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Luke followed Aris to her apartment, careful to keep a reasonable distance. Despite the dozen reasons why it wasn’t “cool” for him to be in this situation, he’d surprised himself by agreeing to breakfast anyway.
His evening had definitely not gone according to plan. When he saw Aris sitting at the bar right before kickoff, he recognized her immediately and figured it was a good opportunity to finally say hello. He had anticipated having a quick conversation with her before he eventually claimed an empty table to watch the game alone as he intended. Buying her a drink, driving her home and hanging out in her apartment after midnight were the absolute last things he would have expected to happen.
But here he was, still following her.
He had already involved himself more than he should have and he still didn’t understand why she refused to report her car stolen, but that was none of his business. The only thing left for him to do at this point was make sure she was safely locked inside.
He didn’t need breakfast.
He had enough problems.
When they reached her front door, Aris slipped her key into the lock and asked him to grab the large box in the corner of the entryway. Luke picked it up as she asked and placed it on the floor of her foyer. He could hear her moving in the darkness when she told him to close and lock the front door. Just as he was about to say goodnight and head to his own apartment, a soft light filled the room.
“Oops.” Taking in the scene, she giggled. “I forgot about them.”
“Yeah.” Luke watched cautiously as she scrambled to gather the mutilated mannequin heads scattered about the living room floor. They were in all shapes and sizes, the apparent victims of every grotesque injury imaginable. “I’m gonna go…”
Aris stopped collecting the heads and turned to face him, seemingly oblivious to the rubbery skin that fell from the faux flesh wound on the side of the head she clutched in her left hand. “Why?”
He shook his head at the absurdity of her standing in the middle of this freak show asking him such an obvious question.
“Oh. Because of this? ” She walked over to him so he could get a closer look. “It’s my thing. Given your reaction, I’m flattered. This isn’t even my best work.”
As Aris piled the heads in a corner on top of a dark, thick sheet, Luke watched her every move. She began talking nonstop, her voice animated as she went on and on about what she’d done to her — Mike, Carol, Greg, Peter, Bobby, Marcia, Jan and Cindy. She’d named each one, having carefully planned all of their horrific fates. Then, she rambled about how embarrassed she was that her apartment was so messy and how she never had time to clean up because she was always working.
Somewhat fascinated — and also satisfied that this wasn’t some cry for help on her part — Luke surprised himself for the second time in as many hours…
And decided to stick around.
DAWN OF ARIS IS COMING MARCH 3!
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Aris Collier is chasing her dreams…at a snail’s pace. With little money and big talent, she works tirelessly to perfect her craft…even at the expense of her relationships. When she walks away from yet another dead-end entanglement with the hopes of finally getting her life on track, the last thing she expects is a fast friendship with her neighbor, Luke. They couldn’t be more different but soon the two become an inseparable pair, leaving Aris both surprised and disturbed that Luke understands her better than anyone else ever has…
Luke Donovan has it all—looks, career, money and status. Most importantly, he has the bold, brave and beautiful Jessica Knox, a woman he’s been building his impeccable life with since college. But as Luke continues his corporate climb, he soon realizes that the view from the top isn’t so great and the future laid out in front of him is very far from his true definition of happiness. For the first time in his life, Luke is unsure…until he meets his quirky neighbor, Aris, who just may help him discover what love and life are really all about…