Read Chaos (Kardia Chronicles) (Entangled Teen) Online

Authors: Christine O'Neil

Tags: #teen, #ember, #goddess, #young adult, #god, #Christine O'Neil, #romance series, #Chaos, #romance, #entangled, #mythology, #Entangled DigiTeen, #succubus

Chaos (Kardia Chronicles) (Entangled Teen) (2 page)

BOOK: Chaos (Kardia Chronicles) (Entangled Teen)
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I pressed a hand to my locker and opened up the tiniest of escape valves, the spout of a teakettle, whistling off a stream of steam. The cheap metal instantly heated against my skin, the door buckling and warping on the spot just beneath my fingertips.

“Uh, Mags—” Libby whispered urgently, but a male voice cut her off.

“How’s it going there, Libby? Maggie.”

I turned around, still trying to catch my breath, and there he was, strolling by, a cocky grin splitting his sinfully beautiful face.

Mac Finnegan, who had decided that being the new kid wasn’t bad enough, so he had to actively go out of his way to make enemies. Mac Finnegan, who wanted to turn my world upside down rather than minding his own business. Mac Finnegan, who didn’t know the meaning of live and let live.

Mac Finnegan, who clearly had no idea who he was fucking with.


It was one fifty-three, and I stared at the clock, willing the hands to move faster. Dr. Pepper—I so wish I was kidding—droned on endlessly and everything seemed like it was moving in slo-mo as I seethed.

I’d get a tardy for cooking class if I went to track down Mac at his locker on the opposite wing before sixth period, but my head would literally explode all over these avocado walls if I didn’t. So for the good of the school, I’d suck it up and take the detention if I was late.

Earlier when Mac had strolled past my locker, I’d tried to get my shit together and let him know exactly what I thought of his little note. To hit him with one of the dozens of cutting put-downs that would’ve been on the tip of my tongue had I been a different person. A regular person. The kind of person who used her brain to come up with kickass comebacks instead of letting anger get the better of her, making her think—and sometimes do—bad things.

Instead, I watched him walk by, impotent rage writhing under the surface of my skin like a nest of vipers.

Now that I’d had time to settle down some—I was still mad, but I had things under control—a gazillion witty comebacks waited in the wings, each one carefully crafted and designed to wipe that smug fucking smile right off his face.

Still, I needed to find out what the hell was going on with him. More importantly, I needed to figure out why he’d chosen
me
as the person he wanted to screw with most.

It seemed so random. He’d barely even acknowledged my existence at school since he’d enrolled in September, and now he was all in my business. I couldn’t understand for the life of me what I’d done to deserve it. Did he really just hate my column so much he felt like he had to put me on blast like that?

My cheeks grew warm again, and I wondered who else, if anyone, had read his response. Was he passing them out everywhere, or was that a special edition just for me? While neither was ideal, option B was at least less humiliating. It was also the least likely one, but a girl could hope.

I looked up again and realized, while I’d been stressing, the clock had finally decided to cooperate and Dr. Pepper started wrapping it up. About time.

“So with that, I need you to read pages eighty-three through eighty-nine for homework and answer the questions at the end of the chapter for tomorrow.” The bell cut him off, and per the status quo, we all stood, grabbed our books, and walked out with his nasally voice chasing us. “Make sure you restate the question in your answer, and—”

I didn’t wait for the rest of his speech or for Libby, and went barreling down the hall.

“So what are you going to do?” she asked, rushing behind me to catch up. Funny how much faster my stubby little legs could go when I was hella pissed off.

“I’m going to call him out, and then I’m going to tell him…” What? What
exactly
was I going to tell him? That my unauthorized and highly frowned-upon little school column was the only one allowed, and he’d better stop stepping on my turf? I pictured a bad dance-off à la
High School Musical
between us and smiled despite my fury. Mainly because, in my imagination, I’d saddled Mac with a pair of red leather pants and a faux-hawk, and he looked like a friggin’ idiot.

“You know what? I’m just going to ask him flat out what he thinks he’s trying to pull. I mean, we hardly know each other.”

Guilt pricked me at the white lie. We knew each other
a little
.

