Authors: Rebekah R. Ganiere
Tags: #Fantasy, #romantic elements, #Urban Fantasy
Table of Contents
Rebekah R. Ganiere
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This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are fictitious or have been used fictitiously, and are not to be construed as real in any way. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales, or organizations is entirely coincidental.
1643 Warwick Ave., #124
Warwick, RI 02889
Copyright © 2014 by Rebekah R. Ganiere
Edited by Nancy Cassidy
All Rights Are Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
First Etopia Press electronic publication: January 2014
~ Dedication ~
For my husband, who believes in me, my children, who inspire me, and my family, who loves me.
Warm, thick air filled Evaine’s lungs; it was going to rain. She gazed up at the clouds rolling in. They blanketed the sky like waves of dirty cotton. Stormy weather, her favorite, but she didn’t want to get caught in the rain today. The Laundromat was a luxury she could not afford right now.
Picking up her pace she headed toward the office of Mac, her fine arts adviser. The wind picked up as she crossed the quad, and the first droplet of water hit her cheek. She pulled down the long sleeves of her worn-out shirt. The thin hoodie was about as good at keeping out the chill as paper would be keeping out a charging bull.
Evaine’s mind began to drift as she fought through students rushing to get out of the drizzle. Without permission, her brain turned to her overdue bills. Trying to live on meager grants and student loans was harder than she would have thought, considering how she’d grown up. Her rent had been due a week ago, and she wondered why her pit bull of a landlord hadn’t been banging down her door like the last million times her rent had been twenty minutes late. Not that the very small studio—hole—was worth what she paid. Maybe she would be better living on the street. She needed to come up with some cash, fast.
The voice of her mother, Phyllis, chimed in
. Life would be easier if you’d let Tristan help out.
. She absently rubbed her finger where the huge diamond ring he had gotten her rarely sat. She refused to wear it for the sheer size, not to mention that she didn’t want to let anyone know she was engaged at the age of twenty. Some people would think she was marrying Tristan Atwater for his money. Her mother had tried to teach her for years how to use her body to catch a man of means. But Evaine couldn’t stand for anyone to find out she shared even one shred of DNA with the woman who had birthed her. Phyllis had used every man she’d ever known. No way was Evaine going to take a penny of Tristan’s money to pay for anything until they married; and she didn’t think she would ever get used to it, really. She’d always prided herself for being able to stand on her own.
She refused to rush into marriage. Not in her second year of college, not even to a guy as wonderful as Tristan. The only man she’d ever loved; the only good thing to ever happen to her. He was her security blanket. The only person she had ever relied on and trusted. But she’d never let his money be her security. Between his trust fund and the money he made at his job he could more than pay for five penthouse apartments on Park Avenue. She may have been a foster system reject brought up in a trailer park, but that didn’t mean she had to act like one.
Couldn’t hurt to ask for a few dollars.
Phyllis’s voice was again in her head.
The wind whipped her hair into her face as she lifted her head. “Hey, Jeff.”
“Where you off to?” He fell into step beside her.
“I need to see Mac.” She continued toward Mac’s office building.
Jeff was a sweet guy, not bad looking either, in a sort of geeky way. He had kind eyes and shaggy, curly surfer blond hair. His tall, lean frame had a nice build. For the second time since getting engaged she was reminded that she’d never even dated another man beside Tristan.
Last year when they’d done a rendition of
Taming of the Shrew
together, Jeff had been especially nice to her. He’d asked her out a couple of times. Every time she’d made up excuses about schoolwork or her job—anything. She hadn’t been sure what to say. No one knew about Tristan, and she wanted to keep it that way. She wasn’t ashamed of Tristan, by any means. She just didn’t like all the attention that came from dating him.
Most girls would brag about a rich VP of marketing boyfriend and a gigantic, five-carat diamond ring. But she was still wondering what Tristan had been thinking when he’d bought that lighthouse beacon for her to wear on her hand.
“So you goin’ out for the lead this time?” Jeff broke through her reverie.
She hadn’t been listening. “Sorry. What?”
“You know, the auditions this week…for
“Oh! Well…I hope to, but…I need to earn some money so I’m thinking that I might need to get a part-time job.”
“I know the feeling.” He nodded. “They’d pay you for being in the play though.”
“But it’s not a sure thing.”
“Oh.” He sounded a bit disappointed. “Well, I’m going out for the part of Billy Flynn, and I’d hoped to work with you.”
“You would make a great Billy.” Jeff smiled again. They’d reached Mac’s office. “Well, this is me.”
“OK, cool! I’ll see ya.” Jeff leaned over and gave her a quick hug. She reached up and gave him a lame one-armed hug back, always amazed at how affectionate theater people were with each other. She turned away from Jeff and knocked.
A voice called from the other side. “I didn’t do it!”
She smiled and pushed the stiff door open. “Hey, Mac.”
Mac glanced up from his pile of papers. “Hey, Evaine.” A smile took root on his pudgy face. “Have a seat.”
Evaine tried to locate a place to sit. Every surface of his closet-sized office was covered. Scripts and other papers enveloped his desk and many shelves. A wardrobe, wedged into the corner, sagged under the weight of costumes and props. Theatrical makeup concealed a small mirrored vanity shoved next to his desk. Mac may have been a fine arts counselor, but he was partial to the theater. It took her a minute to realize that an especially high stack of papers was actually a chair in disguise. He was the favorite counselor at the school, and Evaine wondered who Mac had pissed off to have gotten such a tiny office.
She managed to find a chair and sat down.
“Wath up?” He had a pencil clenched between his teeth.
“I need some advice on my schedule for next semester. I’m not sure if I can fit in the whole load of classes I had planned to take.” She plopped her bag onto the ground and searched for her planner.
“Too bad. What’s the problem? Work too much for you this semester?”
“No, schoolwork’s fine, but I think I am going to have to get a job. I don’t think that I’ll be able to afford to take a full load.”
“Well, that’s too bad. Does that mean that you won’t be going out for any of the plays? Your major is in acting, if I remember right. You might have to change that to directing or something else if you can’t be in the performances.”
She hadn’t thought of that before. She didn’t want to direct; she wanted to act.
“Don’t you have anyone who can help you out with school expenses? Family, friends, boyfriend?”
Evaine glanced up sharply. Had he heard something? Did he know about Tristan? She searched his face, but saw no sign of deception. “Nope, just me.”
“Really? No rich Sugar Daddy waitin’ to help out a pretty young thing like you? I bet they are lined up around your block.”
She had never had anyone be so blatant about her looks before—or how she should use them—except for Phyllis. She cleared her throat and glanced away. “Nope. None.”
“Come on. I’ve seen the way the guys look at you, and heaven knows I’ve heard them talk on campus. You’re telling me that there’s no special guy out there?”
The hair on her neck started to prickle. Somehow the conversation had gone from joking to a more serious prying. Mac’s face had gotten very intense. His voice was light, but his eyes gave him away. She’d dealt with enough social workers to understand when someone was asking a question, while prodding for something deeper. “No,” she managed to stammer. “No one.”
His eyes lit up, and she got the funny feeling she should have told him the truth about Tristan.