He tapped at her window, and Rosie beamed. Three nights in a row he’d come for her. Three nights he’d kept the nightmares at bay. Three nights her head had swelled and fallen for him.
“My darling one,” he whispered as she opened the window. He practically glowed under the moonlight, his expression intense, his eyes pale gold. Her very own angel, just like in her favorite books.
“Come inside, Edmund.” Rosie stepped aside, clutching the neck of her oversized tee. Heat rose to her cheeks as he poured himself into the room. Even his name was similar.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t walk you home,” he said, standing tall in the middle of her throw rug. Broad shoulders, long legs, and a steely he grip, it was impossible for her not to feel safe with him.
Rosie ducked her head, shuffling closer to her dark one. “I understand. The sun was out. No one can know.”
He lifted a hand to cup her cheek, raising her gaze to his. “You’ve told no one of our love?”
All the blood rushed from her head, and Rosie nearly fainted. He put his other hand on her waist, steadying the teenager as she swayed, and every thought vanished. He’d said the word love. Their love.
“Just as you asked,” she managed around a thick tongue. Words were always hard in his perfect presence. She’d tried not to imagine being love by this god, but it had happened. “No one knows.”
Who would she tell? Her sister was married and having her second child. Her parents worked full time and were too stressed for normal conversation. Classmates ignored her as the dork. All she had were her books.
Until she met Edmund. In a few days, he had changed her entire world. A missed bus turned from annoyance to fortune when he’d seen her reading her battered copy of Gloaming. One long glance from tawny eyes, and she’d know what he was.
“Not everyone can see me for what I am,” he’d said. “You are a very special girl.”
Rosie didn’t feel she was special, didn’t know why he’d bother to speak to her. But he’d driven her home in his silver Volvo, then watched her sleep through her bedroom window.
Love at first sight could happen.
Glass shattered downstairs, and Rosie jumped. Her heart racing, she moved closer to her tormented protector. “What was that?” came her hushed query.
“That would be my pack.” His voice was like ice, his hands turning hard.
Wide-eyed, she stared at his suddenly narrowed eyes. “Pack?”
Pouting lips pulled back in a feral grin, revealing a row of sharp teeth. “Oh yes. They get your parents while I have you.” He began pushing her to the bed.
Rosie was too stunned to be scared, even when she heard her mom cry out. “Edmund, what are you doing?”
He tumbled her to the bed, forcing himself between her thighs. “You Gloam-tards always taste best once you think we’re in love. As if we could ever love our food.”
Rosie finally screamed when his gaping maw descended to her shoulder, her heart breaking.