Nightshade Page 8

“I’ve had other things on my mind,” I muttered, wishing I didn’t want him to reach for me again.

“That’s too bad.” His teeth flashed partly in friendship, the other part in warning.

“And why is that?” I leaned against the table.

“Because I was going to offer a rare invitation.” He began to make notes in his workbook.

“An invitation to what?” I peered over his shoulder. As ever, his notations were perfect, but I enjoyed pretending I doubted his studiousness. I fought off the desire to snatch the pen and start a game of keep-away.

He wore a wry smile. “I don’t think I could extend any courtesy if you have doubts about our ability to interact peaceably.”

I didn’t take the bait. “I’m interested, Ren. What are you offering?”

His eyes flashed, streaks of silver against black.

“Efron’s having a VIP party at one of his clubs in Vail this Friday. Some new bigwig’s in town, and our master is wining and dining him as usual. We were going to hit it. You could come. Bring your pack.”

I started at his words. “Seriously?”

“Would I toy with you?” He cocked his head at me, eyes wide in affected innocence.

“Yes,” I said, and he laughed. This time he reached for my hand. I didn’t flinch when his fingers trailed over mine.

“The offer stands. Take it or leave it,” he said, turning back to his workbook. He pulled his hand away, leaving my heart to its own ferocious pumping.

“Which club?”


I clenched my teeth together so my jaw wouldn’t drop.

“Okay. We’ll be there. Thanks.” I kept my tone nonchalant though anticipation made my limbs quiver.

He didn’t hide his smile. “All your names will be on the list.”

I chewed on my lip.

“What?” Ren frowned.

“I’m not sure about Ansel.”

Ren shrugged. He gripped the sides of the table and bent forward, arching his back in a languid stretch. “If his name is on the list, he’ll get in.”

I put my hands behind my back, threading my fingers so I wouldn’t reach out to feel the flexing of his muscles.

“He’s fifteen.” I averted my eyes from the fluid lines of his body.

“Cosette’s fifteen and she’ll be there.” He moved closer to me. “Will he forgive you if you don’t let him come along?”

“Probably not.” I imagined the outrage on Ansel’s face if I were to tell him about the club and his exclusion from the outing.

“His name will be on the list, but he’s your brother. Your call, Lily.”

“Will you please stop calling me that?” I snapped.


“Uh, hi.” A new voice sounded just behind me. Ren’s brow furrowed and I turned to face our visitor.

The hiker hovered at the end of our lab station.

Oh God.

“Can I talk to you?” Shay asked.

“Why?” My retort was knife sharp and harder to spit out than it should have been. I wanted to talk to him, but that wasn’t an option. I could sense Ren’s surprise at my hostility without looking at him. The force of my question drew the alpha near. I couldn’t decide if I felt grateful or offended. After all, I was an alpha too.

The new boy’s gaze moved to Ren. I could see his menacing expression reflected in the stranger’s eyes. No human could withstand a Guardian’s warning glare, especially one that emanated from an alpha. I almost felt sorry for him.

“Nothing. Never mind,” Shay murmured as his nervous gaze darted from me to Ren, whose hands now rested on my hips.

My instincts battled back and forth between the desire to tear Ren’s fingers off my body and relief from his closeness. I reveled in the strong, soft pressure of his hands, but I resented his attempt to possess me. I glanced up at him, filled with a nagging irritation. And then it hit me as my eyes returned to our uninvited guest. This isn’t how I want Shay to see me.

Shay shook his head as though he’d been caught in a disorienting fog. The bell rang and he hurried away.

“Weird kid,” Ren murmured, dropping his hands from my hips. “He’s new, huh?”

“I guess. He was in homeroom with me and Bryn. Got stuck in the seat next to me, probably just wanted directions.” I tried to look bored. “He hasn’t figured out the rules yet. No mixing.”

Ren returned to putting away our lab materials. “Right, that rule.”

“Just ’cause you have boundary issues doesn’t mean everyone else does. The rest of us respect the Keepers’ wishes.” My voice dripped honey sweet.

He just shrugged.

Damn it, stop being so arrogant.

“Look, I’m starved. You got that?” I gestured to the remaining beakers and bottles that needed to be reshelved in the classroom’s cabinets.

“No problem.”

“Thanks.” I grabbed my bag, walking swiftly from the room.

The Guardians always ate lunch on the far side of the cafeteria. While the two packs sat at different tables, we still hovered near each other. Across the room were the Keepers’ children, decked in Gucci and Prada, looking put out to be anywhere near the rest of us. The human students sat sandwiched between the wolves and our masters’ children. Sometimes I felt sorry for the mortals. In their own world they wielded immense power. But not here. At the Mountain School, the humans knew they were at the bottom of the food chain.

Ansel and Mason already occupied our usual table, and I pulled up a chair next to my brother.

“So what did Ren want?” Ansel’s eyes were bright with anticipation.

Mason leaned forward, interested, but he didn’t speak.

“Let’s wait until everyone is here.” I pulled the turkey sandwich out of my bag.

Ansel growled impatiently and I shot him a warning glare. Steel legs screeched against the tile floor as Bryn took a seat close to me. Fey dropped into the chair beside Mason.

My gaze swept over my now-circled packmates before flickering to the next table, where the Banes sat. Sabine drummed her long vamp-painted nails on the table and whispered in Cosette’s ear. The younger blond girl pursed her lips. Her skin was so pale it was like you could stare right through her, and her constant fidgeting made it appear that she wished everyone could.

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