Entangled, p.1Part #2 of Guardian Academy series by Jessica Sorensen
(Guardian Academy, #2)
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Copyright © 2016 by Jessica Sorensen
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Cover Design and photo by: MaeIdeisgn
Table of Contents
About the Author
My knees knock together as I press my back against my locked bedroom door. Worry slams through me as I stress over the meaning of the mark painted on the hallway floor. Someone from the Electi is probably here at the academy. And they know I know about them.
Crap. Crap. Crappity crap. I’m so dead.
“Grandpa, can you hear me?” I call out to the darkness.
The lights are off in my overly small dorm room, and every shadow makes me feel jumpy. But I’m not about to turn the light on and declare where I am.
“I don’t know what to do. You keep telling me I can’t trust people, but I think I need to tell someone about the mark on the floor.”
Silence clings to the air. I’m alone unless whoever painted the mark is lurking around. Waiting to kill me.
No one has flat out told me that the serpent shaped in a backward three represents the Electi group, but I’m ninety-nine percent sure it does. From what Jax told me, the Electi run experimental paranormal facilities and have been causing the Guardian’s investigation rate to skyrocket through the roof. He also told me they’d kill me if I found out about them. According to my grandpa Luca, though, they don’t want me dead. They’re watching me, wanting me as an experiment subject. I don’t understand why. I’m nothing extraordinary. Why not just kill me, instead?
That’s the million-dollar question.
After I jiggle the doorknob to make sure the door is locked, I cross the room and scoop up my phone from my unmade bed. I don’t know who to call, but I have to tell someone or Vivianne Monarelle—Head of Interrogation and the woman in charge here at Guardian Academy—will probably blame the paint-on-the-floor incident on me. She’s already convinced my grandpa stole the Dagger of Conspectu before he died and that he gave it to me. Technically, that’s true. But I know there has to be a good reason he took the dagger, and until I find out why, no one’s getting ahold of it.
But do I really know him like I thought I did?
I recall the cracked crystal ball Jax and I found near a murder crime scene a couple of days ago, which turned out to be my grandpa’s traveling crystal ball. I don’t know how it got there since he has been dead for over a week now, but I was worried enough that I talked Jax into holding off for a bit before we turn it in as evidence. I don’t believe my grandpa had anything to do with the murder. At least, I don’t want to believe he did.
Maybe I really didn’t know him as well as I thought.
No. I won’t go there, not until I have all the facts.
I take a few measured breaths then punch in Jax’s contact number. He’s probably still pissed off at me for using the truth serum on him, but right now, he’s the only person at the academy I can trust.
“Hello,” he answers after four rings. A loud pop song booms in the background and mixes with the noises of people laughing and shouting.
“Um, hey … This is Alana.”
“I know,” he says flatly. “Your number’s programmed into my phone.”
“Oh.” Yep, he’s definitely still pissed off.
I don’t really blame him. The serum forced him to divulge the truth to me about the Electi, and he accidentally confessed his attraction to me, too. That part, I didn’t want to hear. Okay, that might be a bit of a lie. Jax is annoyingly intense sometimes, but I’ll admit to being stupidly flattered he thinks I’m beautiful.
“Did you need something?” he asks impatiently.
I clear my throat. “I need your help with something.”
“I’m kind of busy right now. Can it wait?”
A girl giggles. “Come on, Jax. Let’s go dance.”
I consider hanging up because clearly he’s “busy,” but I need his help.
I force the sweetest tone I can muster. “Look, I hate to break up whatever you’ve got going on, but this can’t wait.” I take a breath, preparing for how angry he’s going to be. “I was just about to fall asleep when I heard someone whisper how I should’ve left it alone, and now there’s a serpent shaped in a backward three painted on the floor just outside of my room.”
“Where are you right now?” Panic flares through his tone.
“In my room.”
“Is the door locked?”
“Do you have a weapon on you?” he asks, the music and laughter fading.
“I have a baseball bat.” I bend over and scoop the bat off the floor.
“Good. Stay in the room until I get there,” he says in a rush. “Is your roommate with you?”
I glance at the empty, made bed across from me. “No. I’ve barely even seen her since I got here, and the one time we crossed paths, she slammed the door in my face.”
“Well, she’s breaking rules by not being in her dorm room this late.” He speaks loudly over the roar of a car engine. “I’m going to report her.”
“It’s probably good she’s not here.” I peek out the window where the moon graces the star-kissed sky then at the silhouettes of the trees surrounding the academy.
My room is on the first floor. If someone wants to get in, all they’d have to do is break the window. And while I can kick ass when I need to, I’m not sure how my badass kickboxing skills would measure against these Electi since I know very little about them and their talents. I don’t know if they’re strong, have magical skills, or what.
