Can you believe we're finally just two weeks away from ENTWINED's release!?
HAHA! NEITHER CAN I!
It only took, what, like six years?
Anyway, without further ado, here's your sneak peek at the final book in The Ever Trilogy.
I hope you enjoy it!
And if you haven't yet done so, please grab your copy now at the pre-order link below!
Just 99 cents for a limited time!
The Ever Trilogy, Book 3
By Jessa Russo
Release Date: Thursday, February 14th, 2019
Pre-order on Amazon!
Add to your tbr on Goodreads!
After years of collecting souls without even a moment’s pause, I’d collected the one soul I swore I’d never harvest. The one soul I’d promised to protect.
Against my will and without my permission.
I’d learned at a very young age that every action has a reaction, every choice a consequence.
Good or bad, I’d learned to prepare. I’d made mistakes, sure, countless mistakes. But every single one of them had an outcome.
Sometimes a consequence is trivial, may even go unnoticed. You can skip a rock across the surface of a lake, and though ripples may spread out over the water, very little is disturbed beneath the surface. That same rock, however, if loosed from the top of a snow-covered mountain, can cause an avalanche that decimates the town below.
Ariadne Stone was my avalanche.
I made a choice the day I decided I’d follow Ariadne anywhere. In my desperation to get out of my situation, logic clouded by my hunger for freedom, my need to escape the confines of my childhood home and my dead-but-not-gone mother, I made a choice.
Mom couldn’t leave me, but I could leave her.
I chose a vindictive, soul-sucking Collector and her unspoken promise of freedom over the woman who would have given her life for me. I chose Ari over my mom and my little brother and that choice forever altered my course. I’d had no way of knowing at the time, no way of seeing what lay on the other side of that decision, but it was there, that outcome, waiting. My mother was sent on, my childhood home was sold, my brother was forced to fend for himself, and my life as I knew it was over.
As a Soul Collector, I learned the ropes quickly. I also learned Ari was my kryptonite, and anything she touched turned to ash, so I steered clear of her as much as I could.
Well, as much as I could while working for her prick of a father.
Then Ever Van Ruysdael came along and lit up my world, mending every broken piece of me until all that was left was love. With Ever in my life, I’d let go of my hate for Ari and my circumstances, released the regret that had darkened every day of my life since my mother left this world. I chose to focus on Ever, on us, and then Ari came back.
She made a choice the day she Branded Ever’s soul. Be it out of spite or anger, or purely selfish stupidity, that choice forever altered the outcome of Ever’s life. And in turn, mine. In Ari’s jealousy, in her ignorance, she created the avalanche that tore through our lives.
Ever made a choice the day she decided to trust a Seeker more than her own boyfriend. She made a choice, brashly and without much thought, when she transferred her soul into my body.
I had yet to discover what that choice meant for us, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was headed for me. That awareness you get when someone is watching you, like a sensation on your skin that has no explanation and can only be one thing: a subconscious warning system. Mine was on high alert.
My body was the vessel that now protected Ever’s soul, her very life, and it was only a matter of time before someone came to collect. Transferring her Branded soul to my body was a quick fix, nothing more, and though we’d been able to remain somewhat cut off from the world at Louis and Cora’s place on Lake Washington, the clock ticked swiftly by and we couldn’t remain here forever.
Although, staying at the home of two of the remaining Original Soul Collectors did have its perks. At the top of the list? Their house was protected, so Ever’s soul remained safe… but we couldn’t stay inside indefinitely and, eventually, Samuel—the dude responsible for telling my girl how to reverse-succubus her way into my body—wouldn’t be the only hired henchman sent to find us. Each moment that passed meant more time for word to spread about Ever’s Soul Brand, which meant more hungry Collectors, Seekers, and Reapers would be after us. We’d be in a world of flaming-hot dog shit any day now.
After the longest and strangest week of our lives, we were no closer to figuring a way out of the mess we were in than the day it happened.
