For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница

So, although he held most of me to the ground, I managed to shove my elbow up and nail him in the face. He flinched, and that was all I needed. I rolled him over and held him down. He fought to push me off, and I pushed right back while also trying to maneuver my stake. He was so strong, though. I was certain I wouldn't be able to hold him. Then, just as I thought I'd lose my hold, I got a good grip on the stake. And like that, the stake came down over For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница his heart. It was done.

Behind me, people were clapping, but all I noticed was Dimitri. Our gazes were locked. I was still straddling him, my hands pressed against his chest. Both of us were sweaty and breathing heavily. His eyes looked at me with pride— and a hell of a lot more. He was so close, and my whole body yearned for him, again thinking he was a piece of me I needed in order to be complete. The air between us seemed warm and heady, and I would have given anything in that moment to lie down with For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница him and have his arms wrap around me. His expression showed me that he was thinking the same thing. The fight was finished, but remnants of the adrenaline and animal intensity remained.

Then a hand reached down, and Jean helped me stand up. She and Yuri were beaming, as were the spectators who had wandered up. Even Lissa looked impressed. Dean, understandably, looked miserable. I hoped word of my stunning victory would spread around campus as fast as the recent bad stuff about me had. Probably not.

"Well done," said Yuri. "You took down all three of us. That was textbook For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница perfect."

Dimitri was on his feet now too. I looked pointedly at the other two guardians because I was pretty sure if I looked at him, my expression would give everything away. My breathing was still heavy. "I hope … I hope I didn't hurt any of you," I said.

This made all of them laugh. "That's our job," said Jean. "Don't worry about us. We're tough." She glanced at Dimitri. "She got you pretty good with her elbow."

Dimitri rubbed his face near his eye, and I hoped I hadn't caused For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница too much damage. "The student surpasses the teacher," he joked. "Or stakes, rather."

Yuri was giving Dean a hard look. "Alcohol isn't allowed on campus."

"It's Sunday!" he exclaimed. "We aren't supposed to be on duty."

"There are no rules in the real world," said Jean in a very teacherlike way. "Consider this a pop quiz. You passed it, Rose. Very nice job."

"Thanks. Wish I could say the same for my clothes." I was wet and muddy. "I'm going to have to go change, Liss. I'll meet you for dinner."

"Okay." Her face was For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница alight. She was so proud of me, she could barely contain it. I could also sense her keeping something secret, and I wondered if there would be a congratulations surprise when I saw her later. I didn't probe too deeply, lest I ruin it.

"And you," said Yuri, tugging at Dean's sleeve, "are going to take a walk with us."

I met Dimitri's eyes. I wished he could have stuck around and talked. My adrenaline was running high, and I wanted to celebrate. I'd done it. Finally. After all the embarrassment over my fumbles and For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница alleged incompetence, I'd finally proven what I could do. I wanted to start dancing. Dimitri had to go with the others, though, and only a slight nod of his head told me he wished it were otherwise. I sighed and watched them leave, and then I walked back to my dorm alone.

Back in my room, I discovered the situation was worse than I thought. Once I'd stripped off my muddy clothes, I realized I was going to need a shower and a good scrubbing before I was presentable. By the time it was all done, nearly an hour For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница had passed. I'd missed most of dinner.

I ran back over to the commons, wondering why Lissa hadn't sent me any nagging thoughts. She had a tendency to do that when I was running late. Probably she'd decided I'd deserved a break after my triumph. Thinking about it again, a big grin crept over my face, one that dried up when I headed down the hallway that led to the cafeteria.

A big group of people had gathered around something, and I recognized the international sign of a fight. Considering how Jesse's band liked For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to conduct their beatings in secret, I figured this probably had nothing to do with them. Squeezing through people, I pushed myself forward and peeked over some heads, curious as to who could have drawn such a crowd.



It was Adrian and Christian.

And Eddie. But Eddie was clearly there in a referee role. He was standing between them, trying to keep them away from each other. Manners gone, I shoved aside the last few people in front of me and hurried to Eddie's side.