I inch closer to the window and scan the darkness outside, searching for someone or something lurking out there. “The mark on the floor … It’s the Electi’s mark, isn’t it?”
“Yeah.” He pauses, and then I hear a loud bang. “Goddammit, Alana! Why the hell couldn’t you just let this go? I was trying to protect you, and you just had to keep pushing it. Now they know you know. I’m surprised they haven’t killed you already.”
“I’m sorry, but I needed to know who they are. It was important.” Tears burn in my eyes, but I suck them back.
“Why was it so important? And how did you even find out about them in the first place? Hardly anyone knows they exist. And you want to know why? Because they’re all dead!”
“You’re not dead yet, so I guess they don’t kill everyone.”
While I know I’m in some deep shit, if I ever want to clear my grandpa’s name, I need to get to the bottom of wha
“Do you even realize how much trouble you’re in?” Jax bites back. “They’re probably either dragging out your death to mess with you, or they’re going to haul your ass to an experimental facility the second they get ahold of you.”
“I don’t know why they’d take me to a facility. I’m just a Guardian.”
“They’ve taken Guardian’s before. They’ve taken Keepers and Foreseers and witches and zombies. They’ll basically take anyone with a drop of supernatural blood in them.”
“Oh.” I frown but force the poutiness out of me. “Look, I get that I’m in some serious crap, but I needed to find out who they are, and you are the only person I knew who seemed to know about them.”
Silence fills the line.
“Why did you need to know so badly?” he asks, sounding a tiny bit calmer.
I press my lips together and take a breath to steady my voice. “Because I did.”
Another lengthy pause.
“Do you know something about something?” His tone conveys a cautious edge.
“I know a lot of somethings about somethings.”
What does he know about this? I haven’t told anyone about my grandpa and the things he told me while he dream-walked into my dream or the stuff he still tells me now by whispering in my thoughts. The only person who knew he was involved in something before he died is my grandma, but she doesn’t know it was the Electi, just that my grandpa spoke to a man with a serpent mark.
“Wait. Do you know something about something?”
“Maybe.” He hesitates. “A case might have just come in involving a person who may have allegedly been involved with the Electi. Although I’m not completely buying it, I think there’s more to his story than what’s in the file.”
I chew on my thumbnail. “Do I know this person?”
“You do, but what I want to know is how you found out this person was associating with the Electi before they died, because I haven’t told anyone that detail about the case yet.” He gives another long pause. “Did this person tell you something before they died?”
I’m terrified to utter the words aloud, but I think it might be time. “We are talking about my grandpa, right?”
He exhales in relief. “I was beginning to worry we were going to tiptoe around that all night.”
“Well, I didn’t want to out his secret if you didn’t know about it. Everyone already thinks he was a terrible person.”
“I don’t think that. I think he just got mixed up in some stuff and got way in over his head.”
I rest my elbow on the windowsill and stare out into the night. “So, you don’t know why he was talking to the Electi before he died?”
“I don’t yet, but I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” he promises. “I think you might need to tell me everything you know, though.”
“Okay.” I hesitate, unsure where to start. “I think—”
A high-pitched, shrill noise bursts through the line.
I cringe, my eardrums ringing. “Holy crap. That sounded like a dying alien.” I plug my nose and puff out my cheeks, pressurizing my ears. “Did you drive through a tunnel or something? Where are you, anyway?”
“I had to do something tonight,” he says. Another shrill screech blasts through the line again, and he curses. “Look, I’m about an hour away from the academy.” His tone turns stone cold. “I’ll call you when I get closer. I need to focus on driving. Just make sure to keep ahold of that bat.”
The line goes dead.
I move the phone away from my ear and frown at the “call ended” flashing across the screen. “Man, werewolves are so moody sometimes.”
Setting my phone down on the dresser, I grasp the baseball bat in my hands and hurry to the other window to get a better view of the front of the school. Night blankets the grounds, and every shadow or movement sends a chill down my spine. What if someone’s out there, watching me from the forest?
“Why the hell would they be watching me, though?” I mutter to myself. “What do they want from me?”
They’re only watching you right now because you’re not ready yet, my grandpa whispers through my thoughts.
“Dude, grandpa, I love you and everything, but this whole ominous, cryptic, tiptoeing-around-the-subject thing is starting to get on my nerves. Can’t you just tell me everything so I can solve your case and take these Electi bastards down?”
I can’t … I wish I could … but I’m … too … His voice drifts away like the wind.
I let out an exhausted sigh. Too many questions, not enough answers. Maybe Jax can tell me more when he gets here. Am I ready to tell Jax everything I know and how I know it? I’ll probably sound one step away from being in a straightjacket.
