"What is it?" Della asked, looming behind her.

"Nothing," Kylie lied, still on the ground where she had fallen.

"Try again," Della said, obviously having heard her heart's untruth.

"Let it go. And please ... give me some privacy to talk to ... him."

"I'm shadowing you," she said and watched Kylie stand up.

"I know," Kylie answered. "But I'm begging you. Please. I need some privacy."

"To do what? Go jump his bones?" Kylie didn't even reply to that. Della swung around and stomped off.

Kylie pulled back up on the windowsill, hung on with one hand, and knocked with the other. Both parties in bed bolted up.

Derek's sleep-filled gaze shot toward the window. Kylie wasn't sure what Jenny-as in Hayden's sister, Jenny-did. She'd vanished.

Brushing a hand over his face, Derek came to the window. Kylie dropped down as he lifted the window up. He reached out and offered her a frown and a hand to pull her up.

"It's about damn time," he muttered as he hoisted her up. "What the hell took you so long?"

Feet on the bedroom floor, Kylie frowned. "You saw me at dinner and didn't say anything."

"What could I say in a room filled with vampires?"

Hell, he was right. "What's going on?" She looked around. "And Jenny, you can make yourself visible.

I already saw you."

Jenny appeared and her cheeks turned red. "This isn't what it seems. We weren't..." She pointed to the floor where a blanket and pillow were thrown.

"You were supposed to sleep on the floor," Jenny snapped at Derek.

"I couldn't sleep, so I just..." He glared at Jenny. "I didn't touch you."

Kylie shook her head. "I don't care about that."

"I do," Jenny said, and glared at Derek.

"I didn't touch you!" he repeated.

Kylie moaned. "Jenny? What are you doing here?" Right then Kylie remembered the alarm. "That was you that jumped the fence."

Jenny frowned. "I didn't know the place was wired. Even the compound doesn't have an alarm."

But the chameleons weren't waiting on a psycho rogue to attack. Kylie shook her head, reminding herself to focus on one issue at a time. And this was a big issue, too. "Shit!" she muttered. "Does Hayden know you're here?"

Both Derek and Jenny shook their heads.

Kylie looked at Jenny. "You ran away, didn't you?"Jenny nodded and gripped her hands together. "Please don't ... don't be mad."

Derek looked at Jenny with empathy and then stared at Kylie as if frustrated. "Why are you upset? You said you wanted to help her."

Kylie frowned. "I do, but ... running away isn't the answer."

"Please," Derek muttered. "For someone who ran away a couple of weeks ago, I don't think you have a lot of room to judge."

"I didn't run away. I told everyone I was leaving. And I'm not judging." Frustrated and yet a bit amused at Derek's defense of Jenny, Kylie inhaled and looked from Jenny to Derek. "If a chameleon runs away before they're mature they are excommunicated from their family."

Derek cut his eyes to Jenny, up and then down. "She looks pretty mature to me."

Kylie rolled her eyes. "I'm not talking about her body. I'm talking about her being able to change her pattern." Moving her gaze to Jenny, Kylie realized something. "But you're able to go invisible. I thought that didn't happen until later?"

"It doesn't normally. I've been working really hard on my own for the last couple of years so I could leave early. But I still can't control my pattern." A sadness entered the girl's eyes.

"Are you really ready to completely walk away from your family?"

Jenny dropped on the bed and bunched a handful of Derek's loose-fitting pajamas in her hands. "It hurts like hell, but that family is trying to force me to marry someone I don't love. And he doesn't love me, either. I don't want to live like that."

Kylie's mind raced. She had told Holiday that what the chameleon elders were doing was almost as bad as the weres. Now she realized how right she was. The elders were doing to Jenny what Lucas's father was doing to Lucas.

Did that mean Lucas was right to stand up to his pack, and to his dad? Everything felt so mixed up.

Realizing Derek and Jenny stared at her, she decided now wasn't the time to think about Lucas. One problem at a time.

Problem one, her grandfather and the entire chameleon community were going to blame this on Kylie because she was the reason Hayden was here. How in the hell was she going to fix that? She looked at Jenny again. "Okay, so now explain to me why you haven't gotten with Hayden?"

"Because," Jenny said. "Every time I talked to him about me leaving, he'd tell me it was wrong. To stick it out until I matured. But everyone knew that the day I matured, I was out of there, so the elders were trying to find another way to stop me. They were going to force me to marry Brandon next week."

Her expression grew solemn. "Besides, I didn't come here because of Hayden. I came here because of you. I thought you'd understand. I guess I was wrong."

