Nightshade Page 14

Most of the guests were Keepers. I saw Logan Bane dancing amid a crowd of his peers and, surprisingly, Lana Flynn. A few Bane Guardians, adults, stalked through the club, their eyes darting throughout the space, muscles tense.

Mason tightened his grip on my shoulder, steering me toward the bar. He walked confidently toward a young man who was laughing with the Bane Guardian pouring shots behind the bar. The bartender looked as though he’d been molded into his clothes, but that wasn’t a bad thing.

Bryn leaned over, whispering in my ear. “Forget drinks. I’ll take a double of him.”

“Just behave.” I giggled.

“Hey, man,” Mason called, and Neville turned to face us, a wary smile sliding across his mouth.

If a band had been playing at Eden that night, I would have assumed Neville, dressed in a T-shirt and leather pants, was with them. I cast my eyes around, attempting to search the club in a casual manner. Neville watched me with a knowing smile.

“We have a table at the back,” he said softly. “He’s been waiting for you.”

Neville led us away from the dance floor to a secluded corner of the room where the young Banes lounged on couches. Cosette and Dax sat opposite Ren. The alpha grinned at his packmates while one of the leather-clad dancers, draped across him like a cloak, nuzzled his neck. An unfamiliar, painful gnawing began in my stomach.

Bryn leaned into me. “I wouldn’t let a succubus get that close, if I were him.”

A shiver moved up my spine. She thinks the wings are real.

I looked closer and saw that the coquette whose lips were latched on Ren’s cheek did not have wings. She sat up, smiling at Ren, who glanced at her with a disinterested expression. My eyes widened. It was Sabine. I could barely recognize her in the mirror-shine black leather hip-huggers and studded bustier.

Fey coughed: “Slut.”

Bryn giggled. Ansel choked on his drink when he caught sight of Sabine.

“Hey, Ren.” Neville squeezed himself on the couch between Sabine and his pack leader. “Look who I found.”

A warm tremor bubbled up through my veins as Ren’s eyes moved over my corseted body.

I stole a glance at my newly generous curves. Maybe there’s something to this outfit after all.

“You guys look great.” He gestured to the couch where Dax and Cosette sat and the other, still-empty couch next to them. “Please join us.”

He turned to Neville and Sabine. “Make room for Calla.”

Sabine rose with some reluctance while Neville eyed the near-empty glasses on the table.

“Looks like you’re ready for another round anyway.” He looked at Mason. “Make a bar run with me?”

Mason shrugged, trailing after Neville. Dax frowned as he watched the two boys move off. I caught Fey eyeing Dax’s biceps and a smile twitched at the corner of my mouth.

Ansel took a seat on the empty couch, pulling Bryn along with him. Ren stretched his hand out to me. I hesitated but then took his fingers in my own, letting him draw me down onto the sofa next to him.

“Let me get that out of the way for you.” He took the jacket I’d slung over one arm and draped it along the back of the couch. From behind me I heard Sabine sigh.

“I think there’s a platform missing its go-go dancer, Sabine.” Fey’s brutal tone cut through our courtesies.

“Play nice,” I growled.

“It’s fine.” Sabine held Fey in a steady gaze. “Talk bores me.” She glanced at Ren.

“Go dance,” he said. “Try to stay out of trouble.”

With a toss of her hair, which shone like vinyl under the flashing club lights, Sabine turned on a needle-sharp heel and trotted away.

I patted the empty space on the couch next to me. “Fey?”

She lowered herself onto the velvet cushions.

“It’s a party. Have fun.” I flashed fangs at her, making sure she knew it was an order, not a request.

She settled for drawing patterns in the plush velvet with her sharp nails.

My hand still lay enfolded in Ren’s grasp. His thumb slid up and down the back of my wrist, taking my mind off Fey completely. It was dangerous to be around him.

“Sorry, guys.” Bryn suddenly jumped up. “As much as it pains me to agree with Sabine about anything, I’m here for the dancing. Who’s with me?”

Ansel was on his feet immediately. “I am.”

“Great!” Bryn dragged my brother away.

Fey watched them depart and pointed at Dax. “Do you dance?”

“Do you?” he replied.

“Why don’t you find out?”

She rose, wandering past the Bane, whose eyes went wild when she trailed her fingertips over his broad shoulders. She laughed and darted away. Dax looked at Ren, who twitched his wrist, and Dax went after Fey.

I eased back into the cushions. “She’s like Jekyll and Hyde.”

“She’s your best warrior, right?” Ren asked.

I nodded.

“That’s Dax too. It makes sense that they’d be drawn to each other. Like attracts like.”

“I thought opposites attracted,” I countered.

Ren shook his head. “No. That’s pop culture drivel. If you’re a real student of literature, and I mean the good stuff—Chaucer, Shakespeare—you figure out that only souls who truly reflect each other make good love matches.” He paused and a smile pulled at one corner of his mouth. “If they can find each other, that is.”

I blinked at him. “You’re talking about soul mates? When did you become a romantic?”

“There’s a lot you don’t know about me.” Something in his voice made me quiver.

I sought a safe place for my eyes and then realized that Cosette still sat, abandoned, on the other couch.

Ren’s gaze followed mine. “Cosette, why don’t you go join the others?” She bolted from the couch.

I frowned, suddenly aware of the cloak of darkness that covered Ren and me in the solitary corner of the nightclub. “You didn’t have to send her away.”

“Are you afraid to be alone with me, Lily?” His voice looped over me like a rope, pulling me toward him.

I tried to sound strong. “I’m not afraid of anything.”

“Anything?” he asked. “That’s an impressive claim. Even for an alpha.”

“Are you suggesting there is something you’re afraid of?”

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