The Savage Grace Page 37

“Nothing,” I said, and started to pull away.

“No, Gracie.” Daniel grabbed my arms. An expression of pain crossed his face as he pulled me up so I was standing in front of him, gripping me tightly so I couldn’t run away. “Whatever it is you wanted to ask me is important. I can see it on your face. Don’t hide anything from me. That’s not how we work. Not anymore. We’re in this together. No matter what.”

I could tell he meant it. So maybe the idea of our being engaged wouldn’t be too crazy, even if he had no recollection of it. “It’s just that … when we were locked up … you asked me … What the hell?” I jumped back and smacked my hip on the foot of my bed. My hearing had pricked at the sound of an unexpected noise, stopping me from finishing what I was about to say.

Daniel laughed and let go of my arms. “That’s an odd thing for me to ask.”

I held my hand up to quiet him and then concentrated my powers into my hearing. I felt a slight pop in my eardrums, and my hearing increased just in time to catch the noise again. I knew exactly what it was this time—the sound of a car door opening and closing. Out in my driveway.

Then another noise, one I never would have heard without my powers: a key being slipped into the lock of the front door downstairs.

Daniel’s eyes widened. He’d heard it, too. “Who … ?” he whispered.

“I don’t know.” My muscles tensed. “My parents are both in the hospital…”

A creaking noise accompanied the opening of the front door. Then footsteps as someone crossed the threshold. Anxious power tingled under my skin. Who could be inside my house? How could they even get a key?

Suddenly, I pictured Caleb and a gang of his boys entering my house. Coming for us at last…

“James, don’t drag your blanket,” I heard a voice call.

A sigh of relief rippled through me. “Aunt Carol,” I said to Daniel. I jogged over to the window and saw her yellow Subaru parked in the driveway with its trunk open. I watched as Charity pulled a duffel bag from the back, and Baby James dragged his blanket across the leaf-strewn grass. “And she’s brought Charity and James. I told her not to come here.”

“You’re related. I’m not surprised that she didn’t listen,” Daniel said with a quiet laugh.

“Hey,” I whispered loudly. “That’s justified … but how am I going to explain the half-naked guy in my bedroom?”

“Just tell her the truth.” He shrugged overdramatically, his hands turned up. “Werewolves are always naked when they turn back into human.”

“Ha. Ha.” I gave him a “Not appreciated” look, but I couldn’t help smiling.

“Don’t worry,” Daniel whispered. “I’m good at disappearing.”

I looked out the window again just as a white SUV pulled up behind Aunt Carol’s car in the driveway. “Oh crap!”


“Sheriff Wright,” I said as I watched him get out of the patrol SUV with Deputy Marsh. I could think of only one reason why they would come here. I’d almost let myself believe that we’d gotten away. “I think those hunters went to the police. You better pull that vanishing act now.”

I turned to Daniel, but he was already gone.

Chapter Twenty



I jogged out of my room and headed for the stairs just in time to hear Aunt Carol greet the sheriff at the door. I slowed my pace and tried to go down the stairs as casually as possible. I even threw in a yawn with a dramatic stretch for good measure.

“Kind of early for a visit,” Carol said to the sheriff. “I just got here.”

“Is this about Dad?” Charity asked. I could hear the concern in her voice.

“No, miss.” Sheriff Wright tipped his hat to them. “We’re here to ask Grace a few questions.” He glanced up and saw me descending the stairs.

“Gwacie!” Baby James said. He ran to me and practically threw himself into my arms.

I wrapped him in a bear hug but didn’t take my eyes off the sheriff and Deputy Marsh. Their presence here couldn’t be a coincidence, not with what happened last night. “Hey, little man, how was your trip?” I asked my little brother.

“Long,” James said. “I hungwy.”

“Hello, Grace.” Marsh gave me a too-friendly grin. “We looked for you at the school this morning but couldn’t find you.”

“I wasn’t feeling well,” I said. “I would have had one of my parents call the school under different circumstances.”

“Since when does the school send the police when someone plays hooky?” Aunt Carol asked. “The poor girl’s parents are both in the hospital. I think a few truancies are understandable.” Carol never did have a lot of patience, and I could tell she wanted to finish bringing in the luggage. They must have driven most of the night to get here this early in the morning.

“This isn’t about school,” Sheriff Wright said. “I need to ask you a few questions about last night.”

“last night?”

Oy, why did my voice always sound so weird when I was trying to act casual?

“We got a couple of hunters in the station this morning. They were part of yesterday’s hunt for the wolf that’s been howling so loud the whole town can hear it. The hunters claim they were on the verge of capturing it, but then they were accosted by someone who knocked them out and stole their guns. Happened a mile or so into the woods behind this neighborhood.”

“Oh, that’s too bad.” I kept my face as blank as possible. “But what do you need me for?”

“Their description of the assailant fits you to a tee,” Marsh said. “One of them claims to have recognized you.”

Charity gave me a surprised stare.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Red “lie marks” burned up my neck. Why did I have to be such a bad liar?

Carol gave a derisive chuckle. “You mean a couple of full-grown men came into your station, claiming a five-foot-two-inch stick of a teenage girl beat them up, and you didn’t laugh them right out the door? This is ridiculous. Now if you don’t mind, I’d like to get the car unpacked and Baby James down for a nap. We drove all night to get here.” She started to close the door in their faces.

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