My Soul to Keep Page 14

“No, that makes it easier and safer. Tod won’t get caught, and we won’t be connected to a B and E on school grounds.”

“Tod got in trouble for missing too much work,” Nash said around a mouthful of pepperoni. “So he’s working for the next forty-eight hours straight, with no breaks. Evidently some poor old lady lingered on the wrong side of a second heart attack when the first should have done the job.”


“So unless you know how to pop a car lock, this is our best bet.” Nash held up the key, and his nonchalance made me distinctly uncomfortable. Unfortunately, he was right.

Was unlawful entry really any worse than theft, anyway? And did confiscating a toxic Netherworld substance even count as theft?

I nodded reluctantly, and Nash slid the key into his pocket. “You don’t trust me.”

“It’s not about trust. I don’t want to get caught breaking into Scott’s car.”

“We’re not gonna get caught. And if we do, he won’t get mad. No one ever gets mad at me, Kaylee. I have a way with words….” He leaned closer, teasing me with a short kiss, his mouth open just enough to invite me in. Just enough so that I missed his lips the moment they were gone.

“I got mad at you this morning,” I whispered as he angled us back on the couch, reaching down to lift my right leg onto the cushion.

He pulled my left leg up on his other side, bent at the knee, then leaned over me, propped up on his elbows. “Yeah, but you got over it.” Nash kissed me, and I got lost in him. I wanted to be lost in Nash, to forget about fear, and danger, and death, and everything that wasn’t him, and me, and us. Just for a few minutes, to forget about everything else. Nash made that possible. He made that inevitable.

He made me feel so good. Beautiful, and wanted, and needed, in a way I’d never been needed before. Like if he didn’t have me, he wouldn’t have anything.

And I wanted him to have me. I wanted to have him. But I couldn’t. Because what if Emma was right? What if he was like all the others, and once I’d been had, he’d need someone else?

His tongue trailed down my neck and my head fell back on the throw pillow, my mouth open. My eyes closed. His hand slid beneath my shirt and I gripped the cushion under me. I could feel him through our clothes. Ready. Needing.

But Nash was right before—I didn’t trust him. I couldn’t, because if he wasn’t perfect, I didn’t want to know about it. Not yet. I wanted to sleep with Nash, but that’s not what I needed.

I needed him to break the mold.


“Hmmm?” But then he kissed me before I could repeat myself. His hand slid farther, his cold fingers crawling over my ribs. His mouth sucked at mine, and I couldn’t talk. I could hardly breathe.

When his other hand found the waist of my jeans, I turned my head and shoved him with both hands. “I said stop.”

He frowned.“What’s the problem? I’m not using any Influence.”

“I know. Just…slow down.”

He sat up and frowned while I tugged my shirt back into place. “If we go any slower, we’ll be moving back in time. You’ve been teasing me for months, Kaylee. Anyone else would already have walked away.”

My face burned like he’d slapped me. “I’m not a tease, but you’re starting to sound like a real jackass. If you wanna walk, I’m sure you won’t have any trouble finding someone a little more cooperative.”

Nash sighed, scrubbing his face with both hands. “I don’t want someone else. I want you.”

Yeah. More of me than I was ready to give. But I wanted him, too. “Let’s just watch the movie, okay?”


The ache in my heart eclipsed the other aches I was trying to ignore, but before I could figure out what to say to make it better without giving in, he stood and crossed the room to start the DVD.

I ran my hands through my hair, searching for a change of subject to act as a reset button on the entire evening.

“Doug showed up at the Cinemark this afternoon,” I said, grabbing my Coke from the floor. I tapped the top to settle the bubbles. “He’s picking Emma up tonight, so I made her promise to go home if he starts acting weird.” Hopefully she wouldn’t think twice about taking his rental, since she wouldn’t have her car.

Nash turned to look at me, his eyes narrowed. “You didn’t tell her…”

“What frost really is?” I shook my head. “I just told her that he’d gotten ahold of something bad.” I searched his eyes for disapproval, but found only leftover frustration. “I had to tell her something.”

“I know.” Nash grabbed the remote from the top of the TV and changed the input. “How did Fuller look?”

“Twitchy.” I turned and dropped my feet onto his lap when he sank onto the opposite end of the couch, universal remote in hand. “I think he’s picking up another balloon tonight.” I made a mental note to call and check on Emma before bed, to make sure she sounded like herself and that Doug hadn’t gone all psych ward on her.

I sipped from my soda as thoughts—dark possibilities, really—sloshed in my mind like murky swamp water. “Did Scott say anything about Everett? Does he know him?”

“Nope.” Nash grabbed the slice of pizza he’d already started on and handed another one to me. “He’s never met the guy. He thinks Fuller’s holding out on him.” He tore a bite from his pizza and spoke around it. “So what do you think a party balloon goes for on the street these days?” Nash grinned, trying to lighten the mood, but the idea of some creepy Pennywise peddling balloons full of Demon’s Breath on the corner scared the crap out of me, and I struggled to purge the visual.

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