By USA Today Bestselling Author Laura Greenwood & Arizona Tape
Blurb: The pain was back. It completely consumed me, devoured me. But I wanted it.
This pain would take me to Sian. When I opened my eyes, I would be in the body that was supposed to be mine. And even if it was just for a little while, even I couldn’t stay forever, it was worth it. She was worth it.
I hugged myself. Time to go see the real love of my life.
— Soulswap is a paranormal romance with a Freaky Friday twist. (Which means body swapping, if you were as clueless as Arizona.)
Books 1 & 2 in the Twin Souls series have concurrent timelines and can be read in either order.
Have you ever felt like you’re stuck in the wrong body, but only by a little bit? That’s how I felt every time I straightened out Devon’s tie and kissed him goodbye before work. He only became a proper doctor a couple of weeks ago and although I felt so proud and happy for him, something was off. I loved Devon, I really did. By all means, he was perfect for me and I was perfect for him. Just every so often, it felt different. We felt different. His beard too rough, his hands too big, his voice too loud. At times, for no reason at all, almost everything about him annoyed me. But then he brought me a bouquet of white roses, or picked up my favourite candy bars, and I melted again.
He pressed a chaste kiss on my lips, grabbed his briefcase, and abandoned me to go to work. I knew he was supposed to pull a double shift tonight, which would give me a lot of time alone with my thoughts. I wasn’t exactly sure if that was or wasn’t a good thing. My mind often wandered to dark places that skewed my look on reality.
“You’re being ridiculous,” I muttered to my reflection. Devon always thought it was odd I hung a mirror next to our front door, but I liked it. It was like a last check before I left the house. I told him it was to remind myself if I brought my wallet and keys, but in reality, I was checking me. To make sure I had taken myself. That I was still me.
“You’re Tate. Daughter of Orrin. You are a dragon. Even if you can’t shift…” I told the girl staring back at me, my blue eyes riddled with flecks of green. My parents always told me that my eyes reminded them of their favourite lake, the one where they had conceived me. Vomit. No child wanted to hear that story.
But I’d visited that lake. It was supposed to be charged with ancient magic and a sacred place to all of my ancestors, but to me, it was just a lake. Pretty, but quite blah. In that respect, my eyes were spot on. Not that great and just a bit drab. But there was something else in there too. A glint I couldn’t place.
“You’re imagining things again, Tate…” I muttered, inspecting my eyes again. A pair of familiar, bright blues stared back at me. At least, today they were familiar. At times, I could swear the green flecks changed and my eyes weren’t my own. Of course, that was just crazy. Eyes didn’t change colour. Not like that anyway.
I grazed my fingers over my own face, wondering what Devon saw in me. He kept telling me I was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and at times, I almost believed him. Almost.
My friends asked me before if I wasn’t worried about patients hitting on Devon. A handsome young doctor was apparently a widely known fantasy, but somehow, it didn’t really light my fire. Maybe doctors weren’t the problem though. Maybe it was just Devon. But that was ridiculous. Devon was perfect. He was funny, handsome, a ridiculously good cook, and he had a soft geeky side he usually never showed. He was attentive and sweet, driven and passionate. Every single cent he earned had gone into his medical education. And yet…
Why wasn’t I happy? Why was it so hard to let Devon in, even though we’d been together for years? Why couldn’t I just… Be intimate with him in the way he liked?
But just the idea of sex with him made me shiver. And not in the good way. I always felt so… Off… His arms were just a little too big, his chest too hard, his beard too stubbled, … There was always something that made me… Iffy. The only time I doubted we were meant to be, was when we were getting physical. It just didn’t fit. We didn’t fit.
But those weren’t things I should be thinking. I glanced at the ring around my finger. Especially not now. Soon, I’d be Mrs. Devon James and I really couldn’t be wavering and hesitating. Not with the wedding date so rapidly approaching.
I pushed those dark thoughts to the back of my head and with one last look, tore myself away from the mirror. A part of me wondered why I quit my job. There was nothing to do here. Except the dishes. But how was I supposed to fill a whole day with doing dishes?
With one glance at the clock and a quick count, I realised it would be at least twelve hours before Devon would be back.
I could do some gaming. It’d been awhile since I checked in with my friends online. If I was going to kill time, what better way than to kill some monsters as well.
The computer hummed to life and I gladly welcomed the white screen temporarily blinding me. Yes, this was a good choice.
The chat box in the corner of my desktop popped open as one of my oldest friends immediately greeted me.
