The things I see aren’t for the faint of heart.
And I am no longer willing to ignore them. Not even when my family, and my best friend, tell me to keep quiet about what’s happening. They say people will think I’m crazy.
Maybe I am.
But the spirit haunting my professor’s house is definitely trying to tell me something, and I’m the only one who can see it.
The one person who can help me is my best friend’s brother. But I don’t know if I can trust him or his friends. Or if I can step outside the protective bubble I’ve built around myself.
At this point it’s a toss up: the ghosts will kill me or my panic attacks will.
Either way, I figure I’m going to die.
Even though I struggled, Damen had a firm grip on my backpack and wasn’t letting go. I was trying to ignore him, but I’d lost momentum and I slipped backward on the laminate floor. He continued to pull me toward him until my back rested against the hardness of his chest.
I could no longer ignore my predicament. “Damen, what are you doing? Let me go!”
Perhaps he was more like Titus than I’d thought, and he needed a dosage of the same deterrent.
He chuckled. “I’m holding you this way so you can’t escape. And, also, so you can’t attempt any underhanded tricks.”
“If you mean what I did to Titus, there was nothing underhanded about that,” I retorted. “It was self-defense.”
This was the worst. He knew—Titus had tattled on me. And he was angry.
“It was hilarious,” Damen said. His voice was a purr next to my ear—making it hard for me to focus. “And well deserved, I will admit. Titus can be overbearing. However, with you, I’d rather play it safe.”
Who was overbearing now?
“But there’s something else to discuss first.” His breath was warm against my ear.
I tried to ignore the shivers that shot down my spine as I focused on his words. “What?”
“How do you know Ms. Protean?” he asked. “Why would she need to talk to you?”
His questions caught me off guard, and I turned back to him in confusion. His face was both intense and worried.
“What does that have to do with anything?” I asked.
Damen sighed, releasing my backpack before turning me to face him. I hadn’t realized before now I had backed up to the end of the narrow aisle and was trapped between the edge of the bookshelf and his larger frame.
It should have been intimidating. Instead of being scared, I was only flustered. I couldn’t imagine why, because the only other person whoever made me feel this way was Finn…
Damen didn’t seem to notice my discomfort. “Ms. Protean,” he repeated. “What does she want with you?”
What was it to him, anyway? Did he loathe grandmotherly figures or something? But he seemed so concerned that I couldn’t get offended at the question. “She said she was going to help me. I was looking for some information.”
Damen gave me an appraising look. “Without me?”
Why did he have to seem so smug about this? It was as if he knew the effect he had on me. I opened my mouth to respond with something witty—which would probably have been embarrassing anyway—when the sounds of laughter drifted over from the next row.
The noise shattered the enchantment that had been cast over us, and my face burst with heat. There was no question as to how ridiculous we’d look to any passerby. The library was no place for games!
Damen’s gray eyes glinted mischievously—he must have had the same realization.
“Damen, let me go,” I hissed at him. But this only encouraged him, and he smiled, causing my heart to beat faster. “Someone is going to come down here and see us!”
“Really?” His grin grew wider. “So it’s all right if we don’t get caught, baby girl? Consider it noted.”
“No!” My mind screamed even though my words were a hiss. “You can’t play games with students. This is inappropriate. You are basically a professor.”
“Ah.” He ran his finger down my cheek. “But you aren’t my student.” His mouth dipped slightly. He tilted his head as his gaze continued to hold mine. “There’s just something about you.”
“Why are you so annoying?” I gritted out, trying to save face. Plus, was he kidding me with this? That sounded like a line from a cheesy romance novel. How many times had that worked for him in the past?
Finn’s stupid, horny brother. He could go flirt with someone else. No matter how much I wanted to lean into his touch, or melt under his scorching gaze—I wanted to poke him in the eyes that much more. What a quandary.
The sound of my name being called by a familiar voice saved Damen from getting hit where it hurt.
I tore my attention from Damen as I glanced in panic at the end of the aisle. This was the worst possible thing to happen. Finn could not know I was talking to his brother.
Finn called my name again, closer now. He was going to find us…
Damen, in the meantime, glanced over his shoulder—toward the direction of Finn’s voice. He frowned, muttering, “God, he still sounds like a douchebag. And not an ounce of courtesy, like he owns the place.” He didn’t seem all that concerned.
“Will you stop saying mean things?” I couldn’t stop the hysteria. “This is a disaster. Finn can’t find out I know you!”
“Why?” Damen’s eyes returned to me, flashing with something new. “Because you think he’d get angry?”
I didn’t think—I knew. And my heart raced at the thought.
There was a note of challenge in Damen’s voice, but there was something else too. It was almost as if he was hurt. It made me feel guilty on top of my fear. I had never wanted to hurt his feelings.
What was wrong with me?
I was just about to apologize, when he continued speaking—studying my face. “I’ll have you know my little brother doesn’t scare me.”
What did this mean? I was still trapped at the end of the aisle between him and the bookshelves. Finn could find us there at any second, and Damen didn’t seem to care. When that happened, Finn would not only know I had disregarded his wishes, but that I hadn’t listened to him about the other topic as well.
Every worst-case scenario flashed through my mind, and my breathing sped up.
“But he does scare you,” Damen said suddenly.
I blinked, his words crashing through my agonized thoughts. I was so fixated on Finn I had completely forgotten Damen was even there. Watching me.
He didn’t look very happy either—his face a mask of concern and fury. “Something stupid like this, and you’re afraid that you might anger him. What did he do to you?”
Oh no. No, no, no.
My eyes widened as I looked up at him. “I’m not scared,” I explained. “I’m just trying to prevent a confrontation. Can we leave, please? Before he finds us?”
Finn called out to me again. He had to be only seconds away from finding us.
I flinched. We had to move now.
“Liar.” Damen tore his gaze from mine and grabbed my hand. He seemed to have made up his mind. Stunned at his sudden action, I ended up just following along.
He pulled me after him, quickly approaching an opening between the bookcases to an adjacent doorway reserved for the library staff.
“I’ll help you,” he said, pulling me behind him. “But rest assured, we will be discussing this later. You deserve better than this.”
All books in the series:
Get the first 3 books and the novella Home as a box set!
Mu is the box set collection which combines books 1-3 as well as the novella Home in one handy box set. You can buy it here.
About the Author:
Lyla Oweds is a paranormal romance author who resides in the beautiful Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania. She grew up near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, and has a deep appreciation for the paranormal, hauntings, and Edgar Allan Poe. As such, she loves all things fantasy, mystery, crime, and horror.
She is the author of the Paranormal Reverse Harem series, The Grimm Cases and related novellas. She has also published the first book of Gloria Protean’s story, The Red Trilogy. You can find out more about her current and upcoming works at her website, http://lylaoweds.com.
When not reading, writing, or working as a web programmer, Lyla can be found doing adult-y things such as being a mom, decorating the house, and baking. She also frequently enjoys makeup videos, massages, wine, and coffee.
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Grimm Cases. One winner win paperback copies of Origins, Ghost, Blood, and Home (US Only).For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway