Series: A Breed Apart #1
on December 2nd 2014
Callie Michaels isn't pretty or popular, but her singing more than makes up for all she lacks. And as long as she focuses on what's really important, she can survive high school. But how can she focus with all the drama? Between her best friend's odd issues and a daily dose of weirdness from the social elite, she's starting to wonder if she's the only normal one around.
He pulled the front door open. "That's how it's done."
I rolled my eyes and made my way through the crowd that had spilled into the hall, muttering. "That's how it's done. Yeah? Where? In the jungle?"
"Yeah." James' breath on my nape sent a chill down my spine. "Something like that."
Just as her life begins spiraling out of control, the answer comes to her in a dream. In exchange for a token of blood, a demon will give her everything she desires. She says "yes." From that point on, she finds herself changing, becoming something far from normal. Something dangerous.
No one is what they seem—least of all her. While the supernatural creatures around her struggle to maintain their humanity, Callie slowly loses hers. She doesn't even know what's important anymore. Friendship, the future, love? And is there anyone who can make her care?
A long soak in a bubble bath, hot enough to give me a head rush when I first submerged my whole body under the steaming water, did wonders for stiff muscles and stiffer resentment. James had been with me for days. He was entitled to a break. I was not going to be a pathetic, needy girlfriend. I was a strong, independent young woman, perfectly capable of fending for myself.
That conviction lasted the whole ten steps between the bathroom and my room. When I opened my bedroom door, I became someone who needed and was needed. And nothing could make that wrong.
A large, black cat stretched across my bed. James had come back at some point during my bath. While waiting, he’d fallen asleep. All I could do was stare. The beauty of him left me in awe.
Careful not to wake him I inched past the door, pulled it closed behind me, and turned the lock slowly to muffle the click. Every sound amplified in my ears as I tried to make my way across the room without waking him. My socks were like sandpaper on the carpet. My shallow breaths like heavy gasps. I heard it all, as I was sure he would. Humans were noisy things.
One black ear twitched, and I stopped and bit back a curse. The velvet of his fur glistened in the dim light as he stirred, but his eyes stayed closed. His huge form covered my bed, draped from one corner to the other, a piece of the exotic laid out in stark contrast to my very ordinary room. So alien to the surroundings, yet somehow so right.
I didn’t want to wake him up, but at the same time I couldn’t fight the need to get closer. Instinct flared up in warning, demanding I stay where I was. There was no denying the potential danger. Claws the size of my fingers peeked past his huge paws, little black daggers hooked into the delicate threads of my comforter. Without meaning to, he’d torn little holes in the cloth. Those claws would pass just as easily through flesh.
One step and then another, each one a struggle not to turn and run the other way. Again and again I reminded myself that this was James. He would never hurt me, not even in this form. He had control I couldn’t match, and truthfully, I was the more dangerous of the two of us. All his life his family had taught him how to deal with what he was. There was no one to teach me how to deal with what I’d become.
Not seeing myself as a frail, helpless thing got me past the last few steps. Careful to avoid his tail dangling over the side, I eased myself onto the bed and curled up beside him. The warmth of his big body seeped over me, his familiar presence stealing away the fear of having sharp fangs inches from my face. I laid my hand over one massive paw and placed my head on my arm so I was facing him. Lids still closed, James shifted his head and rested it over my hand. Enveloped in perfect comfort, I prepared to surrender to the night.