He’d just moved in two streets over from me, and one night, when I’d gone out for a walk to clear my head, I’d seen him at the park on the corner playing with his dog. He was impossible to miss. Tall…so frigging tall, with shoulders wider than any guy on the Crestwood football team, even with their pads on. I’d tried so hard not to look when he squatted low to give his German shepherd a pat, but his button-fly jeans pulled tight over his muscular thighs and it was a wonder I didn’t wind up drooling on his hand right next to Fido. So. Hot. I don’t know if I whimpered or he just sensed my presence, but when he looked up it only got worse.

His face was beautiful. The kind of face with the power to make even a seriously badass girl start scribbling her first name next to his last name in the margins of all her notebooks. Straight, masculine nose, chiseled cheekbones, full but firm lips, and perfectly groomed light brown hair made for a pretty fine picture. Then he smiled and “pretty fine” became “holy-mother-of-God” and my stomach bottomed out.

Luck was with me, for once, and before I could make a total fool of myself, his unleashed shepherd came at me fast, barking like he meant serious, unpleasant business. An animal lover through and through, I stayed chill and waited, grateful for the reprieve and using that time to get my shit together before I became a stuttering idiot or worse. The dog stopped barking and sniffed my leg, eventually licking my hand while I patted him.

Mac had come running up, breathless and semi-apologetic. Ish. The blood was pounding in my ears, but I think I made some sense as I responded. Then again, who’s to say? We talked for a minute but things got…weird.

If it had only happened that day, I could make sense of it. First sighting of a gorgeous guy around my age, maybe my insta-lust had made it awkward. But months had passed and things had never gotten less weird. We only had two classes together—Art II and Mythology—so it wasn’t like we had to spend a whole lot of time together, but the time we did spend?

Weird.

Like I wanted him in a way that made no sense. Like I was drawn to him even though I knew almost nothing about him. And when he looked at me a little too hard, and his smile was always sort of mocking… I wanted to grab him tight and smack the shit out of him all at the same time. Yeah, weird. Enough that I wanted to turn away the second our paths crossed. But that was before. Those days were over.

If anyone should be uncomfortable now, it was him. Because I didn’t care about his body or his stupid face anymore. I was about to get medieval on his ass.

Libby continued chattering from behind me. “At least if he does go public with his column, he didn’t name you in his response. Maybe he’ll keep it to himself.”

I didn’t get my hopes up because although she was right so far, there was still a very real chance that he’d blow my cover whenever it suited him.

“Maybe he just wants to make more friends and thinks this will make him popular or whatever,” Libby said, not even bothering to hide her disgust at that theory.

Libby was like the patron saint of nerds, which was pretty odd if you were on the outside looking in. Blond, beautiful, funny, with a body from long-distance running that made most of the cheerleaders want to rush to the bathroom and hork up their chicken nuggets and tater tots after lunch. She was exactly the type of person you’d think would be all about her image and what people thought.

Not even close.

Libby was a theater geek, with a passion for woodwind instruments and Victorian literature. She loved clothes and dressing up but always seemed to miss the mark, with kooky stuff like berets and leg warmers making appearances, sometimes simultaneously.

Today she had on a pink puffy skirt with matching flats and her blond hair was secured in a bun at the top of her head with a pair of chopsticks. All in all, she looked like either the prettiest girl to ever escape a mental hospital or like she’d jacked a ballerina on the way to school and stolen her gear. And she didn’t give a crap. She was entirely unconcerned about popularity, so the idea that Mac had stooped to some stealth attack on me to gain street cred had made her even more indignant on my behalf than she’d been before.

I rounded the corner to the east wing and was about to shoot down her theory about Mac, since in the few months he’d been at Crestwood, he’d amassed a shitload of groupies and a bunch of male imitators. He might not hang out with the jocks or be part of the way “in” crowd, but he was definitely on everyone’s radar.

And now he was on mine. Literally. I zeroed in on his annoyingly broad shoulders covered in that dumb too-fitted tan jacket he always wore and cut a path toward him. Libby slowed and called after me. “I, uh, guess I’ll see you in Mr. Weston’s class. Be careful, Mags…”

Another thing about Libby: she always knew when I was going to make a scene and magically seemed to melt into the background. I didn’t blame her, but I didn’t respond either. I was too focused on my target.

“What the hell, Finnegan?” I spat when I was close enough for him to hear.

