Authors: Karina Halle
Tags: #Fantasy, #Horror, #Romance, #Adult, #Mystery, #Suspense, #Goodreads 2012 Horror
Also by Karina Halle
The Experiment in Terror Series
Darkhouse (EIT #1)
Red Fox (EIT #2)
The Benson (EIT #2.5)
Dead Sky Morning (EIT #3)
Lying Season (EIT #4)
On Demon Wings (EIT #5)
Old Blood (EIT #5.5)
Into the Hol ow (EIT #6) – Fal 2012
Novels by Karina Halle
Lost in Wanderlust
\m/ Metal Blonde Books \m/
First Kindle edition published by Metal Blonde Books May
Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names,
characters, places, and incidents either are the product of
the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any
resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or
dead, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 by Karina Hal e
Al rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this
book or portions thereof in any form whatsoever.
Published at Amazon Kindle
Cover design by Bret Taylor
Author photo by Amanda Sanderson
Edited by Robert Hel e
Metal Blonde Books
P.O. Box 845
Point Roberts, WA
Manufactured in the USA
For more information about the series
and author visit:
For my, my, my, my Mitchel for always being my number
one fan and one heck of a sexy cover model
I was standing in a forest, the trunks of the slender trees
wrapped in a blue-green twilight that fell quickly from the
East. I was alone except for the fireflies that darted about
in the pine-scented air above my head. My body felt odd
and slightly feverish, my limbs went from cold and goose-
pimply to hot and sweat-sheened in cycles. I wasn’t sure
where I was, maybe by the river where I had walked earlier
in the day, but further away from the roar of the currents.
I couldn’t remember how I got here, or why I was in my
sleeping attire, but I wasn’t worried and I wasn’t afraid.
For once, in a very long time, I was not afraid.
I heard my name on the wind as it brushed my hair off
my shoulders and swirled the aqua light away from me. I
followed it, my feet quick and quiet on the damp grass.
I cleared back the branches of the trees, hearing
strange voices emerging from the dark places around me.
They sounded so far away. I heard someone crying. She
sounded like my sister.
I continued through the glade, my pace quickening as
the darkness dropped even faster. Finally I saw him, the
one who had been calling for me.
He sat on a log with his back to me, a camera placed
beside him, the light from it illuminating the trees and
adding extra sparkle to the fireflies.
I glided toward him, drawn forth like a magnet. I couldn’t
He didn’t stir until I was standing right behind him. He
raised his head without looking at me. Another breeze
wafted past and tossed his black hair delicately. The scent
of Old Spice and Nicorette filled my nose.
I hated that smell.
Perry,” he said, his voice unmistakably Dex. “I thought
I’d never see you again.”
And you still won’t,” I replied.
I reached down with my hands, placed them on both
sides of his cold, rough face and with one quick motion I
broke his neck, the SNAP of his vertebrae shattering
through the still forest.
Dex slumped to the ground, motionless.
I smiled to myself and walked away.
A giant shudder ran through me, almost causing the coffee I
was handling to spil out over the sides. Sorry, not
but an extra-hot, no-foam, triple-shot, gold-dusted, magic-
whipped, unicorn-blessed mother of al cappuccinos.
I quickly glanced up at Larry, the regular who waited
impatiently for his daily creation of pomp and circumstance
in a paper cup. His lips were squeezed tightly together, his
eyes on the beverage, more concerned for it than the
deathly shiver that had just rol ed through his barista.
I composed myself – that was the last time I’d let myself
think about my disturbing dreams at work – and handed
him his coffee with a smile.
“Have a great day!” I exclaimed.
You nitpicking twat
Larry took the drink from my hands as if I were seconds
from dumping it on his head (he wasn’t too far off), shot me
a barely perceptible look of disdain, and left the coffee
I let out a sigh of relief and closed my eyes, a migraine
threatening to appear.
“Hey, Perry, you doing OK?” Ash asked.
