P. J. Stone, like most eighteen-year-old girls, is a little boy crazy and somewhat obsessed with finding the perfect boyfriend. Some days she feels like she might be the last remaining virgin in her entire high school, and maybe even the entire tri-state area.
After a traumatic night at a friend's party, P. J. realizes what she truly wants has been right under her nose all along. Bryn O'Bannon, her best friend and partner in crime since age five, is head over heels in love with her, and she feels the same about him.
But P. J.'s life isn't that simple. She's a member of a separate society that exists secretly among the rest of the world; the society raises gifted individuals to protect the world from interdimensional interlopers, and P. J. was taught to put duty before her heart. She is expected to choose a suitable mate in order to perpetuate the Seer line. Unfortunately, Bryn is a Guardian and is forbidden to date-let alone mate with-a Seer such as herself.
As if figuring out her love life isn't complicated enough, P. J. begins having visions of a threat to her world only she is able to perceive. Now, she must concoct and execute a plan to avert world disaster while at the same time avoiding the dissolution of her love life.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.94(d)|
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Enemy through the GatesA P. J. Stone Novel—Book 1
By D. T. Dyllin
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2011 D. T. Dyllin
All right reserved.
Chapter One"What?" I said with annoyance as I felt someone pinch the back of my arm, startling me back to reality.
I looked up to see my best friend Bryn's dark blue eyes glittering with amusement. "Day dreaming again? Who is it this time? Let me guess." He leaned back in his seat and scanned the room around us. When his eyes came to rest on Evan Thompson, who just happened to be sitting in the exact spot my vacant gaze had been fixated on for the past half hour, he rolled his eyes. "Really? Evan Thompson? Like you have any chance at all with him."
I shot Bryn an evil glare. "Hey! I might not have had a shot with him last year, but this year is different."
Bryn interrupted me with another eye roll. "Here we go again. Just because your tits have grown like half a cup size isn't going to change anything. Trust me when I say you're probably the only one who can tell the difference."
I brought my arms up over my—fine—less than ample bosoms, to protect them from his hurtful words. "You noticed." I grumbled, in protest.
He chuckled. "Only because I noticed you prancing around like they're suddenly D cups."
"Okay, this is just weird. Can we please not talk about my cup size, or lack thereof anymore? You may be my best friend, but you're still a guy. Besides I have plenty of other qualities that might interest someone like Evan Thompson." Bryn gave me a pitying look before going back to doodling on his folder, letting me know he thought our conversation wasn't worth his time anymore. "Fine. Whatever, Bryn Aries O'Bannon." I hissed. "Nobody asked you anyways."
Bryn clutched the sides of his desk and turned to deliver me a death glare of his own. "Quiet, Paige Joplin Stone. You wanna use my middle name for everyone to hear, then two can play at that game."
"Shut up!" I cringed at hearing my middle name said aloud, "My name is P.J."
His lips curved up slightly at the corners. "What was that Paige Joplin Stone? I couldn't quite hear you?"
A few kids turned around in their seats, their interest piqued by me and Bryn's exchange, not that I could blame them, there usually wasn't much excitement in study hall, but why did my conversation have to suddenly catch everyone's attention? Realizing I could be blown out of the water and my entire high school career ruined, I shot Bryn a pleading look. "Okay. Fine. I'll shut up if you do. Just please don't say that name out loud ever again."
Bryn gave me his patented lopsided grin, complete with dimples and ran his hand through his thick black hair as he met my eyes. "Well I don't know, what are you willing to give me for my silence."
Now I was starting to get angry. Most of the time Bryn was great, my partner in crime since we were the age of five, but lately he was becoming relentless in his harassment of yours truly. And truth be told, he knew way too much about me for it to be even the tiniest bit amusing, case in point with my middle name. Bryn was the only person outside of family, and faculty members at my school, who were privy to such top-secret information. It would be hard enough to make it through high school relatively unscathed without such handicaps as everyone knowing your middle name is Joplin because your quirky mother's favorite singer is Janis Joplin. "I swear to God Bryn, if you don't shut up right now, I'm never going to talk to you again."
Bryn laughed. "You'd never be able to find someone who puts up with you the way I do and you'd come crawling back to me in less than a day."
"I hate you," I grated.
"You love me." His eyes twinkled brighter, which only made me want to scratch them out.
"No, I hate you," I repeated with more vehemence.
"Whatever you say," he said as he returned to his stupid doodle.
I sat and stewed for the rest of the period until the bell, or buzzer, if I really wanted to get technical, signaled it was time for lunch, thank the heavens. I gathered my stuff, jammed it into my bag, and bolted for the door. I usually waited for Bryn since we always ate lunch together, but since I was still mad at him, I didn't bother. I had made it about half way down the hall before he caught up with me.
"Awe, come on, I was only kidding. Don't be so touchy." I turned my head to avoid eye contact with him and sped up my pace. He matched my speed with ease on his longer legs. Damn Guardian growth spurts, only a few months ago I was almost as tall as him, but now he towered over my 5'9", which isn't exactly short, especially for a girl I might add. "Okay, I'm sorry. Is that what you want? An official apology?" When I didn't respond he continued on, "Someone like Evan Thompson would never notice you because you would never even blip on his radar. You've seen the trashy girls he's with all the time. You're too good for him. It was kind of a compliment what I said before—in a backhanded sort of way."
