Sisters of Blood and Spirit Page 2

I froze. It was just a second, but I froze like he was a speeding car and I was a raccoon out for an evening stroll on the center line. Mason Ryan was even more gorgeous than he had been the last time I’d seen him, a fact for which I resolved then and there to despise him. Gold-streaked brown hair, hazel eyes—and lips no guy deserved to have. Black button-down and jeans. He was one of those guys who was so beautiful it hurt to look at him.

But it hurt for other reasons. I needed to avoid him if I could—and not just because his father was chief of police. Mace and I had a secret. Well, not really a secret. A few people in town knew that he had been the one to find me bleeding out on the floor, but knowing and understanding were two different things. Nobody but he and I knew exactly what we’d shared, and it would always be there, lingering between us like a breath.

One of the girls with him turned to look at me, as well. She had a nasty-looking scratch on the side of her face that kept her from being model-gorgeous. I barely glanced at her; my attention was solely on Mace. The sight of him made me want to puke, tied my gut up in knots and shoved bile into the back of my throat.

Funny how much sick tasted like shame.

Mace didn’t look as though he felt much better. I didn’t want to think of the state I’d been in that day when he’d held me in his arms and begged me not to die on him because he’d have to live with that. He straightened away from the wall he’d been leaning against, and took a step forward—toward me. Ohhh, no. Not today. Not ever, if I could help it.

I broke into a sprint, straight into the classroom where I found a seat at the back of the room and dropped into it, trying to keep my heart in my chest. A few heads turned to look at me. Whispers and coy glances exchanged. Let them talk. I didn’t care. My heart hammered and my stomach twitched, but I was safe for the time being. As safe as I could be in a small Connecticut town where everyone knew practically everyone else, and even if they didn’t they still talked about them.


Now what? I looked up, turned my head. Sitting right across from me was a familiar face—tanned skin, dark eyes and even darker hair. She smiled at me. I almost smiled back. Almost. “Rox.”

Roxi Taylor was a month or two younger than me and was always very friendly—like crazy-ass friendly. It would be easy to dismiss her as fake, but she really was just a good, sweet person.

I didn’t get it.

People like me, who could see things other people couldn’t, didn’t get to be ignorant of human nature for long—not when people either wanted to use you or hurt you. I’d tried to hate Roxi for years, but it just wouldn’t take, and that part of me that distrusted everyone wanted very badly to distrust her, but could never quite manage it, even though I was sure that no one could be that nice all the time. But Roxi had never asked me for anything—ever. Never made me feel like there was something wrong with me. I always wondered what was wrong with her that she wanted to be my friend.

She grinned—she’d gotten her braces off since the last time I’d seen her—and threw her arms around me. “It’s so good to see you!”

Shit. I did not want this attention, but it would be a lie if I said it wasn’t nice to find someone who was happy to see me, that part of me didn’t want to hug her back. It didn’t matter that a little voice inside screamed for me not to trust her. I let myself have that moment.

“Dykes,” someone muttered.

A few laughs followed. Then someone else said, “Don’t, man. She’s like, the angel of death or something.”

I pulled away from Roxi and turned to face our audience. What annoyed me more than the smirks were the few expressions of genuine fear. I mean, sometimes being thought of as scary was a good thing, but having people be scared of you was different, especially when I hadn’t given them any reason to be afraid.


“If I was the angel of death, you think I’d be here?”

They seemed to consider this, their shared brain struggling to make the connection.

“Why are you here?” A blond guy with a big zit on his chin asked. From his voice I knew he was the same one who’d made the “dyke” remark. His name was Aaron or Albert or something. I remembered him from last year. “Shouldn’t you be locked up with the rest of the retards?”

Heat rushed to my cheeks as people laughed, but I didn’t look away. Homeschooling was the only way I’d been able to return to my correct year. I’d busted my ass to not get left behind. Wren had been right there with me.

“They kicked me out because they needed room for your mother.” Lame, but it was the first thing that came to mind. “And I’m not retarded, asshole. I’m crazy—there’s a difference. Which you’d know if your parents weren’t brother and sister.” More laughter, but this time it was for me, not against me.

Andrew—that was his name—turned red, which only made that ugly zit stand out more. I wanted to smack it with the heel of my shoe while my foot was still inside, bust it wide-open. Gross, right? “Bitch.”

I raised a brow. “Seriously? That’s the best you can do?”

A hand settled on my arm. I looked down, expecting it to be Roxi. It wasn’t. It was Wren. Damn.

“Who are you looking at?” Andrew demanded. Then his expression turned mean—happily mean. “Is your sister here? Your dead sister?”

In books, the hero’s blood sometimes “turns to ice” in his or her veins, but that’s not right. It’s not the blood that freezes, it’s everything around it, so that your blood actually feels like hot razor blades ripping through your entire body. I lifted my head. What laughter there was gave way to uneasy, half-assed giggles. “Don’t talk about my sister.”

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