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This must be real… .
He leaned forward, his gaze intent upon hers, his hand on the arm of her chair as if confining her to its bounds. She could feel the warmth of his closeness and smell the hint of a spicy scent on his skin. His knee bumped hers, and she felt an awareness of his presence tingle over her body. She lost herself in the deep hazel of his eyes, where the flame of the candle flickered.
As if moved by a force beyond herself, Caitlyn lifted her hand and reached toward his face. A spark of surprise touched his eyes, but he didn’t move away as she lightly touched his cheek.
His skin was soft as velvet. Her lips parted on a breath, and she stroked his cheek, feeling the sharp prickle of whiskers roughening his jaw. The sensation on her fingertips was sharp and real, and it stirred awake a sleeping part of her mind.
She blinked in surprise, her hand freezing in place.
He’s not real. This isn’t real.
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LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
Wake unto me / by Lisa Cach.
Summary: When fifteen-year-old Oregonian Caitlyn Monahan earns a scholarship to an exclusive French boarding school, she hopes to escape the terrifying dreams that haunt her, but instead she encounters centuries-old mysteries at the Chateau de la Fortune, where she has a princess for a roommate and she falls in love with a seductive ghost that visits her at night.
eISBN : 978-1-101-51353-8
[1. Supernatural—Fiction. 2. Nightmares—Fiction. 3. Boarding schools—Fiction. 4. Schools—Fiction. 5. France—Fiction.] I. Title.
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party Web sites or their content.
To my niece, Elizabeth
Between two worlds life hovers like a star,
’Twixt night and morn, upon the horizon’s verge.
How little do we know that which we are!
How less what we may be!
CHÂTEAU DE LA FORTUNE, FRANCE
“Is she the one?”
Eugenia Snowe felt an unsettling mix of distaste and compassion as she picked up the photo that she and the other women of the Sisterhood had been staring at. In it, Caitlyn Monahan, a fifteen-year-old American girl with long black hair and a pale face, held a notebook to her chest, her shoulders hunched, her hair half concealing her features.
“Maybe,” Eugenia replied. Caitlyn wore her insecurity like a coat, on the outside for all to see. Eugenia loathed weakness in women.
On the other hand, this girl had likely grown up suffering severe feelings of alienation from the mundane people around her, so it was little wonder that she should be a miserable creature. According to what the private investigator had uncovered, Caitlyn had no one in her life who could possibly understand what she truly was.
be, Eugenia corrected herself. They didn’t know yet if Caitlyn was one of them.
“We can’t be certain that Caitlyn is one of our lost sisters,” Eugenia said aloud. “Genealogy can take us only so far. Her family tree on her mother’s side is spotted with uncertainties; we have had to make calculated guesses about her heritage, based on what records we can find. She may be nothing more than an average teenage girl.”
“But your great-grandmother’s prophecy of the Dark One,” Greta Klenk said, her plump, kindly face filled with anxious hope, “it seems to fit her.” She recited the verse they all knew by heart:
From the New World’s western shore
Comes a Dark One, young and poor,
Black of hair and pale of face,
Without bidding she will chase
The source of Sisters’ power real
In the heart of Fortune’s wheel.
Only when this Dark One’s found
Can our powers be unbound.
“It speaks of someone with dark hair, from the western shores of the New World, just like this Caitlyn Monahan,” Greta said.
“Yes, but that is no guarantee that Caitlyn
the Dark One, or even that Caitlyn is one of us. We cannot make her the girl of the prophecy simply by wishing it,” Eugenia said. She tightened her jaw, tamping down her impatience. She had spent her whole life trying to decode her English great-grandmother’s short, prophetic verse, and to find the heart of Fortune’s wheel herself, and with it the original source of the Sisterhood’s psychic powers.
She hadn’t found it; she hadn’t even figured out exactly what Fortune’s wheel was supposed to be, other than a figurative idea about the goddess Fortuna, or possibly a reference to the legend of a Templar treasure buried beneath the castle. Her failure to solve the puzzle had forced her to practice both humility and patience, neither of which suited her temperament. She had, at last, turned her efforts to finding the Dark One. Caitlyn was her best hope of being that long-sought girl.
“She looks like nothing,” Marguerite Pelletier sneered, her hands on her slender, hard hips. The riding instructor had a sharp-featured face and black slashes of eyebrows that scowled her disapproval. “She does not look like anything special. I don’t think she’s the Dark One, nor do I think we should take a chance on her. This is our first time trying to bring a lost sister to the Fortune School, and she seems a very bad bet. We should only bring girls who have culture and sophistication, who will fit in well with the regular, ‘ordinary’ paying students.”
“But the prophecy says she’ll be poor,” Greta said. “Caitlyn is poor.”
The group of eight women looked to Eugenia for guidance. At thirty-five years old she was the youngest of them, but she was also the strongest. She was their leader.
A DNA test could tell the Sisterhood for certain whether Caitlyn was related to them, but it would not answer the most crucial questions:
Caitlyn inherited any psychic gifts? If so, were they of a strength worth developing? And most important of all, was Caitlyn the Dark One of the prophecy?
There was no way to know, at least not yet. They had to bring Caitlyn to Château de la Fortune and let the girl prove her worth. If Caitlyn was the Dark One, she would lead them to the heart of Fortune’s wheel.
“I have goals for the Sisterhood that will never be met by playing it safe,” Eugenia said at last. “We will bring Caitlyn here, to Château de la Fortune, where we can discover firsthand whether or not she is the one we seek.”
“And if Caitlyn is not the Dark One?” Marguerite demanded. “Or if she is not a true member of the Sisterhood? What do we do with her then?”
Eugenia shrugged one elegant shoulder, dismissing the issue and the girl. “We get rid of her. If she’s not the Dark One, she doesn’t matter, does she?”
Marguerite grunted her approval.