Nightshade Page 81

He cast a sidelong glance at Fey. “Wanna help me find him, in case he’s still in a bad mood and decides to take it out on me?”

“Cut our afternoon classes?” She flexed her fingers like talons. “Sure, I could use a good run.”

“I want Ren found, but you shouldn’t cut classes,” I argued. “The Keepers don’t approve when we miss school. We’re already in enough trouble.”

Fey banged her fists on the table. “Screw that; I say we go now.”

Dax gave me an unfriendly look before grinning at Fey.

“Let’s go.” He grabbed her arm. She twisted out of his grasp, driving her elbow into his side. He winced as Fey laughed and dashed from the cafeteria. With a playful growl, Dax chased after her.



His eyes moved over me like a tentative caress. “What made you change your mind?”

“No questions,” I murmured. “Just kiss me.”

He smiled and lay beside me; his hand trailed over the curve between my hips and waist.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.” I twined my arms around his neck, drawing him close.

His lips met mine and I sank into the embrace, pressing against his body. His hands stroked my throat, sliding down my chest; my heartbeat was deafening. His fingers moved to the buttons of my shirt.

One button unfastened. Two. Three.

His lips brushed against my ear. “Do you want me to stop?”

I couldn’t find breath to answer, but I shook my head.

His mouth moved along my neck. Lower.

Somewhere outside the room, I heard a roll of thunder.

No. Not thunder.

The rumbling sound, though deadly quiet, was closer than any storm could be.

My eyes wandered to the hallway beyond the open bedroom door.

Something was in the shadows. Eyes like burning coals.

Ren’s steady growling continued as he moved from the cloaking darkness that camouflaged his deep gray fur.

I tried to speak but couldn’t. My fingers grasped Shay’s arm; he looked up at me and smiled. “I love you.”

In that moment, Ren crouched and lunged, slamming into Shay and knocking him from the bed.

As they tumbled along the floor, Ren’s jaws locked around the other boy’s neck.

I heard the tearing of flesh, the crunch of bone, and closed my eyes.

When I looked again, Ren was in human form crouched over Shay’s unmoving body.

The alpha turned to face me.

“There was no other way,” he said quietly. “You are mine.”

“I know,” I whispered, and didn’t move as he came closer. “I’m sorry.”

He bent down, kissing me with lips still lacquered by Shay’s blood. The taste set my own veins on fire. I moaned, grasped his shirt in my hands, and pulled his body against mine. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Shay’s corpse shimmer, shifting over and over. Boy to wolf, skin to fur, sinking into a pool of blood, the change never ceasing. Until, at last, he disappeared from sight.

My eyes fluttered open. I clutched my knotted stomach, forcing back the bile that rose in my throat. The room around me spun several times before it came into focus. I stared at my bedroom ceiling; my tattered copy of Watership Down lay open on my chest. Searching for comfort, I’d only gotten a few pages in before drifting off. My phone buzzed angrily on my nightstand. I picked it up, staring at the screen. Shay Doran.

I pushed the button to answer the call, muttering, “I’ll be there tomorrow, Shay. I need a night alone,” hanging up before he could speak. I didn’t think I could handle hearing his voice when his words from the dream, I love you, still rang in my ears.

Is he in love with me? Do I want him to be?

The patter of tentative footfalls reached my ears. I flipped on my side to face the door and saw Ansel wander by. I rolled onto my back, rubbing sleep from my eyes. I’d crashed on my bed as soon as I’d gotten home from school, collapsing under the weight of the day.

The floorboards creaked as Ansel passed my door again. I caught his nervous glance in my direction before he hurried down the hall.

“Ansel, I’m not the sun; stop orbiting and get in here,” I called. He reappeared in the doorway, and I frowned as I watched my brother inch nervously toward my bed.

“You’re acting weird,” I said, patting the coverlet. “Just sit down.”

He perched on the corner, twirling silken wisps of hair that came down over his ears.

“You need a haircut,” I said.

He shrugged. “Bryn has some idea of wanting me to style it differently, and she says it needs to be a little longer.”

“You’re the one who wanted to date her.” I wagged my finger at him. “You are now subject to her constant makeover ideas. Thank God, maybe she’ll finally give up on me.”

He smiled shyly. “I don’t mind.”

“Just wait,” I muttered, envying the simple intimacies they could share.

His smile faded. “I need to talk to you about Shay.”

I sat up, suddenly wary, wondering if I’d cried out during my nightmare.

“What about him?”

He continued to avert his eyes. “You know how at lunch today Sabine said it seemed like he knew more about us than he should?”

He knows. Bryn and Ansel were in the cave with Ren—they figured it out.

“Well,” he said, studying the embroidery on my pillowcases, “I may have let something slip when we went climbing a couple weeks ago.”

I didn’t know whether to be relieved or horrified. “You let something slip?”

“Actually, to be more accurate . . .” He swallowed a couple of times. “I may have explained some things to him . . .”


He finally raised his eyes to mine; they were huge and apologetic.

“I’m sorry, Calla, I couldn’t help it. We’ve been hanging out a lot, and he’s a great guy. But whenever he talks about you, it’s like his eyes just glow. He’s totally done for. And I felt so bad about it, since I figured he didn’t have a chance in hell with Ren around.”

My eyes narrowed and he rushed on.

“So I tried to explain that you guys have a long history and now you were getting together and he kept asking questions that I couldn’t really answer without giving stuff away. The next thing I knew I was telling him about the Guardians and the pack and why it’s important for you and Ren to go through with the union.” He ran out of breath, tensing as he waited for my fury to unleash.

Prev Next