Author: Jessica Miller
Series: The Wanderers #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Good Reads Rating: 4.06
What do you do when you learn your family is the one who’s holding all the secrets. Secrets that could get you killed…
Ella is looking forward to starting college in the fall with her best friend Josie. She’s looking for a place where she can get away from her overbearing parents and two older annoying brothers. Unfortunately Ella realizes that sometimes the past comes back to haunt you.
Ella soon learns that the man who terrorizes her dreams is in fact real and coming after her.
When one of her classmates is murdered, Ella slowly recognizes this is not some strange coincidence. Ella fears that the boy she’s falling in love with is the one who stalks her dreams and no longer knows who she can trust.
When she finally learns the truth of her families deepest secret, Ella has to face her demons by taking out one of the people she thought she could trust…before they kill her.
* Amazon * Smashwords *
I stepped outside and took a deep breath of fresh, cool air. It burned my lungs a little. They weren’t used to this cool of a climate, but I didn’t care. It felt refreshing. “Hey,” Jack said, coming up behind me.
“Hey, you having fun?”
“It’s alright, like I said, parties aren’t really my thing,” he shrugged.
“Then why did you come?”
“I guess…well,” he fidgeted.
“Ella!” Tristan called, jogging over to us.
“God, I can’t get rid of this guy,” I groaned.
“You want me to tell him to beat it?” Jack asked.
“No. I can handle him, but thank you. Why don’t you head back? I’m going to wait for Josie.”
“I can wait with you. I don’t mind.”
“Go back. I know Josie’s not going to want to leave anytime soon. We’ll be fine, I promise.”
Jack reluctantly waved goodbye and I watched him stick his hands in his pockets as he walked off. Then I took another deep breath and turned around to face Tristan who had now closed the distance between us. I stood there with my arms crossed and eyes glaring waiting for him to tell me what he wanted.
“Wow, I haven’t seen a look of such distaste since Bailey caught me in bed with her sister.” I let out a sarcastic laugh and turned to walk away. Tristan put his hand on my arm stopping me. “I was just kidding,” he said.
“Why do I find that hard to believe?” I said, hoping my tone of voice would give him the hint that I was not interested.
“You’ve got a bit of an attitude. I like that,” he grinned, letting me know I needed a new tactic.
“Is there something you want?” I said, annoyed. He smiled that cocky smile and took a step closer. I put my hand on his chest stopping him and keeping him at arm’s length.
“I heard you were joining Theta Kappa and I wanted to officially welcome you.”
“I haven’t said yes, yet, and now that I know it would mean seeing more of you, I will be declining the offer,” I said, dropping my hand.
“Don’t say no on account of me. Theta Kappa is one of the most prestigious sororities on campus and can do great things for your future.”
“Trust me. I don’t need some dumb sorority to help me with my future.”
“Ah…I see,” he said as if he just figured me out. Noticing he was losing me he laid on the charm. “Still they could use someone like you. They don’t know it yet, but they’ll be lucky to have you.”
“Did they send you out here to try and convince me? Let’s send Tristan, he can convince anybody. All he has to do is bat his long eyelashes and look with those dark blue eyes.” I tossed my hair mocking the sisters.
He cracked a smile and took a step closer to me, leaving our faces only inches apart. “You think I have beautiful eyes?” he asked, his breath getting heavy.
My heart started to quicken as I stared into his dark blue eyes. Then reality struck when the wind blew hair across my face. I took a step back. “I never said that.” My arms crossed into a hasty barrier again and I struggled to stay composed.
He chuckled. “Why Ella, I do believe you’re blushing,” he said. His cocky smile returning. I glared at him, shoving past as I walked back into the house. “Oh c’mon,” he said laughing.
“Hey Josie, you ready?”
“It’s like only twelve.” I looked back to see Tristan was reentering the house and heading in my direction.
“Don’t mind Tristan. He’s harmless,” Cadence said. “He was actually the one who suggested I extend the invite for you to join.”
“Of course,” I said under my breath.
