That something had gone wrong with him.

Michael had steadied by now, and he kissed Eve’s hands and then leaned forward to press his lips to hers— a soft, gentle sort of kiss that made her let out a cry when it was over, and bury her face in the crook of his neck. He held on to her, but his blue eyes remained fixed on Hannah. Hard to read his expression. Claire had never seen him look quite that closed off. “Eve can’t stay here,” he said. “You can’t let her stay here with me, you know that. Not even if she wants to.”

“I wouldn’t,” Hannah said. “I know how dangerous it would be, even if she refuses to admit it.”

“Are you crazy?” Eve said. Her voice was muffled against his shoulder, but Claire still heard it clearly. “No, I’m not going anywhere, and I’m not letting you stay trapped in here without me.

They don’t get to put you in some kind of— vampire petting zoo.

You’re coming home where you belong. With us. With me. ”

“He can’t,” Amelie said. “If he leaves this place, he will be killed. Not by us, of course. By those who are our . . . protectors. ”

The irony of that wasn’t lost on her, Claire thought, noticing the twist of her lips. The taste of it must have been bitter.

“Is that true?” Shane turned to look at Hannah, but she con- tinued to do a middle- distance stare. “Hey. Talking to you, lady!”

“I heard you,” she said. “He’s right that it isn’t safe for vampires outside of this enclave.”


“Enclave?” Claire heard the outrage in her own voice, even though she tried to hold it back. “I don’t care what kind of cool name you want to give it to make yourself feel better. It’s a prison camp. ”

“They’re here for their own protection.”

“Bullshit!” she spat back, and Shane put his hand on her shoul- der. It surprised her enough to stop her from uttering the rest of what she’d been about to say, which probably wouldn’t have been quite so nice.

“Claire,” he said, “let’s take a breath. Maybe— maybe this isn’t a bad thing.”


“Maybe we need to just think a little more,” he said. “I mean, having vampires obeying the rules . . . what’s so wrong with that? They damn sure don’t obey any unless they’re scared of something.

Not even the rules they make themselves. Right, Amelie?”

“You’re being foolish,” Amelie said. “And disloyal to your friend.”

“Hey, lady, I’ve been bending over backward for years around here not to judge you bloodsuckers, no matter what kind of hor- rible things you did. Give me a break. And you know what? For a change, give me a little respect, too. Because I deserve that. We all do. All us poor, stupid humans. ” Shane wasn’t entirely wrong, Claire had to admit, though he also wasn’t usually this blunt about it. But then, the vampires usually wouldn’t have let him say these things without reprisal. “Maybe we should all show a little good judg- ment and agree that vamps aren’t the safest thing in the world to have lurking around in your neighborhood—”

“Thanks for being on my side, bro,” Michael said.

“I’m not saying this is the right way to do it. But maybe it’s the right idea, keeping vamps and humans apart.” Shane shivered a lit- tle, as if he were cold, but Claire realized that his face was flushed and he was sweating. It wasn’t too hot in here— probably air-conditioned for the comfort of the guards. He really didn’t look good, Claire thought, and she took his hand. It felt hot— feverish.

Was he sick? She could feel the tremors going through him, over and over.

“Shane? What’s wrong? You’re burning up!” Claire put the back of her hand against his forehead— or tried to. He knocked her arm away. It shocked her, and it surprised him, too. She saw the instant regret in his eyes, but when he tried to talk, he gagged.


“I need to get out,” he said. “Can’t stay here—” He couldn’t get the rest out, just kept gagging. His face looked gray and damp.

“Take him outside and let him have some fresh air,” Hannah said. “I’ll stay here with Eve. Nothing will harm her.”

Claire didn’t want to go; she didn’t want Eve to feel alone and abandoned. But something was clearly very wrong with Shane, and getting worse with every breath he took. She didn’t debate it any further. She just grabbed his arm and pulled him toward the light streaming in through the thick glass doors. When she tried the metal handle, it didn’t move. Locked. She knocked urgently on the glass, and the policeman outside finally opened it— but blocked her way. “Just a minute,” he said. “Where’s Chief Moses?”

“It’s okay, Bud,” Hannah called from behind him. “Let them out.”

