Conflicted keegans chron.., p.1
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       Conflicted: Keegan's Chronicles, p.1

           Julia Crane
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Conflicted: Keegan's Chronicles


  Keegan's Chronicles

  By Julia Crane

  Copyright © 2011 by Julia Crane

  By Valknut Press

  Smashwords Edition

  Smashwords Edition License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  For my husband who never doubts and always supports me.


  A special thanks to my family for putting up with me while I write. I would also like to thank Claire Teeter and Cheryl Bradshaw for their editing skills which make this book readable. Kadri Umbleja for the wonderful illustration, Christine DeMaio-Rice for finding the perfect font. Talia Jager one of my beta readers whose insight is invaluable. Last but not least I would like to thank Heather Adkins who has been a mentor to me on this writing journey. Heather beta reads, polishes, and formats; she has played a huge role in making this book what it is.

  Chapter 1

  Keegan unpacked her things, her mind on the photos of the weekend she was told she had with Rourk. She wished she could remember him and the time they spent at the cabin from before their journey to Ireland, a trip that had changed her life and erased her memories of him. The two of them looked so happy. So in love. She picked up the pile of dirty clothes to toss into the laundry and a piece of paper fell out and drifted to the floor.

  She stared at it a moment, an inoffensive square of paper at rest on the floor. Curious, she reached down and picked it up, her brow furrowed over her bright blue-green eyes. She opened it, smoothed the creases, and read: Keegan, I am sorry I could not spend your special day with you. I will make it up to you. Forever Yours, Rourk.

  First the pictures and then the note undeniable proof that she did, at one time, have a relationship with Rourk.

  Keegan sighed and dropped the laundry to the floor without a thought and then flopped onto her back on the bed. Her pillow still smelled like her shampoo, despite the fact she’d been gone for just over a week. The cool October breeze ruffled the sheer purple curtains at her window, making her shiver. She could smell the pine trees from the forest. It was good to be home.

  A thought struck her, and she leapt to her feet, rushed to her desk and grabbed her phone. It sat by her bendy desk lamp, between her camera and a couple of school books. She scrolled through the list of contacts and was annoyed to find Rourk's number was not on it. Strange. Why wouldn't they have texted if they'd already met?

  Before she could talk herself out of it, she sent her father a text and asked for Rourk’s number.


  Rourk was miserable.

  He hadn’t bothered turning on the lights in his bedroom before he fell onto the bed, not even taking time to remove his boots. Her stared at the ceiling with his hands under his head and thought about Keegan.

  The battle in the fight for his kind was over, but it seemed yet another had just begun. He couldn't accept the fact that his relationship with his chosen was over before it began. There was no one else for him. Keegan was the only one.

  He had to win her back.

  Rourk ran his options through his head and realized there were only two. He could do nothing and hope Keegan’s feelings for him would return, or he could take the human route and try to win her affections. He was not one to sit around and do nothing, so the choice was obvious: option two.

  His phone dinged on the nightstand. He reached over to grab it and flipped it open. It was a text from Keegan: I'm sorry I don't remember you. I was looking at my photos, and it looks like we had a gr8 weekend.

  Rourk sat up in bed and stared at the screen that held her message. His heart beat just a bit faster. He wracked his brain for the right words. The fact she had reached out to him first gave him hope.

  He texted back: It was the best weekend of my life. Would you like to go on a date this weekend?

  Her response was almost instantaneous. A date? What did you have in mind?

  Rourk dropped his phone to the bed and groaned, shoving both hands through his hair as he stood. He glanced around his room and hoped for sudden inspiration to hit while he thought of something to say that didn't sound lame. He paced a couple steps, and hated how awkward he felt. It had been much easier when the bond was there and no thought was required. But he knew anything worthwhile took effort, and Keegan was worth it.

  He paced back and forth three times in his small bedroom before he picked up his phone and tapped out his response: I know it's not original, but how does dinner and a movie sound?

  Almost as soon as it left his screen, she answered: GR8 : )

  I'll pick you up Friday at 6. Goodnight.

  Night, Keegan wrote.

  Texting would take some getting used to. Rourk wondered how she texted so much and so fast. Before the great battle, when he watched Keegan to keep her safe, she was always attached to her phone. In his opinion, picking up the phone and having an actual conversation would be easier. The things you do for love, he thought, and grinned.

  He could do this. After all, he was a fierce battle warrior.


  Back in her room, Keegan laid her phone down with a smile.

  This could be fun; after all, he was cute.

  Chapter 2

  It was strange for her to go back to school after so much had happened. She had battled and she had died! How does a girl go back to normal after that?

  Keegan walked through the front doors of the school—it felt surreal. Her classmates mingled at their lockers. They chatted and laughed like average students, and Keegan felt disconnected. She was almost positive they’d never taken part in a battle, watched men and women die in the fight for their race or killed others to save themselves.

  Keegan’s brother, Thaddeus, had filled her in on the outcome of the battle, so she was aware now that many of her friends were also creatures of the light. They weren’t elves, but they weren't human either. She wasn't sure if she felt relieved by that fact or upset. Before she thought she was the only special one among all the humans.

