Chapter Three

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Hey, everyone - welcome to Day 3 of the 10 Days of True Born! For those of you who are new here, I'm putting up the first ten chapter of my book (thanks to my publishers, Entangled Teen, for letting me). Consider this my great big thank you for all the generous response I've received from Wattpad creators, which has really kept me going on this project. (my loveletter to you all is here: http://bit.ly/1Sq4h8x)

Below you'll find Chapter 3 - I'll be keeping all the chapters up as I go so if you're new here you can read from the beginning. Hope you like it!

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The air feels charged as we glide down the stairs a little after three and wait outside our father's study. Margot beckons me into the alcove just off the heavy wooden sliding doors that lead to his sanctuary. Her voice hitches as she pulls on my pinky, a promise pledge. "No matter what's in there."

My smile is crooked and weak. "No matter what," I say.

No one needs a special gift or a crystal ball to tell us that something is going on. We hear a cough from inside. The door draws slowly open, revealing Shane. A man sits across from our father on the couch, the obligatory polite coffee untouched before him on the long glass coffee table. Another man and a woman stand behind him, giving off the alert and frighteningly efficient air of good mercenaries. Their eyes are peeled on us as we walk into the room, like lancets on our skin as they study, dissect, memorize our descriptions and stats.

But the roaring in my ears, loud as a drone, and the sudden crazy lurch and tilt of my stomach, is not due to our father having hired new bodyguards without speaking to us.

The man standing behind the couch is him.

No one should be so handsome, I think as I drink him in. A shag of sunlight blond frames a pair of cat's eyes, too blue, the color of indigo, twinkling now with something like amusement. My gaze drops to those chiseled cheekbones I've been daydreaming about, ending with a strong chin. I take in the faded blue jeans, the black shirt open at the collar. I clench my stomach against the sudden butterflies, nod to him and the woman, who at this point is just a bundle of details: long dark hair, pale skin, green eyes that laugh at me.

The seated man stands and the remainder of my breath tumbles out of me. It's not just that he's immense. He is well over six feet, although slender in that athletic way. It's not even that he's gorgeous, although he's that, too. As his gaze sweeps Margot's face, then my own, with eyes the color of a storm sky, I realize what it is. It's not often I see an aura of power shimmering around someone. Stepping back, I collide with Shane's chest. He grasps my arms and holds me there.

The tall man doesn't move. Just tilts his head like he's waiting to see what I'll do. I catch Margot's frantic gaze. She tries not to be conspicuous, but I've panicked her. I can feel her heart beating too fast. I take a deep breath and smile.

"Hello." I bob a small curtsy. Beside me, inside me, Margot's heartbeat slows.

Even though he says it softly, the man's voice rumbles from his chest like thunder when he speaks. "Hello, Lucy."

So, he knows which sister is which. That's a neat trick.

"Sir." I nod again. My eyes slide to the man standing behind him. He isn't acting like an ordinary merc. Mercs keep their eyes peeled to the world around their charges. This man studies me, bold as daylight, without even trying to hide the fact.

I'm so distracted it takes a moment for me to realize our father is speaking. "Sit down, girls. I want to introduce you to Mr. Nolan Storm."

No mention of the two others. Just Mr. Storm. I perch like a nervous cat on the settee. Margot, outwardly more serene, tucks in beside me. If they have been in negotiations, I'd have to say they didn't go as our father planned. He is in a rare foul mood. His cheeks bloom red while his eyes glitter like diamonds, ready to cut us. We sit like ice princesses, stone faced, hands in laps.

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