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Authors: Heather Bowhay

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Dentelle

BOOK: Dentelle
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DENTELLE

 
 

By Heather Bowhay

Copyright 2013 by Heather Bowhay

All Rights Reserved

 

 
 

Disclaimer

This is
a work of fiction. The events described are imaginary, and all the characters portrayed
in this book are fictitious and not intended to represent any specific persons,
living or dead. At times, certain settings may be referred to by their true
names, but the incidents portrayed or taking place there are entirely products
of the author’s imagination. At no time should the reader infer that any of the
events in this book ever occurred.

 

~To all the readers,
especially those of you who have taken time to leave a rating, write a review,
or contact me on my blog. I love hearing from you!

 

~And to my dad, I miss you! I
will always remember your advice, “Two hands for beginners.”

 

~H.L.B.~

DENTELLE

By Heather Bowhay

 
 
 
 

Copyright 2013 by Heather
Bowhay

CHAPTER 1
– UNWAKEABLE

Acadia National Park,
Maine

 

Darn blood-suckers swarmed in and launched an
all-out attack. Squirming in my sleeping bag, I shook my head wildly side to side
and swatted the air around my face. But the damage had already been done.
Perceiving me as a human buffet table, the mosquitoes had feasted unmercifully
while I’d slept. What a frightening sight I’d be by morning light – all
red-splotched with a face flared up like an acne mine field. So much for bug
spray. After swiping the last of the nasty little buggers away, I grabbed the
edge of my sleeping bag and pulled it up to my chin. The sky, an inky-black
canvas for a million stars and a few scattered clouds, stretched endlessly. But
it was the bright, waning three-quarters moon that captured my attention. I
cursed under my breath.

The moon.

Oh yes, the moon. My evil nemesis. Worse than a
pack of blood-sucking skeeters any day. And here it was shining down on me,
like a friend from the heavens above. But I knew better. Really, it was
taunting me. Breathing deeply, I kept my emotions in check. Only a
full
moon inflamed my darkest wrath.
For Guardians, a full moon meant broken links and a day of freedom, but for Ash
and I it meant nothing of the sort. Instead, it was a reminder of our
indestructible bond. I don’t think the word
linked
even defined our connection;
chained
would have been more accurate.

Six months of full moons and our link had not
broken once. Why? Well, I didn’t know and neither did anyone else. There were
no explanations, because I wasn’t a Guardian; I was a Dentelle – the only
Dentelle. And apparently, I was writing history with every day I lived. We’d
kept our secret for the first month and then decided it was too big and came
with too many unknowns. In need of extra support, we’d told everyone in the
Bellingham Circle. An astonished Mr. Walker had deliberated on the best course
of action, but in the end he’d felt strongly the Senior Council be informed. By
now, everyone in the Network probably knew there was a Dentelle in Bellingham.
Poor Ash; he’d had the misfortune of linking with me. Together – we were
trapped.

Agitated, I ground my teeth together and sought
out my favorite constellation, Cassiopeia – something more pleasant to focus
on. I knew a shooting star and a wish were probably too much to ask for. To
ease the kinks in my back, I stretched and wiggled sideways, thinking maybe the
mosquitoes weren’t the only reason I’d woken up. Could have been the jagged
rock digging into my spine or the cool sea gusts sweeping across my face. Or
maybe it was just the unfamiliarity of the waves slapping the rocky shoreline
below us. Whatever it was, it didn’t really matter now, because I was wide-awake.

Except…uh, oh! Something didn’t feel right.

Goose bumps prickled my arms as waves of
apprehension swept over me. The stillness encompassing our campsite seemed
unnatural. My gut was telling me it was too quiet, even for our “off the beaten
path” location. Michael, Jason’s older brother, certainly had connections.
Somehow, he’d gained permission for our group of ten to do a little backcountry
camping in a primitive area. We were a good half mile away from the 300
close-knit sites in Blackwoods Campground. Despite the light wind chill, I felt
stiflingly hot inside my sleeping bag. In fact, my damp thermal t-shirt and
yoga pants clung to my body as if sweat had pasted them to my skin.

The more I thought about it, the more I freaked
myself out. Was I ignoring a silent warning? Soon, fear had me believing I was.
I bolted into an upright position and looked around. I breathed a sigh of
relief when I saw Ash, Laci, and Max on one side of me all sleeping peacefully.
Well, all was peaceful until Ash rolled onto his back and started snoring like
Darth Vader, Cuuu...Pooo…Cuuu...Pooo.

