Author: C. M. Zimmer
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 2
An unexpected twist in Kattlynn Matthews’ life begins on the first day of her senior year at Crystal Creek Academy. It begins with a bang. Literally.
Ever since Kat's mom died suddenly four years ago, she has dreamed of the tall, dark and handsome hottie nearly every night. He is everything she could ever hope for in a guy. A soulmate for life.
Chris Karson is a Guardian and the time as come for hm to take his responsibilities outside of the dream realm and enlighten Kathryn on who and what she is.
Usually, Kenedi and I took turns driving to school, but this morning, on our first day of senior year, she wanted to drive her new car to school as well. Her parents bought her a shiny, pearl white convertible for her eighteenth birthday. She was exactly two months older than me, to the day. We agreed last night to meet up in the parking lot and walk in together.
I was cruising along the back roads, enjoying my fifteen minutes of peace and serenity, taking in the enchanting fall morning. The crisp, cool breeze gently fluttered through the leaves on the trees. The sun was peaking over the horizon, leaving a panoramic view of colors in its wake. Michigan, by far, was amazing for fall color tours. We were engulfed by a brushwork of colors tinting the countryside and outlining the mountains, and lakes. Breathtaking views around every corner.
While engrossed in the scenery, jamming to the mix of music on my iPod, which connected through my stereo system, and currently was playing Lifehouse, it took me a moment to realize that a black Dodge Charger had just pulled up next to me at the light. Definitely, a nice car with a deep throaty rumble, but it was Mopar muscle. Not a big Mopar fan.
The windows were up and there was a dark opaque tint making it impenetrable to see inside, and more importantly, who was driving. I could only imagine what hotness possibly lurked behind the wheel. It was certainly the type of car a guy would drive, but hey, you never knew these days. I mean, if I had my choice, I would be driving the 1968 Pontiac Firebird sitting in the garage at the lake house. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed…yet. It was my dad's baby. He drove her occasionally and only in the summertime. He spent two years restoring the whole vehicle and damn, if it wasn't the most beautiful car.
The light changed and I would've expected the Charger to take off like racing at the track, but the car remained. It felt as if whoever was in there remained eye locked with me, and I felt a strange sensation at the back of my neck like little pin pricks screaming all at once then channeling down my body. Instantly, a warmth stirred through me, one I've never felt before. I heard a distant voice slightly mumbled as if it might really be a whisper of disbelief—out of nowhere.
The whisper was definitely male. Sultry, hot, and almost familiar.
I looked around me and wondered what the hell was going on. Lifehouse was playing one of my favorite songs, "All In." Also, there were no other cars other than the Charger. No people within the vicinity of our two cars, let alone the fact the voice sounded very familiar to me, but I just couldn't place it. "Great," I mumbled to myself. Now, I'm freaking hearing things. Hitting the gas pedal a little harder than I intended, I would have left a little rubber on the pavement if I'd been driving the Firebird, but I was feeling ridiculous for staring a little too long at the darkened window in the Charger, all the while hearing some voice in my head about, "Hot chick, staring and Cruze." But even more strange was…I could've sworn I heard my name too. It left me wondering what this meant. And why the hell did the voice sound so familiar?
I thought about the voice the rest of the drive. Then I pulled into the student parking lot. I headed toward the back of the lot where Kenedi and I talked about meeting last night on the phone. "Hey, Barbie," I yelled out at her as I parked next to her car. I'd acquired a habit of teasing her about looking just like the dolls we played with growing up. It never seemed to bother her then, so I continued with the mockery as we grew up.
Today, she resembled Cheerleader Barbie. Being the captain of the squad for our academy, Kenedi required all the girls on the team to wear their uniforms on the first day of class to jumpstart the team spirit around the student body. "Interesting choice today, Kattlynn." Kenedi smirked. "Love what you got going on there with…well, all of that." She wiggled her finger in a circle at me. "Today is the day to check out the new arrivals, hint, hint, and you look like a gothed-out groupie following a boy band around."
"Ah, love you too, bestie. I'm not 'gothed-out' as you would say; I just happen to think I rock with my black jeans, black boots and this tight fitting white shirt that accentuates my girls, all the while supporting our school colors," I retorted, smiling as my hands motioned toward my breasts for added effect.
We laughed as we walked toward the front of the simple, but elegant two-story brick building with decorative corner escutcheons and diamond shaped tiles adorning the entrance. Crystal Creek Academy was home to only juniors and seniors of the town. Thankfully, our school was easy to navigate, even for the new students, due to the easy layout of the building. I remembered visiting nearby schools during archery tournaments. There were so many halls and rooms to navigate through I would probably receive a tardy every day trying to find my way to classes.
I recognized many faces from our previous year at our esteemed school. Crystal Creek Academy housed some of the most athletic, well-rounded students. Many of our star football players were drafted to major colleges as well as other sports programs.
Kenedi stopped and chatted with a couple of girls from the cheer squad about upcoming practice. Then we continued on our way to homeroom class, running into our other best friend.
"Hey there, it's my two favorite ladies and BFF's, looking good as usual." Emerson, quarterback of the football team and our best guy friend, jumped out in front of us, quickly turning around with an arm around each of our shoulders. "Remember…annual back to school party at my house Friday night after the game. Don't forget to bring the bikinis…or not." His face lit up with amusement as he joked with us.
Emerson was a crazy good guy and a catch for whichever lucky girl was the flavor of the week. With a little arrogance and a whole lot of body to back it up, he was your typical high school jock standing just over six feet tall with a mass of blond hair he styled every day with gel for a spikey look to go with his dark sultry skin. He worked out daily at the school weight room, and of course there was the chiseled body that didn't leave much to the imagination. Add a great personality to the package, and you have Emerson Campbell.
Emerson and I started pre-school together when we were four. His parents and my parents became friends almost immediately, when we moved a few houses down from them. We ended up being buddies right away, since we were the only kids in the cul-de-sac at the time. There were never any sparks between Emerson and me, but I always knew somebody would be very lucky to have him.
When Kenedi moved to town, the three of us became inseparable. Kenedi and Emerson went out once a few years ago. He took her bowling to Crystal Creek Lanes, the local bowling alley. At the time, they both said it was more like hanging out with your brother or sister. I always thought there was something more, but they both insisted it wasn't true. They were absolutely cute together. Maybe sometime in the future, they could try again.
"Yes, Emmie, we'll be there; you're our brother like no other!" Kenedi quipped as we both giggled. Growing up together gave us many opportunities to play, tease and harass each other, and we knew calling him Emmie would drive him crazy, especially in school. Nobody else would dare call him that. I don't imagine anybody ever thought to either.
"Girl, cooome on." He drew out the words in a high pitched whine. "Not at school. You promised that little 'pet name'," using air quotes with his fingers, "Would never be used in public, but of course, I could get into a few pet names I'm sure everyone would love to hear…if you really wanna go there, girls."
"Oh, for the love of Emerson, get over it." Kenedi wrapped her arm around mine and started to trot off. She then turned around and yelled, "See ya at lunch!"