No, this didn’t just happen; that would imply neither of us had any control over the situation.
“I thought we were past this,” Ever whispered inside my mind.
We were. I sighed, giving my head a quick shake. We are.
I was finally accustomed to the inner dialogue we shared, though it hadn’t been the easiest thing to get used to, having her voice in my head twenty-four-seven. But we didn’t really have much of a choice, so we’d had to accept the weirdness of being so connected to one another and my complete lack of privacy.
Complete lack of privacy.
Living inside me had given Ever an All Access Pass to the Toby James show, and there was nothing she didn’t know about me now. I was an open book. Every thought, every memory, every embarrassing moment was on full display. She’d discovered every answer to every question she’d ever wondered. She’d seen every secret, every lie, every mistake I’d ever made. She’d been witness to every embarrassing moment, every regret…
On the bright side, I would never have to convince her of my love for her, as that too was on full display.
Somehow, in spite of it all, I didn’t totally hate having my girlfriend inside my head all the time. That’s not to say I wasn’t beyond ready to figure this shit out and have my girlfriend in my arms again instead.
But with the Seeker missing in action since the night it all went down, wishing for Ever to be in my arms again felt more and more futile with every passing moment.
“He’ll come back,” she said.
Right. I was way past thinking the Seeker was even remotely on our side. And the worst part? He’d never told her what the catch was or how to get out of this situation. What would the outcome be? We knew a soul could be transferred into someone else’s body—obviously—but what would happen once that soul was transferred back?
It was anyone’s guess.
Ever sighed loudly, sending a wave of sensation across my chest. Warm, slightly tingly, and a bit on the unpleasant side. Not as unpleasant as anger, or even in the same zip code, but uncomfortable nonetheless. I grimaced as the feeling intensified.
You can be irritated with me all you want, I told her, but I’m not the one who leapt before I looked.
“Did you just growl at me?” I laughed, sitting up straighter.
“Talking to yourself again?” Trey popped his head up over the back of the couch to look at me.
I flipped him off and he went back to gaming. He knew damn well I wasn’t talking to myself, but he got a kick out of giving me shit every time I accidentally spoke to Ever out loud instead of within the confines of our shared headspace.
The scent of freshly brewed coffee teased my senses, luring me out of my makeshift bed on the futon against the wall. I stepped into the bathroom, then closed the door behind me and turned on the shower. Ever had managed to figure out a way to disappear during the more, um, private moments, which was a check in the plus column, for sure. Who wants to bring their chick into the bathroom with them? Not me, thanks.
I began to pull my shirt over my head—
My chest heated so rapidly that I had to pull in a breath… I’d forgotten to warn my girl. The simple act of turning on the shower should have been a pretty good indication of my plans, but she must have been lost in thought.
“Well, I’m not anymore.” She giggled.
You’re welcome to stick around, I teased.
Consider it a standing invitation.
The temperature in my chest spiked, beginning to blur around the edges, almost becoming a soft tickle—the distinct sensation of a blushing girlfriend. I loved that feeling, so I pushed my luck any chance I could. I dropped my shirt and turned toward the mirror to look myself over. Since she could see everything I could, I made it a point to really appreciate my reflection as often as possible.
I grinned, winking at myself in the mirror—at her—and my chest heated further. My breath caught in my throat. I dropped my gaze to my chest, running my hand over my skin. It always surprised me that a feeling this intense wasn’t a visible, glowing red orb.
I take that as a yes? I tried, knowing the answer without even asking.
“No, Toby. It feels… super weird to even consider watching you shower.”
But you have considered it. I pressed my lips together and met my own gaze in the mirror, cocking one eyebrow.
The warmth in my chest became slightly tingly around the edges. Embarrassment.
My lips curled into a smile. Suit yourself. I’m happy just knowing you consider it. I stretched, then reached for my waistband. Better run off, babe; the pants are dropping in three, two, one…