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Jessica Sorensen


  (Guardian Academy, #3)

  Jessica Sorensen


  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:

  Cover design by Najla Qamber Designs

  Created with Vellum


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  About the Author

  Other books by Jessica Sorensen:

  Chapter 1

  I follow the stranger down a hallway lined with tall, red doors, unsure of where we’re going, yet anxious to find out. I can’t see his face, so I have no idea who he is, but his slow, confident strides and the way his hand rests at the small of my back makes me feel safe.

  My heart pitter patters inside my chest, my stomach bursting with excitement. My pulse quickens as his fingers trace back and forth along the sliver of flesh peeking out from my shirt.

  Music plays from someplace in the building, and the warm air feels electric, pulsating with magic. I feel that it should worry me, yet I somehow feel calm. So calm, like I belong to this guy and want to belong to him, which doesn’t seem like something I would think. Right now, however, my head is a clusterfuck of emotions, and I can barely think about anything except this guy and me, together.

  As the air begins to grow warmer, it makes my tank top stick to my skin. I fan my hand in front of my face, but nothing seems to cool me off.

  Why do I feel so hot?

  “Are you ready for this?” the guys asks, coming to stop in front of a door.

  His voice seems so familiar, and the sound adds even more warmth to my body.

  I nod eagerly, although I have no freakin’ clue what he’s talking about. “Yes.”

  His arm muscles flex as he shoves open the door and steps inside a room with dark blue walls, a dresser, and a four-poster bed.

  I smash my lips together, wondering why he’s brought me into a bedroom. Then I realize that I really don’t care.

  This guy … He makes me feel … desire.

  With his head turned away from me, he motions for me to step inside. “Go ahead, sweetheart.”


  Terms of endearment usually make me gag, but I find myself letting out a soft sigh. How lovely.

  I enter the room, the temperature growing even hotter.

  “So, why are we in here?” I ask, turning in a circle to look at the bare walls.

  He kicks the door shut and remains facing the door with his hand on the doorknob. “I can’t believe this is happening,” he says, finally turning to face me. “I’ve wanted this for so long.”

  As his silver eyes collide with mine, my jaw nearly smacks the floor.


  A lazy grin spreads across his face. “Why do you seem so surprised?”

  I shrug, completely and utterly confused. “I don’t know … It’s just that … I felt …” Completely connected to him, and not in a just friend’s way.

  “This makes no sense.” I take a step back. “How can I feel …?” I bite down on my tongue, stopping myself from saying anything that might feed his ego.

  “Feel what?” He takes a step forward.

  I match his move, moving backward, though, until my back brushes against the wall.

  He continues to move toward me until the tips of his boots clip mine. Placing a hand on either side of my head, pinning me between his arms, he then slants forward until hardly any space is left between our bodies.

  “However you feel is how you should feel.”

  “I doubt that,” I reply, confused, yet easily becoming distracted by his wolfish scent and the heat from his body.

  He smells so good. Has he always smelled so good?

  “Jax, why are we here?”

  “Because I want us to be.” He wets his lips with his tongue.

  Conflicted on whether to leave or kiss him, I swallow hard. “But why do you want us here?” In a bedroom. Alone together.

  He places a finger across my lips. “Don’t overthink this, okay?”

  I automatically nod, my eyelids fluttering shut. “Okay.”

  “You belong to me now.” He trails his finger down the front of my neck to my collarbone. Then his lips touch mine, and heat mixed with confusion surges through my body.

  I’m kissing Jax. Holy crap! What is happening? I should run! Yes, run, Alana!

  Instead, my feet remain glued to the floor, and I let out a whimper as he deepens the kiss.

  No, don’t run. This is where I belong.

  I part my lips and let him kiss me deeply, feeling comforted and safe, like I belong here.

  The side of my neck starts to burn, and then the heat spreads throughout my body. My head races with thoughts of needing more. I clutch his arms and press my body against his.

  What is happening to me? I’ve never felt this way before. I need to breathe. I need to run …

  Need to …

  I don’t know …

  His hands start to wander. This is usually the point when I’d put a stop to the kissing when I’m making out with a guy. Instead, I hold on to him tighter.

  Then he scoops me up and, and I hitch my legs around his waist.

  Fire. My neck feels like it’s on fire. But in the best way possible.

  He groans, biting my bottom lip, and I kiss him back, threading my fingers through his hair. His tongue continues to explore my mouth, tasting me and driving me completely crazy.

  “I can’t believe this is happening,” he says breathily as he kisses the burning spot on my neck.

  “What …? Us kissing?” I ask dazedly.

