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Jessica Sorensen


  (Guardian Academy Series, #5)

  Jessica Sorensen


  Jessica Sorensen

  All rights reserved.

  Copyright © 2019 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 MaeIDesign

  Created with Vellum


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Author’s Note

  About the Author

  Also by Jessica Sorensen

  Chapter 1

  I’m standing in the middle of a bloodstained field that smells like death. An older man with a scar on his face is standing beside me. I can’t see anything else about his face; the rest of his features are blurry.

  “Summon them,” he whispers to me.

  I shake my head, tears burning in my eyes. “No, I won’t do this.”

  His eyes darken as lightning snaps across the stormy sky. “Do it or else everyone you love will die.”

  I swallow hard. “If I use my power to bring them back, everyone I love will die anyway.”

  He steps toward me, his eyes darkening like the clouds covering the sky. "Do it. Use your power or I'll drain it out of you. Either way, this is going to happen,” he says then wraps his fingers around my throat, squeezing tightly as if trying to wring my power out of me.

  I try to fight it, but I can feel the burning of my power underneath my flesh. Then everything turns red.

  Red, like blood—

  My eyes roll into the back of my head as I try to force myself to wake up from the bloody nightmare. I can still hear the man’s voice echoing in my head. But who is he? Because that dream felt so real…

  Wake up, Alana! Wake up!

  My damn eyes don’t want to open, though.

  What happened to me? Where am I? I'm not sure, and I can't even remember why I was asleep. All I know is that my eyes are closed, and I have the strangest sense that I've lost time.

  “What the heck happened to me?” I groan as I continue to will my eyes to open. They feel as heavy as troll’s feet.

  Finally, I manage to open my eyes. Of course, the instant I do, I wish I hadn’t.

  “What the hell?” I blink in confusion as I sit up and take in my surroundings: cracked cement walls and a water dripping ceiling that has so many holes it in that I can see the moon shining in the night sky.

  Wait a second … The moon?

  Memories tug inside my brain, and then it all comes rushing back to me. That evil witch, Pinkie, tying me up. Jax being possessed by Pinkie and him half-shifting into a wolf, even though it wasn’t a full moon. Him getting ready to bite me. Me dreaming about it beforehand.

  I reach up and brush my fingers along the side of my neck then cringe at the indents I feel beneath my fingertips and the way my skin burns.

  That freakin’ wolf. He bit me! Which means, unless my weird abilities somehow blocked the power of his bite, I’m officially bonded to Jax.

  Well, isn’t that just awesome?

  I grit my teeth and curl my fingers into fists as rage pounds through me. I don’t give a flying evil demon if Jax was possessed when he bit me. It still pisses me off. If he were here, I’d punch him in the face …

  Wait a second … If I’m pissed at him, then there’s no way I could be bonded to him, right? I’m not positive, and the only way to find out is for me to be around Jax and see if I feel a connection to him and a need to obey him. And while part of me wants to find out, the other part wants to stay the hell away from him because, if I am bonded to him, he could ask me to give him the Dagger of Conspectu …

  I gulp down a shaky breath as more memories of what happened sear my mind. Of my grandfather being in Jax’s bedroom while I was tied up, of him saying he’s the leader of the Electi, of him having Jax bite me so he can find out where the dagger is. How he wants to find the sword so I can control it. But why? What am I? And who was that man in that room who looked just like my grandpa? Because I sure as hell don’t believe it was really him. No, there’s no way my grandpa could be that evil. Plus, he’s dead, and I’ve been hearing his voice inside my mind, warning me to keep the dagger hidden. So, why would he suddenly show up, completely alive and trying to find the location of the dagger? It doesn’t make any sense.

  And what about Jax? How the hell did he become possessed? And what about that feeling I got right before I passed out of Dash being dead?

  “For the love of all keepers, these questions are giving me a headache,” I mutter, lifting my hand to my forehead as my temples pulsate. The movement causes moonlight to cast across my flesh. My pink, glittery flesh.

  Dammit, I forgot about the pixie biting me!

  As if my body and mind want to painfully remind me of just how big of a problem this is, a giggle forces its way up my throat.

  I slap my hand over my mouth and shake my head. Nope. I refuse to turn into some giggly pixie. I’m going to stop that from happening first then deal with the other buttload of problems waiting for me.

  Taking a deep inhale, I stand up and peer around. Several holes are in the wall that lead outside, which confuses the hell out of me. I mean, why would Jax bite me then take me out here, only to leave me in a place where I can just waltz on out?

  Unless it’s some sort of trap …

  My guard goes up as I inch toward the nearest hole, wishing on a thousand firelight faeries that I had a weapon. My boots scuff against the wet concrete as I make my way closer, the air growing chillier with each step. Plus, my pants, shirt, and long, brown hair are damp from all the water dripping everywhere, making me grow cold quickly.

  Shivering, I pop my head out of one of the holes and peek outside. My confusion doubles.

