I hated Daemon Black—if that was even his real name—with a vengeance that equaled the solar power of a thousand suns. You’re b arely glowing now. He left after that, grabbing his shirt off the floor and sauntering out of my house.

The son of a bitch blew up my laptop.

That was what had been smoking. His alien mojo apparently has a major affect on lights and most electronics. Now I had to rely on school computers to update my blog. Ugh. And I’d spent a good hour after I peeled myself off the couch replacing light bulbs in the house.

Luckily, the T.V. hadn’t been fried.

But my brain had. What had I been thinking? Doing? It had to have been all the arguing between us. That was the only explanation for why there was such a massive explosion from such a heavy make-out session.

And he wasn’t as unaffected as he pretended. No one could fake that.

My glow had faded to a small trace, much to everyone’s amazement. Imagine trying to explain how that happened. And I’m sure he couldn’t wait to share the info.

I hated him.

Not just for the fact he’d proven me a liar, or that I now had to wait until my birthday for a new laptop, or the fact Dee was highly suspicious of how my glow faded, but because of what he made me feel, for making me admit it out loud, too.

And if he poked me in the back with a pen one more freaking time, I was going to throw him in front of an Arum.

My cell phone buzzed in my backpack as I walked to my car, hunkered down against the unforgiving wind sweeping down from the Rocks. Without looking, I knew it was another text from Simon. For the last week he’d been texting his apologies over and over again. He didn’t dare talk to me in class or public, not with Daemon’s threat looming over his head. I wasn’t forgiving him anytime soon. Drunk or not, it wasn’t an excuse for being an overbearing ass who didn’t understand the word “no”.



I jumped at the sound of Dee’s voice.

Shouldering my bag, I turned and waited.

As always, Dee looked amazingly beautiful.

Today she’d worn skinny dark denim jeans and a lightweight turtleneck. With her glossy black hair and bright eyes, she was stunning. Her smile was wide and friendly, but it quickly faded as she neared me.

“Hey, I didn’t think you were going to stop,” she said.

“Sorry. I was lost in my thoughts.” I started walking again, spying my car. “What’s up?” Dee cleared her throat. “Are you avoiding me, Katy?

I’d been avoiding all of them, which was hard. They lived next door. They were in my classes. They sat with me at lunch. And I missed Dee. “No.”

“Really, because you haven’t been very talkative since Saturday,” she pointed out.

“Monday you didn’t even sit with us at lunch, claiming you had to study for a test. Yesterday, I don’t think you said two words to me.” Guilt twisted my insides. “I’ve been…out of it.”

“It’s too much, isn’t it? What we are?” Her voice was small, childlike. “I was afraid this would happen. We’re huge freaks—”

“You’re not freaks,” I said, meaning it.

“You guys are…more human than you give yourselves credit for.”

Dee seemed relieved to hear that. She darted in front of me. “The boys, they’re still looking for Baruck.”

I sidestepped her and opened my car door.

The obsidian blade bounced around in the compartment on the side of the door. Carrying it in my backpack had made me feel like I was going to shank a student or something. So in my car it went. “That’s good.” She nodded. “The boys are going to continue searching and keep an eye on things, and both you and Simon barely have any traces on you now.” Dee paused. “I’d still like to know how that happened so quickly.” My stomach twisted. “Uh, yeah, there was a lot of…physical activity.”

Her brows inched up her forehead. “Katy…”

“Anyway,” I said quickly. “That’s all good—the trace fading from Simon, especially since he has no clue about any of this, so I’m glad, creeper-ness aside.”

“You’re rambling,” she said, grinning.

“Yeah, kind of.”

“So what are you doing tomorrow?” she asked, hopeful. “It’s Saturday and Halloween. I thought maybe we could rent a bunch of scary movies.”

I shook my head. “I promised Lesa I’d give out candy with her. She lives in a subdivision, so…” Hurt flickered across Dee’s face. What was I doing? Dissing a friend because of her jackass brother? That wasn’t me. “I can come over afterward, and we can watch movies if you want?”

“If you want?” she whispered.

Leaning over, I hugged her slim shoulders.

“Of course I want. Just make sure you get tons of popcorn and candy. Those are a requirement.” Dee returned the hug. “That I can do.” I pulled back, smiling. “Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow night then?”