  He shakes his head, placing a kiss on my neck. “No. This …”

  I don’t understand, but then his lips return to mine, and I forget about everything …

  Nothing exists but him and me … Him and me and this burn on my neck …

  Wait, why is my neck burn—

  My eyelids shoot open. I lift my head, blinking dazedly against the light of my lamp. Somehow, while I was studying, I managed to fall asleep in bed with my head propped against the headboard.

  “Holy crap, that was some dream.” I massage the kink in my neck as I glance at Jax, who is fast asleep next to me.

  Seeing him causes the feelings from my dream to resurface, which completely and utterly bugs me … sort of. My fingers wander to the spot on my neck that burned in the dream, and strangely, I swear I can feel the faintest twinge of heat.

  So weird.

  Then again, having a dirty dream about Jax is equally as weird.

  Okay, that’s kind of a lie. I may have had a dirty dream once or twice, but it was never like that, so vivid. Whether that means anything or not, I’m unsure.

  What I am entirely sure about is that Jax can never, ever know about these dreams.

Chapter 2

  Do you ever get the feeling that every person in the room hates you? Except, those “people” aren’t humans. They are powerful paranormal creatures who can kill you with the snap of their fingers.

  No? That hasn’t happened to you? Huh. Well, consider yourself lucky then because it’s pretty much like riding an intense wave where, at any second, you can be dragged under to slowly drown.

  Luckily, for the sake of turning into a complete and nervous wreck, I’m fairly used to being despised by the paranormal community. Not just because I grew up in a family of Keepers, whose main purpose is to capture evil otherworldly creatures, but also because my questionably deceased grandfather has been accused of stealing the Dagger of Conspectu. A dagger which, if legends are correct, can steal magical powers from any creature or object.

  While I’d love to believe my grandpa was—is—a good man, I can’t help questioning his innocence. I mean, for starters, he gave me the Dagger of Conspectu right before he was allegedly murdered, something no one knows about except Jax. And then I found my grandfather’s traveler’s crystal ball near the crime scene of a zombie attack; a zombie that belonged to a paranormal facility. That was odd, considering my grandpa was supposed to be dead at the time, which is part of the reason I’m not entirely convinced he really is dead. Or maybe I’m only being delusion and refusing to accept that I might not ever see him again.

  Le sigh. Life can be so complicated sometimes.

  “Alana Avery, is my lecture boring you?” Mr. Belligbutterton’s squeaky tone pierces through my thoughts.

  I blink back to reality then shrink low at my desk as almost everyone in the classroom turns and glares at me.

  “Um, no, not at all.”

  “Oh, really?” He tucks his stumpy troll arms behind his back while pacing in front of the whiteboard. “Then please enlighten me with a recap of the proper way to examine a body at a crime scene?”

  Since I haven’t been paying attention to the lecture, I don’t know what answer he’s looking for. However, I have examined a few dead bodies over the last few weeks, so I do know a thing or two.

  I straighten in my seat and cross my arms on top of my desk. “Well, for starters, you can search the body for any strange markings like—”

  He cuts me off with an annoyingly shrill buzzer noise before saying, “Wrong. But why am I not surprised?”

  “Because you’re used to people not paying attention to your lectures?” The words spill out of my mouth, under no control of my own.

  Shit. Shit. Shit.

  I mean, I’m all for occasionally challenging authority, but I’m already tap dancing on thin ice at the academy, partly because my grandpa is under investigation, and partly because everyone thinks I’ve been getting special treatment since Jax and I solved the murders of the North Kingdom Fey. And I guess I sort of understand why people might think that since newbies aren’t technically supposed to be allowed to work on real cases. And while solving the case was sort of exciting, spending the last week dealing with power trip riding teachers and douchebag students hasn’t been all eating yummy cakes and skipping on rainbows.

  The really sucky part is that no one is giving me credit for helping to solve the case. They think I tagged along and did nothing, and then Jax said I’m sleeping with him, so they believe that’s how I “helped”! I guess that’s kind of true, but not in, like, a sexual way. He just sleeps in my bed because he worries about me being alone when the Electi, who are running paranormal experimental facilities, have been scoping me out.

  “Because, let’s face it, they kind of suck.” More words pour from my lips, and I hastily slap my hand over my mouth.

  Double shit.

  What am I doing? Don’t I have any control over my mouth!

  As the thought crosses my mind, foul words bite at the back of my throat, begging to come out.

  Something’s not right. I think someone cast a spell on me.

  Chapter 3

  I’m under a spell.

  Shit. Crap. Dammit.

  This isn’t good. Not at all.

  What’s really bugging me is: who in the bleep would do this to me?

  Really, Alana. I think the question is: who wouldn’t do this to you? My thoughts laugh at me.

  I bite down on my tongue, my gaze sweeping across the classroom, searching for any signs of an Enchanter or a witch chanting a spell. All I see is a classroom full of people scowling at me.