  Walking down the fluorescent-lit hall, Keegan felt like everyone’s eyes were on her, but she convinced herself it was all in her head. She smoothed her auburn hair and tugged at the hem of her school skirt. When she got to her locker, she was happy to see things looked like they always did, and for the first time since she arrived at school, she felt like herself.

  Lauren, Anna, and Katie were gathered by her locker, books in hand while they gossiped, and the boys messed around next to them, like usual. Keegan couldn't help but steal a glance at Donald when she walked by, and noticed his eyes were on her as well. They both laughed and looked away, and Keegan’s face flushed. Was it just her imagination or had he gotten even hotter since she saw him last? He was tall and lean with a runners build, and his orange hair was just so cute. It stood up all over the place. The craziness was punctuated by the fact his white Oxford shirt wasn’t buttoned right. His eyes were a wild shade of blue. What am I thinking? She thought to herself. Forget about Donald, he's not even interested in you.

  Keegan managed to run late for school. No sooner than she had opened her mouth to greet her friends, the bell rang to signal the start of classes. “We’ll talk later,” Anna told her. Keegan pouted, but she’d just have to wait. Her best friend rocked her individuality with a purple and lime green striped scarf over her school sweater, and white tights. Her pretty, oval face was perfect, and shimmered with lavender eye shadow and pale pink lip gloss, her cat-like eyes lined with silver. Keegan leaned
in to give her a quick hug before she strolled off to class.

  Lauren squeezed Keegan’s arm. “It’s good to see you.” Keegan noticed her friend had gotten her long, dark hair cut; not much, but noticeable enough that her curls landed a little higher on her torso. She was in her cheerleading uniform, her long legs still tanned from the summer. “We’ll meet you at lunch,” Lauren said. Katie gave Keegan a shy wave and they headed away.

  Homeroom passed in a blur. Mrs. Harris had to repeat her name three times at the start of class during attendance. The student seated next to her, a slight girl with mocha-colored skin and huge, dark eyes, had to elbow Keegan to wake her from her thoughts.

  Donald cornered her in the hall before first period so they could talk in private. "I never got a chance to thank you for saving my life," he said. He looked down while he spoke and scuffed the floor with the toe of one of his Chucks.

  "It was my mother that really saved you,” Keegan shrugged. “I was just the foolish one to rush into the middle of a battlefield."

  His incredible blue eyes moved to hers. "So you really died, huh? What was that like? Did you see the other side? Do you feel different now that you are back in our world?"

  They were the questions she knew everyone wanted to ask, but didn't dare.

  "I don't recall it at all,” Keegan told him. “I know that’s not the exciting answer everyone would like to hear, but if I hadn’t been told I died, I would have never known. I do feel a little different. My body temperature seems lower now, and I’m always cold. And I guess my bond to my chosen has been broken. Other than that I feel like the same old Keegan."

  Donald stepped back, his eyes widened. Did he just hear right? The bond was broken? All of the sudden his palms felt sweaty. He didn't even trust himself to speak.

  Keegan frowned. “Are you okay?” she asked. “You don't look so well.”

  "Sorry, I need to go. I'm glad you are alive, and thanks again for saving my life." He stumbled away.

  Donald shoved his hands in his pockets, his eyes focused on the dirty linoleum floor while he hurried down the hall. He’d dreamed of this moment; a chance with Keegan. Yet, when it stared him in the face he ran away like a scared, lovesick loser. Real smooth, Donald.

  Chemistry class went by slow and Keegan sat and watched the second hand go round and round. She wondered what in the world had gotten into Donald. Usually, Chemistry was her favorite class, but she just felt antsy today—there was so much on her mind. She needed to catch up with Anna and Lauren because it seemed like forever since they last talked to each other. They always sat together at lunch and she was eager to reach them. After she suffered through a boring history lecture, it was finally lunch time.

  She ran for her locker to get rid of her books and slammed into Spencer and Sam in the hallway. “Whoa, slow down Keegan. I feel like I’ve been hit by a bulldozer.” Spencer rubbed his shoulder. He was a skinny guy whose long limbs made him seem tall, with a head full of black hair and bright green eyes, which he crossed at her. Sam, a good-looking blonde, laughed.

  "Hey guys, I can't talk right now, I’m in a hurry,” she told them. She waved and dashed off once more.

  They watched her sprint toward her locker down the hallway while other students parted to make way. Spencer and Sam glanced at each other and shook their heads.

  Once at her locker, Keegan waited for Anna and Lauren. She drummed her fingers on the beige metal and looked at her watch. Where were they?

  Anna got there first. She gave Keegan a cheesy grin when she walked up.

  "Oh thank God, I didn't think you were ever going to show up," Keegan said with a sigh. She leaned against her locker wearily.

  Anna looked at Keegan like she was crazy and responded, "I got here as soon as I could; the bell just rang. Chill out.”

  Lauren sauntered down the hall a second later. Anna and Keegan laughed at all the guys who turned to stare at her legs when she walked by. Lauren shook her hips in a deliberate manner and smiled at the girls. She loved the attention.

