The Protectors Series Bundle - By Nana Malone

Chapter One

Cassie Reeser knew secrets were dangerous things. And she was hiding a doozy . Though, it wasn’t like she could tell anyone and not be committed. Running up to someone and saying “Hey, I’ve got super powers!” would get her fitted for a tight, white jacket. And not the kind made by Betsy Johnson. So she kept her little secret to herself. But if there was one person she would have trusted with her secret, it would have been her best friend, Mallory.

“Cassie, you have to come to the winter wonderland party tonight. I need you as my wing woman.”

Cassie eyed her friend and shook her head. With her flaming red hair and exuberant energy, not to mention her penchant for wearing green, it was hard not to think of her friend as a Leprechaun. “Mal, you know the rules. Peter won’t let me anywhere near this party.” Her older brother, Peter gave a whole new meaning to overprotective. Mallory pouted. “But you haven’t even asked him yet. Besides, it’s a school event. He can’t say no to a school event, right?”

Cassie carefully counted the canned goods in the box she’d packed before setting it to the side. Volunteering for the school’s food drive was one of the highlights of her week. Because she was usually so ill, her brother had worked out an arrangement for her to be partially homeschooled while participating in activities as her health improved. The arrangement worked well for the most part, but Peter was always so worried about her health. The constant hovering was overbearing. But she’d been cured for months. Now he was terrified someone would find out their secret and take her from him. At least that was the lie du jour. A part of her wondered if he wasn’t busy trying to replicate their little miracle.

Cassie watched the group of teenagers milling about surreptitiously. Volunteering was the one outside activity her brother allowed. Growing up she’d been in and out of hospitals due to congenital heart failure. Now that she was cured, he let her out on occasion, but under the caveat that she was careful of the people she met. As she loaded canned food into separate crates for vegetable, meats and dried grains, she tried to relax and enjoy herself, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that someone was watching her.

Likely for good reason too. Peter’s bodyguards were ever present. Oh sure, her brother called the big Brit her private nurse, but she knew what he really was. With his East London cockney accent and his bruiser’s nose, he looked like a thug. Besides, there was no godly reason for a nurse to be that big. Reynolds was the size of a refrigerator and about as menacing as a monster with his scars. But as bodyguards went, he was nicer than some of the others she’d had. He even talked to her sometimes, seeming to understand her constant loneliness. She needed a bodyguard even less than she needed a nurse. Pound for pound she might actually be as strong as Reynolds. Peter had never tested her full strength. It was a byproduct of the drug cocktail he’d worked up to help her get better.

Along with the strength came acute hearing and enhanced eyesight. Sometimes if she tried really hard, she could read thoughts, but that was rare, and only if the other person was projecting them. Once or twice she’d managed to put a thought into the mind of the family maid, but that had been entirely by accident, and not only had she been unable to replicate it, the sheer effort had put her in bed for days.

She slid a glance to the hulking behemoth of a man who sat awkwardly on a folding chair by the entrance to the school gym. Why she needed a body guard at Millings Academy was beyond her. The posh private school had a campus to rival any Ivy League. But Reynolds was just more proof that there was no arguing with her brother. He was so anal about her security. He’d let her get her driver’s license, but he insisted she had to use drivers.

“School event or not, we both know I’m lucky I get to do some extracurricular at all.”

Mallory rolled her eyes. She, more than anyone else, knew Cassie’s struggles. The few times Cassie had been allowed a sleepover at Mallory’s, Peter had personally inspected Mallory’s house for contagions and God only knows what else. Mallory’s mother had taken