I shed my jeans and T-shirt. The thought of doing martial arts in front of class was incredibly intimidating. Not that everyone would stop to watch me make an idiot of myself, but they could. My day so far had included more than my fair share of being stared at.

I was slipping on my kicks when she rushed back into my room. “Let’s go,” she said as she grabbed my wrist and dragged me to the door.


“I’m coming. Jeez. This can’t be that exciting.”

“If Dastien’s there, it’s going to be more than exciting.”

Oh, perfect. She just wanted to watch the drama unfold. “For you, maybe.”

“No maybe about it.”

“Glad my drama can entertain you.”

She pulled her blue and black hair in a high ponytail. “Me too. It was way more boring here before you came.”

I probably shouldn’t have liked that, but I did. Making someone else happy made me feel good.

Maybe this class wasn’t going to be so bad. I trusted Meredith. She was the first person, not counting family, that knew about my abilities, and she hadn’t freaked out.

How hard could it really be to get through one martial arts class?

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Chapter Twenty-Two

The scent of sweat, plastic, and new wax hit me when Meredith opened the door to the gym. The center of the shiny hardwood floor was covered in bright blue mats. A fight was going on in the middle of them. They were moving so fast that I almost couldn’t make out their faces, but Chris and Adrian were kicking each other’s ass. They were stripped down to a pair of gym shorts. A few guys had their shirts on, but that seemed to be the norm for most of the guys there.

They were managing to block all the hits, until Chris flipped Adrian on his back. The slam echoed off the walls. A few people clapped and cheered as Adrian kipped-up effortlessly and punched Chris in the stomach. The sound of flesh hitting flesh made me break out in a sweat.

Shit. They weren’t kidding about fighting. They were amazing.

And there was no way I could do this. I started to walk back out the doors. “Tomorrow would really work better for my schedule,” I said when Meredith called me on it.

She grabbed the back of my yoga pants, stopping my retreat. “You’re going to be fine. I’m sure Dastien will start you out with something small. Right, Daz?”

Dastien strode toward us. He wore sweatpants, no shoes, no shirt. I’d never seen anyone with a six-pack in real life before. My heart started pounding.

Holy hotness, Batman. Someone call the fire department. This guy was out of control.

“I thought we talked about you not calling me Daz.” Dastien crossed his arms, which made his biceps look huge. No wonder that tree had splintered earlier.

A pitiful whiney noise escaped me before I could stifle it. I covered my mouth with my hand.

The sounds of Adrian and Chris’ fight stopped. I peeked around Dastien to see my classmates watching the drama unfold. I guessed Meredith had been right about that. Funny how I never thought I’d star in my own personal soap opera.

Chris ran over to us. “Everything okay?”

I said no at the same time that Dastien said yes.

“She smells scared—”

“I know what she smells like,” Dastien said too quietly.

“Gross!” I said. “That’s really fucking disgusting. Can we not discuss what your super-schnozes are smelling right now? Kay. Thanks.”

Dastien sighed and closed his eyes for a second. When he opened them, they had gone from amber to bright yellow. “I was going to teach her, but maybe it’s easier if I don’t. Meredith?”

“I suck at explaining. Chris should do it.” She nudged me.

“I’m in,” Chris said.

“No,” Dastien said.

This was going nowhere fast.

Shannon joined us. “You ready, love?” she asked Meredith.

“Don’t leave me,” I mouthed to Meredith.

“You’re going to do fine. Kick Chris’ ass for me.” They walked to the other side of the gym, and started stretching.

Jerks. Leaving me alone to deal with the boys.

I glanced from Chris to Dastien and back again. “So, what now?”

“Fine.” Dastien crossed his arms. His biceps bulged and I wanted to squeeze them to see if they were as firm as they looked.

Dastien cleared his throat, drawing my attention to his face. I blushed at his smirk. I hoped I hadn’t been too obvious with my staring, but I had a feeling I’d been utterly transparent. Traitorous hormones.

“I’ll be watching you,” Dastien said.

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