Authors: Aileen Erin
First Published by Ink Monster, LLC in 2014
Ink Monster, LLC
34 Chandler Place
Newton, MA 02464
Copyright © 2014 by Ink Monster LLC
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
For my love, Jeremy.
You inspire me every day.
Thank you for sharing your life with me.
I can’t do it without you.
A pillow hit my face. I shoved it under my head. “What?”
Meredith plopped down on my bed next to me. “You’re seriously telling me that Hotty McHottypants is in your room nearly every night and nothing ever happens? How is that possible?”
I rolled my eyes at her use of ‘Hotty McHottypants’ for Dastien, my mate. She’d been on a kick the past week, trying to find out about us. The thing was, he’d been a perfect gentleman. “He’s furry when he sneaks in. I swear.”
Meredith groaned. “Really? Every time?”
I cross my heart. “Yup. Why do you think my sheets are so hairy?”
“Maybe because you needed to improve your hygiene practices?”
I snatched a pillow and slammed it into her face. “My hygiene is perfect, thank you very much.” I tucked my legs under my covers, and Meredith took that as an invitation to get in bed with me. We were both in our PJ’s—tank tops and shorts. I’d already gotten ready for bed—my teeth were freshly brushed and face was squeaky clean. It was Tuesday night and we had class early in the morning, but Meredith liked to chat a little before bed. Sometimes being at St. Ailbe’s Academy—a secret boarding school for werewolves—felt like one long sleepover. It was nice, especially since I hadn’t had a sleepover in…ever.
I grabbed the latest Nora Roberts masterpiece from my nightstand, while Meredith started to flip through this month’s
“I still say there’s more going on between you two,” she said after a few minutes. “You’re just being shy about sharing the juicy details.”
“I wish.” I blew out a breath. “He’s been going on patrol most nights, and keeps saying that he’s waiting for the whole full moon thingymajig before heating things up too much.”
“Thingymajig? Thingymajig! The Full Moon Ceremony is more than a thingymajig.”
The way she said the words—like they seeped importance—made my stomach knot. “Uh. Don’t remind me.” Until seven-ish weeks ago, I’d been a plain old half-
, aka Mexican witch, with visions. Whenever I touched things—a person, a T-shirt, even just a light brush against a wall—I saw whatever was the strongest emotional memory in that object. But Dastien bit me and now I was some sort of werewolf-
mash-up. I was still in the figuring-it-out stage, but the werewolf part gave me control over my visions.
The Full Moon Ceremony was supposed to cement me and Dastien’s mate bond. Make it unbreakable. So, it was normal to be nervous about it. At least I hoped it was normal…
“The Ceremony’s on Saturday. A mere four sleeps away. Are you ready for it?” Meredith asked.
God. I didn’t know
to be ready for it. Going furry still made me incredibly nervous.
Sweeping the topic under the carpet was probably a bad idea, but I couldn’t help myself. Avoidance, deflection, and repression were my BFFs lately. And I couldn’t forget about handy, dandy redirection. “So, how’s Donovan?”
She turned the page on her magazine so quickly the page tore. “How should I know?” Her words didn’t mask her scent—a hint of citrus meant that my question made her anxious.
Donovan Murray was one of the Seven—the group of Alphas who rule all werewolves—and he totally had the hots for Meredith. “Please. I know there’s something going on with you two. And it rhymes with shmates.”
I poked her side and she slapped my hand away. “There’s nothing going on. There won’t be. I’m cursed, and that’s just all there is to it. No shmates here. And, by the way, that’s a horrible rhyme. It’s not even a word.”
That’s why Meredith was avoiding Donovan? Because of some stupid curse?
She had a run in with the local
coven three years ago and hadn’t been able to shift since then, but the curse hadn’t caused any adverse affects for her. At least none that she had mentioned.
If Meredith was turning down Donovan because of the curse, that definitely counted as an adverse affect.
I put my book down and rolled onto my side to face her. “You guys would be a good match. Maybe even a true mated pair.”
She didn’t say anything, but the magazine crinkled under her grip.
Okay, so maybe I needed a different approach. “It’s obvious that he likes you. Those looks he sends your way…” I fanned myself.
“Shut up.” She hit me with her magazine.
“Your violence only helps prove my point.”
She turned the page, this time more gently. “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Here we go again. She always made me talk about things that I didn’t want to, but when the time came for her to spill, she didn’t. The girl was a closed book.
“Do you think Dastien is going to come by tonight?” She asked, changing the subject right back to what I didn’t want to talk about.
