The Savage Grace Page 36

“Do you remember how we got out of the warehouse?” I asked, wondering just how much of his memory was affected.

“Partially. I remember watching you trying to fight off those wolves. And I remember jumping from the balcony and going all superwolf. But before and after that are really foggy. It’s like I remember feelings more than I do events. Like how I remember feeling like I’d do anything to save you…” He gave me a look, and I knew he was pained by the sudden memory of my almost dying. “And then when I was the wolf, it was like I could feel this undeniable force pulling me away. Pulling me to do something. Go somewhere. Find something. But no matter how far I went, I couldn’t find it. I kept running through the forest trying to get to it, even though I knew I couldn’t. And even though I didn’t want to go, it still pulled me away. I still don’t know what it was I was looking for.”

“I’m just glad you’re back now—and that you never felt the urge to kill anyone.”

“No, I never did. All that time I never felt the urge to kill, like when I was the black wolf. Protecting you was definitely one of my impulses, though. But I never felt any malice toward you or anyone else—I still don’t. It’s like I’m not actually werewolf. Like I’m a completely different species or something.”

Daniel pulled me closer, and I rested my head against his chest, listening to the thrumming of his single heartbeat. I touched his arm. Silver could still burn him like a werewolf, but I got what he meant about feeling like he was something different altogether. “Then what are you?” I wondered out loud, but as I said the words, a realization dawned on me.

Daniel had died that night in the parish when I’d plunged that knife into his chest to cure him—to kill the demon wolf who had his soul in its clutches. Daniel had died along with the demon. But Daniel had come back—cured. No, more than cured…

The way his powers had returned after several months—but without the evil side effects … and the transformation he’d gone through. Turning into the white wolf when his greatest desire was to help me—save me—rather than the black wolf he used to be before he was cured. And the way his body looked now. Like everything about him had been … perfected.

Gabriel had told me to think of the Urbat as fallen angels. So what was Daniel now that he was no longer fallen? “I think you’re a perfected Urbat,” I said. “You’re what the original Hounds of Heaven were intended to be. I think you’re like … an angel.”

“An angel?” Daniel gave a slight laugh.

“I think so.”

“Does that mean you think I’m … dead?”

“No. Just perfected.”

Daniel gave a great sigh and rolled over onto his side. “I don’t know about that.…”

I stared at his exposed pecs and the muscles that rippled over his shoulders and down his arms. “You should see yourself.” I felt my cheeks blush with heat.

He looked up at me with his deep, dark eyes. A mischievous smile curled on his lips. He picked at my coral-colored sheets. “So I can never ever wake up in your bed again, huh?”

I laughed. The sound came out as a girlish giggle that made my cheeks flush even hotter. “Maybe someday, if the conditions are right.”

He wrapped his hand around the back of my head and pulled me toward him. His lips brushed over mine and then melted into a delicious kiss. I could feel his other hand on my waist, his fingers lingering on the hem of my shirt. Then they were on my skin as his warm fingertips drifted up the side of my stomach. His kiss grew more urgent. I could feel his need for me. My hands caressed his bare back as I pulled him closer. I needed him just as much. His hand cupped against my rib cage under my shirt. I could feel his strumming pulse in his fingers against my skin.…

Daniel pulled his hands away. He sat up in my bed and scooted farther away still. He sat so his back was to me, his legs draped over the end of the bed.

The tingle of anticipation still lingered in my skin. “Are you okay?” I asked. I sat up behind him, hesitating to touch my fingers against the back of his uninjured shoulder.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I got carried away. I don’t want my need for you to get in the way of what we decided.” I knew what he was talking about—we’d decided months ago that we wanted to wait. Deep down, beyond the yearning I felt at the moment, where I wanted to place his hands, what I wanted to do, I knew I still wanted to keep the promise we’d made to each other, even if it was almost impossible to remember why at that moment.

I leaned forward and pressed my lips against one of his shoulder blades as I traced my fingers against the muscles underneath it. “Thank you,” I whispered against his spine.

He sighed and stood up, stepping away from the bed as if one more touch from me would make him lose total control. I knew exactly how he felt. “I guess I should find a shirt or something. What time is it?”

I glanced at the clock. “Wow. It’s almost nine. Guess we’re not making it to school on time this morning.” I laughed. As if.

Daniel laughed, too. “I guess we could do the walk of shame together into the cafeteria around lunchtime.”

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of.” I pulled off the sheet covering my legs and scooted to the edge of my bed, closer to where Daniel stood. I bit my lip, not quite sure I was ready to address the issue that played on my mind. “The conditions I mentioned earlier … ? That night in the warehouse, when we were locked in Caleb’s dungeon. What do you remember happening?”

“Only bits and pieces. My memory is so fragmented. Like I’ve got a puzzle in my head that needs to be put together, but I’m missing half the pieces.”

“Do you remember asking me … ?”

To marry you? I couldn’t finish the question out loud. What if he hadn’t really meant to ask? What if he’d done it only out of panic, to try to keep me from losing hope for the future? What if he didn’t remember asking in the first place? What if he thought I was completely crazy for claiming he had?

Daniel stepped closer. Leaning in, he pressed his hands against the sides of my legs. My skin tingled uncontrollably in response.

“Do I remember what?” he asked.

My heart sank in my chest, realizing I was engaged to someone who didn’t even remember asking. Who maybe hadn’t even really wanted to ask. Maybe his memory had blocked it out on purpose.

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