Page 14

And my skin was shimmering?

Tink snapped his fingers, getting my attention. “Look, there is more good news. Since you’ve been out for a couple of days, you’ve slept off the worst effects.”

I took a deep, even breath but it did nothing to stamp out the building panic. “What are the worst effects that somehow don’t include my skin shimmering or my ears becoming pointy?”

Dixon took that moment to stretch his little legs out in front of him. Tink reached down, scratching him behind the ear. “Well, while you were asleep, you weren’t always asleep. Sometimes you were awake.”

Vague memories surfaced, flashes of rage and desire, of the need to—

I sucked in a sharp breath, squeezing my eyes tight.

“There were times when you were hungry, like zombie craving brains kind of hungry,” Tink said softly. “That’s why you’re tied down. Faye seems to think the worst has passed. Sort of like you’ve done the detox part and now you’re just having to deal with a few cravings.”

I remembered.

Knots formed in my stomach. I remembered Faye whispering her compulsion. Feed. That one word had echoed over and over and I had fed.

My eyes flew open. “Is Ren okay?”

“Well, you know—”

“Is Ren okay?” I demanded, breathing heavy.

Tink lifted his hand from Dixon’s head. “Ren is fine. He’s alive. He’d be here, but Tanner and Faye were worried that you being around a human right now wouldn’t help with the getting over the whole wanting to suck them dry thing.”

Relief crashed through me, but a raw emotion built behind it when what happened truly processed. “You . . . you all made me feed on Ren.”

“We didn’t have a choice, Ivy. You were dying and there was nothing else we could—”

“You should’ve let me die!” I shouted, and Dixon jerked in Tink’s lap. I tried to calm down, but my heart was lodged somewhere in my throat.

His brows furrowed. “That’s a fucked up thing to say, Ivy.”

“It’s fucked up that you made me feed on Ren!”

“He was down for it, Ivy. Ren would do anything to save you.”

“Even force me to do something so horrible?” I asked, eyes blurring. “Ren volunteering for this doesn’t make it right. He could’ve been killed.”

His expression smoothed out. “But he’s okay and you’re going to be okay.”

“Except apparently my skin and ears have changed. I’m not okay.” And that wasn’t all. I’d fed on Ren and then we had sex—bloody, crazy sex.

“Well, there is that. We didn’t know that would happen, but—”

“The Prince did that to me. He made me—” My voice caught. Anger burned through my bone and tissue. “What have you all done to me?”

“We saved you—”

“What have you done to me?” I screamed.

His eyes widened. “We don’t . . . we don’t know, Ivy.”

I couldn’t believe it. Dying sucked. Yeah. Duh. But they forced me to feed against my will—feed on Ren, and it changed me into God knows what? Nausea crept up my throat. How would I ever look at Ren again?

How would I ever look at myself again? Dealing with being the Halfling wasn’t something I’d fully accepted and now this? I couldn’t. I couldn’t deal with this.

“It’ll be okay.”

“Get away from me,” I whispered.

“Ivy,” he gasped.

Violent rage and bitter fear swirled like a storm inside me, feeding strength I didn’t realize I had. I lifted my left arm, tearing the binding in half.

“Whoa.” Tink shot up, holding Dixon close to his chest as he stepped back from the bed. “Ivy . . .”

Snapping the cloth around my other wrist, I sat up and turned to Tink. “You need to get the fuck out of my face right now.”

Tink was still for only a moment, and then he got out of my face and left the room.

I couldn’t sit or lay in this bed. My thoughts were racing along with my heart.

What did they do to me?

Hands shaking, I broke the restraints around my ankles and swung my legs off the bed. I stood on bare feet, surprised to find that I wasn’t dizzy. Raising my left hand, I first noticed the red, angry scar on top. The same scar was on my palm. Squeezing my hand closed, I could easily remember the stabbing pain of the branch shooting through my hand.

Now it barely even hurt.

There was no ignoring the glimmer when I twisted my hand and caught the soft glow of light. My heart dropped. A thousand questions erupted, but I already knew what the answers were going to be.

Had I fed too much and it had changed me?

Who knew that was possible? No one. Or maybe everyone, and they just failed to tell me.

A riot of emotions crept up, sealing off my throat. I squeezed my eyes shut. I couldn’t believe this. On top of everything else, I was now . . .

I didn’t know what I was.

Drawing in a shuddering breath, I opened my eyes. My gaze flicked over the room. The walls were bare, but there was a bathroom to my right. I hurried over to it, flipping the light on.

I stopped in front of the oval mirror above the porcelain basin, ignoring the mess of tangled, red curls.

“Oh God,” I whispered.

The light was brighter in here, and as I tilted my chin up, the sheen to my skin intensified. My face looked like I’d taken one of those high-end highlighters and smeared it all over my face.

Which was what I normally looked like when I tried to contour.

Tink was right though. It wasn’t that noticeable, not to a stranger or a normal human who had no idea fae were a very real thing, but to me?

I noticed.

But that wasn’t all. My features were . . . sharper. More refined. Again, not entirely noticeable but my face was different.

Clutching the basin, I leaned in and stared at my reflection. There were only faint bruises where I’d taken punches I should’ve been able to deflect. There was a tiny red mark on my lower lip. A barely-there purplish bruise along my jaw.

It was almost like weeks had passed since the fight where I got my ass handed to me. A fight I should’ve been able to handle with one arm tied behind my back, but I had to be honest with myself.

My head hadn’t been in the right place—it still wasn’t, and I hadn’t been eating or sleeping right. I’d been weak, and look at what it got me?

Two stab wounds and more.

Were my eyes paler? They’d always been a light blue, but they were almost . . . iridescent now, the pale blue so stark against the blackness of my pupils.

Lifting one trembling hand, I pushed my hair back as I turned my head to the side.

I gasped.

The tips of my ears were definitely pointy. Nothing extreme, and again, a normal person probably wouldn’t notice it, but these were not ears.

This was not my skin.

Dropping my hair, I faced the mirror and bared my teeth. Normal. A sigh of relief shuddered through me. At least they didn’t look oddly sharp like most fae, so there was that I guessed.

The door to the room opened, and I whipped around. What if it was Ren? My stomach tied up. I wasn’t ready to see him. I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready to see him, but I—

“Ivy?” Faye’s voice rang out.

Definitely not Ren. A wave of disappointment washed over me. I didn’t want to see him and yet there was a part of me somewhere deep inside that wanted it to be him. The same part of me that had wanted it to be Ren sitting there, waiting for me to wake up.

Things had been weird between us before. Now, it would be hella awkward . . . if there was anything left.

Sighing, I stepped out of the bathroom. Faye was alone, staring at the bed and probably at the broken restraints.

The anger resurfaced. “You used a compulsion on me.”

Faye lifted her chin. “I hadn’t wanted to. Trust me. I know what was done to you while you were with the Prince. I told them that. They didn’t want to let you die.”

I remembered her reluctance and Tink’s threat. “Maybe letting me die was the right thing.”

“Ivy, you can’t feel that way. Truly.”