This is an older young adult paranormal romance (recommended for 16+).
Here is a sneak peak inside Angel and Chase's story.
I scurried the boxes littered and stacked over my new room. We had been here for three days. Three. Long. Boring. Days. The idea of unpacking made me groan, and there was still so much to do.
I hated the thought of unpacking all these boxes as much as I hated being here.
Not only did I have to leave everything I ever knew behind, I was now stuck in some ho-dunk town in the middle of nowhere.
No freaking joke. I am not even sure that Spring Valley,
was a blip on the map. Illinois
The one-stoplight town was freakishly small, nothing like Tuscan. There were more wheat fields than there were residents. I felt so isolated here. The closet city was
Princeton, a good twenty minutes away. A country girl I was not. They had grain elevators for god sake, what the hell were grain elevators? I couldn’t even Google it.
Thank god it had a library, or I might have never stepped foot inside the town – if you could call it that. So far the library was the only thing the town had going for it.
Even the house we now reside in was eerie. I was jumping at every creak and groan. It was like the house was alive, haunted or in reality uber old. Sure it was a ton bigger than the condo we used to live in, but there hadn’t been any ghosts lurking in the corners or cobwebs the size of my head. I shuddered to think of what kind of spiders spun webs like that.
What had my mom been thinking?
Apparently that we were in need of a fresh start. A chance to start over, to live and leave behind the past.
A past I was glad to say au revoir.
I sighed, wishing at least the Internet had been hooked up. Was that too much to ask for after everything? My emails were probably flooded with junk, my Xbox was heavily collecting dust and I was having Call of Duty withdrawals. Not having the Xbox to tool around with was like having my arm or leg cut off.
I was a complete gamer. My mom didn’t understand my gaming obsession, or the escape it gave me from my real life. Right now, it was all I had to keep me grounded and sane. The move, my friends, my dad… Fascinating worlds, zombie maps and enthralling stories were my safe haven.
Sitting on the edge of my unmade bed, I brushed my dark hair out of my face.
I missed the
heat. It was like a slap in the face – crack. Nothing would ever be the same. Miles and miles stretched between everything I left behind, willingly. It wasn’t so much that I hated Tuscan, my condo, or even my old school. Those were all things I would mourn. Arizona
I missed my life before everything changed.
Before my dad turned into a raging alcoholic.
Before all the heated fighting, before the drunken late nights, before I lost my dad and what felt like part of me. When everything had been perfect and we had been happy.
Our family vacations to
, swimming and picnicking, swatting away the overeager seagulls trying to steal our food. Mom rolling on the sand laughing or curled up on the couch with my dad, it seemed like yesterday. Florida
Now our family was broken. Torn apart. There were no more goodbye kisses before work, no movies on Saturday night. Instead it was just mom and I. Well mostly just me.
My eyes welled up, and I swiped the tears away quickly, not letting them rolled down my freckle dusted cheeks. I refused to cry. Crying didn’t change the past, and it wouldn’t change that fact that I now lived in hicktown
Sure I had all been for a fresh start, but I was thinking more in the lines of somewhere exciting, like
Miami, Chicago or . The kids there always looked happy. Not in the middle of nowhere. Laguna Beach
Thanks daddy dearest.
Oh my dad wasn’t dead, but my mom might wish he was.
He was now a ward of the Arizona Department of Corrections. How’s that for dysfunctional family? Mine pretty much takes the cake.
As soon as the divorce papers had been signed, ink not even dry, I found myself in a mad dash across borders. Everything we owned trailing behind us and some guy who used to be a shadow of the man I remembered was locked behind bars.
I know he is my dad, but after everything, he was as good as dead to me.
My mom wanted to forget his existence. Their problems dated back way before the accident. I have chosen to block most of it from my mind. A little self-induced blackout never hurt. My heart ached for the loss of both parents.
She was no longer the same either.
Gone was the maternal mother with her whiskey colored eyes so opposite of my own dark blue. In her place was a woman given a second chance, she was still my mom but with a carefree youth to her. She was a single woman for the first time in twenty years. I think she decided life was too short, and sometimes she was more like my best friend than a mom, always saying something totally inappropriate.
Ever since my dad had disappeared, she worked like a madwoman. Doing everything in her power to create a better life for us, this included breaking her back with long hours at the station.
She worked second shift for the
Princeton police department as a dispatcher. Her hours included many twelve hour plus days, meaning I spent a lot of time alone. No big deal, except the whole dilemma with no Internet. Who in their right mind would want to spend the remaining of their summer vacation clamped up in this spooky house with no access to the real world?
Hell no. Not me.
I guess I should thank my lucky stars that I had bought a slew of new Xbox games before leaving Tuscan. Only problem, I didn’t know which box they were in.
Opening one of the boxes in front of me, I knew they weren’t going to unpack themselves. I wasn’t even sure how I wanted to rearrange and decorate my new room.
