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Entranced, Page 1

Jessica Sorensen

  Entranced Part One

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2015 by Jessica Sorensen

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

  No part of this book can be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without the permission in writing from author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

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  Cover Design by The Cover Lure

  Entranced Part One

  Jessica Sorensen

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  About the Author

  Chapter 1

  I’m the only human in the club. Well, except for Jayse Hale, my cousin and best friend on the entire planet. Although, human might be a stretch, considering we have Keeper’s blood pumping through our veins. At least, I’m pretty sure I do.

  Technically, I haven’t gotten my Keeper’s mark yet, but Jayse has. The fiery ring of gold showed up on his shoulder almost a year ago when he turned sixteen. His parents, and my Aunt Aislin and Uncle Laylen, were ecstatic he inherited inhuman strength. It comes in useful for endeavors like tonight, when almost every creature near us is inhumanly strong and can easily kill an average person.

  My parents, Alex and Gemma Avery, keep telling me it’s only a matter of time before my mark shows up. My mom, dad, and over half of my extended family bear the mark of a Keeper—warriors who protect the human race from all those scary things that go bump in the night. Things most people don’t believe exist. Believe me; they do exist. But, thanks to us lovely Keepers who kick ass and risk our lives daily, most people get to live their lives without ever crossing paths with vampires, werewolves, fey, and all kinds of otherworldly creatures.

  Me, I get to stand in a room crammed with them.

  The Black Dungeon is one of the many clubs in the city exclusively for anyone and everything who like to dip their feet, fangs, third eyes, or etc. into the dark side. The dress code to get in requires dark clothing, which is why I’m rocking a tight black tank, black jeans, and a pair of lace-up, thigh-high boots that make my already long legs look even longer. On top of that, you have to possess the Mark of Immortality. Jayse and I aren’t immortal, but thanks to Blaire, Jayse’s younger sister who has badass Wicca skills, we have temporary marks on our forearms, an illusion created by a magic spell. My unearthly violet eyes also give me an edge, the strangely unique color inherited from my mom and my grandpa Lucas.

  “What are we looking for exactly?” Jayse asks me as we dance to the bass-driven song.

  Lights shimmer above us, and a faint mist floats around my feet as I skim the sea of faces near me. Most of them appear to be human, but if I look closely enough, I can spot glowing eyes, scaly skin, and claws for hands. “We’re looking for someone. I already told you that.”

  He leans in, coughing as the mist swirls up to our faces. “You keep saying someone, but clearly that someone is a something, so fess up.” He moves back, his bright blue eyes sparkling with amusement. Like me, he’s dressed from head to toe in black with studs on his belt and bands on his wrists, making him appear like an edgy, bad boy from the neck down, but his bright blue eyes and messy blond hair give him a pretty-boy look. “Alana Avery, what kind of trouble are you getting us into this time?”

  “If I tell you, then you have to promise not to give me a big lecture on making bad choices.” Even though I’m five-nine, I have to tip my chin to look up at him—he’s that tall. “I’ve heard it way too many times.”

  His lips quirk. “Well, if you didn’t make so many bad choices, I wouldn’t have to lecture you all the time.”

  “That or you could just accept that your awesome best friend sometimes does crazy stuff, but it almost always plays out in our favor.”

  “One day, it’s going to catch up with us.”

  “Maybe you should stop coming with me if you’re so worried.”

  “Imagine how much trouble you’d get into if you did,” he says with an arch of his brows.

  “I can take care of myself.” I squint against the lights vibrantly flashing with the beat of the song. “Everyone thinks that just because I don’t have my mark, I can’t protect myself. I know what I’m doing. I’m not weak.” Everyone forgets that I’ve been in this life since I was born.

  His expression softens. “No one said you are. We know you’re tough. We just care about you. Until you get the mark, so much bad stuff can still happen to you.”

  I tuck a strand of my long, brown hair behind my ear. “I know. I’m sorry for complaining. I just get so frustrated sometimes.”

  He shifts closer and whispers, “Is that why we’re here? So you can try to prove you can take care of yourself?”

  “It’s freakin’ scary how well you know me,” I say with a defeated sigh.

  “I’d be the biggest asshole if I didn’t. I mean, we’ve been best friends since we could walk. That’s a freakin’ long-ass time.”

  I nod in agreement.

  Our parents are best friends, and his mom is my dad’s sister, so we were kind of predestined to be best friends. It’s probably a good thing, too. While I like to do crazy, dangerous stuff, Jayse is more levelheaded and keeps an eye on me. He always seems to know when I’m up to something, like tonight.

  The main reason I came to the Black Dungeon is because I heard Anastasiya is supposed to be here. She has major status in the vampire world and is the cause behind a ton of human deaths. The Keepers have wanted to get their hands on her for a while, but she typically stays off the radar and has a ton of bodyguards surrounding her when she does make her presence known.

  “So, who are you trying to find?” Jayse asks, inching closer as sweaty bodies start to crowd us.

