I sat rigid over the circular couch, staring at the charismatic, confident gait of the man calling himself Reuben Lincoln. Zinnia was sitting on the same couch I was, a bright curious look in her eyes as she shifted glances between the two men she was with. Reuben, on the other hand, was sitting across me on a leather recliner, his posture relaxed as he leaned against the seat's backrest, his elbows propped up on the recliner's armrests."You look like you've seen a ghost, Mr. Hudson," he noted."That's because I think I just have." Bitterness was in my voice. That I could still be hurt on her behalf as I stared at the father who abandoned her for eight years was a cold reminder that Sofia still meant more to me than I was comfortable to admit. "You're Aiden Claremont."I was expecting him to deny it, so I was surprised when a smirk showed on his face and he said, "I figured you would recognize me. You were old enough to remember.""Remember what? That yo
I raised the lantern Derek gave me over my head as we continued to climb to the top of the lighthouse. I found myself a bit confused and more than a little surprised. I thought I was imagining things, but I could swear that the hand Derek laid on my back was shaking.Derek Novak? Nervous? Will wonders never cease?As we neared our destination, I felt a mixture of dread and anticipation. It was obvious that this place held a lot of meaning to Derek and I was excited to find out why, but there was also a sense of foreboding that came with it, as if the lighthouse also housed something dark and disturbing.I was relieved – and out of breath – when we finally reached the top of the lighthouse. Derek, who was at my rear the whole time, took the lead during the last few steps. He retrieved a metal skeleton key from his jeans' side pocket and unlocked the arched rosewood door.His hand was already on the latch that would open the door, but he took seve
When my feet landed on one of the boulders outside the fortress, the way Sofia's slender form was trembling in my arms was the first thing that registered on my mind.Her arms clung tight around me, both her hands gripping clumps of my hair. Her face was nuzzled against my neck, her erratic breathing hot against my skin. I leaned my head backwards to get a better look at her face and found her eyes shut tight with terror. She was biting on her lip so hard, I was afraid she might draw blood.As if everything about you isn't already temptation enough… The last thing I need is to get another whiff of your blood.I couldn't help but smile at how badly her knees were shaking as I placed her on her feet. She opened her eyes, her breaths raspy, as she took in her surroundings. When she saw the smile on my face, she let go of her death hold on my hair and pushed me on the shoulder with one hand. I chuckled, amused by how terrified she looked. That seemed to annoy
I was kicking myself in the head for being so overly dramatic. It wasn't like the hunters were going to take me captive and keep me from ever seeing my family again, but I knew that the choice I was making was going to break my family's heart. My next stop was my parents' bedroom. I snuck a peek at them cuddled in their bed, a reminder of how in love they still were with each other after all those years – something I felt I could never have now that Sofia had left me. I slipped through the door and snuck inside the room, careful to be as quite as I possibly could. I saw my dad's car keys above their drawers and took them. I took one last look at my parents and whispered, "I'm sorry."I then headed off to the car and made the drive to the airport. I had no idea where to go or what to do. All I had was a name and a number and I was prepared to fly to any destination I was asked to go to.Once I got to the LAX airport, I headed for the nearest coffee shop and ordere
Walking through the woods, along the familiar gravel pathway that led from the Sanctuary to the Vale, I found myself bothered by the things Vivienne told me – about how Derek was veering towards his dark side. I witnessed that first hand with the scene I walked in on upon my arrival. The conversation I had with Corrine further heightened my anxiety over Derek when she confirmed the things that he'd been up to during my absence – how he seemed to be gearing everyone up for war, the census, the ban from all further abductions and what that could imply… I didn't know what to make of all the things I'd been told and I felt unsure about what I was supposed to be doing at The Shade. What impact did Vivienne think I could have here? My eyes were beginning to moisten with tears as I looked up at Derek. I needed to talk about what happened. I wanted to understand him again, because the time I spent away from The Shade felt like a giant rift between us. "Where do you w
Seated on the edge of my bed, waiting for Sofia to emerge from the bathroom, I wondered if she had any idea how much her words meant to me.You never lost me.It was admittance that after everything that happened, after everything she saw, she was still mine.It completely eclipsed what I felt over Vivienne's disappearance, something I thought ought to make me feel guilty. However, all I felt was a distinct sense of gratefulness that Sofia was back at The Shade with me. Not long before she arrived, I was hell bent on punishing her for being the reason behind my losing Vivienne. Now that she was here, everything inside me was screaming for a way to atone myself for the things I'd been doing since she left.The bathroom door opened and she emerged wearing a towel around her slender form, her long auburn hair still dripping wet. I caught my breath at the sight of her. Is she really so oblivious to the effect she has on me?"I can't find the hair dryer
The first thing I noticed upon swinging the door open was the symbol of a hawk on Derek's back – right below his right shoulder. It was one of Vivienne's memories proving accurate and for a split-second, I stood mesmerized.It wasn't until he turned toward me that I realized what he was doing … what he was about to do … The sight of the blood on the neck of the unconscious young woman he had on his bed made my head faint with shock.My cheeks drained of blood as I leaned against the doorpost for support, my knees weakening beneath me. "Derek, how could you…" My voice trailed off when I saw the way he was looking at me – as if I were a ghost, a ghost that he loathed.A deep, heart-wrenching growl came from his lips and within seconds, he had me against his bedroom wall, his hips supporting my weight, his left hand gripping my right arm and keeping it pressed against the wall, while his right hand held my neck."How did you get back here?" he hissed, anger poisoning every word.It was a
I was at the training grounds. Xavier, who had become significantly better with the sword after the daily training regimen I put him through, had just made a slice in my shoulder. My wound was in the process of healing when I was gripped by a sick feeling inside, accompanied by the urge to find out where my sister was."You do realize that the hunters and perhaps the other covens are now equipped with guns and not swords, right?" Xavier asked. "Why then do we have to learn to fight using these?" He raised his sword in the air as I straightened to my full height."Agility. Strength. The honor of looking your opponents in the eye before you wound them… Sword fights aren't for cowards." I explained, my mind still occupied by an urge to find Vivienne."Honor?" He raised one brow. "Is that what we call it now?" He positioned himself for another round. "Perhaps you mean horror."With my opponent poised for another fight, I backed down for the first time.