  It looks like I’m in the forest near the guardian academy, but again: why would Jax leave me out here unguarded? Although, I’m not convinced yet that he’s not out there, just waiting for me to step out. I guess there’s only one way to find out.

  Sucking in a breath, I step out of the dilapidated building and into the forest that is blanketed by night. I pause for a beat, my fists balled at my sides as I prepare to fight either Jax or someone—or something—else. But when a minute ticks by and nothing happens, I relax a smidgeon and hurry forward into the trees, using the moonlight to find my way to a path up ahead. I’m not sure where it leads. Right now, though, my only two options are to take it or wander aimlessly through the trees. Still, I feel a bit unnerved being so out in the open, so I continually scan my surroundings, my muscles wound tight as I rush up the path.

  Finally, after what feels like hours, I spot the school just a ways in the distance, lit up by outside lights. I start to relax until I realize that I literally have no clue who I can trust.

  What if Jax is there and
is still possessed? And what about Vivianne? I’m fairly certain she is the fey princess, and I saw her having a secret rendezvous with the water fey empress. Sure, the last time I heard, Vivianne wasn’t at the school, but I’m not even sure how much time has gone by since Jax bit me. For all I know, days could’ve gone by and Vivianne has returned.

  I slow to a halt at the edge of the forest and contemplate my options. If I had my phone, I could call my parents. But it’s in my room and, the last I knew, a dead witch was in there, the one Pinkie killed, something I got to experience firsthand thanks to my unknown ability of being able to see through the dead’s eyes.

  I glance around, searching for another alternative, but the academy is out in the middle of nowhere, so unless I want to hike for miles in the darkness, I’ll have to get to my phone and hope my parents know of a way to stop the effects of a pixie bite—

  “Alana?” a deep male voice sails over my shoulder.

  I whirl around with my fist lifted, preparing to take a swing. But I freeze mid-punch when I spot Thad behind me, wide-eyed with his hands up in front of him.

  “I-I’m sorry I scared you,” he sputters. “I just saw you standing here and …” He slowly lowers his hands to his sides, his brows creasing. “Why are you standing out here by yourself in the middle of the night?”

  I’m not quite sure how to answer. While Thad is friends with Dash and seems trustworthy, Jax also seemed that way, so …

  I study him, unsure what I’m even looking for. Signs of him being possessed? Yeah, it’d be great if I could just look at him and tell. But, as far as I know, there’s no mark that represents possession.

  Internally grimacing, I tip my head up to meet Thad’s gaze. While I’m tall, Thad is part-ogre, which shows through his height.

  “Why are you out here in the middle of the night?” I giggle as I observe his reaction closely.

  He scratches his wrist, appearing a bit twitchy. “I was looking for something.”

  Another giggle flees my lips. Grr … This is driving me crazy!

  “Looking for what?” I manage to get out.

  He shifts his weight and scratches at the back of his neck. “Look, I can’t tell you much, other than it’s something for Dash. Please don’t be mad. Dash swore me to secrecy, and he’s my best friend, so …” He shrugs, offering me an apologetic look.

  “Okay, I can understand that, I guess.” I think of Jayse and how we have kept many secrets for each other. Not lately, though. No, lately Jayse has been keeping secrets from me, like what he’s transitioning into. “He’s okay, though, right?” My mind wanders to the premonition, or whatever the hell these dreams I keep having are, that I had about Dash. What it what I felt really happened to Dash? “Dash, I mean.”

  Thad gives a wavering nod. “He’s as okay as he ever is.”

  Not really an answer, but I decide to let it go for now. “Okay.”

  A bit of tension unwinds from his muscles. “Thanks for not making a big deal about me being so vague. And I’m really glad I ran into you because I managed to get some fey magicae like Jax requested. Although, I haven’t been able to get ahold of him.”

  Oh yeah! I completely forgot Jax had Thad steal some fey magicae to slow down the process of this pixie bite.

  “Do you have it on you?” I giggle. Please say yes. Please don’t say it’s in the school.

  “No, I locked it in a safe in my room to make sure no one else found it or found out I took it. I sent Jax a text right after I did, but he never replied, and then I got caught up in this thing Dash asked me to do … But we can go get it now.” His gaze zeroes in on my arms. “We should probably hurry, too.”

  I track his gaze to my arm and laugh, but then my face twists with disgust. The glittery pink has spread since I last looked. “Yeah … probably.”

  “Probably?” He sounds confused. “Don’t you want that to stop from spreading?”

  Sighing, I look back at him. “I do, but … “Look, you know how you can’t tell me why you’re out here?” I ask, and he nods. “Well, there’s some stuff I can’t tell you either.” Not until I’m positive I can trust him. “All I can really say is that I can’t go into that school.”

  His lips part, but then he presses his lips together. “I can go get the fey magicae and bring it out to you.”

  A relieved breath slips from my lips. “If you can do that, I’d be forever grateful.”

