Cursed, p.1
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         Part #1 of Cursed Superheroes series by Jessica Sorensen
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Cursed


  Cursed

  (Cursed Superheroes, #1)

  Jessica Sorensen

  Contents

  Prologue

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  A Sneak Peek at Cursed 2!

  Authors Note

  About the Author

  Also by Jessica Sorensen

  Cursed

  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2017 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 the author. The only exception is by a reviewer who may quote short excerpts in a review.

  Any trademarks, service marks, product names or names featured are assumed to be the property of their respective owners, and are used only for reference. There is no implied endorsement if we use one of these terms.

  For information: jessicasorensen.com

  Cover Design by Najla Qamber Designs

  Created with Vellum

  Prologue

  Leader

  “There’s a war coming.” My colleague stands in front of me with a worried look on his face.

  “Tell me something I don’t know.” I take a drag of my cigarette and lean back in the chair.

  He huffs in aggravation as he begins to pace in front of my desk. “How can you be so calm right now when evil is everywhere?”

  “No, it isn’t.” Smoke laces the air and circles my face as I raise the cigarette to my lips. “Not yet.”

  He stops pacing and faces me. “Maybe, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming. The portal to the paranormal dimension has already started to open and soon every paranormal creature will be invading our city.”

  “Not every paranormal creature is evil.”

  “I know, but the ones that are…” He shudders. “They’re going to tear the city apart.”

  “No, they won’t,” I assure him, reaching forward to put out my cigarette.

  He raises his brows. “How can you be so calm after everything you’ve been through? Considering your history with the paranormal, I thought you’d be more concerned about this.”

  “I understand my history, and I understand the danger in our future.” My tone is clipped, but I don’t care. He shouldn’t have brought up my past. “But, like I said, they’re not going to tear the town apart.” I rise from my chair. “Because we’re going to be ready for them.”

  His brows furrow. “How can you possibly be ready for something like this?”

  “Because I’m building my own army.” I pick up a folder and round to the front of the desk. “I’ve found five candidates that, with the right training, should be able to protect our city.”

  He takes the folder from me and frowns. “Look, I know our facility has been experimenting with creating the perfect superheroes, but so far none of our experiments are strong enough to take on the paranormal.”

  “I know that,” I tell him, tapping the folder with my finger. “This is a different experiment. One that should create creatures strong and powerful enough to fight the most powerful evils of all.”

  He opens the folder and reads the first page. “Wait… Are you thinking…” He glances up at me in astonishment. “You want to create our own paranormals?”

  I nod. “What better way to fight the paranormal than with the paranormal.”

  “But how will we control them?”

  “By getting them to trust us,” I say. “And by leaving a bit of their humanity in them.”

  His shock skyrockets, which I expected. While my ideas have always been a little out there, even for a place like this, this is by far my most insanely brilliant idea yet. “Wait? You want to turn humans into paranormals?”

  “Part paranormals,” I clarify as I walk up to the window and stare out at the rooms stretching across the warehouse. In each room, doctors perform procedures to enhance abilities in humans to make them quicker, stronger, faster, super inhuman—superheroes. “They’ll still be half human, which will help them fight against the evil urges the paranormal blood will manifest.”

  He remains quiet for a while. “But isn’t it a little cruel to do that to someone who’s innocent?”

  I tuck my hands behind my back. “That won’t be a problem with any of the candidates I’ve chosen.”

  “And why’s that?”

  I turn to look at him. “Because my candidates are cursed with darkness already. And when we bring them here, they’ll already be dead.”

  Chapter 1

  Sometimes my life feels like a movie. Unreal. Plastic. Plastic houses, plastic furniture, plastic town, and me, a plastic doll living in the midst of the fakeness. My best friends are the same way. We’ve always been popular, always get whatever we want. Everyone loves us even if they don’t know us, and everything seems to work out perfectly for us.

  It’s not like I hate my life or anything. I like it, and I’m completely grateful for what I have. But sometimes I wish everything wasn’t so… easy.

  I live with my two parents in a three-story mansion on the highest hill in Willow Crest Falls, and the entire town looks like a field of fireflies at nighttime. My dad is a well-known lawyer who works high end cases and makes more money than we know what to do with. My mom has spent her life raising me while becoming a respected socialite. She oversees every town charity event and was even given the key to the city, which basically means she was given a large, shiny key that’s too big to fit into any door. It’s perched on the mantle where everyone can see it.

  But life hasn’t always been perfect for us, at least that’s what I’ve been told. I’ve only heard one story about my family’s dreary past, told around the holidays after my mom drank too much wine and my dad passed out in the lounge chair. The story wasn’t even a real story, more like a warning that my family’s life used to be far from perfect.

  “We’re so lucky, Remi, we really are,” my mom said to me on Christmas Eve. “I wish you could understand that—how lucky we are.”

  I was twelve and had spent the day begging to open my presents early, to no avail.

