Every 300 years, the immortal Phoenix returns to Mono Lake to be reborn—but this time it didn't return alone. The Nephilim are back in force, trying to keep it from being reborn so one of them can claim its immortality. But first they have to figure out who the Phoenix is—and any red-haired, green-eyed, seventeen-year-old in the area is fair game. And so, the killing begins...
Julie Mason doesn't believe all this legend crap until she falls for Eli Sullivan, whose hallucination-inducing kiss not only saves her, but makes her the Nephilim’s prime target. But, it's worth the risk. Her death is inevitable...not even Eli can prevent it. All she has to do is keep the Nephilim off Eli’s trail until The Rising. Once Eli is reborn and forgets his past life, Julie’s life is over, whether she’s dead or not. At least that's what she thinks...
14+ for brief violence and sexuality
“That asshole flipped you the bird.”
Julie jerked her head up from the drinking fountain to find Kas Penemue towering over her.
“Wha-what?” She backed against the wall. The pounding of her heart amplified against the hard surface, shaking her body with each beat.
“Fredricks. He flipped you the bird. Want me to break his finger?”
“No!” The word gushed from her mouth, causing the heads of those nearby to swivel her way.
Kas chuckled and leaned his arm against the wall over her head.
“I’m just kidding, Julie. Chill.”
Julie inhaled slowly. The scent of peppermint wafted from his mouth, a pleasant smell that had a strange, calming effect on her.
“How did you know? That he did that, I mean.” Julie hadn’t noticed Kas in the classroom, and with his size, she would have had to be blind not to see him.
“I have my ways.”
Across and down the hall, Julie saw Eli Sullivan open his locker and grab a book. He turned his head in her direction and locked his eyes on hers. Why does he keep staring at me?
“Well, do you?”
Julie blinked and then looked up into Kas’s dark chocolate eyes.
“Do I what?”
Kas’s voice softened. “I asked if you wanted to go to a party with me tomorrow night after the game.”
Julie’s eyes shifted back to Eli. He had been joined at his locker by Charsey who was busy giggling and flipping her silky strawberry blonde locks over her shoulder. Charsey was a flirt, and she had the looks to get the job done. Eli Sullivan didn’t stand a chance. He would soon join Charsey’s long list of male conquests.
“Umm. Sure. I guess that would be okay.” Julie bit her tongue the moment the words came out of her mouth.
Kas took a step back and smiled.
“Great. Meet me by the gate after the game.” He jogged down the hallway.
Yeah, great. Julie could have kicked herself. How am I gonna get myself out of this one? Julie turned. Eli and Charsey were gone. In fact, the whole hallway was practically deserted. Julie glanced at the clock. She had less than a minute to get to her next class. She might make it if she ran.
The moment she turned the corner, she collided with someone, rebounding off a hard male chest and landing on her butt.
“Oh, man! I am so sorry!” A tanned, muscular hand was offered to her, the same hand that returned a discarded cigarette to her the day before. Julie looked up into the apologetic face of Eli Sullivan. At that moment, the second period tardy bell rang.
“Crap!” She slapped his hand away and hauled herself up. “Thanks a lot!”
Eli raised his hands in surrender. “I really am sorry, Julie. I—I just need to talk to you.”
Julie hesitated for a moment as his eyes met hers. They seemed to burn right into her, throwing her off-kilter, making her forget why she was so upset. She shook her head to realign her thoughts then pushed her way past him. “I’m late.”
Eli grabbed her arm, halting her retreat. “Please. This is important.”
Julie tensed her arm, ready to pull away, until she looked into his face. His sapphire eyes darkened with concern. Her heart thrummed as he pulled her closer, brushing his lips across her temple.
“What did he want?” Eli spoke barely above a whisper, his breath warm on her ear.
Julie tried to blink away the spots that suddenly clouded her vision. She could feel her heart beating in her throat and a red flag went up. This was not happening. She wouldn’t let it. This time she did pull away.
“What did who want?” Julie lifted her chin and exhaled, trying to calm her heart.
Eli’s eyes hardened. “Penemue. What did he want?”
Julie was totally confused. “What business is it of yours?” She backed away, and he grabbed her arm again. Gently, this time. Once again, his touch sent her heart into overdrive.
“I just think you should steer clear of him.”
Julie jerked her arm out of his hand. “Who do you think you are? My father?” She spun around and headed in the opposite direction.
Julie stopped in her tracks.
“What?” she snapped.
“You’re gonna need a tardy pass.”
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