All I wanted was to keep my head above water. To survive long enough to hit my eighteenth birthday so I could escape the nightmare that my homelife had become. But all of that was turned upside down the moment they showed up.
The best friend from my past. The surly brooder. The kind-hearted nerd. The king of campus. The dark one.
They say they’re here to give me a fresh start in a place where I’m safe, warm, and cared for. And I can’t deny the pull I feel to all five of them. The buzz that lights beneath my skin when they touch me. And for the first time, I feel like I might belong.
But not everything is as it seems. These guys have secrets. Ones that will rip my world wide open. But when a dark evil begins stalking us, we’re all in for the fight of our lives…
I hadn’t been paying attention. Too lost in the possible taste of freedom. And my shirt had ridden up, exposing the black and blue marks along my side.
Slowly, I straightened and turned to face Colt.
His eyes were fixed on my side, as if he could still see the marks. The gold in his irises glowed like fire. “Who. Hurt. You?”I froze. The rage pulsing through Colt was a living, breathing thing. It swirled around him, permeating the air.
“No one. I fell.” The words tumbled out of my mouth on instinct. Years of reasoning away black and blue marks had ingrained the response.
Colt’s nostrils flared as he struggled to get his breathing under control. “There’s a shoe mark on your damn ribs.”
Shit. This was why I kept my distance from the people around me. Then they couldn’t see what my life had become. But Colt was different. He’d always seen more. How Maryanne had never quite settled into the role of mother. How her careless words cut me to the core. How I’d never felt as though I fit.
Even though we’d only seen Colt and Andrew when they’d spent their summers in a cottage not far from our house in Michigan, he could see it all. But after my father’s funeral, Maryanne had moved us almost instantly. I’d begged her to tell Andrew where we were going, but she’d refused, saying, “You think they want anything to do with you? They only cared about your father. We’re nothing to them.”
And there was a part of me that had started to believe we had been nothing because this was the first time I’d seen any sign of the Carringtons. But as I took stock of the fury still raging in Colt’s expression, I knew that wasn’t true.
“It doesn’t matter,” I said softly. “I’m leaving.”
“Of course, it fucking matters,” Colt spat. “I’m going to end whoever put those marks on you.”
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