Our heroes aren’t always who we expect them to be.
Tell The Author
By Jessica Seymour
I was heading to the airport. Luka’s girlfriend had caught a late flight back from Darwin but he had the late shift, so I was picking her up. It was the sort of favour I would only do for Luka, and only because he was going to pay me back with a carton of beer. It was dark outside the train; so black that I could see my reflection in the window.
The girl sitting across from me was alone. She was about my age and looked all buttoned up like she’d never broken a rule in her life. Her eyes were moving rapidly, scanning the open book in her lap and she had this look of rapt attention on her face. She was soaking in the story she was reading. So engrossed that her shoulders had hunched up as if she wanted to sink into the pages and live there forever.
I recognised the cover.
“Oh!” I said without thinking. It was a damn stupid thing to do because when I looked back up I realised that she was watching me. I didn’t realise that I had been staring. “I – uh, I know that book,” I told her.
“Really?” she said, closing the book and hiding the cover with her hand. “What’s it called?”
“Rain, by Paige Turner,” I said. Paige Turner was a stupid name, but I’d liked the pun.
The girl chewed on her tongue and nodded her head slowly. I knew what she was seeing – a shady guy with too long hair, studs all over his face and purple smudges under his eyes. I didn’t look like the type to read YA romances. She stared at my leather jacket and black fingernails sceptically.
“What’s your favourite part?” she asked.
“I like the part where Nikolai loses his hand,” I replied. That was an intense scene – one of the hardest I’d ever written.
But I must have said the right thing, because her eyes light up. “Oh my god, that scene was amazing!” she said, skooching forward in her seat. Her face was pale in the fluorescent light, but I thought I could see a faint flush of red in her cheeks. “Nikolai was so brave to make Connor cut it off!” I noticed the ring she wore, a black band on her right ring finger. She was ace, then – like me.
“I thought Connor was the brave one in that scene.”
“It’s lucky that he could cauterise it so quickly!”
I try to keep the smile off my face, but it’s always nice to hear readers gush. “What’s your favourite scene?” I asked.
She took her time in answering. “I think the ending is my favourite part. But I liked the second book – Hail – better. It was so much more interesting to see Sophie and Nikolai apart. I’m doing a re-read –” she added, waving the book at me. “For when Shine comes out next week.”
“You’re gonna have both books read by next week?”
“I love this series,” she said. She was grinning like she was sharing a guilty pleasure and clutching the book to her chest, hugging it. “I kind of have a crush on Dmitry.”
I let a sly smile creep over my face. “I think Connor does too.”
She giggled at me. Actually giggled. “I know, right? It’s so obvious!” The train stopped at Mascot. She glanced up at the doors as they opened and sent an apologetic look my way. “Sorry, this is my stop.”
“Right, yeah, well – it was nice to meet you. I hope you like Shine!”
She waved goodbye. The lights in the station were dim and made her blonde hair look murky and grey. As the train pulled away and I watched her disappear, my mobile rang and I jerked to answer it.
“Hola, mi amigo,” I said, as chipper as I could manage because I knew how much it pissed Luka off to hear me chipper when he was working.
“Eat a dick, Jack,” he said. He sounded tired and I grinned wider. “You nearly there?”
“Yeah – hey, I ran into a fan on the train. She’s looking forward to Shine.”
“Aren’t they all?”
I crane my neck to see if I could catch another glimpse of the girl – whose name I hadn’t even asked. But she was long gone. Disappearing into the dark like a ghost. I wished that I could have told her that I wrote it, but she would have never believed me. Hardly anyone did.
“I hope she loves it,” I said, more to myself than to Luka.
He answered me anyway: “She will, mate. She will.”