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In celebration of the 3,728 (14 pages-worth) of words I’ve written today, I decided to let everyone else in on my celebration as well. For all of my awesome readers, who have been so patient as they wait for me to hurry and finish TLR 4, I decided to reward everyone with a small treat. Before you read, be warned that this is an UNEDITED excerpt and you will probably be left with more questions than answers–what can I say? I’m a tease. I might also advise you you all to grab your tissues.

Enjoy, my loves! 🙂

THE LOST REALM BOOK 4 EXCERPT

When her surroundings finally stilled, Emma saw that she was standing in what looked to be a hallowed tree. It was the only observation she had time to make before she noticed the other occupant of the area.
“Tristan!” she exclaimed as she fell onto her knees beside him. She reached out to touch him, feeling furious and powerless when her hands went right through him. “Tristan, can you hear me?”
It was a stupid thing to ask. Of course he couldn’t hear her, not when she was nothing more than a lingering spirit and him injured and incoherent. Still, Emma felt comforted speaking to him, even if he wasn’t able to answer her.
“I apologize for what I am about to do,” an animalistic voice said from behind her.
Emma turned to look at the mossy bearded man and the dagger in his hands. Her heart clenched as she wondered what he was going to use the dagger for, and then unclenched in confusion as the strange man held the blade over the pit of flames. Only then did she notice the strap of leather wedged between Tristan’s teeth.
“Oh God.”
For his part, the bearded man tried to be swift as he firmly pressed the hot blade against the giant, unsightly welt on Tristan’s neck. There was a sizzling hiss, followed by an agonized howl that made Emma want to hold onto Tristan and never let go.
“You’re hurting him!” she yelled to the man.
Finally, the man lifted the dagger and returned to the fire pit. Emma couldn’t tear her eyes from the shiny patch of burnt flash the hot dagger had left behind. The man was at Tristan’s side again, once again carrying an orange-tinted dagger.
“Don’t—”
This time, Tristan’s emerald eyes flew open from the shock of the pain. Emma tried to block out his screams as she knelt over his body, as if by doing so would somehow protect him from any further harm.
“It’s okay,” she whispered into his ear. “I’m here, Tristan.”
Tristan shouldn’t have been able to make sense of anything that was going on around him. That much had already become evident to Emma. But as his dazed gaze suddenly seemed to focus on her, Emma sucked in a startled breath.
“Emma?” he murmured through the leather strap still wedged between his teeth.
Emma eagerly nodded. “Yes, Tristan. It’s me.”
The bearded man finally tossed his dagger aside and gently removed the strap from Tristan’s mouth. Emma barely noticed as he stood and disappeared from the room.
Tristan reached a hand out, as if he really could see her.
Emma’s eyes stung as she sadly shook her head. “It won’t work, Tristan.”
His tapered fingers grasped at empty air in response.
There was another throbbing sensation in Emma’s head, like some silent warning that she was running out of time. “I can’t stay much longer.”
“Please,” he murmured.
Emma held a hand as close to his cheek as she could without passing through him. “I’m so sorry, Tristan. Where I’m at right now…I’m lucky I was able to come here. Even luckier you’re able to see me.”
Tristan was fighting to maintain his consciousness as he breathed, “My fault.”
He was referring to her death.
“No!” she tenderly argued. Her heart—dead as it was—seemed to shatter into thousands of pieces at the grief that had spread over his pale face. “I knew what I was doing.”
Tristan howled out in pain as a convulsion shook his body. “Sh—should’ve stopped him.”
“He had us all fooled.”
Emma felt her presence in the living realm begin to waver.
The Realm of Shadows was calling her back.
“I have to go now,” she reluctantly told him.
“Stay,” he breathed, between ragged breaths.
Emma’s hair fell around her face as she bent to brush her lips against his. For the briefest moment, she thought she felt something—a tingling warmth that hadn’t been present before. It was gone before she could be certain.
“I love you.”
Tristan fell unconscious again before he could reply, exhausted from his ordeal. It was for the best, Emma thought to herself as she finally faded away. After everything he had been through, Tristan deserved at least a few hours of peaceful sleep.

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