The last thing sixteen-year-old Alaina Oftedahl-Miller expected was to watch her mom brutally destroy their life.
But, in the wake of tragedy, strength forms. Shipped off to live with her birth father, Alaina finds herself dealing with more than just being the new Canadian girl in a Norwegian school. Juggling the formation of a relationship with the man who abandoned her as a child, and a budding attraction to Kaius Vargøy–the mysterious, beautiful classmate who’s been assigned as her personal translator–Alaina can’t shake the feeling that every move she makes is being watched. Judged.
She soon learns there’s far more to this sleepy Norwegian town than she ever imagined. Kaius and his friends aren’t exactly what they seem, and the repercussions of that could send her traveling through the most unexpected experience of her life. Murder and relocation is one thing, but add in supernatural occurrences and Vikings, and even she may not have the strength to survive.
The library, though condensed, contained a pretty extensive collection of books. I even spotted a few titles in English. But those weren’t the ones I was interested in at the moment. Using the catalog system on the computer, I found the Norwegian version of a popular fiction series. Book number one was listed as being on the shelf, and I went in search of it, as well as the library’s English-Norwegian dictionary.
I had just gotten settled at a table in the far corner and started reading, when someone sat down next to me. At first, I thought it might be Kaius and began preparing a speech to dissuade him from his continued chase. But when I looked up, I was met with a pair of dark eyes that didn’t belong to the guy from my dream.
This boy’s smoldering gaze seemed to burn all the way to the bones making up my skull, to read my darkest thoughts and desires as if they were stamped out on the surface of my brain. And I’d thought Kaius was intense; I didn’t know the meaning of the word until I met this guy.
They were polar opposites—worlds apart. Where the dark-haired, blue-eyed Kaius seemed to calm my frazzled nerves and pushed aside the darkness clouding my heart, this light-haired, dark-eyed guy set my entire being on edge. If Kaius was the good guy, the guy next to me equaled the epitome of the bad boy. And it had nothing to do with his black shirt, leather jacket, and dark jeans.
“Hei san, vakker. Du må være den nye jenta alle snakker om.”
“Uh, s-sorry, I . . . I don’t . . .” He had me tongue-tied; made my hands feel clammy. And not in a good way. Tendrils of ice wove through the air around me, and I couldn’t help but think he had everything to do with it.
The temperature in a controlled environment—such as a high school library—doesn’t just drop ten degrees without reason.
“Oh yes, Engelsk.” He raised a blond brow as his eyes swept over me for about the fourth time. “Yes, of course. I, uh, just said to you, ‘hello, beautiful, you must be the new girl everyone is talking about.’”
He reminded me of a snake; a slimy, venomous snake, waiting for the perfect moment to either strike with toxic fangs, or coil around me and squeeze the air from my lungs. “I’m new, yeah.” I didn’t touch the rest of what he’d said. I wasn’t the kind of person to fish for compliments, and I also didn’t believe a word that came out of his mouth.
As he watched me, the pressure surrounding my skull grew until it felt like my eyes might bulge and pop out of their sockets. I had to get away from him, whoever—or whatever—he was.
And I did try to get away; I honestly did. But my limbs didn’t move when instructed to, and my body remained cemented to the chair as darkness crept through the room like the smoke from my dreams, only reversed. Everything light and bright became dark and shrouded in gloom.
The pain I’d suffered at the loss of my entire life, the loss of everything I knew, returned with enough force to make me nauseous, giving me a migraine, and bringing magma-hot tears to my eyes. I wanted this guy to leave me alone, to stop whatever he was doing and go away. But I couldn’t even open my mouth to beg it of him.
When he spoke next, it was a hissing sound, not unlike the snake I’d compared him to. “Ja, jeg ser det i deg, mørket. Du vil være et flott tillegg til min klan. En dag.”
I didn’t know what he said, and he spoke the words so quickly that I didn’t have a chance to memorize them.
“Hei sann, Alaina,” a familiar, female voice said.
Almost instantly, I felt at peace. Sort of like when tall, dark, and handsome Kaius was near. Why was that? I looked up into a smiling face framed by miles of long, dark hair.
“Hi, Kamille.” The words came out sounding choked and strained.
“We were all wondering where you’d gotten to. Kaius said you were going to the library.” Her eyes flitted over to where the most dreadfully frightening guy I’d ever encountered was still sitting.
How did Kaius and Kamille both—maybe the entire group; I hadn’t had a chance to sit down with them one-on-one—take the dull ache from my heart and replace it with absolute serenity? And how had she cleared the room of the darkness just now? Had I imagined it all?
“Alaina, would you please come with me to the cafeteria so I do not have to sit alone?”
She didn’t need to ask me twice. “Sure.” On the off chance that I’d made it all up, I turned to Creepy-guy and lied, right to his face. “Nice meeting you.”
Leaving the two books I’d taken down from the shelves where they were—open on the table—I grabbed my stuff and fled the library with Kamille. Maybe it would have been better if I’d just gone to lunch with Kaius and the rest of them in the first place. At least none of them gave me the creeps.