Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(7)

By: C.M. Owens

"Yeah, I heard. That's one reason your grandma wants me to stay close. I actually managed to get English with you. The rest were full, and Iris didn't want us using magic at the school to get me into your classes, considering it could draw attention. I should always be within earshot, though. Super hearing and all."

Everything about him put me at ease, and I felt like I had a friend. No freaky links were interrupting us, no terrible drama surrounded us, and he was easy to be around. Finally, someone kindred.

But my moment of reprieve was brief. I felt someone watching us, but my mirror revealed nothing. Assuming I was still being paranoid, I tried shrugging it off.

We grabbed our food and headed back toward the house. But the eerie feeling of eyes on me wouldn't go away. I knew there was someone close. I just couldn't find them. I didn't want to worry Henry again, so I tried making light conversation.

"So, do you think you'll like the house?"

My smile stayed tight and forced, as I discreetly kept watch around me.

"I definitely like the company so far. Everyone has been incredibly gracious and very accepting. I don't feel uncomfortable or out of place. Going to school with you will also help me feel like I'm more of a helping hand instead of an imposition."

"I'm glad you like it. What's your favorite part so far?"

His eyes widened with a bit of excitement. "I really love the pool. Indoor pools are incredible. Hot tub is nice, too."

His authentic excitement distracted me from my worry. I hadn't even used the pool yet.

Tallis wasn't crazy about water, since it was the one mortal thing that could kill him. I guessed half-and-half bodyguard-witches were a little different.

"We can go for a swim if you want," he said with a warm smile.

"Yeah, sounds good." I tried matching his upbeat tone, but my train of thought had found its way back to Tallis—as always.

When we got home, everyone had made it back. Ash met us at the door while holding the note I had left for them.


I shrugged innocently. "What? We were hungry. No worries—we used the drive-thru."

She grabbed my hand and led me to the kitchen where everyone had congregated. Iris smiled in relief.

"Arisianna, Henry, I got you both something." She handed both of us a cell phone. Her eyes narrowed as a small smirk spread across her face. “Now, you have no excuse to worry us."

Henry smiled sheepishly at me, forcing me to bite back a grin. Smiling would be a bad idea right now. He snickered under his breath as we made our way up the stairs, escaping the scolding eyes behind us.

"Wow, it's been a while since someone expected me to check in," Henry whispered through his soft chuckles

I shook my head and blew out a harsh breath. "She gets intense these days. She's definitely different than the wacky old lady I met when I first got here. I think her younger face is far more mature than her old face."

"I heard that," Iris called from downstairs, forcing me to cringe.

Henry just laughed, and we split up to change before I stuck my foot in my mouth again. Stupid super-hearing.

Henry and I met at the pool. Ash and Jay were in there already. Amazingly, they weren't arguing.

It was strange there was a pool in the house. It did seem a little dangerous. Ash had once said that it was the safest place in the house, and no Coldwell would ever drown there. I didn't understand it, but I trusted her.

We all splashed around for a while, laughing and letting all of our drama escape for a few hours.

It was hard to see Henry’s perfect body. He was built so similarly to Tallis, but he had just a little more muscle. I'm sure that was due to his bodyguard half. I was attracted to him, but only because he reminded me so much of the stubborn idiot I loved.

Every time my mind strayed to the changer-witch, it never wanted to let me go. I was ensnared by memories and destroyed by impossibilities.

I felt like I was doing something wrong for even looking at Henry. It was foolish. I found myself staring at him, but imagining Tallis's face. I finally just excused myself from the pool fun.

Henry looked at me strangely, but everyone else saw my struggle. I'd become the gloom-and-doom queen.

An eerie feeling settled over me as I headed up the stairs, making my way toward the bathroom to wash off the pool. I tried shaking it off as I climbed into the shower, but the plaguing feeling sunk its claws in deep.

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