"Where are you going?" Della asked when Kylie stepped out of her bedroom an hour later with her hair and teeth brushed, and-thank God-no longer glowing.

She almost told Della she didn't have to report to her anymore, but decided she'd probably ask Della the same thing if she were leaving the cabin.

"I'm going to meet Lucas," Kylie said.

Della titled her head to listen to her heartbeat.

"I'm not lying," Kylie said.

"I know. I heard," Della said. "Have fun. And don't do anything I wouldn't do."

"Gosh," Kylie teased, trying not to be grumpy. "That leaves my options wide open."

Della grinned. "But if you come home glowing, I'll know what you did."

"Not funny," Kylie said, and meant it. Then she took off.

Thankfully, she'd stopped glowing about ten minutes after she'd healed Helen. Out of sheer desperation, she'd asked Holiday, "Why did that happen? It never happened before when I healed someone."

Holiday's shrug and "I don't know" didn't surprise Kylie. But it was just one more thing that had Kylie taking her grandfather's warning more seriously. What if these crazy things continued? Right now, it was just the supernaturals who considered her a freak of nature. What would happen if she did something like this in front of regular humans?

Running down the path, hoping the feel of the wind in her hair would take the edge off her mood, she made it to the office in no time. The sound of a few people still lingering in the dining hall filled the night. Before anyone saw her, she cut around to the back of the office. The second she saw Lucas waiting for her by the tree, her frustration vanished.

She ran toward him and he snagged her up and pulled her to him. His arms wrapped around her waist. His thumbs slipped under the hem of her tank top to touch her bare skin. The kiss was sweet and warm. When he pulled back and smiled, she knew what he was thinking.

"Don't mention it," she said, feeling another "glowing" joke coming on.

"I'm just jealous."

"Jealous?" she asked, thinking she'd been wrong. "Of what?"

"I want to be the only thing that makes you glow."

She thumped her hand on his wide chest. "I'm telling you just like I told Della and Miranda. It's not funny."

"You looked beautiful." Honesty flowed from his comment. "Like an angel."

She frowned. "I don't want to be an angel. I want to be a regular supernatural."

"Okay, I won't talk about it anymore. I'll just kiss you instead."

And what a kiss it was. Hotter, sweeter, and more mind-numbing than ever. When he pulled back, she heard his pulse humming, a natural seduction mechanism for weres, and she wasn't above being seduced by it. She was lost in the sound.

"It must be close to the full moon again." She smiled up at the heat in his eyes, knowing her eyes held the same.

"Yeah." He inhaled as if trying to get oxygen into his brain. "You are driving me crazy. Sometimes, I just want..." He took a step back. "Let's try talking for a while."

She grinned. "I kind of like driving you crazy."

"That's mean." He pointed a finger in her face, but his tone rang humorous.

Not really mean, Kylie thought. It wasn't as if she'd planned anything to happen tonight. But if it did ... Right then, she recalled Holiday's words of wisdom about boys, or rather sex. When you do make that decision, it's a decision you make rationally and not one you just let happen. You understand the difference?

Kylie did understand the difference. Problem was, it was easier to let it happen than to plan it. Planning it meant talking about it. And that would be embarrassing.

She inhaled sharply with a sudden realization. If she couldn't talk about it, she shouldn't do it-because unless she wanted to go through what Sara did with her pregnancy scare, it was essential that they talk about it.

"What is it?" Lucas asked.

She opened her mouth to answer-to talk about it-but closed her lips just as quickly. They could talk about it later. Later, but, for certain, before anything happened.

"Nothing." Her voice sounded like a frog ready to croak.

He studied her face. "You're almost glowing again."

"Crap!" She held out her arms and studied them in a panic.

He chuckled. "No, you're just blushing. Where did you slip off to in your head?" He tapped a finger to her temple and with her fae gifts, she felt the passion ooze from him.

"Nowhere," she lied. "Let's just ... talk." But not about sex. Because obviously, she wasn't ready to have that conversation.

He studied her as if he didn't believe her, then reached for her hand and laced his fingers into hers. His palm felt warm, but not nearly as warm as it had when she'd been a vampire.

"Okay. Let's talk." They sat down on the soft ground, under the alcove of the tree. "Why don't you tell me how you got out of being shadowed? It doesn't sound like Burnett just to ease up on something like that."

"He didn't want to. But I..." She recalled the strange feeling she'd gotten when she'd stood up to Burnett and Holiday. As if the power of persuasion was ... a real power. Then again, maybe it was. "I persuaded him."

"How? He's not easy to persuade."

"I ... sort of threatened I might leave."

"Leave?" Concern filled his blue eyes. "You were just bullshitting him, right?"

Mostly, but I'm beginning to worry. She almost told him that, but decided she didn't want to get into that particular conversation with Lucas, not when they had so little time together, so she just nodded. "I agreed not to go into the woods, and to tell them before I went to see my grandfather again."

"What?" His super-charged werewolf protectiveness spilled out of him. "Burnett's going to let you go see your grandfather again? Alone?"

She nodded. "As long as it doesn't appear too dangerous."