Lola27: You’re online!_
With a smile, I opened the chat. Lola was never very good at waiting.
Tate114: Yes! How’ve you been?_
Lola27: Not too bad, not too bad. But tell me more about you! I heard you got engaged? Did Devon finally propose?_
Tate114: Yes, he did._
Lola27: Aaaaaand?! How did you feel?_
I paused, my fingers hovering over the keyboard. That was a good question. How did I feel?
Tate114: It was sweet_
Lola27: Just sweet?_
My cursor blinked as my mind blanked. Just sweet didn’t seem like the kind of way people would usually describe their proposal. But then again, did I have more words for it? He cooked my favourite meal, he brought me roses, and popped the question during dessert. That was sweet, wasn’t it? Maybe romantic?
Tate114: Very romantic as well_
Lola27: Oh, that’s good then!_
Tate114: Yeah, but enough about that. Let’s game!_
I hit the X in the corner, hoping Lola would drop the conversation. I really wasn’t in the mood to talk about Devon and my conflicted feelings for him. I was trying to escape from the real world, not dive deeper into it. No, instead, I’d dive deeper into slaughtering Orcs and completing quests.
One monster turned into two, and two into a whole village. Minutes became hours and before I knew it, the hands of the clock had spun around their axis multiple times over. Morning turned into afternoon and day into night. Before I knew it, a comfortable darkness befell on the world and a familiar cosiness settled in. I liked the dark. It was calming and a welcome change from the hecticness the day usually brought along. Not that I was able to enjoy it for long.
A hand touching my shoulder made me jump up in surprise.
“Relax, it’s just me.”
Relief flooded my chest. It was just Devon.
“Sorry, I called, but you didn’t hear me with your headset.”
“It’s fine,” I muttered, typing a quick goodbye in my chat and logging off. At least I wasn’t in the middle of a battle.
“How was your day? Did you do anything except gaming?”
I ran my hand over my face. “I took in a lot of air.”
Devon shook his head dismissively. “That’s not what I meant.”
I glared at the back of his skull. “Well, there isn’t much else to do in this flat,” I grumbled, loud enough so he’d definitely hear it.
“What did you just say?”
“There isn’t anything else to do,” I repeated more clearly, glaring at him. It hadn’t been my idea to move to the city where I knew nothing and nobody.
“You could go out and meet people.”
“Right, guess I’ll go visit Lola. Should I take the train or just walk there? It’s only a ten day walk according to the GPS,” I snided.
With a dramatic sigh, Devon pulled his tie loose. “Can we not get into that now? I just worked a double shift.”
“Fine, I’ll drop it. How was work?”
“Exhausting, but great. I birthed twins.”
“That’s awesome,” I smiled, hoping him helping in the maternity ward wouldn’t give him any ideas. Or at least, not any more ideas. If it were up to him, I’d be as big as a house by now.
“They were really cute and the mother and father looked so happy. Tate, you should’ve been there. They were glowing.”
“I’m sure they were.” Uh-oh, this was a bad sign.
“You should’ve seen them, they were so little, but so cute.”
“Yes…” I hoped the tone of my voice would discourage him to continue his story, but it didn’t seem to deter him in the slightest.
“You know, I always thought twins would be too much work, but maybe…”
“Okay, I’m going to stop you there. Dev, you know I don’t want kids yet. That I might never want kids.”
He frowned, disappointment flashing through his eyes. “I know we’re not having kids right now, but someday, I want kids.”
I picked at my lip. “I don’t know yet.”
“How can you not know? Don’t you want to be a mother?”
“No, not really, no.”
Devon pinched the bridge of his nose. “Not this again… We’ll revisit that later, I’m horny.”
What did he just say?
“I’m hungry. What did you make for dinner?”
Oh… Must’ve heard that wrong. Thank God, I really wasn’t in the mood to fool around. Especially not with all his baby talk.
“Ooh, right. We can order pizza?”
“You didn’t cook?”
I picked at my lip again. “Ummm… No? Should I have?”
Devon shook his head and threw his tie on the coffee table. “No, it’s fine. I’ll make dinner.”
“You don’t have to, we can get take-out?” I proposed, suddenly feeling guilty. He’d been at work all day, I should’ve prepared dinner. That was the least I could’ve done.
“I’m sorry, I lost track of time. I’ll make it up to you,” I apologised, wrapping my arm around his broad shoulders.
“It’s fine, I don’t mind cooking,” he muttered, his expression softening the moment I touched him. “Hi,” he whispered, a little bit happier.
