Authors: Kaitlyn Davis
Tags: #Vampires, #love, #paranormal romance, #Fantasy, #Magic, #Young Adult, #heroine
His fire swirled into her palm, warming her
hands and traveling up to her heart, where it settled like a hot
spring flooding into an arctic pool. A good shiver, a loving
tremble, shot through Kira's body and she leaned her head against
the back of her seat, letting the tips of her lip curl up.
If her mother noticed Luke's more than
friendly behavior, she stayed silent, letting the two of them have
their moment. But it didn't last long, because Luke pulled the car
to a stop and Kira reluctantly slipped free, leaving the car to put
her plan into action.
First stop? Getting her locket back.
Kira circled the house until she reached the
trellis next to the backdoor. Her grandparent's bedroom was only
one short story above her head, and Kira knew her locket was in
there. The day before, she had watched her grandmother wrap it in a
silk handkerchief and place it lovingly in her jewelry box.
But that's not where it belonged.
It belonged around Kira's neck, with her
father's wedding ring and the sun charm Luke had given her as a
gift. Her three most valued possessions in life needed to be kept
together, safe and close to her heart.
Kira stepped forward, reaching through the
vines to grasp the slightly soggy wood that she hoped would remain
standing long enough for her to scale the wall and somehow get back
down. She couldn't be seen—she couldn't face the Council right now
knowing everything she said would be a lie.
Kira lifted her foot, stepping sideways on
the frame, propelling her body weight off the ground. Using it like
a ladder, Kira continued creeping up the wall until her fingers
brushed against a whitewashed window frame.
Sticking her hand up a little farther, Kira
breathed a sigh of relief—it was open. She knew they slept with the
window open, that they liked the fresh air and the sound of birds
in the morning, but still, Kira was satisfied—something was finally
As she pushed up, throwing the upper half of
her body into the house, her senses jumped. A waft of sugar
tantalized her nostrils, sending a hunger into the pit of her
stomach, an ache that only knew one cure.
Kira pinched her nose, cutting off her sense
of smell, and gasped, using her mouth to breath. The house smelled
overwhelmingly like conduits, like their blood—a forbidden fruit
Kira just wanted to taste. She could almost feel the power of the
Council below her feet thrum through her body, a syrupy elixir.
The wooden walls of the suburban home were a
Pandora's box in disguise, teasing Kira to just let go, to let
She made a gas mask out of her fingers,
cupping her lips so as little air as possible seeped into her
She needed her locket and then she needed
Stumbling to the bedside table, Kira threw
the top of the jewelry box open with one hand while she kept the
other one pinched around her nose. The locket was easy to spot, and
Kira pulled it free of her grandmother's handkerchief, stuffing it
in the pocket of her jeans.
With no time wasted, Kira fell back through
the door, gulping down fresh air. Her lungs burned in a good way, a
She sucked in a breath, holding it while she
retreated back in the bedroom to climb out feet first. She landed
on her knees, clutching the mud with her hands while her breath
slowed. Sonnyville was not a haven anymore—it was a trap.
Sitting up slowly, Kira unclasped the chain
around her neck and slipped the locket back down. It landed with a
chink next to her father's ring and Kira looked at the three little
charms, resting side by side in the sunlight.
Time to find the missing piece—Tristan. Kira
had no charm, no trinket to symbolize their past, but that didn't
mean she was about the leave him behind. Instead, she took off at a
run down the mostly empty streets, not pausing to say hello to any
conduits she passed.
Kira didn't stop until she stumbled to a halt
in front of the automatic doors of the hospital. She waited for
half a second for the glass to slide open, and then took off at a
sprint again, not letting her nose process any smell around her,
not giving her brain enough time to register how many conduits were
in the building.
Even with her speed, the scent of honey blood
drifted into her senses, spurring her on even faster, pushing her
toward the only human in the building.