"What the hell's going on?" I demanded.

He looked For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница relieved to see me. He might be able to fend off our instructors in combat, but this situation was clearly something he was confused about.

"No idea."

I looked at the two combatants. Fortunately, no one seemed to have hit anybody … yet. It also looked as though Christian was the one on the offensive.

"How long did you think you could get away with it?" he exclaimed. His eyes were like blue fire. "Did you seriously think everyone would keep buying your act?"

Adrian looked laconic as usual, but I could see some anxiety under that lazy smile. He didn For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница't want to be in this situation, and, like Eddie, he wasn't even sure how it had happened.

"Honestly," said Adrian in a weary voice, "I have no idea what you're talking about. Can we please just go sit down and discuss this reasonably?"

"Sure. Of course you'd want that. You're afraid I might do this." Christian held up his hand, and a ball of flame danced over his palm. Even under the fluorescent lights, it glowed bright orange with a deep blue core. There were gasps from the crowd. I'd long since gotten For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница used to the idea of Moroi fighting with magic—Christian in particular—but for most, it was still a taboo thing. Christian smirked. "What have you got to fight back with? Plants?"

"If you're going to go start fights for no reason, you should at least do it the old-fashioned way and throw a punch," said Adrian. His voice was light, but he was still uneasy. My guess was that he figured he could do better with hand-to-hand than spirit-to-fire.

"No," interrupted Eddie. "No one's going to set anyone on fire. No For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница one's going to punch anybody. There's been some huge mistake."

"What is it?" I demanded. "What happened?"

"Your friend there thinks I'm planning to marry Lissa and carry her off into the sunset," said Adrian. He spoke to me, but his eyes never left Christian.

"Don't act like it's not true," growled Christian. "I know it is. It's been part of your plan—yours and the queen's. She's been backing you the whole time. Coming back here…the whole studying thing … it was a scam to get Lissa away from me and tied For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to your family instead."

"Do you have any idea how paranoid you sound?" asked Adrian. "My great-aunt has to manage the entire Moroi government! Do you think she really cares about who's dating who in high school—especially with the state of affairs lately? Look, I'm sorry about all the time I've spent with her…we'll find her and figure this out. I really wasn't trying to get between you. There's no conspiracy going on here."

"Yes, there is," said Christian. He glanced over at me with a scowl For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница "Isn't there? Rose knows. Rose has known for a while about this. She even talked to the queen about it."

"That's ridiculous," said Adrian, surprised enough that he too shot me a quick glance. "Right?"

"Well …" I began, realizing this was getting very ugly very quickly. "Yes and no."

"See?" asked Christian triumphantly.

The fire flew from his hand, but Eddie and I jumped into motion at the same time. People screamed. Eddie grabbed Christian, forcing the fire to fly high. Meanwhile, I grabbed Adrian and slammed him to the floor. It was a lucky division of labor. I didn For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница't want to think what would have happened if Eddie and I had gone for the same person.

"Glad you care," muttered Adrian, wincing as he lifted his head from the floor.

"Compel him," I murmured as I helped him up. "We need to sort this out without someone spontaneously combusting."

Eddie was trying to restrain Christian from leaping forward. I grabbed a hold of one arm to help. Adrian didn't look thrilled about coming any closer, but he obeyed me nonetheless. Christian tried to jerk free but couldn't fight both Eddie and me. Uneasily, probably afraid For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница of his hair catching on fire, Adrian leaned over Christian and made eye contact.

"Christian, stop this. Let's talk."

Christian struggled a little against his restraints, but slowly, his face went slack and his eyes started to glaze over.

"Let's talk about this," repeated Adrian.

"Okay," said Christian.

There was a collective sigh of disappointment from the crowd. Adrian had used his compulsion smoothly enough that no one suspected. It had looked as though Christian had simply seen reason. As the crowd dispersed, Eddie and I released Christian enough to a lead him over For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to far corner where we could talk in private. As soon as Adrian broke the gaze, Christian's face filled with fury, and he tried to leap at Adrian. Eddie and I were already holding on. He didn't move.

