by Cali Mann
Raised by human traffickers, I learned from an early age that the one person I can trust is myself. Rescued and brought to Thornbriar Academy, I’ve only traded one kind of imprisonment for another. Then I find out that I’m a feared spirit shifter.
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A hand slammed into my back, and I stumbled. Tripping over my own feet and the unfamiliar shoes, I lurched into a broad chest. Hands came up as if to catch me and shoved me to the ground instead.
“What the …?” growled a deep male voice. Blinking, I looked up into the most startlingly handsome face, and my words caught in my throat. Dark auburn hair, blue eyes, and chiseled features sat atop a muscled physique. No school uniform for this guy, just a soft jersey tee shirt and black jeans.
“Watch where you’re going,” he said, his eyes hard. A bit of fire blazed in their stormy depths.
“I’m sorry,” I said, stumbling a bit over the words. What was the matter with me? I never acted like this.
He sneered, “I don’t need your apologies, new girl.” My heartbeat chittered against my chest. Why was he doing this to me? Planting his legs wide, he loomed over me and glowered. “Are you just going to lay there?”
“Leave her alone, Brenton,” said a familiar voice next to me. Terrin’s warm hand slipped into mine and helped me to my feet. I looked back and forth between two guys who couldn’t be more different. Terrin’s calm support and Brenton’s almost scorching anger, and for the first time in my life, I felt helpless. My cheeks grew hot, and tears threatened.
Even when I’d been trapped in Hasting’s House, I knew I was strong and I could fight back. What was wrong with me? Glancing around at the other students laughing and gawking, I caught sight of Monica, her lips boasting a smirk. Right behind her stood the girl from last night, her arm across Monica’s shoulders. I pressed my lips together.
These were enemies I knew how to fight.