Before I can start psycho-analyzing myself, headlights spotlight through the darkness as a car turns into the driveway of the academy. I press my face to the glass and squint to get a better look.
The car parks in the driveway in front of the entrance doors of the school, and then Vivianne Monarelle climbs out. She’s not alone, either. A beautiful woman with long, lily white hair; pale skin; and flawless features gracefully slides out of the passenger seat. At first glance, she looks human, but under her glamour, her eyes that appear blue are hollow and sunken in, leafy vines curve around her boney arms, and her ghostly white hair moves like snakes.
What. The. Hell? Why is Vivianne Monarelle having a midnight rendezvous with the Empress of the Water Fey? I mean, I know the water fey can wander away from the lake now, but no one’s supposed to know they’re free except for a handful of Keepers and the Foreseers.
Hmmm … Just what is Vivianne up to?
I lean to the right to get a better look as the two of them meet at the front of the car and hurry into the forest, casting worried glances over their shoulders. I reach for my phone to call my dad and tell him what I just saw, but a knock on my door interrupts me. I tense, gripping the bat as the doorknob wiggles. Someone bangs on the door again, and I reel back to the window, debating if I should make a run for it.
I’m reaching for the latch when a dark blur zooms across the lawn and vanishes into the forest. A howl echoes through the night, one I’m pretty sure belongs to a werewolf. But there’s no full moon, so it doesn’t make any sense.
Another knock comes from the door, this time hard enough to send a framed photo off the wall. The doorknob twists, and my breath catches in my throat as the metal lock breaks apart. Whoever’s out there is freakishly strong and desperately wants to get in.
I raise the bat, ready to fight for my life, as the door swings opens.
I stride forward, preparing to swing the bat at the hugely tall, sturdy figure looming in the doorway.
“Get the hell away from me,” I growl, “or I’ll beat the shit out of you.”
“I’m s-sorry.” He hurriedly puts his hands to his sides. “I-I didn’t mean to. Dash said—”
“Don’t blame this on me,” Dash says, waltzing into my room and pulling the other guy in with him. “I told you to pick the lock, not snap the door in half.”
The guy grumbles, “Yeah, I guess you’re right.”
Dash lets go of the guy, kicks the door shut, and strolls past me like he owns the place. My nostrils are instantly overwhelmed by the delicious scent of his cologne mixed with sugar. Why does the guy always smell like yummy cookies?
“You’re being watched,” Dash mutters, peering out the window. The moonlight trickles in from outside and highlights his concerned expression.
“I know that.” I lower the bat, my gaze bouncing back and forth between the guy by my door and Dash. “Okay, so I don’t want to sound like a bitch, but why are you here? And why the hell did you break my door?”
“I didn’t break your door. Thad did.” Dash hitches his thumb over his shoulder, pointing at th
“Sorry,” Thad murmurs, scuffing the tip of his clunky boot against the floor. “It was an accident. I was trying to pick the lock but gripped the knob too tightly.”
Okay, Mr. Holy Human Super Strength. He seems like he feels bad about it, though, so I offer him a smile.
“No worries. It’s just a door.” I turn back to Dash and point the end of the bat at him. “You didn’t answer my other question.”
“I thought that was pretty obvious,” he says. “We’re here to rescue you.”
“Who said I needed rescuing?” Or did he see the mark painted on the floor outside and just assume?
He glances at me with his brow curved upward. “You really don’t know?”
I shake my head then pause. “Jax called you, didn’t he?”
“He did, but he didn’t mention why I needed to run to your room at”—he glances at his watch—“twelve-thirty at night. I’m guessing it has something to do with that mark painted on the floor outside your room.”
A thought strikes me out of a blue. Dash was in the room when Jax told me about the Electi. Dash knows about the Electi. That means he’s in danger, too. But why didn’t Jax just tell Dash the reason he needed to come to my room? Could it be because Thad’s here?
“Jax mentioned I needed to stay in your room until he gets here and that I’m supposed to beat the shit out of anyone who comes in.” Dash opens his arms to the side, his lips twitching with amusement. “You’ll be more safe if I hold you. We can lie in the bed, too, if you want. Just a warning, though, my hands have minds of their own. I take no responsibility for where they try to wander.”
“I think I’m okay just hanging onto the bat.” Don’t smile. It’ll only encourage him. “And FYI, I’m not helpless. I know how to beat the shit out of someone when I need to.” I nod my chin in the direction of Thad. “I was about two seconds away from kicking his ass.”
“Thad’s a little clumsy. I bet you could kick his ass.” Dash offers Thad a somewhat apologetic look before his gaze lands back on me. “He’s part ogre, though, so it’s not his fault.”
Entangled by Jessica Sorensen / Fantasy / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes