Phoenix: The Rising

Free Phoenix: The Rising by Bette Maybee

Book: Phoenix: The Rising by Bette Maybee Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bette Maybee
up. She clicked on the first one and scanned the page. Allison Garst’s body was found just as Charsey had described, after the area had been searched repeatedly, but nothing was mentioned about her clothes, or lack of them. It did say her death was being investigated as a possible homicide . . . and that she had just moved to the area. Just like Jared White. Just like her.
    Julie clicked on an arrow below the picture of a police car sitting on the road. She reeled back in her chair when the young woman’s face popped up. Thick, auburn-red curls cascaded just past Allison’s shoulders and soft, wispy bangs brushed the top of her eyes. Her deep, green eyes. Julie pushed a button and the screen darkened. She stared unblinking at her reflection as she ran her finger along a two-inch, razor-thin scar just under her left collarbone. So young. No one deserves to die this young. No one.
    A tap at the door startled Julie back to the moment. Great! Dad wants to talk ... or worse yet, Renatta wants to jump down my throat. Julie marched over to the door and stood by it.
    A male voice mumbled something unintelligible. Dad! She sighed in relief. She could handle talking to her father for a few minutes. She opened the door.
    “What the...?”
    Eli Sullivan didn’t wait for an invitation; he stepped into Julie’s room and closed the door. Sweat glistened at his temples. Julie took three steps back into the room, not quite far enough to dispel the electric charge she immediately felt in his presence.
    “What the hell are you doing here?”
    “I saw that your light was on.”
    Julie looked around the room. Her window faced the back of the house, and the house wasn’t visible from the road, which was outside of a locked gate.
    “Bullshit. Impossible. The gate is locked, and you can’t see my room from the road.”
    Eli smiled. “I saw it on under your door.”
    Julie bit her lip. “Who let you in? My dad? Renatta?”
    Eli took a step closer. Julie could feel the air become charged again. She began to feel light-headed. “I let myself in. The front door was unlocked. You should be more careful.” Julie expected him to walk up and grab her, to kiss her again just like he did on Friday, but Eli marched past her and over to the window. He scanned the yard below. “You never know who might show up unexpectedly.”
    Julie stood frozen to her spot as she regained her senses. Why did she react that way every time he was near? She shook her head to clear her thoughts. “You mean, like Penemue?”
    Eli looked out the window once again, then turned to face Julie. “I checked the grounds before I came up. He’s not here. But you really should make sure your doors are locked at night.”
    Julie sat on her bed. “Do you really think he’s going to try something?”
    Eli sat on the opposite end. “Did you see his face this morning? He’s pretty messed up. Broken nose. A chipped tooth. I saw him after I helped you find your keys.”
    Julie breathed a sigh of relief. “Then it wasn’t him.”
    “Wasn’t him?”
    “That followed me home. I saw a black pick-up like his behind me on the road this morning. I thought it was him.”
    Eli shook his head. “He seemed pretty busy with Charsey in the hallway after first hour. Looks like they’re hooking up. He didn’t say a word to me when I walked by him, so I’m pretty sure he has no idea I’m the one who broke his nose.” He reached out and smoothed a wrinkle on the bedcover. Julie’s heart began to pound as she looked at his hand.
    “A broken nose. A chipped tooth. One punch. And you without a mark to show for it.” Eli attempted to pull his hand back, but she grabbed it. Her heart immediately began to thrum as a jolt of electricity traveled up her arm, but she held on. She didn’t know why she was feeling these things when she came into contact with him, but she was determined to find out.
    Eli’s eyes flashed up to hers. She could see lights beginning to flicker

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