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The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn, not just by King Gideon, but also by the rebels that were once Sunny’s allies. Due to unexpected trips to the ice realm and the fire realm, new allies are found to help build the Army of the Sun. There are new worlds explored. New friends and new enemies made. Ready or not, Sunny must prepare for what is coming as well as decide where she belongs within it all. But…what about prom? What about Leif? What about home? How can she, just a seventeen year old girl, rule a whole world? She’s not even sure if she can get through finals.
Leif turned his attention briefly to Lucas, who had stayed silent up to that point. “I see you have moved on. Rather quick don’t you think?” he said.
I refused to answer his taunt. Instead, I said to Lucas, “You about ready?”
A red flush of color appeared across Leif’s normally pale cheeks. I didn’t care. I was not going to be baited or made to feel bad for being out with Lucas. Was it a date? It hadn’t been specifically declared that, but it was something more than just an outing too. Maybe I was moving on, but that was my business. Not Leif’s.
“Yep. I’m ready,” Lucas said, then shoved the last bite of burger into his mouth and stood to clear the table.
I did the same, and gathered up my trash and belongings.
Leif suddenly and inexplicably became enraged. Either he was more upset about Lucas than I had realized or he really was going a bit on the loopy side. He grabbed my arm painfully and said, “We aren’t through here.”
“Stop it! You’re hurting me,” I said through gritted teeth. I didn’t want to cause a scene in the middle of the mall. People were already staring.
That was all the action Lucas needed to get involved. He slammed one big hand down on Leif’s shoulder and said as calm as could be, “I think you should release her.”
Leif did let go, which should have made me wary as he wasn’t the give up easy type, but I was too busy rubbing circulation back into my arm to think about it.
Leif spun around to face Lucas. “You can mind your own business. This is between her and me.”
“You made it my business when you laid a hand on her,” Lucas said, not backing down an inch.
Side by side the two were colored very alike, but that was where the similarities ended. Leif had ice blue eyes and Lucas had warm blue, inviting eyes. Leif was tall, thin, but wiry strong. Lucas was tall and bulky with evident muscles and strength.
“You don’t know what you are dealing with here,” Leif said and took a step closer to Lucas. It was like he was daring him to engage.
Lucas though, appeared calm and easy, no hint of aggression. “Yes. Actually I do.”
I began to realize that Leif didn’t recognize Lucas. He really didn’t know who he was. Leif didn’t have any special gifts other than begin a shadow walker tracker. Why then was he being so aggressive?
A wave of confusion crossed over Leif’s features for a moment. He stepped back and regarded Lucas. “You a walker?”
“Among other things. What’s it to you?”
Leif again grabbed my arm, not quite as hard that time, but hard enough to make me wince, and pulled me forward to stand almost next to him. “Then you know what she is,” he said.
I was getting a bit annoyed at being talked about like I wasn’t standing there. I was also getting angry at being manhandled by Leif. Incidentally, the anger is what caused me to pull in a bit of the energy from around us. I only grabbed a small ball of it, but it was enough to concern me. Whether in small or large amounts, energy was just as hard to control.
“Yes, I do,” Lucas said.
Leif leaned toward Lucas until he was just a few inches away from his face, glared hard with half squinted eyes, and said, “They you also know she’s mine. I found her. You don’t get to have her.”
That was it. I didn’t care about the pain it was going to cause me. I purposefully and intentionally, pushed out a zap of energy at Leif, where he held my arm. Not enough to really hurt him, but it was enough to have him jerk his hand off me in surprise and a bit of pain. Rage clouded his eyes for a moment as he directed his gaze on me.
I rounded on him with the full force of my own rage and completely ignored his. “You!” I said and poked a finger into his chest. “Don’t get to own me! No one gets to own me.”
He took a step back. I stepped forward and poked him again. “I get to decide who I want to be with and who gets to be with me.” Again he took a step back, and me a step forward, and I poked him hard in the chest, hard enough to make my finger twinge in pain at the abuse, but I ignored it. “I get to decide. Do you hear me, Leif?”
“Sunny,” Lucas said from behind me. “You have an audience.”
Without taking my eyes from Leif, I swung an arm behind me with my hand up at him, hoping that I conveyed with that one action, to shut up.
I did lower my voice at least. “You had your chance with me, but you chose to lie, to cheat, to keep me in the dark and at your mercy. You don’t get to decide anything about me anymore.”
I turned away from him and stepped back to my table, where I again began to gather up the debris from lunch. “Go home, Leif. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”
“Yes, there is,” he said softly from directly behind me. I hadn’t heard him come up next to me. Then even softer he said, “This isn’t over between us, Sunny. I’m not giving up.”
I glanced over my shoulder at him. The man before me was the Leif I knew. The Leif I had fallen in love with. The ice was missing from his face and his eyes and my heart felt the pain of losing him all over again. Why did it still hurt to see him, to be next to him? “Leif,” I whispered. “Go home. Please.”
Without regard to the people around us, he phased into the shadows and was gone.
“Yeah, Lucas,” I said as I stared at the place that Leif had vanished. I was suddenly so tired.
“Yeah. I’ll live.”
“Um…do you know that you have a slight glow of white around you?”
No. I didn’t know that. I closed my eyes and sighed. “Great.”