Nightshade Page 23

“We were out until four in the morning on Friday.”

“Tell me about it. I was the one who had to get up two hours later. And Mason is not pleasant to patrol with when he’s tired. Cranky as hell. He snapped a rabbit clean in half when it startled him.”

Ansel tasted his coffee again; this time he smiled and began to gulp it.

“Seriously, though, Calla,” he said. “Did killing that Searcher freak you out?”

“No.” He looked doubtful and I sighed. “Killing the Searcher was my job. He tried to attack Shay.”

“You mean that new kid everyone’s been talking about?”

“Yes.” I got up to refill my mug. “The Keepers have some sort of interest in his well-being. He’s living with them.”

Ansel held his now-empty coffee cup out to me. “That’s weird. And the Searchers tried to attack him?”

“Yes. I killed one. The other one—” I hesitated before pouring coffee into his mug. “Do you want only half a cup to leave room for your sugar?”

He didn’t take the bait. “What happened to the other Searcher?”

“The Keepers used a wraith on him.”

I watched Ansel pale. “What did it do?”

“I don’t know exactly.” I set his mug in front of him. “Efron sent us out. But it seemed like the wraith would make their interrogation pretty effective.”

“I’m glad I didn’t have to see that.” He began his sugar ritual again.

“I wish I hadn’t seen what I did,” I said, and his eyes narrowed. “And yes, that did keep me in bed yesterday.”

“What else?” Ansel pressed.

I stared at the dark surface of my coffee. “I’m worried about Logan.”

“What about him?” He got up and went to the pantry to refill the now-empty sugar bowl.

“He’s going to take over the new pack.”

I heard a clatter from the pantry. Sparkling granules covered the floor.

“Ansel!” I went for the broom.

“Sorry,” he muttered, pushing the spilled sugar into a pile with his hands. “Seriously? Logan? Not Efron or Lumine—or both of them taking turns or something?”

“Be glad it’s not Efron,” I said, handing him the dustpan.

He caught the dark expression on my face. “Why?”

I swept slowly, tightening my grip on the broom.

“Because of Sabine?” he asked in a low voice.

I froze. “You know?”

“Neville told Mason, and Mason told me.” He stared at the pile of sugar.

“Ren told me,” I said softly, and began to sweep again.

Ansel maneuvered the dustpan to catch the sugar. “Mason said Ren is really broken up about it. I mean that’s third-hand info, but I believe it. He can’t protect Sabine from Efron. I can’t imagine what that feels like for an alpha. Master or no, it has to go against Ren’s instinct to protect his packmates.”

I didn’t respond but continued pushing the sugar toward Ansel.

“What do you think about it?” he asked.

“For the first time I was glad Lumine is our mistress,” I said. “And I hope Logan is different. Ren said he’s not like his father but that he’s unpredictable.”

He shrugged. “Well, Logan would be different no matter what. I mean he wouldn’t want—”

The front door banged open and Bryn bounced into the kitchen.

Ansel straightened abruptly, dropping the sugar in his dustpan back on the floor. I groaned.

“Oh. Sorry.” He threw me an apologetic glance, taking the broom from me.

“Ready for the great outdoors, Cal?” Bryn smiled and then looked at the floor. “What happened?”

“Ansel believes that coffee should be drunk in equal parts with sugar.” I smiled at my still-blushing brother. “He got a little enthusiastic about it.”

Bryn laughed, turning to head back out the door.

“Hey, wait a sec,” I said, catching her arm.

She raised a surprised brow.

“I’d like to make a solo run today. Do you mind?” It was hard to keep my voice even.


“I’d prefer to do the patrol alone,” I said, fumbling for a reason and finding nothing. Lame, Calla, so lame. She’ll never buy this.

“I see.” She wandered to the kitchen table, settling into a chair. “So you’re meeting Ren?”

“What?” I blurted.

“What?!” Ansel jumped up, spilling the sugar again. He swore, but he didn’t bend down to resume his cleanup.

My eyes darted from Bryn to my brother. “I am not meeting Ren.” It wasn’t what I’d expected but I realized it might be enough to keep Bryn away from patrol. Even if it meant suffering a week or more of teasing from these two.

“Really?” Bryn fingered the empty sugar bowl on the table. “I thought you two seemed to be getting along rather well at Eden. He’s a great dancer. Isn’t he, Ansel?”

She winked at my brother, who snickered.

I glared at each of them in turn. “I am NOT meeting Ren.” I knew if I didn’t protest, she wouldn’t invest in her new conspiracy theory.

“Fine.” She smiled, her eyes telling me she didn’t believe me at all, which in this case worked in my favor. “That’s good because it’s technically against the rules for two alphas to patrol together. You know, in case anything were to happen and both of you were killed.”

“Technically we’re not alphas of the new pack yet. We’re still a Nightshade and a Bane,” I snapped.

“So you are meeting him, then.” Her grin became so broad I thought her face would crack.

“I am not!” I snatched the sugar spoon from Ansel and threw it at her, but she dodged it easily.

My stomach tied itself into painful knots. I was fairly certain that over the course of our night at Eden, I’d succeeded in pushing the Bane alpha away.

Bryn laughed and went to the cupboard. “Whatever.” She grabbed a coffee mug. “If you want to go alone, that’s fine with me. No matter what you plan to do up there.”

Still glaring at her, I returned to the kitchen table to finish my coffee.

Ansel finally managed to get the spilled sugar into the trash can.

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