White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements 1) - Page 18

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I swallowed. “Are you threatening my family?”

“No.” He caught my hand this time, easing my fingers out of their fist and then twining them through his own. “Anyway, you can’t tell me you haven’t smelled the funk that is this high school right now.”

Clamping my mouth shut, I glared at him. “What? It’s just the sewer or...”

He looked at me like I was about three different kinds of stupid, and my initial suspicions concerning the smell resurfaced. “It can’t be...”

“Oh, it is. There’s a zombie in the school.” A brow arched. “Sounds like the start of a really bad horror movie.”

I ignored the last statement. “That can’t be it. How would one get in here without being seen?”

Roth shrugged. “Who knows? Anything is possible these days. My demon spidey senses are telling me it’s in one of the boiler rooms downstairs. And since your Warden friends are probably sleeping, I figured we’d check it out before it makes its way upstairs and starts eating students.”

I dug in my heels as he started forward. “I’m not checking anything out with you.”

“But there’s a zombie in the school,” he said slowly, “and it’s probably hungry.”

“And yeah, I know this, but you and I aren’t doing anything.”

His smile faded. “Aren’t you at all curious why a zombie would be in your school and what people are going to think when they see something straight from Night of the Living Dead?”

I met his stare. “It’s not my problem.”

“It’s not.” Roth tipped his head to the side, eyes narrowed. “But it will be the Warden leader’s problem when it stumbles upstairs and starts oozing bodily fluids all over everyone while it chomps on body parts. You know how those Alphas expect the Wardens to keep the whole demon thing out of the public eye.”

I opened my mouth to protest, but stopped. Dammit. He was right. If that thing made its way upstairs, Abbot would be in a world of trouble. Yet still I stalled. “How do I know you aren’t going to throw me at it?”

Roth arched a brow. “Hey, I didn’t abandon you to the Seeker, now did I?”

“That doesn’t reassure me.”

He rolled his eyes, sighing. “You’re just going to have to trust me.”

I laughed. His head snapped in my direction, eyes slightly wide. “Trust you? A demon? Are you on crack or something?”

His eyes glimmered with...what? Annoyance or amusement? “Crack is whack.”

I pressed my lips together tightly, stopping the smile before it could spread across my face and give him the wrong idea. “I can’t believe you just said that.”

He tipped his chin up. “It’s true. No drugs while on the job. Even Hell has its guidelines.”

“What is your job exactly?” I asked.

“To deflower you in the back of the most expensive car ever made.”

I tried to jerk my hand back, but he held on. “Let go.”

“Christ on a crutch.” He chuckled deeply. “I was just joking, you prude.”

Now I flushed again, because I did feel like a prude. A natural feeling when I’d never kissed a guy before. “Let go of my hand.”

Roth heaved a long sigh. “Look. I’m so—I’m sor...” He took a deep breath, trying again. “I’m sorr...”

I turned my head toward him, waiting. “You’re what? Sorry?”

He looked chagrined, lips pursed. “I’m...sorr-ree.”

“Oh, give me a break. You can’t say I’m sorry?”

“No.” He looked me straight on, serious. “It’s not in a demon’s vocab.”

“That’s rich.” I rolled my eyes. “Don’t even bother trying to say it if you don’t mean it.”

Roth appeared to consider that. “Deal.”

A door across from the gym opened. Assistant Principal McKenzie stepped into the hallway, his drab brown suit at least two sizes too small for his potbelly. He immediately frowned and gained two chins when he spotted us.

“Aren’t you supposed to be in gym, Ms. Shaw, and not in the hallway?” he said, loosening the stretched-out belt around his pants. “You may be mixed up with those things, but that doesn’t give you extra privileges.”

Mixed up with those things? They weren’t things. They were Wardens, and they kept ungrateful asses like McKenzie safe. My fingers reflexively squeezed Roth’s as anger and a little sadness flooded me.

These people had no clue.

Roth glanced at me, then at the assistant principal. He ducked his head, smiling demurely. Right then and there, I knew he was about to do something really bad.

Like demon-level bad.

And all I could do was brace for it.


“And you?” Assistant Principal McKenzie continued as he waddled toward us, looking Roth up and down with a distasteful eye. “Whatever class you’re supposed to be in, you need to get to. Now.”

Roth dropped my hand and folded his arms across his chest. He returned the look, but an odd light radiated from his pupils. “Assistant Principal McKenzie? As in Willy McKenzie, born and raised in Winchester, Virginia? Graduated from the Commonwealth and married the sweetest little gal from the South.”

The man was obviously caught off guard. “I don’t know—”

“The same Willy McKenzie who hasn’t slept with that sweet gal since the creation of the DVD, and who has a stash of  p**n  in his closet at home? And not just any  p**n .” Roth stepped forward, lowering his voice until it was nothing more than a whisper. “You know what I’m talking about.”

My stomach turned sour. Assistant Principal McKenzie had questionable soul status—not as obvious as the man on the street the night I met Roth, but there’d always been something about him that made me wary.

McKenzie had a totally different reaction. His face turned a mottled shade of red as his jowls flapped. “H-how dare you. Who are you? You—”

Roth raised a finger—his middle finger—silencing him. “You know, I could make you go home and end your miserable life. Or better yet, walk right outside and throw yourself in front of the truck that collects garbage like you. After all, Hell has had its eyes on you for quite some time.”

I experienced a moral conflict at that moment. Either I let Roth manipulate the pedophile into offing himself or I stopped him—because, pervert or not, Roth would be stripping the man of his free will.

Crap. This was a tough decision.

“I’m not going to do either of those things,” Roth said, surprising me. “But I am going to mess you up. Royally.”

My relief was short-lived.

“I’m going to take away the thing you love most in this world—food.” Roth smiled beatifically. At the moment, he looked more like an angel than a demon—a mind-numbing beauty that couldn’t be trusted. “Every doughnut you see will look like it’s sprinkled with a heavenly dose of maggots. Every pizza will remind you of your dead father’s face. Hamburgers? Forget ’em. They’ll taste like rotten meat. And milk shakes? Soured. Oh. And those jars of chocolate cake icing you hide from your wife? Filled with roaches.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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