Blood Moon Page 42

“Wait!” Frankenstein shouted. “Stop!”

The Host pressed the stake deeper, until it bit through my shirt and several layers of skin. His amber eyes flared, his fangs gleamed.

Frankenstein pushed the stake away from me, with effort. “Patience, or you’ll spoil the fun.”

Then he smiled slowly, as someone in the dungeon behind me started to whimper.

Chapter 16


Monday night

“Are you sure you’re up for this?” I asked Kieran again, leaning forward between the seats. We were in his friend Eric’s car, driving to town. Jenna, Chloe, and a handful of the rest of the Black Lodge were following in one of the unmarked school vans. Kieran was in the passenger seat, a bandage taped on the side of his neck to cover Solange’s bite marks. “You did just have a blood transfusion, what, two days ago? Three? Shouldn’t you be on the couch watching bad TV or something?”

“It wasn’t a full transfusion,” he answered, staring stonily ahead. “I’m fine.” There was something hard about him now, something final and sad in his voice. I frowned. Beside me, Hunter nudged me and shook her head.

The fields narrowed and turned to lawns and parks until finally we were in the downtown quarter of Violet Hill. All three blocks of it. Cafés, health-food stores, and used bookshops were sprinkled between New Age stores selling everything from crystals to Tibetan prayer flags. We passed the shop my mom worked at, but it was closed. The only places open were restaurants and pubs and a bookstore behind the movie theaters.

Eric parked behind an abandoned glass factory. He grinned at me, white teeth gleaming in his dark face. He tossed me a messenger bag full of stakes and Hypnos-stuffed putty eggs. Apparently, he liked being snapped at, because after I got mad at him at the Black Lodge meeting, he was now treating me like an old friend.

Kieran just methodically checked the weapons strapped to his shirt under his jacket. The school van pulled up and the others spilled out of the doors. They were vibrating with contained excitement. Chloe shot us a thumbs-up, her curly hair exploding out of her ponytail.

“Follow the plan this time,” Hunter told her sternly. “I mean it. I’ll kick your ass.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“What was that about?” I asked Hunter, when Chloe vanished back into the van for her knapsack.

“The last time we were here, she totally blew the plan, got stabbed, and Quinn had to bail us out.”

“Let it go, Wild,” Chloe called out.

Hunter made a face but didn’t say anything else. Instead she nudged me and stepped back out of earshot. “Keep an eye on Kieran,” she said quietly. “He won’t pair me with him for the sweep.”

“How do you know?”

“Because I’m worried about him, and he thinks if he pretends he doesn’t know that, I’ll leave him alone.”

“He’s met you, right?”

She smiled but there was no humor in it. “Exactly. Like I’ll let him backslide.”

I blinked. “Backslide? Backslide to what?”

She took a deep breath, looking as uncertain as I’d ever seen her look. Usually she was quietly confident. “This is strictly confidential,” she murmured. “Okay?”

I nodded. “Okay.”

“After his dad died, Kieran went through a bad patch.”


“A really bad patch. I barely recognized him.”

I thought of Solange. “I’m beginning to know how that feels.”

“It sucks. He was bitter and hard and so focused on vengeance and finding his father’s killer that he dropped out of college.”

“The one in Scotland.” There was more to Kieran than met the eye, clearly. I wasn’t even sure if Solange knew this much about him. They hadn’t been going out for long, and with her pheromones, they weren’t exactly heavy on the philosophical debates lately.

“He basically didn’t show for orientation, and the Blacks have been going to that college for nearly as long as the Wilds. His mom fell apart and was no help whatsoever. Believe me when I tell you that Solange saved him as much as he saved her. He needed his whole world put right side up again.”

“And now they’ve broken up.”


“Solange isn’t talking to me,” I admitted. I couldn’t save Solange from herself right now. So I’d damned well better save Kieran. “But he will.”

We exchanged grim conspiratorial nods just as a motorcycle pulled up and everyone tensed, except for Eric and Kieran.

“Easy,” Eric said. “It’s only Connoly.”

“Kieran’s friend,” Hunter explained before I could ask. “The three of them went through the academy together. They’re the reason one of the Common Room windows is nailed shut.”

“I definitely want to know that story.”

“If you girls are done with the whispering,” Kieran said blandly, “we can start.”

“I can both help and kick him in the ass, right?” I muttered to Hunter.

“In fact, I insist.”

Connoly took off his helmet and locked it in the seat of his bike. He had long hair and more tattoos than Bruno, and that was saying something. Bruno had been getting tattooed twenty years longer.

“Now that we’re all here, are we clear on the objective?” Kieran asked. “We’re looking for hot spots mostly, the ones vampires might be using to prey on the civs. They don’t necessarily know the town, so don’t assume it’s the usual areas. If you see a Huntsman, don’t engage unless you have to.” We all nodded. He looked unyielding enough that I didn’t even tease him about sounding like James Bond. “No one goes alone. Chloe and Kyla—you’re with Eric, Connoly’s got Drew, Hunter’s got Noah, and I’ll take Lucy. Blend as much as you can. The townsfolk are getting nervous about all of these disappearances; they might be watching out their windows more carefully. Meet back here in two hours and keep the lines open.”

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