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C O M I N G   S  O  O N




Psychopath.  Borderline.  Crazy. Seventeen-year-old Maryanne wears each term like a badge of pride. Expelled from her twelfth boarding school, she is sent to live with her paternal aunt, Elaine, and Elaine’s husband James Thorne, a well-known author.

But as Maryanne crafts an elaborate plan to to defame and destroy him, they both discover that words are more powerful than either of them could imagine.



         A dare is a dare, and I take his seriously, seeking him out only when I’m ready to spar again. Words are my weapon of choice, slaved over for hours. 


         He’s in his office. I find him gazing out of one of the bay windows, wearing that pensive expression that makes me ball my hands into fists. Piercing, blue eyes all stormy and narrowed, clenched lower jaw, and bottom lip skewered between two perfect rows of teeth. 

I’m tempted to touch him the most when he’s like this: brooding. So damn surly. A part of me itches to run my fingers through his hair and count the many ways he makes my body react: pulse hammering, palms sweating, heart swelling. 


         “What is it?” His eyes find me as I creep to the threshold of the room, my bare toes grazing the polished floor. 

I lift my journal and watch his gaze sharpen with renewed interest. “I’ve finished.” 


         His grunt beckons me forward, close enough to set my book on the desk and then scuttle beyond his reach. Hidden in the shadows, where the light of his desk lamp doesn’t reach, I’m protected from his scrutiny. 

Not that what he thinks matters. 


         It doesn’t. 


         Not even as my breath sticks in my chest while he mulls the request over. I’m selfish, biting into his time, desperate for any bit I can chew off. It’s only lately that he’ll let me nibble. A minute there. A few seconds here. Writing is the one trick I’ve learned to get close to him, even if it’s only through crumpled notebook pages. 


         “I’m busy,” he says finally. It’s the truth. 


         A laptop is open before him, and his fingers are studiously tapping the keys—the first hint of writing I’ve seen from him since arriving here. Gradually, the typing slows as he eyes my journal a second time. Sighing, he picks it up and flips it open. 


         The longer he scans the pages, the harder my teeth clench. It could be because he keeps it ice cold in here. To think better, I guess. The cold makes everything sharper. The view of the ocean seems more expansive than usual, a bloody sunset and stormy, gray clouds. Even the décor is enhanced by the atmosphere; the black leather of his chair gleams, as unreachable as the waves churning in the distance. 

Finally, his eyes still over my final scrawled sentence. 


         “Maryanne…” He looks up, and I hate the way my stomach lurches. Like it’s connected to a hook, yanked at the whim of his gaze. When he’s surly and disinterested, the pressure loosens. But when those irises darken with an unreadable emotion, I’m jerked forward, on the tips of my toes. “I—” He swallows hard and looks from me to the pages and back again. Then he sets them aside. 


         I know better than to reach for the journal. I know better than to ask him out loud for his verdict. 


         The way he glares at his computer screen, says it all. 


         Some boundaries aren’t meant to be tested.