“Wait.” She grabbed my arm, her fingers cold. “What happened between you and Daemon?”

I willed my face blank. “Nothing happened, Dee.”

Her eyes narrowed. “I know better, Katy.

You would’ve had to do major running around to burn off most of the trace in one afternoon.”


“And Daemon has been acting grumpier than normal. Something happened between you two.” She brushed her hair out of her face, but the curls sprung right back. “I know you said you guys didn’t do anything that one time, but…”

“Seriously, nothing happened. I promise.” I climbed into my car, forcing a smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

She didn’t believe me. I didn’t believe myself, but what could I say? Admitting what went down between Daemon and me wasn’t something I wanted to share with his sister.

Every Halloween I missed being a kid, getting to dress up and eat tons of candy. The only thing I got to do now was…eat tons of candy. Not half bad.

Lesa laughed as I dug out another box of Nerds. “What?” I elbowed her. “I love these things.”

“And mini Hershey bars, Kit Kats, bubble gum, Starbursts—”

“Look who’s talking!” I gestured to the pile of wrappers on the steps beside her feet. “You’re a freaking candy monster.”

We stopped while a small child shuffled up the steps, dressed like a member of Kiss. Odd costume choice.

“Trick or Treat!” the little boy cried.

Lesa fawned all over him and gave him several pieces of candy. “You are so not here for the kids,” she said, watching the little boy run back to his parents.

I popped a piece of caramel in my mouth.

“What gave you that idea?”

“Did you think that little boy was cute?” She moved the bowl away from me.

I shrugged. “Guess so. I mean, he kind of smelled like…I don’t know. Kid.” Lesa busted out laughing. “Do you like kids?”

“Kids scare me.” A mummy and vampire approached us. Lesa cooed over them until they scampered away. “Especially the little ones,” I continued, scowling when I saw there weren’t any Nerds left. “They jabber and stuff, and I have no idea what they are saying, but your little brother is super cute.”

“My little brother craps himself.” I laughed. “Well, maybe it’s because he’s, like, only one?”

“Whatever, it’s still gross.” She handed some candy over to a cowboy with an arrow through his head. Sweet. “So what’s your deal been?”

“My deal?” Like a ninja, my hand shot out and snatched a roll of Smarties. “I don’t have a deal.”

“You’re so full of it.” It was so dark out, I couldn’t make out her eyes. Her subdivision didn’t believe in street lamps. “You’ve been an angst-ridden teenage girl, like the kind in the books I read, all week.” I rolled my eyes. “Have not.”

She nudged me with her knee. “You haven’t been talking to anyone, especially not Dee. And that’s weird, because you guys are close.”

“We still are.” I sighed, squinting into the encroaching darkness. Shapes of parents and their kids walked along the side of the streets.

“I’m not mad at her or anything. I’m going over to her house after I leave here.” Lesa cradled the bowl. “But?”

“But something happened with her brother,” I said, caving in to the need to talk to someone about what happened.

“I knew it!” she screamed. “Oh my God, you have to tell me everything! Did you guys kiss? Wait. Did you have sex?” A parent of a fairy shot her a dirty look as she ushered her child off Lesa’s porch.

“Lesa, seriously, chill.”

“Whatever. You have to tell me. I will hate you forever if you did but don’t tell me. What does he smell like?”

“Smell like?” I scrunched up my face.

“You know, he looks like he’d smell good.”

“Oh.” I closed my eyes. “Yeah, he does smell good.”

Lesa sighed dreamily. “Details. Now.”

“It’s nothing big.” I picked up a fallen leaf, twirling it. My lips tingled, thinking about his kiss. “He came over last Sunday and we kissed.”

“That’s all?” She sounded so disappointed.

“I didn’t sleep with him. Jeez. But…it was pretty heavy.” I dropped the leaf and ran a hand through my hair, tugging it back. “We were arguing and the next thing I know—BAM.

We’re going at it.”

“Geez, that’s…that’s hot.”

I sighed. “Yeah, it kind of was. But then he left abruptly.”

“Of course, because you guys have this fiery passion that explodes, and he couldn’t take the heat.”

I gave her a bland look. “We don’t have anything.”

Lesa ignored me. “I was wondering how long it would last with you two antagonizing each other.”

“I don’t antagonize him,” I muttered.