  I pull a guilty face, nudging someone when they bump into me. “Anastasiya.”

  His eyes widen. “Please tell me you’re joking. That you didn’t come here tonight to try and execute …” He casts a panicked glance around at the mob then leans in toward me. “We’ll never be able to kill her. She’s too powerful.”

  “Not if we can get her alone,” I hiss under my breath. “She’s only powerful because she has her precious bodyguards. Take them away, and she’s just a regular, old vampire.”

  “No vampire is just a regular, old vampire.” Frustration fills his voice. “And even if we could take her, her guards never leave her alone.”

  “That’s not completely true. I know for a fact that, sometime around midnight, she’ll be on the roof alone all by her little old self.”

  “How do you know that?”

  “Um …” I chew on my lip guiltily. “I may have been tipped off by someone who can see into the future.”

  “You went to Elliot?” His jaw ticks. “You know he’s not a reliable Foreseer. He probably lied to you to set you up.”

  “He wouldn’t do that to me, Jayse … I know everyone doesn’t like Elliot, but he’s not as bad as everyone thinks. He just messed up that one time and no one will forgive him.”

  “Messed up
that one time. He tried to mess around with visions when he knew he wasn’t supposed to and almost set off an apocalypse. And the only reason that didn’t happen is because he was caught before he actually went through with it.”

  “That was a long time ago, back when he was still learning how to control his psychic abilities. Even you messed up a lot when you were training,” I say. “Jayse, I’m really sorry, but I need to do this. You don’t understand the pressure I’m under from my mom and dad. They keep saying shit like, ‘When is Alana’s mark going to show up?’ And, ‘If she doesn’t get one, we’re going to have to send her somewhere safe.’ It’s starting to worry me.”

  He gapes at me. “They’re talking about sending you away?”

  I nod. “For my senior year. They think I should go to some boarding school across the country.”

  “But you can’t move.” His lips pull to a sad smile. “My life would be way too dull without you.”

  “So you’ll help me with this, then? Let me prove I’m stronger than everyone thinks?” I clasp my hands in front of me. “Please say yes, Jayse.”

  He offers me an apologetic look. “I don’t want you to move away, but I can’t let you go through with this. It’s too risky. I’m sorry, but I’m texting for back up.” When I start to open my mouth, he talks over me. “I’m not arguing. I’m not going to let you risk your life.”

  “We take risks like all the time. This isn’t any different.”

  “Taking on”—he lowers his voice as he slips his hand into his pocket, retrieving his phone—“Anastasiya … You’ll get yourself killed.” He punches a few buttons on his phone. “We’ll find another way to keep you from moving, okay?”

  So much for proving I’m a badass. Texting for backup means a ton of Keepers are going to show up soon and take over the situation.

  “They’ll still let you help,” he tries to reassure me.

  I force a smile. “Yeah, maybe.”

  He’s wrong, though. Since my parents hold high status in the Keepers’ circle, everyone knows me, knows that I don’t have my mark yet, and I’m not supposed to be working any jobs.

  He stuffs the phone into his back pocket of his pants. “They’re on their way. I have to stick around until they get here … Do you want to go home?”

  I shake my head as we start to dance again. “No, but are my parents included in the ‘they’?”

  He stares at something over my shoulder. “I don’t think so.”

  “I hope not or my ass is going to get grounded. Then I won’t get to see you before I move away.” I swallow the lump wedged in my throat.

  I know I’m acting like a baby, but the idea of moving away from my family, from Jayse, from the life I’ve always known is killing me. I thought tonight would at least give me a chance at being able to stay. Now that chance is rapidly slipping away from me.

  Tonight wasn’t supposed to go down like this. Usually, Jayse goes along with my plans, even if they’re dangerous. Lately, though, he’s acting more responsibly. I blame it on the mark. It changed him, made him like every other Keeper.

  The day he got his mark, I felt like I lost my best friend. Sure, I still love Jayse to death and I’d do anything for him, but I can feel a wall between us, dividing how we view situations.

  I miss my old best friend who said to hell with everything and held my hand as we jumped blindly into danger.

  If only the stupid mark would just appear! Then shit could go back to normal.

  As if reading my mind, the back of my neck begins to burn, like a tattoo needle buzzing away, inking my flesh. This has to be it—my mark appearing! Of course, I need to go check before I declare it since I’ve had more than a handful of false alarms.

  “I have to go to the bathroom!” I shout to Jayse over the music.

  He glances at the clock then shoots me a dubious look. “It’s almost midnight. Are you sure you’re not just trying to sneak off to the roof?”

  I press my hand to my chest, mocking offense. “You think I’d lie to my best friend?”

  He gives me a blank stare. “Do I really need to answer that?”

  “Oh, fine, but I only lie to you when I’m trying to protect you.” I back away from him with my elbows out, making a path through the throng. “I’m not lying, though. I really do need to pee.” I smile sweetly at a guy with glittery gold hair who shoots me a disgusted look. “What? Don’t pretend like you don’t do it, too.”

