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Tink, on the other hand, had no idea I was there . . . or alive, because it looked like he was eye-screwing the male fae across from him. An impressive level of eyeball fuckery that I could’ve taken lessons from. But when I saw Tink’s lips part and he looked like he was a second away from licking his bottom lip, I intervened.

I cleared my throat. “Tink.”

“Ivy!” Tink beamed up at me. Three empty plates were in front of him, the fae across from him forgotten. “You here to eat with us?”

“Uh, no. I already ate.” I managed to scarf down a banana on my way downstairs, so that wasn’t a lie. Turning over a new leaf and all. “I need to talk to you.”

He sighed heavily. “Look, the fire last night was small. I put it out before it spread, and I already apologized for it. The room needs remodeling anyway.”

I forced my gaze from Ren. He still hadn’t acknowledged I was here. “No, it’s not—wait, there was a fire last night?”

“Oh.” Tink sat back, crossing his arms. “Forget about that. What do you want to talk about?”

I opened my mouth and then decided not to question the whole fire thing, because I probably didn’t want to know. “I want to talk to you.” I peeked at Ren. He’d stopped eating, fork down, hands flat on the table. “In private, Tink.”

“Oh, secret squirrel stuff.” Tink started to rise. “I’m here for this.”

Ren looked up just then, his gaze snagging mine. “Hey.”

That one word was flat, emotionless. Empty. “Hi,” I managed to croak out.

He stared at me for a moment, and I worked up the courage to ask him to join us. But then his jaw tightened. Picking up his plate, he rose and stepped away from the table. “See you guys later.”

“Wait . . .” I trailed off, because it was no use. Ren was already halfway across the cafeteria. Watching him leave made it feel like my chest split right open.

“What the hell?” Tink asked.

I turned to him, blinking back the sudden rush of hot, stupid tears. I cursed myself. I hadn’t planned to exclude Ren from this conversation. I just hadn’t expected to see him so I’d wasted precious moments standing there like an idiot.

Operation Get Your Shit Together was off to a wonderful start.

I took a deep breath. “Can we step out into the hall?”

“Yeah.” A frown marred Tink’s features. “Sure.”

I took the few seconds to put myself back together. I needed to focus and not be on the verge of crying.

“What’s up with you and Ren?” he asked the moment we were out in the hallway. “Are you the reason he nearly knocked my head off this morning when I told him he looked like shit? Because the boy did look like he was rode hard and put away wet.”

I stopped, crossing my arms. “I don’t even want to know what that means.”

“Well, it means getting fu—”

“Tink,” I snapped. “I didn’t ask you to come out here to talk about Ren.”

“But I want to talk about him. You guys barely spoke to each other in there. That’s weird.”

I took a deep breath. “I know. We had a fight last night, but it’ll be okay. It’ll be fine.”

“What?” Concern flashed across his face. “Like a big fight? Or a small one? Oh my God, are you two breaking up? Who will I live with?”

“Who will you live with?” I gaped up at him. “You’re not twelve and you’re not our kid.”

“But I need to be taken care of. Loved. I need access to Amazon Prime.”

“Then get a job, Tink. You look human enough to do it.”

“A job?” Absolute horror filled his face. “The loss of blood must’ve done something to your brain because you’re out of your mind.”

“Okay. This conversation has veered off into very pointless territory. Everything is fine. Moving on.” I struggled to remain patient. “Look, I have a couple of questions I want to ask you about the Prince.”

A fae walking near us stopped and gasped. Her silvery skin turned a paler shade of gray.

Grabbing Tink’s arm, I pulled him into a nearby room. It was small, with just a round table and two chairs. “Take a seat.”

Tink sauntered over to the one furthest from the door and dropped down, stretching out his long legs. “Being in here with you feels naughty.”

I shook my head as I closed the door behind me. “There’s something wrong with you.”

He grinned. “I could say the same thing about you.”

“Touche,” I muttered, sitting down across from him. “But let’s analyze each other later. You once told me that killing the Prince was impossible, but nothing is impossible.”

Tink tossed an arm over the back of his chair. “Well, yeah technically it’s not impossible.”

“Right.” I rested my arms on the table. “We know a thorn stake will weaken an Ancient—”

“So you can chop their head off,” he finished for me. “You can do the same with the Prince, but as you know firsthand, even cutting him with a stake isn’t easy.”

“No, it’s not.” The Prince had whipped my ass each time we’d fought, and the last time I’d had a thorn stake. “So the only way to kill the Prince is to weaken him enough to fight him.”

Tink nodded slowly.

“Okay, so there has to be something out there that weakens him, right? That will make it easier to kill him.”

“Yeah. A thorn stake.” He squinted. “But you already know that.”

I tapped my fingers on the table. “There has to be something else that doesn’t require going toe to toe with him. I need you to think about this, Tink.”

His head tilted. “I have thought about this.”

“Think hard,” I insisted. “I need you to really think about it. Maybe it’s something small. Maybe not. You were in the Otherworld while the Prince was there. Maybe you saw something—heard something.”

His nose wrinkled. “The only thing I saw was him feeding and screwing. A lot. I heard a lot of moans and screams. Not pain-filled screams. You know, the Prince was always a dick, but not as big of a dick as he is now. Oh! Maybe sex is a weakness for him.”

My brows lifted.

He raised a shoulder. “Probably not. I mean, as much as he was doing it, I doubted it weakened him. Probably gave him strength. Like every time he came, he powered up like Mario—”

“All right, let’s move on from the whole sex thing.” I was going to need a Brillo Pad for my brain later.

He kicked a huge foot up on the table. “Why are you even asking about this? I thought some fae were coming that could help locate the Crystal?”

“They are, but I’m trying to plan ahead in case they don’t find the Crystal,” I explained. “Plus, we’re going to have to get his blood. None of that is going to be easy when fighting him in combat is nearly impossible.”

Before Tink could respond, the door swung open without warning, revealing Faye. “Our visitors are here.”

Chapter 13

Tink and I followed Faye down the hall, toward Tanner’s office, which I was guessing was now the official meeting place. I had no idea where Ren was, if he was already in the room, or coming. I didn’t like how separate we were, but I tabled that problem to deal with later.

My hand brushed the dagger at my hip as Faye stopped in front of Tanner’s office. Her gaze followed my hand. “Our guest means you no harm.”

Noting how guests went from plural to singular, I glanced at the door. “I’ll be the judge of that.”

“Can’t blame her for that,” Tink chimed in, folding his long arms over his chest.

Her lashes lowered. “No. I cannot.” There was a small pause. “How are you feeling, Ivy?”


The look on her face said she didn’t quite believe me, but she didn’t push it. Turning, she opened the door, and having no idea what to expect, I slowly followed her in.

“Holy yummy in my tummy,” Tink murmured, stopping behind me.