Authors: Lanie Jordan
Tags: #romance, #paranormal romance, #paranormal, #young adult, #valentines day, #free read, #young adult romance, #paranormal young adult, #young adult paranormal romance, #young adult paranormal, #young adult free read, #valentines day free read
By Lanie Jordan
Copyright © 2011 Lanie Jordan
Cover Art Copyright © 2011 Lanie Jordan
Thank you for downloading this free ebook.
You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be
reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes,
provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you
enjoyed this book, please return to Smashwords.com to discover
other works by this author. Thank you for your support.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,
places, and incidents are either the product of the author's
imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity between actual
persons living and dead is purely coincidental. Any use of
locales, establishments, or events are used fictitiously.
I dedicate this story to anyone who’s ever
taken a risk for love,
and to those still waiting for their chance
To my Sashatasha (aka Sasha Devlin, my
I’ll DM with you a time/date for our Space
Time Continuum breakage.
Or our Time Space Continuum breakage. Ah,
what the heck; we’ll break both!
(Also, I still don’t see what’s wrong with a
nosy kiss. It was just curious.)
And, of course, to my special ladies in
MoChat (y’all know who you are).
May your Valentine’s Day be full of joy, hope
Valentine’s Day sucked.
Sure, I could be out with friends, but then
I’d have gotten The Look from the parental figures. The look that
clearly says “I’m disappointed in you, Amelia Jenkins” and is
generally worse than the words themselves. It’s the look I try to
avoid whenever possible.
So instead of being anywhere that was
I was peeping-tom’ing it by staring through
the window of the bowling alley—one of the teen hot spots in town.
One of the places where people gathered and
supposed to be in the air.
Why? Because apparently I had to hunt down a
demon—an Evol, or anti-Cupid—that was hell bent on stealing the
love from some unsuspecting guy.
“Amelia, honey,” my mom had began as she and
my father sat me down ‘to talk’ an hour ago. She sat next to him on
the couch. They exchanged one of those telling glances, and she
reached out, took hold of his hand. “We’ve got something to tell
you, and I don’t think you’re going to like it.”
Any conversation that started with me needing
to be in a sitting position or with the words ‘we’ve got something
to tell you’ was sure to be one I wasn’t going to like. I gaped at
them and leaned forward in my seat before jumping up. “Oh, God. Are
you getting a divorce? Are we becoming a statistic? I don’t want to
be a statistic.”
My father let out a startled laugh, erasing
the seriousness from his face for at least two full seconds. “No,
no.” He quickly waved his hands. “Nothing like that.”
I let out a deep breath and sat back down,
eyeing them warily. I wasn’t ready to relax just yet. The ‘nothing
like that’ left a lot of ground uncovered. For instance, they could
tell me I had been adopted or something. “Then what is it?” I
asked. I shouldn’t have. As soon as the words left my mouth, I knew
it’d been a mistake. It was one of those questions you had no
choice but ask, and then found yourself regretting because you
really, really didn’t want the answer once you had it.
And that’s when they’d told me the story.
Apparently the Carter women—the ones on mom’s side of the
family—were cursed. On their sixteenth Valentine’s Day, they were
charged with saving a man’s love. It seems one of my ancestors
broke a guys heart back in the sixteenth century, and he decided to
save the world from the Carter women’s love and their nefarious
Today, the gauntlet was passed to me and it
was my duty to stop the Evol from draining the love from men. An
Evol. The name was kind of funny if you asked me. One letter away
from being ‘evil’, and ‘love’ spelled backwards. Coincidence? I
It was a stupid curse. Save love or never
find it yourself. What the hell kind of deal was that, anyway? And
mom, who had supposedly conquered it already, wouldn’t tell me how
I was supposed to. When I pointed out that little fact, she just
shook her head and said, “Some things you have to figure out for
What the heck kind of parenting is that? I
was up against a demon! Or would be, if I believed in it—which I
Well, whatever. As soon as I got back at
midnight (which was my deadline for saving love—a little on the
Cinderella side, wasn’t it?), I was going to pretend this day had
Tomorrow, they would probably come out and
say something like, “It was all a dream. What you were experiencing
was a figment of your imagination,” and then tell me I was really
locked up in the mental ward of the hospital. As much as that idea
bothered me, it was sure as hell better than believing in
love-stealing-demons and curses.
Or maybe it was some twisted parenting method
I’d never heard of. Instead of reverse psychology, it was
like…reverse demonology. Or would be like that, if it made any
sense. I sighed and leaned my head against the window. I was
getting antsy. My own stupid jokes didn’t even make any sense to
me. That couldn’t be a good sign.
I was just about to turn away and move on to
the next target area on my non-list list when I spotted a group of
guys. Two had their backs to me so I didn’t see their faces, but
that didn’t really matter. The boys weren’t what had caught my
attention. No. It was the thing that was floating ten feet behind
My heart slammed against my chest, and I
wondered if it could get whiplash.
I had found the Evol/anti-Cupid thing.
You know what’s worse than admitting you’re
wrong? Admitting your parents were right. Demons were real and
everyone else in the building was oblivious to it.
It didn’t look at all like I’d expected—not
that I had any real expectations other than something disgusting
and slimy. Perhaps a little…bigger. Okay, I expected something
bigger. Weren’t demons supposed to be larger than life?