Guilt filled Kylie's chest. "You're not wrong, I just ... I don't know how to make this right." Kylie looked around. "How did you end up with Derek?"

"You always had people around you. I saw Derek and I figured if you trusted him, then I could, too."

Kylie sighed. "Are you really ready to lose the right to see your family?" Was Lucas?

Tears filled the girl's eyes and Kylie felt the same emotion stir inside her.

"No," Jenny said, "but I wasn't ready to marry Brandon, either."

"I know," Kylie said. "We just have to figure out how to deal with this." The same went with Lucas.

But God help her, she didn't have a clue how to do either.She glanced at Derek and remembered why she'd come here to begin with. "We have a lot of stuff to deal with," she muttered.

"What stuff?" Derek asked.

Kylie hadn't realized she'd spoken aloud. Then parts of the vision played in Kylie's head like a horror movie. "Do you remember when you told me about Roberto, Mario's grandson? You said he witnessed his mother's murder?"


"Do you remember how she was murdered?"

He ran a hand through his dark hair. "I think one article said she was stabbed."

Kylie frowned. "I was afraid of that."

"Why?" Derek asked.

"She's my ghost."

Derek looked concerned. "Roberto's mom is your ghost?"

"Please tell me she's not here right now." Jenny pulled her knees up to her chest and hugged them.

"It's okay." Derek moved closer to the girl. He rested a palm on her shoulder to ease her fear.

"Stop it!" Jenny slapped his hand. "I don't like you touching me. You ... make me feel things I don't ...


Derek frowned. "I was trying to make you feel better."

"Maybe I don't want to feel better!" she snapped, and they stared at each other.

For some reason their bickering reminded Kylie of Burnett and Holiday, or better yet, Kylie and Derek in the beginning, and she knew why. Sexual tension. If Kylie was a vampire she'd bet she could smell the pheromones.

Derek looked at Kylie. "Do you see what I've put up with the last twenty-four hours?"

The only thing keeping Kylie from smiling were the remnants of the vision and the realization that she didn't have a clue how to deal with Jenny. If she went to Holiday, she wasn't sure the camp leader would or even could allow her to stay. But how long could they keep her hidden?

All of a sudden, Derek's window shot up and Della lunged inside. "Okay, here's the thing. I just got a call from Burnett. He was doing walk-bys of our cabins and realized we're gone. He's on his way here.

You've got one second to hide Girl Wonder over there, or he's gonna know she's here."

Jenny vanished. Della, seeing the vanishing act for the first time, looked stunned. Burnett came bolting through the opened window. "What the hell is happening now?"

"I had a vision." Kylie offered part of the truth. "I wanted to ask Derek about it."

"And you couldn't have called me first?"

"You know how I am after a vision, I was crazy, all I could think about was finding out the truth."

"What truth?"

"I know who the ghost is now. She is ... was connected to Mario. She was his daughter-in-law, Roberto's mother. Mario had her killed." Kylie's heart ached, remembering the last few minutes of the woman's life. Remembering how Roberto had witnessed the terrible death.

Burnett sighed. "And the sword? Is it from her, too?"

"No, she says it's from ... the death angels."

A long pause filled the room as if everyone had to take a few seconds to believe it. "Do you know whythey sent it?" Burnett finally asked.

Kylie frowned. She suspected it was because she was going to have to face Mario. And deep down she figured that Burnett suspected it as well. But nobody wanted to say it. "No, not really." It wasn't even a lie. There was a difference in knowing something and suspecting it.

"Come on, let's go talk to Holiday about this vision," Burnett said.

Kylie left Derek's cabin to deal with one issue, knowing that sooner or later, she would have to deal with the one she was leaving here. Jenny.

How long could they hide a runaway chameleon? Hopefully long enough for Kylie to come up with a plan.

Both Burnett and Holiday walked Kylie back to her cabin after their powwow. She'd managed to get through the talk without lying by keeping the topic on the vision. Kylie hadn't told them anything about Jenny or about her father repeating his message concerning them being together soon. To be honest, she tried not to think about her dad's message. Hadn't Holiday said that a person who started preparing oneself for death cheated themselves out of what little life they had left? And ... somewhere deep in her gut, she held on to the fact that her dad could be confused. That his definition of soon could be in about eighty or ninety years.

The first thing Kylie did after Burnett and Holiday walked away was grab her phone.

Derek answered on the first ring. "You survived?"

"Barely," Kylie said.

"How did you lie to Burnett?"

"By avoiding the truth."

