Spirit Page 70

He dragged the sweatshirt over her head before she even knew what he was doing. Then his mouth was on her neck, his hands grabbing her thighs and lifting her, carrying her back to the car in such a way that she wanted him to quit with the gentle stuff and push her up against the side of the car, just to feel the sheer power of it.

He did exactly that. It felt even better than she expected. The radio was still on, some announcer’s voice filling the afternoon air with football scores or weather reports or even the price of tea in China.

She so didn’t care, because Hunter’s shirt was gone and he was kissing inside the neckline of her top. He was pressed so tightly against her that she could feel everything, and it was amazing and terrifying and sensual and breathless and she couldn’t think.

Her hands groped for the button to his jeans. Hunter made a low sound, an encouraging sound.

But then he broke the kiss and caught her wrist. “Wait,” he said, his voice rough.

And worried. He reached past her and turned up the radio. “What did he just say?”

Kate could barely comprehend English, and she struggled to wrap her brain around this sudden shift. “What is it? What—”

“Shh.” He put a finger over her lips, his attention on the radio.

Then she picked up what the announcer was saying.

“. . . Mrs. Dean recently lost her niece Calla Dean in a school carnival fire a few days ago. She states that prior to his disappearance, Noah was a good student who had never given any indication of running away. He’d indicated problems with a student at the high school, and we’ll update this story as further information is available. For now, local police are treating the area as a crime scene. Anyone with information should call . . .”


Noah Dean was missing.


Hunter headed back toward Annapolis, sticking to the speed limit.

He couldn’t afford attention.

A big part of his brain was crying for him to make a run for it. It wasn’t like he’d gone after Noah Dean in secret. Vickers knew. Other students knew. What had that news report said? A crime scene? The cops could be looking for him.

And really, he shouldn’t give a crap about one kid who’d caused more than his share of misery.

Hunter just couldn’t shake the feeling he was somehow responsible .

He’d tried to find another report, but now the DJ didn’t want to do much more than churn out the same crap pop songs he played every hour.

Kate was searching on her phone.

Or she was trying to.

“We’re going to have to wait until we get out of the mountains,” she said. “The Internet is taking forever to load.”

“Should you text Silver?”

She didn’t say anything, and Hunter glanced over to see her studying the face of her phone, her mouth squinched up like she was deep in thought.

“Hey,” he said. “Can you text Silver and ask him what to do?”



She looked over at him. “Have you considered that Silver might be the reason Noah is missing?”

Those coils of tension wound their way around Hunter’s chest again. He felt like such an idiot—hadn’t he agreed to help them yesterday? And now one kid was missing, and he felt ready to go to pieces.

Just like always, he didn’t know who he was supposed to rescue and who he was supposed to destroy.

Your talents don’t make you better than the other Elementals. They make you worse. Just look what you’re doing right now.

He bit the inside of his lip until he tasted blood.

Then he fished his phone out of his pocket and tossed it to Kate. “Text Michael Merrick and ask if he’s heard about Noah Dean.”

“You want me to text Michael Merrick and ask for help?” Her voice was slightly incredulous.

“Not ask for—look, Kate, just do it, okay?” He ran a hand through his hair and wondered if it would be easier to drive his car straight off a cliff.

She slid her fingers across the face of the phone. “Okay. I asked if he’s heard the news.”

“Let’s wait and see what he says.”

They waited.

Ten minutes.


“Text Gabriel,” said Hunter.

She did.

Hunter only waited seven minutes this time.

“Try Becca.”



What did that mean? Had something happened? Were they missing, too?

Or were they just partying on the back deck and no one was looking at their phone?

Either was possible. “Find Bill Chandler’s name. Ask him if he’s talked to Becca.”

She scrolled. Texted.

“Are you sure this is the right number?” she asked after a moment.

“Yeah, I just talked to him last week.”

“The text bounced back and said that line belonged to an account that has not yet been activated.”


“Here, I’ll text Silver and ask what his status is.” She paused, typing. The response must have come back immediately, because he saw her scowl out of the corner of his eye.

“What?” he said.

“I said, ‘Checking in. What’s your status?’ He said, ‘Interesting question, Kathryn. What’s your status?’ ”

Now Hunter understood the scowl. “He’s kind of a dick.”

“Tell me about it.” She was typing furiously at her phone. The wind was making a mess of her hair. She looked incredible.

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