The Calling Page 63

I told him the story as we cut over to the Tillson house.

“So you’ll want to try to get them back,” Rafe said as we crossed the back lawn.

“Um, yeah,” Corey said. “Sorry to throw a wrench in this supposed plan of yours—”

Rafe sighed. “Look, Corey, I know you don’t like me. Daniel doesn’t either, but he’s being nice about it for Maya’s sake.”

“I’m not—” Daniel protested.

“It’s okay. I didn’t go out of my way to make friends in Salmon Creek. I know that. I acted like an ass, and as Maya may have told you, I had a reason, one that probably still makes me an ass. I’m glad to hear Hayley’s okay. Of everyone in Salmon Creek, I treated her the worst, so I’m hoping I get the chance to apologize. I’m glad Samantha is okay, even if we don’t get along. As for Nicole? I know her about as well as I know you and Daniel. Which is about one step up from ‘not at all.’ Of course, I’m glad you’re okay. I know you’ll want to get your friends back. I’m absolutely fine with that. But if you expect me to be as worried about them as you are, that’s not going to happen.”

“No one expects you to care about Nic and Hayley as much as we do,” Daniel said. “But I am glad to see you’re okay.”

“For Maya’s sake. I know.” He waved off Daniel’s denials. “I don’t expect more. And, chances are, I’ll turn out to be an ass after all.”

He said it jokingly, but he broke eye contact, and didn’t look my way either, just nudged me toward the house. I wondered if it did kind of hurt him, getting a cool reception from the guys.

That reception didn’t improve once we got in the house. Rafe was happy to see Sam was okay. Whether you like a person or not, you don’t wish them a horrible death. Sam, though… Well, I’d spent long enough with her now to realize she was lacking certain filters most of us have.

“So, I guess you’ll be moving on, then?” she said. “Got things to do? Places to be?”

Daniel winced. Corey lifted his brows. Rafe only sputtered a laugh.

“Well, at least you didn’t say you’re sorry to see me alive,” he said.

“You know what I mean,” Sam said.

“Um, no,” I said. “We don’t. Rafe just survived a fall from a helicopter and trekked back here to meet us—”

“Meet you,” Sam said. “And what I meant was that he’ll be leaving to look for his sister. Right?”

“I am looking for Annie,” Rafe said. “But I can do that with you guys, especially if she’s been captured by the same people who have Nicole and Hayley. Maya tells me you have a cell phone. It probably wasn’t a good idea to use it, but since no one swooped down while you were waiting here—”

“Which is why I insisted on waiting here.” Sam lifted her chin. “If the Nasts were tracking the phone, they’d have come here and found me alone. But no one showed up. Now, Maya, if you can stop gaping at Rafe for a few minutes, we really should come up with a plan.”

I glared at her. “I spent three days thinking I’d watched him fall to his death.”

“Leave her alone, Sam,” Daniel murmured. “This isn’t the time.”

“I’m just saying it’s not the time for that either. We need to focus and having Maya moon over Rafe is making everyone uncomfortable.”

Rafe grinned. “Doesn’t bother me.”

“Because your ego really needs the encouragement.”

Rafe’s grin hardened. “You don’t know anything about me or my ego, Samantha. I’m going to ask you to give the attitude a rest for a while. Maya tells me you and Daniel are benandanti, and I remember my mom mentioning them. You guys have a sixth sense for evil. Clearly, I’m not triggering Daniel’s radar or he wouldn’t let me in the same room as Maya. Am I tripping yours?”

Her mouth opened and I could tell she wanted to say he was, but she closed it again, so hard her teeth clicked. After a moment, she said, “You think you’re better than everyone else. You think the rules don’t apply to you. You breeze into town, working your charm on all the girls, then walk away when you realize they aren’t the skin-walker you’re looking for. You find her”—Sam pointed at me—“and you use her, too, but apparently, she’s forgiven you. Maya’s smart and she’s sensible, so maybe I’m trying to figure out why the hell she’s with you when there are great guys like…” She stumbled, as if searching for a name. “Like Brendan. You’ve got some kind of hold over her, and I don’t like it.”

Rafe leaned over and whispered. “It’s a love spell I picked up from a witch over in Nanaimo. But don’t tell Maya.”

“You think you’re funny.”

“No, I think you have your own issue with me and I think I know what it is. But it has nothing to do with me personally, so I’m going to try not to take it personally. And, while I might be enjoying this—” He lifted his hand, which was still clasping mine. “I know it’s as temporary as a love spell. Give it a few hours and she’ll hate me again.”

“Hate’s a strong word,” I said.

“Strong emotion is better than indifference.” He grinned at me, then looked at the others. “Now, if we can stop bickering for a few minutes, I’ll tell you my plan.” His gaze moved to Sam. “Which I’m sure Maya and Daniel will change, if they don’t outright reject it, and I’m fine with that.”

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