ELITE by Rachel Van Dyken
October 14, 2014
Forever Trade Paperback
For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .
The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.
“Are you lost?” a deep voice asked from behind me. I turned around and quickly came face to face with the same guy I’d seen before. Only this time he had three friends with him, not one. Lucky me.
“Nope. Apparently I live in the United States.” I gave him my best smile and tried to lift my heavy suitcase with my free hand. It didn’t budge and I almost fell over. Awesome.
“I’m Nixon.” He moved to stand in front of me. His icy stare did weird things to my body. I’m pretty sure what I was experiencing was called a panic attack. Every part of my body felt hot and then cold, as if I was going to explode any minute.
“Tracey, but everyone calls me Trace.” I held out my hand.
He stared at it like I was diseased.
I quickly pulled it back and wiped it on my jeans.
“What?” I took a step back.
The guy from before named Chase left the waiting group and approached us. “He’s right. As cute as you are, Farm Girl, someone needs to tell you the rules.”
“Can it be fast?” I asked with an overwhelming sense of irritation. I was tired, jet-lagged, and about five seconds away from crying again. I’d never done public school, let alone a private Elite school where the guys were tattooed, pierced, and better looking than Abercrombie models.
“You hear that, Chase?” Nixon laughed. “She likes it fast.”
“Pity.” Chase winked. “I’d love to give it to her slow.”
I gulped. The two guys behind them laughed hysterically and high-fived each other.
“The rules.” Chase began circling me slowly, making me feel like one of those carcasses vultures feed on. Fantastic.
“No speaking to the Elect, unless you’ve been asked to speak to them.”
“Who are the—”
“Nope. You’ve already broken a rule. I’m speaking, New Girl.” Chase smirked. “Geez, Nixon, this one’s going to be hard to break in.”
“They always are,” Nixon replied, lifting my chin with his hand. “But I think I’ll enjoy this one.”
Okay. It was clear someone had just dropped me into a horror movie where I was going to be offed at any minute.
“If an Elect talks to you, never make eye contact. Because, technically, you don’t exist. You’re just a pathetic excuse for a human being, and at this school, you’re a real tragedy. You see, while one of the Elect is out running for president and basically ruling the free world, you’ll be lucky to be working for one of our companies. You follow the rules, and maybe we’ll throw you a bone.”
Furious, I glared at him, ignoring their second rule. “Is that all?”
“No,” Nixon answered for Chase. This time his touch was smooth as he caressed my arm. I tried to jerk away. His face lit up with a smile, and honestly, it was like staring at a fallen angel. Nixon was gorgeous. He was an ass, but he was a gorgeous ass. “You feel this?” His hand continued moving up my arm until he reached my shoulder, and then his hand moved to my neck and his thumb grazed my trembling lips. “Memorize it now, because as of this moment, you can’t touch us. We are untouchable. If you as much as sneeze in our direction, if you as much as breathe the same air in my atmosphere, I will make your life hell. This touch, what you feel against your skin, will be the only time you feel another human being as powerful as me near you. So like I said, feel it, remember it, and maybe one day, your brain will do you the supreme favor of forgetting what it felt like to have someone like me touching you. Then, and only then, will you be able to be happy with some mediocre boyfriend and pathetic life.”
A few tears slipped down my cheek before I could stop them. I knew I needed to appear strong in front of Nixon and Chase. I just . . . I didn’t have it in me, not when he would say such cruel things. I choked back a sob and stared them down, willing the rest of the tears to stay in. I didn’t care who these guys were. They had no right to treat me like this, though it still stung. I so desperately wanted to fit in.
He jerked his hand away from my face. “Pathetic. Are you going to cry? Really?” Nixon scowled and held out his hand to Chase. Chase handed him some Purell.
“Don’t want to get farm on my hands, you understand.” Nixon smiled such a mean smile that I literally had to clench my hands at my sides to keep from punching him in the face and getting expelled.
“Don’t even think about it, New Girl. You touch me, I tell the dean, who just so happens to be Phoenix’s dad. We control the teachers because, guess what? My dad pays for everything. Now, if you have any questions about what we talked about here, please direct them to Tex and Phoenix, ’kay?”
The two guys who had been standing back from us waved and then flipped me off.
“That’s how they say hello,” Nixon explained. “All right, Chase, it seems our job here is done. Oh, and Farm Girl, don’t forget. Classes start tomorrow. Welcome to Hell.”
About the Author
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey atwww.rachelvandyken.com