Page 5

“Sure,” I muttered.

He skedaddled at that point, leaving me with Tink. I turned to him, wondering if Tanner had help coming, then why were Ren and Faye still at Flux? Or out there in general? But the moment I saw Tink’s expression, I stopped thinking about it.

He was serious again. “Where are you going?”

“To shower.”

“And after that?”

I lifted a shoulder. “I don’t know. Probably to grab something to eat.”

“Okay.” He extended a hand toward the lobby of Hotel Good Fae. “I can come with you.”

“I’m just going to grab a snack and hang out in my room. I’m sure you have better things to do,” I told him, backing up. “Like you have an entire audience of fae more than ready to stroke your ego and allow you to beguile them with stories.”

There wasn’t a flicker of change in his expression. No grin. No smug glint in the eyes. “Are you okay, Ivy?”

“Of course,” I said with a laugh. “I already told you guys I was okay.”

And I had said that to them. I’d told Tink and Ren I was going to be okay that day out on the swing—the day that felt like forever ago, but I wasn’t okay.

I was far from it.

Chapter 3

Arms folded across my chest, I ambled down the long, narrow aisle of the Hotel Good Fae library. It was on the same level as the lobby and gym but way over in a different wing. I’d accidentally found it a few days ago while everyone was eating dinner.

And why did everyone eat dinner at the same time? Was that like some weird, Summer Court fae tradition? It was like being in high school, but with attractive, silvery-skinned people . . . who weren’t even people.

Unfolding my arms, I reached out and trailed my fingers over the thick tomes. Some of these books had to be decades old, if not older. A lot were in languages I didn’t understand. Further back were the newer books and a lot of genre fiction, like romance and suspense. They even had a decent, up to date, young adult section.

That was where I was heading while everyone in the entire, massive building was sitting down to eat dinner. From the aroma radiating from the cafeteria, I was thinking they were having pot roast. Normally that would have me salivating, but my stomach twisted uneasily.

Every day I was either starving or on the verge of vomiting, and there seemed to be no in-between. At what point would this stop? A week had passed since the last time I’d . . . I’d fed. The hunger had to go away.

I should probably ask someone about it. Faye knew what I’d been forced to do, but that would require me actually talking to her—to someone, which yeah, that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my time.

Reaching the end of the aisle, I hung a right and moved further into the library. I liked it in here. It was quiet, and no one, not even Tink, thought to look for me here. I could grab a book, find a corner, and just sit and read.

And that was what I did.

I picked up an old historical romance, the kind that had a barrel-chested dude on it and a chick who looked seconds away from losing her dress. I found a little cubbyhole toward the back and curled up in a comfy, oversized chair.

It took a couple of chapters for me to get lost in the story about a young woman caught in a feud between Scottish warlords. I loved reading, but it was hard to concentrate when it felt like I should be out there, doing more—doing something.

Maybe that was what was wrong with me? Maybe I just wasn’t used to sitting around and doing nothing for days with no end in sight. Because who knew? I could be sitting around for weeks. Maybe even months.

I wouldn’t make it.

Exasperated with my thoughts, I refocused on what I was reading. Once I got my brain to shut down, I was engrossed. So caught up in picturing the rolling green hills and Highland mists that I didn’t hear the approaching footsteps.


Startled by the deep, smooth as sin voice, I nearly dropped my book as I lifted my chin. Air punched out of my lungs the moment my gaze connected with eyes the color of spring leaves.


I had not been expecting him to find me.

“Hey,” I said, finding my voice as I closed the old paperback. My hidey-hole was no longer a hidey-place. “What are you doing in here?”

His brows lifted at my question, and I immediately wished I hadn’t asked that. It came across as if I didn’t want to be found, and well, I didn’t, but I also didn’t want Ren to know that.

“I mean, isn’t it dinner time?” I quickly added, feeling my cheeks heat. It was another dumb question I regretted at once.

“Yeah, it is dinner.” Moving closer, he sat down on my chair and stretched out his long legs. “That’s why I’m looking for you.”

I’d done the whole dinner thing the first two nights here, forced myself to eat through the stares of curiosity and distrust. I don’t know how Ren did it, but this was the first night he had actually come looking for me. Well, as far as I knew. If he had and just couldn’t find me, he didn’t bring it up at night.

“I just got caught up reading this book,” I lied. “I hope you didn’t interrupt your dinner to find me.”

A weird look I couldn’t quite decipher flickered over his face, but was gone before I could figure out what it was. He glanced down at the book. “Have you been here all day?”

“Um, I’ve been here for a while.”

He bit down on his lower lip. A moment passed in strained silence, and . . . well, things were just weird between us. And it was all because of me. I knew that. I was making things weird. The day out on the swing—the day I felt like I had this, that with Ren and Tink by my side, everything would be handled—now felt like a different life.

Letting out a long, slow breath, he leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I got back a couple hours ago and looked for you. First thing I did, actually.”

My heart squeezed as a wave of guilt washed over me. His unspoken question hung in the air between us. Where were you? Good question. I should’ve been available, waiting for him. Anything could’ve happened while he was out there. The Prince, the Order—anything, and I had worried, but I hadn’t waited for him.

I found a place to hide away and that’s what I did.

Ren looked away, focusing on one of the shelves. “I checked the gym, the common rooms, and the courtyard. Should’ve known to look here, you little book nerd.” His grin was brief. Still no dimples. “I thought . . . I thought you’d be in the room or somewhere, you know, easily findable.”

The guilt surged, coursing through my veins like battery acid. “I’m sorry. The time just kind of got away from me.” I curled my fingers around the book. “So, what happened at Flux?”

“We were able to sneak in.” The line of his jaw softened a little. “Faye used glamour on the humans. Can’t believe the damn place is open. There was staff there and a few lower level fae we took care of.”

I was kind of surprised Flux was open and running. The last time I’d been there, it had been a massacre. Bodies hanging from the ceiling and all. A sight I would not easily forget.

“We didn’t find anything,” he continued. Faye had never seen the Crystal at the house the Prince was holed up in, so it had to be stashed away somewhere. “While we were out, we decided to check out some of the cemeteries. Nothing suspicious there.”

“Did Tanner get a hold of you guys?” I dropped my gaze when he looked over at me.

“Yeah.” There was a beat of silence. “Said someone or something was coming to help us locate the Crystal, but I’ll believe it when I see it, you know? If that Crystal wasn’t at the mansion, then it’s got to be somewhere here.”

I nodded. “How is it working with Faye?”

“Weird,” he answered, and thankfully, there wasn’t a twinge of jealousy. “Whoever thought we’d be working alongside the fae?”

“It had never crossed my mind.” I didn’t point out that technically he was dating someone who could be considered fae since I was a halfling. “Do you think the Elite knew?”

Ren had been raised in the secretive sect with the Order, destined to be a member. “I never heard anything like that, but the Elite had to know.” His voice hardened, and I peeked up. He was focused on a bookshelf again. His lip was curled in disgust when he continued, “Kyle had to have known.”