I went easy on her and let the Donovan topic go for now, but I wasn’t forgetting about it. “Probably.” I thought about Dastien. His dark hair, amber eyes, and wicked smile. The little bit of cockiness to it, plus the sincerity and dimples…it melted me every damned time. The past few weeks, we’d grown closer, moving beyond our initial attraction. It’d been a little all consuming at first, but beyond that, we had a lot of the same interests. Books. Music. Dancing. And no one could make me laugh like he did.
I hoped he’d come by tonight.
“Well, just remember protection.”
I gasped. “Meredith!” Why was she bringing this up now?
“I’m being serious. I’m not ready to be an auntie yet.”
My cheeks were burning. “We’re so not even there yet.” Thank God I had the latest DJ Tiesto mix playing from my laptop. I didn’t want anyone overhearing this conversation. Werewolves’ ears were extremely sensitive.
“But you have to swear to spill when you do.” She put the magazine down and grinned at me.
“Oh my God.” I put my hand over her mouth. “Stop before someone hears,” I whisper shouted at her.
Meredith reached across me for my laptop remote on my nightstand, turning up the volume. “The Full Moon Ceremony is as good as a wedding. We should talk about what you’re going to do after, if you know what I mean.” She waggled her eyebrows at me.
“Shut up.” I leaned back on my pillow and closed my eyes. “I’m nervous. About it all. Shifting. Being with him. Am I supposed to live in the dorms still? I know he’s got a cabin somewhere on campus, but I haven’t been there yet. Plus, I’m turning eighteen the same day. That’s
entirely way too young to be married. It all seems so weird and I feel awkward bringing it up with him. I don’t really know what to say.”
“Just talk to him. He’ll understand.”
“I don’t know. I think bringing it up might hurt his feelings, but taking such a huge step right now is crazy…but then I think about Dastien, and maybe it’s not so crazy. But that could be the hormones talking.” I groaned. “I’ve lost my mind. I’m rambling. Say something, please. Make me feel better about this whole thing.”
“You haven’t lost your mind,” a low gravelly voice said beside me.
I squealed and opened my eyes. Dastien was crouched beside my bed, his eyes level with mine. “Oh my God. How long were you listening?”
“Right as she was advising you on taking precautions.”
I hit Meredith. “You knew he was there, didn’t you?” I threw the covers over my head as they started to laugh. “You both suck and I hate you.”
Dastien pulled the covers down a little. His smile was big, showing his dimples. “
Je t’aime, cherie
God. He just killed me with that look. And then telling me that he loved me in French…
He leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss to my lips.
“That’s my cue to leave, but think about what I asked.” Meredith stood, but stumbled on her first step.
I leapt across the bed. Thanks to my quick werewolf reflexes, I caught her before she hit the ground. “What was that?”
Meredith looked a little pale. “I don’t know. The room spun. That usually only happens on the full moon days.”
This was so not good. Werewolves were graceful at all times. They never tripped, stumbled, or got sick. I pushed her back on my bed. “Sit.” I grabbed a Coke from my mini fridge. “Drink this. Maybe you’re hungry?” Whenever my wolf was getting control, I felt a little out of sorts. Food usually helped.
Meredith downed the drink, and I looked over at Dastien. “Is this normal?”
He shook his head. “None of what Meredith has gone through is normal.”
“If you talk about me like I’m not here, I’m going to flip out,” Meredith said.
Ignoring her, I pulled out a chilled Snickers bar from my mini fridge. “Eat.” Her color looked a little better once she was done. “How do you feel now?”
“Fine. I get a little off around the full moon. Must have started a little early this month or something. Nothing to worry about.”
I looked to Dastien as he crossed his arms, mouth pressed in a firm line. Still he gave a tiny nod, telling me it was okay but that he was worried. I was worried, too.
Even if she got this way during the full moon, I didn’t like it. Adrian—the only Were here who also had
blood—had mentioned trying to figure out a way to break the curse before, but I’d gotten caught up in all the vampy-werewolfish stuff. It was time for me to be as good a friend to Meredith as she’d been to me.
She stood and I held my arms out, ready to catch her if she fell again. She slapped them away. “Chill. I’m fine.”
“If you say so.” But I still watched her as she walked away, ready to jump into action.
“I say so.” She went through the bathroom that joined our two rooms together. “See you in the AM.” She closed the door to my room and the water turned on.
I turned off the music on my laptop and climbed back in my bed.
Dastien toed off his shoes. He was still fully clothed in jeans and a plain gray T-shirt.
“You think she’ll be okay?” I asked as he slid under the covers with me.
.” He opened his arms, so I settled down with my head on his chest. “Weres don’t get dizzy, but she does on full moon days. It’s a little early for that, but she could be having an off day. Things have been tense around here.”