The Lost Saint Page 67

My stomach felt like I’d dropped a hundred feet on a roller coaster. “You’re one of them,” I said to Talbot. “You’re one of the Shadow Kings.” I tried to pull away from his grasp, but he wouldn’t let go of my arm.

“Get in the truck!” He slammed me against the passenger’s-side door. “We need to go now, before the rest of them—”

A loud howl ripped through the night—several howls, actually. Talbot looked around frantically for the source of the sound. His grip loosened on my arm.

“Gracie, come here!” Jude shouted.

I kicked Talbot in the shin with my pointed heel, pulled out of his grasp, and ran toward my brother. Jude grabbed me in a quick embrace, then slid open the door to one of the nearby vans and pushed me inside. “You’ll be safe in here,” he said, and slammed the door closed behind me.

There were two guys in the front seat of the van. I ignored them and crawled to the back so I could see through the rear window. I peeked out just as four guys appeared seemingly out of nowhere and rushed at Talbot. He took a swing at one of them, but then he disappeared from my view as the four guys converged on him at once. I heard him shout with pain. I fell back from the window. A few seconds later the van door slid open. Jude climbed in. Two other guys followed, dragging Talbot’s limp body in with them. They dumped him on the floor. His eyes were closed. Blood oozed from a gash in his forehead. I knew I was supposed to be afraid of him, but I still couldn’t help being concerned by his shallow breathing.

“What are you doing with him?” I asked Jude. “What’s going on?”

“We’re delivering him to the alpha.” Jude kicked Talbot’s prostrate body with his booted foot. Then he looked back at me, his eyes glowing bright. “Along with you, little sis.”


One of the guys who’d carried Talbot in lunged at me. I tried to back away, but there was nowhere to go. He grabbed me by the throat, and the last thing I remembered seeing were the letters S and K tattooed on his knuckles right before his fist slammed into my forehead and everything went black.


The Were-House


I woke up with a splitting headache and the sensation of being carried by someone—cradled in his arms like a puppy. Which I imagined was preferable to the way the two burly guys beside me dragged Talbot by his arms along the concrete floor.

I could tell by the faint moaning noise that emanated from his mouth that he was somewhat conscious. But not conscious enough to help heal his wounds, since blood still oozed from the gash in his forehead, matted in his eyebrows, and dripped into his eyes. For some reason it really bothered me that no one wiped the blood from his face.

I was still woozy, and I tried to lift my arms to brush my hair out of my face—and that was when I realized my hands were bound behind my back with some kind of cording. I tried to move my legs, but they were bound, too. I started to struggle against the arms that held me, but they only squeezed me tighter—I wasn’t being cradled; I was being held captive.

Faint music vibrated from somewhere nearby—voices, too. I tried to shout, but my tongue felt thick and heavy. I tasted blood in my mouth. I must have bitten my tongue when that Gelal knocked me out. But I could still taste the sourness of Gelal, the distinct smell of dog, and the bile-inducing stench of Akh. The mixture was so foul I almost contemplated biting my tongue harder.

Instead, I mustered up what little human strength I had and screamed, as loud and as long as I could. When I was done, the only reaction I heard was one of the guys next to me laughing.

“They won’t hear you over the music,” Jude said. I realized now he was the one carrying me. “And even if they did, no one would care. The Shadow Kings own this place.”

“Where are we?”

Jude didn’t answer. But we were underground—that much I could tell from the weight of the air and the utter lack of natural light. Just a few bare bulbs hung from the ceiling, casting sinister shadows along the corridor. We turned a corner, and the music died away. Then we went through a doorway and into what seemed to be a freight elevator.

Are we in a warehouse?

The elevator jostled to a start and traveled in an upward motion. The gatelike door opened, and Jude carried me out of the elevator. The air felt lighter here but smelled much worse. I blinked at the harsh fluorescent lights, taking in the sounds and sights around me. There was a staircase above us, and as Jude carried me around it, I looked up and saw that the stairs led to a balcony and an upper office with darkened windows.

In front of me was an expansive room that appeared to be part warehouse, part frat house. The center of the room was empty, but a plasma TV about the size of a truck stood in the corner. It was surrounded by sofas and beanbag chairs. Nearby was a pool table, and along the opposite wall was a tall row of warehouse shelving. Four shelves high, and five shelves wide. Each was covered in a thin mattress and blanket—like someone had made bunk beds out of them.

But what startled me most were the fourteen or so teenage guys who filled those sofas and beanbags, lounged on the bunk beds, and played pool. I recognized one of the guys at the pool table as the rough-looking gamer who had gotten into a fight with that Tyler kid over a video game at The Depot. The one who had probably killed him.

Jude shouted something that sounded like a command, and suddenly all the guys in the room dropped what they were doing and jumped up. They stood at attention like soldiers whose captain had just entered their barracks.

My wolfy senses were already tingling, but my whole body shuddered with foreboding as I surveyed the pack of guys. At least four of them were Akhs—I could tell from their talonlike fingernails—and based on the smell, at least five of them were Gelals. I guessed that made the remaining six Urbats.

This was it. I’d found the gang—just not in the way I had intended.

I was a prisoner in the den of the Shadow Kings.

Most of the guys stood stiff like large, tattooed boards, with their heads bowed. Others looked somewhat alarmed at the sight of Talbot and the way the Gelal dragged him to the center of the room. The smallest of the boys, who had been playing a video game on a giant TV, looked like he was barely fourteen. He locked eyes with me for a moment, curiosity painting his expression, but then he turned away when Jude growled at him.

Jude carried me to the center of the warehouse floor and dumped me unceremoniously on the ground. I landed hard, unable to brace myself, next to Talbot, who knelt with his head bowed so low it almost touched the floor.

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