Nightshade Page 7

“Thanks for noticing.” I tried to pull my arm away, but his lock on my wrist remained firm.

“So what do you think?”

“About hanging out?” I couldn’t meet his eyes. He was much too close. I could feel the heat of his body, and it was making my own temperature rise.

“Yes.” His face was inches from my own. He smelled like leather and sandalwood.

“It might work,” I said, certain I’d melt into the locker at any second. “I’ll think about it.”

“Good.” He pulled back and dropped my wrist. “See ya, Lily.”

He danced out of reach. I could hear him laughing as he disappeared into the crowd of students.


I BOLTED FOR MY DESK AS THE FIRST BELL rang. From the desk behind mine Bryn clucked her tongue. “Spill.”

“It was interesting,” I said, sliding into my seat.

Mr. Graham cleared his throat. “Ladies, gentlemen. A moment of your precious time.”

I gasped as Bryn’s hand shot out, fingernails digging into my forearm. “Bryn, what?”

Her eyes were locked on the front of the classroom. The roar of student chatter faded.

“Much obliged.” Mr. Graham’s raspy tone wafted through the room. “We have a new student matriculating at the Mountain School today.”

I began to turn in my chair and winced, certain that I’d lost some skin to Bryn’s claw-like grip. Then I froze, catching the scent of a spring breeze full of sunlight. No, it can’t be. But it was.

Standing in an uneasy pose next to Mr. Graham’s desk was the hiker I’d saved not twenty-four hours earlier.

“This is Seamus Doran,” our teacher continued, beaming at the boy, who looked distinctly uncomfortable.

“It’s Shay. I go by Shay,” he said quietly.

“Welcome then, Shay.” Mr. Graham’s eyes cast about the room. My heart dropped when I saw his gaze fix on the empty seat to my right. “There’s a seat for you next to Miss Tor.”

Bryn kicked the back of my chair insistently.

“Knock it off,” I snapped, half turning toward her. “What am I supposed to do?”

“Something.” Her voice was low but alarmed.

I was trapped between being thrilled and horrified to see him again. Even if I couldn’t sort out my muddle of feelings, I still knew that when he recognized me, it would be disastrous. I pulled my hair forward in an attempt to veil my face.

Where is my hoodie when I need it?

Shay walked slowly to his desk. When he reached his designated seat, I met his pale green eyes for a moment before looking away, but there was no doubt. He knew it was me. I was afraid, as I should have been, but the fear was tinged with satisfaction. In the mere seconds our eyes had locked, I’d seen his astonishment. I’d been a dream to him, and now I was real. His backpack slipped from his hands. A couple of pens rolled along the floor between our desks. I swallowed a groan and visored my face with my hand; it felt like flames were licking my belly. Bryn kicked my desk again so forcefully that it scooted forward an inch.

I panicked and bolted to the front of the classroom. Mr. Graham took several steps backward as I rushed toward him.

I whispered, “Cramps,” and, “Bloating.” Mr. Graham blushed and scribbled out a hall pass. I ran down the hall to the girls’ bathroom. Fortunately it was empty. I sank to the floor, shaking. The bathroom door creaked open.

“Cal,” Bryn whispered as she knelt beside me.

I tempted fate and now it’s hunting me down. I should have let the bear kill him. But the thought of anything hurting the new boy snatched my breath away. “He cannot be here.”

“I know.” Bryn scuttled closer and wrapped her arms around me. “But he must be somebody. I mean, in the human world. Why else would he transfer in as a senior? That never happens.”

“Oh God, Bryn.” I raised my face from behind my fingers. “What if the Keepers know?”

She shook her head. “No. They don’t. When something goes wrong, our mistress deals with it. Instantly. You’re safe.”

“You’re right.” I got up and went to the sink. “They don’t know.”

I caught her glance in the mirror. “But who could he be?”

“Just the kid of some banking czar or a hotshot senator, like all the rest of the humans that go to school here,” she said. “He’s nothing to us.”

I’m such a fool. My legs were still rubbery. I can’t believe I saved him.

“Put this on; you’re pasty.” Bryn pulled blush from her bag, handing it to me. “No one knows about what happened but us and this boy. And he probably barely believes it himself. I mean, what outsider would? Just pretend it never happened.”

“Okay.” I swallowed my own horror at the realization that I actually wanted to see him. I felt his mouth against my arm and shivered. The stress of the union has finally gotten to me. I’m losing it.

I decided to skip the rest of first period, but I knew hiding from Shay Doran wasn’t a realistic option. Considering that fewer than thirty students constituted the senior class, I was bound to see him in another course later in the day.



AP Biology?


Organic Chemistry?


Ms. Foris directed the should-be-dead hiker to join a pair of human students. As if he sensed my watchfulness, Shay turned and caught my stare. I quickly looked away, wishing I could keep my eyes on him. Instead I turned to Ren, who was arranging our lab materials. I tried to focus on the lab, but I could sense the stranger’s inquisitive glances from across the room. I bit my lip to stop my smile. He wants to watch me too.

Ren handed me a beaker. “So have you thought about it?”

“Thought about what?” I set the beaker down and reached for another bottle.

“Hanging out,” he said, resting his hand on my lower back. “Or are you still doubting your ability to control your pack?”

The rush of heat was as sudden as if I’d been branded by his handprint. I didn’t look at him. “I’ve got a bottle full of hydrochloric acid in my hand, Ren. Don’t piss me off. You know you’re not playing by the rules.”

He laughed but snatched his hand back. When I’d finished measuring the volatile liquid, I set the bottle down.

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