I smiled to myself. Things seemed normal. My
imagination was probably working overtime. The only thing amiss in our
campground right then, or the universe, for that matter, was probably Ash’s
snoring. And our unbreakable link. For final reassurance, I turned the other
way to make sure the rest of my friends were accounted for. On my left, Madison
looked like a goddess even in sleep. Her thick mane of black hair flowed around
her flawless face and cascaded over her neon-pink sleeping bag. Briefly, I
wondered why the bugs weren’t swarming all over her. Knowing Madison, she
probably had some secret insect-repelling beauty product that cost a fortune.
Guardians were hardcore. They didn’t use tents or mats. Unfortunately, all this
Essence of mine hadn’t alleviated any of the aches and pains I’d acquired while
sleeping on rocky ground. I was seriously considering siding with Madison the
next time she fought for camping upgrades. Maybe I was a glamping-sort-of-girl
after all. Or maybe Dentelles by nature were that way.

Next to Madison was Jason’s sister, Hannah. Her
blonde hair was still braided, but wispy strands stuck out in all directions.
When my gaze fell upon Jason himself, my heartbeat quickened. Even while
sleeping, he stole my breath away. The moonlight radiated his short blonde hair
and strong angular jaw line. I sighed. Falling in love with him had not been
part of my plan. I’d even fought off the attraction and the feelings, but something
had kept me coming back for more. More of his rejections, I should say. No
woman should put up with that. I still couldn’t believe I had. I was more
empathetic now that I understood how love made people do stupid things. Besides
being ruggedly handsome, he was intelligent, well-read, and confident. I found
his zest for life and self-confidence insanely attractive. Fortunately, he’d
stopped fighting fate and admitted his feelings for me.

I believed he was my soulmate, and I believed
our love could last a lifetime, but the odds were stacked against us. First
off, Amethyst-Guardian relationships were not permissible under the Guardian
laws, so we were currently in violation there. Having broken Guardian code was
still something he struggled with every day, but he’d told me our love was
worth the risk and the fight. We even had our friends trapped in a web of
secrecy with us. It still sucked that he got burned every time he touched me –
not good from a romantic perspective. And now there was my link with Ash that
looked like it would last forever. Complications stemming from our
perpetual-link had only compounded over the last several months, and things
were about to get interesting as the Senior Council stepped in. A future with
Jason looked bleak.

A mosquito buzzed around my ear again, reminding
me of numerous bites, which were suddenly itching something fierce. I slapped
the rogue bug away and began scratching my neck and rubbing my cheeks. My brain
finally joined the party, and triggered an idea which had me launching a
full-blown Essence attack on myself. The relief was instant. I snorted at my
stupidity. Why hadn’t I thought of that in the first place?

I lifted my gaze from Jason to his brother,
Michael, and then on to Michael’s girlfriend and linked Guardian partner,
Sienna. They were in the same business program at Husson University here in
Maine. I frowned when my eyes fell upon the last sleeping bag, partly because
it was empty, and partly because it was in disarray. Izzy, along with Michael
and Sienna, was a member of the Bangor Circle of Guardians, but she was an
Amethyst. I wondered if nature had called and she’d hurried off into the woods.
I made a face – nothing more fun than searching for a tree in the dark,
squatting over some poison ivy, and hoping you didn’t roll into a ditch or
something. Guys had it so easy.

How odd, though; Izzy’s sleeping bag looked like
it had t-boned and then been dragged several feet. Why was her pillow still in
place next to Sienna? Rubbing my eyes, I considered going to find her. Without
even a cricket chirping, I still felt something was off about this soundless
June evening. Slowly, as if that would make it any quieter, I unzipped my
sleeping bag. But before I could stand up, I felt a pounding in the back of my
head. Snapshots! Not a good sign!

I closed my eyes and the swirling colors
shattered the recesses of my mind. Quickly, the fragmented colors pulled
together and formed images:

 

Two big, bulky figures, carrying Izzy through the woods and
up the mountain

A bound and gagged Izzy being thrown into a van

Izzy, tied to a chair, surrounded by a group of people

A guy with glowing amber eyes, reaching out to touch her…a
Ray-pac?

 

The images ended, the colors dispersed, and my
eyes shot open. My heart sped up, and as I jumped to my feet, I tried to make
sense of the premonition. It looked like Izzy had been kidnapped…and right
under a bunch of Guardian noses. Unreal! We couldn’t even protect one of our
own?

As I shook Ash and Madison, I knew this was not
a random abduction. Izzy was an Amethyst, and there had been a few other
Amethyst disappearances in recent months. These occurrences were causing great
concern throughout the entire Guardian Network. When I’d first encountered that
psycho maniac, Kieran, up by Nooksack Falls, he’d informed me that an Amethyst
Essence could not be stolen. Later, he’d made contradictory comments to Ash.
After Kieran’s obsessive third failed attempt to capture me, we suspected the
Ray-pacs had indeed found a way to strip an Amethyst of his or her Essence.

