she didn’t need anyone…until she met Ben.
school. Which is fine with her, because she works better alone. Always has,
always will. And at least she has her one and only true friend, Tasha. When
Tasha insists that they join a group to visit a possibly haunted abandoned old
schoolhouse, she’s wary, but joins her friend. Because of that decision, their
lives are in jeopardy as a malevolent spirit targets the group. Tragedies and
accidents pick them off one by one, and Chira finds herself drawn to the one
person who can see the truth. But can he protect her?
In simple language, Pauline Creeden creates worlds that are both familiar and strange, often pulling the veil between dimensions. She becomes the main character in each of her stories, and because she has ADD, she will get bored if she pretends to be one person for too long. Pauline is a horse trainer from Virginia, but writing is her therapy. Her books have hit #1 on the Amazon Bestseller List and Armored Hearts won the 2013 Book Junkie’s Choice Award in Historical Fiction. First Impression: A Shadow Maven Paranormal is her first mystery. It’s a dark urban fantasy and will be released March 24, 2014.
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20618864-first-impression
She rips my hall
pass from her pad and points it toward the young man sitting across from her
desk. “Chira Kelley, meet Ben Oscuro. He’s new here and needs someone to show
him around. It just so happens he’s also a member of class 18B.”
the boy. He doesn’t look up at me, and his disheveled dark hair is just long
enough that it hides his eyes. But he pushes himself up from his chair, and his
slim form towers over me. He’s at least six-feet-two and his uniform is almost
as crumpled as his hair. He swings his backpack onto a strong, square shoulder
and nibbles his full bottom lip. His smooth olive skin and dark hair make him
look like a foreign rocker, and there’s something about him that seems vaguely
his class schedule. When you’re not in the same class, I want you to leave a
few minutes early and help him find the next class room. That’s your job for
today. Got it?”
resist sniffling again. Taking the hall pass and the copy of the schedule from
her, I say, “Um…sure.”
you’re off the hook.”
a fist in the air before returning to file more papers in the cabinet. The
secretary’s chair squeals a dismissal, and Mrs. Campbell picks up her phone,
returning to her duties without another word.
office door and stands to the side to allow me to go first. The hallway that
was empty only a short while ago is now full of students and their continuous
conversations. With a shrug, I eye his class schedule quickly. Except for
second and sixth period, we have exactly the same schedule. He’s in all of the
advanced classes, too. Only he has gym for second period and Latin for sixth –
opposite of my schedule, except I take French.
again, and his eyes meet mine. My breath hitches. His intense gaze makes me feel
like he’s measuring me. The dark pools of his eyes seem deep and bottomless,
but there’s something strange about them. They’re brown, but he has colored
contacts. Why would anyone color their eyes brown?
A sniffle escapes me before I can stop it. Ugh. I clear my throat and start in
the direction of first period. “Follow me.”
down the freshman hall toward the second floor, but before we start up I point
down the way. “Do you know what your locker number is?”
pushes his backpack on his shoulder farther.
second and then smile. “What is it?”
slight accent, and his voice is deeper than I expect. I suppress a shiver at
the jolt the musical timbre of his voice sends through my body. I’m resonating
like a tuning fork. I really want him to speak again with every fiber of my
being. What’s with me?
swallow, trying to regain composure. I take him to the general area of the
locker. “Here it is.”
nods, and returns his hard gaze to me. Is he always so stiff? Probably just
nerves from being new.
have any books to put in it, but do you want to try out the combination?”
shoulder in a shrug and spins the combo quickly through the three numbers. I
purposefully avert my eyes so he knows I’m not peeking. He opens the locker
wide, nods toward me, and then closes it again.
first period over here.”
the same first period?”
again, and I blink hard. So glad my back was to him so he couldn’t see the
effect his voice has on me. I swallow and face him. “Actually, yeah. Our
schedules are very similar. It’s a smallish school, so there’re only a few
tracks that juniors can be on.”
eyes are half lidded as if he’s bored already.
our classroom. “We don’t really have assigned seats, so you can pretty much sit
anywhere you want. I’ll show you to the gym at the end of class. I have French
next, but it’s not too far from there.”
front of the class, and my friend Tasha gives me a wan smile and raises her
eyebrows, looking back and forth between me and Ben. She mouths, Who’s that?
put up one finger toward her to let her know I’ll tell her in a minute. Then I
turn to the teacher. I hand him the schedule from the office. “Hi, Mr. Scott,
this is Ben Oscuro, a transfer.”
blue eyes smile at us both. He sets down the Mountain Dew he was drinking and
offers Ben a wide grin. He puts a hand out for him to shake. Ben hesitates but
takes the hand in what looks like a firm grip. Mr. Scott shakes his hand
afterward. “That’s some grip you’ve got there.” He laughs and leans down to the
bottom drawer of his desk and hands Ben a geography text book.
return to Tasha and squeeze into the desk next to hers. I’m at Jackson Hall
partially on my father’s insurance money partially on scholarship because my
stepdad works at the school. What he does, I don’t know, because I’ve never
seen him. Because of all this, I’m somewhat of a social pariah. My only real
friend is Tasha Brown, a pariah herself, being one of the few African-American
kids in the school. Still she tends to be more popular than me, because at
least her family has the money they’ve made in the night club and music
business. But then there’s that rumor…
hottie?” Tasha hops up and down in her seat.
her. “You are one big hormone, you know that? Sure, he’s cute, but is there any
guy in the room you don’t consider a hottie?”
room with her hand on her chin and a very serious expression on her face. Her
hair is in the typical pigtail braids she usually uses to play up the uniform.
She has on no sweater, and her shirt is one size too small, the buttonholes at
the front stretched to expose part of
her red bra. Finally she returns her gaze to me. “There’s only one guy in here
that doesn’t rank hottie.”
conspiratorially and whispers, “Mr. Scott.”
a laugh as I eye the middle-aged, balding teacher at the front of the room. But
I have to admit, Jackson Hall is a prep school. And there’s no one who can
afford to make their children look their best more than the wealthy. I guess if
I take my father’s words to heart, it’s better to be the poor kid in the rich
kids’ school…than the other way around. Right?
returns, and I follow her gaze to figure out why. Ben Oscuro walks down the
aisle between us and takes the desk right behind mine. The hairs on the back of
my neck stand on end. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. He smells like
pine and mint, and it reminds me of the outdoors. When I open them again,
Tasha’s smile has grown impossibly wider. She leans towards me and whispers,
“What was that you said about hormones again?”
toward her, but she dodges me with a giggle.
Hope to see you all there!!
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