Nightshade Page 59

“I wonder where you got that idea.” Ren’s hand tightened on my waist.

Ansel cowered. “Sorry, man. I wasn’t thinking.”

“I suppose he’s a decent dancer.” Ren’s dark eyes flashed. “But I think we should show him how it’s really done.”

I tensed but was more than surprised when he turned to Cosette. “Feel like dancing?”

Her large eyes went even wider, but she smiled shyly and nodded. He took her hand and they left the table. Dax grabbed Fey’s arm and they followed the other couple.

I couldn’t stop my frown.

“That was weird,” Ansel said. “You okay?”

“Fine,” I said, trying to ignore my irritation at Ren’s sudden departure with Cosette.

Is this what it will be like after the union? Will he go off with other girls whenever he feels like it?

“Don’t worry about it, Calla,” Mason said. “Shay’s a thorn in his paw and he’s trying to make you think he doesn’t care.”

“Never mind,” I said, embarrassed by their concern. “I don’t need to dance with Ren.”

Mason tapped out a quick rhythm on the table with his knuckles. “But you do need to dance.”

He stood up, offering me his hand.

“Great, the only one without a partner,” Ansel said as I rose. “Where’s Sabine when I need her?”

“I think Sabine might bite you before she danced with you,” I said.

“True enough.” He grinned. “I’ll just wait for Bryn to remember she likes me.”

“Good plan,” Mason said, pulling me away from the table.

We’d barely made it alongside the stage when the music took a decidedly slower turn.

“How romantic.” Mason kissed me on the cheek.

I laughed, following his slow circles over the bumpy floor.

Mason’s arms suddenly dropped from my waist, and another set of hands moved along my hips.

“I’ll take it from here, Mason,” Ren said from directly behind me.

“Of course.” Mason inclined his head.

Ren turned me in his arms.

“That was rude,” I said, more irked by his earlier abandonment than the interruption. “You could have waited.”

He just smiled. “No. I wanted to dance with you now.”

“Fine. We’re dancing. Are you happy?”

“Almost.” He brushed his lips against my forehead. I focused on not tripping over the slanted floor.

“Don’t you want to know what would make me happy?” he teased.

“I’m not sure.” The stormy darkness of his irises made my skin crackle, electric.

“Let me give you a ride home tonight.” He reached into his pocket. “I want to show you something.”


There was a flash of silver before my eyes. Keys.

“Our house.”

I stared at him and then at the keys again. “Our house?”

“At the new compound. It’s ready. I asked Logan if I could take a look and he just handed the keys over. I’m sure I could get you a set if you want.”

“Our—Our house?” I stammered again.

“Yes, Calla.” He grinned. “It’s that place we’ll be living together after the union. When we’re the alpha pair. Remember how that works?”

“You want to go there tonight?”

“Just to check it out.”

“And Logan said it was okay?”

“Logan doesn’t have to know I brought you along.” He jangled the keys in front of me. “Besides, aren’t you curious?”

“A little.” I was even more curious about what Ren wanted to do when we got there.

He smiled, sliding his arm back around my waist.

My eyes narrowed. “And you’ll take me right home after we see it?”

“If that’s what you want,” he said softly, running his thumb along my cheekbone. “But I’d be tempted to see if I could convince you to stop acting like the proper lady your mother wants you to be.”

“So you did hear her.” I groaned, blushing. As if I want to be a lady. All it means is that I have to pretend I don’t feel anything but a sense of duty.

“I can’t blame her for wanting to protect your virtue,” he said, grinning. “I’d like to be in her good graces, but maybe I could have a little slumber party with you at our new house. It would be our secret. I promise I won’t kiss and tell.”

I kicked his shin lightly. “I can’t believe you. Just stop it.”

“Or maybe that would spoil the anticipation,” he continued, eyes merciless. “I’m pretty limber. I’m betting I could get onto the roof, swing down, and sneak in through your bedroom window. Surprise you some evening in the near future.”

I froze in his arms. “You wouldn’t.”

“No, I wouldn’t.” He laughed. “Only if you asked.”

My heart’s rapid drumming countered the slow rhythm of Nev’s song.

“This is where you belong, Calla.” He pulled me closer, tilting my chin up. “Be with me. Tell me it’s what you want.”

I couldn’t tear my eyes from his. “What I want?”

“Yes. Anything, everything you need, I’ll give you. Always. I promise. Just tell me one thing.”


“That you want this, us.” His voice dropped so low I could barely hear him. “That someday you’ll love me.”

My hands began to tremble where they rested around his neck. “Ren, you know we’re going to be together. We’ve both known that for a long time.”

He gave me a hard look. “That’s not what I’m talking about.”

“Why are you asking me this?” I tried to pull back, but he held me against him.

The glimmer of a smile appeared on his lips. “Why not?”

My temper flared. “Are you trying to say that you love me?”

I meant it as a challenge rather than a serious question, but his eyes seemed to catch fire.

“What do you think?” He touched his lips to mine, softly at first, gradually building pressure, parting them. Startled, I stiffened in his arms. But he continued to caress my lips with his own, gentle and measured, but insistent. I sank into the kiss, drowning in Ren’s warmth, moving slightly against the weight of his hands on my waist, knowing it would make him pull me closer to his body.

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