by Sonya Weiss
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Publication Date: December 22nd 2015
Their love is a ticking time bomb.
Juliet Sawyer was born to save the world. Gifted with incredible powers, she’s the only one standing in the way of The Great Extinction, the prophesied battle between Supernaturals and humans. In order to keep her sister safe and avenge her father’s murder, she’ll have to infiltrate the ranks of the Supernatural leaders who wish to destroy her. But the one thing she didn’t count on was falling in love…with someone who wants her dead.
The gorgeous and dangerous son of one of the Supernatural leaders, Riley West is in charge of training the group for war—now including Juliet, whose father is responsible for killing his family. But the more they train together, the more intensely their passion for each other burns. The deeper Riley is drawn in by Juliet’s beauty, the closer he gets to the secrets she keeps: one that will challenge everything he believes in—and one that could lead to her death. Together, can their forbidden love help stop the war? Or will one of them be forced to make the ultimate sacrifice?
Earth, in the year 2034.
If they knew, I was as good as dead. The thought jerked me awake. Heart pounding, I glanced around the room to see if my classmates were watching me.
They weren’t, but the one who was watching me made my stomach clench with unease.
Riley West, head of the Probation Officers. I’d known him for years.
But only from a safe distance.
He wore his wild black hair a little longer than the human boys in the class and had a strange symbol with burned edges on his biceps. He was the hottest Supernatural I’d ever seen in my life. Unlike me, he easily fit into the human world. His looks and his I-don’t-give-a-damn attitude made him a popular source of gossip in the girls’ bathroom.
He was the leaders’ number one guy, a major rule-keeping badass because he was the son of Dacce, our king. By Supernatural law, he would assume the throne on his eighteenth birthday.
The fact that Riley watched me intently could only mean bad news. Had the leaders discovered that I was the one who’d rescued and hidden some of the newly outlawed mixed-blood children? Or that I was the one giving information to the humans’ FBI organization?
I hoped not, but it was this fear that had woken me. My mouth went dry. I wasn’t worried about myself if I got caught. I was worried about what would happen to the children. Who would save them?
Shifting in my seat, I tried to get comfortable, but it was impossible. My back still hurt from the welts I’d received a week ago. My heart squeezed so painfully I thought it was about to break in half. The images of that day were frozen in my mind, and I still felt trapped in the horror of it all. The pleas…the screams…the futility as I’d tried to save the children
from the edict designed to kill them. I still cried myself to sleep every night over the ones I hadn’t been able to save. I had to fight to keep tears at bay now as I thought about it.
I started doodling madly to take my mind off the unknown reason why Riley was looking at me.
The teacher began to read excerpts from Romeo and Juliet in such an awful way that he slaughtered Shakespeare’s greatest work. I tuned him out and kept doodling and worrying.
“Juliet Sawyer! Pay attention.”
I stopped scribbling as Mr. Sands squeezed his excess ass—clad in too tight plaid red and yellow polyester pants that gave him a perpetual wedgie—through the row of desks to snatch my notebook and close it. He put it face down on my desk and stared at me.
“I asked who wanted to read the parts of Romeo and Juliet.” His eyes were feverishly bright. Almost maniacal.
Not me. No way. I couldn’t bear standing up in front of groups of people. It made my palms sweat and my heart race. I ducked my head, my hair swinging down to hide my face, hoping the teacher would take pity on me and go away. He didn’t.
“Yes, Juliet Sawyer will read the part of Juliet. Now, who for her Romeo?” Mr. Sands looked around the room.
I darted a glance at Riley West to see if he was still watching me. Big mistake.
Mr. Sands saw the direction of my gaze and announced, “Riley West will read the part of Romeo.”
I jerked my gaze to the teacher, then back to Riley. How freaking ironic was that?
Even if falling in love wasn’t against the rules, with Riley West as Romeo, I’d be just as lucky as that Shakespearean heroine. Death would be my end credit, too.
“Juliet and her Romeo? If you’ll make your way to the front?”
My cheeks warmed and I wanted to slide beneath the desk as the snickers of my classmates dotted the room. Behind the ugly glasses my father had made to camouflage my secret, I closed my eyes, needing inner calm, seeking to stay in control of my power.
The way I’d been taught by my parents. Deep breath.
Hold it in. One, two, three. Exhale.
