Spirit Page 25

It was the mention of Casper that made Hunter pause. His dog’s head was hanging over the seat back, his tongue lolling out from the heat blasting in the cab.

“Fine,” said Hunter. “But you can’t blame me if I end up punching Gabriel in the face.”

“Don’t worry,” said Michael. “He usually deserves it.”

Silver was fiddling with his weapons again, laying them out on the table.

He’d been pissed off all evening.

Finally, Kate couldn’t take it anymore. “What’s your problem?”

His eyes flicked up. “You very nearly gave us away.”

“I told you it was a bad idea to follow them.”

“I wouldn’t have had to follow them if you’d been able to get more information from Hunter Garrity.”

She scowled. “I’m trying. He made me get out of his car. What do you want me to do, throw myself at him?”

“I have doubts whether you can do even that effectively.”

“Shut up.” But she kind of agreed with him.

Silver gave her a look that stopped her heart in her chest and made her very aware that he was holding a loaded weapon. “Let’s remember our roles here.”

She held his gaze and didn’t apologize—but she didn’t say anything else, either. Her heart had restarted and was kicking up a rapid pace.

She had to clear her throat to speak around the thunderous rush of blood in her ears. “What should we do next?”

“The more I consider it, I rather like your idea of spending time around all of them,” said Silver.

She snorted. “I almost had an invite back to their house today, but Nick Merrick’s girlfriend is a bitch.”

“Not their house. I’m thinking somewhere more public. Somewhere with the chance to see if they take the bait to cause a little damage.”

She fought the urge to sulk. “Somewhere you can watch me?”

“You should not be so dismissive of my protection.”

“Fine. Whatever. What did you have in mind?”

His eyebrows lifted, and his hands went still on the weapon. “A little less attitude, perhaps.”

She raised her own eyebrows and stared at him, waiting.

Silver pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket. “You’ll go to this.”

Kate took it. She’d seen and ignored the posters around school. “A school carnival? Seriously?”

“Seriously. It’s public, they’ll likely all attend, and I can observe without being noticed. It’s also tomorrow night.”

“And what should I do while I’m there?”

“You’ll make sure you haven’t blown our cover.”

A new edge had found its way into his voice, matching the darkness in his expression. Kate looked at her nails and did her best to ignore it. She’d barely spent any time with the Merricks—she couldn’t imagine she’d blown their cover.

But she kept thinking about Hunter, and the way he’d thrown her out of the car.

She’d touched him, and he’d caught her arm. Had he figured it out somehow?

She glanced up at Silver, but he was looking back at his laptop. “And if I have?”

“You’d do well to run.”

“From them?”

He met her eyes. “From me.”


Gabriel and Nick Merrick were sitting at the kitchen table when Hunter followed Michael into the house. They were identical twins, but Hunter had never had a moment’s trouble telling them apart. Their powers were so different that they registered differently against his senses. When he’d first met them, he hadn’t known what that meant—he’d never spent any time around full Elementals. But once he knew their abilities—Nick’s affinity for air, and Gabriel’s for fire—he wondered how he’d ever missed it.

Nick had a thick textbook open on the table in front of him, with a notebook beside it. He looked irritated, and he was watching Gabriel break Oreos into a bowl of milk.

“You know,” Nick was saying, “you could actually make dinner for a change.”

“I am making dinner.”

They hadn’t spotted him yet.

Hunter didn’t exactly want to remedy that.

But Casper didn’t care, he just followed Michael into the kitchen, his tail waving like a banner behind him.

Hunter watched their expressions change, saw their eyes follow Casper as his nails clicked across the ceramic tile, then watched them swing their gazes around to the kitchen doorway.

The silence lasted about three seconds.

Then Gabriel’s expression sharpened, and he said, “Look, Michael brought home a dog and a—”

“Gabriel. Leave him alone.” Michael grabbed a bowl from a cabinet and filled it with water.

Hunter had no idea how this was going to go, and he didn’t really want to be standing here, waiting around to find out. He could sit on the front porch while Casper got a drink.

Before he could move to take a step, Nick cleared his throat. “You help Mike with a job or something?”


“Want something to drink?”

Hunter hesitated, like this could be a trap. But Nick was just looking at him, waiting for an answer.

So Hunter shrugged. “Sure.”

Then he tensed, realizing he’d probably walked right into it, that Nick would say something shitty like, “Too bad,” or he’d throw a glass of water in his face, or—

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