Nightshade Page 50

I scowled, trying to wipe my face with the back of my hand.

“You’re really pale,” he said. “What’s going on?”

Water still dripped from my chin onto my neck. “Nothing. I just have work that didn’t get done last night. I said that.” I went to the paper towel dispenser.

A quiet growl stirred in his chest. “Nice try. You never forget homework.”


“Why did you follow me?” I turned to face the mirror, making a show of straightening my blouse. “I said I was fine.”

An amused smile hovered on his lips. “You said you didn’t want me to leave you alone.”

I tossed the crumpled paper towel into the wastebasket. “Speaking of that, did you enjoy yourself today?”

His sharp laugh bounced off the bathroom walls. “Do you mean having you in my lap or the look on his face?”

“He knows about us, Ren.” I leaned against the basin. “You don’t need to be cruel.”

“I think I can judge his level of respect for our relationship on my own. Are you aware of the way he looks at you?”

“Don’t be silly,” I snapped, but my cheeks grew hot.

“I’m completely serious,” he said quietly. “He’s not afraid of us the way humans should be. I’ll tolerate him because of the Keepers’ orders, but he’s testing the limits of my patience when it comes to you.”

I poked him on the chest. “You’re jealous.”

He didn’t respond but instead covered my hands with his, welding them to the sink.

I bared my fangs at him. “When I said I didn’t want you to leave me alone, I didn’t mean at all times. And I’d like to be alone now. This isn’t my idea of a romantic setting.”

He shook his head. “Three things.”

“What?” I frowned.

“One: what’s really bothering you?” The worried lines around his eyes dissolved my anger.

“Wraiths. What Shay said about thinking shadows followed him around. I’m afraid they might be in that house, watching him when Bosque is away. He doesn’t know about them.” I shuddered. “It’s so dangerous.”

“You’re worried about him.” His eyes flickered with emotions too rapid for me to follow.

“We’re talking about wraiths,” I said. “Of course I’m worried. You know what they could do to him.”

There was no use lying to him about my instinct to protect Shay. I couldn’t hide it. Luckily, since it was also Logan’s order, I didn’t have to. At least not yet.

Ren’s jaw clenched and he was silent for a moment. But then he seemed to make a decision, his conflicted expression fading.

“It is dangerous, if that really is the case. But we don’t know. Plus the Keepers want Shay safe. It seems unlikely that they’d willingly endanger him. An untethered wraith would go after any human.”

His grip on my hands relaxed. “I wouldn’t worry. He’s a strange kid. Probably just imagined the shadows.”

“I hope so.” I glanced at the door, worrying that someone would walk in on us. “Three things?”

“Two: would you like to go hunting with me after school?” He leaned closer, one corner of his mouth curving up.


“There’s a deer herd that’s getting too large on our side of the mountain.”

My muscles twitched eagerly at the invitation, but I shook my head. “Thanks, that sounds great, but I can’t.”

“Why not?” Disappointment flickered across his face.

I bit my lip and decided to be honest. Sort of.

“So you know how Logan asked me to spend more time with Shay?”

He didn’t speak, but I heard the rumbling, deep and menacing, in his chest.

“I’m helping him with homework every afternoon.”

The growl erupted in sharp, biting words. “Every afternoon?”

“Orders are orders,” I offered lamely.

“Right.” The defeated note in his voice made me cringe.

“What’s three?” I asked, hoping to move away from this uncomfortable topic.

The smile pulled at his lips again.

“Three.” One of his hands cupped my face and the other slid around my back. He pulled my body against his and my heart began to pound. I took advantage of my free hand and pushed at his chest.

“I don’t think so, Lily,” he said. “If you want to get rid of me, you’ll need to do better than that.”

I drew a sharp breath and tried to wiggle away, but he held me firmly in place, watching me struggle. He grinned as he lifted me up onto the sink.

“What are you doing?” I started to panic. “Someone could come in!”

“If they see us, they’ll just turn around and get out of here,” he murmured, lips touching my ear. “No one crosses me.”

His hips pressed against my knees, opening them, pushing my skirt up my legs. I gripped his shirt, clinging to him so I wouldn’t fall into the sink. His hand pushed into my lower back. I gasped as his body fitted against mine. Heat flooded my chest, my pelvis. I thought I would drown in it.

“We can’t—” His lips stopped my words. The kiss just made me dizzier. I dug my fingers into his shoulders.

“You said you didn’t want to be left alone.” His tongue flicked over my cheekbone. “This is me pestering you.”

“Aren’t you breaking the rules?” I could barely get the words out. “What about the union?”

“I’d rather have you on my own terms.” His hand slipped between my thighs.

All strength fled my limbs. “I can’t breathe.”

“That means you like it.” He kissed me again.

A passing shadow caught my eye. “Ren, wait,” I whispered against his lips. “I think—”

The bathroom door swung open.

“Oh my.” Nurse Flynn didn’t sound startled at all. “Am I interrupting?”

Ren swore under his breath. This was someone he couldn’t cross. “Sorry, Ms. Flynn. I was just leaving.”

I blushed when he rebuttoned my shirt. I hadn’t even realized the blouse was hanging open. “Thanks for the chat, Lily. I’ll see you in class.”

He leaned in, brushing his lips along my forehead, and then flashed a winning smile at Nurse Flynn as he left the bathroom.

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