The tower room had an iron gate, like something out of a horror movie. It was open at the moment, but I could see the impressive locks even from here.
ï»¿I wondered what could possibly need to be contained that carefully. Besides me. A tiny shiver danced over the back of my neck as I peered inside.
Spears with decorative beaded bands, arrows, and swords, were all lined up with military, rather than museum, precision. And a lot of stuffed animal heads. There was a stag with chunks of turquoise stones for eyes, a crane standing on a log, a white bull with gold horns, and a horse head with a horn attached to its forehead to make it look like a unicorn.
Rich people were weird.
I was stepping inside when a hand closed tightly around my arm, jerking me to a stop. I shouted something that was definitely not ladylike enough for this house. My pulse thumped in my ears.
âYou shouldnât be in here,â the person said.
He flexed his hands suddenly, the way people do when theyâve touched something too hot. He wore a silver ring on his thumb. I tried to concentrate on that instead of the spark of panic smoldering in my belly. Burning down a private museum seemed like a really bad introduction to my new life.
Had he seen the tiny spark that ate a hole in my sleeve? I rubbed it, making sure it wouldnât flare up again. I wasnât even sure if it was a new spark or a burn from an old one.
Iâd learned I didnât need kindlingâ, I was kindling.
My palms itched painfully. I shoved the guy to distract him from the heat coming off of me. âWho the hell are you?â
âEthan,â he replied.
Ethan Blackwood. Of course. Way to make a first impression.
âYou must be Abbyâs granddaughter.â He was standing very close. And Iâd just known heâd be gorgeous. I assumed heâd have better manners, though. Possibly no one else noticed with that ridiculously beautiful face. His hair was blond, his cheekbones deadly. He was lean and muscular, like someone who knew exactly what his body was capable of. And I was thinking way too much about this.
âGet out of here,â he said softly, intently. His mouth was distracting; it belonged to a villain in a movie full of secrets and temptation. âNow.â
I was suddenly embarrassed, as if he could read my mind. A little more aggressive misdirection couldnât hurt. âHave you considered taking up yoga?â I asked with patently false sweetness. âYouâre a little tense.â
âJust go,â he said. âYouââ
âEthan!â Holden Blackwood interrupted us, sounding shocked and annoyed. âLeave the poor girl alone.â
A muscle leapt in Ethanâs jaw as he clenched it. He didnât look at his father, just kept staring at me. âEthan!â Holden repeated, annoyance hardening to anger.
Ethan shoved past me so suddenly I toppled into the door frame. I heard his footsteps stomp down the hall and then the slamming of his bedroom door. âI apologize for my son.â Holden sighed. âI fear Iâve spoiled him.â
Yeah, I couldnât exactly picture Ethan with an after-school job. Speaking of which, I was going to have to get one as soon as possible. Abby wasnât the type to give out an allowance, even if sheâd been able to afford it. I shrugged awkwardly at Ethanâs dad. âItâs fine.â
âIt certainly is not, but itâs gracious of you to say so.â I couldnât think of a person more opposite to Abby than Holden Blackwood. Or more opposite to my dad, come to think of it. He screamed sophistication and wealth. The Alcotts just screamed. âPerhaps youâll do him good, Kia.â
I nearly snorted. He smiled briefly. âSorry,â I said, motioning to the trophy room before I opened my big mouth and told him I didnât do miracles and his brat of a son was beyond my help.