Sasha Alexander has a powerful ability. The seven guardians that only she can see protect her from hurt, pain, fear and love – until a strange young man with scarred hands suddenly makes her feel again. But unless she can learn to control her own emotions, the biggest danger to them all may be Sasha herself.

If a girl could be cut from glass and spun into life, she would look like my most fragile of guardians. Sadness stood behind Cassandra’s chair in the busy bookstore coffee shop, her translucent hair almost blinding as it refracted back the bright halogen lights overhead. Everything about her was colorless or clear, but she always took on the hue of whatever surrounded us. As she settled into the chair I had fully expected the now-absent Fear to occupy, she took on the subtle blue glow of the tablecloth and bookstore walls. Her skin and hair, however, continued to shine under the lights. A pale, fragile girl who smiled beautifully but rarely, she was the guardian who reminded me most of myself.

Perhaps that’s why I found her presence the most painful. I wondered what kind of light Noah would see if he tried to paint her. Would it glow softly, reassuringly, or would it cut like a beacon? Her presence told me so much about how much I already missed him.

The coffee shop bustled around us. Couples chatted happily, their heads close together and wreathed with steam from their drinks. I wondered what Noah was doing now, and if we would ever get to share that kind of intimacy now that I had basically run away. Because that’s what I had done, I realized. I had run away at the first sign of something abnormal, leaving him alone in his studio.

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