He sighed. "Speaking of the truth. I reread the articles about Roberto's mom. The cause of death had been listed as multiple stab wounds. Oh, and her name was listed as Lucinda Esparza."

"Thanks." Kylie repeated the name in her head.

"So what's the plan with my problem?" he asked.

So he considered Jenny his problem, did he? "I don't know, but would you mind continuing to hide her until I brainstorm a plan? Since you don't have a vampire rooming with you or Burnett doing walk-bys.

She has less chance of being detected with you."

"I planned on her staying here," Derek said, sounding almost insistent. It was then Kylie knew for sure.

Her old flame had managed to fall out of love with her and was on his way to falling for Jenny. Kylie felt their connection, just like she'd felt the thing between Burnett and Holiday, Perry and Miranda, and Jonathon and Helen.

She could almost hear Derek and Jenny telling their kids how they'd first met. "Your mom just jumped out of nowhere expecting me to give her a piggyback ride!"

Jenny was lucky. And Derek deserved to be happy.

And so do I. And her happiness was tied to Lucas. It was as if something switched in her head and she realized how wrong she'd been. She shouldn't have been trying to push him away. She should have been pushing him to find a way to make it right. "Hey ... uh, I just realized I need to do something. Can we talk tomorrow?""Do what?" Derek asked, obviously reading something from her.

Convince someone I'm worth fighting for. "Bye." She hung up, and then went to dial Lucas's number.

An instant before she hit the last number, she changed her mind. There was another way. A better way.

It took ten minutes to fall asleep, and another few to get in control and dreamscape her way to Lucas's cabin and into his bedroom. He looked adorable asleep in his bed. The sheet came low on his waist and she couldn't help but wonder if he had anything on at all. She really doubted it.

Mentally dressing him in a pair of long boxers, she slipped into his mind and into his dreams.

"Lucas," she whispered his name. While she could have taken him anywhere, she hadn't. They remained in his bedroom. She eyed his bare chest again and wondered why she hadn't dreamed him in a shirt. Probably because she liked seeing his bare chest.

Then she looked at his bed and her mind went to joining him there. That's when she decided she needed to get them away from here.

Lucas sat up. "Hey." His voice came out deep and sleepy.

"Come on, let's go," she said.

"Go where?" he asked.

"Somewhere to talk," she answered.

He patted the bed and looked at her through his dark lashes with a sexy grin. Had he read her earlier thoughts? she wondered.

"We could talk here," he said in a husky voice.

She rolled her eyes. "Nice try."

He laughed. Then he pulled up the sheet and glanced beneath it. "At least they don't have smiley faces on them," he said, referring to the time she'd dressed him in another dreamscape.

She concentrated and moved the dream to behind the office where they often went to talk.

He looked around, and then back at her. The night was dark; only a few stars brightened the sky. "I think I liked the lake dream better," he said, talking about the dreamscape they'd shared of them skinnydipping.

Reaching out, he caught her shoulders and pulled her against him. His chest was so warm. So inviting.

She would have loved to stay there. To explore all the things she wanted to explore between them. But not yet.

"Behave," she said, and pulled loose.

His smiled faded. "Is something wrong?"

"No. Well, yes, it's wrong. Everything's wrong." She inhaled. "You have to get on that Council, Lucas."

"I'm not marrying Monique," he growled.

"Not by marrying Monique. You have to find another way."

"I need my father to vouch for me, Kylie. He's not going to do that now."

She gritted her teeth. "Talk to him. You said he's protective of you. He obviously cares. Maybe if you -"

"You don't know him," he said.Fury rose in her chest. "Then find another way. Find someone else to vouch for you. Or talk to the Council yourself. You've told me all the young people want change. Make the elders see this. They were young once. Can't you make them remember what it was like? I mean ... who was it that said if the door is locked, find a window. If the window's locked, well ... break it. If it won't break then find a freaking sledgehammer and make a new one."

He shook his head. "You don't how they are."

"Yes, I do! The elders of the chameleons are just like your elders. They want to arrange marriages and tell all the young chameleons what to do. I don't know how I'm going to change things, but I'll be damned if I'm not going to try."

"It's not the same," he said, as if taking offense to her accusation.

"Maybe it's not exactly the same. But you're still giving up."

"I'm not giving up on us," he said. "That's what matters."

She shook her head. "But you are giving up on us. If you don't get on the Council, Lucas, there is no us."

"You don't mean that!" he said, his anger thickening in his voice.

"Don't think I want it," she said. "But I know if you lose who you are and all you ever wanted, you will resent me for it. Maybe not now, but someday you will. And I can't go into this knowing that you'll hate me someday. I can't."