  “We’re not lucky all the time,” I replied as I sucked on a candy cane. “We got snowed in today, didn’t we? That’s not very lucky.”

  But the truth was, the previous night I’d wished for a snow storm, so my dad would have to stay home with us instead of going to the office, like he did every Christmas Eve. I didn’t really believe my wish had come true—I mean, it’s not like people can control the weather—but a part of me pretended that I’d somehow made the snow storm happen. I wasn’t about to tell my mom that, though.

  “Oh, honey.” She patted my leg and then took a sip of her wine. Her lips were stained red from the countless glasses she’d drank already, her hair was down, and she’d kicked her heels off a long time ago. “If only you knew how terrible our lives used to be.”

  I finished the rest of my candy cane then relaxed back in the chair. “What’d you mean?”

  She pressed her lips together and shook her head once, something she did whenever she was about to lie.

  “Mom, please tell me,” I said. “I want to know.”

  She clasped onto the necklace she wore every day. The pendant was a small glass vial filled with purple sand that, in certain kinds of lighting, appeared as if it were glowing. I often pretended tiny faeries lived on the insid
e who granted wishes, and that’s was why my wishes came true sometimes. My mom ruined my dream, though, when she told me it was just dyed sand and nothing magical.

  “Remi, please don’t ask me to talk about this,” she begged, clutching onto the vial. “I never meant to bring it up.” She glared at the empty wine glass. “I drank way too much tonight.”

  “Why don’t you want to talk about it?” I pressed. “What’s the big deal?”

  Regret flickered in her eyes. “Because I hate remembering what we were and what we did to get here…. And what lies ahead in the future.”

  For the briefest instant, I swear the vial shimmered, but it happened so quickly that I questioned if it was the reflection of the fire in the fireplace.

  After that, my mom rose to her feet and hastily left the room.

  My families past was never brought up again. Even though I desperately wanted to understand what my parents gave up for our luxurious life, the fear in my mom’s eyes made me afraid of the answer.

  Chapter 2

  “Are you sure you want to go?” My mom asks me as I slip on my favorite pair of velvet platforms. “I thought maybe we could stay up and watch a movie together.”

  “I promised my friends I’d go with them to this party.” I retouch my makeup, a dab of lip-gloss, some eyeliner, and I’m ready to hit the road. “Sorry.”

  Normal parents would probably force their kid to stay home, but my mom’s laidback in the discipline department and pretty much lets me do whatever.

  “But I want to give you your birthday present at midnight,” she tries to entice me to stay.

  I fluff my long, brown hair then grab my purse. “You can give it to me anytime tomorrow. It’ll be my birthday all day.”

  “I know that. But…” She trails off, chewing on her bottom lip.

  I stop, sensing her worry. “Is everything okay? You seem, I don’t know, worried.”

  Her frown deepens. “I’ve just been thinking about how you’re going to be turning eighteen tomorrow. You’re growing up so fast. It seems like just yesterday you could barely tie your shoes.” She blows out a breath as she glances at my shoes. “Now look at you. All dressed up in heels.”

  My stomach twists with guilt. “If you really want me to stay home, then I will.”

  She clutches onto her vial of sand dangling around her neck. “Okay…” She swallows hard, shakes out her shoulders, and frees a trapped breath. “If you want to go then go.” It seems like it takes a ton of effort for her to get the words out.

  I study her closely. My mom looks a lot like me, only older. But she has the same brown hair, warm brown eyes, and above average height. I also know her well enough to know that she clutches onto her necklace whenever she’s anxious. Right now, she’s holding onto the damn thing as if her life depends on it. She’s never been much of a nervous person, except for that one Christmas Eve when she briefly mentioned my family’s past. Her ability to remain composed in any circumstance is why she does such a fantastic job at putting events together.

  “Maybe I could come home around eleven,” I suggest, hoping to alleviate some of her worry. “That way I’d be back in time to open a present at midnight.”

  She smiles, but it doesn’t quite reach her eyes. “Okay. I’ll wait up for you. And call me if you need anything. A ride home or whatever.”

  “Thanks. I will. And thanks for letting me go.” I hug her goodbye and sense her tension through her tightly wound muscles. “Are you sure everything’s okay?”

  “Of course.” Her arms tighten around me. “Do me a favor, though. If anything weird happens tonight, promise me you’ll call me.”

  “Weird how?”

  “I don’t know. You get a flat tire. Feel a little… odd. Or if a stranger tries to talk to you.”

  “I’m not a little kid anymore. I know all this.”

  She grips me tighter. “Just promise me, okay?”

  I nod, starting to get really worried. “Okay. I promise.”

  She hugs me a little bit longer before reluctantly pulling away. “Now go have fun.”

  The guilt in my stomach consumes me again, but I shove it down, knowing my friends would never let me live it down if I blew off the party tonight.

  After I say goodbye to my mom, I get into my BMW and drive down the street to pick up my friends. As I hug the corners, winding around the hills, my thoughts float back to my mom. She looked so upset and had been acting strange this morning too.

  “Maybe you should just skip school,” she said as I grabbed a granola bar from the pantry. “I could blow off getting my hair done and we could drive to town and do some shopping.”

  “Midterms are today so I can’t skip.” I peeled the wrapper off the granola bar and took a bite. “Raincheck, though. Maybe tomorrow or Sunday?

  “Tomorrow?” She dazed off, her skin paling. “Tomorrow’s your birthday.”

  “I know, but going shopping with you would be a pretty awesome present. For you and for me.” When I smiled at her, she wouldn’t even look at me.

  “Maybe.” She muttered something about needing to talk to my dad before hurrying out of the room.

  I hadn’t thought too much about it, but after her acting so strange tonight… something is wrong. Maybe me getting another year older is hard on her?

  I make a promise to myself to spend tomorrow morning with her before my party.

  I tear myself out of my thoughts as I pull into the driveway of Kara’s two-story, seven thousand and something foot mansion with giant ivory columns lining the oversized, double front doors.

  After I park, I honk the horn a few times then send her a text to get her ass out here. In Kara style, she comes waltzing out fifteen minutes later and huffs an aggravated breath as she hops in the passenger seat of my car.

  “You’re late,” she says as she flips down the visor to check her makeup. “Steph just texted me, wondering where the hell we are. Now she’s going to be bitchy all night.”

  “I’ve been out here for fifteen minutes.” I shift the car into reverse and back out onto the road. “It’s your fault we’re late, dude.”

  She flips the visor back up and sits back in the seat. “Remi, I love you to death, but you need to stop calling everyone dude.”

  “Okay,” I say. Then smile as I add, “Dude.”

  She sighs but whips out her phone from her jacket pocket. “I need to text Jay about something.” She punches a few buttons and moments later, she giggles.

  I crank up the radio, knowing that texting Jay about something means the two of them will message back and forth for the rest of the drive. It’s not a big deal. In about five minutes or so Steph will climb into the car and talk my ear off.

  Kara, Steph, Jan, and I formed a friendship the first day of kindergarten during arts and crafts time, after we were assigned to the same table. The three of them had already been friends since the day they were born, mainly because their parents were all friends. For some reason, they decided to bring me into their group. And in turn, my parents became friends with all of their parents, which helped my mom shoot up the social status and my father got more connections for his business.

  It’s strange, but I can’t even remember the time before I made friends with the three of them. It’s like those six years prior were just a dream I’ve long forgotten. And when I try to force my mind to go back further, all I see is darkness. Empty, cold, depressing darkness.

  Chapter 3

  After I pick up Steph and Jane, I drive us to the party, which is in full form when we pull up. After everyone does a makeup check, we head inside, walking side by side as we make our way through the crowd.

  Okay, so I don’t want to sound cliché or anything, but you know those scenes in the movies where the popular girls walk into a room and everyone turns to stare at them, as if they’ve cast a spell over everyone. The girls seem oblivious to the attention, completely clueless to the power they hold over people. Or maybe they do know and they just don’t give a crap.
But they just keep on walking with their chins held high and their arms linked, creating a perfect, unbreakable friendship chain. Okay, friendship chain sounds kind of lame, but you get the picture.

  Well, those four girls are my friends and me.

  Everywhere we go, every party we attend, people turn to stare. Like tonight. As we walk into Ben Beachmen’s Last Night of Fall party with our arms linked, necks crane in our direction. Guys holler and whistle, our names are shouted, a few girls tell us we look fabulous. We smile from the top of the stairway, the music booming and vibrating beneath our sparkly, pricey heels.

  While my friends love the attention, I always feel uncomfortable. Like a plastic doll on display, an imposter, fake, pretending, when really, I don’t really belong.

  I’ve often wondered how my life and my family’s became so perfect. Sometimes I pinch myself just to make sure my life isn’t a dream, that fate did give me a seemingly perfect life, both at home and with my friends. It’s not like I tried to become popular. It sort of fell into my lap.

  “They’re just jealous,” Kara says to me as she glances at the party goers, who have paused from their drinking, dancing, and jumping into the pool to stare at us. “They want what we have.”

  Steph shakes her head. “Kara, sometimes I wonder how your big fat head fits through the door.”

  “My big head.” Kara eyes Steph’s teased hair. “Look who’s talking. It looks like you have a bird’s nest growing on the top of your head.”

  “I was talking metaphorically. Not literally.” Steph rolls her eyes. “Jesus, how much did you drink before we left?”

  Kara wavers. “Um… I don’t know…”

  “Please don’t start, guys,” Jane pleads. “We just got here.”

  “I’m with Jane on this.” I slide my arm out of Kara’s so I can pick strands of her hair out of my mouth. Thankfully, everyone has stopped with the staring, starstruck thing so they don’t catch me digging around in my mouth with my finger. Although, I am curious what they’d do. Recoil in disgust? Offer me a toothpick? “I want to have fun tonight. Not spend the entire night playing mediator.”

 
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