White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements 1) - Page 52

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My lips twitched. “Okay, because I don’t feel right telling you this, but I...I trust you.” Pausing, I took a big gulp of air. “The Alphas have said there’s been a lot of Upper Level demon movement in the city. The Wardens are trying to capture and detain. I thought...well, anyway, what’s going on is on the Alphas’ radar.”

He turned his head, a lopsided smile playing across his lips. “You thought they caught me? Me?” He let out a loud laugh. “I’m flattered by your concern, but that’s nothing you’d ever have to worry about.”

I was pretty sure my face was burning, so I focused on the pot leaf someone had carved into the wall behind him. “I wasn’t worried about you, you douchebag.”

“Uh-huh. Keep telling yourself that.”

My patience started to fade. “So it’s obvious that the demons are looking for the Key, right?”

Roth got all up in my personal space once more. Why did he always have to get so damn close? And should I be complaining? “Right,” he murmured. His hand curved around my shoulder, and I inhaled deeply. A heartbeat passed between us, and my body tensed. “That’s not the only thing I’ve learned.”

“Really?”

He nodded. “We need to find the Key before anyone else does. And finding an ancient book that’s probably well protected isn’t going to be easy. But I do have a lead.”

“Okay? What’s the lead?”

Reaching out, he caught an escaped strand of hair and twisted it around his finger. The paleness stood out in stark contrast to the darker tone of his skin. “There is a seer nearby.”

I snatched my hair back. “A psychic?”

Roth snorted. “Not a psychic-hotline kind of psychic. A seer who has a one-way connection upstairs and downstairs. If anyone knows who the demon is or where the Key is located, the seer will.”

I was still doubtful. “Seers are protected by the Alphas. How would a demon know where one is located?”

“I said I got a lead. I didn’t say it was easy.” Roth stepped back, shoving his hands into his pockets. I opened my mouth, but he cut me off. “And before you ask, you don’t want to know what I had to go through to get this lead.”

Dammit. I did want to ask. “So where is the seer?”

“Just outside of Manassas,” he answered.

“So not very far at all.” A bubble of nervous excitement rose. “We can go now.”

“Whoa.” Roth held up his hands. “I’m all about you skipping school and committing acts of general mayhem. I am a demon, after all, but ‘we’ are not doing anything.”

“We aren’t?” I couldn’t believe it. “Why?”

The look on his face said he wanted to pat me atop the head. “Because I’m probably not the only demon who has done unspeakable things to gain the location of the seer. It could be dangerous.”

I folded my arms, digging in. “Everything could be potentially dangerous right now. Going to school? A zombie could show up again and try to take me back to its evil leader. A demon could possess a teacher. I could get demon-napped on the way home from school today.”

A frown appeared. “Well, that brings on the warm fuzzies.”

I rolled my eyes. “Look, I’m not going to stand on the sidelines and let everyone else risk their lives for me and do all the hard work while I sit in history class.”

“Well, if you’re against sitting in school, you could always go to my apartment and keep my bed company until I get back.”

There was a good chance I was going to hit him. “This has to do with me—my life. We’re in this together. That means we’re going to the seer together.”

“Layla—”

“I’m sorry, but I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m going with you. So deal with it.”

Roth stared at me, looking sort of stunned. “I didn’t know you had it in you.”

“What?”

He tapped the tip of my nose. “You’re feisty underneath all that fluff.”

“I’m not sure if I should be offended or not,” I grumbled.

“Not.” He said something under his breath in a different language and then extended his hand. “Then come on. Let’s do this. Together.”

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

Skipping school for, well, for the very first time to see a seer had trouble written all over it. So did the way Roth drove his Porsche, like he was the only person who had the right to be on the road. Naturally, “Paradise City” was blaring from the speakers.

“You may be an immortal demon,” I said, holding on to the seat belt’s chest strap, “but I’m not.”

He flashed a wild sort of grin that made me think really stupid things. “You’ll be fine.”

The possibility of dying in a massive car accident aside, this was far better than sitting around pretending that nothing was going on. I was being active. In a way, I was taking care of this myself with Roth’s help and that eased the panicky restlessness that had been building inside me.

As we entered Manassas, Roth did the unexpected and pulled into the lot of the first grocery store we came upon. I stared at him as he cut the engine. “You need to get groceries, like right now?”

Roth sent me a look but didn’t answer. Sighing, I got out of the car and followed him into the market. I half expected someone to jump out at us and demand why we weren’t in school, but once inside the store, I saw about six other teenagers and figured we’d blend right in.

He stopped in the poultry section, frowning.

“What are you looking for?” I asked, curious.

“A chicken,” he said, poking around the shelves. “Preferably a live chicken, but doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.”

I leaned closer to him. “Do I want to know why you want a live chicken right now?”

“I thought it would make a good traveling companion.” He smirked when my eyes narrowed. “You should always bring a token of thanks when you visit a seer. I’ve heard that chickens make a good gift.” He picked up a wrapped whole chicken that claimed it was raised on a farm. “Everyone loves Perdue, right?”

“This is so weird.”

A lopsided grin appeared. “You haven’t seen anything yet.”

Ten minutes later, we were back on the road, heading toward the Manassas Battlefield with our Perdue chicken. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but when we passed the old wooden fences and stone walls and pulled into the driveway of a house that looked like it probably had bullet holes in it from the Civil War battle, I tried to prepare myself for the bizarreness that was about to go down.

Roth strode ahead of me, his eyes scanning the neatly trimmed bushes lining the walkway like he expected a garden gnome to attack us. We stepped up on the porch. A swing to the far left moved in the slight breeze. There was a wooden scarecrow sitting on a pumpkin hanging from the door.

The door opened before Roth could even raise his hand to knock.

A woman appeared. Once the faint blue hue of her soul faded, I got a good look at her. Her blond hair was pulled up in an elegant twist. Fine lines surrounded razor-sharp gray eyes. Her makeup was immaculate. Her light pink cardigan and linen trousers were free from wrinkles. She was even rocking a pearl necklace.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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