In a flash, Kylie ended the dreamscape and shot up in her bed. Then she cried herself asleep. But right before she did, she heard her father one more time.

Soon. Soon we will be together.

She couldn't help but wonder if, when she was dead, would she still ache for Lucas?

The next morning, Kylie, running on only an hour of sleep, stood with the crowd waiting for Chris to do his dog and pony show and get Campmate hour under way. Perry, her official morning shadow, stood beside her, with Miranda leaning against him. Della had a vampire meeting and was going to miss out.

Lucas wasn't here. But she'd gotten a text from him that read: I think I found a window. Hope gave her energy. Energy to reminisce over how good Lucas had looked in the bed last night and how tempted she'd been to curl up with him and let things just happen. Pushing the sexy were from her mind, she searched for something else to think about-like figuring out how to proceed with Lucinda, who was standing in the crowd as if she belonged but wasn't speaking to Kylie. Was Kylie's fighting Mario honestly what the spirit needed Kylie to do to pass over? Pass over to hell?

It was one thing to encourage the souls destined for the pearly gates to leave their lonely existence on earth and move on. But how could she encourage someone to head off to hell?

Kylie shivered at the thought.

"You're quiet," Miranda said. "Everything okay?"

Kylie nodded and spotted Derek moving into the crowd. Her thoughts shot to Jenny and how she was going to deal with that. Her gut told her the right thing to do was to confront Hayden.

She knew Jenny was frightened he would insist she return home, but Kylie wasn't so sure Hayden would do that.The chatter in the circle of students quieted. Kylie looked up. Chris moved into the front of the crowd, drawing Kylie's attention from her own woes. "Today we have..." He looked down into his hat and then glanced up. Up right at Kylie.

Oh, hell, Kylie thought, who was it this time?

"Kylie Galen." Chris smiled. "The girl who happens to be the person who has brought us more blood than any camper in the past." He hesitated. "You, my friend, get the pleasure of..." He paused for dramatic effect. "Of Steve's company."

Kylie saw Steve, the shape-shifter with the cute ass, the one who'd given Della a hickey, start strolling over. Not for one minute did Kylie assume Steve had an interest in her. She knew he was merely looking for some romantic advice.

Advice Kylie didn't have. What the hell could she tell him? Her normal reply to someone trying to gain someone's attention was to be patient. But Della was the most adamant and stubborn person Kylie knew and it would take the patience of a saint to wear the vampire down.

"Be patient? That's all you've got for me?" Steve complained ten minutes later.

Kylie glanced up at Perry, circling them as they sat behind the office, and then frowned at Steve. "I don't know why everyone thinks I'm the love guru."

"Come on, give me something that would help me. You know her better than anyone."

Kylie dropped down beside the tree. "What can I tell you? Della's difficult." So difficult that if Della found out that Kylie had offered Steve advice, the vamp would revoke Kylie's best friend card.

"You think I don't know that?"

Kylie looked up into his desperate eyes. "She was hurt really badly by someone."

"I know that, too." He crossed his arms over his wide chest. "She deserves so much better than him."

"Oh, hell," Kylie said, and decided to throw caution to the wind. "Okay, here's all I can tell you. Della loves a good fight."

"I don't want to fight," Steve said. "What I want is..." He blushed as if thinking about what he really wanted.

But damn it, Kylie liked Steve.

"Look, I don't mean to fight with her. Fight for her. When she tells you that you can't sit with her at lunch, sit down anyway. When she tells you to leave, don't. She's gonna get pissy. That's Della, but I think it'll win you brownie points."

The shape-shifter paused as if contemplating. "Damn. You're right. When we were on the mission, she tried to push me away, but I didn't let her. I couldn't because Burnett warned me if anything happened to her, he'd have my head on a platter. And that's when we ... Hey! I know what I have to do."

"What?" Kylie asked, afraid of what she'd set in motion.

"Just wait and see." A smile spread his lips. Sparkles started popping off around him. He changed into a bird, not one as big or magnificent as the one who guarded her from above, but still impressive.

Flapping his wings twice, he flew off, squawking at Perry as he did.

Perry came in for a quick landing. "You are good at this," he said, still in bird form. "She'll be putty in his hands. Of course, she'll have already ripped your heart out for betraying her.""Don't talk to me when you're not a human!" She dropped her forehead on her knees.

Crap! Perry was right. Della was going to kill her. But since destiny may already have Kylie earmarked to die, she wasn't sure it really mattered.

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