Tristan jumped when she burst into his
"Kira!" He said, and then he relaxed with the
recognition—something that warmed Kira's heart. A smile spread
across his features, lighting up his face and making it glow with
"Tristan," Kira said breathily, trying to
regain her composure after her run. She slammed her hands down in
the bed, steadying herself, and a few papers rustled. Leaning
closer, Kira noticed a pile of sketches on the bed.
A pile of sketches of her face.
Soft curls danced around her frame, hiding
her eyes in shadows as a small smile played on her lips. In
another, her eyes lit up, seeming to glow through the page. In
another, her palm was raised with a small flame that she seemed to
offer to the viewer.
Traveling up the bed, Kira saw graphite
shavings lazily resting on the sheets, a pile of peeled pencils on
Tristan's thigh, and a half-finished outline of her features below
The tips were blackened, a side-effect of
rubbing the pencil into the pages. It was almost too familiar—her
Everything except for her eyes, which kept
raising higher—higher up his muscular chest to his Adam's apple
stopped on a gulp and his lips halfway to a smile. Finally his
brown eyes, which she almost expected to be blue again.
She leaned forward, hanging on the unspoken
words dancing on his lips…
"I didn't mean to be forward," he said, stiff
and formal, not her Tristan.
Kira's body deflated. For a moment, she had
thought, maybe—but no. Better not to go there, not now. Better to
hold onto some dreams, especially while the rest of her beliefs
seemed to be crashing down around her.
"I don't mind," she said gently, sitting half
on the bed, afraid to lean too close to him.
"I didn't know what to draw and you were so
kind this morning. I thought maybe we were friends," he shrugged. A
light pink blush gathered on his cheeks, innocent and so new to
"We are friends," she grabbed one of the
sketches just to do something with the hands that felt fat in her
lap, "and these are beautiful."
"Once I started, it felt almost natural, as
though my fingers had remembered something my brain didn't." He
looked down toward the sketches, running his pointer finger along
her graphite cheekbone. Kira felt the ghost of a touch on her
cheek, a haunting memory. "This is not the first picture of you
I've drawn, is it?"
Kira swallowed deeply. "No, it's not."
"I didn't think so…"
He sat up, reaching his hand out, stopping an
inch from her face. Kira held her breath. After a minute, his hand
fell back down onto the bed—gravity stronger than whatever memory
he was grasping for.
"Why is it that I don't remember?"
"I don't know," Kira whispered.
"I think I want to."
Kira sighed, "I know this must be so
frustrating. But it will all work out. I promise, you'll get used
to this new life."
Tristan nodded. "I believe your words, but
something, some instinct I can not shut off wants me to go back, to
retrieve what I've lost."
His fingers brushed over her palm and his
eyes squinted, looking deep into hers, almost as if he could see
her soul. A shiver traveled up her arm.
"You ready?" Luke's voice called and Kira
jumped off the hospital bed, looking for a body to go along with
the words. The doorway was empty. Had she imagined it? For some
reason, she felt guilty, like she had been doing something wrong.
Was Luke the angel on her shoulder… or the devil?
"Over here, genius," he said and Kira spun
toward the window. His blond head poked through the open frame.
"I knew that."
"Yeah, right," he grinned and pushed the
window open even farther.
"Ready for what?" Tristan asked. He quickly
shuffled the papers together, removing them from Luke's eyesight,
viewing him with a slightly hostile stare.
Some things never change, Kira thought,
feeling almost like herself for a minute.
"We're leaving," Kira said.
"Here." Luke tossed a pair of dark wash jeans
and a plain black t-shirt on the bed.
"What are these?" Tristan asked, holding the
t-shirt up like it was a rag.
"Clothes," Kira said gently, pointing at
Luke's similar ensemble.
"That was pretty much your standard look,
man," Luke said, "the ladies dug it."
"Dug?" Tristan asked, confused. Luke's grin
"This is going to be fun," he said, looking
slowly at Kira. A mischievous glint sparkled in his eye.
"Luke," she said sternly.
He gave her a little shove toward the window.
