Protected (Book 1 in the Ariya Adams trilogy)

Protected (Book 1 in the Ariya Adams trilogy) by Anna Applegate

Book: Protected (Book 1 in the Ariya Adams trilogy) by Anna Applegate Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Applegate
extremely good on the ice together. At the end of the second, it was 4-0.
    “I’m gonna run to the bathroom. I’ll be right back.”
    I got up to head out to the concourse. The restrooms were off to the side from where the students sat, a bit out of the way, so I headed towards the doors.
    I was finishing up, washing my hands, when I thought I saw a shadow cross the mirror. I glanced up , but didn’t see anything strange. The lights must still be warming up , I thought to myself as I glanced up at them flickering. They had been switched off for the entire summer, after all.
    I grabbed the door handle to leave when someone’s arm shot out, slamming the door shut in front of me. Before I could even turn around , I was shoved up against the wall with a strong, rather large hand grasping my throat. I almost couldn’t breathe. I opened my eyes to see I was staring straight into the face of Devon.
    I clawed at his hand around my throat, trying to gasp in what little air was able to get through my windpipe.
    “Not so protected now, are we?” Devon growled.
    His eyes were glowing like they had been the night of Ashley’s party, when I’d caught them behind her building. His voice was harsh and his arm muscles were bulging. I thought to myself that there was no way it was possible for him to be holding me up like this.
    “Listen carefully, Ariya. You are going to do exactly what I say or you are going to regret it.”
    He lowered me and released his hand from my throat, then shoved both of my shoulders hard against the wall again. It knocked the wind out of me as I felt my head hit the solid concrete wall behind me hard. He was strong, painfully strong.
    My vision started blurring from the impact.   It felt almost unbearable to have that kind of strength pushing into my shoulders. I tried catching my breath, gasping as much as possible to regain some of the air that had been pushed out of my lungs so roughly.
    “What are you doing?”
    My voice was raspy and my throat was almost numb from the pain of having been strangled. The throbbing in my head was getting worse. How hard had I hit it? Sharp pain was causing even my eyes to hurt.
    “Shut up and listen to me. I’m tired of waiting for you.”
    There was something seriously wrong with this guy. He leaned into me, sniffing my hair, and I thought I was going to gag. How had I ever thought he was attractive?
    “You’re so beautiful.”
    He brought his lips close to mine. I wanted to back away, but he had me pinned against the wall. Pulling on lessons learned in my self-defense class, I made a sudden movement to try to bring my leg to hit him in the balls. He was too fast, though, and he grabbed my leg.
    “Shame on you, Ariya.”
    I started to scream, but he brought his hand up to cover my mouth.
    “Now, now. I’m not going to really hurt you. At least, not yet.”
    He punched me in the gut swiftly, pushing all the breath I had managed to get back a moment ago out of me again. My mouth was open, trying desperately to gulp in air. My legs wanted to bend, but Devon shoved my shoulders back again, keeping me from falling.
    “You are going to ditch Caroline, Nick, and especially James. You are going to come with me alone . Do you...”
    He was cut off from the rest of his threat when the restroom door flew open. It was Caroline. I tried to call her name to tell her to leave, but had no voice to do so. Instead of being able to warn her and have her safe, I was trapped. She was going to be hurt if I didn’t speak. I went to say her name, but could only cough.
    Caroline was standing in the doorway and I thought I could see Nick behind her as well. She ran through the door and rushed at Devon.
    “Let her go, you wretched animal!”
    She slammed into him harder than I would have ever thought possible. Devon roughly let go of me when Caroline ran into him. I crumpled, down onto the floor. I looked up to try to warn Caroline and to tell her that Devon was really strong.

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