My Soul to Keep Page 5

I froze, one hand braced against his thigh, and that sick feeling in my stomach became a full-body cramp. Ice-cold fingers of horror clenched my heart and shot through my veins. Emma was right. Doug hadn’t been drinking.

Somehow, Eastlake High School’s completely human first-string linebacker had gotten his big, dumb hands on the most dangerous controlled substance in the Netherworld.

Doug Fuller absolutely reeked of Demon’s Breath.


“ARE YOU SURE?” Nash whispered, brows drawn low as, behind him, a big man in a grease-stained coat hooked the front of my smashed car up to the huge chain dangling from the back of his tow truck.

“Yes. I’m sure.” He’d already asked me four times. I’d only had two brief whiffs of Demon’s Breath a month earlier, but that bittersweet, biting tang—more like an aftertaste than a true scent—was emblazoned on my brain, along with other memorial gems like the feel of nylon straps lashing me to a narrow hospital bed.

“Where would he even get it?” I murmured, zipping the jacket Nash had gotten for me as a motor rumbled to life on the street and the big chain was wound tighter, raising the front of my poor car off the ground.

“I don’t know.” Nash wrapped his arms around me from behind, cocooning me in a familiar warmth.

“Humans can’t cross into the Netherworld and hellions can’t cross into ours,” I murmured, thinking out loud while no one else was close enough to hear me. “So there has to be some way to get Demon’s Breath into the human world without bringing the hellion who provided it.” Because the name was a very literal description: Demon’s Breath was the toxic exhalation of a hellion, a very powerful drug in the Netherworld. And evidently a hell of a high in our world, too.

But Demon’s Breath could rot the soul of a reaper who held it in his lungs for too long. Did the same hold true for humans? Had Doug breathed enough of it to damage his soul? How had he gotten it in the first place?

“I’m gonna take a look around,” I whispered, and Nash shook his head.

“No!” He stepped closer to me, so everyone else would think he was comforting me over the loss of my car. “You can’t cross over. Hellions don’t like to lose, and Avari’s going to be out for your soul for the rest of your life, Kaylee.”

Because I’d escaped with mine when we’d crossed over to reclaim the Page sisters’ souls.

“I’m just going to peek.” Like looking through a window into the Netherworld, instead of actually walking through the door. “And anyway, Avari won’t be there.” I frowned. “Here.” Or whatever. “At Scott Carter’s party.”

The Netherworld was like a warped mirror image of our own world. The two were connected at certain points, wherever the bleed-through of human energy was strong enough to anchor the Netherworld to ours, like a toothpick through layers of a sandwich.

“Kaylee, I don’t think—”

I cut him off with aglance. I didn’t have time to argue.

“Just stand in front of me so no one can see me. It’ll only take a second.”

When he hesitated, I stepped behind him and closed my eyes. And I remembered death.

I thought back to the first time it had happened—at least, the first time I remembered—forcing myself to relive the horror. The certainty that the poor kid in the wheelchair was going to die. That dark knowledge that only I had. The shadows that churned around him. Through him.

The memory of death was enough, fortunately, and the scream began to build deep in my throat. A female bean sidhe’s wail heralds death and can suspend the deceased’s soul long enough for a male bean sidhe to redirect it. But my wail would also let me—and any other bean sidhe near enough to hear me—see into the Netherworld. To cross into it, if we wanted to.

But I had no desire to go to the Netherworld. Ever again.

I held the scream back, trapping it in my throat and in my heart so that Nash heard only a thin ribbon of sound, and no one else would hear a thing.

Nash took my hand, but I could barely feel the warmth of his fingers around mine. I opened my eyes and gasped. Scott Carter’s street had been enveloped by a thin gray film, like a storm cloud had settled to the ground. My world was still there—police, tow trucks, an ambulance, and a small crowd of onlookers.

But beneath that—deeper than that—was the Netherworld.

A field of olive-colored razor wheat swayed in a breeze I knew would be cold, if I could have felt it, the brittle stalks tinkling like wind chimes as they brushed together. The sky was dark purple streaked with greens and blues like bruises on the face of the world.

It was both beautiful and terrifying. And blessedly empty. No hellions. No fiends. No creatures waiting to eat us or to breathe toxic breath on Doug Fuller, even if we’d found some kind of hole in the barrier between worlds.

“Okay, it’s clear. Let it go,” Nash whispered, and I swallowed my scream.

The gray began to clear and the wrong colors faded, leaving only the upper-class suburban neighborhood, somehow less intimidating to me now that I’d seen what lay beneath. The Netherworld version of Scott’s neighborhood looked just like mine.

I wrapped my arms around Nash, discomforted by the glimpse of a world that had once tried to swallow us both whole. “However he got it, it didn’t come straight from the source,” I said, then I let go of Nash to face the real world.

Only a few brave—and sober—partyers had stayed once word got out that the police were on their way, and the stragglers were gathered around Scott on his front lawn, watching the cleanup from a safe distance. The cops knew there’d been a party, and they obviously knew Scott had been drinking. But so long as he stayed in his own yard and didn’t try to get behind the wheel, they were clearly willing to look the other way, thanks to his elite address and his father’s considerable influence in the community.

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies