My Soul to Steal Page 93

“You’d give up a bean sidhe for a human?” Sabine aimed a suspicious look at Avari. “Why?”

“All you need to know is that if I get the girl, you may take your lover and cross back over.”

But I understood what he wasn’t saying. He wasn’t giving up Nash for Emma. He was giving up Nash for me. Because if he got Emma, he could force me to trade my freedom for hers.

“Kaylee…?” Em was shaking with full-body tremors, her eyes glazing over with shock.

“No!” Invidia was wild with fury now. Her hair flowed so fast a sizzling puddle was forming on the ground at her feet. Her eyes glowed bright green, and her hands had become claws, sharp and hooked on the ends.

Sabine glanced from Invidia, to me, to Avari, then back to me, and I could see the confliction written all over her face. She didn’t want to damn Emma. But she didn’t want to lose Nash, either, and Avari’s deal was obviously much more beneficial than the one Invidia had offered.

Then she looked at Nash and saw pain shifting the colors in his eyes, and I knew what she’d say before she could even form the words.

“Fine. Here.” Sabine pushed Emma to her right. Avari let go of Nash and shoved him in the opposite direction. I raced toward Emma. She stumbled and fell to her knees. Across the room, Nash half collapsed from pain. Sabine ran toward him, arms outstretched.

And before either of us reached our goal, a dark blur flew across the edge of my vision. Invidia screeched. I turned to see her racing toward me—I was closest to her—claws bared, needle teeth snapping together, so long and curved she couldn’t even close her mouth.

I dodged to the left, and she mirrored my movement from ten feet away, hissing in fury, hair sizzling in a trail behind her.

Avari let loose an inhuman roar, enraged to see another hellion so close to his prize. He stopped—just feet from Emma—and planted his right foot firmly on the ground, like a giant determined to shake the earth. Tendrils of frost shot across the tile from his ordinary black dress shoe, racing toward Invidia, growing thicker and stronger with every inch of ground they covered. They reached her as she lunged for me. I scrambled backward in terror, and she froze. For real.

A blue sheen covered her skin. Her hair stopped dripping, instantly frozen into overlapping, green-tinted icicles. Her claws still reached for me, a foot from my face, frozen in time.

“Kaylee!” Tod shouted, and I looked up to see him standing across the room, surprised by what he’d found, but ready for action.

“Get Em!” I yelled. He nodded, then disappeared. Avari reached for Emma again, and she stumbled away from him. Tod reappeared at her side and she clutched at him. Another instant later, they were both gone.

Avari roared again, and his gaze narrowed on me from my left. On my right, something crackledsharply—Invidia was fighting the ice. Avari stalked toward me. I closed my eyes to summon my wail. But before I could produce any sound, Nash shouted from across the room.

“Come get us!”

I opened my eyes to see him holding Sabine at arm’s length, refusing to let her cross them over until he knew I was safe.

Avari stood and straightened his jacket. He glanced at me on his right, then at Nash and Sabine, on his left, and I recognized the look on his face.

Greed. Pure, concentrated avarice. He wanted us all. But even a hellion couldn’t be two places at once. He’d have to choose.

But then more ice crackled on my other side, and I knew he wouldn’t get the chance.

Invidia’s left claw shot toward me. The ice glaze over her arm cracked and shattered on the floor. I kicked out on instinct. My foot slammed into her stomach, and she fell to her knees, still half-frozen. I kicked her again, and she fell onto her side. When her face hit the ground, three long, sharp teeth broke off of her lower jaw and clattered on the ground, as long as my little finger. Several frozen hair-cicles snapped off of her head and skittered across the floor toward Nash and Sabine.

“Sabine, cross!” I shouted. She glanced at Avari, then knelt and plucked one of the poison-cicles from the ground, holding it between her thumb and forefinger. Then she nodded at me and grabbed Nash’s arm.

“No!” Nash shouted, as she crossed over with him in her grip.

I tried to summon my wail. Avari ran for me. Invidia’s thawed claw wrapped around my ankle, ripping through my jeans. I jerked my foot, but she wouldn’t let go. So I grabbed one of her broken teeth, my pulse racing in my ears. Avari roared in fury, feet away. Invidia’s grip on my ankle tightened.

I shoved the tooth through her left eye.

Invidia screamed and let go of my foot, slapping both claws over her injury. I scrambled backward, trying desperately to call up my wail. But it wouldn’t come. I was too scared to think of any death but my own.

Then strong, warm arms wrapped around me from behind. “I’ve got you,” Tod whispered in my ear, as Avari charged us.

An instant later, we stood in the Eastlake kitchen, Tod still holding me from behind. My right foot stood in white glop from a busted bottle of mayonnaise. Emma stared at me from three feet away, eyes wide with shock.

Across the room, Nash was hunched over in pain and exhaustion, wrapped in Sabine’s arms. On the floor at her feet stood a clear plastic cup with the melting poison hair-cicle inside. I didn’t even want to know why she’d taken it.

Tod squeezed me, then let me go, and I whirled around to face him. “Thanks. I totally owe you.”

“No. You don’t,” he said, and the blues in his eyes shifted slowly.

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