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Chapter One

She hurried through the pouring rain, hunched over her books as she tried to keep them dry. She'd known it would rain today, had felt it in the air, seen it in the low hanging dark gray clouds. But she'd been running late and thought she might miss the storm.

Thunder rumbled through the sky, shaking the ground beneath her feet. She'd never liked storms, could never figure out what others found so romantic about them. She was cold, wet, and miserable. Her feet squished with each step, water ran in her eyes, and she felt as if she might never be dry again. There wasn't anything remotely exciting about the rain.

She finally rounded the corner toward her house. With immense relief she slid through the front door, grateful to be out of the deluge.

"Snow!" her mother chided her as she came down the stairs and saw her dripping in the entry. "You're getting water everywhere."

"I know, I'm sorry," she apologized. "I'll clean it up." Her mother—stepmother if she were being technical—smiled at her. A chill fingered down Snow’s spine. She couldn't say her mother had ever treated her poorly, or done anything to make Snow doubt her affection. And yet, every time her mother looked at Snow, she felt that same chill. There was something in her mother’s face, in her eyes, that just felt . . . off. About to graduate high school and Snow felt like a little child when it came to her stepmother.

She quickly slipped her sopping shoes and jacket off and wadded both up in a tight ball. Then she looked across the gleaming and dry expanse of tiled floor between herself and the laundry room which sat at the rear of the house. Well, there was no help for it, she had to get her clothes to the dryer. She hurried across the space, ignoring the lifted brow of her mother. Once in the laundry room, she was able to slip out of all of her wet things and place them in the dryer. A towel folded on top of the dryer gave her something to wrap in while she ran to her room. There, she only took time to wrap in a robe before she went back to the entry, rags in hand to clean up her mess. Her mother was a stickler for absolute perfection in the cleanliness of her house, and since Snow was at her mercy, she couldn't really complain.

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