I looked up and gave my col eague a tight smile. I could
keep up the cheery pretenses with the customers, but not
“Just feeling a bit under the weather again,” I said
sheepishly. I had only been working at Port-Town coffee for
six weeks and it seemed like every other day I was
suffering from kil er cramps, a terrible migraine, dizzy
spel s, painful bloating or plain old pissyness. Oh, and a
broken heart. I tried to keep my complaints at a minimum
because I didn’t want the manager, Shay, to regret hiring
me but sometimes it was hard to hide.
Ash was extremely observant, too. He was a few years
younger than me and had aspirations of being a criminal
investigator but his dirt-poor upbringing forced him to be a
barista for way longer than he ought. I wasn’t much better.
There I was, a failed internet host, who, despite having a
degree in advertising, had found herself unable to get any
kind of respectful employment aside from shoving coffee
down Portland’s throat. Not that being a barista was
anything to look down upon, but I wondered if al my sudden
ailments were related to the nagging feeling that I wasn’t
doing what I
That said, things weren’t al bad. Ash was a cute kid and
I’d hung out with him quite a bit, as I did with Shay, Steve,
Mikeala and a few other coffee pushers. We had fun at
work, and when I wasn’t being bombarded with people like
Larry, who demanded the most ridiculous drinks, or Marge,
the old lady who paid with pennies, the job was fairly low-
stress and it al owed me to continue living at my parents’
house without being guilt-tripped about it. It also ended the
“I told you sos,” which had lasted for at least a few weeks
after I returned from Seattle.
I don’t like to talk about that time, let alone think about
that time. It’s probably why I’d been having so many icky
dreams lately – my subconscious was pushing them up
through the ground, like bones through a fresh grave.
To put it mildly, December had been a hel of a month. I
was in a very black place, one I feared I would never crawl
out of. But I did eventual y crawl out that hole, dragging
myself out of the depression by my fingernails. My younger
sister Ada helped; she was a great shoulder to cry on. And
by cry, I mean slobber. I was an ugly, hysterical mess more
often than not. I never knew that kind of agony before.
Perhaps I had been lucky that so many boys ignored me for
most of my life.
Final y, getting this job helped, too. It forced me to go
somewhere every day and put on my best face. Put on my
best face and try to forget the pain that stil ricocheted
through me from time to time, pain that intensified when
certain songs came on the radio, a pain that left you with a
tear-soaked pil ow in the morning.
I never spoke to Dex again. He tried, though, but I’l give
him no credit for it. I got cal s from him right after he twisted
that pin in my heart, a mil ion voicemails that I deleted
(before I smashed my phone in a fit of rage). I got a new
number, changed my email and total y withdrew from the
little life I had attempted, which meant no contact with
Jimmy, Rebecca or anyone at the Shownet office. Nothing
against them – personal y – but it was just too hard. I
needed to move on.
By the time February rol ed around, I was in a better
place. Of course, it’s not fun to feel sick al the time. I
gained that pre-bootcamp weight back, and I felt pretty
disappointed in myself for taking the risk on Experiment in
Terror in the first place. For putting my heart on the line.
But I learned, and I
“Do you stil want to come out tomorrow tonight?” Ash
asked, his eyes staying on me and not on the customer
who just walked in the shop. He had very nice, bright hazel
eyes. They didn’t appeal to me in a romantic way but they
reminded me of a brother I never had.
“Definitely,” I told him. I pointed to the washrooms. “I’m
fine. I think I just need to splash cold water on my face.”
He nodded and took care of the customer as I escaped
to the safety of the washroom. I was lucky to have someone
like Ash. I was only working part-time, but I desperately
wanted to move onto ful -time and then hopeful y shift
supervisor. As you can imagine, I made minimum wage
and if I were to ever get out of my parents’ house, I needed
a lot more dough. Feeling sick and occasional y trying to
fight back tears when Bil y Joel comes on the stereo
doesn’t make me look like the best employee, someone
Shay would want to eventual y promote, but Ash has been
the only one who has caught on that not al is right with me
and he’s been doing a pretty good job of covering up.