Authors: Erica Lee Cooke
Supernaturally Bound Series
by Erica Lee Cooke
Copyright © 2015 by ELC Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Photographer: Erica Lee Cooke
Other books by
Erica Lee Cooke
The Eyes of a Phantom Trilogy
#2 The Eyes to the Soul (coming soon)
Supernaturally Bound Series
#2: Unbound (coming soon)
A special thank you to my wonderful cousin, Bettina Cooke.
Without your incredible feedback, this book wouldn’t be what it is.
Table of Contents
Dread shoots through my entire being. My eyes are wide as they soak in the view before me. There is a single tree, formidable in every right. It dominates the scene with its enormous size. There is something almost wicked about the way its branches twist and reach for the sky, as if to pluck the full moon right out of its orbit. Unimaginable power ripples from it in waves.
A small noise draws my attention. A woman lies underneath the tree. Wait, there are two women. They wear cloaks pulled up over their faces, but their dainty hands and feminine stature give away their gender. One is standing while the other lies down. Familiarity tugs at my brain, but I cannot find the connection. There is no memory to connect this to. I have never met these women before. I would remember. Still, I cannot shake the feeling of recognition.
A booming shriek fills my ears, and I realize it comes from the woman lying on the ground. She is in pain. She yells again, louder this time. I press my eyes shut, unable to watch. Silence settles over me. When I open my eyes again, I am no longer at a distance from the tree. Instead, I am staring up at the woman. All of her features are blurred except for her smile. Her smile is warm and perfect. It comforts me.
The peaceful moment is eradicated as I am seized by the other woman. Terror grips me, once again. She carries me, but I do not know where to. I am being taken away from the woman with the warm smile. I feel alone.
“Miss King!” My eyes flew open at the sound of the familiar, shrill voice. Mrs. Conner’s eyes glared me down from the front of the classroom. “It would seem you lack the ability to remain awake during my class. Am I to assume that you find my lecturing rather dull?”
“Ummm...No?” I was sure this was a rhetorical question, but her eyes seemed to demand that I answer. Although I kept my gaze on Mrs. Conner, I could feel the other twenty pairs of eyes watching me.
“Then, I suggest that the next time you feel the need for a nap, you do it on your own time, not mine.” She scolded.
I nodded. A flush of embarrassment rose to my cheeks as I sank further down into my seat. I stared intently at my textbook as Mrs. Conner moved on with her lesson plan. However, my thoughts were far from WWII at the moment. The dream replayed in my head. It was the same one I’d been having ever since I could remember. I usually brushed it off, but this time it was so vivid.
The sound of the bell rang loudly, startling me out of my train of thought. Mrs. Conner rattled off our homework assignment which I rapidly jotted down. This was the last class on a Friday, so students were darting from the room as if it were on fire. The room emptied within seconds.
I maneuvered through the rowdy crowd attempting to reach my locker. I heard someone yell, “Bridget!” over the chaotic noise of the hallway. I knew who it was, immediately. There was only one person at this school with an Aussie accent. I twisted around to see Aiden Matthews dodging a few guys that were tossing a football back and forth as he made his way over to me. Aiden moved here from Australia last year. He and his brother bought the house next door to my foster home and we’d been best friends virtually ever since.
I leaned against my locker as I watched Aiden’s struggle. Aiden’s hair was dark brown, almost black with the mousse, messy style. My eyes lingered where his clothes clung to his muscles. I glanced away before he noticed my wondering eyes. He had a remarkable physique and I always had to catch myself from staring. Not that I had a crush on him or anything, but he was definitely attractive.
“Guess what?” His smile became mischievous.
"Monkeys captured Principal Heckler and are holding him ransom for one million bananas?" I replied as I placed my pinky to my lips, giving my best Dr. Evil impression.
“No, this is much better.” He laughed.
“Not possible.” I lifted a brow skeptically.
“Well, then I suppose you
want this extra ticket I have to go see Psycho Sally in two weeks.” He teased, holding up the supposed ticket.
My eyes grew wide. “No way! I thought this concert was sold out!”