“What did you guys argue about?” How could I explain? That we’d only goaded each other into doing something because I’d said I wasn’t attracted to him and he needed to kill my glow? Yeah, not happening.


“I don’t think he meant to kiss me,” I said finally.

“What? Did he slip and fall on your mouth?

Those things are known to happen.” I giggled. “No. It’s just that he seemed pissed off about it afterward. No, he was pissed.”

“Did you like bite his tongue or something?” Lesa tucked her hair back, frowning. “There has to be a reason why he was mad afterward.”

Since it was getting late and the kiddos few and far between, I grabbed the bowl from her and starting fingering through the leftovers. “I don’t know. I mean we haven’t talked about it.

He literally left afterward, and all he’s done since then is poke me with his pen.”

“Probably because he wants to poke you with something else,” she said dryly.

My eyes bugged. “I can’t believe you said that.”

“Whatever.” She waved her hand in the air.

“He’s not back with Ash, right? I mean, those two are—”

“On and off—I know. I don’t think so. It doesn’t matter.” I popped a piece of candy in my mouth. At this rate, I was going to be rolling off Lesa’s porch. “It’s just that…”

“You like him,” she finished for me.

I shrugged, moving on to a Snickers bar. Did I like him? Maybe. Was I attracted to him?

Obviously. I’d been seconds away from getting buck-naked with him. “It’s the most messed up thing, ever. No one on this planet pisses me off more than him, but…Ah, I don’t want to talk about this.” I snatched the bag of Skittles back.

“Anyway, how are things with Chad?”

“You’re changing the subject. I am not fooled.”

Not looking up, I rooted around in the bowl.

“You guys went out last night, right? Did he kiss you? Does he smell good?”

“Chad does smell good, actually. I think he wears a newer version of Old Spice. Not the kind my dad wears, because that would be gross.”

I laughed. We chatted for a little while then I left and headed home. Dee had the entire house decked out in carved pumpkins that hadn’t been there when I left earlier. She pulled me inside, a strange smell in the air.

“What is that?” I wrinkled my nose.

“I’m baking pumpkin seeds,” she exclaimed.

“Have you tried them?”

I shook my head. “No. What do they taste like?”

“Like pumpkin.”

Of course she was actually baking them. The pale seeds were on a baking sheet, but it was her hands doing the baking and not the stove.

Pumpkin guts were scattered all over the newspaper-covered table.

“I’m going to borrow your hands during the winter, when ice is caked on my windshield.” Dee laughed. “I have no problem with that.” Grinning, I shuffled over to the stack of movies on the counter. I scanned the spines, laughing. “Oh my God, Dee, these movies are awesome.”

“I thought you would like the combination of the Scream and Scary Movie series.” She moved her hands over the baking sheet. The seeds popped and jumped. Cinnamon filled the air. “We’ll leave the Halloween movies until later.” I glanced at the door. “Um, is Daemon here?”

“No.” She grabbed the sheet, dumping the seeds into a ball decorated in bats and skulls.

“He’s out with the guys, seeing if they can get Baruck to show himself.”

Taking our snacks and movies into the living room, I thought about what she said. “Are they purposely trying to get him to show himself? Like they want to fight him?” A DVD flew from the stack to her hand. She nodded. “Don’t worry. Daemon and Adam are checking around town. Matthew and Andrew are out in the country. They’ll be okay.” Unease turned my stomach. “Are you sure?” Dee smiled. “This isn’t the first time they’ve done something like this. They know what they’re doing. It’ll be okay.” Sitting back against the couch, I tried not to worry. It was hard, especially since I’d seen the look in Baruck’s eyes. Dee settled in next to me, and I tried a few pumpkin seeds. Not bad. We’d made it through the first Scream movie when her cell rang.

Raising her hand, Dee flicked it and the cell flew off the table and landed in her hand. She answered with a roll of her eyes. “This better be good, Daemon, because—” Her eyes widened.

She shot to her feet, her free hand clenching.

“What do you mean?” My stomach turned to liquid as I watched her edge around the coffee table.

“Katy is with me, but her trace is barely noticeable!” Another pause and then her face paled. “Okay. Be careful. I love you.” As soon as she tossed the phone to the recliner, I stood. “What’s happening?”

Dee faced me. “They spotted Baruck. He’s heading this way.”

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