"What did you just do?" exclaimed Christian. Several people down the hall glanced back, no doubt hoping there'd be a fight after all. I shushed loudly in his ear. He flinched. "Ow."

"Be quiet. Something's wrong here, and we need to figure it out before you do something stupid."

"What's wrong," Christian said, glaring at Adrian, "is that they For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница're trying to break up Lissa and me, and you knew about it, Rose."

Adrian glanced at me. "Did you really?"

"Yeah, long story." I turned back to Christian. "Look, Adrian didn't have anything to do with this. Not intentionally. It was Tatiana's idea—and she hasn't even actually done anything yet. It's just her long-term plan—hers alone, not his."

"Then how did you know about it?" demanded Christian.

"Because she told me—she was afraid that I was moving in on Adrian."

"Really? Did you defend our love?" Adrian asked.

"Be For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница quiet," I said. "What I want to know, Christian, is who told you?"

"Ralf," he said, looking uncertain for the first time.

"You should have known better than to listen to him," remarked Eddie, face darkening at the name.

"Except, for once, Ralf was actually telling the truth— aside from Adrian being in on it. Ralf's related to the queen's best friend," I explained.

"Wonderful," said Christian. He seemed calm enough, so Eddie and I released him. "We've all been played."

I looked around, suddenly taken aback by something. "Where's Lissa? Why didn't she stop For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница all of this?"

Adrian raised an eyebrow at me. "You tell us. Where is she? She didn't come to dinner."

"I can't. …" I frowned. I'd gotten so good at shielding myself when I needed to that long periods of time would go by without me feeling anything from her. This time, I sensed nothing because there was nothing coming from her. "I can't feel her."

Three sets of eyes stared at me.

"Is she asleep?" asked Eddie.

"I can tell when she's asleep…This is something different…" Slowly, slowly, I gained a For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница sense of where she was. She'd been blocking me out on purpose, trying to hide from me, but I'd found her as I always did. "There she is. She was— oh God!"

My scream rang down the hall, echoing Lissa's own screams as, far away, pain shot through her.

CHAPTER 23

Others in the hall stopped and stared. I felt like I had just been hit in the face. Only it hadn't been my face. It had been Lissa's. I shifted into her mind and became instantly aware of her surroundings and everything happening to For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница her—like the next time rocks flew up from the ground and slammed into her cheeks. They were guided by a freshman I didn't know anything about, save that he was a Drozdov. The rocks hurt both of us, but I withheld my screaming this time and gritted my teeth as I shifted back to the hallway with my friends.

"Northwest side of campus, between that weird-shaped pond and the fence," I told them.

With that, I broke away from them and headed out the door, running as hard as I could toward the part of campus where they For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница were holding Lissa. I couldn't see all of the people gathered there through her eyes, but I recognized a few. Jesse and Ralf were there. Brandon. Brett. The Drozdov guy. Some others. The rocks were still hitting her, still cutting into her face. She didn't scream or cry, though—she just kept telling them over and over to stop while two other guys held her between them.

Jesse, meanwhile, kept telling her to make them stop. I only half-listened to him through her mind. The reasons didn't matter, and I'd already For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница figured it out. They were going to torture her until she agreed to join their group. They must have forced Brandon and the others in the same way.

A suffocating feeling suddenly overwhelmed me, and I stumbled, unable to breathe as water smothered my face. Fighting hard, I separated myself from Lissa. That was happening to her, not me. Someone was torturing her with water now, using it to cut off her air. Whoever it was took their time, alternately filling her face with water, then pulling it back, then repeating. She gasped and sputtered, still asking them to stop when she For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница could.

Jesse continued watching with calculating eyes. "Don't ask them. Make them."

I tried running harder, but I could only go so much faster. They were at one of the farthest points of campus's boundaries. It was a lot of distance to cover, and with every agonizing step, I felt more of Lissa's pain and grew angrier and angrier. What kind of a guardian could I ever be to her if I couldn't even keep her safe here on campus?

