Soar (The Empire Chronicles #1)

By: Alyssa Rose Ivy

Acknowledgements


As always, this book would not have been possible without the support of my family. Grant, you know how much I appreciate everything you do.

Thank you to Jessica Watterson, Katy Austin, Melanie Genanatti, and Whitney Perry for beta reading, and to Jennifer Snyder for being the fantastic writing partner that you are. Thanks to Kris Kendall for your editing, and to Kristina Scheid for the proofreading. Thanks to Claudia of Phatpuppy Art for the beautiful cover design.

Thanks to all the bloggers who have continued to help me spread the word about my books, and to my readers for giving me the opportunity to share another story with you.





Chapter One



Casey


Glowing Eyes. In the chaos of the moment, the only thing I could focus on were the yellow eyes that followed my every move. They were eerie and seemed more at home on an animatronic creation than on the living, breathing animal that had me cornered in the alley. I knew I was stuck, but I didn’t think about death. It wasn’t an option because I wasn’t ready for it. Realistic or not, I was a firm believer that we make our own destiny.

I stepped back, convinced that if I walked backward slowly enough, I’d escape. I silently cursed Eric for making me throw out the trash after my shift. He was such an ass of an assistant manager.

At first, the wolf didn’t move—at least I thought it was a wolf, although it seemed two sizes too big. As strange as it should have been to see a giant wolf in an alley, I’d seen far stranger in my nine months of living in New York City.

“Easy boy,” I said in a half whisper, more for myself than for the beast now taking slow, deliberate steps toward me.

All of a sudden, he lunged. Gray fur moved in a blur as I blocked my face the best I could in the spilt second I had. A whimper rang out, and I lowered my arms when the contact never came.

The gray wolf slowly limped out of the alley. I searched for an explanation as I struggled to regain my breath and vaguely saw another figure disappear into the distance. He could have been any man, except that in my adrenaline-rich state, I could have sworn he had wings.

My head started to spin, and I reached out for something to hold onto. Then everything went black.

***

“Hey, Bates! Are you okay?”

I forced my eyes open, confused about the cause of my killer headache and the fogginess permeating my head.

“Casey?” Eric bent down next to me with some legitimate concern on his face. “Are you all right?”

“How long have I been out here?” I glanced around, trying to make sense of how I ended up face down in a pile of trash outside my place of work.

“Not too long. When you never came in from tossing the trash I got worried.”

Likely. Eric was probably more worried about being named in a potential law suit.

“I’m fine… I think.” I struggled to remember what had happened. The only memory I had couldn’t be real. It involved a wolf and a strange guy with wings. Evidently I managed to pass out and hit my head on a trash can. Because that’s normal.

“Are you sure? Do you think you can walk?”

“Yeah, I can walk.” The alternative was to let him carry me inside. Despite his good looks, Eric’s personality nullified any desire to have him hold me, even if walking seemed like an insurmountable task at the moment. Out of necessity, I accepted his outstretched hand and leaned heavily on his shoulder. My head continued to throb, and all I wanted to do was get home and lie down.

He put me down on the couch in the break room. The worn sofa wasn’t a place I ever wanted to lay my head, considering it was twenty years old and had probably never been cleaned, but I didn’t have a choice. The world was spinning.

“Did you hit your head?” Eric asked, taking a seat next to me. His muscular arm blocked my view of the room.

I reached up and touched the knot forming on the back of my head. “Yes. I have no idea how.”

“Only you would do something that ridiculous.” He routinely made fun of me, but something was off. Then again, I’d hit my head so maybe everything was off.

“Can you get my purse? It’s in that locker.” I pointed around him to where I’d stowed my stuff.

“Sure.” He walked across the room and retrieved my ancient knock-off Gucci. He handed it to me, and I fished out my phone.

Top Books