Icing on the Stake
By Veronica Blade
Release date: Coming soon!
Paralyzed by a stake to the heart, Noah is trapped in darkness then left in the woods for dead. When the stake is removed, he opens his eyes and recognizes his rescuer — the pretty loner girl from school. He should run rather than risk her discovering what he is. But without feeding, he’s too weak and with no protection, the enemy will easily finish the job. The girl acts resentful that she’s stuck with him, but gentle hands and acts of kindness betray Sofia’s true character. Noah is intrigued. He needs to know what she’s hiding. He needs to know her. But if he doesn’t eject Sofia from his world, and soon, the vampire hunters will target her, too.
For Sofia, being alone isn’t a whim. It’s the criteria for sanity. She’s already been institutionalized for being “crazy” and lost her friends for being a “stalker.” But if anyone finds out she’s a witch, worse could happen. Sofia takes care of the strange and startlingly beautiful boy anyway — who’s been stabbed in the chest. And she begins to long for more. If she gets too close to him, it isn’t just her physical safety threatened but everything she’s worked so hard to win back — her heart and soul. Peace. Still, she can’t let him go or she’ll lose the part of herself that makes her feel — the part that makes her whole, that she never thought she’d see again.
“Where are your parents?” Noah asked.
Oh, no. He could not get personal and we were not going to bond. I stared at him, knowing I needed to be rude to push him away. But I’d already reached my self-imposed quota of rudeness for the day — I still had to live with myself after all — so I refrained. Besides, if I didn’t answer any of his questions, he’d only become more curious. “They live in Los Angeles.”
“Why don’t you live with them?”
“I like it better here.”
“Don’t you miss them?”
Well, that wasn’t working. My answers only brought on more questions. “Listen, you seem like a nice person and I’ll help you. Let’s keep it to that, shall we?”
He held up a hand. “Keep it impersonal. I get it. God forbid you should have company on the steps at school.”
“You don’t know anything about me!”
“That’s my point!” The pitch of his voice rose to match mine.
I glared at him, incensed at his invasion of my privacy. “Anything you need before I go back to bed?”
“I wanted a little conversation but I’d rather get that from someone who actually enjoys it.” He lifted one brow. “So, no, thanks. I’m fine.”
“You have your cell phone. You could have called your girlfriend earlier. Or texted someone else. I’m sure any of your friends would be happy to talk to you.” Why would he depend on me for company when a guy like him had a zillion choices?
Curious, I opened my mind to let his thoughts in. Nothing. Why couldn’t I read his mind? It hadn’t been a problem before I removed the stake.
“I was a little too busy for friends earlier. You know, a little preoccupied with almost dying.”
“You did die. Your heart stopped beating.” Didn’t it?
“But you saved me,” Noah said softly.
I rolled my eyes. “My horse dragged you. No big deal.”
“Then you pulled the stake out. That couldn’t have been pleasant. Thank you.”
“Whatever,” I muttered, feeling the chink in my armor widen a tiny bit. I couldn’t help but like him. Not because he was cute but because he was genuinely nice. He didn’t seem concerned about receiving attention. He was interested in other people. Interested in me.
For a moment, I allowed my imagination to run free. I saw myself hanging out with Noah at school, maybe going to a movie together one night. Our friendship might even grow into something more…
There it was. The beginning of hope — a four-letter word for me. But I couldn’t let Noah in. If I spent much more time with him, he’d discover what a freak I was. I couldn’t be fooled into thinking he would be the one person to understand.
Because when he turned out not to be, I’d be devastated. Again.
I shook my head and returned to my room, stumbling mid-stride.