I gripped my pen hard enough to bend it and got an ink blotch on the palm of my hand. Opening my eyes, I tried to discreetly wipe the mess down the side of my jeans. While my peers kept laughing, Mr. Sands motioned us forward, waving his hand as if conducting an orchestra.
I bit down hard on my lip and tried to block the sound. Even though I had a greater purpose than wanting to fit in among the humans or the Supernaturals, being an outcast hurt.
“Romeo and Juliet, if you’ll please come up to the front now?” The teacher tapped a copy of the book against his palm.
I remained seated, watching as Riley, my enemy as much as if we were truly a Capulet and a Montague, made his way to the front. I hated any kind of public speaking. Please don’t let me make a fool of myself. I gave myself a mental kick. Pull it together, Juliet. I stood and moved to the front of the room. I would fake confidence well enough to do this. Everything was under control.
Then I looked into Riley’s eyes.
They were an almost translucent blue, and peering into them made me feel as if the floor shifted. Hostility swam in their depths. Fear and anticipation waltzed together inside of me. I’d heard the rumors about him. He was without a heart. Without a conscience.
When I kept staring, Riley raised a questioning eyebrow. I quickly took another dog-eared copy of the book from the teacher, licked my lips, and read aloud, “Deny thy father and refuse thy name.”
“You haven’t been paying attention,” Mr. Sands snapped and pointed to another portion.
Embarrassed, I searched for the part. Riley stopped my frantic page flipping and trailed his finger down the page. “Here.”
I cleared my throat and started again. “Romeo, doff thy name, and for thy name, which is no part of thee, take all myself.”
A boy in the front row made a rude comment, and Riley glared at him.
When the room was quiet, Riley read, “I take thee at thy word. Call me but love, and I’ll be new baptis’d: Henceforth I never will be Romeo.”
Mr. Sands approached us to show us what part to read next, and when he did, I got a weird feeling about him like I was in danger. Something in the teacher’s eyes reminded me of a Ragespawn’s eyes, an ancient enemy of ours, the Tazavorn species. I dismissed the thought as quickly as it came. That had to be impossible. Ragespawn lived only in our galaxy, not the human one. Surely the human authorities would not have granted asylum on Earth to our most vicious enemy.
Riley edged closer to the teacher, putting himself between Mr. Sands and me. “Back off,” he said in a low, commanding voice.
The two locked eyes and Mr. Sand muttered, “Get out of my way.”
A pulsating power as swift and deadly as a laser flew from the center of Riley’s palm. The power zipped past the teacher to a speaker high on the wall.
A low creak sounded above Mr. Sands’s head, and he quickly turned. The mounted speaker flew from the wall and knocked the teacher’s copy of Romeo and Juliet from his hand, pinning it to the floor in a tangle of wires and a cloud of dust. Most of the dust settled on top of his scrub brush hair while some of it coated the white cement walls.
Silence reigned except for the ticking of the clock.
Mr. Sands’s hands shook slightly, and he frowned, first at the yawning hole in the cement and then at me. Suspiciously. Like I’d caused the accident to happen. He took a step closer and pointed a finger at me, clenching and unclenching his jaw as he searched for what to say. Then he grabbed my arm tightly, his fingers biting into my flesh. I winced from the bruising grasp.
“Don’t touch her.” Riley used his shoulder to bump Mr. Sands and released another jolt of his power at the same time, forcing the teacher to take a quick step backward.
My heart stuttered. While the humans knew we had power, they weren’t supposed to see it. Our leaders had sworn to the human authorities that we would not use our power against them. Another lie waiting to blow up in the humans’ faces. The truth was the leaders didn’t want the humans to witness our power. They were afraid it would be photographed and uploaded onto social media sites where the human authorities would analyze it and devise a way to conquer us when the war came.
“Juliet Sawyer!” Mr. Sands pulled the book from beneath the speaker with a grunt and dusted the cover off. He grabbed my arm again more painfully than before. “You’re coming with me to the principal’s office.” It would be easier if I went along with Mr. Sands for now. That way,
if I had to use my power to defend myself, no human bystanders would be hurt.
“I’ll kill you,” Mr. Sands said, speaking low so that only Riley and I could hear him. His nasty breath wafted across my face.
Before I could react to the threat, Riley released a stronger jolt of power, and it wrapped around Mr. Sands.
His face paled, and his right arm flailed for the old metal desk, waving madly like it wasn’t part of his body. His torso did a crazy twist and arch.
