Home > Haven (Relentless #5)(15)

Haven (Relentless #5)(15)
Author: Karen Lynch

Scott followed me, and I took a few pictures of him, too. Then we sat near the edge of the bluff to eat our lunch.

“So, you’re Sara’s cousin,” he said after a few minutes of light conversation. I gave him a questioning look, and he smiled. “My mother told me.”

“Were you and Sara friends?” Sara hadn’t mentioned Scott to me, but I assumed she’d had other friends besides Roland and Peter.

Scott looked away, but not before I caught a glimpse of regret in his eyes.

“A long time ago we were friends, back when she first moved here. I did something stupid and mean, and we argued. She was right and I was wrong, but I was too proud to admit it. Instead of saying I was sorry, I became a total jerk toward her.”

He stared at the waves, and his voice quivered as if he was struggling to get the words out. “I never understood how things went so wrong or why I acted that way. I never stopped liking her, but she couldn’t stand me after that. Not that I blame her. I wasn’t a nice person for a long time.”

“You’re nice now.” The person he described didn’t sound like the one who had been so kind to me since we met. “What changed?”

He took a deep breath. “When she left town last October, it made me realize how stupid I’d been. All those years I wasted when we could have been friends.”

Sara had told me everything that happened here last year and how the whole town thought she’d drowned after she fell off the cliff. For months, everyone thought she was dead, until her faerie friend Eldeorin glamoured the town to think she’d moved away instead.

“Do you talk to her much?” Scott asked quietly. “How is she?”

“She went to live with her – our grandfather out west. She’s very happy.”

“I’m glad.” He gave me a warm smile. “You know, I’ve never told anyone that stuff, not even Ryan. You’re really easy to talk to.”

“Thanks, so are you.”

Something more than casual friendship sparked in his eyes, and I looked away, pretending not to see it. He was a great guy and good-looking, too. The old me would have been thrilled to have a boy like him show interest in her. The new me didn’t see him as anything but a friend. I wasn’t sure I could even be attracted to someone at this point in my life.

Not true, said a voice in my head. My stomach fluttered at the memory of sapphire eyes peering into mine and a warm hand touching my face. I quickly brushed it aside. He wasn’t even human, so it didn’t count.

“Argh.” Scott put a hand to his forehead. “I completely forgot I’m supposed to take Nan to her hairdresser at two. Mom usually does it, but she and Dad are in Portland, so that leaves me. I’m sorry.”

I swallowed my disappointment. “No, I understand. I can come back here another time and look around.”

“Hey, if you don’t mind hanging out with my grandmother for an hour, you can come with me, and we can come back here after.” He grinned as he stood. “I don’t think I showed you the salon.”

“No, you forgot that part of the tour.” I laughed and let him help me to my feet. “Would it be okay if I waited for you here? I really want to get some pictures while the light is good.”

“You don’t mind being here by yourself?”

I waved an arm around me. “Are you kidding? This place is amazing. And you won’t be gone that long, right?”

He shook his head. “No more than an hour.”

“Good. It’s settled then,” I said. “You take your grandmother to the salon, and then come back for me.”

It took another few minutes to convince him I’d be alright here alone for an hour. Finally, he left, and I looked around, trying to decide what to explore first. I took a few more pictures of the lighthouse and then climbed down to the beach to get some shots of the waves.

I loved the ocean, but for some reason, I could never quite capture its power when I painted. My attempts always felt like they were missing something. For two weeks every year growing up, I’d sit on the dunes at Virginia Beach and try to put what I saw on my canvases. Maybe living by the ocean year-round would help. This place was definitely beautiful enough to inspire me.

I stuck my camera back in my bag and began making my way along the beach toward the cove I thought I’d seen from the bluff. It felt isolated here and far from people, even though I was only a few minutes’ drive from town. I was used to being alone, but this was different. It was kind of nice. I felt…free.

It was hard to believe I’d been in New Hastings for two weeks. I was living on my own, I had my first real job, a new friend, and I was slowly learning to be a normal human girl again. Or as normal as anyone could be in my situation.

The walk to the cove took ten minutes, and it was worth the effort. Surrounded on three sides by tall trees, it had a narrow strip of sandy beach and a flat grassy area where you could sit. I left my bag on the grass and walked from one end of the small beach to the other, taking more pictures and picking up a few shells and an interesting piece of driftwood.

It didn’t take long to explore the cove, and I decided to sit for a few minutes before I headed back to the lighthouse. Pulling out my water bottle, I sipped and watched the small waves that were nothing like the powerful surf at the point. I set down my bottle and leaned back on my hands, feeling more at peace than I had in a long time. I wished I could carry this tranquility with me at all times, especially at night when I needed it the most.

A branch cracked in the woods behind me. I jerked upright and twisted my upper body to peer into the trees. I saw no one, but the feeling I was being watched made the hair stand up on the back of my neck.

You’re just being paranoid. Not that I could blame myself after some of the things I’d seen. All the same, I should probably get back to the lighthouse.

I started to stand when a low growl came from the woods.

My head whipped around again, and my lungs seized up at the sight of the two shapes emerging from the trees. One was covered in light brown fur, and the other was snow white. They were twice the size of an Irish Wolfhound, with yellow eyes and short pointed ears, and their bared fangs told me they weren’t happy to see me.

Chapter 5

Emma

Terror gripped me. Sara had assured me the werewolves here would never harm a human, but the snarling faces on these two wolves said otherwise. I was alone here with no way to protect myself and no one to hear me if I screamed. Running would do no good. These two could chase me down in seconds. I was completely at their mercy.

The werewolves slowly stalked me, their hackles up and their heads lowered aggressively. When they were a few feet away, the white wolf let out a low, threatening growl.

A whimper escaped my lips, but I couldn’t look away from the werewolves. The brown one moved to my left, and the white one advanced from the front. Their intent was clear.

From the trees came another growl, louder and deeper. The two wolves froze, and I looked past the white one at the massive black creature standing at the edge of the woods. The new werewolf was as big as a bear, and he stood on his hind legs, making him at least eight feet tall and one of the most frightening things I’d ever seen.

He took a step and growled again, turning my veins to ice.

It took me several seconds to realize his attention was not on me, but on the two smaller wolves. They didn’t respond, and his growl deepened.

The wolves turned to face him, and the white one made a whining sound. The newcomer snarled and took several more steps, towering over all of us.

I struggled to drag air into my lungs.

The smaller wolves whined and lowered their heads in submission. The black wolf made another frightening sound, and the two of them ran into the woods without a backward glance at me.

All I could do was stare at the giant wolf who watched me through yellow eyes that were impossible to read. Had he driven the other two off so he could kill me himself?

He moved, and I sucked in a sharp breath. Falling to all fours, he walked toward me. I froze as he closed the distance between us and leaned down to me. His hot breath washed over my face, and I closed my eyes, waiting for him to strike.

The wolf sniffed my hair and then…nothing.

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