My Soul to Keep Page 73

“I want my brother back. And Harmony’s lost enough already. We can’t let her lose Nash.”

“I want them back, too.” I crossed my arms over my chest and sat on the edge of my cousin’s desk. “And we’re going to get them tonight. But you have to stay here, and you already promised not to tell Harmony. If you do, she’ll run out after Nash and get herself killed. Or worse. And it’ll be your fault.”

Uncle Brendon frowned at me like I’d lost my mind. Again. “The same could happen to you, Kaylee. What am I supposed to tell your father then?”

I raised both brows at him as he lowered his daughter gently onto her bed. “If I don’t make it back, there won’t be any father to tell.”

My uncle sighed so deeply I thought his entire body would deflate. “One hour.” He stood straight and scowled at me, and I knew that was the best we’d get, and only because we’d given him no other choice. “You and Tod have one hour in the Netherworld, then Harmony and I are coming after you. Do you understand?”

I nodded. “But we can’t cross over till five. Can I sleep here until then?”

He pulled the desk chair closer to the bed and sank into it, folding his daughter’s limp hand into his own. “You know you’re always welcome here, Kaylee.”

Yeah. So long as Sophie was unconscious. “Great. It’ll be like old times.” Except that now there was a Netherworld demon out for my soul and my cousin’s body.

SOMETHING HARD POKED my elbow, and I struggled to rise from the mire of sleep that had swallowed me like a sinkhole. A warm, soft, peaceful sinkhole…

The poke came again, hard enough to jar my injured arm that time. “Why are you passed out on our couch? This is not a park bench.”


I opened my eyes to find her glaring at me in full beauty-pageant makeup, both hands propped on her bony hips. But my relief at seeing her alive and well was dampened a bit by the contempt shining in her eyes.

“Did your dad finally kick you out?” Sophie sneered, then her expression tightened into a mask of dread and irritation.

“You’re not moving back in, are you?”

I pushed myself upright with my good arm, rolling my head on my neck to alleviate the stiffness that had set in. I wasn’t dumb enough to expect a thank-you for helping save her from demon possession, or for calling her dad when she was hurt, but a little courtesy would have been nice. Or even just a little quiet while I slept.

Of course, I wasn’t sure what Uncle Brendon had told her, but I doubted it referenced much of the truth, or my part in it. As usual.

“I was just taking a nap,” I said, leaning forward to fish my shoes from under the end table.

“Well, nap somewhere else. I have to get ready for the carnival, and Idon’t need you hanging around, sucking all the normal out of the room.”

The Winter Carnival. Crap.

Sophie started toward her room and the pageant dress hanging over her door, pausing halfway to glance back at me over one shoulder. “Laura thinks we should cancel the whole thing, because of what happened to Doug, but I don’t think Doug would want his tragic death to take food out of the mouths of impoverished children, right? And anyway, we’re gonna open with a moment of silence, and there’s that whole memorial service next week.”

I shot her a blank stare. Untimely and tragic as his death may be considered in certain social circles, I seriously doubted Doug Fuller had ever given much thought to mouths that didn’t belong to hot, willing teenage girls. But if Sophie wanted to rationalize a way to preserve her party—despite the death of a friend and the mental breakdown of her own boyfriend—nothing I said would change her mind. And without the Winter Carnival, there would be no reason for Netherworlders to gather, and no way for us to get a fair shot at stealing back Nash and my dad.

I hopped into the kitchen on one foot while wedging my shoe onto the other. The clock over the stove read four fifty-five. I was running late.

“Where’s Uncle Brendon?” I shoved one arm into my coat sleeve on my way to the front door.

“Testing Christmas lights in the garage.” Sophie smoothed a wrinkle from the skirt of her hanging gown without even glancing my way. “I have a massive headache, and the blinking was making it worse.”

I raised one brow and tried not to smirk as I dug my keys from my jacket pocket, then hesitated with my hand on the doorknob, twisting to eye my cousin critically. “How do you feel?”

The sudden flush in her cheeks was hard to miss. “Dad told you I fell?” Her mouth stretched into a long, hard line. “I swear, Kaylee, if you tell anyone I was sleepwalking, I’ll make sure—”

“Sleepwalking?” I laughed. I couldn’t help it. Of all the ridiculous explanations Uncle Brendon had fed her to cover past bean sidhe activity, he was really pushing the credibility envelope with that one. “You sleepwalk?”

Sophie’s gaze hardened. “I never have before. But it figures that you’d show up the first time it happens.” Her frown deepened. “Somehow, you’re always there whenever anything really weird goes down. You’re like a walking bad luck charm.”

“Have fun at your carnival, Sophie,” I said, pulling open the front door. “I’m sure you’re a shoo-in for the Ice Bitch crown.” I slammed the door before she could reply.

I was halfway down the driveway when Tod materialized in front of me, wearing his usual loose jeans and dark tee. “You okay?”

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