Descendant by Nichole Giles

Book: Descendant by Nichole Giles Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nichole Giles
“All night? Where?”
    “We looked all over for you,” Rose says. “Tell me you weren’t in his room.”
    I scoop up a handful of snow and pack it into a ball, then throw it at a geyser. It disintegrates in mid-air. “We were freezing our tails off—outside.” I catch myself glancing in the direction of the Inn. Kye is probably awake by now. Everything inside me pulls toward him. There’s no explanation for this intense desire to be near him, no reason to explain why his absence feels like a hollow, aching loss.
    “Look at her.” Jen pushes me along the path. “She’s lovesick.” We’ve come full-circle back to the parking lot and I notice a trail of melted ice leading from the place where we started.
    Scowling at Jen, I storm to the car. The ache has grown into a shooting, physical pain in my abdomen, and by the time I get to the Jeep, I’m doubled over, breathing heavily. Something isn’t right. After checking my energy field and finding my chakras in fair alignment, I wander to an aspen tree and pull a twig from a low branch. “What are you doing?” Rose calls.
    “Just checking out this tree,” I say. “It’s amazing how plants can grow here, only yards away from all that icky mud and acid and stuff.” I keep my back to them and rub the twig on my sleeve, then break off a piece and suck on it. The anxiety slowly ebbs away—or most of it.
    I chew the aspen bark for a while, then spit it out, staring into the forest until I’m grabbed from behind, arms pinned to my sides with powerful muscles.
    “Where’s your boyfriend?” The stranger’s voice is low, rough.
    Jen screams. Rose’s voice shakes as she asks, “What do you want?”
    “I don’t have a boyfriend,” I squeak as panic races through me.
    “Could’ve fooled me,” says the man. In our struggle, I catch a glimpse of his face and recognize him from the hallway yesterday. The guy Mr. Akers called Boone. “You two looked awfully cozy last night.”
    His arms squeeze my chest, leaving me gasping, choking. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
    “Let go of her.” Rose offers him the keys. “You can take the Jeep if you want. Just let her go.”
    Boone ignores both Jen’s screaming and Rose’s bargaining. “It was a mistake for you to come here without him.”
    “Why?” My voice is shaky. “What do you want?”
    “Doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know or do anything to be bait.”
    Rose drapes a calm demeanor around her like an invisible veil. “You don’t want to take Abby.” Her voice flows across the tension like a soothing balm and Boone’s arms relax around me. “She’s not who you think she is. You have the wrong girl.” He does have the wrong girl. Rose is right. She’s always right.
    Boone pulls back, and though he still has a tight grip on me, I feel his eyes raking me up and down. “Yeah, I’m pretty sure she’s the one I want.” His voice sounds sure, but his confidence cracks enough to allow doubt to flow in.
    “You’re wrong. Just like you’ve always been wrong.” Rose steps closer. “Wouldn’t you like to get something right for a change? Just once?”
    Yes, I’m tired of always messing things up. I want to do exactly what she says.
    Boone shakes his head. He seems to be waging an internal battle. “Not me. I never screw up. I always do it right. It’s other people who mess up.”
    Rose dangles the keys on the end of her finger. “You want to get in that Jeep and drive. Run away and no one will catch you. All you have to do is let go of my friend and take these keys.”
    I could take the keys and drive away. Far away. Start over.
    Boone tightens his grip again, and this time, I don’t have a chance to take a breath. Black spots swim in front of my eyes as I struggle for air, and what I do manage to pull in tastes like smoke. Rose moves closer. If my arms were free I could reach out and touch her. “Stay back!” Boone shouts. “I know your trick, little girl, and it

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