“Please don’t let him discourage you from your decision. You really don’t have to worry about him. The most you’ll see of him is at the parties. That’s it. He doesn’t do anything else.” I turned and looked at him over my shoulder. One of the sisters had walked by taking his hand and pulling him to the dance floor. His eyes met my own and for a second I thought I saw something different, something deeper, but then he threw me his cocky smile again and grabbed Skylar’s ass, making all that fade away.
Determined not to let him ruin my night, I decided it was time for me to have some fun. “Hey you!” I shouted at the guy with the shots and signaled for him to come over. “Shots?” I asked the girls. We each had two and I took a third before he left. I caught a glimpse of Tristan watching me and smiling. God he’s annoying.
I took Josie’s drink and chugged it. “Whoa, what happened to you?” Josie asked.
“Let’s get another drink,” I said pulling her along.
“Okay,” she said, dragging out the word. I ordered a drink, something strong, and had another shot. “Ella, maybe you should slow down.”
“I’m just trying to have fun. This is a party isn’t it?”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” she said knowing this could end badly considering I wasn’t a big drinker.
We walked through the house meeting and greeting new people. We passed a group of guys doing keg stands and I stopped. “Can I try?” I asked one of the guys.
They all looked at each other. “Yeah!” the one guy shouted.
“Ella, do you know what you’re doing?” Josie asked looking at me like this was a bad idea.
“No,” I admitted. “Here,” I handed her my cup.
“You might want to tuck your shirt in,” warned one of the guys. I took his advice not wanting to flash the entire party. “Ready?”
“Uh-huh.” I put my hands on the edge of the keg and two guys lifted my legs into the air. When I couldn’t do anymore they let me down. I stumbled slightly from the head rush. They all watched silently until I threw my hands in the air and cheered, and then they did too. Josie decided to give it a whirl and handed me the cups as I cheered her on.
I was pretty hammered by the end of the night and that little gnat Tristan was but a distant memory. My lack of intelligent speech made Josie declare I had enough for one night and decided it was time we headed back to the dorms.
On the way out Josie stopped. “Shit! I think I dropped my phone. Ella wait here, I’m gonna run in and check real quick. Don’t go anywhere!”
“Where am I going to go?” I said between hiccups. I took out my phone to check and see if I had any messages and noticed I had no signal. I held it up walking in different directions trying to get a signal when I bumped into someone. “Oh, I’m so…oh, it’s you,” I frowned.
“Had a good time tonight I see,” Tristan said.
“No thanks to you,” I said, poking him in the chest with my finger. “And why you keep following me?” I asked in a drunken slur. “Do you really think you have a chance? Because you don’t? And just ‘cause you’re hot doesn’t mean anything.” He smiled, crossing his arm over his chest and resting his chin on his hand fueling my irritation. “I’m not interested. Take the hint. I’ve only spent ten minutes with you and that was enough to know I don’t like you.”
He stared at me, contemplating his next move, like this was some kind of game to him. “You’re an interesting character Ella,” he smiled. “But I like a challenge.”
I was ready to open my mouth when I heard Josie yell, “I got it!” running out of the house.
I spun around so fast, I got dizzy and tripped. Tristan caught me before I hit the ground. “Whoa, be careful there.”
I pushed him away from me. “I don’t need your help,” I said stumbling.
“Clearly,” he said, mocking me. I shoved him out of my way and started to walk back to the dorms. “Ella wait.”
Josie and Tristan chased after me. “You guys shouldn’t walk back by yourselves, it’s not safe.”
“Please, we can take care of ourselves,” I said, tripping and falling on my butt, not helping my case.
“That’s it.” Tristan bent down, picked me up, and threw me over his shoulder.
“Put me down!” I yelled, hating feeling helpless.
“I’m just trying to help you. It’s for your own good.”
“I don’t need your help. Now put me down!”
“Fine,” he said, putting me down.
I felt better now that my feet were firmly planted on the ground. “Thank you,” I said, straightening my shirt.
I turned around and collided with a lamp post, knocking myself unconscious.