Sneak Peek at the first chapter of...
Rebels and Runaways
Eden Academy Book 1
I rested my chin on my hand as I sat at the long counter at Bert and Beatrice’s Diner. Enit was making origami swans out of her napkin and Christopher was talking about some grunge rock band with our Dad, Tex.
X was trying to outfold Enit in origami, but all his swans ended up looking like roadkill. Beatrice bustled over with the largest plate of fries I’d ever seen, and I perked up. Actually, if I looked at it hard enough, I was pretty sure it was actually a large mixing bowl. She smiled widely at us, and I couldn’t help but smile back.
“How are my sweet little bairns today? Hungry I hope? Bert is out back frying up some of those tomahawk steaks he saw on that cooking show just for you three.”
Huge ass steaks? Yeah, that was enough to perk up any girl, but especially a wolf shifter. Enit gave her a sweet smile, and I rolled my eyes. I loved Enit. I would lay down my life and tear out the throat of any person who so much as hurt her feelings. Because she was an Omega shifter, it was almost bred into my DNA to protect her.
But sometimes, she was too perfect, and living in the shadow of my Alpha brother and my Omega sister was like being suffocated on both sides. I was just a boring old beta. A nothing. Run of the mill, everyday, nothin’ special, beta.
I grabbed a handful of fries and stuffed them in my mouth. Beatrice kissed Enit’s cheek and ran a hand down my smooth brown hair. If we had a grandmother, Beatrice would be it. Even my parents stepped carefully around Beatrice.
“Are you three excited to start the Academy this year?”
I was old enough to remember when the Eden Academy was first built. I would have only been six, but Enit, Christopher and I were some of their first elementary pupils. We were definitely part of the first class to go through our entire schooling at the Academy.
It was a pretty cool set up really. It was your normal K-12 school, teaching the average school subjects, spelling, math, science. Shit that everyone needed to know, whether you were preternatural or just a human.
But once you graduated senior year, you went on to do an extra four years at the Academy. This is where they taught you what you needed to know as a supernatural in a world filled with humans and every variety of preternatural known to the moon goddess. From Vampires and shapeshifters like my parents, to humans with extra senses and abilities. To actual freaking demi-gods like the co-founders of the school, Locke and Layla. They were called Offspring, and they were half god. Like actual deity. That shit blew my mind every time I thought about it.
Enit grinned. “Well, I certainly am.”
I snorted, and Christopher nudged me with his elbow. “Four more years of school? Of course, sign me up.”
X chuckled from the other side of the table, snagging a handful of fries and somehow inhaling them. “Learning supernatural politics at the academy will save your ass. Ask your mother, you don’t want to stumble around in that cesspool blind. Not everything can be solved with your fists.”
Now it was Tex’s turn to snort. “Sure thing, Executioner.”
Oh yeah, so two of my dads used to be part of the most feared killers in vampire society. They were the ones that put down rabid vampires. How they ended up here being doctors and deputy sheriffs still blew my mind.
But I knew that X was referring to my secret. The one that not even my littermates knew. Hell, only Lucius and X knew, and that was because Lucius had tattled on me all those years ago, and they decided if I wanted to be a bloodthirsty psycho, at least I was going to be a properly trained bloodthirsty psycho.
The front door of the diner opened, and the room went silent.
“Who the fuck…” Christopher whispered, and I snapped my head around.
So, Dark River didn’t get a whole lot of visitors, given the fact we were in the middle of fucking nowhere. And we definitely didn’t get any visitors like the ones that stood at the doorway now.
Unease tickled down my spine as I tried to take them all in, my gaze flying back to my dads. Tex was tense, his head tilted slightly to the side, as if he was trying to read the room using only his hearing. Tex was blind, but you wouldn’t know it.
If you looked at X though, he seemed completely relaxed, the smug grin on his face resting there like he didn’t have a care in the world. But I knew him well enough to know that he was poised to leap the table and rain down pain.
I turned back around, tucking Enit tighter between me and Christopher. A beautiful woman with golden hair was surrounded by four men. No, they weren’t men, they were fucking bikers. Their patches read Damnation MC around a stylized horsehead. There was another guy at the back, his dark eyes taking in everything, light streaks of grey coming from his temple. He looked a little older than the other guys, but hey, I wouldn’t mind calling him Daddy.
Ensconced between them all was a girl who had to be my age, her looks so similar to the older guy, she had to be his daughter. She had long dark hair, and dark eyes, and a smile that said she meant absolutely nothing good.
I liked her instantly.
They stepped toward the counter, their bodies tense. A huge fucking guy covered in tattoos was watching the whole room like he could kill us all if we made one wrong move. X stood, stepping from the booth and straightening to his full height.
I went to stand, to run and get Lucius or Walker or Judge or someone who could talk sense into X before he got into a fight with a guy who literally turned my blood to ice.
I climbed to my feet but then they glued to the floor. Because when the pretty girl moved, behind her was a guy.
Like holy bad boy, wet dream, take me now ‘cause I am done, fuckness. I may have whined, and Christopher growled.
I dropped my eyes, and the head of every one of those strangers turned toward me. Including the hot bad boy with the panty dropping pout.
Another huge fucker stepped forward, I swear this one was as big, maybe bigger than the tattooed guy, looked between me and Christopher. He frowned. Did he think Christopher was chastizing me?
I looked up, gave him a wink, and grinned.
Beatrice, bless her, stepped from around the counter, and my eyes went back to the hottie with a body.
I watched him as he watched the room. He was young, maybe Bobby’s age? Definitely a little older than me. I could see tattoos peeking out from beneath the sleeve of his leather jacket, his black shirt bearing the same insignia as the biker's cuts.
I tuned back into the convo when the woman spoke. “Just stopping for something to eat on the way to the academy.”
I perked up. They were going to the Academy? Well the next four years just got more exciting, though the guy looked too old to be enrolling.
Beatrice nodded, her face friendly. “Of course. Come on, I’ll show you to one of the booths at the back.”
They all stepped in, and I realized that they hadn’t been all hunkered around the girl. No, they’d all been standing around another kid, younger than us all.
And he was…
Shit, I think he was…
“An angel,” Enit whispered.
The kid with the flaming red hair had fucking wings. Big white and blue wings. “Holy jesus,” I whispered as he walked past, and the kid, I swear he must have been like thirteen at most, looked over at me and winked. “It’s Madoc actually.” The hottie shook his head, and nudged him on, but Madoc wasn’t done. He waggled his eyebrows. “And he’s Sammie. In case you wanted to know.” He gave me a cheesy grin, and I tipped an imaginary hat at him in thanks.
Yeah, I’ll be seeing you around, Sammie.
The big tattooed guy walked past X, and the whole room held its breath. They sized each other up, and I shook myself out of my lust filled thoughts for the perpetually sexy Sammie to get ready to run and get help again.
Their stare off ended when X grinned. “Like your tatts, Mate.”
The big guy dragged his eyes down X’s body slowly, admiring his tattoos as well. At least, I think it was his tattoos. When he looked back up, he quirked an eyebrow. “It’s Goliath.”
X waggled his eyebrows. “I bet it is.”
Um, were they fucking flirting right now?
A guy with an honest to god eyepatch whistled, and the guy, uh Goliath? Maybe? Winked and walked away.
What the hell was happening here? I took in that whole group, and when I looked at Christopher and Enit, I realized I wasn’t the only one. I don’t know who these guys were, but they were going to shake shit up.
I could hardly wait.
*Unedited and subject to change. This work is the copyrighted material of Grace McGinty and cannot be copied or distributed without the express permission of the author. c 2020