He didn’t seem inclined, but he did step back, and Claire pulled Shane over the threshold and down the sidewalk, out into the bright, harsh sunlight and the dry desert air. He practically folded up once they reached the curb, and sat down hard there, his head in his hands. The tremors, though, were lessening, and as she stroked his hair she thought he was getting better. “Shane?” she asked. “Shane, what the hell was that?”

“I don’t know,” he said, and gulped air. “God. I don’t know. It felt like I was burning up from the inside out. Maybe— maybe you’d better go back in, for Eve. I can’t, Claire. I just can’t.”

“Why not?”

He was definitely, inexplicably better out here, away from the mall and the vamps. And as he looked up, she saw the strange light in his eyes. It looked almost like fear.

“Because I want to kill them,” he said. “The vampires. I want to kill them all. It’s like what I’ve felt my whole life, but turned up to eleven. And if I go back in there, I don’t think I can control it.”

She stared at him, shocked, and he lifted his shoulders in a very small shrug. He still looked unnaturally flushed, and sweat pasted thin strings of hair to his forehead.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know why. Please, don’t ask me to explain it, okay? Because I just can’t.”

But somehow she thought he could. She’d seen the bite on his arm, seen how he’d acted from time to time around Michael and the other vampires on the trip back. There was something wrong with him. Real y wrong, in ways that scared them both, but Shane was trying to conceal and ignore it all.

It wasn’t the time to dig into it, though, and she shoved down her desire to interrogate him until this made some kind of sense, however twisted; he was right— she needed to go back. For Eve.

For Michael.

For Myrnin, because if anyone knew where he was, Michael would.

She kissed Shane, and then she scrambled up and went back to the doors. The deputy— Bud?— didn’t harass her about it this time; he just silently unlocked them and let her back in, and she walked over to stand beside the spot where Eve and Michael were still kneeling near the fountain. They didn’t seem inclined to let go of each other, but Eve looked up and raised her eyebrows, si- lently asking the question.

“I don’t know,” Claire said. “But he feels better out there. It was almost like claustrophobia or something.”

“Weird,” Eve said. “Because that boy never hesitated to crawl into small spaces, and this isn’t exactly restrictive. It’s a mall. ”

“Maybe it’s the high ratio of vampires,” Michael said, and managed a smile, though it was thin. “I mean, if I wasn’t already on Team Fang, I might be a little intimidated.”

“Shane? Intimidated? Better be glad he’s out there and not in here making you eat those words,” Eve said. She shook her head.

“No, something’s not right with him. It’s just wrong, the way he reacted. Wrong and weird and wrong, also. Claire, keep an eye on him, okay?”

“I will,” she said, and hesitated for a long few seconds before she glanced at Michael. “Um— I have to ask, because I don’t see them, but about Myrnin, and Jesse—?”

“They’re fine,” Michael said. “Well, you know. It’s Myrnin, so fine probably isn’t so accurate, but she’s keeping him calm in one of the rooms that way.” He nodded toward the darkness, the north-east corner where some dark, shuttered spaces lurked. “He’s having a hard time accepting . . . the situation.” He tapped the collar with one fingertip and gave Hannah a quick glance. “You know how he gets when he feels trapped.”

Oh, she knew, and she felt heartsick at the idea of how Myrnin, of all people, would have reacted to wearing a shock collar. Han- nah would probably have had to replace the batteries in her control unit several times over, because one thing about Myrnin, he was stubborn, and he just did not give up. Jesse was probably holding him back with all of her strength to keep him from charging out here— and no doubt not for the first, or the last, time.

She refrained from asking anything more, mainly because she was acutely aware of Hannah standing there, and she really didn’t trust Hannah at all now. She was loyal to Fallon, obviously, or she wouldn’t be holding the button for the shock collars. It wouldn’t be wise to say too much in Hannah’s hearing, since everything would end up reported back to the Daylight Foundation.

But she did turn to Hannah and ask her a question that seemed perfectly obvious. “You can’t keep a bunch of vampires in here like this forever,” she said. “No matter what kind of little training devices you put on them. What are you planning to do with them?”

Hannah never once looked at her directly. She was watching Amelie, Claire realized— watching for any sign of trouble from the vampire queen. But Amelie didn’t seem to be inclined, yet, to give any orders to her people. “We plan to help them,” she said.

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