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.I’m the guy you tried to start shit with back in the woods.”“I know that, you idiot! I mean before.”He took a big whiff of air, as if checking her scent.“I don’t think so.”She listened to his heartbeat.It didn’t race to a lie.But she’d heard about some vamps being able to control that, or about pathological liars, whose lies never even registered.He looked like a pathological liar.Tall, cocky, and those pale green eyes that didn’t even look real.She tucked the white envelope into the back pocket of her jeans.Turning and giving him her back, she spoke to Kylie.“Let’s leave this Popsicle stand.”“Darn,” he said.“And just when it was getting interesting, too.”Della swiveled around, and arched a brow at him.“Interesting? I’d rather watch toenails grow than hang out with you.”He laughed.And it pissed her off that she’d amused him.She let go of another deadly growl.“Okay, we should go.” Kylie touched Della’s arm.But then, being Kylie and unable to leave on a bad note, she looked back at the new vamp.“Welcome to Shadow Falls.I’m Kylie.”Della rolled her eyes.Why did Kylie think she had to play nice?“You’re Kylie Galen?” he asked, looking in awe.“Wow, I’ve heard about you.”“Don’t believe half of it,” Kylie said, a bit bashful.“I’m Chase Tallman,” he said, totally trying to impress Kylie.He even puffed out his chest a little, like a damn bird doing some kind of mating dance.Yeah, keep that up and I know a werewolf that’ll be chomping on your ass! Hell, she’d help Lucas get his revenge on … Chase Tallman.Della stored his name into her memory bank for future reference—and not in the good vault of references—then turned and took off.She didn’t like this guy.Didn’t trust this guy.And she wouldn’t until she figured out where she knew him from and why and how he was lying.* * *“I hate it when you two skip out on me!” Miranda whined when Della, followed by Kylie, walked back into the cabin.“I want to come, too.”Della huffed out an exasperated breath.Was it her fault that witches couldn’t fly? “What did you want us to do? Give you a piggyback ride?”“You could have,” the little witch whined.“I miss out on all the fun.”“That was not fun.The guy’s a smartass, green-eyed panty pervert.” Della went straight to the sofa and checked her backpack for her name on the inside tag.And sure as hell, it was there.Dad blast it, she’d wanted to catch that sorry vamp in a lie.She shot back to the kitchen, dropped the envelope on the table, and plopped back in her chair.“Wow, don’t hold back,” Miranda said.Della saw Miranda glance at Kylie with questions.Kylie shrugged as if to say, beats the hell out of me.“That’s odd,” Miranda continued.“Word around camp is that he’s a complete hottie.Not that he could be hotter than Perry.” She smiled.The witch looked at Kylie.“Is the guy hot?”Kylie shot Della an apologetic look.“Yeah, he kind of is.But he could still be a panty pervert.”“Aren’t all guys panty perverts?” Miranda asked.“No, this guy’s creepy,” Della snapped.“And egotistical.And his scent … It’s familiar, and not in good way.”“Maybe he just smells like someone else?” Kylie said.Della shook her head.“Obviously you haven’t developed your vampire nose yet.We don’t forget scents.And if something intense was happening when you smelled that scent, then there’s an emotional trace.”“Wow.Lucas told me that werewolves do that, too,” Kylie said.“Not nearly as good as vampires,” Della huffed.“I mean, I know they’re wolves, but for a vampire, who doesn’t go around putting their nose everywhere, an emotional trace is stronger.”“Wouldn’t you know,” Miranda said sarcastically.“Nothing is as good as vampires.”Della shot the witch a go-to-hell look that implied she should not just go to Hades, but go in a hurry.Miranda snickered.Obviously, Della’s go-to-hell look wasn’t in working order.“So what emotion does he remind you of?” Kylie asked, and both she and Miranda eased up to the table and sat down.“Danger,” Della said, and pulled the photo closer to stare at the image.Her uncle really looked just like her father.“Maybe it’s the good kind of danger,” Miranda offered.“You know, you’re hot for him and worried about what you are feeling for Steve.”“I don’t feel anything for Steve,” Della snapped, and frowned when she heard her own heart pick up its pace.So what if she felt something, she wasn’t going to let it lead anywhere.Swallowing, she focused on the photo again.“We pretty much figured that out,” Miranda said.“Or you’d be hooking up with him.”“That sounds so stupid.What does hooking up really mean? We’re not dogs, you know!”Kylie held up both hands as if requesting peace.“What’s going on, Della?”“Nothing’s going on,” Della insisted.“Yes, it is,” Kylie said.“You’re grumpy.”“I’m always grumpy!” Della insisted.“Then you’re extra arrogant,” Miranda snapped.“There’s a difference between arrogance and confidence,” Della insisted.Her friends weren’t buying it.“What happened this weekend?” Kylie asked.Della felt a wave of emotion swell inside her, but she pushed it back and locked it away so she wouldn’t start blubbering like a little girl.Then, in a monotone voice, she told them about the weekend, about her nightmare, the hole in the wall, and her sister, Marla, saying her dad never talked about her.She told them what she learned about possibly having a vampire uncle.Oh, and she saved the best for last, getting caught in her father’s study and practically being accused of being a thieving alcoholic.Kylie sat there, her light blue eyes looking consumed with worry.Miranda sat there, expression tight, her fingers laced together, except for her pinkies, which she twirled in tight circles.“I’m so sorry,” Kylie said.“Why? It’s not as if you did anything,” Della said, trying to make light of the whole thing.“But I could do something,” Miranda said.“I could put a curse on your dad.A bad case of athlete’s foot.Or jock itch.I’m good at that curse.There was this football player at school that—”“Leave my dad’s feet and junk alone!”“I just want to help,” Miranda said.“It wouldn’t help,” Della said in a calmer voice.“You can’t even blame him.It looked like I was into his brandy.”“Why didn’t you just tell him the truth?” The somberness of Kylie’s words expressed empathy.Della’s chest tightened.Kylie’s concern, and even Miranda’s desire to zap her father with a foot or private-part fungus, was why Della loved her two best friends.They cared.Everyone needed someone to care.Thank God she’d found them.Her sinuses stung, but she swallowed hard to keep her eyes from watering.She reached for the envelope, remembering the possibility that she might have an actual family member who would understand her.Maybe even care.“You could have told him Marla mentioned he had a brother and you were curious,” Kylie continued.“Maybe he would have told you more about him.”“You don’t know my dad [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]