Authors: Cindy C Bennett
Tags: #romance, #love, #scifi, #paranormal, #love story, #young adult, #science fiction, #contemporary, #immortal, #ya, #best selling, #bestselling, #ya romance, #bestselling author, #ya paranormal, #cindy c bennett, #cindy bennett
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We pull up to the building, the one my uncle
and I scouted out and purchased before making the move to this
town. It sits ten miles outside of town, an old, abandoned motel.
No one knows of the purchase—we’ve kept it looking exactly the
same. Same broken windows, same graffiti covered walls, same faded
“for sale” sign out front, all of it covered in a layer of
She looks at me oddly, but doesn’t question
as she climbs out of the truck. I follow her, taking her hand and
leading her to the only room that has been altered. The alterations
are invisible from the outside.
“So, is this the latest venture in the
Coleman dynasty?” she teases. I’d hoped that was the conclusion she
would come to. I knew that if I tried to tell her the truth, she
would run as fast as she could, away from me. The truth isn’t
something I can tell her… it’s something I have to
“I want to show you something,” I say,
tugging her gently toward room three, pulling the key from my
“Okay,” she agrees happily, and I feel a
tinge of guilt for the deception.
We stop outside the door. I twist the key in
the lock, but turn to her before I push the door open.
“Before we go in, I want to tell you
something,” I say. “I want you to remember that I love you, and
that no matter what happens, everything is going to be okay.”
For the first time, a small amount of
wariness creeps into her expression.
“Okaaay,” she answers, hesitant, skeptical.
“Is everything okay, Sam?”
I smile at her, and push the door open. She
steps in ahead of me, and I close the door behind us, the lock
automatically clicking into place. She is staring at the bed, which
suddenly seems overwhelmingly large in the room, and I can see what
she might think of my bringing her here. She turns toward me, and
the worry on her face confirms my suspicion.
“No, it’s not…” I begin.
“You know how I feel…” she says at the same
time, laughing nervously as our words overlap.
I walk up to her, place my hands on her
“I do know how you feel, and I would never
do anything that would cause you to compromise your values for me.
I didn’t really think about how this would appear.”
Relief floods her eyes, and she smiles as
she leans into me, wrapping her arms trustingly around my
“I know that, Sam. I shouldn’t have doubted
I swallow over the lump in my throat at her
words. What I’m about to do is much worse…. She leans back and
looks up at me, trust and love shining in her unusual eyes. Those
eyes are the reason we are even here. They are what made me first
believe that she could be like me… that she could be the one I’ve
been waiting centuries for, the hope amplified when I met her
grandmother and knew what
is. Those are the eyes that I
had fallen in love with so quickly.
And, pig that I am, I take advantage of that
love and lean down to kiss her.
I pull one of the two chairs that sit next
to the table out, pushing her down gently to sit in it. I back away
until I’m standing near the bed, across the room from her.
“I want you to trust me,” I implore. “Just
stay there, just... wait. And remember what I said before:
everything is going to be okay.”
The smile on her face falters as I pull the
gun from my pocket.
“Sam, what—” I can hear the fear sliding up
“I’m not going to hurt you, I promise.” I
flip the cylinder of the revolver open and show it to her. “Only
She begins to rise out of her chair.
“I think you should stay sitting,” I tell
her, trying not to sound threatening. She hesitates, but when I
don’t turn the gun her way, she continues to a standing position,
slowly moving toward the door, hands raised toward me, as if she’s
the victim of a hold-up. My heart breaks at the fear that shrouds
her entire body.
“Sam, I don’t know what you’re planning, but
I think this has gone far enough.” Her words are soothing, but
firm. I feel a moment’s fierce pride at her courage.
I slide the cylinder back into place and she
reaches for the door knob. It turns, but the door doesn’t open.
“Sam,” she says, her voice exerting
authority, even over the tremor of fright. “Unlock the door. I want
to leave now.”
I almost give in, but can’t now. She has to
know, has to
“Just trust me—” I see the change in her
face at my words, and quickly revise. “Just
me ten more
minutes. Then I’ll let you out, and we’ll go home.”
“I don’t like this. I want to go now.” The
pleading that has crept into her voice nearly undoes me, but I have
to follow through. Her eyes haven’t left the gun since I closed the
cylinder. I take a breath and turn the gun toward my chest.
