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Enchanted Castle


going on. For one thing, there was no delicate floral wallpaper—only old Tuscany brick walls,
like something out of Dracula’s castle.
My gaze moved up to the arched stone windows and vaulted ceiling, but only long enough to
realize that I was still standing in the doorway, gaping like an idiot. The last thing I wanted to do
was draw attention to myself, good or bad. I knew gossip would only lead to lots of unwelcome
interest in me, so I softly closed the door behind me and set my bags down next to the king-sized
antique bed, carved from dark wood, with a matching bedside table. I spun in a circle as I took in
the luxurious tapestries hanging from the walls and red and gold drapes adorning the windows.
While I came from a huge house in New Orleans and was used to the overpriced stuff my
parents liked to call antiques, I had never seen such opulence, not even in a museum. Much to
my chagrin, I found myself strolling around the room, touching this and that, until I stopped in
front of a huge mirror to regard my blonde hair that was falling into my hazel eyes and the dark
circles under my eyes; I couldn’t blame them on jetlag, because that under-eye luggage had been
there for at least the last few weeks. I ran a hand through my hair and pinched my cheeks to give
them a bit of color. Just then, I noticed two black suitcases, situated across the thick rug and
fabric wingback chairs on the far right of the room.
As far as I remembered, I only had one suitcase, and it was certainly not beat up like those
two. Am I in the wrong room? I wondered. Frowning, I inched to inspect the name tags.
Suddenly, the door burst open, and a tall guy walked in.
Startled, I jumped a step back and pressed my hand against my heart.
“Whoa! My first day here, and already I’m a lucky guy,” he said with a grin.
I blinked, stunned and taken aback at the sound of his deep, melodious voice. I cleared my
throat as I tried to look away from his impossibly blue eyes, framed by long lashes. He was clad
in tight blue jeans and a shirt that hugged his muscles, but what really stood out was the cord
necklace he wore around his neck. “I-I’m pretty sure I was assigned this room, so…”
He ran a hand through his messy black hair and rubbed his half-open eyes, visibly amused. “I
dunno. Sounds like a farfetched explanation. Maybe we’re just supposed to share.”
“I think you need to find your room,” I said rigidly.
He walked past me and reached for his suitcases. I heaved a big s igh of relief, thinking he’d
be out the door in no time, but to my surprise, the guy just tossed his bags on the bed and starting
unzipping them.
“Wh-what are you doing?” I whispered, mortified.
He ignored my question and continued rummaging through his things. I didn’t want to look,
but I couldn’t help but sneak a peek. He seemed to have an affinity for well- worn blue jeans and
torso-hugging shirts. “I’m Hunter, by the way,” he said, holding out his hand.
I peered down at the tan skin and the silver ring on his index finger but didn’t touch it.
“Zoey…and please get out of my room.”
“Ain’t happening, beautiful. I’m pretty sure this is my room, and even if it’s not, I was here
first.” He threw the cover back on his suitcase, but didn’t zip it up.
“Ain’t?” I snorted. “Isn’t this school supposed to be for the crème de la crème, the cream of
the crop?”
He peeked up, his eyes twinkling. “Heh. Have you met any of the characters in this place?
They searched high and low across the United States to…find us.” He laughed.
“Yes, because they saw talent in us.” I wasn’t on the honor roll or anything like that, but the
teachers and school officials had always said I had potential, that they saw something special in
me.
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