Prologue

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The red eyes glowed through the darkness, the grip around his throat was tightening with each passing second. His vision was fading as he ran out of air.

"Ian!" a scream ripped through the air.

His body felt like a feather as he moved through the air, he knew the sharp landing was coming. The old scars were bleeding in anticipation of the fall, of the broken glass, of the broken family.

His body jolted awake as he hit the greenhouse. His lungs dragged in air as he sat upright, throwing the covers away from him quickly. His hands sank into his hair and gripped the strands tightly, the dull pain bringing him back from his memories. Back from the day his father tried to kill him, from the day his mother defended her children by killing her husband.

Opening his eyes, Craig looked around his empty bedroom. The walls were a stark white, his furniture white and his sheets were white. After the horrors he'd seen, he wanted to be sure the second he opened his eyes his room was empty; regardless of the charms and spells surrounding his flat. A spider couldn't enter without it being burnt to a crisp.

The time of his phone read four twenty-seven in the morning, he wanted distraction but no one would be awake now. Even with a baby, two of his closest friends were probably sleeping better than he was. He'd never slept well, he'd always suffered nightmares; it had become part of his personality now. He was short with people because he was always tired, people didn't notice anymore... they thought it was him.

At times like this, when he was truly alone, he wished he had someone to call his own. He'd not failed to notice the way Ethan and Kates look at each other; the little touches of comfort they offered to each other. He wanted that. He wanted inside jokes, warm companionship and, well, sex wouldn't go amiss.

He always slept better after a night with company.

Grabbing his laptop from beneath the bed, Craig opened his work emails and started tapping away. It might as well be a constructive night, if not a restful one.

---

Loren placed her phone down on the coffee table and bit the inside of her lip, feeling the tears well behind her eyes. She didn't want to cry, especially over such a little thing. But dammit, her feelings were hurt. When taking a break from her book, she'd come across photos of a baby shower that was occurring at that very minute. The baby shower of her oldest friends Luke and Sammy, she'd only heard they were pregnant two weeks ago... the baby was due next month.

It had been her birthday party when they were eighteen that Sammy and Luke met. It was Loren who had grabbed Sammy's waist and introduced her to Luke. It had been to her that they'd both confided their attraction to each other, it had been her that they'd come to when they needed a friend.

She had been their third wheel, even after university, yet she'd not been invited to this.

Was she that horrible to be around?

Was she that forgettable?

If she had been invited, she knew exactly what she'd get them. The cute Sully onesie that she'd seen in the Disney store two weeks ago, would be the perfect present to the friends who had all the Monsters Inc movies on DVD.

But she wasn't, so the onesie will never be bought.

The phone vibrated, glancing over she saw the phone flash up with Luke's name. "Hello?"

"I'm really surprised at you." He sounded annoyed, his voice was low as if trying not to be heard.

"Sorry?"

"Where the hell are you?"

She decided to pretend she'd not seen the pictures on social media. "At home, why?"

"The baby shower!" he exploded. "Seriously Loren, you're never around."

"I wasn't invited." She corrected. "Luke, you only told me you were having a baby two weeks ago!"

"We told you months ago."

"No, you didn't!"

"Bull shit, you were talking to Sammy about it."

"No, I wasn't." she scoffed, "Do you really think I'd not be there if I'd helped plan it?"

"What?" Luke asked, talking to someone in the room with him. "Lauren Jones... oh... Sorry Loren."

The line went dead before she could say another word. Her heart broke as the silence swallowed her whole... she'd never felt more alone in this world. Her mother was her only family and she'd moved to Spain four years ago... all she had was Kelly who lived four hours away and had her own life.

Loren wiped the tears that had fallen over her cheek and settled down into the sofa. She hid in the cushions and opened her book again. At least Miss Austen would never leave her.

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