The Lost Saint Page 61

Gabriel was wrong about me. He couldn’t help me. He didn’t understand me. He had no right to say I was going to fall. He didn’t even know me.

You’re better than him!

But I couldn’t shake what he’d said, that all the Hounds eventually fell. Gabriel had to be wrong. Falling wasn’t inevitable. Why would God have invented the Hounds of Heaven in the first place if all of them failed?

No, you’re not like them, the voice said. You’re special. You’re the Divine One.

Yes. Yes, I was different. The Urbat thought that you couldn’t receive the cure without dying—but I’d saved Daniel. I’d cured him.

I was better.

Daniel knew that.

Gabriel had tried to make Daniel forget that—tried to turn Daniel against me. But Daniel had believed in me once.

He loved me.

Yes, Daniel loves you. He’s the one who loves you most. Make him remember that.

Go to him.

My body shifted, and my direction veered toward Oak Park. I can’t explain it, can’t describe it, but every part of me needed to find Daniel, needed to see him, feel him, touch him. Needed to know that he still needed me.

I kept on running until I stumbled down the steps to Daniel’s basement apartment and collapsed against his door. I sank to the concrete, quivering like the bright orange aspen leaves surrounding the house. My heart pumped so hard it felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. I’d never run so far, so fast, but still that horrible aching inside of me made my muscles clench with agony.

The door opened, and I heard Daniel say my name as he pulled me up into his arms. “Gracie, what are you doing here? Are you okay?”

I wanted Daniel to ease the pain inside of me, to prove that Gabriel was wrong about me, but hearing his voice and seeing his face weren’t enough. I wrapped my arms around his neck and then wove my fingers into his shaggy hair. I kissed the side of his face. Kissed him along his jaw and then behind his ear.

“Well, hello to you, too,” he said. “What’s gotten into you—?”

I pressed my lips over his mouth and kissed him with such force that he stumbled back into his apartment. I kicked the door closed behind us, dropped my backpack on the ground, and pressed my body against his.

I tasted him with my lips, drew in his almondy scent with every heavy breath, but it still wasn’t enough.

Still not enough to ease the pain.

I kissed him harder and ran my hands down his arms, feeling the curves of his muscles under his thin oxford shirt. Daniel’s arms tightened around me as he returned my kisses. His hands caressed my back and then pulled my jacket off my shoulders. It fell to the ground at my feet. Then his hands were on my waist, holding me tight by my hips.

I could feel his want for me in his touch, but it still wasn’t enough to ease the aching inside. I still needed more. I kissed him harder and used the pressure of my body to propel him toward the sofa bed only a few feet behind us.

Daniel stopped when the backs of his knees hit the side of the mattress. His touch became hesitant as I pressed against him harder. He pulled back from my mouth and whispered against my cheek, “What are you wanting here, Grace? I thought we were waiting.”

You can’t wait anymore.

“I can’t wait anymore.” I echoed the voice in my head.

I pushed Daniel. His knees softened, and he sat at the edge of the bed. I climbed onto his lap and kissed him deeply, running my fingers along the buttons of his shirt, tracing his pecs and then his abs beneath the fabric.

The aching in my muscles suddenly surged through my body like some kind of foreign energy. I felt it clutch at my heart, squeezing like a clawed hand. I’d felt that sensation before. I knew what it meant. Something else was in control.

A small part of my brain told me to stop, told me to back off before it was too late—but I couldn’t. I wanted Daniel more than anything I’d ever wanted before.

I needed him.

Then devour him! roared that foreign voice inside my head.

And before I knew what was happening, my teeth were bared in a snarl, and my hands were clawing at Daniel’s collar. I ripped his shirt open, sending buttons flying. I could feel Daniel grabbing at my hands, could hear him telling me to calm down, but that only made me claw at him harder. It was like I was watching myself act like a monster from the corner of the room, and I couldn’t do anything about it.

“Stop!” Daniel shouted. He grabbed my shoulders and threw me off him sideways onto the bed. He jumped off the mattress. His arms flew up in a defensive position, ready to fight if he needed to. “Easy, Grace. This isn’t you. Get ahold of yourself.”

I rolled over, panting into his bedspread. My body shuddered and convulsed—like something was trying to tear its way out of my skin. I screamed and clawed at my own neck, searching for my moonstone—but my neck was empty.

“Where is it, Grace?” Daniel asked, urgency bleeding out from his voice. “Where’s your moonstone?”

“My backpack,” I panted into the sheets.

I heard a rustling noise and then felt pulsing warmth on my back. Daniel sat next to me, pressing the stone against the bare skin at the nape of my neck. I let its calming warmth tingle through me, easing the darkness that had crept into my heart. The deep shudder in my nerves lessened to a tremble.

I looked up at Daniel sitting next to me. His torn shirt hung open, revealing three long red gashes from my fingernails across his collarbone. But it was the expression on his face as he stared down at me that made my eyes fill with tears. He didn’t see me lying there in his bed.

He saw the wolf.

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

Terrible Grace

TEN MINUTES LATER

I perched on the side of the mattress as far away from Daniel as I could get. I clutched the moonstone in my hands, rocking back and forth with the rhythm of its pulse. Daniel started to scoot toward me, his hand outstretched toward the torn sleeve of my shirt.

I shook my head. “No. Don’t touch me, please.” I didn’t want him near me, didn’t want the possibility of hurting him again.

“How did this happen, Grace?” Daniel’s voice cracked a bit as he spoke. Was he trying to hold back his anger? “I don’t understand how the wolf could have that much control over you.” His voice cracked again. “This is all my fault. Gabriel was right. I should have never started training you in the first place. I thought if I taught you balance, this wouldn’t happen. But I did this to you. I didn’t stop your training in time—”

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