Chapter One The moment Alex laid eyes on Julian Hunt from afar, her stomach twisted itself into a thousand knots.
He stood in front of Duchess Library, his hands tucked casually in the pockets of his charcoal wool peacoat. The collar of his button-down shirt was pulled up and his dark hair was strategically disheveled, hanging across his brow. He was speaking to an intimidatingly large redhead with a buzz cut and a Franklin Lacrosse sweatshirt, and they were both grinning at some inside joke. A smile illuminated Julian’s hazel eyes and his lips barely parted, revealing white, impossibly straight teeth.
He was beautiful.
Of course, he had no idea who Alex was, or that she even existed. And why would he? She was nothing like the girls he usually dated—Russian girls with untamed hair, an aversion to bras, and a penchant for blood-red lipstick and cigarettes. There were usually one
The Peacekeepers: ProloguePROLOGUE
They were everywhere, and of every type imaginable. Sand trickled through hourglasses while candle clocks flickered and burned. What at first glance appeared to be a fountain was in fact an ancient Egyptian water clock, measuring time through drips. Medieval astronomical clocks loomed high on the walls, their Zodiac circles and moving figures adding a pagan air to the room.
They sat on mantels, tables, and the floor. Table clocks, carriage clocks. Long-case, turret, and skeleton clocks. Cuckoo clocks.
Synchronized, their collective tick—or boom, as it were—vibrated in Leander Blackwood’s chest and jarred his thoughts, as though each tick counted down the seconds of his life. The study was dark save for the sunlight that filtered in through a high window of leaded and beveled glass. The shafts of light, murky with dust, glinted off brass, silver, and gold.