He aimed again for a corner of the desk, missed, and sprawled out on the floor, his eyes stuck open and staring, mouth gaping and popping. The sound of wheezing filled the air. His face turned ashen.
One of the popular girls screamed, and her boyfriend jumped up to grab her in a hug, squashing her face against his letterman jacket.
“Oh, man, he’s dead,” Ethan Silver said, looking like he wanted to puke. He got up and ran to the door, then out into the hallway. His shoes squeaked like noisy exclamation points as he yelled for help in a high, girly voice.
The rest of us were statues, staring at the silent form of our teacher lying belly up like a gigantic dislodged mushroom top.
“Is he really dead?” another of the popular girls asked. She huddled into a group of her friends.
I hoped Mr. Sands wasn’t dead. Death was twisted. Ugly. Death fractured a family. With missing pieces, fractions can never be made whole. I could still see the anguished face of my father, hear his final instructions as he’d gripped my arm before Death pulled him away. I clenched my teeth against the remembered hurt. My world had fallen apart. I’d walked around in shock for days, trying to handle my own pain, and yet, still be strong for Mom and my sister. Time hadn’t dulled the pain. My insides were as shredded as if I’d swallowed a porcupine, and every breath I took stabbed me from within.
“Mr. Sands isn’t dead yet.” Riley’s voice was low and impatient.
I tried to go to the teacher to see if I could help him, but Riley stopped me by grabbing my arm. Through the thickness of my sweater and shirt, the contact burned like a hot match to skin, and I didn’t like the sensation. “Is he going to die?” I asked. I brushed Riley’s touch away. Unable to pull my attention away from the disturbing scene, I could only stare as the
knots in my stomach tightened. “Yes.”
“Why did you do that to him?” I whispered. “He was going to kill you.”
I raised my eyes to his. “Kill me?” If that were true, Riley, my enemy, had prevented it? Confused, I said, “Why would he want to kill me?”
“I’ll explain when I come to your house later.”
My house? Why would he come to my house? This wasn’t good. I frowned as I tried to make sure I kept what I was feeling—ice-cold fear— from showing on my face. Probation Officers rarely visited the home of common Supernaturals. What was going on?
“Why do you want to come over?” I asked without thinking, not using the humbleness a Supernatural of Riley’s station called for in our world.
“Do you have something to hide?” he asked, his gaze searching my face intently. His eyes narrowed.
I was right. It was bad news. My throat ached as if I’d swallowed razor blades. I looked away, hoping to convince him. “I was curious.” I softened my tone and then held my breath, waiting for his answer, but he didn’t get a chance to respond.
Hot on the heels of Ethan, Principal Ellie Richards ran into the room. She was as thin as a praying mantis with tiny eyes that seemed to see in every direction at once. She wore her usual pencil skirt to cover her pipe cleaner legs.
Several teachers followed in her wake. They knelt down beside Mr.
Sands, their voices buzzing together, bees in the educational hive. “Call 911.”
“Ambulance should be…” “Don’t try to move him.”
The principal checked Mr. Sands’s pulse, then stood and looked at the clock, then back at all of us. Twenty minutes remained until the final bell. Her chin bobbed when she said, “You’re all dismissed.”
Oblivious to the rumors flowing among our classmates, Riley walked toward the door of the classroom. When he neared the principal, she grabbed his arm with her abnormally long, thin fingers and spoke to him in a low, angry hiss. Her knuckles turned white, and the scraggly muscles bunched in her forearm.
Riley answered in an equally low voice, then jerked free from her grasp. She stared at the door to the hallway for a long moment after he disappeared and then swung her gaze to me.
Something reptilian flashed in her pencil thin black pupils. A hunger.
She blinked and her pupils returned to normal.
I stumbled backward a step, not understanding what I’d seen, and accidentally dropped my history book. The thick book slid across the floor, zooming in front of three seats to land at her feet. She bent and picked it up, holding on when I tried to take it from her.
“Watch out, Juliet.” Her voice, a slithering whisper, made my stomach clench. I knew she wasn’t talking about the book.
About the Author
Sonya Weiss is a freelance writer, ghostwriter and author. She’s addicted to great books, good movies, and Italian chocolates.
She’s passionate about causes that support abused animals and children. Her parents always supported her bringing stray animals home although the Great Dane rescue was a surprise.