  Mr. Belligbutterton’s faces turns bright red. “Keep it up, hot shot, and you’ll have detention for a week.”

  A few students clap, some cheer, and a handful snicker. The only person who doesn’t seem to be chasing a high on my embarrassment is Thad, Dash’s friend, who’s part-ogre and probably one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever met.

  Freakin’ Mr. Belligbutterton. He’s such a jerk!

  You should put him in his place! a voice exclaims inside my mind, one that doesn’t belong to me. Say more things. Make him pay for embarrassing you!

  I bite down on my tongue until the bitter taste of blood fills my mouth.

  While I’ve heard my grandfather’s voice inside my mind before, this voice isn’t his. The sound is sending a consuming power through my veins, begging to be listened to.

  Nope, I mentally reply, sinking my teeth deeper into my tongue. I won’t listen to you. And FYI, when I find out who you are, I’m gonna kick your ass.

  I’d like to see you try. They laugh wickedly.

  Oh, trust me; you will.

  “What? All out of words?” Mr. Belligbutterton draws me back to reality for the second time in five minutes.

  Swallowing hard, I fight back the words scorching at the tip of my tongue and nod.

  Mr. Belligbutterton looks disappointed, and I question if maybe he put the spell on me. I don’t think trolls have that kind of power, though.

  “Well, if you get out of line again, I will give you detention,” he says. “Got it?”

  I sink my teeth into my lip so hard my eyes water as I bob my head up and down.

  Sighing, he walks back to his desk. “Now, like I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, I’m going to be pairing you up for a team project.” He plops down at his desk. “Each team will be assigned a case from the unsolvable case files, and it’s your job to work together to try to solve it.” He collects a stack of packets and folders and stands back up.

  “Now, I don’t actually expect you to solve the case.” He proceeds toward the front row of desks. “These cases were declared unsolvable for a reason. This is simply a way for me to monitor how you handle solving a case and if you have a good understanding of the proper protocol. And while I’m confident most of you do, I don’t expect everyone to excel at this assignment.” His gaze fleetingly flickers toward me, and it takes all my energy not to flip him the middle finger.

  “Don’t worry, though; not everyone is cut out for field work.” Throwing me one final snide smile, he returns his focus back to the rest of the class. “And, as an incentive, the team who does the best work will receive front row tickets to next month’s Guardian Academy seminar, which is an extra special treat since I’m the guest speaker.”

  I mentally roll my eyes. Yipee.

  Come on; say it aloud. You know you want to …

  I curl my fingers into fists. Shut up!

  I will when I get bored.



  What? I didn’t cheat on anything.

  Yes, you did. On the case. I know you didn’t help, even though Jax is saying you did. Jax is just too sweet.

  I snort a laugh, then pretend a coughing fit when Mr. Belligbutterton fires a death glare at me.

  So, that’s what this is about? I ask. You have a little crush on werewolf dude, huh? Well, newsflash, if you really knew him, you’d know he’d never let me take credit for something I didn’t earn.

  Liar! He feels sorry for you because no one likes you.

  Pathetic. I sneak a look arou
nd at the girls in my class, but then I realize the voice can easily belong to a guy since it sort of has a neutral tone. I’m left wandering around in Confusion Land over who the perpetrator is.

  Fortunately, the jealous voice takes a chill pill as Mr. Belligbutterton begins pairing everyone off and assigning cases.

  I sit quietly at my desk, trying not to think about anything important in case someone is still listening to my thoughts. The longer my mind remains quiet, the more I start to relax. That is … until Mr. Belligbutterton steps up beside my desk with a big old grin on his round face.

  “Since this class has an odd number of students, I figure you can work alone.” He slaps the case file down on my desk, his grin expanding. “Since you’re so experienced with solving cases, I’m sure that won’t be a problem.”

  My smile is sugary sweet. “Nope, not at all.” In fact, I’d rather work alone, if anything, to avoid risking the ninety-nine percent chance of getting stuck with someone who hates me.

  “Mr. Belligbutterton, it says my partner is Axel Barrliesntly,” Thad interrupts from the desk beside me.

  Mr. Belligbutterton’s beady eyes shift to him. “Is there a problem with that? Because, I’d like to remind you that I worked hard on pairing you up with a partner who, I believe, you’ll work well with.”

  Thad fiddles with the edge of the assignment packet. “I understand that, but Axel transferred out of this class a little over a week ago, so I doubt he’s going to want to work on the assignment with me.”

  Mr. Belligbutterton’s expression falls. “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.” He blows out an exasperated exhale. “Well, I guess you’ll just have to work on the case by yourself. I have confidence you’ll be able to handle it.”

  Thad offers him a tight smile. “While I appreciate the confidence, perhaps it will be better if I work with Alana. That way, we’ll be at the same advantage as the rest of the class.”