The sound was balm to my soul. The pain drained away as my hands shrunk back to normal.

A branch cracked beside me. “Everything okay here?” Mr. Dawson said.


“Yes, Michael,” Dastien said. He brushed the hair away from my face. “I think we’ve got it under control.”

Yeah, maybe he thought so, but I was clearly far from being under control. Dastien helped me up, and I brushed off my jeans with shaking hands.

“Sebastian and Donovan should be here soon. We’ll need to set a meeting to discuss the implications of what’s happened between you two.”

That didn’t sound good. I didn’t want to be punished for something that wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t want Dastien to get punished for it either. Did I?

“Understood,” Dastien said like a good little soldier.

“When you say implications, what do you mean exactly?” I said.

“Don’t worry about that.” Mr. Dawson raised an eyebrow. “I think you’ve got a class to get to.” He walked back to the school building.

I hated that. I was going to worry now for sure now.

Dastien ran his fingertips along my jawline. “Je suis desole, mon amour.”

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I didn’t know what desole meant, but I was sure amour was love.

Before I could catch my breath, Dastien sprinted into the woods. I kicked the tree as he ran. I wanted to call him back, have him tell me what the hell was going on, but restrained myself. The guy was pure brain-poison.

I leaned my back against the tree, and slid down until I was squatting. There was no way I could face my next class. Who were Sebastian and Donovan? And the “implications” Mr. Dawson was talking about couldn’t possibly be the same ones Meredith told me about. Could they?

Leaves crunched as someone walked toward me.

“I never thought Dastien would run from anything,” Meredith said.

I laughed unhappily. “Except me, apparently.”

“I mean—it’s Dastien. He’s the strongest alpha we’ve seen in generations. He’s amazing. Why is he always running from you?”

She gave me an expectant look, hands on her hips.

“I don’t have some easy answer for you. It wasn’t my bad breath that sent him packing.”

Meredith stared into the forest for a moment. “I know Dastien. This isn’t something that he’d do. Bite someone and then run. Hide.”

I sighed. I didn’t want to argue with her, but she wouldn’t leave it alone. “Obviously you don’t know him that well if Mr. Perfection would break the Law and bite someone. He ruined my life.” I wanted to hit something, but there was nothing to hit. “And now I apparently have to face the consequences for his screw up.”

Meredith flinched like I’d slapped her. “I just think that you should—”

“I’m really fucking tired of people telling me how I should feel about this or about how amazing Dastien is. I’m allowed to feel the way that I feel. And it seems to me, that I’m the one that got bit. I’m the one dealing with the change. And since there isn’t anyone else here was has been bit, I don’t think that anyone is qualified to give me any more fucking advice.”

“Well, you clearly don’t want my opinion.”

“No. Right now I really don’t.”

Meredith shifted her weight from foot to foot trying to figure out what to say, but finally gave up and stomped back to the school building. Chris was waiting for her in the courtyard. She stopped to drag him along with her, as she gestured wildly.

I thunked my head against the tree. Shit. Why did I have to lose my temper? I’d probably lost the only friend I had at St. Ailbe’s.

A group of girls had gathered in the courtyard to watch the scene. The whispers and giggles annoyed me.

“Show’s over, ladies,” I said.

They laughed again. If I concentrated, I could hear what they were whispering, but that wouldn’t do me any good. Humming to myself I trudged back to the school building.

I grabbed my backpack and the books I needed from my locker and slammed it shut. This was turning into a disaster of epic proportions. There was no way it was going to work. I pulled my schedule from my pocket, and looked down at what I had left. As I scanned the sheet, I realized another awful gem. Didn’t Meredith say that Dastien taught martial arts?

The bell rang, echoing through the now-empty hallway.

Great. I was late for the class taught by Mr. Dawson. That would really make him want to go easy on the “implications.”

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