Sacred Spots (Paranormal Supernatural)
From NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY BESTSELLING and AWARD WINNING AUTHOR SELENA KITT - OVER A MILLION BOOKS SOLD!
On a bus trip to California to live with her sister, Lexi meets an intriguing man who is visiting "sacred spots" all across the U.S. The connection between them is undeniable, and when Lexi's painful past is revealed, William makes her an offer she finds hard to refuse. Together they embark on a journey that takes them to a place of connection, healing, and infinite mystery.
"Sacred spots." He whispered it like he was revealing something secret.
I laughed. "Like polka dots?"
When he turned his face toward the window, I could still see his reflection, how tightly drawn his mouth and brow were now. He was so strange, wearing his three-piece suit and sneakers and carrying an old leather briefcase that he kept tucked between his legs and the seat. I was tempted to end the conversation there, but I had to admit that I was getting bored with this cross-country trek, even armed with a slew of paperbacks and my journal. He was strange, but he was interesting.
"I'm sorry." I put my hand on his arm. He turned at my touch. "I was just kidding. What do you mean, sacred spots?"
"Places of power." His voice was conspiratorial again. "Extraordinary things can happen there."
"Really?" I couldn't help smiling, and all I could do was hope it looked friendly and interested rather than mocking. "So, has anything extraordinary happened to you at one of them?"
"Well, not yet," he admitted.
"Where have you been?"
"So far, the Monk's Mound in Cahokia, Illinois, and the Angel Mounds in Indiana."
"Never heard of them." I slipped a piece of gum out of my purse. "What's next?"
"The Bear Mound in Iowa."
"Iowa has a sacred spot?" I nearly choked on my gum in an effort not to laugh.
"Yes." He looked very earnest. "Most of the sacred spots in the U.S. are actually native in origin."
"You mean they were made by the Indians?"
He laughed, and when he did, there were creases next to his eyes that made them seem even kinder. "Oh, not the Indians you study about in school. Native peoples from far, far back."
I nodded like I knew what he was talking about. "Before Sitting Bull and all those guys?"
He was still smiling at me. "The Effigy Mounds were constructed somewhere around 500 B.C."
"That's a long time ago." I stated the obvious as I offered him a piece of Juicy Fruit.
"They are truly ancient." He eyed the gum for a moment, and then slid a silver-foiled stick carefully out of the pack. "They are the belief system of a whole people built up right there on the landscape."
"So, wait, effigy, that's like a symbol, right?" I watched him carefully unwrap his gum and inspect the beige rectangle before putting it into his mouth.
"Correct." He looked pleased that I knew that. "Effigy mounds often look like certain objects."
"So let me guess, the Bear Mound—"
"Looks like a bear, yes." He nodded, and I watched with interest as he started to fold his little silver wrapper into some shape on his thigh. "Although you might not be able to tell at first glance. The one in Iowa is one hundred and thirty-eight feet long and sixty-five feet wide."
"That's huge!" I tried to figure out what he was doing with the gum wrapper.
"You can see it better in aerial photos." He paused in his origami project to set it on the window ledge and reach under his seat for his briefcase. He unlatched it and pulled out an eight-by-ten photo, handing it to me. I studied it. Someone had outlined the mound with white, and it looked like a child's drawing.
"Are they sure it's a bear?" I handed it back over. "It looks like a bloated coyote to me."
His hand touched mine as he took the photograph. That's when he saw the scars on my arm. It was too late for me to hide them. He frowned and grabbed my wrist, yanking my shirt up to my elbow, revealing even more of them. Shocked at his audacity, I gasped, jerking my arm away, my jaw tightening.
"Excuse me." I pulled my shirtsleeve down and stood. His eyes followed me, concerned, and I cringed at the look of compassion on his face. "I need to use the bathroom."
In the tiny cubicle, I rolled up my sleeves, looking at the scars on my arms that matched the set on my thighs. I never wore shorts or short-sleeves anymore. I hid them fairly well, most of the time. Most folks didn't even ask. I'd seen them glimpse the angry red marks below my shirt cuffs, but they just looked away. People were too polite, believing it none of their business.
What was he thinking, pulling my sleeve up like that? I wondered. It had surprised me, but the look in his eyes had jolted me more. There was too much honesty there. I pulled my curly brown hair back into a thick ponytail and washed my face in the little sink. I made sure to roll my sleeves down and button the cuffs so they couldn't be pulled up too far.
When I got back, I found a folded, silver bear sitting on my seat. It was the gum wrapper. I picked it up and sat down without a word, digging my book out of my pack and opening it.
I looked over at him. His eyes told me he really was sorry. I sighed. "Thanks for the bear." I rubbed my finger over the shiny surface. "It's really neat."
"Can I ask what happened to your arm?"
I sighed, closing my book. "I happened."
He gave me a puzzled look.
"Do you really want to know?" I asked as I turned the silver bear over and over in my hand.
He nodded. "I don't ask questions that I don't want to know the answers to."
I believed him. Biting my lip, I looked at the bear in my hands. "I cut myself."
He paused. "It clearly wasn't an accident."
Taking a deep breath, I unbuttoned my other sleeve, pulling it up to show him the scars there. Some were still an angry red. Others had faded to a silvery-pink.
"It must hurt." He touched my arm, fingering a few of the more prominent marks. His touch was gentle, almost a caress. I couldn't remember the last time someone had touched me with such kindness. It made me want to cry, but I swallowed that feeling, putting on a happy face.
Shaking my head, I gave him a smile as I buttoned my cuff. "Not anymore."
"No, I mean the reason you cut yourself in the first place." His eyes were on mine, dark and knowing, and I looked away.