Page 4

Tink grabbed my arm, steadying me. The dizziness vanished as quickly as it came on. “Are you drunk?” he asked.

I snorted, slipping free. “I wish. I didn’t eat breakfast or lunch yet. That was dumb of me.”

Tink was quiet as he studied me. “Do you think you might be overdoing it?”

“Overdoing what? Sitting around on an unasked-for extended vacation?”

“You haven’t been sitting around. You’re working out. Nonstop.”

“I’m not overdoing anything.” I walked away, edging around the stationary bikes and past the lazy-man treadmills—the ellipticals.

Tink was right behind me. “Not that you need reminding, but you were held captive for weeks and—”

“You’re right.” I whirled on him as the ever-present anger erupted inside me. “I don’t need reminding. I know where I’ve been.”

“But do you know where you’re going?” he asked softly.

I opened my mouth, but I had no idea how to answer that question. Where was I going? The anger slipped away, swallowed by confusion and a nearly overwhelming sense of helplessness.

God, I hated that feeling, because the last time I’d felt this way was when the fae had killed my boyfriend Shaun all those years ago. I’d been helpless then. I’d been helpless when the Prince put a collar around my neck and led me around on a chain.

I was still helpless, trapped in Hotel Good Fae.

Little Dixon popped his gray head out of the sling and looked around with sleepy kitten eyes. Tink reached down and scratched at his ear. “Ren should be back soon.”

My stomach dipped like I was on a roller coaster that was about to plummet down a steep hill. I hadn’t seen him since I left in the middle of the night.

“I saw him leave with Faye.”

A hot, suffocating feeling blanketed me, curling low in my stomach and mingling with every other crappy thing I was going through. The world tasted bitter in my throat, like I was suffering from indigestion.

I hadn’t known he’d left with Faye. Had he said something to me about it? I couldn’t recall. Not that it mattered. I mean, I didn’t suspect something or anything like that. Ren said he loved me, that he was in love with me, and I believed that. Totally. I just . . .

I wasn’t out there with him. Someone else was, and my head—my head wasn’t right.

“They were going out, trying to see if they could locate the Crystal thing.” Tink still scratched the little kitten’s ear and Dixon was purring like an engine. “You being stuck here while your man is out there, working to fix this has got to suck for you.”

I dragged my gaze to his. “Really? Are you trying to make me feel better?” I turned and started for the door. “Just so you know, it’s not working and you suck.”

“I’m not trying to make you feel better,” he replied, following me. “I’m just pointing out the obvious.”

“It’s not necessary to point out the obvious when it’s obvious, Tink.”

There was barely a half a second of silence. “You didn’t join us for dinner last night.”

Thinking this had to be the longest exercise room ever, I hurried up.

“You didn’t join us for dinner the night before or before that,” he went on. “And that means I’ve been eating with Ren. By myself. We just may kill each other.”

“You’ll be fine.” I reached the door, thank God.

“Where have you been?” he asked. “You’ve been here, but you haven’t been.”

“I’m here, Tink. I’ve just . . .” I didn’t know how to answer this because words failed me. How could I explain that every time I was around the fae they stared at me with distrustful, almost fearful, eyes? They knew what I was. They knew why the Prince had held me captive. They knew what I symbolized. “You know how I am with a whole lot of people. You guys eat in the cafeteria. I’m not into group activity—”

Tink grabbed my arm, stopping me from opening the door. He turned me around, and for once, his expression was a hundred percent serious. “Eating in a cafeteria isn’t a group activity.” His gaze flickered over me. “And it doesn’t look like you’ve been eating by yourself either.”

I laughed at that. “Trust me, I’ve been eating. A lot. Constant, actually.” And that was truth. I had to, because if I didn’t the hunger got to me. “I’ve just—”

“Been running ten miles a day, drinking tons of coffee, and not sleeping?”

My eyes widened. “Whoa. Are you stalking me?”

“I’m paying attention. So is Ren.” His gaze remained latched to mine. “Your face looks different.”


“Your cheeks are sunken in and you have these shadows under your eyes. They weren’t there before.”

“Wow. You’re starting to give me a complex.”

“Looks like you already have one.”

Uncomfortable, I pulled my arm free and whipped the towel off my neck, tossing it into the nearby laundry basket. “There’s no reason to pay attention to me. Okay?”


Before he could stop me, I opened the door and stepped into the hall. I was so not in the mood for this conversation. Just like I wasn’t in the mood when Ren brought it up, which felt like every five seconds.

Ren wanted to talk about things—things that I didn’t want to think about around anyone, but especially around him.

I hurried down the hall, knowing Tink was still right behind me. Picking up my pace, I reached the end and turned, immediately stopping short.

Tanner stood in front of me.

He was the leader of this place. I kind of thought of him as King Good Fae, but he wasn’t a king. At least, I didn’t think he was.

When I’d first seen him, I almost fell over in shock. He was the oldest looking fae I’d seen at the time. Faint lines etched into the silvery skin around his eyes and his hair was more salt than pepper.

He was living and aging proof that he hadn’t been feeding, at least not regularly enough to stave off the aging process.

“There you are.” Tanner smiled, clasping his hands in front of him. He was always dressed like he was going to a business lunch—dark trousers and a button down white shirt. “I was looking for you.”

“Awesome,” I chirped, happy for the distraction. “What’s up?”

Tanner glanced at Tink, his gaze dropping to where I knew Dixon had to be. “I’ve just received exciting news.”

“Amazon Prime will deliver here now?” Tink asked.

I rolled my eyes.

Tanner continued to smile, apparently besotted with the overgrown brownie. “Not yet, but we’re working on it.”

They were seriously working on that? Good Lord.

“I was looking for you since I knew Ren was out with Faye,” Tanner went on, and I tried to ignore the ugly, stupid twinge in my chest. “We’ve made contact with another group who we believe can help us locate the Crystal. That’s great news, because when I checked in with Faye earlier, her and Ren weren’t having any luck at Flux.”

Flux was a club that we knew was run by Ancients, namely Marlon St. Cryers, a huge developer in the city. Flux could possibly be one of the spots where this super special Crystal was stashed away.

“Really?” Excitement hummed through me, a trill in my blood that hadn’t been there in what felt like forever. “How?”

“They’re going to be here in a few days,” he said. “And they have a . . . unique talent for finding things that are missing.”

“Unique talent?” Tink mused, and when I glanced over at him, I saw that Dixon had retreated into the belly of the sling. “I have some unique talents.”

“And you think they can really help?” I cut Tink off before he went into detail that none of us wanted to hear.

Well, maybe Tanner did. What did I know?

Tanner nodded. “I really believe so.” His pale gaze flickered over me. “I have some errands I need to get taken care of. I hope to see you at dinner tonight.”