returning to her desk—pretending to take notes. Sometimes I look over her shoulder for the hell of it and catch her drawing our names in a heart—spelling out Mrs. Oliver. I wonder if I’m the Oliver she has in mind. Judging by the way she kisses me, I’m pretty damn sure I am.
Chloe catches my attention and I cut her a look—blink a half-smile in her direction.
She licks her lips like an afterthought and flashes a wicked grin. She wants to meet later, talk to me about ‘some things’ as she put it—and I will—but the last thing I want is Skyla seeing us together. Just the thought of me with Chloe sets her off, and I need Skyla to trust me.
Skyla’s hair spills over my desk and I gently wrap a strand around my finger. It’s spun gold—nothing but extravagant beauty growing from her scalp. No wonder Chloe can’t stand her, she’s perfect. There’s not a damn thing wrong with an inch of Skyla Messenger’s body—and what I would love to do to that body.
I envision us on the beach—Rockaway with its shadowed sand, the navy slick of the ocean rising from behind. Skyla stands before me, wiggles her hips as she shakes off her shorts, tosses her top in the air like confetti.
The curve of a smile plays on my lips as I sink down in my seat.
I picture Skyla pulling me in, taking off her bathing suit top—pressing her soft skin against mine.
Dudley clears his throat and shakes me out of my midday delight.
Probably reading my mind again. Bastard. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what he’s thinking. Half the time he doesn’t bother to hide the boner he has for Skyla. The dude is freaking sick.
I get back to my happy place there on the beach with a mostly disrobed Skyla at the ready. She slips her hands up my shirt and helps me take it off to even out the playing field. I hook my fingers in her panties and send them sailing to the floor.
The sound vacuums out of the room and I snap out of my fantasy. I catch Dudley staring in this direction again, only his efforts aren’t pinpointed at me this time. He’s locked eyes with Skyla and the entire room is fascinated by their nonverbal exchange.
What the hell?
I sit up and glance over at Chloe.
She gives a little smile and darts her hand in the air.
There you go. If anyone can break the spell it’s Bishop. She’s an expert at inserting herself between Skyla and just about anyone. I should know.
“Hands down,” Dudley barks. He doesn’t bother breaking his gaze, just keeps digging into Skyla with those fireballs he sees the world through.
Ellis spins around and whispers something to her. His eyes are so glossed over I doubt he realizes Dudley is in the middle of a wet daydream.
I glare over at the so-called teacher.
Who the hell does he think he is? He’s taking her in like she’s a fucking glass of water, drinking her down to the dregs right here in the middle of class.
He zeros in on her, you could feel the lust radiating off him like a furnace. His face entertains the slight impression of a dirty smile, and I can only imagine what the hell is going through that mind of his. God knows thousands of years of perversion are hard at work.
“You have five fucking seconds to knock this shit off,” I warn.
He doesn’t flinch, doesn’t waver from his all out mental molestation, just keeps at it like he’s doing her in real time, right here in front of the student body—namely me.
I spike out of my seat and bolt on over. The silver chair he slouches on day after day stands in my way so I sail it out the window—a clear demonstration of what I’m about to do to his head.
A roll of thunder rattles from outside, a gust of wind cools down the room. I don’t need much encouragement to rearrange his face but the rush of fresh air inspires me.
I pull back and lock one over on him. His jaw gives a satisfying pop beneath my knuckles so I pummel him again.
He knocks me back and we roll onto the floor.
I kick and thrash his Sector ass all over the place.
Harrison shouts at the two us before plucking us apart like a bouncer.
“Your stay here,” Dudley grits the words between his teeth, “has just been markedly reduced.”
The bell gives an earsplitting cry overhead.
“Take him directly to principal Rice.” Dudley touches his lip and examines my handiwork. “Inform her of the attack and let her know we’ll need the windows boarded up at once.”
A couple of guys harness me from behind and navigate me towards the door.
I catch Chloe whispering something to Skyla. She’s a rose full of thornes—add a couple horns and a tail, and you’ve got Chloe.
She locks eyes with me for a moment and pinches a smile. Chloe prefers me with my hands tied behind my back, much like I am now.
That’s exactly what she told me last week when she saw me naked.