The Butterfly Effect

This post is kind of cheating, as it’s a little excerpt from the novel I’m trying to write. This is the moment my heroine meets Gabriel, the moment that sends her world catapulting in a totally different direction to the way she was expecting her life to go. I hope you enjoy it!


Whenever Elara was stressed, she found it therapeutic to go outside and run as far and as fast as she could. Something about the wild beat of her heart, the slight pain that grew in her legs as she pushed herself, the increased labouring of her breathing, always seemed to clear her head. Today it was taking longer than usual, but she could feel the sea of calm skirting around the edge of her consciousness, waiting for the right moment to crash like a wave through her brain. Her blood was pumping furiously through her body, she could almost feel the oxygen coursing through her veins. Out here was where she felt most alive, as her feet pounded along the old tarmac of the country roads surrounding her small town. She let her mind wander, willing the wave to crash over her and quiet the guilt over breaking up with Jackson that was nagging at her conscience.

Suddenly, as if from nowhere, a car appeared moving so fast that she barely had time to register it, let alone move out of its path. Before she even had time to cry out, a pair of strong hands grabbed her around the waist and lifted her out of the way as the car whizzed past her. Breathless, she found herself pressed closely against a lean, hard body, so close that she could feel his breathing which incidentally was much more steady and even than her own. She span around to thank whoever it was that had saved her but the words died on her lips when she found herself face to face with the very same Gabriel Ashwood that every girl in her school had been gushing about all day. Her eyes widened as she took him in, finally understanding why everyone was swooning over him. Although roughly the same height as her ex Jackson, he couldn’t have looked more different. Where Jackson was broad-shouldered and muscled, Gabriel was lean and slim, and he moved with an easy almost feline grace. His build belied his strength though, he’d lifted her as easily as if she was a small child. Now she was close to Gabriel she could actually see the cords of his muscles snaking beneath his skin, and had to clench her fists to stop herself tracing their path. She tore her eyes away from his body and glanced up at his face, to see him gazing at her in a way that seemed both intent yet entirely disinterested all at once. She gulped as her stomach did a backflip but she was too engrossed in him to stop her examination of his features. His eyes, bearing a somewhat bored expression, glowed a deep green, the colour of the ivy the adorned the old church at the end of her road. They were framed by thick, dark eyelashes that would be the envy of every girl she knew. His mouth curved sensually, his lips slightly too full, which should have looked feminine but somehow didn’t. His hair was a colour Elara couldn’t describe, as it seemed to contain an array of deep, muted browns reminiscent of the bark of a tree, which complimented his smooth, golden skin. It was long enough that it curled over his ears and down just past the nape of his neck. The whole effect was unlike anything Elara had ever seen before, he had a subtle, almost wild like quality. He reminded her of a panther, at once beautiful and utterly terrifying.

His mouth quirked up on one side, in a devastatingly handsome expression of amusement that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

“Usually when one is saved from almost certain death, it is customary to thank the person who saved them.” he drawled, his voice deep and smooth like a river running through a forest.

Suddenly realising that she’d been studying him for at least a couple of minutes, Elara looked down and laughed nervously.

“Sorry,” she said, a smile on her face that was perfectly calculated to be the right combination of shy and flirtatious, “It’s not every day you get saved by a tall, dark and handsome stranger”

The smirk disappeared so quickly off his face that she wondered if she’d even seen it at all.

“Well,” he said in that bored drawl of his, “you should take more care to watch where you are running. Maybe next time you won’t be so lucky.”

And with that he released his hold on her and sauntered off down the road, moving swiftly but casually as if he had all the time in the world. Elara stared after him dumbfounded, before shaking her head and turning towards home. Her brain was now whirring even faster than before, the wave of calm that had been about to wash over her having completely disappeared. It seemed like a small, insignificant encounter, but she couldn’t quite shake the feeling that was gnawing at her insides, telling her that something was about to change.

 

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