Date Released: May 21, 2014
Series: The Bestowed Ones #1
WHEN YOUR FUTURE’S AT STAKE, DO YOU FOLLOW YOUR HEAD OR HEART?
Brynn Emerson has always been in control of her life—until a mysterious stranger invades her dreams and her boyfriend, Trevor, suddenly dumps her.
Life gets more complicated when secretive newcomer Landon shows up at school. The playful and handsome Landon is somehow connected to Brynn’s ex-boyfriend.
Determined to find out how they know each other, Brynn draws closer to Landon…only to realize too late that she’s risking more than she thought possible.
Meanwhile, a person of power has his sights on Brynn. Will Trevor and Landon work together to keep her safe? Or will she be pulled against her will into their mysterious world?
I didn’t have to imagine his surprise when he slid the door open and walked out onto the patio. The weasel obviously didn’t have a surveillance team and figured we’d be long gone by now.
My eyes were drawn to him. I went perfectly still as I measured his reaction. I stared at him with what I hoped was a blank expression. He scanned the small group and paused when he met my eyes. My heart pounded. He let out a tiny sigh and drummed his fingers on the cup he held. He made his way over, briefly greeting others but not lingering to chat.
He sat in the vacant spot next to me. I looked at him expectantly. He returned the look and slowly relaxed.
“How are you?” Trevor asked.
I broke eye contact. “Okay. You?” I fidgeted with the rim on my cup, glad I had something in my hands.
He briefly pressed his lips together. “Also okay.”
I rolled my eyes, wondering why we bothered to play this game.
He let out a small huff of air. “You know, I can fool you if I really wanted to.”
“You never could and you probably never will. But you could at least put some genuine effort into it. I’m almost insulted.”
“Are you going to call me out on everything?”
“Depends. If I had anything to go on, I definitely would.” He huffed another sigh. I had to change the topic. I had promised myself I would not provoke him. “Okay, okay. So what’s up?”
In a Southern accent he asked, “Why, whatever do you mean?”
“You were missing for the majority of the party.”
“Yeah, I had to take care of something.”
“The timing of you taking off was just a little bizarre is all.”
He frowned. “Hasn’t life taught you? Things don’t always go as planned.”
Was nothing a safe topic anymore?
Think of something, think of something, I chanted.
But I didn’t have to.
We were suddenly joined by three guys who literally appeared out of nowhere. I was oblivious to my surroundings when I was near Trevor, so they could have been there the whole time. Trevor demanded all of my attention to read between his lines. I wouldn’t have to put so much effort into it if he’d just let down his guard.
The newcomers lined up shoulder to shoulder in front of us, blocking the view of the rest of the party. They looked like the junior Mob. Their stance showed they were here on business, and they gave off a there’s-nowhere-to-run-so-don’t-even-try vibe. And surprise, surprise, they were the same guys I saw Trevor with at Alyssa’s graduation party. I reevaluated my previous thought that the shortest one was stalky. He looked more like a bodybuilder than chunky and stood like he knew how to handle himself. He had chin-length hair—the longest hair I’d personally seen on a guy—neatly tucked behind his ears.
“What now?” Trevor snapped.
More entertained than intimidated, the one in the middle calmly responded, “You’re ignoring me.”
When Trevor gave no response, the guy continued, “And you know I don’t like to be disregarded, especially since I have my own orders to complete. Your efforts lately are disappointingly lackadaisical.”
I looked from us to them, and my eyes landed on Trevor’s phone innocently sitting on the table. I didn’t remember it ringing, buzzing, or even beeping in the few minutes we had sat together. My eyes flicked back to Trevor. His jaw was clenched. He glared at them.
I gave a big silent sigh. All my efforts not to upset him wasted…not that I was doing a stellar job, but clearly he wasn’t any more excited to see them here than I was. The hostility rolled off him. For a split second, I worried that a fight would break out. I didn’t know if all three would gang up on Trevor, or if he would fight the one he was scowling at, the middle one. Part of me hoped he would deck the guy in his square jaw. I didn’t know where this aggression came from, but I sure felt like punching him. Maybe I’d have to jump between them before they could hurt Trevor. Surely they wouldn’t hurt a girl. Besides, we were at a party surrounded by adults so that would prevent them from taking it too far. Right?
The silence stretched on. They were waiting for him to do something. There weren’t that many choices. The middle one inclined his strawberry blonde head toward me, silently asking, What about her?
Trevor continued to glare at him, his eyebrow raised. The middle one smirked, stepped his fit, lean frame forward, and offered me his hand. “I am Keith,” he said. I hesitated. I didn’t want him to know my name, but I could shake his hand. I extended mine slowly. When I didn’t offer my name, he asked, “And you are…?” He was the bold one of the group.
“Ah, yes. Brynn. And how do you know Trevor?”
Trevor launched himself from the couch. I broke contact with Keith as Trevor positioned himself between me and them. “She’s a daughter of my parents’ friends,” he answered for me. He made a dismissive gesture with his hands. “Let’s go.”
My breath caught in my throat. I stared at his back in disbelief. I felt the sting of his verbal slab in the face.
While that description technically defined my relationship to him, it was not enough. It didn’t come close. We were so much more than that. And he couldn’t say it out loud. My eyes fell to my clasped hands.
Of all the different reasons I’d asked him why he’d grown so distant, being embarrassed of me didn’t make the list.
“I mean it,” he ordered them. “Don’t even think about it.”
The commanding power of Trevor’s voice was such that even I would obey if I were not paralyzed by his hurtful words.
They parted as he walked between them. I sensed two of the three turn and follow him. I stared at the designer shoes of the one who lagged behind, hoping if I made a point of ignoring him long enough, he’d realize how unwelcome he was.
He didn’t get the hint.
I coaxed my eyes to move from his shoes to his face. I tried not to start in surprise, but I’m sure my eyes betrayed me. He was the same chocolate brown–eyed guy I’d had a moment with at the graduation party. Maybe “moment” was too strong of a word, but there was something there. I noticed his brown hair had loose curls instead of waves like I’d originally thought. Why was he the one who stayed?
His eyes searched my face, seeking answers to unspoken questions. His expression wavered between apologetic and sympathetic, curious and amused. Mine was expressionless. I watched him, waiting for him to settle on one emotion.
As it was, I dared him to be the first to give in and look away. I was unwilling to look more insignificant than I already felt. And I hated them for showing up here and taking away my rare chance to talk to Trevor. My hurt turned into rage.
After reluctantly nodding, he turned and left, just like Trevor had done.
The further away they walked, the more the anger subsided until I felt numb.
Why did I come here tonight? Seeing Trevor only left me sad and confused.
About the Author:
I live in Michigan with my husband, our two sons, daughter-on-the-way, and huge adopted dog. We’ve lived in three cities within this beautiful state and have visited many of the places mentioned in the Bestowed Ones’ series. One of the most adventurous things I’ve done is horseback ride across the state on the Lake to Lake trail. I love traveling, giving back to the community, and taking on all forms of creative projects.
For exclusive content, announcements, and more, please visit http://www.celestebuie.com and sign up for my newsletter, as well as “like” my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/celestebuieauthor
Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Goodreads
Want to win a chance at one of five $10 Amazon Gift Cards? Simply click on the Rafflecopter link below for your chance to be entered. =^.^=