An air user went next, and suddenly, it was like she was being tortured For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница by Victor's henchman all over again. Air was alternately taken from her, leaving her gasping, and then slammed back into her, crushing her face. It was agony, and it brought back all the memories of her capture, all the terror and horror she'd been trying to forget. The air user stopped, but it was too late. Something snapped inside of her.

When Ralf stepped up next to use fire, I was so close that I actually saw it flare up in his hand. But he didn't see me.

None of them had been paying attention to For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница their surroundings, and there'd been too much noise from their own spectacle to hear me. I slammed into Ralf before the fire could leave his hand, pulling him to the ground and punching his face in one skilled maneuver. A few of the others—including Jesse— ran to help him and tried to pry me away. At least, they tried until they realized who it was.

Those who saw my face immediately backed off. Those who didn't quickly learned the hard way when I went after them. I'd taken out three fully trained guardians earlier today For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница. A group of spoiled royal Moroi took hardly any effort. It was ironic, too—and a sign of how unwilling some Moroi were to lift a hand in their defense—that while this group had been so eager to use magic to torture Lissa, none of them had actually thought to use it against me.

Most of them scattered before I could even lay a hand on them, and I didn't care enough to go after them. I just wanted them away from Lissa. Admittedly, I gave Ralf a few extra punches even after he'd gone down For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница, since I held him responsible for this whole mess. I finally left him alone, lying on the ground and groaning, as I straightened up and looked for Jesse—the other culprit here. I quickly found him. He was the only one left.

I ran over to him and then skidded to a halt, confused. He was just standing there, staring into space, mouth hanging open. I looked at him, looked at where he was staring, and then looked back at him.

"Spiders," Lissa said. Her voice made me jump. She stood off to the side with wet hair For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница, bruised and cut, but otherwise okay. In the moonlight, her pale features made her look almost as ghostly as Mason. Her eyes never left Jesse as he spoke. "He thinks he's seeing spiders. And that they're crawling on him. What do you think? Should I have gone with snakes?"

I looked back at Jesse. The expression on his face sent chills down my spine. It was like he was locked in his own private nightmare. Scarier still was what I felt through the bond. Usually when Lissa used magic, it felt golden and warm and wonderful. This For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница time, it was different. It was black and slimy and thick.

"I think you should stop," I said. In the distance, I heard people running toward us. "It's all over."

"It was an initiation ritual," she said. "Well, kind of. They asked me to join a couple of days ago, and I refused. But they bugged me again today and kept saying they knew something important about Christian and Adrian. It started to get to me, so … I finally told them I'd come to one of their sessions but that I didn't know anything about compulsion For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница. It was an act. I just wanted to know what they knew." She tilted her head barely at all, but something must have happened to Jesse. His eyes widened further as he continued to silently scream. "Even though I hadn't technically agreed yet, they put me through their initiation ritual. They wanted to know how much I could really do. It's a way to test how strong people are in compulsion. Torture them until they can't stand it, and then, in the heat of it all, people lash out and try to compel the attackers For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to stop. If the victim manages any sort of compulsion at all, that person's in the group." She regarded Jesse carefully. He seemed to be in his own world, and it was a very, very bad one. "I guess this makes me their president, huh?"

"Stop it," I said. The feel of this twisted magic was making me nauseous. She and Adrian had mentioned something like this before, this idea of making people see things that weren't there. They'd jokingly called it super compulsion—and it was horrible. "This isn't how spirit is supposed to be used For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница. This isn't you. It's wrong."

She was breathing heavily, sweat breaking out along her brow. "I can't let go of it," she said.

"You can," I said. I touched her arm. "Give it to me."

She briefly turned from Jesse and looked at me, astonished, before fixing her gaze back on him.

"What? You can't use magic."