"Very backhanded," I grumbled. "Besides, it's not like he can really be with any of those girls—not in the long run anyways—he's a Gatekeeper."
"That part doesn't matter. You deserve someone better, someone who can appreciate you for who you really are."
"I don't think that guy exists Bryn. My choices are kind of limited," I said with a sigh. "You're right when you said no one else would put up with me. At least when I'm forced into a marriage one day with someone that repulses me, I'll still have you to comfort me as I cry myself to sleep every night."
"Awe come on, I was just giving you a hard time and you know it." He ducked to bump my shoulder with his. "We both know it's the other way around. Who would put up with me and my—"
"Dark and broody moods?" I interjected. "You're quite right. Me and only me. You shouldn't antagonize me Bryn, what you really should be doing is kissing my feet." I smiled up at him. "Kissing my feet, and massaging my feet, for putting up with you all these years. How Tammie did for an entire year is beyond me."
He scowled at me. "I broke up with her, remember? Not the other way around."
"And I've never understood why." I studied his face for some kind of clue. Tammie Masterson had been Bryn's girlfriend for well over a year; I'd never really liked her because he was way too good for her, but that aside they had seemed pretty happy together. Although she was constantly jealous of all the inside jokes Bryn and I shared, but whoever dated Bryn was going to have to deal with that because I was here to stay—one day Bryn would be my personal Guardian, and there was no coming between that relationship.
"I really don't wanna talk about this right now."
"But I do. Why won't you tell me why you guys broke up? You used to tell me everything. Aren't I your best friend anymore?"
Bryn's eyes darkened. "You know you'll always be my best friend. There are just some things I can't talk to you about P.J." When my lower lip stuck out at him, his face softened. "At least not now."
I took his hand in mine, and gave him my best puppy dog eyes. "Please Bryn. Please tell me. I'll do anything you want. Plah-leeeeeezzze."
He stared at me and his brows drew together. "Be careful what you say." He turned and started walking again. "What I want might be more than you're willing to offer me." I heard him mutter the last part under his breath. Which completely confused me. What could he possibly want from me that he would think I wouldn't give him? He was my best friend in the world, and there was nothing I wouldn't do for him—nothing.
I scurried to catch up to him. "Bryn, what are you talking about? I hope you know I would do anything for you, right? You know that, right?"
"Just drop it. I told you I don't wanna talk about it." We walked a few moments in silence before he spoke again. "So what time did your mom say for us to come over tomorrow night again?"
Bryn's birthday and my birthday were a day apart; mine was today, and his was tomorrow, somewhere down the line we had started a tradition of combining our celebrations, and since our families were so close, no one objected, in fact quite the contrary. "I don't know, 6ish I guess. You know—," I interlaced my fingers with his. "I'm still older than you for a few more hours. Older and wiser."
You know that saying when you speak of the devil and he shall appear? Well in this case the devil was a she because Tammie chose that moment to walk out of a classroom just as we were passing it. She stopped abruptly and looked up at Bryn like a deer caught in headlights. The two of us dwarfed her small 5'1" frame, and she self-consciously ran her fingers through her long blonde curls. "Hey Bryn. I was hoping I'd see you today. I wanted to wish you a Happy Birthday, and I was hoping that maybe ..." Her voice trailed off as she took in the sight of Bryn and I holding hands. "Oh, I see." She said crisply. "I can't say that I'm surprised." She whirled on her heel and headed off in the opposite direction at a dead sprint.
Realization dawned on me and I dropped Bryn's hand. "Really? Is that why you don't wanna tell me? Does she really think something is going on between us? Is that why she was always so jealous of me?" I laughed. "That's ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous."
Bryn's face clouded over. "Yeah, absolutely ridiculous." He said through clenched teeth. "Look, I forgot my math book, and I need it to finish up some homework before next period. You go ahead and have lunch without me, and I'll see you later." Bryn turned and jogged off in the opposite direction Tammie had gone before I could argue with him.
"Weird." I muttered to myself. "His locker isn't down that way, and we don't even have any math homework; I'm in the same class. What just happened?" I had a sinking feeling that I really didn't want to know.
Chapter Two"Do you think Bryn's been acting weird lately?" I asked Jenna in between bites of pizza.
Jenna sat gazing off over my shoulder, eyes shining with adoration while she twirled a purple piece of hair around her finger. "How am I supposed to know? You guys have your own language. One that even I've never been able to understand."
I frowned at her. "I don't have time for your stupid Speaker jokes. I'm being serious here."
Jenna turned her deep brown eyes on me, a smile breaking across her face. "So am I, being serious that is. You guys are a mystery even to me."
"What's that supposed to mean?" I so wasn't in the mood for one of Jenna's cryptic conversations right now. Speakers had their own unique brand of humor, one that I had a hard time getting on board with most of the time, mostly because I didn't understand it.
