Wicked Lovely Page 36

She went over and watched him, trying to figure out how to tell him about the carnival. She'd tried to start that sentence several times since she'd arrived. It hadn't worked. This time she just blurted out, "I'm meeting Keenan tonight."

Seth didn't look away from the boiling water as he asked, "You're going out with the faery king? The guy who's stalking you?"

"It's not a date." She was close enough to touch him, but she didn't. "He asked me to go to a carnival…" He did look at her then. "He's dangerous." She took the spoon out of his hand and pulled his arm gently so he turned toward her. "If I don't figure out what he wants, Grams is going to take away the little bit of freedom I still have. I need to figure out a way to make him leave me alone."

Seth had that same strange panicked look he'd had after he heard about the guys— the human guys —outside the library. He nodded, slowly, like he was thinking, processing what she was saying.

She kept talking. "Maybe there's something I can do or say…or overhear." She leaned against him, needing his comfort, his support. She was afraid, but she couldn't just sit around waiting for someone to save her. She had to try to save herself, try to figure it out.

He didn't say anything.

So she said softly, "Do you have a better idea?"


He sighed and pulled her close, holding her tightly. "His timing sucks."

She laughed—because it was either that or weep. "You think?"

The pasta started boiling over behind them, hissing and spattering. She picked up the wooden spoon and stirred.

He stood behind her, his hands resting on her hips. "After dinner I wanted to check out some of the ointments in those recipes, so I can see them too."

"Okay." She looked over her shoulder at him.

He dropped a quick kiss on her cheek. It was sweet, tender.

His next remark, however, was anything but sweet. "You need to move out of the way."


He nudged her to the side. "No wonder you eat all that yogurt. Your cooking skills" — he sighed—"pitiful."

She laughed for real then, grateful that he was teasing, grateful that he wasn't letting her admission spoil what was left of their evening. She smacked his arm lightly. "I can stir pasta. It's not a special skill."

"Half of it will be stuck to the pan if you keep trying to do it. Come on. Out of the way."

Still smiling, she moved to the side and opened the minifridge. A six-pack of some microbrew sat there—no cheap drinks for him. Only Seth. He didn't share his beer, though. Any drinking done at his place was strictly BYOB. Doesn't hurt to ask. She pulled one out. "Can I?"

"You don't drink well, Ash." He frowned. "Thought you'd want a clear head."

She stopped herself before she told him how afraid she was. Instead she closed the fridge, still holding the bottle. "Split it with me?"

With another disapproving look, he handed her a plate of already sliced bread. "So where is this carnival?"

"Down at the river." She set the plate on the table and held out the bottle to him.

"You could cancel—postpone even, at least until we know more." He twisted the cap off, took a drink, and handed it back. "Do you know how many stories there are of them stealing people? Hundreds of years, Ash, people being gone hundreds of years."

"I know." She took a drink, looked at him, and took another.

Seth took the bottle out of her hand and pointed at the bread. "Eat something, then we'll try some of those recipes."

He glanced at the clock as he started rinsing the pasta. "I need to be able to see them so I can find you if something does go wrong."

After dinner Aislinn called to check in with Grams. She assured Grams she was in a safe place. "I'm with Seth. I'll be here for a while…"

She didn't tell Grams that she wasn't staying at Seth's. She felt guilty for it, but Grams already worried too much. After murmuring a few more assurances—and feeling guiltier—she hung up.

I wish I could just stay here. Careful not to bump Boomer, she stretched out on the sofa and closed her eyes for a minute.

Seth leaned down and kissed her forehead. He did that a lot lately, little touches, careful signs of affection— reminding her that he cared. Of course, he still flirted until the tension was exhilarating.

And real, not some faery trick. Seth is real. She hadn't asked what he wanted, didn't know how, but she was almost positive he wasn't looking for a fling.

She opened her eyes. For a moment it almost looked like her skin was glowing.

I'm just tired. She blinked.

He sat on the other end of the sofa, putting her feet on his lap. Then he held out a stack of recipes. "I've got three teas, a couple salves, a few tinctures, and one poultice. What do you think?"

She sat up and scooted closer. "A poultice?"

His hand tangled in her hair, lifting a long strand out and twisting it around his fingers. "Something you put on an injury, like putting steak on a black eye."

"Umm, yuck." She took the papers, scanned them.

Seth's playing with my hair. His fingertips brushed against her collarbone, and she realized she was holding her breath.


She let her breath out slowly and tried to focus on the words on the page. Everything felt somehow more important when she thought about where she was going that night and with whom.

Source: www_Novel22_Net

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