He was different from everyone else I’d ever met. And, even accidental biting aside, I was still drawn to him.

This was stupid. Why was I pining over some lame guy who I kissed and then who ran away? I couldn’t lose my shit over one kiss. Hopefully the cuts would be better in the morning, and I could forget this whole thing ever happened.

A shiver rushed down my spine. Something was watching me. Someone was waiting for me outside. Dad had put curtains up on Friday night, so no one could see in, not that anyone ventured down our road, but I couldn’t shake that feeling.

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I slid the curtains silently along the rod and leaned close to the window and jumped back.

Oh crap.

A wolf was in my driveway. I stepped back toward the window to double check.

It was sitting there. Watching me with its golden eyes. I wanted to go out to it, but that was crazy. It was a wolf. A dangerous, wild, totally not-tame wolf. I threw the curtain closed and slid into bed.

It wasn’t until that moment, as I waited for sleep to come, that I realized how much I wanted friends. I liked to think I was fine alone, but sometimes being alone was flat out lonely. Axel was great, but he had his own life to live. With him gone soon, I was going to be the outcast again.

The wolf howled outside, and I wanted to howl with it.

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“Tessa!” Mom was yelling through my bedroom door. “I know you went out last night, but you are not missing church!” The alarm clock glowed 9:45 AM in red.

I moaned, feeling more than a little groggy and nauseous. Probably from that stupid shot of tequila. “I’m not feeling so good.”

Mom opened the door and peeked through the crack. “What did you say? I couldn’t hear you.”

“I feel like shit on a stick.”

“Language!” She came over to my bed. “Did something happen to your lip?” She ran her cool hand against my forehead.

I tried to tune out all the thoughts she was having, but failed. Worried that I’d caught something. Worried that my father would get sick and have to miss work after only just starting. Then worried that I’d pass it along to my brother who had to leave soon.

The woman worried way too much.

“You’re burning up.” She hurried out of the room, and came back seconds later with a glass of orange juice and a couple Tylenol in her hand. “Sit up.”

I winced and grabbed at my left shoulder.

Mom’s eyes narrowed. “What’s wrong with your shoulder?”

“Nothing.”

“Take off your shirt.”

“Mom, it’s fine real—”

“Take off your shirt, Tessa. Or I will take it off for you.”

That was her patented you-better-do-what-I’m-telling-you voice. Once that showed up, there was no arguing with her.

I sucked in air as I slid my arm from my sleeve. I left the shirt dangling in front of me. It was too much work to take it off completely. My eyes watered as she pulled off the bandage. “Gentle please.”

She was going to flip out in three…two…

“Who did this to you?”

My cheeks heated.

“Was it someone at the party?”

“Please, don’t tell Dad.”

“God, Tessa. This looks bad. Your skin is so hot, which means it’s probably infected. Why didn’t you tell us last night?” She brushed her finger against the skin next to the wound, and I saw what her next move was going to be.

Yep. That’s what I thought. She was thinking about how to tell Dad. He was going to be extra pissed when he found out that someone from St. Ailbe’s—let alone his bosses second in command—had hurt me. And when I told him how the Cedar Ridge High kids wanted nothing to do with me now, he was going to flip. We moved all this way for nothing.

“Well, let’s get it cleaned.” She looked at my shoulder again and then back at me.

“I cleaned it last night.” Tears welled, but I wouldn’t let them fall. “The kit’s still on my desk.”

Somehow Mom taking care of my shoulder made it real. I had actually kissed Dastien last night. Thinking about him made me anxious to see him again. Which was beyond stupid. The guy was obviously dangerous.

“Turn around.” The second the peroxide filled cotton balls touched my shoulder I nearly threw up. Last night was nothing compared to today. Mom held my shoulder still when I tried to move away. The pain was enough to block out anything Mom was thinking. It was getting worse, not better.

“You need stitches.”

God. Not the stitches talk again. “Can’t we put the Band-Aids on it and see what happens in a day or two?”

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