  He actually might not, depending on what he is. With the crazy hair and shimmering skin, my bet is a Pixie.

  The Pixie in question rolls his eyes then turns back to the woman with snow-white hair that he’s dancing with.

  I smile proudly at Jayse. “See? I know how to ease over situations.”

  He fights back a grin. “Go to the bathroom and meet me at the bar when you’re done.”

  I spin around and squeeze through the sweaty bodies, making my way to the back of the club. As I pass by a freakishly tall, very well built guy with jet-black hair, he grabs my waist and tries to grind himself all up in my business. The skin-to-skin contact from his palm creeping up the front of my shirt makes me gag.

  I push him away, jabbing my shoulder into his chest. “Dude, I’m not into vampires. Sorry.”

  He flashes me his fangs. “I bet I can change your mind,” he purrs, leaning in like he’s going to bite me.

  I splay my fingers across his face and shove him back. “No way. Never gonna happen.”

  He hisses at me, and my heart slams against my chest. But on the outside, I remain cool, despite the fact that the vampire could go all off-with-her-head on me if needed.

  Squaring my shoulders, I brush by him, nudging him out of the way when he gets all up in my personal space again. He growls, but thankfully doesn’t chase after me.

  I push my way off the dance floor, the mist fading as I make it to the dimly lit table area. I don’t make eye contact with the vampire feasting off the human’s neck in the far corner booth, but my fingers itch to draw out my knife from my ankle sheath, and stake him in the heart. If I knew for sure I had my mark, I just might give it a go. Instead, I keep my hands fisted to my sides, duck down a dimly lit hallway, and slip into the bathroom.

  As the door swings shut behind me, the lights flicker. I worry the power might go off and smother me in darkness before I get to see if I have the mark.

  The lights end up staying on, and I stride toward a row of mirrors above the sink bowls, checking under each stall on my way to make sure I’m alone. The last thing I need is for anything to see the mark on my neck.

  Once I’m positive no one else is in here, I turn my back to the mirror, sweep my hair to the side, and then instantly frown.

  “Dammit.” The only thing marking my flesh is a blotchy, red spot, which probably came from early when a Faerie bumped me in the back of the neck with his wing.

  I let my hair fall over my shoulder and grip the edge of the sink bowl. I know it won’t be the end of the world if it turns out I’m not a Keeper, but it’ll separate me from my friends and family. It already kind of has. I’ve become a burden, a constant concern to everyone I love, and deep down, and I don’t blame my parents for wanting to send me away from this lifestyle. They want to protect me; I get that. It just sucks balls big time.

  Suddenly, the doors behind me swing open and a short, curvy woman with flowing red hair and bloodstained lips stumbles in. The fangs descending from her mouth and dry blood on her chin reveal she’s a vampire.

  She’s riding a blood high, but when she spots me, the glazed look in her eyes diminishes. She skims me over, her nostrils flaring as she inhales deeply. I know she’s trying to get a vibe on what I am. She won’t get one, thanks to the magic bound inside my temporary Mark of Immortality.

  I stare her down, waiting for her to say something, call me out, try to eat me, whatever she plans on doing. My hands are at my sides, fingers ready to snatch the knife from my ankle sheath, but she ends up giving up and stomps into a stal
l, slamming the door behind her.

  A slow exhale eases from my lips as I unstiffen.

  I check the time on my phone. Almost midnight.

  “Shit.” I hurry out of the bathroom a little too fast and end up crashing into someone.

  “Watch it,” a guy snaps as I trip backward from the impact and bash my elbow against the wall.

  Classy spazz move, Alana. You’re going to give away that you’re a clumsy human.

  The scents of cologne, soap, and something woodsy flood my nostrils as I regain my footing. I know that scent. This dude is a werewolf.

  Despite the angry scowl he’s sporting, I admit the guy is sort of cute. Okay, maybe more like freakin’ hot. He’s maybe a couple of years older than me, tall, with light brown hair styled in a messy fauxhawk. Intricate tattoos wind around his lean arms and up his neck, and he has the craziest, most intense silver eyes I’ve ever seen. Although, the shade does seem oddly out of place, considering silver is a werewolf’s kryptonite and most have brownish gold or bright yellow eyes.

  Werewolf dude glares at me. “Do the world a favor and learn how to walk.”

  Okay. He so just lost a few sexy points for that remark.

  “Sorry.” My voice drips with sugary sweetness. “I’ve tried a ton of times to get my how-to-walk learner’s permit, but the instructor always fails me because I keep crashing into brooding guys who never seem to know how to watch where they’re walking. It’s a curse. Seriously.”

  He stares at me, unimpressed, with his arms folded. “I’m not brooding; I’m just in a hurry.”

  I gesture for him to get a move on. “Well, then you should probably get going instead of wasting time insulting my walking incompetence.” When he continues to stare me down, I put my hands on my hips and arch my brows at him. “What? Never had anyone call you out before?”