I stood where I was, planted to the spot like
I’d become part of the sidewalk. If demons were real, then the rest
of what my parents told me was probably true. Damnit! Now I had to
actually figure out a way to stop it.
Okay. All I needed to do, at least until I
figured that out, was get the Evol away from the group, right?
Right. I was debating just how to do that when the two boys that’d
had their backs to me turned around and I finally saw their
My jaw dropped with an audible pop and
probably would have hit the ground had it not been attached.
Closing my eyes, I let my head fall against the glass once more and
banged it twice, silently wondering how many puppies and kittens I
must have murdered in a past life to deserve such cruel and unusual
The Evol was moving in on its intended
victim, and for a second, I wasn’t all that sure I wanted to do
anything to stop it. Misery loved company, didn’t it?
That wasn’t the seriously distressing part,
though. No. Not only did I know its intended victim, but I
him. As in personally. As in his name was Aaron and he
was a creep.
And he just happened to be my
Didn’t it just figure that the love I had to
save was that of my cheating ex-boyfriend who really didn’t deserve
it? Paying for someone else’s mistakes was one thing—but this was
just downright unfair. I had to risk
My blood boiled.
He cheated on
heart and this was my thanks. Great. Perfect. Just another way this
Valentines Day would blow chunks. Another way Fate could kick me in
the teeth. What did he do to deserve my help? Save some of those
puppies and kittens I must’ve tried killing off?
The longer I looked at him, the more my heart
tore to pieces. Seeing him with that other girl—Inez, one of my
supposed friends—had felt like someone sending my heart through a
dulled paper shredder. I was still slowly trying to put the pieces
back together, but the final product would never look the same.
I wanted to walk away right then and wash my
hands of him. And I probably would have, if it hadn’t meant
forfeiting love for myself.
might’ve deserved that; I
didn’t—regardless of what one of my ancestors did.
I gritted my teeth. We hadn’t even been
broken up two weeks yet, for crying out loud. How was it anything
remotely close to fair that I had to be the one to help
when he clearly didn’t deserve it?
, I thought to myself. I would be
the bigger person. But there was no way I was doing it for him. I’d
already paid the price once by him cheating on me, and was
currently paying another for an ancestor’s mistake.
I glanced down at my watch and sighed. I had
just over two hours to save him, and I still didn’t know how. “When
the time is right, you’ll figure it out,” my mom had replied when I
asked how to do it. Why did people always tell you that? How was
that helpful? What if I went by the wrong sign and assumed the Evol
was gone and then
, my love was gone forever?
Or worse, what if there was never a sign or I
just plain missed it? I wasn’t exactly the most clued-in person
when it came to the universe.
If there’d been walls around me, I swear they
would have started to close in. My breaths were quicker and
quicker; my heart pounded in my chest harder and harder.
I was not going to mess this up. I was
not—oh, God, I was so screwed! Deep down I really didn’t want to
help him, so what if I missed something important? What if it was
one of those good-intentions/selfless-acts types of things? My
intentions might’ve been good (mostly), but they were far from
I ran my hands through my hair and gave a
quick tug. I could do this. I was the bigger person than Jerk
Aaron. Wasn’t I?
Slowly, I started for the door.
I could do
I chanted in my head. I got closer and closer. I couldn’t
even hear my own breathing now through the buzzing in my ears. I
was two feet from the door and then I passed it entirely. My feet
carried me halfway down the block before I called myself out on
being a coward and turned around.
When I reached the door this time, I
straightened my shoulders, prayed the sea of nausea in my stomach
would stay at bay, and went inside. The sounds hit me first. Clinks
and clanks of arcade games, thunderous roars of bowling balls
slamming into pins, laughs and whoops from the people. Over the
speakers, music blasted at a near-deafening volume. The scent of
nachos teased me. My fingers itched to pick up a ball, to send it
flying down the lane. I loved bowling. I just hadn’t done it in
weeks…because of him. Of Aaron. This was where we had our first
Where we were supposed to be having a date.
A sharp pang stabbed my heart and each thud
was like a hammer against my chest. How had things gotten so messed
up? Before we started dating—and even during—I used to think of him
as Heart Stopper; I’d see his smile and my heart would give one
and then poof, stop.
Now that we weren’t together, my heart still
had a tendency to stop whenever I saw him, but then it quickly
broke. Heart Breaker would be more accurate now, I thought
I barely made it another ten feet before his
gaze landed on me. The coils around my heart tightened until my
breath hitched. Our eyes met and I had to force myself not to look
away, though I wanted to do just that, or maybe run. Call this
whole Evol/anti-cupid thing off, say screw it to love, and go
Something like regret crossed his face but it
faded quickly. What did he regret? Cheating on me or getting
caught? Probably the latter, I guessed, and used the anger to push
down the hurt.
When he turned to his friends and said
something, then turned towards me, my hands automatically curled
into tight fists until I could feel the blood draining from them.
What I wouldn’t have loved more than to knock his lights out
Movement from out of the corner of my eye
caught my attention and ripped a groan from my throat. The Evol was
on the move. I glanced at it, and then back to Aaron.
The immediately problem was getting them away
from each other. Somehow, I didn’t think trying to persuade the
demon to follow me would work. That was assuming it could talk or
understand me, anyway. Those points weren’t that clear to me, and I
wasn’t sure I wanted to think about it all that much. So, that left
only one option: taking Aaron away from the Evol. Which would
probably involve talking to him.