“Hey,” I smiled back, glad I seemed to diffuse the tension a little. He always liked being hugged or kissed. Knowing it would make him happy, I pressed myself against his chest and softly pressed my lips on his.
Happily, he curled his arms around me as he answered my kiss. I whimpered as he deepened the kiss. A whimper he must’ve interpreted as me enjoying it. His hands slipped under the hem of my hoodie and trailed up my sides.
“Dev,” I whispered, pushing gently against his chest.
“Hmmm, yes?” he murmured, hooking one hand under my legs so he could lift me up.
“Tate, I want you,” Devon moaned, pressing himself into me. He wasn’t lying, I could tell exactly how much he wanted me. With his lips locked firmly on mine, he lifted me on the counter. Why was he always this urgent, this impatient? We had a perfectly comfortable bed ten metres away from the kitchen. It would take no time to move from the uncomfortable marble top to the bedroom.
“Devon, stop,” I protested, pushing him further away. “I’m not in the mood, sorry.”
He clenched his jaw and I could tell he was doing his very best to hide his disappointment. “I’m sorry,” he muttered, rearranging the bulge in his pants.
“It’s fine. I’m just going to cook.”
“I said it’s fine, Tate,” he cut me off, wiping my apology away. With a frown, he snagged the fridge open. “Stir fry okay?”
I nervously picked at my lips again. I didn’t want to chase Devon away, I loved him. But I couldn’t keep up with his needs. He was always so damn horny. I just wanted a quiet night in with him. Good food, a lot of talking, maybe some cuddling. But he always wanted to turn it into something more. And I just didn’t.
But I didn’t want to lose him. No, definitely not.
I hopped off the counter and gently touched his shoulder. “I’m sorry, I’ll make it up to you. I promise.”
The hard lines on his face softened a little. “No, I shouldn’t push. I’m sorry, Tate.”
“Call it even?” I proposed, silently begging him with my eyes.
“Call it even,” he agreed, softly pecking me on the lips. “So, stirfry?”
I nodded, relieved his attention seemed to be on food now. Men. They were such strange creatures. But regardless of how needy and insistent they could be, Devon was my strange creature. My man. And I could imagine living a happy life with him.
I glanced at the ring again. Yes, a life with him wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
Soft lips were pressed against my cheek and the scent of coral washed over me. That was a nice scent. I liked it, it reminded me of the sea. Did Devon buy a new shampoo? If he did, I liked it. I should tell him to stick with it.
“Morning,” I muttered back, curling up in his arms. Hmmm. He was so soft. Wait… Soft? Was Devon ever soft?
I sleepily opened my eyes and stared into a set of breathtakingly deep eyes framed by blonde locks. Huh? This wasn’t Devon, was it?
“Did I wake you?” the woman asked softly, her fingers swiping over my cheek. So was it her that smelled like coral? Why was she stroking my face? What was happening?
“I’m sorry, you just looked so cute,” she whispered. Before I could open my mouth to ask what was going on, pink lips were softly placed on mine. Whoever it was, whatever this was, kissed me. Oh so gently. So tenderly, it made my heart ache a little. If only Devon kissed me like that.
“Did you sleep alright?” the woman asked, her breath tickling my skin.
“I’m glad, you seemed tired last night.”
“I was,” I murmured, staring at the face hovering over me. She looked like an angel. Was she an angel? Oh, maybe this was a dream. Oh no, thinking it was a dream during a dream was never good.
Quick, unthink that, Tate!
Not wanting to wake up, I pressed my eyes shut, hoping to fall deeper into the dream. Maybe fall into this woman, whoever she was. But I was certain I knew her. Not just knew her. That I loved her.
My heart burst as she captured my lips again, the fresh scent of coral filling my senses. Enwrapping me. It felt so good, so perfect, so right. I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want her to stop.
“You still tired?”
I wanted to say no, but somehow, I nodded yes. I was tired. I could feel it. My eyes were heavy, my mind hazy. But I didn’t want to leave this dream behind. She was so beautiful, so perfect, and the idea of waking up, made my heart ache. I didn’t want to wake up.
“Sleep some more, my love,” the blonde murmured, kissing my eyelids tenderly. I wanted to tell her I didn’t want to sleep, that I wanted to stay here with her a little more. But the fluttery sound in my stomach made way for a deep and insistent haze. I was falling, for her, from her. Sleep was calling and I couldn’t but answer.