He turned around casually, like it was every day that an irate female came from behind and bitched him out in the hallway. Who knew? If he treated the girls at his old school the way he was treating me, that was probably the case. And even so, I still felt the odd little pull in my stomach.

Want.

I shoved it back and glared at him.

“Hey, Maggie.” His gray eyes seemed to twinkle with a challenge then flickered lower. Was he seriously checking me out right now? I scowled at him harder and his lips twitched a little before his face went blank and his gaze zeroed back in on mine. “What can I do for you?”

He said it like, “Fer ya,” in that accent that both irritated me and always somehow made me want to repeat him out loud, which made me even madder.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I bit out through gritted teeth.

“Just now?” His brows drew together. “I was thinking how they must have some shirts in the girls’ section and wondering why you opted to get yours from the guys’ department instead.” He leaned back against his locker and shrugged. “Then I decided to be polite and keep my thoughts to myself.”

My mouth dropped open, because WTF, and I barely resisted the urge to tug on my standard-issue vintage concert T-shirt that, aside from being a little big, looked just fine, thank you very much. “Do you have a specific problem with me, or are you just a pain in the ass in general?”

He tipped his head to the side like he was considering each word. “Hard question to answer, but I’m going to have to say no on both counts, although my mother might disagree on the latter.”

“Don’t play stupid. You know what I’m talking about. I got your little letter in my locker.” I jammed a hand on my hip and tried not to let my voice go all shrill, like it did when I got really pissed. It was a short trip from that to the prepubescent boy cracking stage, and that always felt like it undermined my credibility.

I glanced around at the thinning crowd and hissed in a furious whisper, “The advice column thing is my deal. You starting your own is bad enough, but doing it just to argue with my points is crossing the line. And the name calling… What the hell?”

I tapped my booted foot in a furious beat on the scuffed black-and-white linoleum. I started to say more, but his brow was furrowed like he was deep in thought. Maybe that was all that needed saying. Maybe he hadn’t realized what a dickwad he was being, and now that I’d pointed out the error of his ways, he’d stop and—

“Thing of it is, Maggie…your column is shite.”

My brain booted down, and I stopped tapping, staring up at him in shock.

“What did you just say?”

He shrugged a ridiculously wide shoulder and shook his head, sending a lock of brown hair slipping onto his forehead, which he shoved away impatiently. “Come on. It’s the ranting of an unhappy, boyfriendless teenage girl with no real understanding of relationships or guys at all. Not to mention the terrible, Dr. Phil advice you always give. That’s not real life.”

He shifted his pile of books to his other arm and slammed the door of his locker shut as I stood there, speechless, still trying to process what he was saying. But he wasn’t done yet. “They’d be better off cracking open a fortune cookie and getting an answer there. I’m just trying to offset your damage.”

My jaw was still swinging when the bell rang and he walked away.

Walked. Away. Seriously? If I was mad before,
this
time, the anger that tore through me was a living thing, with breath and pulse and depth and color.

Red.

When I called after him this time, my voice was the furthest thing from shrill, and it echoed down the now-empty hallway. “Don’t move, Finnegan. Or else.”

He slowed and then stopped, but he didn’t turn to face me. Instead, he shifted to peer at me over his shoulder. “Or else what, Maggie?” The icy look in his eyes made me pause, but only for a second.

My nails dug deeply into the palms of my hands as a thousand ancient curses I didn’t even realize I knew flew to my lips, unspoken.

That should have been a good thing, the unspoken part. Problem was, they didn’t need to be spoken. All I had to do was…nothing. I didn’t have to
do
anything. It was there. Ready. Waiting. I just had to take the cap off and let it flow. It would be a relief I only knew when I was sleeping. Even earlier, my little locker meltdown had only been the barest minimum leak. The finest of cracks in the eggshell, with a trickle of power allowed to ooze out.

If I really let it go—

“Get to class, Mr. Finnegan. Miss Raynard.” Hortense’s stern voice called from the open doors of her classroom.

Mac finally turned then to face me fully, and his gaze held mine for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a second. What I saw there confused me enough that when Hortense repeated herself, I obeyed without argument. Disgust? Challenge? Hatred?

BOOK: Chaos (Kardia Chronicles) (Entangled Teen)
4.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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