The Savage Grace Page 9

Especially considering where Mom was now. She’d earned herself a one-way ticket to mandatory lockdown in the psych ward at City Hospital, courtesy of Dr. Connors.

“Um, not to make you madder at me, but your dad has a point,” April said. “I mean, what if Mr. Caleb ‘I’m a scary nut job’ Kalbi is watching the place, just waiting for you to come back?”

“I doubt he’d go back there. Besides—”

“No,” Dad said. He locked eyes with me. “And don’t you forget that you promised me you wouldn’t go running off without my blessing again. I am not letting you go back there, and that’s final.”

“But part of that promise was that you’d hear me out. That we’d work together—as a family. Daniel needs a moonstone. I know it. I can feel it. And now you’re telling me to give up before I can—”

“What we’re telling you to do is be safe.” Dad reached across his desk and tried to take my hand. I pulled it away. “I’ve seen the way you’ve been limping around here all weekend. Not to mention the internal injuries you suffered because of Caleb. You’re in no shape to be heading into potential danger again.”

He had a point about the ankle. Crouching in the gravel for so long had done little to help it reheal. I stood up and pretended not to feel the sharp twinge that shot through my leg when I put weight on it. I stood as tall as I could. “I’m fine.”

“I suggest you go home and rest.” Gabriel scrubbed his hands down his weary face. “We’ll talk about this later. Come up with a more sensible plan.”

“Think of the big picture, Gracie,” Dad said. “Your life is a lot bigger than this moment. You need to remember that you can’t let the trials you face right now derail your course forever.”

“I am thinking about the big picture. Not only has the boy I love been turned into a wolf and he’s stuck that way, but we also have a psychotic werewolf with a gang of bloodthirsty demons after us, not to mention Sirhan and his pack, and whatever the hell they want with me.… Daniel may be the only one who can stop Caleb from killing us and then taking over the strongest werewolf pack in the country and doing who knows what horrendous things with his newfound power. Because when Sirhan dies, Daniel will be the only true alpha left on this side of the planet, if not the whole world. That sounds pretty ‘big picture’ to me!”

My voice had risen louder than I’d meant it to. From the expressions on their faces I could tell I must look all wild-eyed and insane. How could I make them understand?

“And I miss him,” I said, my voice much softer now. “I miss him so bad, it makes my heart ache like there’s something inside of it, pushing out, and the whole thing is just going to burst open at any moment if the pressure gets any greater. I miss being held in his arms.” I turned to April because I felt more comfortable telling her these things than my dad or Gabriel. “I miss that look he gets in his eyes when he’s really in the groove with a new painting. I miss the look in his eyes when he looks at me. I miss how everything I said to him was important. Like I was the most important person in the world to him. And now, I don’t even know if he understands me when I speak.”


I shook my head to stop Dad from interrupting. “It feels like he’s dead. Only it’s worse because he’s still here. Only it isn’t him. Not completely. He’s physically here, stuck inside that white wolf, and at the same time he’s never felt so far away. He’s not Daniel. We don’t even know what he is.” I looked back at Gabriel and Dad. “I swore I wouldn’t give up on him. And I’d move a whole damn mountain if I thought it would change him back. So how can you ask me to give up and go to school when all I have to do is search some abandoned warehouse for a few priceless stones that might change him back?”

“Letting you go to the warehouse in this condition is not an option—”

“Then I’ll go to Sirhan,” I said, even though that idea scared me more than the warehouse. “He’s the keeper of the rest of the moonstones, isn’t he?”

Gabriel nodded solemnly, and I knew he’d been thinking the same thing.

“Over my dead body,” Dad said. “The warehouse is foolhardy, but going to Sirhan is akin to suicide. I barely survived my encounter with him, and I’m not allowing any of you to go. He hates Daniel for being Caleb’s son, so what makes you think he’d want to help him?”

This time I could see my dad’s point. I knew Gabriel was in hot water with Sirhan for not returning weeks ago—with me as his unwilling guest. If we sent Gabriel to get a moonstone for Daniel, I had serious doubts we’d ever see him again. And I didn’t know what Sirhan wanted with me, but the pure fact that he had ordered Gabriel to bring me to him made me fear him even more than Caleb sometimes. If I went to Sirhan, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to come back. And then there was the fact that Daniel had been banished from Sirhan’s pack, not only for being Caleb’s son but also because Sirhan recognized Daniel as a true alpha. I had no idea what they might do to him now that he’d embraced his own true alpha–ness. Sirhan might see Daniel as the ultimate threat.

“I won’t go to Sirhan if you let me go to the warehouse. But I need to go soon. I’m afraid if Daniel keeps wandering farther into the forest … that he won’t come back again at all.” We’d heard him howling again last night, and it had sounded much farther away. I’d sent Marcos and Ryan to quiet him down, and they’d told me they’d had to run for almost a half hour at full speed to get to him in the depths of the woods.

Dad sighed. “Then let me go for you.”

“That’s a terrible idea, Paul,” Gabriel said. “If anyone should go, it should be me.”

“You and the girls have school. I’ll go tomorrow while it’s daylight. I can at least have a look around to see what I can find.”

“No way. You don’t have any powers at all. That’s even more dangerous than me going.” I couldn’t believe how quickly this conversation had turned surreal. I was used to Dad trying to convince me not to wander into dangerous places—but the vice-versa situation suddenly made me understand why he worried so much. “What if someone is waiting there—?”

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