“It is, but I know some people.” He smirked.
I rolled my eyes. “You mean your
knows some people.”
“All I’m hearing is that you don’t want to go.” He teased.
“No! I want to go. I’m sorry. I will never question your connections, again.” I smiled.
He seemed to accept this because he handed me the ticket. I squealed enthusiastically as Aiden watched on in amusement. Satisfied by my reaction, Aiden steered me outside. Wrapped up in our conversation about the concert, we nearly collided with Cassie as she halted in our path.
Cassie Fields was another friend of mine. Actually, she and Aiden were my only friends at this school. Cassie and I had been friends since I moved into my current foster home (the last of six) five years ago. She was the utter opposite of me. I had dark brown hair, pale skin, and light green eyes. She had blonde hair, tan skin, and brown eyes. She had always been taller than me, even in junior high. Now, she had the model look with her 5’8 height and her long legs. However, being only 5’5 gave me the freedom to wear heels, which always made Cassie jealous.
Cassie could easily be the most popular girl in school if she wanted, which she didn’t. She never had much interest in people our age. She preferred the older crowd. She was the cliché spoiled, rich girl. This made us appear to be an odd fit as friends since I was a foster kid, but in reality, it made us perfect. Bouncing around from foster home to foster home left me guarded with little interest in getting close with someone. Cassie was as superficial as they came. There was no chance she’d expect us to have a heart to heart, which left my boundaries safe.
“We’re still going to the bonfire tonight, right?” She asked me.
“Only if you promise not to ditch me, again.” I frowned.
"I won't. I promise," and even as she said it I didn't believe her. "I'll come by your house around nine. I’ll bring an outfit for you. I just bought a skirt that'll show off your amazing legs. Later, B." With that, she waltzed off.
“You know she’s full of crap, right?” Aiden commented once she was out of earshot.
“Wait, you mean to tell me that of the million times she’s ditched me at parties, this time
be different? Damn, I thought for sure she’d become a more considerate person overnight.” I said sarcastically.
Aiden rolled his eyes. “If you
she’s going to ditch you, then why are you going?”
My friendship with Aiden was different than the one I had with Cassie. He had a way of getting me to let down my guard, something no one had ever been able to do before. He was the first person I’d ever opened up to about my past. Well, most of it, anyway. It was terrifying and comforting at the same time.
“She’s remarkably convincing.” I shrugged. “You should come with us.”
“I can’t tonight.” Aiden told me. “My brother is making me go to his work thing. If I can sneak out early, I’ll meet you guys there, though.”
“Well, by then it’ll probably be only me. I’m sure Cassie will ditch me by midnight.” I predicted.
Aiden frowned. “I don’t like you being at a party all by yourself.”
“Technically, it’s impossible to be at a party by yourself.” I teased.
His frown deepened. “You know what I mean.”
I rolled my eyes at his overprotectiveness. “I’ll be fine. I always am.”
I knew he wanted to argue, but he remained silent as we continued down the sidewalk. Since we lived next door to each other, it had become our routine to walk home from school together.
“Crap, I forgot to pick up the camera. I’ll catch you later.” I told him.
I whirled around and dashed back to the school. Mrs. Walker was probably going to shoot me. I was supposed to meet her after school to get one of the school’s cameras for my photography project. The class was technically photography and yearbook, but she let me slide on the yearbook duties. What can I say? I was her favorite. I sauntered into the classroom as Mrs. Walker was gathering her things.
“I was almost out the door, Bridget.” She reprimanded without even glancing up. Apparently, being her favorite did not exclude me from the occasional scolding.
“I know. I’m sorry.” I hastily grabbed the camera off of the shelf.
“Don’t forget, your final project is due at the end of April.” She reminded me.
“I didn’t forget. I’m working on it this weekend.” I assured her.
I strolled home alone this time. The moment I stepped into the house, the distinct aroma of alcohol burned my nose. I knew what I would find even before I entered the living room. Judy, my foster “mom”, was passed out on the couch with the TV still on
. I gathered the crushed beer cans that lay scattered across the floor.
