Wicked Lovely Page 3

This faery was even worse: he had donned a glamour between one step and the next, becoming suddenly visible, as if revealing himself didn't matter at all.

He stopped at the counter and talked to Eddy—leaning close to be heard over the music that blared from the speakers in the corners.

Eddy glanced her way, and then back at the faery. He said her name. She saw it, even though she couldn't hear it.


The faery started walking toward her, smiling, looking for all the world like one of her wealthier classmates.

She turned away and picked up an old issue of Nightmares and Fairy Tales. She clutched it, hoping her hands weren't shaking.

"Aislinn, right?" Faery-boy was beside her, his arm against hers, far too close. He glanced down at the comic, smiling wryly. "Is that any good?"

She stepped back and slowly looked him over. If he was trying to pass for a human she'd want to talk to, he'd failed. From the hems of his faded jeans to his heavy wool coat, he was too uptown. He'd dulled his copper hair to sandy-blond, hidden that strange rustle of summer, but even in his human glamour, he was too pretty to be real.

"Not interested." She slid the comic back in place and walked down the next aisle, trying to keep the fear at bay, and failing.

He followed, steady and too close.

She didn't think he'd hurt her, not here, not in public. For all their flaws, the fey seemed to be better behaved when they wore human faces. Maybe it was fear of the steel bars in human jails. It didn't really matter why: what mattered was that it was a rule they seemed to follow.

But when Aislinn glanced at him, she still wanted to run. He was like one of the big cats in the zoo—stalking its prey from across a ravine.

Deadgirl waited at the front of the shop, invisible, seated on her wolf's back. She had a pensive look on her face, eyes shimmering like an oil slick—strange glints of color in a black puddle.

Don't stare at invisible faeries, Rule #3. Aislinn glanced back down at the bin in front of her calmly, as if she'd been doing nothing more than gazing around the store.

"I'm meeting some people for coffee." Faery-boy moved closer. "You want to come?"

"No." She stepped sideways, putting more distance between them. She swallowed, but it didn't help how dry her mouth was, how terrified and tempted she felt.

He followed. "Some other night."

It wasn't a question, not really. Aislinn shook her head. "Actually, no."

"She already immune to your charms, Keenan?" Deadgirl called out. Her voice was lilting, but there was a harsh edge under the words. "Smart girl."

Aislinn didn't reply: Deadgirl wasn't visible. Don't answer invisible faeries, Rule #2.

He didn't answer her, either, didn't even glance her way. "Can I text you? E-mail? Something?"

"No." Her voice was rough. Her mouth was dry. She swallowed. Her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth, making a soft clicking noise when she tried to speak. "I'm not interested at all."

But she was.

She hated herself for it, but the closer he stood to her, the more she wanted to say yes, yes, please yes to whatever he wanted. She wouldn't, couldn't.

He pulled a piece of paper from his pocket and scrawled something on it. "Here's mine. When you change your mind…"

"I won't." She took it—trying not to let her fingers too near his skin, afraid the contact would somehow make it worse—and shoved it in her pocket. Passive resistance, that was what Grams would counsel. Just get through it and get away.

Eddy was watching her; Deadgirl was watching her.

Faery-boy leaned closer and whispered, "I'd really like to get to know you…" He sniffed her like he really was some sort of animal, no different than the less-human-looking ones. "Really."

And that would be Rule #1: Don't ever attract faeries attention. Aislinn almost tripped trying to get away—from him and from her own inexplicable urge to give in. She did stumble in the doorway when Deadgirl whispered, "Run while you can."

Keenan watched Aislinn leave. She didn't really run, but she wanted to. He could feel it, her fear, like the thrumming heart of a startled animal. Mortals didn't usually run from him, especially girls: only one had ever done so in all the years he'd played this game.

This one, though, she was afraid. Her already-pale skin blanched when he reached out to her, making her look like a wraith framed by her straight blue-black hair. Delicate. It made her seem more vulnerable, easier to approach. Or maybe that was just because she was so slight. He imagined he could tuck her head under his chin and fit her whole body in the spare fold of his coat. Perfect. She'd need some guidance on attire—replace the common clothes she seemed to prefer, add a few bits of jewelry—but that was inevitable these days. At least she had long hair.

She'd be a refreshing challenge, too, in strange control of her emotions. Most of the girls he'd picked were so fiery, so volatile. Once he'd thought that was a good indicator— Summer Queen, fiery passion. It had made sense.

Donia interrupted his thoughts: "I don't think she likes you."


Donia pursed her blue lips—the only spot of color in her cold, white face.

If he studied her, he could find proof of the changes in her—the blond hair faded to the white of a snow squall, the pallor that made her lips seem so blue—but she was still as beautiful as she had been when she'd taken over as the Winter Girl. Beautiful, but not mine, not like Aislinn will be.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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