Sacrifice Page 122

’’You were the one trying to unzip my pants in the truck!’’

’’Yeah, well, I thought you weren\ interested. I didn\ realize that your divining rod just pointed in a different direction.’’

’’You\ e killing me,’’ he said. But it sounded like he was smiling.

Quinn sighed. ’’So I\m back on the market. You should have left me on the beach with those guys.’’

His voice sharpened right up. ’’Quinn, that was insane. You know that, right? After what happened with Becca you can\ you just ’’

’’I had nowhere to go!’’ she cried. ’’My mother threw me out again ’’

’’Next time, call me. Or Becca. This was crazy. Anything could have happened.’’

’’Becca was with Chris. And you you weren\ ’’

’’I wasn\ what?’’ He pushed her off him so he could look down at her. His voice was fierce. ’’I wasn\ your friend? I wasn\ concerned? Jesus, Quinn, just because I don\ want to sleep with you doesn\ mean I don\ care about you.’’

She stared at him. No one had ever lectured her like that.

She kind of liked it.

Nick ran a hand through his hair. ’’God, you\ e crazy. Do you think people will only like you because you put out?’’

’’I don\ just think that,’’ she snapped. ’’It\s true.’’

’’It\s not,’’ he said softly. ’’I promise you. It\s not.’’ He paused. ’’You said it was nice dating a guy who was a friend. Why don\ you slow down a bit and take a break from all the . . . ah, extracurriculars ?’’

Quinn smiled. ’’You and your vocabulary.’’

’’I\m serious,’’ he said. ’’Why don\ you put all that passion into your dancing?’’

’’So you want me to hump Adam on stage? I\m not sure that\s the kind of audition he\s looking for.’’

’’Quinn.’’

She squeezed her eyes shut. She was losing Becca to Chris. It was okay, and she got it, but now she was going to lose Nick, too. It was almost enough to force tears between her lashes again.

She opened her eyes and looked down at him. Her voice was choked. ’’Could we keep dating?’’ When Nick frowned, she rushed on. ’’Not like for reals. Just just for a little while?’’

’’Why?’’

Because she didn\ trust herself not to jump on another motorcycle the next time her mom was a raging bitch or a cheerleader called her fat or there wasn\ any chocolate in the house. Because Nick was still someone steady to lean on, someone who wouldn\ use her. Somehow this revelation made him safer, and for the first time, she wanted to cling to a boy especially because he didn\ want to put his Tab A into her Slot B.

Not like she could say that. ’’It would help you, right? Keep a secret?’’ When he didn\ say anything, she studied his eyes. ’’Or . . . are you going to come out . . . ?’’

He sat up quickly and rubbed at his face. ’’No. No. I don\ know.’’

She spoke carefully. ’’It would buy us both some time.’’

His hands dropped. ’’So . . . a secret. Why would you do that for me?’’

Quinn hugged him and spoke into his shoulder. ’’Because you\ e my friend, too.’’ She paused, and a smile found its way into her voice. ’’You know, if I\m dancing with Adam, my boyfriend would have to come along to a lot of my rehearsals.’’

He laughed again, more softly this time. But then he hesitated. ’’Do you really think I could?’’

Nick finally climbed into bed at five in the morning. He was going to be a zombie on those landscaping jobs today.

Quinn was safely asleep at Becca\s, with a stern warning to call him if she felt any need to go anywhere else.

And Adam . . .

’’Hey. You\ e up. Everything okay with Quinn?’’

Nick jumped a mile. He was lucky he didn\ pee his pants. Gabriel was there in the doorway, wearing running shoes and a hoody.

’’Yeah,’’ Nick said. ’’Long night.’’

’’Anything interesting happen?’’

Ha.

For a heartbeat of time, Nick considered telling him everything. Then he shook his head. ’’Nah,’’ he said. ’’I\m going back to sleep for a few hours.’’

’’Sure you don\ want to go for a run?’’

Maybe Gabriel sensed the energy in the room, because Nick was actually considering it. Being out in the crisp air, letting oxygen fill his lungs and charge him with power.

But then he thought of those jobs later this morning.

He thought of the secrets he was keeping from his twin.

He thought of that envelope on his desk, with the letter he didn\ want to open. Or that kiss, when he\d been swept into the maelstrom of emotion and touch and tongues and

His phone buzzed on the nightstand, and Nick glanced at the lit-up display. His heart skipped a beat when he recognized Adam\s number.

Then he realized Gabriel was still waiting.

’’Not today,’’ Nick said. ’’You go on without me.’’

When his brother was gone, Nick unlocked the screen to read Adam\s message.

When you\ e sure of what you want, I\ll be right here.

Find out where it all started! Read on for a sample of Storm, the first in The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer.


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