Since we were going for a fresh start, I thought it was time my room got a makeover as well. New bedding, new paint, this whole country living vibe wasn’t working for me. If I had to live in hickville then at least I could make it my own.
First order, get Internet. This wasn’t the blasted stone ages. Please God tell me we get cable in the backwoods.
Looking around the room, I decided to screw the boxes. There was always tomorrow and the day after.
I raced down the stairs into the kitchen.
My mom was at the stove whipping up an early dinner before she headed into the station for her shift. The air was permeated with smells that sent my belly rumbling, reminding me that I had skipped lunch. If there was one thing my mom had going for her, she was an amazing cook.
She also was beautiful. Her body was curvy in all the right places, which I could thank her for. Tied at waist was a geometric apron which looked ridiculous against her tight jeans and halter top. That was another thing that changed. She dressed like a Victoria Secret model. Was it normal to be jealous of your mom?
The light brown of her shiny hair caught against the lamplight. She had boobs that were envious, where I had virtually none to speak of. Okay maybe I didn’t have the chest of a twelve year old boy, but seriously an A-cup was nothing to boast about.
“Hmmm,” I murmured. “What smells so good?” I asked plopping my skinny butt into one of the bar stools.
“Hi honey, hungry?” She flipped a mess of pasta and chicken smothered in some kind of garlic sauce.
My mouth literally watered on sight. I put a hand to my stomach to try and quiet the grumbling. “Starved.”
Her smile beamed at me over the counter, flashing perfectly pearly teeth. “Good. I got this new recipe from Paula Dean. It’s almost ready.” She was a Food Network whore. It was pretty much the only channel she watched.
“What time is your shift today?” I asked, wondering when she would be home. I wasn’t exactly thrilled at being in the haunted house by myself.
“I’m set to work from three-to-three. Then I have a few days off. We could get this place in…” She scanned the array of boxes strewn all over the rooms. “Order while I’m home,” she finished cringing and placed a steaming plate of pasta in front of me.
I closed my eyes in appreciation. Forking a heap into my readily waiting mouth, I sighed. Yum. Heaven. “This is amazing,” I declared with a mouth full of garlic paradise. The flavors popped.
Most parents thought twice about leaving their teenage daughter alone so often. Not mine. She didn’t even bat an eye, mostly because I never gave her a reason not to trust me. First off, I was kind of boring and preferred the company of my laptop and my Xbox. Not that I was socially awkward, it was just my thing. Also I was a good kid. I got good grades, I’ve never been in trouble before, and overall I was pretty darn responsible.
She sat beside me with her plate. “Good, I’m glad you like it.”
I was thinking that if she always cooked like this, I’d have to exercise more than just my fingers hitting the keyboard, which was about the extent of my workout.
After a moment of her eyeing me thoughtfully, I couldn’t stand it anymore. “What?” I asked.
“Are you sure you’re okay? I know how hard this has all been on you.” Meaning the move, my dad, a new school, the list was growing.
“Mom, I’m fine,” I assured. She didn’t look convinced. “Really,” I stressed. That seemed to pacify her for now. I didn’t want her worrying about me. She had enough of her own stuff, without adding my pile of crap on top.
“Are you excited for school? I bet they have some really hot guys here,” she dangled like it was a tempting snickers bar.
I choked on my pasta, the sauce burning up my nose. She couldn’t possibly be serious. “I guess,” I managed after taking a swig of water to ease the burn and wash down the pasta stuck in my throat. “If you’re into hillbillies in overalls, accents thick enough to cut glass and beer bellies.” I didn’t really know if anyone from around here had accents, but I don’t see how they couldn’t.
She always said my smart mouth was going to get me in trouble. At this moment however, she didn’t find my mouth very funny, and her eyes let me know it. “You might be surprised. I bet there is a hottie or two.”
Goodie gumdrops. Wasn’t I the lucky one?
“Gross mom stop. If you dig a hole any deeper, I won’t be able to pull you out.”
“Have you met our neighbors yet?” she asked with a cunning smile, like she had a secret she was dying to spill.
I gave her a strange look, wondering if she was self-medicating. “No, should I be stalking them or something?”
“I just thought we should be neighborly, that’s all. I want us to get off on the right foot here.”
That was all, my ass.
Whatever. I had more important things to talk about than my farm lovin’ neighbors.
“When are we getting the Internet?”
She rolled her eyes. “Angel, a few days without the Xbox won’t kill you.”
I wasn’t so sure about that. “Tell me we are getting it at least.” I was on the verge of whining here.
“Yes,” she assured me. “They should be out this weekend, on my day off.”
Someone up there must love me. I said a silent pray of thanks.
Rising off my plate, I looked over my shoulder. “Any chance I could go shopping. I was thinking of remodeling my room. You know, part of the whole starting over thing.” I felt guilty once the words left my mouth. She didn’t need me rubbing it in and taking advantage of the situation. I almost opened my mouth to tell her to forget it, I didn’t need to redecorate. What I had was fine.