"How are you going to know if it's dangerous?" He shook his head, his dark hair scattered across his brow. "Don't go until I come back." He cupped her chin in his hand. "Promise me."

"Come back from where?" she asked.

His frown tightened. "My dad again. This time I'm going to have to spend some time there. A week or more."

She tried to wrap her head around what he said. "But school starts tomorrow."

"Yeah." Sarcasm flowed from him. "But my dad doesn't see getting an education as being important."

"Can't you just tell him no? That you'll come to see him during parent weekend?"

"I wish," he said.

"But why for so long?" Suddenly she couldn't help but wonder if Fredericka planned on going with him.

He touched her cheek. "He's being insistent, Kylie. He gets something in his head and he won't let it go. I'm sorry."

The sincerity in his apology filled her chest. Sincerity and ... guilt. For what?

He brushed her hair behind her ear. "You know I have to do this to get on the Council. I wouldn't do any of this if it wasn't for that. And ... when it's over, it's over."

"What's over? What does he want you to do?"

"He just ... He's crazy and I have to go along with him for now. Please ... just understand for a little longer. In less than a month, the Council will make their choice. A month is all I need and then I don't have to go along with his plans."

"What plans?" She felt a touch of resentment swell inside her. "I hate your secrets."

"I know," he said. "I hate them, too. But you have to trust me on this."

For some crazy reason, when he said trust, she sensed he meant something ... more. More as in ... "Is Fredericka going?"

"No," he said. "Just me."

"Not even Clara?" she asked, still confused about the emotions she read in him.

"No. She might come for a while but not stay." He pulled her against him and they just sat there for the longest time not talking. Her heart hurt for him because she sensed how much he really didn't want to go, didn't want to do whatever it was his father had planned. But he was going and was probably doing it-whatever it was. And he felt guilty about doing it, too. Why?

"Will you call me?" she finally asked.

"I'll try, but if he's monitoring my calls, I can't be caught..."

"Talking to me," she finished for him.

He exhaled and she knew it was the truth before he answered. "I don't like it."

Neither did she. Not even a little bit.

A second passed and then he said, "You didn't promise me that you won't go see your grandfather until I get back."

"I can't promise," she said, aggravated that he wanted promises and answers from her, but still held so much back. "I'll do what I have to do." And he'd just have accept it, as she was trying to accept what he'd told her, or rather what he hadn't told her.

Monday morning, the first-day-of-school jitters at Shadow Falls didn't feel any different from all Kylie's first-day jitters. She was both excited and anxious about being forced into a room full of people who seemed to know some secret to life, a secret she didn't have.

In spite of knowing what she was, and being surrounded by other supernaturals, she still felt like the outsider-the floater, floating to one group and then another, and not really belonging anywhere.

No doubt she'd follow Della and Miranda and socialize with whoever they hung out with, and their friends wouldn't reject Kylie, but she wouldn't get that sense of belonging. Just as it had been in her old school. Only difference was that she would have been with Sara, another misfit.

While putting on her makeup, Kylie thought about Sara. They hadn't talked in weeks but Kylie would change that later. While she accepted they had changed and probably didn't have nearly as much in common as they once had, Sara was still ... Sara. And today, Kylie missed her more than ever.

The morning air had a touch of fall to it. Deciding what to wear, and how to wear her hair, had taken way more time than it should have. She hadn't thought she'd even care, since Lucas wasn't here, but the vibe had been contagious as Miranda and Della had worked to get themselves picture perfect.

Kylie hadn't dressed up for anyone. Yet when Derek looked over from the fae breakfast table, his eyes told her she looked pretty. She found herself smiling and then that smile vanished and she started missing Lucas.

After breakfast, they had Meet Your Campmate hour. Kylie drew Nikki's name, the new shape-shifter, the girl Miranda accused of having a crush on Perry. Kylie had worried that the new camper would pepper her with questions about the glowing episode, but nope. All Nikki wanted to talk about was Perry. Miranda had been right. The girl had a serious thing for Perry. Not that Kylie suspected Perry would play along. Nevertheless, before the hour ended, Kylie had nicely mentioned that Perry was already otherwise committed.

The girl had nicely ignored her, too.

The hour hadn't ended when Kylie debated what, if anything, she'd tell Miranda. Jealousy was an ugly emotion. Kylie was lucky that Fredericka hadn't gone with Lucas to his dad's place, or she'd have been battling the green-eyed emotion herself.

Kylie's first class was English with Della, Miranda, and Derek. Although absent, Lucas was in the class as well. Ava Kane, the new teacher, had an easy teaching style, not that any of the guys noticed anything other than her body. Not a male in the room wasn't mesmerized. Even Derek. Chances were, if Lucas had been there, he'd have been just as taken.

While the boys only had eyes for the teacher, the teacher only had eyes for Kylie's forehead. Was her pattern doing something new? She actually turned to Della and asked. Della assured her that she was still just a regular boring-ass fae.

When the class ended, Miss Kane stood by the door. And when Kylie walked past, Miss Kane leaned down and whispered, "Sorry. I shouldn't have stared, I'm just fascinated by ... you."