"Why don't you act as look-out."
"I mean it," Kira warned.
"I'm just going to help the man get dressed,"
he said in a totally unconvincing voice and nudged her a little
"If he comes out with purple hair or
something…" Kira trailed off to duck under the window.
"Would I do that?"
"Yes," Kira said under her breath as she
jumped the last few feet to the ground.
"Now, Tristan," she heard Luke say, but
stopped listening when her eyes caught a red mass in the
The Punisher Council.
All seven of them.
Walking this way.
Walking into the hospital.
"Luke! We have to get out of here now!"
Kira stilled her entire body, not daring to
move even her finger.
Maybe they won't see me, she thought—be the
wall, Kira, be the wall. Brick wasn't so far from a strawberry
blond head… of course, she was wearing a bright, almost neon green
shirt, so that wasn't helping.
The first Punisher ducked into the hospital,
and then the second, now the third. The door was only a few yards
from the window above Kira's head. How long before one of them
noticed her—or reached Tristan's room? Because Kira had no doubt
that was their destination, to poke and prod the newly human
Too bad I got here first, Kira mentally
The fourth was in.
Kira moved her hand a few inches higher and
knocked on the window, trying to urge Luke along without making a
The fifth was in.
She was going to kill him, both of them—how
long did it take for a guy to put on a pair of jeans, even if he
had never seen them before. A button here, a zipper there…it wasn't
The sixth moved forward.
Kira eyed the final Punisher. It was the
leader, the one with a massive chip on his shoulder, the one who
maybe had it out for her…scratch that, definitely had it out for
her. He took a step forward, putting his body halfway through the
door and Kira held her breath, waiting for the rest of him to
But Luke chose that moment to stick his head
out the window and tell Kira, "We have company."
The Punisher whipped his head around, eyes
boring down on Luke and Kira.
"What?" Kira asked, turning around,
forgetting her camouflage now that their cover was blown.
"I locked the door," Luke said while jumping
down from the window frame, "but it sounds like there are a few
angry conduits on the other side of it."
The Punisher yelled over toward them, closing
in on them while numbers five and six walked back out of the
hospital to see what the commotion was.
"There are a few angry conduits out here,
too" Kira muttered and tugged on his arm. "Where's Tristan? We need
to get out of here."
"On my way," Tristan said, and swung through
the window, slipping his feet outwards so he easily dropped to the
ground without making a sound. Kira took in the dark jeans, the
black t-shirt, the way his body moved fluidly like a jungle cat.
Not now, she thought and pushed the memories back, not when I need
to be on my game.
To their right, the Punishers were closing
in. The leader had gathered his flames, ready to blow them into
Kira's face. Normally, that wouldn’t scare her, but something
inside of her was screaming in fear, running from the burn. Part of
her was afraid that the flames might actually sting.
"Let's go," she yelled, trying to ignore the
shriek in her gut.
Luke ran in the opposite direction, motioning
for them to follow. Tristan went next, and with one final look at
the Council that should have accepted her, Kira followed the two
boys around the corner.
In seconds, they reached Luke's get away
car—an old black jeep. Luke hopped in the front seat, but Tristan
stopped dead in his tracks. Kira slammed into his back, knocking
the air out of her lungs.
"Tristan, come on." Kira shoved him toward
"What is this?" He asked, mystified and
"It's a car, like a modern day horse and
carriage, but with metal and electricity and gas…" Kira said,
trying not to laugh at how ridiculous that sounded to her. Luke, of
course, didn't bother to hide his amusement, and Tristan just
looked more bewildered.
"Just get in," she said, opening the front
seat for him. After he settled in, Kira jumped in the back and
looked out the rear window at the Punishers still running their
Luke pushed on the gas and Tristan
practically jumped out of his seat, grabbing the handle bar above
his head as though his life depended on it. Kira saw his knuckles
turn whiter and whiter the farther down the road they moved. She
reached through the seats and put a hand on his shoulder.