Identity Unknown

"Being back here made me see how much it can get to you; the training, all of the lessons, even just the environment we are in. We aren't the same as everyone else. And everyone else can never know.'

After six months of searching for her father, Charlotte Goode returns to the Gallagher Academy. Exams and eager friends await, but something is wrong. When a phone call changes everything, Zach can offer the answer - but someone will stop at nothing to keep him silent. And when a double agent is revealed, Charlotte must choose who to trust - but time is running out, and the Academy's greatest secrets are at risk.

The stakes are higher, but is she ready?


16. Beautiful Monster

I knew for a fact that the walk from our suite to the CoveOps classroom only takes twelve minutes, but it felt a lot longer with Rick at my side, firing questions.

"How much longer until we get there?" he asked.

"Why are you walking so fast?" he complained.

"What time is breakfast served?" he grumbled.

I wheeled around.

"Look, I know you're new to this. But if we're going to get along, you have got to stop talking constantly. You're doing my head in!"

"At least answer the breakfast question then - I'm starving!" he begged.

I rolled my eyes. "Eight o'clock sharp, which is when the session ends..." I tailed off, reading the scrap of paper taped to the classroom door, telling us that the revision session had been cancelled. I sighed inwardly and turned to face Rick.

"We'll have to find something else to do." He raised an eyebrow suggestively.

"Hey!" he complained as I slapped his arm. "You can give me the Grand Tour of The Gallagher Academy then." He winked again, grabbing my arm.

"You have got to stop doing that," I declared, lifting my eyes from the floor to his face.

"Are you scared I'll end up charming you?" he said softly, leaning closer. I could smell spearmint on his breath and tried to take my gaze away from his gorgeous green eyes. "Tour starts down here," I said quietly, but I didn't pull away when he reached for my hand.

I led him through the library, occasionally peppering our conversation with random trivia that I remembered from when I was first shown around the Academy. For the first time since we'd met, he seemed completely at ease. He had an air of confidence about him, but I could detect whether it was genuine or just a facade.

After showing Rick the highlights of the Academy (which unfortunately didn't include the P&E barn, as twelfth-graders were preparing for an exam in Brazilian street fighting), I led him back to the library. I chose a cushy chair opposite the roaring fire in the centre of the Library and sat down, Rick beside me. 

"Any questions?" I asked, quite satisfied with the tour guide spiel I had provided him with.

"Do you have a boyfriend?" he asked.

"About the Academy," I said, rolling my eyes.

"I'm serious!" he insisted, inching closer. "I like you, Charlie," he said softly, brushing a strand of hair out of my eyes.

"Look, I..." I started, but not before Rick had taken my hand in his and traced my fingernails with a touch so delicate.

"Do you want me to do your nails like that?" I said, surprised to hear a flirting cadence to my tone. But he was serious. He gripped my wrist to the point that it was uncomfortable. I tried to pull away, but he was persistent.

"Why did your brother kill Stevens?" he whispered, his voice strong. I jerked away again, but his grip was like a vice.

"I don't know," I said sharply, suddenly afraid. I went to stand, but he grabbed my waist in a way that was more forceful than romantic.

"He was my friend," Rick spat. He suddenly dropped my hands and rubbed his own palm across his forehead.

"But, he tried to kill us," I said carefully. Rick just laughed, but I couldn't comprehend the joke.

"He tried to kill you. And now he's not here, someone's gotta finish the job." He moved closer, his eyes dark.

"Am I interrupting?" Bex's confident voice carried across the quiet library. I stood quickly and headed towards her. She wiggled her eyebrows at me, but stopped at my terrified expression. But Rick appeared before she got the chance to speak.

"Breakfast time?" he said hopefully, his voice seemingly innocent. Bex nodded and led the way. But she hadn't heard what I had, didn't understand why I pulled away when a gorgeous boy reached for my hand.

A gorgeous boy who wanted me dead.


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