Kylie felt her sincerity. "It's okay," Kylie offered, even though she wished it weren't. At least the woman apologized, which was more than what ninety percent of the campers would do.

History class-next in line-was difficult to sit through. As hard as Collin Warren tried to hide his jitters about teaching, they rang loud and clear. His nervousness filled the room like smoke, yet unlike Miss Kane, not once did the man look Kylie in the eyes. Frankly, she wasn't sure he looked anyone in the eyes.

Yet, because of Holiday's request that Kylie take the nervous teacher under her wing, when the class ended, Kylie hung back to offer a word of support. The students all left the room, except for her. She hoped the man would acknowledge her, but he sat at his desk, head down, shuffling his own papers.

She moved to stand in front of his desk. He still didn't look up. Okay ... this was weird. She got being shy, but this was over the top-the kind of shyness for which a person might require medicine.

"Hello," she said.

He exhaled as if unhappy, but looked up. "Can I help you?"

Emotions flowed from him-something more than just extreme shyness. Almost fear, mingled with frustration.

"I wanted to say welcome to Shadow Falls. It can be hard-"

"I ... I need practice." He glanced away. "I'll get better at it."

"I wasn't going to criticize." She sympathized with how he must feel, knowing he'd sucked his first day at teaching. "Practice makes perfect, my Nana used to say."

He looked up. "Do you see her?"

"See who?" Kylie asked.

"Your Nana. Isn't she passed? I hear you have the gift of speaking with the dead."

The question caught Kylie off guard. "Yeah. I mean, she died about four months ago, but I haven't spoken with her."

"But you talk to others, right? The dead?"

Kylie nodded. "Yeah." Unable to read him at the moment, she added, "I know it sounds pretty freaky."

"Not at all. I'd love to be able to ask the dead questions."

Kylie tried to digest what he'd said.

He diverted his eyes. "I mean ... with my love of history. How great would it be to talk to those who lived before us?"

"That makes sense," Kylie said. And it did, but it was still odd. Most supernaturals would never have wanted to deal with the dead, not even for the love of history. She looked to the door. "I should go before I'm late."

As Kylie walked away, she felt him watching her. Okay, Collin Warren was even stranger than she'd first assumed. She really hoped Holiday knew what she was doing when she hired him.

Kylie had just left that cabin and started down the path to her next class when her phone rang. Glancing at the number, a wave of nostalgia hit.

"I was going to call you, too." Kylie sighed.

"The first day of school doesn't feel right with you not here," Sara said.

"I know." Kylie bit down on her lip.

"How are things?" Sara asked. "You still got two cute boys after you?"

"I pretty much decided on one."

"Derek," Sara said.

"No," Kylie corrected. "Lucas."

"Hmm, for some reason, I thought you'd go with Derek, but Lucas is yummy."

Why did you think that? "How are you doing?" Kylie asked, deciding she didn't want to know Sara's answer to the other question.

"Still cancer free," Sara said. "As you well know."

Kylie ignored the comment. "I'm glad."

"When are you coming home next?" Sara asked.

"I think there's a parent weekend in two or three weeks." If she wasn't still pulling stunts like glowing and vanishing, that was.

"Good, because I need a Kylie fix. Agh, there's the bell. I gotta run. I'll call you in a week or so."

A week? There was a time not so long ago when not a day would go by without them talking.

Kylie pushed away the melancholy at how her life had changed. Then, pocketing her phone, she hurried to class. The thought that it was Hayden Yates's class sent a shiver of dread skittering up and down her backbone.

The second she walked up to the door of Hayden Yates' classroom, Kylie decided that the awkward vibes Collin Warren gave off weren't nearly as unsettling as Mr. Yates's.

The man hadn't even looked at Kylie, yet somehow she knew he'd been keeping tabs on her-that he not only knew she was standing at the door, but he'd been waiting for her.

The question that had weighed on her mind grew heavier. Was he behind Hannah's and the other girls' deaths? If so, did he know Kylie suspected him?

Stepping farther into the classroom, she noticed that everyone was already in their seats. Only one seat remained. Kylie's gut turned into a pretzel.

Fredericka sat right behind the empty seat. The girl smiled, or rather smirked.

Kylie hadn't thought about having to deal with the she-wolf in her classes. Trying not to look at Fredericka, Kylie went and sat down.

As she slipped into the seat, she heard the were say, "Oh, boy. Extra light now the glowworm has shown up."

Kylie gritted her teeth and stared at the book on her desktop.

"Bitch," Della muttered from across the room.

Kylie, suddenly angry with herself for letting Della fight her battles, swung around and faced her nemesis. "In addition to glowing, I've discovered other new talents. Here's one you're going to love-giving smart-ass weres the mange. Especially ones that still slightly reek of skunk."

Chuckles escaped from several of the nearby students. Fredericka rose defensively from her seat, her eyes glowing a shade of pissed-off orange.

Seeing the fury in the wolf-crazed gaze, Kylie questioned the wisdom of spouting off her mouth. No doubt about it, she was about to get her ass whupped by a were-and on the first day of school. How special was that?




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