Authors: Jennifer Loiske
ALSO BY JENNIFER LOISKE
SHAPE SHIFTER SERIES FOR YOUNG ADULTS
Copyright © Jennifer Loiske 2012
All rights reserved
No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without written permission from the author.
All characters and events in this publication
, other than those clearly in the public domain,
or used fictitiously
and any resemblance
to real persons, living or dead
is purely coincidental.
Cover design by Eveliina Tommola 2012
© Eveliina Tommola, Viima Graphics
All rights reserved
To my fabulous friends
Viveka, Anniina, Katarina
The second I woke up I knew I had been bitten. My throat hurt and I couldn't move my head without weeping. I slid my hand to my neck and felt it get wet. I swallowed. I didn't need to look to know my hand was covered in blood. My blood. I tried to remember what had happened last night, but the images were groggy and all I did remember was a boy. And not just any boy, but a boy I'd been following like a lovesick puppy for a month now.
Jonathan Blake was a dark-haired, blue-eyed boy. Almost six and a half feet tall with a body that would make even angels drool. And he happened to be in the same class as me. Sat next to me and, well, I don't know how to say this nicely, ignored me. As far as he was concerned, I didn't exist. Within a month he hadn't even looked at me, and I can promise that if he had, I would've noticed. I'd done everything to get his attention but he was like a blind stone sculpture.
Jonathan was an exchange student, but no one really knew where from. The rumor was that he'd had some serious troubles at his snobby private school and they wanted him out, but I didn't care what he was as long as he was here and made my senior year far more interesting than any year before it. The first moment I saw him I knew I had to get him, but the problem was I wasn't the only one. Every girl in Regents East High was drooling after him, but lucky me, I got to speak to him every day, sit next to him and occasionally even touch him. Okay, I had to admit that he hadn't actually spoken back to me. If I said hi, he just growled, but I kind of liked his caveman attitude. And the major fact was it wasn't just me; he didn't seem to notice any girl in the school, and before you say anything, yes, I was almost positive he wasn't gay either.
Jonathan was a bad boy. No doubt about it. He smoked, wore black leather clothes and drove a scary-looking black motorcycle. And even if he weren't looking for trouble, trouble seemed to find him. In a month I'd seen him outside the headmaster's office more than twice, seen how he kicked some of the toughest boys' asses in the schoolyard, and smelled the booze on Monday mornings when he slumped next to me, wearing sunglasses and raking his fingers through his dark, longish hair. So excuse me if I got a little bit too excited with his stay-away bad-boy image and his extremely sexy low smile that he gave to the teachers once in a while. You heard me, to the teachers, because, as I said before, I'm pretty sure he didn't even notice that I existed. Or at least he hadn't until yesterday.
I sighed and tried to open my eyes. It was hard. The light hit me like lightning and made my eyes leak, and with an enormous effort I managed to turn my head from the light to the shadows that lurked on the other side of the room. I struggled to keep them open. My eyes blinked like butterfly wings and refused to obey me. Sighing heavily, I gave up and let them close. I put my hand on my neck again and felt it with my fingers. Yep, there they were. Two clear fang marks that proved me right. That arrogant bastard had bitten me, and for what? Watching him? Following him to the club? I tried to rewind what happened last night but my mind refused to co-operate. Finally, I gave in and concentrated on getting up.
My limbs were stiff and I felt kind of dizzy. I put my hand to my temple and tried to rub the headache away. It didn't work
of course. Somehow, I got up and stayed up without passing out or falling and managed to crawl to my bathroom. I opened the closet behind the mirror and grabbed the nearest can of pills, emptied it onto my hand and swallowed the
without water. Then I accidentally glanced in the mirror. My hand flew to my mouth and I stared at the creature that was supposed to be me. My green eyes looked huge and glassy and I could've sworn something had happened to my skin. It was flawless. No pimples, no protruding hair in my brows and my lips were amazing. I let my fingers fondle them and sighed with pleasure. I was stunning. And don't get me wrong. I had liked myself before and I was still me, but just somehow I was also something more.
A terrible pain hit me and I had to twitch. My hands grabbed the edge of the sink and I wanted to throw up. I gasped in panic and felt tears roll down my face, and just when I thought it was over, the pain hit me again. Was this part of being bitten? A thought hit me. Should I drink a vampire's blood to become one or was this the moment I would die and then wake up as a vampire? I tried to memorize everything I knew about vampires, but sadly my knowledge came from books and films and I wasn't sure I could rely on either.