Jenna's gaze slid back over my shoulder, her eyes glazing over again. "Evan Thompson really is hot. All that lean golden muscle, topped with his golden brown hair, and chocolate eyes that I could get lost in.... Mmmm ... mmm ... mmmm ... tasty."
"Hey," I said with annoyance. "You can pretty much date whoever you want; don't dip into my shallow pool." I sighed, letting go of my hostility. "Not that it matters anyways. I have about as much of a chance with him as you do."
Jenna raised one dark eyebrow at me. "Actually I do have a chance with him. At least if I'm only interested in getting into his pants." She paused to flip her purple hair over her shoulder. "And darling, I most certainly am."
I groaned. "Jenna, come on. You're not going to sleep with him."
"Who said anything about sleeping with him?" She giggled. "If I have my way with him, there definitely won't be any sleeping involved."
"Whatever." I mumbled. And she would, Jenna was the type of girl who could just go up to a guy like Evan and offer him sex. Me ... not so much. I was beginning to think I was the last card-carrying member of The Flying V Club in my entire school. Hell, I'd barely gotten to second base. I was definitely way behind my peers in the sexual experience department, even though it was by choice. I still had the same hormones pressuring me on a daily basis that my friends did, but I wanted something more than just the physical, call me crazy. And even though I daydreamed about a lot of guys, when it got down to it, I wasn't really interested. Some days I envied Jenna, with her constantly changing hair color, and brazen attitude towards life. She did whatever she felt like whenever the whim hit ... again ... me ... not so much. I seemed to always fall victim to over analyzing everything. I couldn't do anything without dissecting it twenty different ways, and by that time, the opportunity to be spontaneous had passed me by.
"Oh why don't you just do it with Bryn and get it over with?" Jenna said, breaking into my thoughts of self-pity.
"What? You can't be serious?"
"I never kid about sex and ... well, sex. Sure he's not long-term material with him being a Guardian and all, yours to be specific, but why not at least do it for the first time with someone you trust. And you do trust him, don't you?" She eyed me speculatively, as if trying to decode something in my face.
I felt my face heat under her scrutiny. Sure Bryn was hot, but he was my best friend, and one simply didn't do those kinds of things with your best friend. Besides there could be no future between us, so what would be the point really? "Umm ... especially because he's going to be my Guardian is why I can't sleep with him. I won't even bother ticking off the rest of the reasons because there's only one that's really important ... he's my best friend, and even if I wanted to ... to which I don't ... well he's not interested in me like that."
"Sure he's not." Jenna said dryly. "I'm sure, being a guy, if you offered him sex he'd turn it down."
"I'm not doing that, and he wouldn't be interested anyways. Don't be ridiculous," I snapped. First Tammie and now Jenna, when were people going to get it through their thick heads that nothing has or would happen between me and Bryn?
"Speaking of Bryn." Jenna murmured.
I turned just in time to see Bryn enter the cafeteria. His dark blue eyes scanned the room and lit up when they landed on me. As he began to head our way I couldn't help but notice again how much he'd grown recently. Since coming into his powers, he'd sprung up to almost 6'4", and instead of being long and lanky like most boys his age, he had already filled out quite nicely. I smiled up at him as he pulled out a chair beside me and curled gracefully into it. "Hey. I thought you had some work to do or something."
"Yeah. I guess I got stuff mixed up because as it turns out we didn't have a math assignment." Huh. Maybe I was reading too much into things, as usual, and Bryn had simply gotten confused. It happens to the best of us sometimes. "So what were you guys talking about?"
"You," Jenna said.
"Nothing," I said at the same time. I gave her a dirty look before turning back to Bryn. "Well—
"What about me?" Bryn's blue eyes glittered with curiosity, and I knew I had to work fast. If I didn't change the subject soon Jenna would tell him exactly what our topic of discussion had been about.
"So Jenna actually thinks she has a shot with Evan Thompson," I blurted out in a Hail Mary effort.
Bryn tilted his head at me, giving me a look that said he knew I was changing the subject, but then he turned to Jenna and grinned. "What, you just gonna walk over and offer to do him?"
"How'd you guess?" Jenna laughed.
"Gee, I don't know." Bryn chuckled into his sandwich. "Because maybe that's what you always do."
Jenna pretended to turn pensive, twirling a purple piece of hair around her finger again. "Huh. Well, I guess you're right, I do always do that."
Whew. Crisis averted. No need to put any ideas about Bryn and I having sex into his head. I was fully confident that he didn't think about me in that way, but he was still a guy, Jenna was right about that part. Then again, better safe than sorry. Time to bring up a new topic completely off of boys and sex. "So how's your bad ass in training stuff coming along?" I directed my question at Bryn.
"Fine, I guess."
"What about you?" Jenna interjected. "Any premonitions—" From the corner of my eye I could see Bryn furiously waving his hand in a slashing motion. "—yet?" Jenna finished up hesitantly.
I scowled. Damn it. Just when I'd gotten my mind off of one problem I had to be reminded of another. "Nothing. I've got nothing. So maybe I won't have to worry about you dipping into my shallow pool after all because maybe I can date whoever too."
Excerpted from Enemy through the Gates by D. T. Dyllin Copyright © 2011 by D. T. Dyllin. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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