White Hot Kiss (The Dark Elements 1) - Page 62

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“Thank you,” I said quickly, stopping myself from running up and hugging Abbot.

“I don’t think this is a good idea.” Shock deepened Zayne’s voice.

“Well, I think it would be a good idea for you to drive her to Stacey’s and pick her up since you’re so vigilant when it comes to Layla.” Abbot flicked a piece of lint off his trousers. “If anything happens, Layla knows to contact us immediately.”

I nodded eagerly, but a huge part of me did feel bad for lying, especially since concern was written all over Zayne’s face as he kicked his shoulders back against the buttercream walls. My only comfort was the fact that I was lying for the greater good. That had to make up for it.

Abbot left us in the hallway, and I turned to make a clean getaway. Zayne caught my arm before I could hit the first step. “I still think this is a really bad move,” he said.

“It’s going to be fine. I promise.”

“I don’t like this.”

“But you’re going to drop me off and pick me up.” I wiggled free. “And you’ll make sure everything is fine.”

Zayne’s eyes narrowed. “You’re up to something.”

My stomach plummeted as I moved up a step. “I wish I was up to something. Alas, my life is not that exciting.”

“Isn’t it?” He took the bottom step and towered over me. “Has Stacey ever really studied for an exam?”

Dammit. All those times I’d told him stories about Stacey and school were coming back to haunt me, but I held my ground. “Well, that’s why I’m studying with her. By helping her, I’m helping myself.”

Zayne snorted. “You’re so full of it.”

“Am not!” I poked him in the chest. “What else would I be doing other than studying with Stacey? Not like I’d be invited to a party.” Playing on Zayne’s sympathy was a really wretched thing to do. “And obviously, I’m not sneaking off to meet a guy.”

“Layla—”

“I’m just going to study with Stacey. That’s all.”

A look of annoyance flashed across his face, like he was already planning on regretting this. “You’re a brat.”

Shooting him a grin, I ran up the stairs to text Roth and let him know Saturday night was a go.

* * *

Stacey was more than okay with me using her to “hang out with Roth,” and I kind of felt bad afterward. Not because I was using her as a decoy, but because she was way too excited about the idea of me going on an overnight “date” with Roth. While it wasn’t a date and I really didn’t plan on it being an overnight thing, the idea of spending the night with Roth made me want to giggle and break out in hives. Sometimes I thought Stacey was more excited about the prospect of me having a boyfriend than I was.

When Zayne dropped me off at Stacey’s a little before seven on Saturday night, I watched him do a couple more passes from the living-room window in Stacey’s brownstone. After the fifth one, I rolled my eyes.

“You sure he doesn’t know what you’re doing?” Stacey asked, propping her little brother on her hip. Her mom was out with her boyfriend, date night apparently, which worked out perfectly. “Or is he moonlighting as a stalker?”

“He’s just being overprotective.” And really, really annoying. “But I think he’s done now.”

Stacey arched a brow as she put her brother on the overstuffed couch. “So...you’re wearing that?”

Leaving the window, I turned and glanced down at myself. “What’s wrong with jeans and a sweater?”

“Really?” She sighed as she picked up a little elephant. “If I were you, I’d be wearing the least amount of clothing that’s legal.”

“This is okay.” I didn’t think wearing a skirt and having my boobs fall out while going to God knows where to retrieve the Key would be a good thing. Then again, Roth probably thought it was a great thing. “It’s cute.”

“It’s boring.” She waved the toy in her brother’s face, causing him to giggle. “Like really boring.”

Was it? I tugged on the hem of my sweater and then rolled my eyes. Boring or not, it didn’t matter. Walking over to where I’d left my bag, I dug out my phone. At some point, Roth had gotten hold of my cell and replaced Zayne’s name with Stony and listed his own number under Sexy Beast. What a tool.

I grinned.

Sending him a quick text telling him I was ready, I turned back to Stacey. She was holding the toy just out of the baby’s reach. She finally handed it over. “I’m actually proud of you. Sneaking out with a boy like a normal teenage girl would.”

I made a face. “Only you would be proud of something like that.”

Stacey came up to me and smoothed the sides of my hair down. The waves were a disaster today. “It’s like a rite of passage. Promise me you’ll call me in the morning and tell me everything. All the details, and there better be a ton of sexy details.”

“I’m coming back tonight.” I knocked her hands away.

“Sure you are,” she said. A horn blew outside the brownstone, and her eyes opened wide. She tugged up the hem of my sweater, exposing a thin section of my belly, and then pushed me toward the door. I was leaving my bag here with her. Not like I’d really be doing any studying. “I’m not waiting up.”

Tugging my sweater back down, I sent her a look. “You better let me in later tonight.”

She winked as she opened the door. Roth’s silver Porsche purred along the curb. As the tinted window rolled down and Roth appeared, Stacey gave him a wave. “Now go. Make mama proud.”

“Proud how?” I shouldered the bag.

Stacey arched a brow. “Use your imagination. Just remember, you can only be young and dumb once. And that is a fine specimen to be young and dumb with.”

“You’re such a perv.” I gave her a quick hug and left before she started talking to Roth about making her proud, too.

Hurrying down the front steps, I stopped at the curb and made sure I didn’t feel the presence of any Wardens. When I didn’t, I breathed out a sigh of relief. The last thing we needed was for Zayne to check on me now.

Roth grinned as I slid into the front seat. “Why is your face so red?”

I hated Stacey sometimes. “No reason,” I muttered. “Where are we going?”

To make it seem like Roth and I were actually doing the date thing, we had several hours before the moon would be out and it would be late enough to check out the reflecting pool. “I thought we’d head back to my place after grabbing something to eat. That should kill a couple of hours.”

Gripping the edges of the leather seat, I nodded as my stomach twisted. We ended up at Chan, a couple of blocks from Roth’s apartment. I spotted a few Fiends and even a Poser. It took everything in me not to tag the Poser demon. Doing so would draw attention to me from both the demons and the Wardens.

Once back at Roth’s loft, he put the little boxes of leftover rice in his fridge and then kicked off his shoes. Unsure of what to do, I sat on the edge of the bed. The kittens were huddled together in a small ball atop the piano.

Roth leaned against the wall, a small smile on his face. “You’re nervous.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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