So far, I only knew I had been bitten and could live in the sunlight. Although it hurt a bit and wasn't as pleasant as before. I could also see my image in the mirror. I straightened up and glanced in the mirror again. I smiled. I hadn't known I was vain before, but looking like this was amazing. I licked my perfect lips, and when my tongue slid back into my mouth I froze. Okay, no need to panic, but I had fangs. Yes, real fangs that were so sharp that my tongue started to bleed immediately it touched them. The pain hit me again, but this time I knew what it was. I was hungry. So terribly hungry that I felt sick. But just the thought of food felt repulsive. Oh my God! I pressed my hands to my mouth. I wanted to scream! If my suspicions were true, did it mean I had to drink blood? Would blood be my only food from now on? I wanted to puke. And not because of the hunger but because just the thought of drinking blood was so disgusting. Oh God! I had to work this out. I had to remember what had happened to me. I let myself sink to the bathroom floor and pressed my head to my knees. I closed my eyes and tried to breathe slowly, calming my nerves and distancing myself a bit from my current situation.
Okay, think, I ordered myself. I knew I could do it if only I stayed calm and didn't let myself panic. Slowly, images started to flow into my mind. First they didn't make any sense to me, but finally I managed to put them at least in some kind of order and a picture of last night emerged.
I had followed Jonathan after school, which, by the way, hadn't been easy, since he rode a motorcycle and I rode a scooter. He had gone to an impressive-looking old stone house, which I assumed was his home, and I had waited there almost six hours before he came out again. I know it sounds pathetic. No. It was pathetic. But he was so worth the wait. He went to this really scary-looking narrow alley and stopped. I thought he was there to meet a girl or something, but he wasn't. He just stood there as the minutes went by, and I had thought I should go and talk to him. But just before I acted, a man appeared. They shook hands and left. No need to say that I followed them. I knew I shouldn't have, but at that point I couldn't help myself. I had a bad crush on him and I needed to know more about him. Just something I could turn into my advantage at school.
Jonathan and the mysterious man went to an even smaller alley and knocked on the last door on their left. Someone opened the door and they showed him their arms and went in. I remember wondering if I should knock at that door, too, but I didn't, as a quiet voice behind me got my attention. I turned and felt someone attacking me. I'm pretty sure I screamed Jonathan's name and he had heard me, but then what? Had he saved me or had he bitten me? 'Cause there was no way I could deny it anymore. I had been bitten by a vampire, and if I let myself think a bit more, something in my gut told me that Jonathan was a vampire. He had to be. No one could be that good-looking and be human. Though the main question was, was I a vampire, too?
I glanced at my cellphone and froze. Was it really ten thirty? I was so late for school. I cleaned my wound and covered it with a red scarf. Then I hurried to school and hoped no one had noticed my absence in the early classes.
I managed to slip into my math class just before the teacher arrived and a relieved sigh escaped through my lips. Jonathan, who sat beside me, glanced at me and I smiled.
He glanced at me again. Like he was seeing me for the first time ever and, believe it or not, he grunted, “Hi,” back at me.
Okay, at least something good had come out of me being bitten. My semi-god had spoken to me. I glanced around to see if anyone had noticed. My best friend Kate flashed a smile at me across the room. I smiled back. I turned to look at Jonathan again and, sure enough, he was leering at me and obviously trying to figure out what had changed. I stared at him steadily. He studied my face carefully, starting with my eyes and ending with my lips. I watched the understanding hit his brain and, for a second, I thought I saw horror in his eyes. Then he shook his head as if it couldn't be true. As if he couldn't believe I was a vampire too.
For the rest of the period I tried to get his attention again, but he kept staring stubbornly in front of him. How annoying! He did this to me, at least I was pretty sure he did, and now he acted like he wanted nothing to do with me. I waited for the bell to ring, and when it did I grabbed his arm. He looked at me with narrow eyes and unhooked my hand violently.
“Jonathan,” I pleaded, but he ignored me and got up. “Jonathan!” I shouted and some girls glanced at me, surprised.
He didn't stop. He left the room, pretending he hadn't heard me. I jumped up and tried to run after him, but Kate stopped me. I tried to push her aside, but she kept blabbering about my new, hot look and refused to let me go. By the time I got pissed enough to push her aside and rush to the hallway, Jonathan was long gone. I heard Kate's voice behind me and
my lips. I didn't want to get mad at her, nor did I want to tell her what had happened, as I wasn't sure of it myself. And the pathetic fact was that she was my only friend. Not that I was bullied or anything like that. I got invited to parties and boys kept asking me out. I might even say people liked me. I just didn't feel like I wanted to be part of anything. I knew I could, but I'd always felt like I didn't really fit in. Like I was watching other people's lives from afar and, well, Kate had always been a safe solution. She was pretty, didn't put her nose in my business and never demanded more than I was willing to give. I couldn't deny, though, that what had started as a convenient arrangement had grown to be a deep, life-lasting friendship. I'd do anything for her, but right now I didn't have any patience to deal with her.