Winter's Shadow

Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle Read Free Book Online

Book: Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle Read Free Book Online
Authors: M.J. Hearle
turned off the water and regarded her freshly scrubbed reflection critically. The same plain-faced girl she’d seen in the mirror this morning stared back at her. This version was just a little damper. There was her unruly red hair desperately in need of a trim; her pale skin with a smattering of freckles across the bridge of her nose and cheeks; and her mouth that sometimes looked a little crooked.
    With a decent haircut and a few dozen tubs of makeup she might be able to scrape into the category of
pretty
, but it would take some work. And there was nothing she could do about her quirky mouth to make it look even remotely kissable.
    No wonder she’d felt so intimidated around the physical perfection of Blake. They might as well have been different species. He
had
driven her home and they
did
seem to have some things in common – she still couldn’tbelieve he knew who Johnny Winter was! There might be a chance Blake wasn’t as superficial as pretty much everyone else Winter had ever met, including herself. Perhaps freckly, crooked-mouthed girls were his type? She sighed, smiling at the foolishness of the thought.
    A girl could dream.
    Winter went to her room and flopped down onto the bed. She thought about putting some music on, but decided that the sound of the rain pattering on the roof was a fine accompaniment to her thoughts. Though she’d come very close to being killed today, that particular momentous event wasn’t the one she now turned over and over in her mind.
    It was Blake who occupied her thoughts. His hypnotic eyes shining with their own magical light. Calling to her. Drawing her in . . .



Chapter 9

    Blake sat in the flickering dimness of the study, writing furiously in his diary. A solitary candle lit the page he was working on, but had he needed to he could have easily written without it. The absence of light did nothing to affect the sharpness of his vision. Sometimes, though, a little light was all one needed not to feel so alone.
    It had been a mistake to save Winter.
    His pen paused as the girl’s face floated to the forefront of his mind. The light in her eyes was different now, but in that brief moment when he’d caught her watching him from across the graveyard, he’d caught a glimpse of how special she was. No wonder he’d felt compelled to intervene, despite knowing the consequences of his actions. If time had taught himanything it was that he was weak in the face of such compulsions.
    It would be unsafe for both of them if he saw her again, yet she wouldn’t last long without his help. Already forces were gathering around her, forces that would soon begin to exert their dark influence. The idea of her suffering pained him – much more than it should, considering the brief time they’d spent together. She was an innocent and didn’t deserve the fate that awaited her – the fate he’d condemned her to. There was something about the girl, something more than the secret gift she possessed. She had a shy loveliness, a quality that reminded him of another . . .
    Blake wrote with renewed vigour, hoping the words spilling from his pen would exorcise some of his turmoil. Usually the act of writing calmed him, allowed him to arrange his thoughts and re-examine them with cool detachment as they lay on the paper. Tonight it wasn’t working. All Blake could feel was a growing dread in the pit of his stomach.
    He dropped the pen, exhaling in frustration. He should be watching over her right now instead of sitting here deliberating over what to do. However, he couldn’t leave the house, at least not during the night. It would be risky to leave the thing upstairs unattended. He’d made that mistake in the past and the consequences had been dire.
    Blake watched the candle’s flame twist and curl around the wick. As if sensing his master’s conflict, Nefertem crept softly into the study and rubbed affectionatelyagainst Blake’s leg. Grateful for the company, he smiled down at the cat and

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