  "Let's go outside to eat so we can catch up in private," Keegan said. She grabbed them by the arms and pulled them toward the door.

  Keegan noticed a glance exchanged between Anna and Lauren, and wondered what that was all about. She shrugged it off and led the way through the back doors of the school.

  It was a bright day outside without a cloud in sight. Some of their classmates lounged around the quad with their lunches and sodas, enjoying the mild weather and sunshine. Laughter and the distant sound of cars on the main road were the only sounds the girls heard while they headed for the shade of an old oak tree.

  Keegan turned with her hands planted on her hips once they were hidden behind the bushes that surrounded the tree. "So how long have you guys known I wasn’t human?"

  Lauren looked down sheepishly, unable to make eye contact. Anna smiled from ear to ear. "Finally! Do you know how hard it has been all these years not to be able to talk about the elephant in the room?"

  Keegan wasn't sure if she should laugh or cry, or stomp her feet like a little kid and scream not fair! She crossed her arms over her chest and narrowed her eyes at her friends. "You have both known all this time?"

  Anna shrugged her shoulders. "Hey, it's not our fault that elves like to be so secretive."

  Keegan turned her attention to Lauren. “So, you’re a fairy?”

  Lauren looked from side to side to make sure no one was looking. All of the sudden, flecks appeared in the air like stars, and almost translucent wings flapped open behind her. Lauren floated in the air with a big grin across her face.

  "Wow, that’s really neat." Keegan looked over at Anna. "What's your story? I hear people aren't quite sure about you, because your dad is human?"

  Anna lifted her hands in the air and closed her eyes. Keegan’s mouth dropped open as flames appeared in her palms.

  Keegan jumped up and down, clapped her hands and squealed, "We are like the coolest kids ever!"

  Anna's face scrunched up. "I don't know, I think Calvron might be the coolest kid ever." Lauren nodded her head in agreement. "He is awesome!"

  Keegan crossed her arms across her chest and stared back and forth at them. It was not fair that they all knew about each other and she was the only one left out. She thought they were her friends. She gave in and asked, "Why is he so cool?"

  Lauren flashed a mysterious smiled and said, "He's a very powerful wizard, and they are rare these days. He can do almost anything; at least, that's how it seems."

  Anna looked wistful. “I wish I had a quarter of his power.”

  “What are you, Anna?” Keegan raised an eyebrow. “You're not a spirit walker like your mom, are you?"

  Anna’s eyes squinted. "How did you know my mom is a spirit walker?"

  Keegan was stunned into silence for a moment. "You guys didn't hear?"

  They exchanged another glance and looked confused. Anna shook her head. "Hear what?"

  Keegan took a deep breath and told them the long version of how she lost and regained her life. They both stared at her with their mouths hung open.

  “You guys know about the battle between the light and dark elves, right?”

  Anna’s face fell and she nodded. “Yeah, we heard something about it.”

  “Well, I was there,” Keegan told them. She gave them a wry grin when they both gasped. Lauren covered her mouth with one hand and touched Keegan’s shoulder with the other. “So were Donald and the other guys. Donald was hurt and I ran onto the field to help him. My mom is a Healer, and she was able to treat his wounds, but we were in the middle of the fight.” Keegan paused and cleared her throat as she remembered the clash of old-fashioned weaponry, the stench of hundreds of sweaty bodies, and the ground drenched in blood. “I was hit by an arrow and killed.”

  Anna and Lauren looked at her in horror, but Keegan plunged on, “Anna, your mom somehow knew I was dead and showed up. She brought me back to life with dark magic.”

  Lauren spoke firs
t when she had finished, "Oh my god, you were dead? Keegan you were dead!" She pulled Keegan into a tight hug. “I can’t believe we could have lost you for good.”

  Anna was quiet for several moments before she whispered, "My mom knows dark magic?"

  Neither Lauren nor Keegan knew what to say. The look on Anna’s face made Keegan change the subject. "What do you guys know about elves?" She was curious if they really knew anything, and if so, whether any of it was accurate. She also wanted to clear the gloom that had followed her story.

  Lauren bounced up and down. "I've heard that elves put on a front that they live among humans, but in reality they live underground. Is that true?”

  Keegan couldn't help but smile. “There is a sliver of truth. We have underground safe houses in case of emergencies. Elves prefer living in nature over living in a city."

  Anna spoke up, her voice a little clearer than it had been moments before. "Well, we are all envious that elves have the key to finding your perfect partner. We think that is the real reason you are all so secretive. Although we wish elves would share what they know. It doesn’t seem fair they are the only ones that know their soul mates without the search.”

  Anna’s observation brought all of Keegan’s problems back to the surface, and she pouted.

  Anna reached out to Keegan and shook her, gently. What’s wrong?"

  "It is true about the perfect partner. We call them our chosen since they are chosen for us at birth. We’re not supposed to meet them until we turn eighteen. Apparently, I have already met my chosen, but because of the dark magic I don't recall him." It felt good to have someone to talk to about all of this; it was all so confusing for her. She pulled out her phone and showed them a picture she had saved on it of her and Rourk near the waterfall. She explained how they had spent the weekend together and she couldn't remember.

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