My Soul to Steal Page 44

I took a long drink, then met his fatigued, bloodshot gaze. “Sabine’s at it again. Or still at it. Or whatever.”

“Nash’s ex?” Alec rubbed the top of his head with one broad hand. “What’s she doing?”

“The usual. Bullying her way into my head and sending nightmares. This has to stop.”

“What’s the big deal?” Alec shrugged smooth, dark shoulders. “They’re just dreams, right? So shake it off and go back to sleep.”

I blinked at him, trying to decide whether or not to take him seriously. “They’re not just dreams, Alec. They’re renderings of my own fears, ripe with life force for her to suck. She’s a mara, remember?”

Alec’s eyes widened, and he sat straighter on the couch. “Sabine’s the mara? Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I did tell you!”

Alec shook his head firmly. “The other night, you said you dreamed she made out with your ex, then tonight you said you knew a mara. But you never mentioned that the mara and Sabine are the same damn person!”

I set my can down and frowned at him. “Okay, you seriously need to get more sleep. I told you she was a mara last night. In the kitchen, remember?”

Alec looked startled—truly frightened, just for an instant—then his entire expression seemed to simply shut down, like when the power fails and the whole neighborhood goes dark. “Last night?” he repeated, cradling his head in his hands. “Would this have been in the middle of the night?”

“Yeah. While you were working your way through a box of my dad’s cupcakes.”

He exhaled slowly, then mumbled beneath his breath, “That’s what he meant about the cupcakes…”

“What?” I leaned forward and studied his face when he finally looked up. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah. I’m just…sleep deprived, I guess. I barely remember last night. So…Sabine’s a mara? For real?”

“Welcome to the conversation.” I turned my head slowly back and forth, stretching out the cramp in my neck. “She’s been exploiting my fears to try to scare me away from Nash.”

“Wow.” Alec whistled and leaned back with his arms crossed over his smooth, bare chest. “That’s messed up. I mean, that’s bordering on Netherworld-level torture. At least, of the psychological variety.”

I picked up the can and took another sip, willing the caffeine into my system. “Yeah, she’s not exactly warm and fuzzy.”

“So what’re you gonna do? You can’t just let her walk all over you.” Alec looked more awake, and I started to relax a little, now that he was sounding like himself again.

“I know. I thought I had it all taken care of, after I smacked her, and Nashsaid—”

“Wait, you hit someone?”

My fingers clenched around the cold, damp can. “Why does everyone sound so surprised by that?” But Alec only raised both brows at me. “Okay, I’m not exactly a prizefighter. But she had it coming. And anyway, after that, Nash said she promised to stay out of my dreams. Obviously she was lying. Or else he was.”

“Which do you think it is?”

I took a long drink to avoid answering. “I honestly don’t know. The truth is that I haven’t been able to catch Sabine in a lie so far—she’s frighteningly blunt—but Nash has lied to me repeatedly. How sad is it that I can trust his serial-killer ex-girlfriend better than I can trust him?”

“Killer…” Alec said, like he was tasting the word. “You really think she killed those teachers?”

“I don’t know. She’s openly confessed to everything else she’s done, so why wouldn’t she admit to this, if she’s guilty? It’s not like the police are going to arrest her for dream-stalking, right? So maybe it’s not her.” I shrugged and let my head rest on the back of the recliner. “But I don’t have any other suspects. And anyway, you said it yourself—a mara’s the most likely suspect.”

Alec frowned. “Yeah, but that was before I knew you were talking about someone you go to school with.”

“What does that matter?”

He shrugged, obviously hesitating. “It’s one thing to say that a certain species theoretically fits the bill for what you’re looking for. But that doesn’t mean that the one member of that species you actually know is definitely the killer. You can’t go blaming someone of murdering your teachers without more proof than that, Kaylee.”

I flinched. “Too late.”

Alec blinked. “Please tell me you did not accuse a mara—to her face—of killing someone. A mara who’s already not crazy about you.”

“Um…yeah. I did.”

“Damn.” He leaned back and stared at the ceiling. “I can’t decide whether you’re brave or stupid, Kaylee. No wonder she’s playing dreamweaver in your head.”

My scowl deepened. “She was doing that already. Besides, this makes sense. She’s the only one with motive and opportunity.”

Alec leaned forward again and shook his head, eyeing me solemnly. “You watch too much TV. Nothing’s ever that cut and dried in real life. Especially when your suspects aren’t even human.”

I scooted to the edge of my chair, irritated. Why was I the only one who could see what Sabine was really capable of? “She’s trying to scare me into backing down, from both Nash and this investigation.”

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