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The world around me faded in and out. There was Tink holding me to him as I felt Ren holding sweat-soaked hair back from my face. He was whispering to me, but there was nothing other than the cool, pleasant abyss where I floated.

Then it happened.

Without warning, intense cold washed over me. So brutally cold, my skin felt like it was set afire. A prickling sensation hit each inch of my body, as if every part of my skin was being pierced to the marrow. Pain enveloped me once more, becoming my world, but this time it was an icy fire.

“What’s . . . what’s happening?” I gasped, unable to see through the pain. The room—the world was white.

“You took too much.” Tink’s voice was strained. “You went too far. I’m sorry, Ivy. I’m sorry.”

His words made no sense. Words in general were of no use to me as the icy fire heightened. Screams tore from my throat, a far different sound from the screeching.

I became aware of being moved, and I only knew that Tink was no longer holding me. I recognized Ren’s scent. He held me throughout, wrapping trembling arms around my waist, his shaking legs hooked over mine. My back bowed and I stretched his embrace until it almost broke.

Then . . . then it was like a raging fire being doused with water. The pain barely eased in the beginning, but slowly, after time, it disappeared like smoke in the wind. After the burn, I fell into a familiar deep sleep. I wasn’t sure how long I was out, but waking up was difficult. My eyelids felt like they’d been sewed together, and it was a struggle to pry them open.

The first thing I saw was the low ceiling. Infirmary. I was in the infirmary. Why? I searched my memories but they were cloudy and I was too tired to wade through the dark and shadowy pieces to figure out what the hell was going on.

But I knew I wasn’t alone.

It took effort, but I managed to turn my head to the left.

Tink sat beside my bed in one of those metal chairs. He had an ankle resting on a knee. Curled in his lap was Dixon. The little kitten was doing what it always did. Napping. That kitten had the best life ever.

The last time I’d seen Tink, he hadn’t had Dixon with him. And he hadn’t been alone. Ren had been with him—Ren had been holding me.

“Ren,” I croaked out.

Tink’s gaze lifted to mine. He didn’t say anything as he stared at me, and the first kernels of unease stirred.

I tried to speak again, but my mouth rivaled the Sahara Desert. I cleared my throat. “What . . . what’s going on?”

Tink looked back at me, stare solemn. “‘The night is dark and full of terror.’”

I frowned. “What?”

He lifted a shoulder. “I’ve always wanted to say that to someone. All I’m missing is my Lady Melisandre red gown and hood.”

I stared at him.

“You know,” he said, leaning back in his chair, “there’s another thing I’ve wanted to say. Like when people have bad news? My car just broke down, and I’ll be like, bam! ‘The Lannisters send their regards,’ or I just got fired from my job and bam! ‘The North remembers.’ That probably makes me a shitty brownie, but I don’t care.”

Having no idea why he was so stuck on Game of Thrones references at the moment, I tried to sit and realized right then that I couldn’t move. Confused, I peered down at my body. There was a thin white blanket tucked in at my waist, but that wasn’t what was keeping me in place.

White bands, some kind of cloth, circled my wrists and ankles. My stomach dropped. I was tied down. “T-Tink, why . . . am I—”

“Tied up like you’re engaged in some freaking BDSM shit?” He leaned forward, mindful of Dixon. “‘The Lannisters send their regards.’”

“Tink!” Panic sparked.

His gaze flickered away and then settled on me. “You don’t remember?”

I had the sinking suspicion I didn’t want to remember.

“You were attacked,” he supplied.

Yes. I remember that. Walking in the courtyard, minding my own business. Two fae had attacked me. “They stabbed me,” I whispered, filled with anger and horror. “They actually stabbed me.”

“Yeah, they did. Put some decent sized holes in you, too. You also had a hole in your hand, and let me tell you, that was gnarly. I could look right through it and see the other side of the room.”

I tried to see my hand.

“You’re all healed up now.” Reaching over, he tapped my left hand. “No gaping hole. No fatal stab wounds. You’re good as new.” He paused. “Better.”

“How . . . ?” I trailed off. More memories surfaced. I’d been dying. Like legit bleeding out with internal wounds dying, but I hadn’t.

I suddenly remembered Ren leaning over me. He’d been telling me that he loved me and that there had only been me, only would be me, and he . . .

I’m sorry, Sweetness. Forgive me.

Forgive him?

My heart started thundering in my chest. Pieces of the night started to fall together.

“You’ve actually been asleep for like forever,” Tink continued. “Well, not forever, but like four days.”

Four days? Holy shit.

“I was kind of worried that you were dead and you’d start stinking soon.”

Images flashed of me on top of Ren, moving against him in a bloody, wild joining of our bodies. Had we . . . ?

“Where is Ren?” I demanded, trying to sit up. “And why am I tied up?”

“Well, you see, that’s kind of a long story full of plot twists and probably a plot hole or two.”


His gaze met mine, and I remembered him yelling at Ren, because—oh, God, I’d been feeding on Ren. I’d fed on him.

The unease unexploded into full-blown dread. “Where is Ren?” I shouted. “Where is he, Tink?”

Little Dixon stirred in Tink’s lap. He folded his hand over the kitten’s head. “Calm down. Dixon needs his fifth nap of the day.”

My eyes narrowed. “I swear to God, Tink, if you do not answer me, I will straight-up murder you.”

“See, that’s the problem, and why you’re tried up. It’s just precautionary. Now that you’re awake, Tanner will be up here—”

“Why is it precautionary?”

He didn’t answer for a moment. “You’ve changed, Ivy. We didn’t think that would happen. We had no way of knowing.”

My pulse skyrocketed. “What in the hell does that mean, Tink?”

The brownie cringed. “Well, let’s just say your skin kind of shimmers now.”

My mouth dropped open.

“Like a fae,” he added.

Chapter 8

It took several moments for me to process what Tink was saying because there was no way I had heard him correctly. “My skin is shimmering?”

“Yes. Like a fae,” he repeated. “You’re not full on silver or anything like that, it just looks like you’ve used the same kind of lotion I imagine strippers use.”

I stared at him and then my gaze darted to what I could see of my skin. I was wearing long sleeves—a shirt that wasn’t mine, but I wasn’t going to focus on that fuckery at this moment—and with my damn wrists secured, all I could glimpse was the top of my hand. The skin looked normal. I squinted as I managed to lift my hand an inch. The light caught—

“Holy fuck!” I gasped, eyes widening. My skin did shimmer like I’d lubed myself up with glittery lotion. “Holy shit, my skin is—”

“Kind of shimmery, yes, but hey, it could be worse. You could look like Edward in the sunlight, all glittery and shit.”

My gaze shot to him.

“It’s barely noticeable. So is the thing with the ears.”

“My ears?” I shrieked.

“Yeah.” He drew the word out. “They’re a little pointy now. Like mine.” He tiled his head to the side, showing off his ears. “Nothing anyone would really bat an eye at. Plus, you have all that hair to cover them if you’re feeling insecure.”

Oh my God, I couldn’t even process what he was saying. I liked my normal, rounded human ears and he was now telling me I had pointy, fae-like ears?