Nightshade Page 94

“Now, Connor,” Monroe said. “Hurry.”

Connor crouched beside Shay, gathering the wolf in his arms.

I cried out when Shay’s fingers were wrenched from mine.

“Got him,” Connor said. “Let’s go.”

“After you.” Ethan lifted his crossbow.

Connor raced across the room with Ethan at his side, firing bolts as they ran. Monroe turned to follow.

“Wait,” I whispered hoarsely.

He looked down at me and frowned. “Who are you?”

“I’m trying to help Shay.”

“You made him like you? A Guardian?”

“I had to.” The room began to fade in and out.

“Did the Keepers make you turn him?”

“No.” I winced, closing my eyes against the pain. “They didn’t know.”

One of his eyebrows shot up. “You defied the Keepers?”

I nodded. My body convulsed and I coughed up blood.

There was a long moan and the slow scrape of feet along the stone floor grew louder. I wondered how close the creature that had been Kyle was . . . and how strong it might be.

Monroe’s gaze flitted behind me. His brow knit and his eyes fell on me again, watching me struggle to sit up.

“I’m sorry about this,” he said, raising his sword, and brought the hilt down on my skull.

A lightning strike of pain seared through me before I sank into darkness.


I LIVED IN THE SPACE BETWEEN THE CONSCIOUS and the unconscious. Brief flashes of light and sound occasionally pierced the veil that smothered my senses. I felt movement, but not any I made on my own. My limbs were numb. Arms, legs, torso all felt heavy; painless, but waterlogged and beyond my control.

Was I dragged or carried? I couldn’t be sure. I was only vaguely aware of my body being lifted, jerked, passed from one pair of arms to another. Was this actually happening? I felt warm, drowsy. My eyelids were like lead curtains.

“I hear we’ve bagged an alpha.”

Voices. Rough speech that belonged to strangers, enemies. Words that made no sense.

“Corinne’s son? Monroe must be relieved.”

“No. It’s a female.”

“That’s a shame. We’re not keeping her around, are we?”

“Not sure. I think Monroe’s weighing our options.”

Someone gripped my hand and I heard the voice of a friend.

“It’s going to be okay, Calla. I swear I won’t let them hurt you.”

“Shay, get over here,” a gruff but strangely familiar voice ordered. “I’ve asked you not to speak with her.”

“You’re being unreasonable.”

“I think you’ll find I’m very reasonable, but you haven’t earned my trust yet.”

“Is that what I’m supposed to be doing?”

“You’d be the wiser for it.”

The world came rushing back, strange sights and scents swirling around me. I was lying on my back, and there was a dull ache in my chest. My eyes struggled to adjust to the dim light. Something cold with sharp edges clamped around my left wrist. A sudden heavy weight brought my arm down hard against my body and my eyes squeezed shut again. I winced at the tenderness in my rib cage.

“Ethan, stay close to Connor in case she wakes up,” Monroe said.

“Why are you doing this?” Shay said. “You don’t need to. She isn’t your enemy. Not anymore.”

“Sure, kid.” Ethan laughed coldly. “Whatever you say.”

“Hand me the other one, Ethan,” Connor said.

The same cold grip seized my right wrist and pressure pinned my arm against my torso.

“That should do it,” Connor said.

“You said she’d be okay,” Shay growled. “You promised.”

“And I’ll keep that promise,” Monroe said. “She hasn’t been harmed.”

“She looks okay to me,” Ethan added. “What do you think, Connor?”

“I think she’s kind of cute,” Connor replied.

A snarl and a scuffling sound reached my ears.

“Whoa! Hang on there, kid. Lucky you ducked, Connor, I think that’s the same left hook that broke my nose last round,” Ethan said. “You got him, Monroe?”

“He’s not going anywhere,” Monroe said with a grunt. “Stop struggling. Connor didn’t mean anything by it, Shay. You don’t need to fight him.”

“Let me go!”

“Scrappy one, isn’t he?” Connor said. “You’re sweet on this girl, huh? Interesting.”

“If you touch her, I swear—”

“Calm down,” Connor muttered. “I was just joking around.”

I forced my eyes open, but everything remained blurry. My throat was parched and I struggled to swallow, to find my voice.

“We had a deal, Shay,” Monroe said firmly. “You can’t stay here any longer.”


“You’ll see her again. You have my word.”


“That depends on you.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

“You will. Now it’s time to go. Today is the day your real life begins.”

The light winked out and shadows engulfed the room. The long screech of a rusty metal hinge was followed by a dull clang. The voices began to fade.

I parted my lips, my voice emerging in a quiet rasp.


Silence. I was alone in the darkness.

Maybe it was a dream.

Anger seized me and I screamed at the shadows that filled the room, but there was no enemy to fight, save my gnawing fear of the unknown. I began to tremble.

You’re an alpha, Calla. Get it together.

The unyielding darkness pooled in the pit of my stomach.

What does it mean to be an alpha if you’ve abandoned your pack?

I was glad to be alone when the tears finally came. At least no one would witness the shame that rolled swift and hot down my cheeks. Streaks of moisture reached my lips and tasted sharp and bitter, reminding me of the choices I’d made. Of how I’d taken so many turns that brought me here—to a place so unfamiliar that it felt like the end of everything.

Where did running away lead me? Straight into the arms of the only enemy I’ve ever known? To my own death?

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