Out for Blood Page 25

I took the bag of supplies I’d packed earlier and ducked out of the dormitory, cutting through the gardens to the woods. I avoided the squares of light falling over the grass from the infirmary. The woods were quiet and warm, thick with the smell of pines and the yellow lilies from the edge of the pond. I followed the glow of light on the other side of the pine grove to the clearing where Kieran had already set up a perimeter of lanterns.

I paused at the sound of a footfall behind me. “You’re not supposed to be here.”

“You’re not the boss of me,” Spencer returned good naturedly. “And we’re not getting left out of another night of your stealthy fun.”

Chloe was beside him, smiling hesitantly. “Okay?”

I wrinkled my nose. “Okay. As long as I can kick your ass in the name of training.”

“Deal,” Chloe slung her arm through mine. “I want to get a look at one of the famous Drake brothers.” She lowered her voice. “I really am sorry I snapped at you.”

“I know.” And I’m sorry I went through your stuff, I thought. But I didn’t say it.

Quinn, Lucy, and Kieran were waiting for us in the meadow. Quinn was leaning against a tree, looking dangerous and hot.

“Yummy,” Chloe murmured to me. Quinn flashed us a grin. I fought a blush.

“Vampire hearing, remember?” I murmured back.

She shrugged, grinning back. I tried not to feel jealous of the way he winked at her. I turned my attention deliberately to Lucy. She was wearing an embroidered peasant top with jean shorts and Doc Marten boots. Her hair was in a straight bob, her glasses dark-rimmed.

“I’m so going to learn to kick your ass.” She smirked at Quinn. “And your brother’s.”

“Where is Nicholas?” Kieran asked.

“He’s locked in a closet,” Lucy said with grim satisfaction. After a moment of stunned silence, Quinn snorted out a laugh.

“You locked your boyfriend in a closet?” I asked.

“Cool,” Chloe approved. The rhinestones on her earrings caught the blue lantern light.

Lucy shrugged. “Serves him right. He locked me in there last week.”

Kieran rolled his eyes. “He was trying to save your life.”

“Whatever. Don’t make me lock you in there too.” She rubbed her hands together excitedly. “Come on, Hunter. Show me some stuff.”

“Yeah, Buffy,” Quinn grinned amiably at me, pushing away from the tree as we stepped farther into the clearing. “Show us your moves.”

Lucy shoved him gently toward me. “Use him as your vampire dummy.”

“Hey now.”

“This was your idea,” she told him. “You’re the one who wanted me armed and dangerous.”

“What the hell was I thinking?”

She kissed his cheek, as if he really was her big brother, then turned to me expectantly.

“First, I need to see your style,” I said.

“Steamroller,” Kieran said blandly.

She narrowed her eyes at him. “Can I practice on him?”

I swept my arm out in invitation, grinning. “Be my guest.”

She danced back and forth like a boxer, but she was all grace and little technique.

“Just run at him,” I suggested.

She lowered her head and charged him like a demented bull. Kieran waited until the last possible second before stepping out of the way, smirking. Lucy stopped herself, but only barely. Another step and she would have brained herself on a tree. She whirled.

“Damn it!” She pointed at Kieran and Quinn. “Don’t you dare laugh.”

Quinn pressed his lips shut with exaggerated care.

“It’s okay,” I said. “Take a swing at him now.”

Kieran backed up so fast he nearly tripped over his own feet. “No way. She already punched me in the face once.”

“Me too,” Quinn said. “She has really good aim.”

“Good. I can work with that,” I replied. “Kieran, pretend to attack her.”

He looked dubious but complied. When he grabbed Lucy’s shoulder, she turned into a wildcat. She flared, kicked, bit. I was pretty sure I even heard her hiss. After a few minutes, Kieran was scratched and bruised and she was panting and red-faced.

“Not bad,” I told her. “But you’ll wear yourself out long before you do any actual damage.”

She thumped her chest. “I’m starting to get that,” she huffed. “I think my heart just exploded.”

“We should probably stick to stealth and escape. I can show you how to inflict the maximum amount of damage with minimum force, which will buy you time to run away.”

Quinn pinned Lucy with a fierce and knowing glance. “But you actually have to run away, brat.”

She made a face. “Yeah, yeah.”

“Show me your aim.” I handed her three rocks and pointed to a slim birch. She tossed her hair back off her face, took a deep breath, and launched them. She hit the trunk dead center every time. Spencer whistled through his teeth, impressed. Chloe looked like she was ready to start taking notes.

“Is it true Hope tried to recruit you?” she asked.

“Yeah,” Lucy grumbled. “As if I would turncoat for some cheesy comic-book league.” She paused, winced. “Oops. Sorry.”

I shrugged. “Hope wasn’t true Helios-Ra.” Never mind that Grandpa had been rather sympathetic to her ultimate goals. Since Lucy had proven herself with her aim and the turn in conversation was making everyone uncomfortable, I showed her our altered ninja eggs.

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