Out for Blood Page 26

She blinked. “I’m going to throw Silly Putty at vampires?”

When I explained what was in them, her eyes shone.

“Okay, these I officially love.” She proved her point by juggling them, ending with a bow and a flourish. “Let’s see you do that, 007,” she teased Kieran.

“You should get yourself some Hypnos,” I suggested. “I can’t give you any because it’s against school rules. But if you get some, I can give you an old tear-gas pen you can fill up and tuck in your sleeve. And I have a bunch of eggs without the Hypnos.”

“Uncle Geoffrey probably has a stash of the stuff by now,” Quinn told her. “Not that I approve,” he said to me.

I wasn’t the least bit apologetic. “You have pheromones, we have Hypnos. Call it even.”

“We’re not the ones selling our weapon on the black market and taking unfair advantage. We only use our glamour to protect ourselves.”

“First, we don’t sell it.” I raised an eyebrow. “And second, are you really trying to tell me you’ve never used your pheromones to steal a kiss?”

“I steal them the old-fashioned way,” he said. “With charm.”

“Lucy, aim for the big swelled head when you throw those eggs,” I said.

“I usually do.” She grinned.

“You should also get a staff or a walking stick, something you can attach a blade to or sharpen to a point. It’ll keep your attacker out of biting range.”

Quinn kicked up a long stick with his boot, throwing it to me.

“Show me,” he said as I caught it. I twirled it once. I admit I was showing off a little. If he was going to insist on seeing me as one of the guys and a fellow soldier, I was damn well going to out-soldier him.

“Come on, Buffy,” he urged, pale eyes twinkling.

“Any time, Lestat,” I shot back.

We circled each other in a slow, predatory dance. It was easy to forget we had an audience. His blue eyes were sharp and hot, like the heart of a candle’s flame. It could warm me or burn me clean through.

“No Hypnos,” he murmured.

“No pheromones,” I countered, though I didn’t know how much actual control he had over that sort of thing.

He was quick, of course. Vampires always were. But we’d been trained to focus on that blur of movement, on the displacement of air, on the tiny meticulous details that might just save our lives.

When he came at me I had to convince my reflexes that I wasn’t actually allowed to stake him. The first part of him that was close enough to un-blur was his fangs. They were mesmerizing, but not so mesmerizing that I didn’t swing out and catch him in the sternum with the end of my stick. I could tell by the flare of his grin that he felt the impact. I’d never met anyone who enjoyed a skirmish quite so much. Even Grandpa saw it as duty before pleasure. With Quinn, it was almost like he was flirting with me.

I couldn’t be sure if he was going to lean in to tear out my jugular or kiss me senseless.

Instead, he kicked out and tripped me, but when I fell backward his hand was at my back to catch me. My left arm crossed between us, fist pressed over his heart to prove my point. I might have staked him in that moment, if the situation were different.

But I might not have been alive to do it.

His fangs rested tenderly on the inside of my throat. The length of our bodies pressed close together. I felt the coolness of his skin and wondered if the heat of mine felt like a burn to him. It was the first time I could actually understand the seduction and the allure of baring your throat to a predator. It had always seemed like madness to me, or the result of reading too many novels. It still did. But there was the barest sway of my body toward him.

His hair swung out to briefly curtain our faces. There was something in his expression that I couldn’t entirely decipher.

And then he stepped back abruptly, his familiar smirk erasing that mysterious warmth I’d glimpsed.

Chloe was the first break the silence. She let out a shaky breath.

“Is it suddenly hot out here, or what?”

Chapter 11


Saturday morning

When I woke up the next morning, Chloe was still sitting at her desk and frowning at her computer. I couldn’t imagine how she couldn’t have a wicked headache. Her shoulders were hunched, the monitor’s glare was annoyingly bright, and there were three empty cans of a sugary energy drink on the floor by her chair. Her usually perfect hair was decidedly frizzy, pinned in a knot on top of her head. This was not the Chloe I was used to, perfectly polished and fashionable even in her pajamas. She was also tapping her foot incessantly, like a woodpecker too frantic to realize it was hitting metal, not wood.

I sat up, blinking blearily. The light was pale at the windows, barely light at all. The forest was still dark, as if it was as sleepy as I was. “Chloe?”

“Just a minute.” Her fingers clattered over the keyboard. She didn’t look up. Something about her, the frenetic energy or the slightly manic way she was chewing her lip, made my stomach nervous. When she suddenly shoved away from her desk, cursing, I jumped.

“Damn it,” she seethed. “I really thought I cracked it that time.” She glanced at me, at the window. “What time is it?”

I turned the clock radio around so its bright numbers could glow red judgment at her. “5:34.”


Now that was more like the Chloe I knew.

“Why’d you pull an all-nighter?” I asked, trying not to sound worried. “It’s not like you have homework due. School hasn’t even started yet. And it’s way too early for classes anyway. Or for normal humans to function.”

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