Daggers & Dresses (Enlighten Series Book 2)(5)

By: Kristin D. Van Risseghem

“MOM, I’M HOME,” I SAID, walking through the back door and checking my cell for any texts from Shay.

Her voice drifted out from the kitchen along with the aroma of freshly baked brownies. “How was your day?”

“Good.” I shook my head to clear any bad thoughts on why Shay hadn’t answered me. “Can I spend the weekend at Kieran’s?”

“You guys don’t want to come to the cabin instead?” Mom was digging through a cabinet when I walked in. “Remember all the fun times you and Kieran had when you were younger? I forget that you’re not little anymore and don’t want to hang with your folks. What are you guys planning to do instead?”

Kieran and I did have many fun summers at our lake property in northern Minnesota. Back then we spent every waking moment together swimming in the lake, catching turtles, and eating ice cream. My parents thought of Kieran as the son they never had.

“It’s not that we don’t want to spend time with family ... We just ... we plan to cause as much trouble as we can. So, it’s no difference if we were here or at the cabin.” I draped my backpack behind the kitchen chair, and then reached for one of the hot treats cooling on a plate.

“I have no doubt about that.” Smiling, she lifted a white cover and then fit it over the platter. “What are you going to do if you stay there?”

“Not much. Just watch movies, go swimming, maybe get ahead of school work and stuff. You know, the typical summer activities.”

“All right. What time are you going over there, and what time will you be home?”

“Later tonight, and I’ll be home Sunday afternoon. Sound okay?”

“Well, I guess you are old enough to stay here. Please keep your phone on at all times, so if we need to get a hold of you, we can.” She opened another cabinet. “We’re leaving in five minutes to go meet the new neighbors. I wonder if they have children your age?”

Crap. I’d forgotten all about that. “Um, there’s a guy a little older than me. He stopped over to introduce himself already. I was sort of spying on them in the front yard.” I crammed the brownie into my mouth.

“Does he have a name?”

“Aiden,” I mumbled through a full mouth.

I headed to my bathroom and gawked at the messy reflection in the mirror. I brushed my teeth, combed the rat’s nest out of my hair, and applied some light makeup. I didn’t want to appear like I was trying too hard, but I didn’t want to look like a total disaster, either. Sprinting into the walk-in closet, I pulled out a pair of Miss Me jeans with sparkles on the back pockets and paired them with a light purple, button-down shirt that had little white polka dots.

“Zoe?” Mom called from the hallway. “Are you ready?”

“I’m coming.”

“Okay. Stella and I will meet you downstairs.”

I rechecked myself in the mirror and figured I looked as good as I was going to get. Back in the kitchen, Mom held the covered plate in one hand and my sister’s hand in the other. I fidgeted with a shirt button, feeling nervous for some unknown reason.

Chapter Three


WHEN WE ARRIVED AT the neighbors’ red front door, the windows were open, so it was hard to miss all the clanking and shuffling sounds going on inside. Mom smiled at my sister and me, then I knocked. My hand was slick with sweat. Calm thoughts, Zoe.

The door opened and a younger woman—maybe in her early thirties—stood in front of us. She had short blond hair, light green eyes, and wore jeans with a short-sleeve shirt. Her appearance said “California,” and she was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Sidelle was pretty, but the lady in front of me screamed elegance—with a hint of danger.

“Hello,” Mom said, giving her the full, welcoming smile. “My name is Jackie. These are my daughters, Zoe and Stella. My husband, Kevin, is still at work.” She signaled to the left. “We live in the yellow house next door. Welcome to the neighborhood!”

“Hi.” The gorgeous woman smiled and shook our hands. “Sarah Mors. Come on in. Please excuse the mess. Just arrived today from California.” She motioned for us to follow her into their living room, and we sat on their black leather couch. “Sit down. Make yourself comfortable.”

“We brought this for you and your family.” Mom handed her the platter. “Just return the plate whenever you get a chance.”

“Thanks, Jackie. That’s kind of you. And they look delicious. I’ll make sure to save some for later.”

“Do you have kids?”

“No. It’s just my brother and me.” Sarah turned to me. “You must be the young lady Aiden mentioned.”