Long and Short Reviews welcomes Nash Summers whose newest book Poison Tongue releases today.
Levi Bell can see a person’s soul just by looking into their eyes. In Monroe Poirier’s eyes, he sees the devil himself.
When Monroe moves back to the small Southern town of Malcome, Levi is repelled by the darkness of the stranger’s soul. But Levi is cursed to love things dark and wicked, and he’s seduced each time he looks into Monroe’s eyes—and drawn to the swamp behind the old Poirier house.
As strange occurrences begin to happen when shadows and visions visit him in the night, Levi sees a flicker of something good in Monroe’s soul. But the need to submerge himself in the swamp’s murky waters grows stronger as Levi’s desire for Monroe becomes unbearable.
In his struggles to help Monroe save his soul, Levi will have to decide if it’s worth losing his own.
Enjoy an exclusive excerpt:
Monroe followed me down the hallway to the washroom. A large, off-white claw-foot tub sat against the far wall. The faucet was plated gold, chipping from age.
“What am I supposed to be doing?” Monroe asked uneasily.
The knobs on the tub squeaked when I turned them, making the water flow freely into the tub. “It’s a bath, Monroe. What do you think you should be doing?”
He shifted his weight from one foot to another, hands shoved into his jeans pockets. “I’m supposed to get naked with your bodyguard standing right out there, watching?”
I turned to look to where he’d tipped his head. Outside in the hallway, leaning against the wall, was Ward. His eyes were closed and his arms were folded across his chest.
I burst out laughing. “Ward is not my bodyguard.”
Monroe stared at me, a small smile tugging at his lips. “You sure?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Positive.”
He turned away, facing the vintage bathtub, and pulled his T-shirt off over his head. I could hear the sound of his zipper, but I barely registered it. All I could do was stare at the marks on his back. Long, red, fresh claw marks covered his back in a weave of slashes.
Whose nails had left those marks across his back?
My throat went dry. My skin chilled. I took a step back and the floorboards creaked. Monroe looked at me over his shoulder as he stepped out of his jeans, leaving only his boxer briefs on.
“Sorry,” I sputtered.
“It’s nothing. Just took me by surprise.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“The marks. On your back.”
Acknowledgement swept across his face. “They were there when I woke up.”
“Probably not alone,” I mumbled childishly.
“Yes, alone.” His voice raised. “Christ, Levi, do you always have to think the worst of me?”
“You being with someone else isn’t me thinking the worst of you. You’re allowed to do whatever you want.”
He eyed me, from the tips of my bare toes to the top of my head. “Not whatever I want.”
“Monroe—” I started at the same moment Mama walked in.
“Here.” She set down a box on the sink. “The things you’ll need for the purifying bath.” When neither Monroe nor I said anything, Mama continued. “Stop it, both of you. Whatever it is, you best cut it out. The tension in this room is damning. To break this curse, you’ll have to be stronger than this.”
Without another word she walked out of the washroom and closed the door.
Sighing, I pulled the lid off the box and peered inside. Salt, cayenne, basil, vetivert, wormwood, a lighter, a small glass bowl, and a small baggie labeled Uncrossing Incense. I studied each of the small bags, tugging them open, smelling them, as Monroe shut off the water.
“I can probably do this myself, you know,” Monroe said.
“It would be best if I did it,” I replied without looking at him.
He sighed. “Levi, I know you don’t want to be here with me.”
“Who said I don’t want to be here with you?”
“I can see it in your body language, written all over your face.”
I grabbed the box and walked to the bathtub. One by one I poured the contents of each bag into the water, using my arms to stir them around.
“It’s not that,” I said quietly. When I was done with the box, I set it back on the countertop. “I know I can be… cold.”
“You’re not cold, you’re just….” Monroe tossed his hands up in the air, only to drop them again and stare at the ceiling. “I don’t know. Reserved? Cautious?”
“I don’t expect you to trust me. Not yet, anyway.”
I looked at the floor, tracing a thin crack in the tile with my toe. “I do like you, Monroe,” I said softly. Somehow that felt more intimate to me than anything and everything we’d shared together up until that point. The looks we’d exchanged, the small touches of our hands, the warm kisses in front of the fire, the nightmares in the swamp. None of it compared to the weight of telling Monroe that I felt something for him, something organic and raw enough for me to voice it.
I couldn’t look him in the eye, couldn’t bear to see the expression on his face.
I turned to him.
“I think you’re… extraordinary.”
After a pause I smiled. “Now get in the bath.”
About the Author:Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. As if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash also enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line.
Needless to say, she’s a bona fide hell raiser.