Ice chips coursed through my veins as I thought
of Kieran. He was still out there somewhere, and we had unfinished business.
Someday he and I would meet again, and it wasn’t going to be pretty when we
did. Diverting my attention back to the task at hand, I became frustrated. Why
weren’t Ash and Madison getting up?

“Wake up, you guys,” I yelled. “Izzy has been
kidnapped.” But it was weird. Neither Ash nor Madison reacted to violent
shaking. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they’d both been knocked out
cold. I stretched over Ash and tugged at Laci and Max, but they were
unresponsive, as well. “What the heck?” I muttered, slamming my fist into the
ground.

Taking a different approach, I focused on Ash. Moving
directly above him, I seized his arms, pulled him into a sitting position, and
spoke telepathically to him,
“Ash. Wake
up!”
I screamed in his head. I’d learned quickly that yelling
telepathically was just like yelling out loud – it could easily blast out the
eardrums. Totally bizarre, but that’s how it worked. “
Wake up, now! Izzy has been kidnapped.”

Finally, Ash stirred.
“What? Just slow down and stop screaming in my head, woman. I can’t
understand a thing you’re saying.”

“You need
to get up. Now!”
I said with renewed urgency.

He sat up, grabbed my shoulders, and gave me a
cheesy grin.
“Why are you sitting on me,
Lexi? Don’t get me wrong, I mean it’s not a bad thing to wake up and find a
crazed woman in your lap, but with all the screaming and your boyfriend right
next to us don’t you think…”

“Ash, just shut up and listen,” I said aloud,
while dragging him to his feet. He immediately sobered up once I’d told him
about the snapshots. Together, we tried to wake up the others but without
success.

“This is so creepy. What is going on? It’s like
they’re in some sort of cataleptic state,” I said indignantly and shook Madison
roughly. I even slapped her face a couple times. In the past I might have
gained some satisfaction from that, but not anymore. Actually, I felt sorry for
her. I think she really had been in love with Jason, and then I came along and
stole him away. If someone took him away from me, I’d be devastated. I’d hate
that person with a vengeance, too.

Wrestling a lifeless Max out of his sleeping
bag, Ash shrugged and said, “I don’t know. But we don’t have time for this.
Send Madison a blast of your Essence; see if that works.”

“I tried that already. It’s like she’s under
some kind of spell.” Standing up, I hurried over and knelt down beside him and
Max.

Ash grabbed my arm and looked at me, his eyes
gleaming in the night. “That’s it.”

“What’s it?”

“If Ray-pacs are involved, then I’d guess one of
them has a Flair that puts people in a deep sleep or something.”

“Seriously?” I gnawed on my lower lip. “Well,
then why didn’t it work on us?”

Ash grabbed my chin. “I don’t know, Lexi. With
us, things are always…you know, different. Listen though, I have an idea – your
Essence blasts aren’t working, but if I put Max’s hand on yours,” he smiled
mischievously, “we’ll find out quick enough if that good old Amethyst burn will
wake him up.”

My eyes widened. “Brilliant. Ash, you’re
brilliant.”

“I know; I know. I’m just a regular old…”

“Oh, shut up!” I interrupted. “No time for
inflated egos. Let’s give this a try.”

“Yep. I’m a narcissist and proud of it,” he
muttered, and I swear he winked, too. I couldn’t help but stifle a grin. Even
though his ginormous attitude could provoke random acts of violence, he always
managed to get us through the seemingly impossible situations.

The plan worked, and it worked rather well.
Max’s arms and legs shot out like he’d just been electrocuted, and then he shot
to his feet. Even though he knocked us over and emitted several choice words
along the way, I was ecstatic to see him conscious. In the face of danger, we
all turned to Max for guidance. He exuded confidence and maintained a clear,
focused mind. I was always happy to have him on my side.

In next to no time, we had the whole group awake
and up to speed on Izzy’s disappearance. Before we could even formulate a plan,
Sienna had a premonition, and we knew Izzy and the Ray-pacs were nearing the
top of Cadillac Mountain – about three miles away. We determined our best shot
was to reach them before they descended the other side and made it to the
parking lot. Once they forced Izzy into a van and took off, it would be harder
for us to track her. The one thing we had going for us was that the Ray-pacs
couldn’t handle Izzy without getting burned. That meant they had a few
middle-men, ordinary criminals, all of whom even I could best in a fight.

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