I have a SPECIAL treat for you all today! The Cold Blood tour is stopping HERE! WIN! If you follow me...well, anywhere, then you know how much I LOVE this book! And part of the tour is to give you all a snippet of the book! If you've been following the tour, you have read before this snippet, and tomorrow, you can read what's next. AND Heather is offering an ebook copy to one lucky winner! Did I say I LOVE this book? ;)
I sat in the chair next to her, while my mother lowered herself onto the sofa that lined the wall behind us. There were more framed portraits in here, with more names I'd never heard of, and a dark green tapestry covered the wall behind Vernon's desk with some sort of seal on it that depicted an eagle with a sword in its beak.
"Tara, this is Headmaster Whitfield. He runs Wood Point Academy," Grandma said, calling me back to the moment.
My eyes flicked from hers to his and I managed a polite smile. "Nice to meet you," I said.
Headmaster Whitfield, on the other hand, was grinning widely at the mention of his proper title and responsibility. His chest puffed out as he spoke. "And you, Tara. It's a privilege to have a Godfrey at our school again. We're very excited to have you. Do you have any questions for me?" I shook my head and he went on. "I know, due to your, er, circumstances this is a bit rushed. There isn't much time to do anything but jump in. Then again, from what your Grandma tells me, you're making up for lost time in your combat capabilities with raw talent. Still, we need to get you caught up. I've arranged for a tutor to help with that. If you work hard, you should have no trouble catching up in time to graduate next year."
"Sounds great," I said, wondering if he could hear the absolute lack of energy in my words. If he did, he ignored it.
"Here is your schedule." He handed me a sheet of paper. "We used your previous school's records to determine placement in English and Math. The rest is pretty standard here, but if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to voice them. We want this transition to be as seamless as possible. Oh, and there's a map of the property, and I've marked your room number and building so you can find it later."
Headmaster Whitfield handed me everything across the desk and glanced at Grandma, looking very much like a schoolboy seeking his teacher’s approval. She rewarded him with a smile and a nod that I took to mean she was satisfied. Headmaster Whitfield beamed.
I skimmed the schedule, trying to figure out what the names of the classes meant. I recognized English, and Algebra II, and American History, but the rest were foreign to me. There were classes like ‘Hunter History’ and 'Defensive Maneuvers 2'. Those actually sounded interesting. Then my eyes caught on a class called 'Lineage', and I remembered what Grandma had said about Hunters family lines being a source of pride here. So, I had to study genealogy? I’d rather do math.
"Oh, honey, I'm so excited for you," Grandma said. I looked up and saw that she was smiling at me, her face shining with pride.
"Thanks, Grandma." I held up my schedule. “Everything looks really, uh, interesting.”
Headmaster Whitfield cleared his throat. "Well, I think you belong in Defensive Maneuvers 2 right now."
"Right, we should let you get settled," Grandma said. She turned to Headmaster. "Oh, Vernon, her bags are still in the truck."
He waved his hands. "I'll have a student aide take them to her room for her. She can get right to class and unpack later."
"Thank you.” Grandma rose, and I followed her lead.
From the back of the room, my mother did the same and held the door open for us again. Grandma put her arm around me and guided me out.
"Let us know if you need anything, okay? And we'll visit in a few weeks." She pulled me into a hug before I could respond, which was good because words caught in my throat. A few weeks? I was stuck here for a few weeks before they’d be back to check on me?
I blinked the tears back, not wanting to show how upset I was. It wasn’t like I’d never been away from home. I’d done summer camps before and this wasn’t much different, but it felt so foreign…and final. There was all this unspoken pressure for me to live up to a family legacy that I didn’t even know existed until now.
Grandma stepped back, holding me at arm's length for a long look before finally letting me go. My mother stepped up and reached out for me. Behind her tight frown, her eyes were sad and, as usual, worried.
"You be careful, okay? Stay on school grounds. Don't leave at all," she said, into my ear.
"Oh, don't worry, Elizabeth. Students aren't allowed to leave school grounds at all," Headmaster Whitfield said.
My mother gave me a look that said “never stopped her before” and shook her head. Then they were walking away, down the long hall towards the lobby. At the end, they waved once, and then they were gone. I stared after them, feeling empty.
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Wood Point Academy is not at all what I expected. For one thing, it looks like a cross between military school and Buckingham Palace. Everyone stares, the floors shine so bright you can see your reflection in them from a mile away, and no one smiles. Unless they're kicking your butt in the process.
At least I've got plenty to take my mind off the fact that my psycho cousin, Miles De'Luca, keeps calling and declaring his love and promising to come for me just as soon as he's destroyed anyone standing in our way. Wes isn't going to like that idea. So between Miles, Wood Point's evil welcoming committee, and the drill sergeant hottie trainer from hell, I just keep asking myself, how did I end up here?