“Wait.” Dad’s hand clamped down on my shoulder.
I tried to contain my frustration. Did anyone else understand that we had extreme time constraints?
“You need to think this through more. What are you going to do when you get there? What’s your plan?”
“There’s no time. I’ll figure it out when I get there.” I hugged him quickly and stepped back. “Plus, from what I understand, if my mate dies, so do I. Can’t live with half a soul, right?” I laughed, but it wasn’t because it was funny. I left him sputtering. “Bye, Mom. Love you guys.”
“I’m coming with you,” Axel said.
I gave him a hug. “No, you’re not. You’re human. Love you. And don’t stay here. Get your butts on the road ASAP.”
We raced out the door and jumped in the car. Meredith’s door was still open when I took off down the drive.
I floored it down the road, trying to go in vaguely the same direction I remembered traveling in my vision.
“Do some navigating,” I said to Meredith, who was sitting in the front passenger seat. “We need to go that way.” I pointed straight and slightly to the left of where we were headed. “There has to be a better road. A turn off. Hell, a trail would do.”
Beeps rang through the car as she tapped on the map looking for roads. “There’s nothing!” Meredith frantically pushed more buttons. “Absolutely nothing. Do you have like a coordinate or something that I could punch in?”
I snorted. “Unfortunately, my visions don’t come loaded with GPS.” This wasn’t going well. I swerved onto the shoulder. “We don’t have long before sunset. We need to run from here.”
Everyone in the backseat started taking off their clothes.
“What the fuck are you doing! This isn’t orgy time. It’s fucking kick ass time.”
“We’re going to shift, you idjit,” Shannon said.
Harsh but she was right. I was being dense. They were probably faster on four legs. “Fine.” I got out of the car with my witchy backpack and slammed the door. “Catch up with me when you’re done.”
I took off running. Wind whipped through my long hair as I sprinted. Meredith kept pace with me. She moved soundlessly but the heat her body gave off meant she wasn’t more than a step behind me.
I gave out a girly cry when the wolves crashed through the bushes next to me before I realized it was just Chris, Adrian and Shannon.
I pushed harder. Raced around trees. Branches scraped my arms hard enough to draw blood, but I had to keep moving. I couldn’t lose the feeling, the connection to Dastien. And if I didn’t get there fast enough, he was going to be seriously hurt. Or worse.
I stumbled to a stop.
“What is it?” Meredith said.
“I don’t know. I think we’re here, but I don’t see anything.”
I scanned the forest. Oak trees towered above me, but there was a strange silence. I closed my eyes and focused in on Dastien—that bond that we had. It had gotten stronger since that first vision I’d had in Los Angeles, but it still took focus for me to find it.
We were close. Really close. I climbed up a massive fallen tree. The cave’s entrance gaped behind the dead branches.
The three wolves were sniffing next to the entrance. The red wolf—Shannon—let out a quiet growl. I wondered what their wolf-y noses could smell that I couldn’t.
Meredith moved closer to the wolves and inhaled deeply. “Do you smell that?”
I closed the distance to the wolves and a foul stench hit me. I pulled my T-shirt over my nose.
“Vampires,” Meredith said.
“Why do they have to smell so bad?”
Meredith stared at me for a second. “They’re undead. Piles of rotting flesh that live by drinking blood.”
“When you put it that way, yuck. I guess when I think of vampire, I picture Brad Pitt or Robert Pattinson. More sexy, less stinky.”
The black wolf—Adrian let out a quiet howl, and nudged the fallen tree with his nose. Shannon went under the tree and Adrian quickly followed.
I started to move the trunk over, but Meredith stopped me.
“Don’t touch anything. It might be a booby trap.”
I wondered how she knew, but didn’t ask. We’d already wasted enough time. She slid herself under the branches. I followed her into the mouth of the cave. It stunk something fierce—worse than rotting fish on the beach—inside. I gagged and tried to focus on breathing through my mouth, but then I could taste the smell. My pulse hammered and I wondered if vampires could hear it like they did in the movies.