Chapter 1

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The sounds of sirens woke me from my deep slumber.

"Why can I just have one day to sleep," I mutter, stumbling to my feet. I climb the ladder up to the roof and watch as the cars screech directly in front of the alley I just woke up in. The vendors must have ratted me out to the hunters. Mental note: do not use the vendors on 24th Street. I bend down and tie my shoes. I make sure that when I jump, my shoes won't fall off. That would be very bad indeed.

"Up here! up here!" the Hunters shout from the alley. I almost die from holding in my laughter when I see them frantically move in the ready position. They are highly trained people, but I've beat them before. They don't even require my full attention. I get distracted from them by the sunrise over the jumble of buildings that I call home. The blues and purples contrast against the bright orange-yellow that makes up the sun.

The sound of grappling hooks scraping on the concrete that makes up the ledge wakes me up from daydreaming. I grab my bag and sprint towards the opposite ledge. I take one more step, and then for one millisecond, I feel like I am flying. All my worries feel weightless, and then life came crashing down on me as I hit the gravel on top of the next roof. Although I have done this many times in my 17 years of living, something did not seem right. I lift up my black leggings to find that my ankle isn't the right size. It's swollen from the fall.

I wobble on my left foot as quick as I can. I find a ladder on the side farthest from the Hunters and quickly climb down it, ignoring the raging pain from my left ankle. I reach the last rung of the ladder and jump. I land on the right foot. There's shooting pain up my leg, but it is way better than landing on my left foot that's still injured.

I hobble into the street, looking for some way to disappear, but from the rooftops, they spot me. Bullets whiz past me, and I duck and weave through people until I feel a skim my face. I'm sure that it's going to leave a scar. My obvious limp and the blood from that bullet will make me an easy target to spot in a crowd. I run into an alleyway and rip the sleeve of the arm to put pressure on the cut from the bullet.

"Freeze, girl," a deep voice echoes from behind me. I turn around to find them a Hunter masked as a merchant. The merchant had a scar running down his symmetrical face. His deep brown eyes oozed out happiness and contentment.

"I have a name, you know." I throw my hands up in the air. I can't go back, not like this.

As they shove me into the car, I look out at the town's people. Some eyes swell with tears, and others just stare blankly. I sit in between two hunters and across from the disguised merchant who probably ratted me out to the hunters.

"Where are we going?" I ask.

One Hunter beside me pulls something out of his pocket, but I don't have time to process what it is before I feel it. A cold needle presses into my neck, and I immediately feel like I'm growing faint.

"You'll know when we're there," is the last thing I hear before I fade into darkness.

"McCohan, wake up," some guard shouts. My eyes flutter open to see I am not in a jail cell; instead, I'm in a dining hall. In front of me is a mahogany table set with the finest silverware you could find. I look down to see a plate stacked with food in front of me. I see a knife and quickly shove it up into my sleeve.

"I am not hungry," I say. "What do you want from me?"

He was standing by the window in the dark dining hall. His brown gentle waves go down to the collar of his shirt. His shoulders are broad, and he stands with a wide stance and arms behind his back. Something tells me he has had military training. He turns around at my question and strolls towards me. I now notice his gr eyes and scruffy but clean beard.

"See, you are very important to me," He pauses. "For some reason, you probably don't understand. I am Jay, and I need you."

"I honestly don't care. Can I go now or do I have to hear your boring ass monologue?" I roll my eyes. He glares at me and I laugh. "Are you supposed to scare me?"

"I know all of your secrets, so maybe you want to shut up and listen. Anyways, you are Lily McCohan. We grew up together. Actually, we were good friends. See our parents, well yours, located you and paid for the Hunters themselves. They are very prominent socialites and they don't want their daughter running around in the city anymore."

My mind flashes back to when I was young. I now do remember Jay; he had messy brown curls when we were little. Both of our parents were high on the food chain in society, so they thought it would be best if a socialite grew up with an equal. The part that scares me the most is the fact that my parents paid for the Hunters to get me.

Why would they betray me like that?

"You are lying. My parents wouldn't-" I try to testify, but he interrupts me when he hands me a copy of the agreement. I look through it, and I see my parents signature. The anger boils up in me like hot water on a stove.

"Flip to page seven," he commands. I give up now and do what he says. I flip through the pages of my parents signature until I get to page seven. The bold word MARRIAGE pops out right away. "Our marriage will finally unite our two powerful families." He walks closer to me, so close that his beard touches my cheek. He whispers, "You are mine now."

Jay leaves me alone in the dining hall for only a moment before the guards hurry me through back through hallways. They didn't even give me time to eat the food in front of me. The halls are filled with paintings of who I assume to be Jay's family members. They all have similar facial features. The walls were painted dark gray, the same color as his eyes.

"Here is your room, enjoy your stay." My guards laugh. They step to the side of a door that seems like I am supposed to enter. My brain tells me to run, but I know that Jay would want me to do that.

I will be playing his game, and I intend to win. 

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