Spirit Page 59

And another one grabbed her, too.


Kate glared at the edge of the guidance counselor’s desk and wondered if she’d get in more trouble if she just pulled the knife out of her boot and stabbed Hunter right now. What a jerk.

He was glaring at Ms. Vickers, his expression somewhat exasperated. “I didn’t even hurt him.”

Ms. Vickers was glaring back at him. “He said he thought you were trying to break his arm.”

Hunter snorted. “It was a joke. I popped the joint. He passed out.” His tone clearly said, wuss.

Kate couldn’t blame the kid. She’d almost passed out herself.


The guidance counselor was still studying Hunter. “He said it was a joke, too.”

“Good. So I can go?”

“Not so fast.” The woman turned toward Kate. “Where do you come into play?”

Kate wasn’t sure what to say—this hadn’t exactly been part of the plan. She had a phone number in her file, but it was Silver’s cell phone number, and what if they asked him to come in and pick her up?

Before she could say anything, Hunter said, “She didn’t have anything to do with it. She didn’t realize we were just goofing off. She was trying to stop me.”

His voice was lazy, almost blasé. Kate shut her mouth and tried to look innocent.

Ms. Vickers glared at Hunter across the desk. “Hunter, we’ve had a discussion about physical altercations twice now. If this continues, I’m going to be forced to suspend you—”

“Great.” He stood and turned for the door.

“We aren’t finished here.”

Hunter paused. “He said it was a joke, right? So I’m not in trouble?”

Ms. Vickers’s mouth tightened into a line. “Don’t think I won’t be watching you more carefully regarding this young man, Hunter. I’m not entirely convinced of this joke.”

“Good for you.” Then he was through the door.

Ms. Vickers swung her head around to look at Kate. “Your transcript from St. Mary’s is impeccable. Were you genuinely trying to help the young man?”

Kate was sure her forged transcript read like a bestseller. She tried to get it together. “I—yes—I saw Hunter run after—”

“Fine. Go.” Ms. Vickers flicked a finger toward the door. She was already dialing a phone with the other hand.

Hunter had made it to the parking lot by the time Kate caught up to him. The sun had burned off the clouds, and she felt heat prick at her neck. She grabbed Hunter by the arm.

“Are you insane?” she hissed. “I thought you really broke that kid’s arm. What was the point of all—”

“Now he’s afraid of me. I need them to be afraid of me.”

She wished Hunter would just stop and talk to her. “Why?”

“Because Calla always had the upper hand, and that meant people got hurt. I need time to figure out what else they’re planning.” He shoved a key into the door of his jeep. “To figure out where she might be hiding.”

“Damn it, Hunter, if you’re going to work with me, then you need to work with me. You need to tell me what you’re doing. We don’t work like—”

He turned and caught her arms. She tensed to retaliate—but then she realized she didn’t need to fight him off.

Because he was kissing her.

She lost a moment to sheer surprise. His hands were strong and gentle at the same time, sliding under her jacket to trap her waist—not that there was any danger of her going anywhere right this second. She couldn’t read him at all today. First, she’d thought he hated her, then he was brutalizing that kid, and now . . . now . . .

Her back hit the side of his jeep before she even realized he’d turned her. The heat of the sunlight became a living thing, tracing power down her skin to match the sparks from his lips against hers. He was pressed against her, almost full length, his hands creeping up her sides to send heat through her body in a way that had nothing to do with sunlight or power. Silver could have had a gun trained on her right that instant, and she wouldn’t have cared.

Hunter tasted like cinnamon and smelled like the woods, pine and bark and something very male. His mouth was so sure, and when his tongue brushed hers, a sound escaped her lips. He did it again, letting his thumbs trace over her br**sts so lightly that she found herself arching into him. Suddenly she wished they were somewhere else, somewhere private, with curtains and less clothing and—

Hunter broke the kiss. Her breathing was quick, loud and desperate in the space between them.

He closed his hands on her waist again, and turned her away from his car.

Her brain was spinning its wheels, trying to find traction.

Hunter leaned close. “Just to be clear: I’d know exactly what to do if you threw yourself at me.”

Then he was in his car, starting the ignition, leaving her in the parking lot, nothing more than a melted puddle of hot, bothered, and seriously pissed off.

Hunter waited at the end of the cul-de-sac and watched the two-story house from the cover of a maple tree. Someone around here was having a Friday-night party; his car blended with a dozen others without any trouble. A basketball hoop hung over the garage door of the house he watched, and someone needed to attack the yard with a lawn mower. A tricycle with pink streamers sat in the driveway, next to about sixteen different chalk-drawn rainbows. It was too dark to see the rainbows now, of course, but Hunter had watched the sun trace shadows across the lawn until darkness crept over the neighborhood, and he knew the layout of the yard so well that he could make a diorama.

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