“Why are you limping like that?' Nicholas demanded.
'I'm swaggering,' I informed him.
'You look like you're wearing a diaper.'
Charming. And I had a crush on this guy.
I had a crush on this guy?
'Now what?' he asked. 'You're making weird faces.'
'Nothing,' I said quickly. 'Never mind.”
“Do we have a plan?'
'We fight like hell.'
“There was a family joke that Lucy's first words were, "Nicholas is bugging me!”
“What got you through?" I whispered. "Do you remember?"
He nodded but wouldn't look at me. When he didn't elaborate, I turned to face him. "What? Is it a secret? Don't I know all the Drake secrets by now?"
He shifted uncomfortably. "I guess"
I swallowed, stunned. "Me?"
"Yeah" He stood up and went to the door, where he paused for the barest second. "You got me through".”
“Nice dress. Can you breathe in that thing?”
I smoothed the front of my dress. “It would be much more fun to wear if it wasn’t what I was going to be buried in.”
“You are not going to be buried.” He paused, lifted the clothes up suspiciously.
“Vampires don’t bury their victims,” he added distractedly.
“Hey, looking for comfort here.”
“He went farther into the shadows to exchange his pants for the leather breeches. Too bad. When he emerged again, he looked pretty good even though it wasn’t his style. And he was lucky there were no tights, after all. He tilted his head.
'You like it.'
'Shut up.' I blushed. I hated vampire extrasensory perception. It wasn’t fair that he could hear my heartbeat or smell my skin or what ever.
'Girls are so weird.'
Kieran snorted. 'No kidding.'
'Please, you two were fighting ten minutes ago, and now you’re the best of friends?' I said witheringly. 'Guys are weird.”
“Embroidery?" I sucked at embroidery. Aunt Hyacinth had tried to teach me, but we'd both given it up as a lost cause.Lucy, strangely, had picked it up really quickly and embroidered a tapestry of Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow for my last birthday.”
“All right.” Lucy shouldered her way to my side and made a waving motion as if they were annoying flies. “Shoo!” She narrowed her eyes. “I said shoo.”
They dispersed, mostly startled into moving. Only Logan remained, leaning casually against the wall.
“Darling, I’m not some insect to be chased away.”
“Darling?” She snorted amiably. “You’re not ninety years old, either.”
He straightened. “I’m charming,” he informed her. “And women like endearments.”
“Don’t you read?” I asked Nicholas, disgusted. “If you leave me here now that you’ve got Solange all safe, they’ll grab me to get to her.”
Solange opened the back door and I leaped in. The car sped off . Shadows flitted beside us, menacing, hungry. I shivered. Then I smacked the back of Nicholas’s head.
“Hart and Hope,” I muttered. “If you’re going to name your kids like that, of course they’re going to think they live in a comic book.”
“Logan, don’t be an ass.”
“I have been sleeping in mud. I’m covered in dirt and blood and these were my favorite pants before I landed in raccoon shit.”
“Her lips pursed. My palms went damp. Her fangs were out, as pointed and delicate as little bone daggers. "That’s disappointing, Solange."
I was going to die because I couldn’t embroider roses on a pillow.”
“We have the same symptoms as tuberculosis, especially in the eyes of the Romantic Poets. Pale, tired, coughing up blood.”
I had to smile. “Romantic with a capital ‘R.’ You know, like Byron and Coleridge.”
He gave a mock shudder. “Please, stop. I barely passed English Lit.”
I snorted. “I didn’t have that option. One of my aunts took Byron as a lover.”
“Seriously. It makes Lucy insanely jealous.”
“That girl is . . .”
“My best friend,” I filled in sternly.
“I was only going to say she’s unique.”
“If we act like prey, they’ll act like predators”
“You can have a normal life. It's not too late for you."
I nearly laughed. "You've clearly never met my parents. Normal was never an option.”
“Well, we can’t sit around here worrying all night. I have to do something. ”
“Why don’t you call up another vampire hunter for tea?” he suggested drily.”
“You’ll have to turn your back.”
He turned slowly. The view from the back was just as good as the view from the front. I could practically hear Lucy snickering in the back of my head. I might be the vampire daughter, but she was the one who was a bad influence. No question.”
“You look like you belong in a bad comic book,” I told him cheerfully.
“What did the Drakes do that’s got you all pissy?”
“Pissy? Did you just call me pissy?”
“Something bloomed right then and there in the small dark space between us. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew enough to know it was rare and delicate. And it felt so real I might have been able to reach out and touch it if I tried.”
“What? What?” I scrubbed at them violently, horrified at the thought they might have those gross goopy things at the edges. Or were they even more bloodshot? I’d heard of that happening, where the whites ran with blood.
“I think . . . the color’s changing.” He paused. “Is that even possible?”
“Is that all? Now you’re the one scaring the crap out of me.”
“I blinked, pushing myself up into a sitting position. I felt less like a truck had run over me and then backed up to make sure the job was done properly. Now it felt as if the truck had hit me only once.”
“The very second the door closed behind them, Nicholas started shouting. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.
'I can't believe you did that!' he railed. 'After the field party, the vamps in the garden. Didn't you hear a single word I said?'
'No why don't you yell a little louder?'
'This isn't funny, Lucy.”
“I closed my eyes, wondering why it was no effort at all to call up the exact shade of his dark eyes, hostile as they were. I should be thinking about the bounty on our heads, not whether or not I’d get to see him again. Because of course I’d get to see him again; he’d probably try and stake one of my brothers, if not me. Hardly a promising start to a relationship.
What the hell was I thinking?
No doubt my impending birthday was making my head fuzzy. There was no other explanation. I just needed more sleep.”
“What got you through?" I whispered. "Do you remember?"
"You. You got me through.”
“And your people tried to kill my best friend, so you'll forgive me if I'm not overly keen on learning the secret handshake."
She shook her head sadly. "You should be going on dates and hanging out at the mall. Not wearing stakes on your belt."
I shrugged one shoulder. "The mall sucks.”
“You look like a demented bunny," I told him."What are you doing?"
"You switched to lemon shampoo."
I blinked, thought back to my morning shower,which felt like years ago.He was right.His hands were clenched, but his voice was soft and husky. He turned his head away, was close enough that his hair brushed my cheek.
“Hart and Hope,"I muttered."If you're going to name your kids like that, of course they're going to think they live in a comic book."
Although I had to admit Hart was handsome,practically debonair.
His hair was threaded with silver and freakishly messy."Okay, he's totally got that yummy secret agent thing going on."
Nicholas scowled at me. I didn't have to turn my head to look at him to feel his eyes burning”
“...When I get you back, I’m gonna put that necklace back around your neck and pin you.” He tries to hold my eyes with his own. 'Like the 1950s.”
“I know how you feel," I said. "You run into something you totally don't get, and it's scary as hell. But once you learn something about it, it gets easier to handle. Knowledge counters fear. It always has.”
“I learned a little of beauty-- enough to know that it had nothing to do with truth...”
“Yeah. He looked like a cat who'd found his favorite mouse wounded or something. It was eerie. And he started to make fun of her, like all cruel and stuff. The things he said to her were horrible and he was only playing with her. She didn't try to defend herself. I guess Mason Kade really hates that girl, and the way he ripped into her. It was something else."
"He enjoyed it." Adam's voice was quiet.
I looked over and held his gaze. Something dark was in their depths.
He spoke again, "It was like an animal that was playing with its kill before they fully killed it. That's what he was doing with her. I've never seen anything like it before.”
“The truth is only dangerous if it can inflict injury.”
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