This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
When Valeriana Kerrigan woke up that morning to a sunny window, she was not expecting an important arrangement. It was a Saturday morning after all—and a summer one at that! She was determined to relish the comforts of her bed with no classes to mind. After graduating from high school and passing the qualifications to enter her dream university, she at least deserved an undisturbed sleep.
However, that particular morning made her feel unsettled. She stood from her bed and blindly made her way to the bathroom to wash her mouth, grasping the corners of the sink as she reached for her brush and opened the faucet.
She washed her face with the cool water and groggily brushed her teeth. It wasn’t until she started gurgling that she noticed that sticky-note she had slapped onto the mirror the night before.
‘Xandra’s flight 10am.’
Her eyes shot wide and she spat out the water. Wiping off her chin with the sleeve of her pajamas, she rushed to her closet to throw in whatever she could find. As she put on a white shirt, she fumbled with her phone. It displayed the alarm being shut off around seven thirty, followed by the next alarm she set five minutes later, and the next two five minutes after that.
It was three minutes past nine, barely any time to do any real preparation.
She had principles to uphold and being late was none of that. She snatched her favorite pair of sneakers from the shoe rack and slung her duffel bag over her shoulder. She then rushed downstairs and burst into the dining room.
“Coffee,” she muttered. “I need my coffee.”
Her mother and thirteen-year-old younger brother were already at the table. Jareth was squeezing out the bottle of maple syrup over his pancakes while Lily was preoccupied with the newspaper. Her sights were on the coffee, even so. There was already a cup on her end, so she spent the next few moments brewing—instant mix and all.
“What took you so long?” asked her mother, brown eyes peeking past the frame of her reading glasses.
“It’s the alarm.” She stirred the steaming beverage as she moved to take her seat, setting down her cup on the table. Gathering her honey-golden locks in a high ponytail, she pulled on the scrunchie around her wrist and snapped it in place.
“What time is Xandra’s flight?”
“I don’t know. I heard it was twelve something in the afternoon,” she said. “I’m supposed to meet her at ten.”
Jareth was still not done with the maple syrup.
“You’re not aiming for diabetes, are you?” she told him, hitting his arm as she wrenched the bottle from his grip and safely placed it out of his reach. “Enough of that.”
Jareth made a noise of irritation. “What’s it to you? It’s not your body.” He rubbed his arm and mussed his ginger-brown hair. He then resumed nibbling on his food while hiding his grass-green eyes behind squinted lids.
Valeriana snubbed him and tossed a pancake to her plate while sipping her coffee. She then took a lump of butter and dumped it over her share, sparing the syrup a glance before ignoring it completely. Jareth was eyeing her with contempt the entire time.
“If I’m too much in sugar, you’re too much in butter.” He huffed. “That’s why you’re fat, pig.”
Valeriana bit her lip and leaned over to smack his arm one more time. “I dare you to say that again. You do not call a girl fat. I am definitely not fat!”
She watched her brother wince. Considering he had fish-belly white skin, it was sure to leave a mark.
She had just the right build and the right weight. She might have some extra deposits on some parts that made her feel insecure, but she definitely wasn’t fat. Just a healthy teenager her age too lazy to go to the gym.
“Keep telling that to yourself,” Jareth told her.
“Language,” their mother cut in. “Just focus on eating, you two. Stop fighting.”
He stuck his tongue out at her, shoving the dripping slice of pancake into his mouth.
“Immature,” she said, cutting off a small piece and chewing on it. She suddenly lost her appetite.
“And you think you aren’t?” he mumbled through a full mouth.
“Valeriana, the longer you argue with your brother, the longer you’ll stay,” their mother said, a hint of smile on her lips.
“Mm-hmm,” she hummed, stuffing her mouth and swallowing unceasingly. She reached for her coffee and drank, washing down the food she almost had stuck in her throat. With a clean plate and an empty mug before her, she stood from her seat and began heading out.
She waved. “I’m off! Bye, people!”
Valeriana kissed the tip of her fingers and brushed them against the portrait of a man on the wall just beside the door frame, flipping back her hair and admiring his image for a moment with her azure blue eyes. “Bye, dad.”
ernbelle: When I first started this story I was a little unsettled by all of the information that appears in the prologue, and wasn't sure if I would continue. However, I am very glad I did. The plot was very well thought out and really interesting. There were not any page breaks or markers to acknowledge ...
RubyScars: I absolutely love your story! It killed me when I finished, I read it all at once and then it stopped at the epic cliffhanger! Uggggggh. But, that said, it just means that you have done such a lovely job. I am so in love with your complicated characters, and even the ones I didn't like you slowl...
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to wordworrywill, author of Kings and Things, an otherwise imaginative tale set against the trappings of the royal set, but then again I don't imagine there'd be many authors who invoked the names of Oprah Winfrey, Vladimir Putin, Jeff Bezos, Beyonce and Steven Spielberg, As for the plot...
summerstone: Seriously this is one of the best books I've ever read. The plot is intriguing, I love the narrative style. Its very descriptive and unique, with minimal cliches. It makes for a great read and the sequels are amazing. Totally worth reading. ^^ That's me trying to be professional. But in all hones...
Nymeria: Really can't get enough of this story. It flows well, it captivates the reader from page 1, and throws you into such a well-written, well conceptualized world that you'll believe it's real. Everything in the book is meshed together really well. From character backgrounds to plot twists, you can t...
LesAnne: I've never come across a plot like this, and I like its originality. At first, the title gave me the impression that the story is about friends making bets, but I've been proven wrong. I like the personality of the female main character, how evident her strengths and weaknesses are. She's become ...
Alex Rushmer: Although I don't know the story of the Phantom of the Opera, I really enjoyed this story. The writing was very evocative, and it really put a picture of time and setting in my mind. The voice of the story really added to the character development. The idea of the time travelling -- or whatever re...
ga1984: I really enjoyed it! Characters were deep and plot was pretty complex. A bit on the violent side but it doesnt detract from the story. Very dark but situations make sense. Ends kinda abruptly and later chapters will need some editing work. I'm assuming there's more in the works?
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."