Running and screaming will have to wait. A blood-sucking dead guy may be a vampire to you, but he’s an alien/human hybrid to Ophelia and she really must examine his olfactory nerve under a microscope first.
Ophelia longs to be free, free of diabetes, free of her ex-boyfriend, free to live.Something transformed Martin and made her his drug. If he has his way, she’ll never achieve the freedom to learn his true nature and origin.
Adrian’s the new guy in school. He faked his identity to get close to Ophelia, knowing the monsters who took his diabetic sister would try to take Ophelia, too. Then, he’d have them. But, he knew better than to get too close.
Oh, yeah, he did. Seriously.
Ophelia shoved open the mercantile door with her hip, and the frigid air bit her nose. She shifted the grocery bag into one arm and tried to ignore the scent of all the things she was forbidden to eat. She lifted her gaze to the enormity of Alaska.
Mountains, jagged and white, stabbed the dark gray sky, spilling snowflakes that shimmered in light from the street lamp. Although it was morning, the sun would not peek over the horizon until after ten. Her small town huddled between the mountains and an inlet of the Gulf of Alaska, closed with ice. A person might lose her way in any direction and only the tundra wolves would find any trace.
As she stepped off the curb, Ophelia dug keys out of her purse. Something fell at her feet and she knelt to pick it out of the dirty, shoveled snow—a Star Trek uniform badge. Despite the newest movie’s phenomenal success, she was still the only teen Trekkie around.
Except for him.
Good feelings swirled up her back and wrapped around her in a hug. “You must be someone from my Calculus class. Only a geek would dare to be a Trekkie at our school.” She closed gloved fingers on the cereal box trinket.
This wasn’t his first little gift. To begin with, he’d given with no hint that he’d been there except the gift. As the months had passed, his giving grew clumsier, presumably along with his nerves as she drew him closer.
A pine tree, stunted by the short growing season, shook next to the rusty dumpster.
“I framed your barn owl drawing above my desk at home.” Ophelia’s words hung alone and white in the air before her. “It’s beautiful.”
A shadow crossed a crack of light.
“I can hear you breathing.” Ophelia had grown up in Alaska and knew better than to traipse after unknown creatures in the dark. Her nose stung. For four months he’d left little gifts in her locker, her pocket, on the seat in her locked car, even tucked into the collar of her neurotically overprotective husky who had not raised an alarm. Even after all that secretive flirting, he wouldn’t show his face. “Why are you tormenting me like this? I’ve loved all your gifts.”
Only his breath, fast and white, responded in the cracked light.
She straightened and trudged to her little white car. “You don’t care how I feel anymore then…”
A familiar truck engine roared up the road, capturing her attention.
“Oh, no.” Panic streaked down Ophelia’s backbone and she yanked open her door and tossed the grocery bag in.