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It was then that I noticed Jared hadn’t joined us, but had gone upstairs to prepare for a night away, instead.

“Kim,” I said, blinking slowly.

“Looks like you need a nap,” she said.


Kim looked to the floor, nodding. “Nigh, you don’t get to hate me. I would understand if the demonic voodoo stuff gave you the heebie-jeebies, but you’re just mad because you think I lied to you.”

The rankling produced a second wind. “You did lie to me. I don’t even know you.”

Her head popped up. “And I know you? Jared’s half-angel, and you’re not exactly your run-of-the-mil Brown co-ed yourself, Miss Merovingian.

Have they told you what that means?”

“They told me,” I grumbled.

“So, I just came to tel you that we’re stil friends. And you can like it, and let me piss you off like I used to without worrying if you’re real y pissed.

Got it?”

“Whatever, I’m pooped,” I said, pushing myself from the chair.

“Real y? We’re good?” she asked.

I turned, and seeing her expectant eyes, I smiled. “Yeah, Kim. We’re good.”

Kim stood, and then held out both of her arms, jutting her lip out. “Hugs?”

“Quit it.”

She let her hands fal to her thighs with a slap. “Wel , thought I’d try.”

I walked her to the door, and she leaned close to my ear. “I’m going with Jared tonight. I’ll try not to make out with him while we’re hunting down your book.”

“You’re a good friend,” I said.

“Kiss noise,” Kim said, jogging down the drive to her Sentra. How had I missed that horrid thing? I was more tired than I thought.

Jared met me at the bottom of the staircase. He held my arm for a few steps, and then gave up, lifting me in his arms, and carrying me up the stairs.

“Shower,” I said.

Jared lowered me to the overstuffed mattress in my room. “In the morning. Bex is here. Sleep.”

I'm not sure when I fel asleep, or how long Jared stayed, because I was unconscious the moment my head hit the pil ow. The nightmares stayed away, even after my previous nightmare of Shax being in that very room. I was so tired, and slept so hard, that I didn’t dream at al .

I peeled my eyes open to see Bex standing at the end of the bed. “Just so you know, that’s creepy,” I said, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.

“Not as scary as your hair,” he frowned.

“Wow, you’re grumpy this morning.”

“Cynthia doesn’t trust me in the kitchen.”

Three knocks at the door, and Cynthia backed in to my room, a tray in her hands. “Good morning. I thought I would bring you breakfast.”

“Does Agatha have the day off?” I asked.

“No, she’s downstairs. Why?” Cynthia asked.

I watched my mother for a moment in disbelief, and then shook my head. “Nothing. Thank you.”

Cynthia left as quickly as she came in. “Mind the coffee, Dear, it’s hot,” she call ed back as her heels clicked down the hal .

Bex’s eyebrows were nearly touching as his frown deepened. He had never been to my parents’ home, to my knowledge, and he wasn’t enjoying it at al .

“She warms up,” I said.

“That’s not what I’ve heard,” he grumbled.

“I’m going to hop in the shower. Has Jared call ed?”

“No,” he said, picking up the remote control, switching on the television. “But he’s on his way.”

I thought about that for a moment, and decided I already knew the answer. They could sense each other, and Bex was the most in-tune out of the three Hybrid siblings.

My morning routine finished without event, including Jared's return home. “I thought you said he was coming,” I said, tightening my robe.

“He is,” Bex said, his eyes stationary on the screen.

“Nina, Love?” Agatha call ed from the hal .

“Yes?” I said, opening the door. Agatha was holding several bags, and Beth stood behind her, her arms ful of bags as wel .

“You said you lost everything,” Beth said, brushing past me to the closet. She disappeared into my walk in, hanging the plastic-covered clothing on the nearly-empty iron rods.

I opened the door, watching her pul shoes boxes from one of the large sacks. Once she was finished, she looked at her watch. “Crap! I gotta go.”


“Yes?” she said, whipping around.

“Thank you.”

She smiled. “Don’t thank me. That was so fun. I think I went a little overboard.”

She waved, and then rushed back the way she came, her legs moving a thousand miles per hour. I shut the closet door behind me, and pul ed the first outfit I touched off its hanger. When I walked out into the bedroom, I froze in my tracks.

Jared stood in the center of my room, covered in dirt, blood, and his was face scraped and blotchy.

“Oh my…oh my God!” I yel ed, rushing over to him. “What happened?”

Kim walked in behind Jared, untouched. “I told him not to go without me, but he’s faster than I am.”

I touched Jared’s face. “What did you do?”

He grimaced. “The book was in my hand. I had it.”

“Where were you?” I said, helping him pul off his jacket. He was stiff, and cringed with pain.

Kim’s usual y stoic expression twisted as she watched me pul his t-shirt up and over his head. “Warwick,” she said. “We got the book, but Donovan was there.”

Six raw, bloody and swol en bul et holes dotted different areas of Jared’s torso, accompanied by a large gash along his shoulder blade.

“Jared!” I screamed.

Bex left without a word.

“Where are you going?” I call ed after him.

“He’s going to find something to pul the fragments out.”

I helped him to the bed, and then took a deep breath. It didn’t help. Tears wel ed up in my eyes. “You’re going to be okay, right?”

Jared managed a smile. “Yes. I’ll be good as new this time tomorrow.”

Bex returned with a towel ful of different items. “Isaac too much for you, huh?”

“Isaac.” Jared scoffed, rol ing his eyes. Donovan and his Glock. And I plowed through approximately eighty demons before I got to them.”