  He dismisses me with a shrug. “It’s not a big deal.” He stuffs his hands into the pockets of his black pants. “I mean, I get the whole need for secrecy.” He assesses me for a fleeting moment, then shakes his head. “I’ll hurry up and go get it.”

  “Thanks.” I step to the side so he can move past me. I want to ask him to get my phone for me, too, but that would require me explaining how a dead witch might be inside my room. And that would lead to a ton more questions that I’m not sure if he’d let slide. Yeah, Thad seems pretty cool with my secrecy, but a dead body might be where he draws the line.

  Eventually, I’ll have to find a way to get ahold of my parents because, right now, they’re the only people I trust.

  Chapter 2

  I stay hidden in the trees while I wait for Thad, on guard and ready to fight if I need to. But, as more time starts to tick by, my legs grow tired and I end up sitting down in the dirt.

  It’s weird for me to feel so exhausted. Usually, I hardly ever get tired, so I’m wondering if maybe it has to do with the werewolf bite or the pixie magic inside me.

  At the thought of pixies, a quiet giggle tickles the back of my throat. I press my lips together and try to keep quiet, but the laughter eventually bubbles through.

  “Shit,” I mutter through another quiet giggle.

  I slap my hand over my mouth and breathe through my nose. Do not laugh, Alana Avery. Don’t you freakin’ dare.

  But the need to giggle becomes too great, and I end up flopping onto the ground and rolling over in a fit of laughter. The noise echoes around me, and I know if I don’t stop, someone could overhear me. But the more I laugh, the more the urge to laugh grows.

  If this is how pixies feel all the time, I feel sorry for them—


  Over the sounds of my high-pitched laughter, I hear a branch break.

  Stupid pixies, I’m so screwed.

  I will my laughter to stop, but it just keeps getting louder. Then, when I try to get up to fight, my legs feel like a boneless demon’s legs, so all I can do is remain rolling around in the dirt and sticks, laughing my ass off and waiting helplessly to see who’s walking toward me.

  Helpless? Well, that’s a new feeling. One I’m not a fan of at all.

  I brace myself for the worst as a figure emerges from the shadows.

  “Alana, are you okay?” As the sound of Thad’s voice breaks through the shrilling laughter, I breathe in relief. Or, well, try to. But all that happens is I snort.


  “No, I’m not,” I tell him as I continue giggling and snorting. “Please, please tell me you have the”—giggle—“fey magicae.”

  He crouches down beside me, glittery moonlight casting across his face and highlighting the worry in his eyes. “Yeah, it’s right here.” He holds up a small bag that’s held closed with a ribbon. “But there’s still one small problem … I don’t exactly know what we’re supposed to do with it. Jax never explained that part to me. I’m hoping he told you?”

  I sit up, breathing profusely as I struggle to get oxygen through all the giggling. “He didn’t, but I’m sure I can”—giggle—“figure it out.” I take the bag from him and rack my brain for any knowledge I might have about fey magicae, but my knowledge is fairly limited when it comes to fey magic. Still, it seems like there could only be two logical ways to get the magic on me … “I’m thinking either I rub it on my skin … maybe on the bite. Or maybe I ingest it.” I start to untie the ribbon on the bag. “I guess I’ll try both.”

  Thad chews on his bottom lip. “Maybe we should t
ry to call Jax before you do either.”

  I shake my head. “We can’t call Jax.”

  His brows furrow. “Why not?”

  I sink my teeth into my bottom lip, a laugh tickling at my throat, but not because I think the situation is humorous. “It’s complicated. But trust me, calling him isn’t a good idea.”

  He frowns. “Alana, what’s going on with Jax? Because I can tell something is.”

  “There is, but I can’t tell you.” Not when it has to with the Electi, because doing so means bringing Thad into this mess, and I can’t do that to him.

  His frown deepens. “Can you at least tell me if he’s in some sort of trouble?”

  I hesitate, unsure of what to tell him.

  As if reading my reluctance, he says, “I’ve known Jax and Dash for almost a decade, and while I’m closer with Dash, Jax and I are still friends. And if he’s in trouble, I need to know so I can try to help him.”

  “It’s complicated,” I say through another annoying giggle. “And if I told you, your life could be in danger.” Because anyone who learns about the Electi is at risk of them coming after them. It’s why Jax always told me to keep quiet whenever I started to mention the name.

  When Thad’s expression remains plagued by worry, I decide to give him a little bit of information. Not about the Electi, though. No, I’m not about to put that on him.

  "Something is going on with Jax," I start. "I'm not positive how, but he somehow managed to half-shift into a wolf."

  His eyes go round. “What?”

  “Yeah, it’s pretty crazy.”

  He shakes his head in shock, dazing off for a moment before fixing his gaze on me again. “Where’s Jax right now?”

  “I’m not sure. All I can remember is that he bit me. Then I blacked out and woke up in this rundown building in the middle of the woods … That’s why I’m out here in the middle of the night and why I don’t want to go into the school—because I’m worried that he might be in there.”