After a horrible accident claims the lives of her family, sixteen-year-old Ever Bloom can see people's auras, hear their thoughts, and know someone's entire life story by touching them. Going out of her way to avoid human contact and suppress her abilities, she has been branded a freak at her new high school - but everything changes when she meets Damen Auguste.
Damen is gorgeous, exotic, and wealthy. He's the only one who can silence the noise and random energy in her head - wielding a magic so intense, it's as though he can peer straight into her soul. As Ever is drawn deeper into his enticing world of secrets and mystery, she's left with more questions than answers. And she has no idea just who he really is - or what he is. The only thing she knows to be true is that she's falling deeply and helplessly in love with him.


5. four.

It was Riley who helped me recover my memories. Guiding me through childhood stories and reminding me of the lives we used to live and the friends we used to have, until it all began to resurface. She also helped me appreciate my new Southern California life. Because seeing her get so excited by my cool new room, my shiny red convertible, the amazing beaches, and my new school, made me realize that even though it wasn't the life I preferred, it still had value.

And even though we still fight and argue and get on each other's nerves as much as before, the truth is, I live for her visits. Being able to see her again gives me one less person to miss. And the time we spend together is the best part of each day.

The only problem is, she knows it. So every time I bring up the subjects she's declared strictly off limits, things like: When do I get to see Mom, Dad, and Buttercup? And, where do you go when you're not here? She punishes me by staying away. But even though her refusal to share really bugs me, I know better than to push it. It's not like I've confided my new aura spotting/mind-reading abilities, or how much it's changed me, including the way I dress.

"You're never gonna get a boyfriend dressed like that," she says, lounging on my bed as I rush through my morning routine, trying to get ready for school and out the door-more or less on time.

"Yeah, well, not all of us can just close our eyes and poof, have an amazing new wardrobe," I say, shoving my feet into worn out tennis shoes and tying the frayed laces. 

"Please, like Sabine wouldn't hand over her credit card and tell you to have at it. And what's with the hood? You in a gang?"

"I don't have time for this," I say, grabbing my books, iPod, and backpack, then heading for the door. "You coming?" I turn to look at her, my patience running big-time thin as she purses her lip and takes her time to decide.

"Okay," she finally says. "But only if you put the top down. I just love the feel of the wind in my hair."

"Fine." I head for the stairs. "Just make sure you're gone by the time we get to Miles's. It creeps me out to see you sitting in his lap without his permission."

By the time Miles and I get to school, Haven is already waiting by the gate, her eyes darting frantically, scanning the campus as she says, "Okay, the bell's gonna ring in less than five minutes and still no sign of Damen. You think he dropped out?" She looks at us, yellow eyes wide with alarm.

"Why would he drop out? He just started," I say, heading for my locker as she skips alongside me, the thick rubber soles of her boots bouncing off the pavement.

"Uh, because we're not worthy? Because he really is too good to be true?"

"But he has to come back. Ever leant him her copy of Wuthering Heights, which means he has to return it," Miles says, before I can stop him.

I shake my head, and spin my combination lock, feeling the weight of Haven's glare when she says, "When did this happen?" She puts her hand on her hip and stares at me. "Because you know I called dibs, right? And why didn't I get an update? Why didn't anyone tell me about this? Last I heard you hadn't even seen him yet."

"Oh, she saw him alright. I almost had to dial nine-one-one she freaked out so bad." Miles laughs. I shake my head, shut my locker, and head down the hall."Well, it's true." He shrugs, walking alongside me.

"So let me get this straight; you're more of a liability than a threat?" Haven peers at me through narrowed, heavily lined eyes, her jealousy transforming her aura into a dull puke green.

I take a deep breath and look at them, thinking how if they weren't my friends, I'd tell them how ridiculous this all is. I mean, since when can you call dibs on another person? Besides, it's not like I'm all that datable in my current voice-hearing, aura-seeing, baggy-sweatshirt-wearing condition.

But I don't say any of that. Instead I just say, "Yes, I'm a liability. I'm a huge uninsurable disaster waiting to happen. But I'm definitely not a threat. Mainly because I'm not interested. And I know that's probably hard to believe, with him being so gorgeous and sexy and hot and smoldering and combustible or whatever it is that you call him, but the truth is, I don't like Damen Auguste, and I don't know how else to say it!"

"Um, I don't think you need to say anything else," Haven mumbles, her face frozen as she stares straight ahead.

I follow her gaze, all the way to where Damen is standing, all shiny dark hair, smoldering eyes, amazing body, and knowing smile, feeling my heart skip two beats as he holds the door open and says, "Hey Ever, after you."

I storm toward my desk, narrowly avoiding the backpack Stacia has placed in my path, as my face burns with shame, knowing Damen's right there behind me, and that he heard every horrifying word I just said.

I toss my bag to the floor, slide onto my seat, lift my hood, and crank my iPod, hoping to drown out the noise and deflect what just happened, assuring myself that a guy like that-a guy so confident, so gorgeous, so completely amazing-is too cool to bother with the careless words of a girl like me. But just as I start to relax, just as I've convinced myself not to care, I'm jolted by an overwhelming shock-an electric charge infusing my skin, slamming my veins, and making my whole body tingle. And it's all because Damen placed his hand upon mine. 

It's hard to surprise me. Ever since I became psychic, Riley's the only one who can do so, and believe me, she never tires of finding new ways. But when I glance from my hand to Damen's face, he just smiles and says, "I wanted to return this." Then he gives me my copy of Wuthering Heights.

And even though I know this sounds weird and more than a little crazy, the moment he spoke, the whole room went silent. Seriously, like one moment it was filled with the sound of random thoughts and voices, and the next:?

Yet knowing how ridiculous that is, I shake my head and say, "Are you sure you don't want to keep it? Because I really don't need it, I already know how it ends." And even though he removes his hand from mine, it's a moment before all the tingling dies down.

"I know how it ends too," he says, gazing at me in a way so intense, so insistent, so intimate, I quickly look away. And just as I'm about to reinsert my earbuds, so I can block out the sound of Stacia and Honor's continuous loop of cruel commentary, Damen places his hand back on mine and says, "What're you listening to?" And the whole room goes quiet again. Seriously, for those few brief seconds, there were no swirling thoughts, no hushed whispers, nothing but the sound of his soft, lyrical voice. I mean, when it happened before, I figured it was just me. But this time I know that it's real. Because even though people are still talking and thinking and engaging in all of the usual things, it's completely blocked by the sound of his words.

I squint, noticing how my body has' gone all warm and electric; wondering what could possibly be causing it. I mean, it's not like I haven't had my hand touched before, though I've yet to experience anything remotely like this.

"I asked what you're listening to." He smiles. A smile so private and intimate, I feel my face flush. "Oh, um, it's just some goth mix my friend Haven made. It's mostly old, eighties stuff, you know like the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bauhaus." I shrug, unable to avert my gaze as I stare into his eyes, trying to determine their exact color. 

"You're into goth?" he asks, brows raised, eyes skeptical, taking inventory of my long blond ponytail, dark blue sweatshirt, and makeup-free, clean scrubbed skin.

"No, not really. Haven's all into it." I laugh-a nervous, cackling, cringe-worthy sound-that bounces off all four walls and right back at me.

"And you? What are you into?" His eyes still on mine, his face clearly amused. And just as I'm about to answer, Mr. Robins walks in, his cheeks red and flushed, but not from a brisk walk like everyone thinks. 

And then Damen leans back in his seat, and I take a deep breath and lower my hood, sinking back into the familiar sounds of adolescent angst, test stress, body image issues, Mr. Robin's failed dreams, and Stacia, Honor, and Craig all wondering what the hot guy could possibly see in me.

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