Bleeding Hearts Page 65

“Maybe I’m under the influence of your pheromones,” I pointed out.

She blinked. “Is that possible?”

I shook my head. “No. Vampire pheromones don’t work on other vampires,” I told her. Except for Solange’s, but she didn’t need to know that yet. “Christa?”

“Yeah?”

“Shut up now.”

She was laughing when I finally closed my mouth over hers. The kiss caught like a spark in a dry field. I’d thought I was feeling ordinary bloodlust that first night in the ghost town, but I wasn’t. It was her. Just her. Our tongues met and I could taste her, drink her, practically breathe her. I couldn’t get close enough. Her hand tightened in my hair and we melted back onto the bed. There were lips and hands and the burn of want in my veins, sweeter than blood. When she lifted her head, her lips were slightly swollen, her eyes heavy lidded.

“Worth exploring?” I asked hoarsely.

She smiled in a way that made me forget my own name.

“Definitely worth exploring.”

Chapter 25

Lucy

I was officially a student of Helios-Ra Academy.

Weird.

Christabel was okay. I’d wanted to visit her myself, but I didn’t have a car anymore and Mom needed to get to work. I had to trust everyone’s assurances that Christabel really was fine, especially since she wasn’t ready for the temptation of humans yet. She was at the Drakes’, recovering and learning about her new life. Or death. Whatever.

And I was learning to be a vampire hunter.

My mom pulled away from the school only after making me promise for the third time that I would double my sun salutations, meditate at least once a week, and come home to visit as much as possible. She was a little teary. It was nothing compared to the guilt trip I’d gotten from Nathan. And I still hadn’t talked to Solange, but Nicholas swore she was sorry. He also swore we’d find a way to see each other. Vampires weren’t exactly a regular occurrence on campus, even if they were treaty vampires. But Quinn and Hunter managed, so we would, too.

It was late afternoon and the sun was already behind the mountain, making the crisp autumn day crisper and filling it with blue shadows. Students jogged around the track and poured in a steady stream between the dorm and the library and gym. According to my schedule, this was a break between classes, which would resume at eight o’clock and go on until midnight. I was already on a similar schedule, staying up late to hang out with Nicholas.

I had a map and my room assignment and a belly full of butterflies. I wasn’t nervous around vampires, even when they were cranky. But this school was already making my palms sweat. I was behind and I sided with the vampires—most of the time.

This should be interesting.

I forced myself to ignore two girls who stared at me and then started whispering the moment I passed them. I heard “Drakes” and “princess.” The path was lined with birch trees and led me to the dorm’s front doors, which looked like something out of a medieval cathedral. They were solid oak with metal hinges and narrow pointed windows on either side.

Inside, it looked like the old house it had once been over a hundred years ago, before modern additions and stampeding students. The staircase looked original, polished wood with a carved banister. I dragged my stuff toward it. There were doors everywhere, leading to bedrooms and common areas. A guy in a baseball cap ran past me, yelling something back to his roommate and nearly knocking me over. He stumbled to a stop, dropping his Frisbee.

“Sorry! Hey, you’re the new girl.”

“Yeah,” I admitted. “Is it that obvious?”

He shrugged. “Not a lot of us here. And you scream hippie.”

“Guilty,” I said, unoffended. I was wearing my mom’s favorite crystal, after all, and wraparound sandals with my patched jeans. Plus, my parents were legendary in Violet Hill.

“I’m Malcolm,” he introduced himself. “You must be the famous Lucky Hamilton.”

I winced. “It’s Lucy and, oh God,” I groaned. “What are they saying about me?”

“That you were there when Hope tried to take down the Drakes.”

“She’s was a bitch.” I paused. “Please tell me she’s not your aunt or something?”

“Dude, no.” He looked curious. “I heard your boyfriend’s a vampire. Is that true?”

“Um, yeah. It is.” I lifted my chin, prepared to fight for Nicholas’s honor.

“Too bad.” Malcolm said, teeth flashing white in his dark face when he shot me a grin that looked almost disappointed.

“Malcolm!” one of his friends yelled through the open window. “Let’s go!”

“They want this.” He lifted the Frisbee. “See ya around, hippie.”

I started up the stairs feeling a little better. He seemed nice. And with Hunter and Chloe, I now knew a total of three people. I could do this.

And then a cluster of girls sneered at me.

“Your boyfriend’s really a vampire?” one of them asked. “God, this place used to have standards.”

I looked her up and down doubtfully. “If you say so.”

Then I marched up the stairs while they whispered to each other. My room was on the second floor, down the hall and wedged into the back corner. Number 207. I knocked before going in.

I’d kind of hoped my roommate would be out so I could acclimate on my own. No such luck. She was sitting at her desk, wearing an ironed school T-shirt and the regulation cargo pants. There was an identical outfit folded neatly on the bare bed. Gah. School uniforms. I’d forgotten about that part.

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