“No!” Her response is immediate, and she
takes a step toward me, hand reaching as if to stop me. I can’t let
her get any closer, in case something goes wrong. It’s not her time
“Everything will be okay,” I reiterate, and
pull the trigger.
Six Months Earlier
Some people might call my little town of
Goshen a dying town. The population steadily decreases—along with
the size of the ranches and farms—as people move away, looking for
a better living elsewhere. I know it will always have a population
of at least one—me.
My family made a living originally as sheep
farmers. My grandfather wasn’t a very good businessman, though, and
sold large parcels off to pay his debts even before my father
became the owner. My father didn’t have much of an interest in
farming the creatures, and sold off most of the rest, including the
sheep. We went from over a thousand acres passed to my grandfather,
to the fifty acres that will be left to me. I plan to spend the
rest of my life on my fifty acres.
“You’re crazy for wanting to stay, Niamh
Parker,” my friends have all told me, at one time or another.
Yes, that’s me—that’s truly my name. Not
pronounced nee-ahm like you’d think. It’s an old Irish name
pronounced neeve—which totally makes sense if you throw out
everything you’ve ever known or been taught about phonetics. If you
don’t think that’s caused me any amount of grief over the years! My
name, though, is one of the reasons I love living in a small town
so much—no one new to try to explain my name to.
I don’t even have Irish ancestry. Solidly
English, with smatterings of German, Scottish, Dutch and Norwegian
sprinkled in here and there. My name is reflective of my mother’s
romantic nature. She claims she named me Niamh because it means
radiant. I think she read it in a romance novel. She’s fond of
I looked it up on the internet once—not
easy, as it kept telling me I had typed it in wrong—and read that
it means snow, which I guess
radiant in the right light.
So that’s me, the radiant snow girl. Guess with my peculiar name,
strange was written in the stars.
Currently, there are exactly 376 residents
of Goshen. Once in a while that number might increase because of a
birth, but more likely it drops as people leave. You might be able
to understand, then, why such a big deal is made when Shane Coleman
and his nephew, Sam, move into the old Stanton place.
There’s a flurry of activity upon their
unexpected arrival. They bought the place from Barbara Glissmeyer,
the only realtor in town—she also works in four other nearby towns,
which probably each do more business in one week than we do in
Goshen in a year—and swore her to secrecy on the sale. That in
itself is cause for rampant speculation and burning the phone lines
up with gossip when it’s discovered.
But then there is Shane and Sam themselves.
Mrs. Bradley was the first on their doorstep with casserole in
hand, arriving almost simultaneously with the moving truck and the
Coleman’s themselves—pretty amazing considering her lack of
knowledge concerning their arrival, but she lives nearest, half a
block down and across the street from the old ranch. It’s
completely understandable that she’d have a casserole ready to
go—we all have something food wise we can deliver at a moment’s
notice. After rolling out the welcome carpet in her exuberant and
overbearing manner, she hurried home to call Mrs. Yonkers. Within
thirty minutes, everyone in town had received a phone call from
someone or other.
I receive my call from my best friend
“Did you hear yet?”
“Hear what?” I ask breathlessly, having just
run in from feeding my chickens. I glance at the tile floor,
grimacing at the mud tracks sprinkled with chicken feed—and chicken
poop—that I tracked in. I grimace at the mess. I should have taken
the extra seconds to peel my boots off, but patience is not one of
my virtues, you’ll find. The situation is made worse when Bob, my
big, black retriever, runs in through the door that I left hanging
open in my hurry, tracking in the same mess, because he’d been with
me in the coop. He sneezes and a few chicken feathers float into
the air, making me smile. He does love to chase them around,
tormenting them for his own amusement.
“About the new guy,” Stacy prompts.
I search my memory, not able to think of
anyone who might be considered new. Unless she’s speaking of the
Fredricks’s new baby? Was it a boy?
“Um…” I respond, and she huffs
“I swear, Vee, you live in your own, happy
little world, unaware of what goes on around you.” She calls me Vee
for the simple reason, she says, that she can spell it without
having to call me for verification. Of course, that was in the
first grade. She can spell it by now—I think. But Vee is just old
I can’t really argue with her summation of
my inattention to the world around me.
“Some new people just moved into the old
“Really?” she’s piqued my interest now. No
matter how loyal I am to the greatness of my little town, I’m well
aware that folks tend to move
, not in. “Who?”