Home > Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(10)

Boundary Lines (Boundary Magic #2)(10)
Author: Melissa F. Olson

His body went completely rigid for a moment, frozen again. I could probably have stopped there, but instead I traced my fingers along his cheek and slid them into his hair. I nipped lightly at his lips, then more urgently, and at last he relaxed, his mouth softening against mine. And before I knew it, he was kissing me back, tentatively, as though he’d just woken up. As our lips opened I tasted blood in his mouth, my blood, but it was no more than if I’d bitten my own lip, and by then I was too caught up in the kiss to be bothered. When I didn’t pull away, Quinn’s arms went to my hips, firmly flipping us over so that I was on top of him, in control, and I smiled into his mouth. He was back.

Still kissing him, I scooted down his body until I was more or less in his lap, and then sat up so he was forced to either follow me or break the kiss. He propelled himself upward, his mouth moving from my lips down the line of my jaw and down my neck. I shuddered with pleasure, opening my eyes to see stars. A tiny hole of stars. Anyone could come along and put the lid back on the septic tank, and then we’d be trapped in here forever, buried alive.

The claustrophobia slammed down on me, and I forgot all about my hormones. Terror raced through my body, crushing my chest, and Quinn went still as he sensed, or maybe smelled, the change in me. I scrambled off his body and stood up unsteadily, lunging for the stepladder. But in my haste, I somehow managed to kick it farther away. The ladder crashed into the lantern, sending the light swinging wildly around the small space, and I was sobbing for breath now, convinced I couldn’t get enough air.

“Lex!” Quinn had realized what was happening. I got a quick glimpse of the wall behind him before he wrapped his arms around me. “Close your eyes,” he whispered. “You can breathe, I promise. Just close your eyes and you’ll see.”

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to trust him. But even without being able to see the concrete walls, I knew they were there, and it felt like they were closing in. I couldn’t get my breathing to slow down.

“Hang on, I’m gonna boost you out,” Quinn said as he pulled away from me. I opened my eyes and stared into his face. “Put your foot in my hand,” he instructed. “On three. One, two, three!”

Without even a grunt of effort, he lifted me up, and for a second I flew like the girl at the top of a cheerleader pyramid, not that I’d ever been a cheerleader. I hit the grass and tumbled, but he’d judged the distance well, and I managed to turn it into a sort of dizzying roll, coming up on one knee. When I found my balance, I let my body sag back down so I was lying on my back, staring at the sky, my breath finally slowing down.

Quinn popped up through the hole a moment later. He didn’t try to touch me, just collapsed next to me on the cold, dying grass. We stayed that way for a moment, side by side on the ground, neither of us quite sure what to say.

“Honestly,” I panted, “we have the most fun.”

He laughed, a startled, sonorous sound that I could see myself getting addicted to. “How’s your head?” he asked.

I touched it gingerly. I had a mild headache, and would probably have a bump the next morning, but the bleeding had already stopped. “Fine, I think. I’ll have Lily look at it when I get back to town, but I don’t think it’ll even need stitches.”

I heard his head nodding against the dry grass. There was a silent moment where we could have discussed the kiss, but I watched it come and go without working up the nerve.

“Did you see the message?” he asked at last.

The message. Right. The whole reason we were in the septic tank in the first place. “Yeah.” I’d noticed the rust-colored words painted on the wall of the tank, but my gaze had only touched on them briefly given all the . . . distractions. The picture surfaced in my memory, the words finally registering. “Was that her handwriting?”

“I think so. And definitely her blood.”

I didn’t ask how he could tell. I didn’t really want to know. I was getting cold, so I sat up and wrapped my arms around my knees. “So she was wounded?”

“Not necessarily.” Quinn sat up next to me and draped an arm around my shoulders. His body gave off very little heat—probably another conservation of energy thing—but I appreciated the gesture anyway. “There’s no blood spatter anywhere else, and I can’t smell any up here either. More likely she wanted to leave a note, but there wasn’t time for her to find a paper and pen. She probably bit her finger, wrote the message, and went to investigate.”

Allegra had left just five words, painted in her own blood: Quinn—howling to the north.

Chapter 6

“This means she didn’t just defect, right?” I asked Quinn.

He was silent for a moment, thinking it over. “With anyone else—hell, even with Travis—I’d argue it doesn’t prove anything,” he said slowly. “If a vampire hated Maven’s leadership, the best way to escape her grasp unscathed would be to skip town and blame it on the werewolves. It’d create a lot of confusion and distraction, giving them the chance to get far enough away that Maven couldn’t find them.”

“But . . .” I prompted.

“But Allegra doesn’t play games,” he stated. “It’s one of the reasons why I liked her. If she didn’t want to be under Maven’s rule, she’d either ask for her freedom or quietly leave the country.”

“So we think it’s werewolves,” I concluded.

   
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