Read Madly Online

Authors: M. Leighton

Tags: #fairy tales mermaids love paranormal romance young adult action adventure folklore fantasy

Madly (9 page)

BOOK: Madly
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I raised my arms in front of me, relishing the way the steam soaked my skin and brought my bracelet to tingling life. I inhaled, pulling a gulp of damp air into my lungs, innervating my body.

Closing my eyes, I concentrated on my bracelet, on the unique power that it held and the ability that I alone had to wield it. Behind my eyes, I conjured the color red and focused on how I wanted to see the picture of every girl in Slumber wearing something like it.

When I opened my eyes, images began to flit through the steam, taking a definite shape and then disappearing into wispy smoke before reconfiguring into that of another form.

As I watched them flash by, I made a mental note of the names of each girl, thanking the fates that Veritas Academy was such a small school. When thirteen faces had drifted through the foggy air, the visions ceased and I turned to run down the steps.

Aidan shut the valve and the three of us walked back outside.

I was practically vibrating with excitement, my whole body thrumming with the thrill of it. I could barely stand still.


Omigod, omigod, omigod! It worked! Did you see that? Could you see them?”

Aidan and Jersey looked at each other skeptically. Jersey was the first to answer.


Uh, no. See
what
, crazy person?”

I waved them off with a flick of my hand. “Never mind. I have thirteen names. At least it will give us a place to start. Maybe when we get to their records, we’ll hit pay dirt.”


Ok, so now is when we go to illegally break and enter the Records Room, right?” Aidan asked.


Yep.”


And precisely how are we going to get in there without being seen?”

I couldn’t help the smug grin that tugged at my lips.


Just trust me. You might get wet, but you won’t get caught.”


You think.” Aidan stated doubtfully.


I’m upgrading my confidence to ‘pretty sure’.”


So you’re ‘pretty sure’ we won’t get caught.”

I nodded, still smiling.


I’m in,” Jersey said, practically drooling over the prospect of some semi-dangerous fun, now that water-filled pranks were involved.


You in?” I asked Aidan.

With a sigh, Aidan agreed. “I guess. Somebody’s gotta be there to keep us out of jail.”

It was on that encouraging note that we set off across campus for the student library.

CHAPTER NINE

When our trio arrived at the library, we stopped just outside to formulate a plan.


Ok, so, Jersey, I’m sure you’ve got a lighter. You can be the one to go into the bathroom and set off the fire alarm. Aidan, you can—”


Wait, wait, wait,” Jersey interrupted. “First of all, why do you assume that I have a lighter? I resent the implication. And secondly—”


Jersey, come on,” I butted in, tilting my head and throwing her a derisive look from under my lashes. “Did you really think that none of us would ever find out that you’re the one who sets off the smoke detector in the bathroom every time there’s a
James Bond
marathon on televison?”


What? I would never!”

I looked at Aidan and we both started laughing.


Yeah, right. Nobody loves Sean Connery as much as you.”

Jersey’s mouth worked itself open and closed a few times in silent indignation before she dropped the pretense.

Her face crumbled into a pitiful mask and she whined, “I can’t help it. He was so hot. And those eyes, they just kill me. And his accent…” She trailed off, a dreamy expression settling over her beautiful, bronze features.


My point exactly,” I said.


Alright, I’ll give you points for the lighter, but,” she said, shrugging her shoulders and holding her hands palm up. “Why can’t I just pull the fire alarm? The one by the door doesn’t have a cover on it. Remember?”


Because somebody will see you, goofy.”


So? I can make it look like an accident.”


Jersey, not even
you
are that good.”


Bet’cha five bucks I can pull it off.”

I looked at Aidan. He shrugged, obviously having no strong opinion one way or the other.


Alright. You’re on.”

Flipping her long sable locks behind her shoulder, Jersey started to walk through the front door, Aidan and I watching her go, when a deep voice boomed from behind us. She stopped in her tracks.


What are you three up to?”

