Page 48

“Are they al the same?” I asked.

Jared, Kim, and Bex turned in my direction.

“The books. Are they al the same? You said there were others. Is there another one we can get to? One that belongs to a demon that doesn’t know we’re coming?”

Jared and Kim traded glances.

“It’s not a bad idea,” Kim said.

“Waste of time,” Bex replied.

“Nigh, Shax’s book is the only one that we know of that has been brought to this plane. The others…we’d have to go to Hel to get,” Kim explained.

“So that’s out,” I said.

“Unless,” Bex began.

“No,” Jared said, cutting him off.

“Unless what?” I said, touching Bex’s arm.

“We could talk someone with access in to getting one.”

Jared sighed. “No one is going to do that, Bex, it would start a war.”

“Samuel would.” A smal , amused smile touched Bex’s face.

“Enough,” Jared said, pul ing into Cynthia’s driveway.

Kim stretched, and then patted my back side. “See you in class tomorrow.”

I shook my head in disbelief. She was so unaffected by it al .

The headlight of Bex’s motorcycle shuttered as Claire pul ed into the drive. She was noticeably upset.

“What is it?” I asked, watching her place the bike on its kickstand.

She fidgeted, and then put her hands on her hips, looking down. Her long bangs fel into her eyes as she procrastinated. “I missed one.”

“Who?” Jared said.

“Kit Anderson.”

“That wil be a problem,” Jared replied.

I frowned. “Who’s Kit Anderson?”

“Ryan’s partner,” Claire said, combing her hair back with her fingers, frustrated.

“You sure?” Bex asked, surprised.

“Ryan went to his house tonight,” Claire said. “Donovan call ed while he was there. Anderson was only on the phone for a moment, but it was Donovan.”

“What are you going to do?” I asked.

They al craned their necks at me.

Claire made a face. “What do you think, Nina? I’ve got to get rid of him.”

My mouth fel open. “But it’s Ryan’s partner. He just lost his whole unit. You’re going to kil his partner?”

“Better than you,” Bex said, climbing onto his bike.

“Where are you going?” Jared said.

“Home. I need to check on Mom, make some call s.”

Jared nodded, and then looked at me. “Let’s get you inside. You’re cold.”

I looked down at my ensemble: a coat over my robe, and tennis shoes. I’d been in such a hurry to ride along, I’d barely dressed. “Okay,” I said, fol owing him inside. Jared had told me over a year ago that he could sense my feelings, but I would never get used to him noticing them before I did.

In my bedroom, I kicked off my sneakers and peeled off my coat, fal ing into the bed. Jared crawled into bed beside me, outlining my body with his. Sleep came quickly, despite the excitement of chasing after Shax.

It felt as if the moment I closed my eyes, I jerked awake, covered in sweat, screaming for my father. Jared held me, this time silent. There was nothing left to say that hadn’t been said already. Reassuring me that it was just a bad dream was pointless.

“Coffee?” he said.

“No,” I said, pul ing on his shirt. “Don’t leave me. Just…stay,” I said between breaths.

He kissed my forehead, whispering sweet comfort in French in my ear. I didn’t know what the words meant, but it was so soft and soothing, I was relaxed against his chest in moments.

I took in a deep breath, inhaling his incredible scent. A tingling traveled the length of my body, and I extended my neck to kiss the lobe of his ear.

“Nina,” he warned.

“I miss you,” I said, kissing tiny sections of his skin until I reached his lips.

“It’s not a good time for us to—,” he began, but I kissed him, cutting off yet another lecture.

“I don’t care,” I said, tears fil ing my eyes, “I need to forget. Just for a little while. Help me forget.”

Jared returned my kiss, cautiously giving in. His soft, ful lips worked against mine, but not in the way I wanted.

I pul ed his t-shirt over his head, but when I tugged at the belt of my robe, he gently held my wrist. “Sweetheart….”

The frustration and fear final y boiled over, and I fel flat against his body, face down. My tears pooled between his chest and my cheeks.

Jared sat up, bringing me with him. “Don’t cry,” he said with a frown. “Please don’t….” he trailed off, sighing at the messy sight of me. Final y he kissed me, leaning me tenderly against the bed.

I shamelessly took advantage of his moment of weakness before it passed. For the first time in months, we lost ourselves in each other. Not a single moment did I worry or regret, and neither did Jared…until it was over.

Peaceful against his skin, my head rose and fel with his deep breath. “Don’t say it,” I said with a smile.

“It’s a little late to say anything,” Jared said, kissing my hair.

“You know, the Christmas party is next weekend.”

“I know,” he smiled, beginning to relax.

I stretched. “I assume you’ve bought a suit.”

“I did.”

“I need a dress,” I said, my brows pul ing together.

Jared laughed, momentarily forgetting about anything but the mundane details of our normal life.

We giggled and snuggled until the sun filtered through the curtains, and then Jared walked across the room to dress. I turned on my side to watch him, propping my head with my hand. Knowing how many bul ets and wounds he’d sustained in the last few years, his skin was flawless. Every inch of it.

“What are you plotting over there?” Jared asked, smiling.

“Absolutely nothing, I’m simply appreciating your form.”

He pul ed a pair of light blue boxer briefs up his legs and over his bare backside. “Is that so?”

I pul ed the sheet across the room with me, hunting for something casual to wear to Brown.

“That’s not fair at al . I should be al owed to appreciate as wel ,” he smiled. That smile quickly faded as he pul ed me behind him.