The Calling Page 68

He didn’t answer, and when I glanced over, he looked shocked. Shocked and … something else. Before I could get a better look, he turned away.

“I don’t have a problem with Rafe, Maya.”

“Well, I do,” Sam said as she opened the door.

Daniel clambered to his feet.

“You do have a problem with Rafe, Daniel,” Sam said. “We all do.”

“This is a private discussion,” Daniel said.

“Not if it’s about Rafael. Everyone’s pu**yfooting around and I’m tired of it. The guy is an ass**le and—”

She followed our gaze and turned to see Rafe standing behind her, arms crossed.

“What?” she said. “You don’t think I’d say this to your face? I will. You’re a self-centered jerk, Rafe Martinez. You’ve got everyone convinced that you sacrificed yourself for Maya and Daniel, but that’s crap. You didn’t let go. You slipped. Maya wanted to believe there was more to it, so she convinced Daniel—”

“She didn’t convince me of anything,” Daniel said, his voice low. “I was there, too, Sam. He let go.”

“So? He’s not actually dead, is he?”

Rafe sputtered a laugh. She glowered at him, then at Corey, who’d joined them, grinning as he heard. Even Daniel had to wipe away a smile.

“What?” she said. “He isn’t.”

“The, uh, fact that he survived his heroic sacrifice really shouldn’t be held against him,” Daniel said. “Look, I’m fine with Rafe—”

“No, you’re not. Heroic sacrifice or not, he’s still a jerk. He waltzed into Salmon Creek and stole Maya.”

“Stole?” I said.

“It’s not your fault. You two are both skin-walkers. It’s animal magnetism. You can’t help yourself.” She glared at Corey, who was cracking up behind Rafe. “Stop that. You know it’s true. Maya’s too smart to fall for an arrogant, self-centered—”

“Enough,” Daniel said.

Sam sighed. “I know you’re trying to be fair, Daniel, but you need to stand up for yourself, not let this smirking bad boy wannabe waltz in and—”

“Enough!” Daniel’s roar made everyone stumble back. He climbed the steps and stopped in front of Sam. “I don’t know what your problem is, Sam, but you’ve now insulted everyone here except Corey.”

“Oh, she already zinged me,” Corey said. “I started rubbing my temples and she suggested I don’t really get headaches. It just hurts me to think.”

“It was a joke,” Sam said, flinching under Daniel’s scowl.

“Inside,” he said. “Everyone. We need to leave. Now.”

“But—”I began.

Only Rafe heard me. He tapped Daniel as he passed. “I think Maya still needs to talk to you.”

Daniel turned.

“I do,” I said. “It’ll only take a minute.”

“We’ll talk on the way,” he said. “We really need to get going, and if Corey’s getting a headache—”

“It’s not bad,” Corey interjected. “I’ll be—”

“You won’t be fine. We need to look after that first. Now, everyone, grab your stuff and let’s go.”

After they’d gone by, Rafe came back to me, still standing on the garage steps.

“When we reach the highway, say you need a pit stop,” he whispered, lips at my ear. “I’ll distract the others and you can take him aside.”

“Thanks. I know you’d rather I didn’t tell—”

“I’ve gotten used to the idea. And you want to tell him, which is more important.”

Corey shouted, “Come on, you two,” and I hurried in to make sure he took his pills before we left.


WE TOOK THE TRUCK. Corey’s mom’s SUV would have been more comfortable, but also extremely recognizable with the police logo. Not that it mattered, since we were already being tracked, but I could hardly say that.

Daniel drove. I rode shotgun. I’d tried to get Sam to take that spot, so her leg would be more comfortable. She’d refused. We opened the window into the topper, though, so we could talk, and left the curtains open.

We took the worst of the back roads. Again, that wasn’t necessary. Again, I couldn’t say so.

Daniel was driving along an empty dirt road when a service truck pulled out in front of us. He eased off the gas.

“It’s okay,” I said. “It looks legit.”

“So did the fire-and-rescue—”

The truck swerved suddenly, swinging around until it blocked the road.

“Reverse!” Corey yelled.

Daniel had already put the truck into reverse and it was spinning backward. Then he hit the brakes hard enough to send everyone flying.

I looked in the side mirror to see two vans blocking the road behind us.

“They’ve boxed us in,” I said.

Rafe was on his knees, peering out the rear window on the topper. When he turned, I could see genuine shock in his eyes.

“They didn’t trust you,” I murmured.

“What?” Daniel said.

“Nothing, just—Is that a lane? There! Go down there!”

He did, but as he turned into the lane, I realized it was a driveway.

“Doesn’t matter,” Daniel said, hitting the gas. “I’ll get us as far as I can.”

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