She smiled at me sadly. “Of course.” Diggin in her purse, she pulled out a wad of the green stuff and set it on the counter. “Will that be good?”
“Yeah mom… thanks.” I went over and gave her a hug. Her arms tightened around me.
“Do you remember how to get into town? Oh and maybe you should get a new outfit or two,” she added eyeing my clothes.
“What?” I said, glancing down at my tattered jeans, just the way I liked them and my
t-shirt. Arizona State
She lifted a brow.
“How about I just run around naked?”
She never missed a beat. “You always were at the height of fashion. Just don’t expect me to pick up on that trend.”
“Mom! Fine,” I huffed. “And yes I remember how to get to town. There is only one street in and out anyway. How hard can it be? I’ll probably go tomorrow.” Someone had to start on these boxes. It was evident that someone was going to be me.
She gathered her purse and paused in the doorway. “Angel?”
“I love you.”
My throat constricted. I swallowed hard. “I love you too.”
“Call me if you need anything and don’t work yourself to hard. We’ll tackle most of these boxes together, this weekend. Got it?”
I nodded, watching her walk out the squeaking old door.
Great. Does anything not make a creepy noise in this house?
Relinquishing, I decided that if she could make an effort, so could I. Heading back upstairs I started to attack the boxes. Each item I uncovered brought a new spear of yearning for my old life. The family photos I had it cutesy rhinestone frames, the fabric board with memorabilia of my old friends and school, they were all reminders of what I no longer had.
I found the box with my video games. It was like finding an old friend.
Gathering the empty cardboard boxes, I dragged them outside and placed them at the end of the driveway for pickup.
Did the sun never shine here in this hellhole?
Looking up, the sky was murky and cloudy. The warmth was nothing like
with its constant sun and dry heat. By nature I was a sun seeker. The monotonous sky made me miss the blinding brightness of Tuscan. I doubted I could get a proper tan here. The people in this town were probably looked like ghosts. Arizona
Dusting off my hands I turned to head back inside and jumped as I was stopped in my tracks. There was a girl about my age a few feet in front of me, except she didn’t look like any girl I’ve ever seen before.
She was extraordinary. Perfect blonde hair, killer body (great boobs and all), sexy dimples from the smile she aimed at me. Her clothes looked like something you would get in
Hollywood Boulevard, reminding me that I suddenly looked like the hick.
Just Great, I thought. Why didn’t I at least comb my hair this morning?
And to think I thought I was going to stand out like a sore thumb. She would have stood out even in Tuscan. Her legs went on forever, but it was her eyes that captivated me. They were the craziest turquoise, like shinning gems. Her smile was warm and friendly.
“Hi. I live next door,” she indicated to the only other house for miles around. Her voice sounded sweet and innocent. “I’m Lexi. I hope I didn’t startle you. I’m forever doing that.”
I brushed a hand over my hair, trying to smooth any flyaways. “I just didn’t hear you. I’m Angel. We just moved in.”
She smiled brighter as I introduced myself. It was a little weird, like she found me funny, but I was pretty sure I hadn’t said anything funny. I usually know.
“I saw you guys move in, and I’ve been meaning to find an excuse to stop over and introduce myself. When I saw you come outside, I figure this would be as good a time as any. I didn’t want to inconvenience you right after you moved in. It can be such a hassle unpacking.”
“You have no idea,” I muttered. She chattered like a mile a minute, not entirely sure how I was able to keep up, but I liked her enthusiasm. It was nice change to all the dull wheat growing everywhere.
“I was so happy when I saw you, a girl my age. As you can see we are kind of lacking for neighbors.”
No shit sherlock.
“It’s been so long since someone lived in your house. I’m really glad you guys bought.” She was so sincere in eagerness I couldn’t help but like her. “Do you have plans tomorrow?” she asked.
“Ummm,” I muttered caught off guard. “I was thinking about going into town and doing some shopping, clothes and new bedding, I’m redecorating.”
“Oh fun! I love decorating… and shopping. Any chance you would want to hang out? I could show you were all the cool stores are.” There was a hint of hopefulness in her tone.
It took me only a second to answer. “Yeah, that would be great.” By judging her clothes, she had great taste. Plus this was me making an effort. If I was going to be stranded here, it would be really nice to have one friend.
“Great. I’m so excited. Just come over when you are ready to leave. I’ll let you get back to unpacking. It was really nice to meet you Angel.”
“Please don’t do me any favors.”
She laughed her dimples peeking on either side of her rosy cheeks. “You’re funny.”
We started back up the driveway. “I’m really glad you came over Lexi. See you tomorrow.”
Maybe Spring Valley wouldn’t be that bad. At the very least, Lexi did not have an accent.
Yeah for the small pleasures.