Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(8)

By: C.M. Owens

I peeked out of the shower curtain, expecting to find someone, but the bathroom was still empty, the door was still shut, and no sounds seemed suspicious. In horror movies, the girl always gets sliced and diced in the bathroom. I'd been subjected to such movies since I'd been here. Stupid gory brothers.

I finally pulled the shower curtain open and left it there. If something was coming, I was determined to see it. No suspense.

But maybe it was those over-the-top, bloody movies that were making me so paranoid.

After stepping out of the shower, I dried off and brushed my wet hair. As I walked into my room, I shivered.

The light was off, and I could have sworn I left it on. The window was open. Why was it open? I never open it—except the time I snuck out.

Flipping the switch, I realized what was wrong with the light. The stupid bulb was blown. It wasn't like that was something new. Light bulbs didn't last long around here.

The room was like an icicle, so I squinted my eyes against the darkness, making my way toward the open window and shutting it. As I turned around, a hoarse shriek escaped my trembling lips. A dark silhouette was on my bed, and I was trapped here with it.

"Hello, Aria," a deep voice said, sounding deceptively warm and soft.

As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I took him in. He was different than the essence-suckers I had come into contact with. He was more refined and showed more control. He had to be a leader of some sort, but not Graven.

His hair was straight and long, draping below his shoulders. And his tall stature made him even more intimidating as he stood to his feet. He carried a foul smell that I had become accustomed to, but even it was different from the rest.

I was frozen—too scared to move. I wanted to scream, but the pool was so far away. It was unlikely, that even with their incredible hearing, they would hear me in time. With my luck, it would probably only prompt him to kill me faster, and I wasn't ready to die.

I just stood there and waited as the stench of fear radiated from me.

"It's interesting to me that you aren't screaming and panicking right now. Why is that, exactly?"

He raised his eyebrow up while he awaited my response. I didn't say anything, though. I was afraid I might cry, scream, beg to live—all of which would ensure a quicker death.

"Well, I guess I'll be the only one talking," he continued with a barely visible smile. "I just wanted to see what Graven has been so interested in. He's been sending out more scouts than I've ever seen before."

I still said nothing, but my eyes grew wider as the fear spread. He noticed my anxiety growing, and surprised me with his next words.

"Don't worry, little Coldwell, I have no plan to take you for myself. I simply wanted to see what you were. Your essence is different than anything I've come into contact with. If you die, then it would remain a mystery, and I've never been one to handle a cliffhanger.

"Also, if I killed you tonight, I would only start a fight, and I'm not ready for a fight with the Coldwell Coven… yet. Not to mention, Graven would come for me, too. I'm glad I could meet the little witch everyone has been whispering about. It's amazing to me how many times you have eluded death in your mortal state. For now, we talk—just talk. I promise you can relax."

Relax? I was so tight I was worried I might shatter if touched wrong. There would be no relaxing. Instead, I tensed more—something I thought to be impossible.

With a shaky voice and a pounding heart, I managed to ask, "What do you want to talk about?"

"I told you. I just wanted to meet you and introduce myself. My name is Lokan. I happen to know some useful information about Graven—if you're interested."

He raised an eyebrow again as he circled the room, gradually moving toward me, and waited for me to take his bait. I always was that stupid fish who was willing to snap at a worm, despite the hook that glistened in plain sight.

I moved away slowly, making my way closer to the bed. There would be no chance of me outrunning him, and I knew that. Wearing a creepy grin, he continued to stare at me.

Finally, I conceded and took the bait. The longer I could stall, the better my chances were of someone coming to check on me. At least that's what I told myself to reconcile the risky decision.

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