Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(9)

By: C.M. Owens

"What information? Why would you tell me?"

"Well, one reason I chose you is because I was curious as to what all the fuss was about. Secondly, you are the least threatening of the Coldwell family, obviously. You can't be trigger-happy, since you don't have your powers yet." He paused as he waited on my mind to wrap around his explanation. I slowly nodded, and he continued. "I know of Graven's plan. He wishes to exterminate your family, and he wants to drain you of your essence to give his family more strength."

It was probably not too smart, but I responded with sarcasm before I thought about it. "That's not really news. I kind of already figured that out, considering I've been attacked twice—well, three times, actually."

"And here it was so easy for me to just come in through the window. Isn't that sad? I have the coveted little mortal thing Graven desires most... right at my fingertips. Mine for the taking."

I never was a fan of games. And I was growing increasingly tired of the way they all toyed with me.

"So do it and get it over with. There's no sense in me running or screaming. Just get it over with."

As the inevitable registered, the tears started their slow descent from my eyes. He just smiled as I crossed over the bed. He blocked my path and stopped me in front of the window.

"I already told you; I'm not ready to fight your family. I heard of the standoff in Brazil. Graven isn't ready yet either, but he will be. He's searching for something, though I'm not sure what. It's something that is apparently very special and strong. When he finds it, I can promise you that he will come."

In nothing but a towel, I feel all the more intimidated, but mostly I'm just confused.

"Why are you telling me this?" I gripped my towel tighter to my chest, acting as though it had a secret power that could save me if I needed it to.

He absently waved his hand around him.

"I'm telling you because I want Graven gone. I'm going to make a play for his throne—so to speak. As long as Graven rules, I'm just a shadow in the background. If he gets this power he seeks, I will never have my chance.

"He'll slaughter your family with ease. And mercy will be a fool's prayer. If the Coldwell Coven is gone, he'll be unstoppable. This is a courtesy and temporary alliance. I think you need to be aware that I won't be so gracious in the future. Use this information wisely and act before he finds his treasure."

He leaned over me quickly, breathing me in. The sick obsession with my scent was another thing that was growing old.

When he hovered too close, I knew he was going to steal my essence, despite his earlier denial of such intentions. I shut my eyes, cringing as I waited. Instead, he kissed my head—a chaste action that resembled affection one receives from family.

I could feel the heat of his breath, and chills spread throughout me. "You really should learn to trust people a little more, Aria. I told you I wouldn't hurt you."

My eyes fluttered open in time to see his wicked, taunting grin spread. He moved toward the window, opened it, and placed one leg over the edge.

He glanced towards my door briefly before winking at me. "I have to go now. Be careful, Aria. There's something special about you. I can tell."

Suddenly, a horizontal streak of lightning shot across the room, barely missing Lokan as he leapt from the window and disappeared into the night. Ayla stepped out from behind Jay as he lowered his hands, glaring at the window as though he could will the intruder back for round two.

Jay finally blurred to the window, as Ayla flashed to my side.

"Aria, are you okay?" Jay asked, his voice breaking on the last syllable.

"Yeah, I think." My whole body was shaking, betraying my lie. I was far from okay, even if I wasn't physically harmed.

My legs had the consistency of rubber, and they were unable to support my weight any longer. I collapsed into Jay's arms. Henry rushed into the room with a towel wrapped around his waist. Ash, Aster, and Chris joined him.

"What's going on?" Ash asked, panicked.

"There was dramian in here with Aria," Jay growled before turning to me. "What did he want? Who was he?"

Not answering right away, I stared at the floor, still trying to collect myself and process what just happened. He could have killed me so easily. My legs felt still felt rubbery, promising me I wouldn't be standing on my own any time soon.

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