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Authors: J. E. Swift


BOOK: Awakening
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The Trust Series

Book One

J.E. Swift

Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

Chapter 25

Chapter 26

Chapter 27

Chapter 28

Chapter 29

Chapter 30

Chapter 31

Chapter 32

Chapter 33

Chapter 34

About the Author

Copyright © 2012 by J.E. Swift.

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

This is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

For more information about J.E. Swift and the Trust Series, please visit:

To Donald, Harry, and Ainsley.

Because you make my world a better place just by being in it.

Chapter 1

aitlyn Young lovingly caressed the crimson brick that made up the foundation of the academic building where she had spent so much of her college career. Her tired fingers rested on the rough edges one last time, a final farewell to an old friend.

While most were thrilled with the idea of commencement, she still felt as if there was so much more to do, so much more she had not yet learned. She turned away from the building, looking out at the harsh world that awaited her. Caitlyn only hoped that the answers she sought were there.

A voice pulled her out of her thoughts. “Don’t look so sad. This is only the beginning.”

Caitlyn smiled softly at her friend Nora. “I know.”

But was it really? An illness that she had developed over the past six months had made a noticeable uptick in the past week. The past few mornings it had taken most of her energy just to get out of bed, never mind the long hours she had spent studying in the library for her last two finals. But she was not about to burden her friends with that. They were already concerned enough for her as it was and they had their own lives they needed to attend. They did not need to know that she was worried that her own beginning would be cut dangerously short.

As the two roommates walked away from their college campus to the apartment they had called home for the past two years, Nora gently reminded her of their plans for tonight. Caitlyn pretended that she did not forget, inwardly cringing that she did not remember. Typically, a night with the girls would have been what got her through finals week. But between her thesis, the tests, and her sickness, the soon-to-be graduate had been more distracted than normal.

Nora glared at her knowingly. “You forgot! I can see the deer in the headlights look in your face, no matter how much you deny it.”

A sigh fell from her lips as she resigned herself to the fact that she could hide nothing from the brunette that had been her friend since the very first day of their freshman year. “I can’t believe Shannon is leaving tomorrow. I feel like I’ve barely seen any of you or talked to you in weeks.”

“You’ve been distracted. We understand.” Nora nudged her as they walked along. “You’re going out tonight, right?”

Caitlyn paused. The three best friends she had for six years urged her to go out for one last night of drinking and general debauchery before they took their own separate paths and moved away from each other, and she was debating whether or not to go. She was ashamed at herself for even questioning it and cursed her health for what seemed to be the millionth time.

No. She was going to let loose like they used to over the past few years, downing a few beers and saying a proper goodbye to this portion of their life.

“Of course,” she replied as she nudged her friend. “There is nowhere else I would rather be.”

The bar they had often frequented during their academic years was a typical college town bar, cheap décor and even cheaper beer. McHale’s was packed from the completion of finals, and it seemed that many students were out celebrating their upcoming matriculation.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen McHale’s this busy,” Shannon commented as they fought their way to a recently evacuated table.

“Everyone is feeling nostalgic,” Caitlyn offered.

“For this?” Rachael dryly commented, frowning as she used her hand to wipe off the puddle of beer the previous occupants had spilled. “Ugh. Disgusting.”

Caitlyn produced a napkin from her purse, which Rachael gratefully took. “Well, we are here for the same reason, aren’t we?”

Nora’s lips turned upwards in amusement. “She has a point, Rach.”

Rachael rolled her eyes. “Oh, let’s just get drunk already, shall we?”

Caitlyn had never been a heavy drinker. She had certainly participated in her fair share of college parties, and there were several occasions she could recall spending the night sleeping on the bathroom floor. But those, she was happy to report, were few and far between. No, Caitlyn typically was the designated driver. She usually enjoyed watching her friend’s drunken antics from the sober side.

Tonight… well, tonight was different. She needed to forget about the world, and perhaps for one night, she could pretend her life was normal again.

Three shots and a beer later, Caitlyn was well on her way to letting her stresses go. So much so that she uncharacteristically let Shannon lead her out on the tiny dance floor.

It felt good to unwind with them, as they found themselves singing a cheesy song that played over the decade’s old stereo system in the corner of the bar. Her friends grinned at one another as they increasingly became off key; ignoring the annoyed looks of those that were trying to talk around them. When the song ended to the relief of the other patrons of the bar, the four women headed back to their table.

Caitlyn’s friend Shannon took a swig of her beer. “This is our last night.”

Nora raised her glass. “To new beginnings.” Shannon, Rachael, and Caitlyn all followed suit by raising their various beverages. “May we all be happy, successful, and exceed everybody’s expectations.”

The others did not notice the cracking in Caitlyn’s voice as they clinked their glasses and repeated, “To new beginnings.”