I jumped like I’d been shot when Jackson spoke. I spun around, looking every bit as guilty as I felt, I’m sure.

As soon as my eyes fell on him, I lost the ability to think and speak clearly. Getting caught nearly red-handed was enough to tie my tongue, but Jackson’s unnerving presence exacerbated matters tenfold. Rather than formulating a believable lie, I became instantly aware of what a bedraggled rat I must look like.


We were just, um, we were going to, uh—”


How about just telling me the truth,” he suggested, folding his long arms across his wide chest.


Well, uh, you see,” I paused, my mind racing through all sorts of plausible scenarios and elaborate fabrications. But looking into the clear blue of Jackson’s eyes, disapproving though they were, I found myself unable to utter even the tiniest of lies. “We’re breaking into the Records Room.”


Madly!” Jersey hissed, clearly shocked.

I cringed, waiting for Jackson’s inevitable explosion. But none came.

Slowly, one ebony brow rose. “For?”


Records.”


What kind of records?”


The medical kind.”


You know those are—”


I know, I know, but I thought I might be able to find the Straus descendant so that we can keep an eye on her, maybe catch Wolfhardt when he awakens his descendant and makes his first move.”

Jackson said nothing, merely stared at me with those fathomless azure eyes. Finally, much to my surprise, he nodded.


Ok, so what’s your plan?”

Stunned, I glanced over at Aidan, who was ashen beneath his tanned skin, and then returned my attention to Jackson.


Jersey was going to set off the fire alarm so I could use the water to hide us. If they can’t see us—”


You can just walk right in,” he finished.


Right,” I said, smiling a nervous smile.


Only here’s how this is going to work. You,” Jackson said, turning his hard gaze on Aidan. “You can bump into Jersey, causing her to ‘accidentally’ set off the alarm,” he said, using air quotes. “As soon as it goes off, the Librarians are going to be all over you. You two can stay and explain what happened while Madly and I sneak into the Records Room.”

Aidan was frowning. I could tell that he didn’t approve of some part of the plan, I just couldn’t be sure which part that was. The tight set of his lips told me that he wanted to argue, but I knew that there was not a chance in the Underworld that he would. At least not with Jackson.

Finally, he nodded in agreement, albeit grudgingly.


Wait until we sit down at the table nearest the Records Room door and then do it.”

Jersey and Aidan both nodded.

Jackson looked down at me. “Let’s go,” he said, touching his hand to the small of my back where it set off a firework of chills that spread around to sparkle in my stomach.

Jackson opened the door for me, nudging me forward with his hand. As we snaked our way through the tables, I turned to look up into his handsome face.


Why are you being so cool about this? I never figured you for a rule-breaker.”

Though he didn’t bother to look at me, Jackson answered, his deep voice sliding over my senses like dark velvet.


Number one, we aren’t breaking
our
rules. Number two, this is more important than
anything else
right now. Besides, your plan isn’t half bad.”

I refused to dwell on how much pleasure I got from his backhanded compliment.


How did you even know where we were?”

This time Jackson did look down at me, his blue eyes twinkling.


Did you really think I was just going to drop you off at class and walk away? Give me a little credit for knowing you most of your life.”


So you knew—”


That you skipped class? Yes. And that you had some fun in the boiler room? Yes.”


It’s not like we were doing anything wrong really.”


What were you doing then?” he asked as he stopped at our table and pulled out a chair, indicating with a tip of his dark head that I should take it.

I sat, watching as he slid out the chair next to mine and sat on the edge, leaning forward to put his elbows on his knees.

The action put his face within a foot of mine, close enough that I could see the tiny silver specks in his eyes and count every long lash that ringed them. My mouth went bone dry, making it difficult to speak.


I was practicing.”


Hmm,” Jackson said, his eyes narrowing on me. “Practicing what?”

The way he said it made it sound dirty. That’s when it occurred to me what he was getting at.


Not what you think. I was practicing using my bracelet. How do you think I plan to get us into that room?”

BOOK: Madly
7.35Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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