Amy, the youngest of the five foster children that lived here, skipped through the living room into the kitchen. I followed behind her, arms full of cans. Dumping them into the trash, I saw her digging in the refrigerator.
Foster Care Tip #1: The dynamic of a “good” foster home is one where the older children take care of the younger ones and the foster parents stay out of the way.
“Would you like me to make you a sandwich?” I asked her.
“Yes, please.” She answered with an excited bounce.
By nine o’clock, I had my hair straightened and my makeup on. I stood in my underwear as I waited for Cassie to bring me the promised outfit. While I was perfectly content wearing a pair of old jeans and a t-shirt, Cassie would not approve. Cassie always bought clothes for me when she went shopping. She enjoyed dressing me up like her own personal doll. It was easier to let her have her way than to argue with her. If there was one thing Cassie was not accustomed to hearing, it was the word no.
Checking my reflection in the mirror, I took a moment to examine my body. My long, dark hair fell close to the middle of my back and contrasted with my creamy, white skin. I had always been jealous of Cassie’s slight frame. Anytime I commented on it, though, she reminded me that my chest was much larger than hers. She looked more like a younger Gwyneth Paltrow and I looked more like a slightly paler Megan Fox. I started feeling dumb for comparing myself to Cassie. I usually didn't analyze my body this much, but I guess every teen girl gets angst over her appearance at one point or another. All in all, I was comfortable with myself, though.
I contemplated wearing my hair in a ponytail as I gathered it into my hands. I glanced in the mirror to my bedside table on top of which laid my hairband. As I turned, I caught a glimpse of movement under my bed out of the corner of my eye. I let my hair fall down as I darted toward the bed.
“Harley, if you crawled through my window again, I am going to-” I lifted my bed skirt, but there was nothing there. I had expected to see Mrs. Henderson’s cat. Instead, I only found a few dust bunnies. “Hmm…”
I must be seeing things.
I lifted myself back up as I tried to recall what I had been doing.
Oh, right. My hair.
I gathered my hair once again and turned to walk to my bedside table. As I rounded my bed, something that felt an awful lot like a cold hand wrapped around my ankle causing me to face plant on the floor.
I twirled around to scan under the bed, but it was still empty. My heart pounded in my chest as I studied my ankle.
What the hell just happened?
There was nothing in the floor for me to trip over. Plus, it felt distinctly like a hand had grabbed me. I glanced up at the sound of Cassie crawling through my bedroom window. Since my room was on the ground floor, it was easier to use my window than the front door. This way I could avoid Judy, altogether.
“What are you doing on the floor?” She arched one of her perfectly shaped brows.
“Just doing some yoga.” I joked, not wanting to explain the whole “hand grabbing my ankle” thing.
“Did you trip over your own feet, again? You are seriously the clumsiest person I know.” She teased.
Had I tripped over my own feet? It wouldn’t be the first time. It made more sense than anything else. I nodded accepting this explanation.
Cassie tossed me a shopping bag. I examined it to find a blue spaghetti strap and a black mini skirt. I lifted a brow at the scant outfit and rolled my eyes. Luckily, I had predicted such an outfit and had shaved my legs meticulously after I got home from school.
As I got dressed, Cassie studied my wall of pictures. Dozens of photographs I had taken of Cassie, Aiden, and I over the years covered the wall nearest my bed. Cassie’s eyes fell on a picture of me and her from junior high. It was Halloween night and we had dressed up as Madonna, each from a different era in her career. I was dressed in her mid-eighties style with a large cross necklace and cut off shirt. Cassie was wearing the infamous cone bra with her hair in a ponytail with a braided base.
I smiled to myself as I thought back to that night. Cassie and I had gone to a high school party where I got wasted. That was the night I had met Chad. Chad became somewhat of an older brother to me. Well, an older brother that got me into trouble more times than I could count. We had been close. Unfortunately, he graduated a year ago and joined the Navy. I received the occasional phone call from him, but he’d been at sea practically since he finished basic training.