When she turned so her friends would not see her wipe a tear from her eye, she noticed a man who appeared to be in his mid-twenties watching her curiously. He gave her a brief smile before looking down at his drink. Her friends noticed the action and began whispering amongst themselves.

Rachael murmured, “New beginnings, Caitlyn, remember? And that is one fine beginning sitting there at the bar.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” Caitlyn responded before excusing herself to walk over to order another drink. She ignored the catcalls that her supposed friends made to her back. Despite Rachael’s comment, Caitlyn was not looking for that kind of beginning. At least, not yet. Perhaps someday. She smoothed her top down as she leaned over the counter, holding a ten-dollar bill in her hand, attempting to get the bartender’s attention.

The blonde collegiate could not help but sneak a quick glimpse at the man, considering him. At first glance, she verified that he was indeed handsome and could at least admit to herself that she liked the way his dirty blond hair was long enough to fall just slightly in his eyes, which had met hers in that instant.

She turned from him quickly, embarrassed at being caught staring. Caitlyn grabbed her drink from the barkeep, and after a moment, couldn’t help but to try to catch a better look at him. She squinted her eyes. It was as if she could not quite focus on him, the outline of his body appearing fuzzy. Caitlyn sighed internally. Failing eyesight.
Just another thing that is going wrong with me
, she thought to herself bitterly. She was falling apart.

She smiled coyly at the stranger, realizing she had been caught yet a second time. He took that as a sign of encouragement and got up from his seat, moving over to her. She took in the full appearance of him then. The man was taller than she by a good six inches and his build indicated that he was athletic, or at the very least attended the gym on a regular basis. Yes, Caitlyn surmised, he was definitely one of the more attractive guys she had seen recently.

His eyes lit up at her. “Hi.”

She figured a little conversation wouldn’t hurt. “Hello.”

“I’m Garrett.” He extended his hand, and Caitlyn gave it a firm handshake.


“Nice to meet you, Caitlyn.”

“Thanks. You too. Are you from around here?” She thought he looked a little older than someone who would be a college student in this town, but it was possible he was working on his master’s or doctorate.

“I moved here recently for my job.”

So he was not a college student. Her eyes were still having difficulty being able to focus on him. Perhaps it was only the alcohol that was impairing her vision. “Do you like it here?”

Garrett shrugged. “It’s alright. What about you, are you from these parts?”

Caitlyn shook her head as she placed her drink back on the bar. It would be best to stop drinking temporarily to keep her wits about her. “I’ve been here the past six years but grew up in Virginia. You?”

“I’m from Colorado originally, although I had lived in New England for the past eight years, until I was relocated.”

There was a slight pause. “So what do you do for a living? This is mostly just a small college town.”

“Recruiting mostly.”

“Military?” She was surprised. His hazel eyes carried a certain mischievousness that did not seem to match a military persona.

He took a sip of his beer. “You could say something like that.”

She eyed him appraisingly as she pondered over his cryptic response. She thought about asking him exactly what he meant by that, but he followed up with a question of his own before she could do so.

“Caitlyn, what is it that you do?”

“Well, my official career for the past six years has been professional college student. In four short days though, I will officially be a graduate from the university with my master’s degree.”

He smiled again at her. “So beautiful and smart. That is a lethal combination. Any job prospects?”

Although it was hard to make Caitlyn blush, she did just that at his compliment. There was something in his stare that made her do so. “Not yet. But I haven’t been looking.”

Garrett leaned closer to her. “Really? Why is that?”

“I decided that after eighteen years of studying, I deserve a long vacation.”

“Understandable. Where to?”

Caitlyn could tell that she had genuinely peaked Garrett’s interest. She shrugged. “Honestly? I have no idea. I’ll pick a place over the next couple of weeks and then just up and go.”

His eyebrows rose. “Up and leave. Just like that?”

“Just like that. My three best friends-” she pointed to the girls who were still whispering at the table as they were at sneaking glances over at Caitlyn, “have all received job offers from all over the country. So within two weeks’ time, we will all be separated. Shannon actually leaves tomorrow and is going to miss the graduation ceremony. So why stay here twiddling my thumbs when I can be off on an adventure of my own?”

He looked impressed, but she could tell that he was mulling some things over in his head. “You have a point. Sometimes adventures lead you on a path you never quite expected though.”

“Honestly? That is what I am counting on. Right now, where I currently am, I am stuck in neutral, not moving forward. I’m hoping this summer, whatever it is I end up doing, will set me down that path I am meant to be on. Pretty stupid, huh?”

“Not stupid at all.”

He watched her carefully as she spoke, taking it all in. She did not feel like being under a microscope this evening, which was how he was currently making her feel, and decided to turn the tables on him. “So are you planning on living here long?”

He began to peel the label off his bottle of beer. “Well, that depends.”

“On what?”

“On how well my recruiting goes. If it goes well, then it will be a few weeks, if not, then it will be longer.”

BOOK: Awakening
3.52Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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