Nightshade Page 67

Shay trotted up to the carcass, tail wagging.

Nice work. The deer’s blood was still hot in my mouth; my stomach rumbled. I glanced at Shay.

Ladies first. He lowered his head respectfully.

My tongue lolled out and then I tore into the carcass. Shay settled down on the opposite side of the deer and began ripping the warm flesh from its body.

After a moment he licked his lips.

It’s good.

Better than rabbit? I tore out another mouthful.

Shay cocked his head for a moment, ears flicking back and forth. Better than dinner and a movie. He bared his teeth at me in pleasure before he went back to gulping down hunks of venison.

He’d balked when I first suggested that we hunt together. But as I’d predicted, it had only taken one rabbit for him to realize that as a wolf, the instinct to kill for food and devour raw flesh was natural.

When we’d both eaten our fill, I glanced around. Traces of dawn slipped over the glen, tingeing the night’s last shadows chalky pink.

We should think about heading back. I danced in nervous circles around the picked-over carcass.

I suppose it’s getting pretty late. Shay scrambled to his feet.

More like early; the sun will be up in a couple of hours. Let’s get back to your truck.

We were still a good distance from the trailhead when Shay shifted into human form. I followed suit, startled by his decision to change. Our wolf forms offered much more protection from the elements than human skin and clothing ever could. I frowned at him, pulling my jacket more tightly around me when an icy gust of wind crept beneath my clothing.

“What is it?”

“I’ve been thinking.” He zipped and unzipped his coat, clearly nervous. “Haldis. We need to know what it is.”

I looked at his pocket, where the strange object was tucked away. “The library isn’t safe. The Searchers clearly were watching us there before that ambush.”

I shuddered, rubbing my arms.

“I’m sorry, I know it’s cold,” he said, green eyes darkening, full of wariness even as he watched me shiver. “But I need to be able to read your facial expressions. I’m not great at wolf body language yet.”

“Why do you need to know what my facial expressions are?” I started to walk toward him, stopping when he backed off.

“’Cause you’re not going to like this plan, and I need to know if you’re going to attack me. So I can get out of the way.”

I laughed, but his face was serious.

“You think I’m going to attack you?” I regarded him curiously.

He drew a slow breath.

“So we need to do research, right?”

I grimaced and nodded.

“But the public library is out, and so is our school library . . .”

“Yep.” My interest grew as his expression became calculating.

Shay backed as far from me as he could without having to shout for me to hear him.

“This must be some plan,” I muttered.

“Just promise you’ll listen to the whole idea before you lose your temper.” His eyes darted toward the trail that led back to the parking lot, as if to gauge how much time it would take for him to make a run to his truck.

My lips curled into a dangerous smile. “I promise.”

“Great.” He didn’t sound convinced at all. “What if we could get all the Keepers’ information from the source?”

“The source?”

“Their books.”

I frowned. “I’m not following you.”

He squared his shoulders. “We need to use the library at Rowan Estate.”

It was no longer the wind that made me shudder. “Please tell me you’re joking.”

“You know I’m not.”

“I am not going to Rowan Estate.”

“Why not?”

“I can’t believe you’re even suggesting this!”

He inched toward me. “Listen, Calla. My uncle travels constantly; he’s never home. We won’t get caught, and we need the information that’s in the library. I don’t think The War of All Against All is the only book he didn’t want me to see.”

“Which is exactly why it’s too dangerous for us to snoop around there,” I countered.

“Bosque doesn’t know I can pick the lock to the library,” he said. “I’m always alone. The staff only come to clean on Tuesdays and Sundays. We won’t go on Tuesday, and you patrol on Sunday anyway. No one would know if we did our research there on the other days.”

“I don’t know—”

“Logan said you’re supposed to hang out with me, right?” Shay interjected.

“Yes, but . . .”

“Don’t you think it would seem more suspicious if I never invited you over to my house?”

“Maybe.” I frowned.

He was grinning. “Definitely.”

“You’re not going to drop this, are you?”


I sighed.

“So what’s the verdict?” he asked.

“I guess I’d better get my list out,” I said. “It looks like I’m about to add another forbidden act.”

“That’s my girl.”




WE GOT THROUGH SHAY’S FIRST DAY AT school since turning without incident, except for one close call in Big Ideas. As soon as Ren walked into class, Shay tensed up, the shadow of his wolf form sliding over his shoulders, making him bristle. I’d anticipated his reaction and glared at him until he settled down. By the end of the school day I almost shared Shay’s confidence that our expedition to Haldis would remain our secret, but my optimism was short-lived.

I knew something was wrong as soon as I walked through the front door. The air stung my nostrils and I coughed out the wraiths’ stench. I considered heading for the back door so I wouldn’t have to pass the kitchen, but the thought came a moment too late.

“That must be our girl now.” Oh God, they know. This is it.

My heart skipped a beat. That voice had never been in my house before. When I walked into the living room, the Keeper was sitting in my father’s leather chair, smiling at me.

“We’ve been waiting for you, Calla,” Efron Bane said. “You’re a busy girl to come home this late. And on a school night. I hope you’re not getting into trouble.”

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