I focused hard on the bond, on her mind. I couldn't take the magic exactly, but I could take the darkness it brought on. It was what I'd been doing for a while now For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница, I realized. Every time I'd worried and wished she'd calm down and fight dark feelings, she had—because I was taking it all from her. I was absorbing it, just as Anna had done for St. Vladimir. It was what Adrian had seen when the darkness jumped from her aura to mine. And this—this abuse of spirit, using it to maliciously harm another and not for self-defense, was bringing the worst side effects of all in her. It was corrupting and wrong, and I couldn't let her have it. All thoughts of my own madness For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница or rage were completely irrelevant at this moment.

"No," I agreed. "I can't. But you can use me to let it go. Focus on me. Release it all. It's wrong. You don't want it."

She stared at me again, eyes wide and desperate. Even without direct eye contact, she was still able to torture Jesse. I both saw and felt the fight she waged. He'd hurt her so much—she wanted him to pay. He had to. And yet, at the same time, she knew I was right. But it was hard. So hard for her to For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница let go …

Suddenly, the burn of that black magic vanished from the bond, along with that sickening sensation. Something hit me like a blast of wind in the face, and I staggered backward. I shuddered as a weird sensation twisted my stomach. It was like sparks, like a coil of electricity burning within me. Then it too was gone. Jesse fell to his knees, free of the nightmare.

Lissa sank with visible relief. She was still scared and hurt over what had happened, but she was no longer consumed with that terrible, destructive rage that had driven her For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to punish Jesse. That urge within her had disappeared.

The only problem was, it was in me now.

I turned on Jesse, and it was like nothing else existed in the universe except him. He had tried to ruin me in the past. He'd tortured Lissa and hurt so many others. It was unacceptable. I lunged for him. His eyes had only a moment to widen with terror before my fist connected with his face. His head jerked back, and blood spurted from his nose. I heard Lissa scream for me to stop, but I couldn For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница't. He had to pay for what he'd done to her. I grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him hard against the ground. He was yelling now too—begging—for me to stop. He shut up when I hit him again.

I felt Lissa's hands clawing at me, trying to pull me off, but she wasn't strong enough. I kept hitting him. There was no sign of the strategic, precise fighting I'd used earlier with him and his friends, or even against Dimitri. This was unfocused and primal. This was me being controlled by the For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница madness I'd taken from Lissa.

Then another set of hands ripped me away. These hands were stronger, dhampir hands, backed by muscles earned through years of training. It was Eddie. I struggled against his hold. We were closely matched, but he outweighed me.

"Let me go!" I yelled.

To my complete and utter horror, Lissa was now kneeling at Jesse's side, studying him with concern. It made no sense. How could she do that? After what he'd done? I saw compassion on her face, and a moment later, the burn of her healing magic lit our bond as For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница she took away some of the worst of his injuries.

"No!" I screamed, straining against Eddie's hold. "You can't!"

That was when the other guardians showed up, Dimitri and Celeste in the lead. Christian and Adrian were nowhere in sight; they probably couldn't have kept pace with the others.

Organized chaos followed. Those from the society who remained were gathered up and herded off for questioning. Lissa likewise was taken away, led off to get her injuries treated. A part of me that was buried in all that bloodthirsty emotion wanted to go after her, but For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница something else had caught my attention: They were also removing Jesse for medical help. Eddie was still holding onto me, his grip never faltering despite my struggles and pleas. Most of the adults were too busy with the others to notice me, but they noticed when I started shouting again.

"You can't let him go! You can't let him go!"

"Rose, calm down," said Alberta, her voice mild. How could she not get what was going on? "It's over."

"It is not over! Not until I get my hands around his throat and For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница choke the life out of him!"

Alberta and some of the others seemed to realize that something serious was happening now—but they didn't appear to think it had anything to do with Jesse. They were all giving me the Rose-is-crazy look I'd come to know so well in recent days.

"Get her out of here," said Alberta. "Get her cleaned up and calmed down." She didn't give any more instructions than that, but somehow, it was understood that Dimitri would be the one to deal with me.

He came over and took me from Eddie For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница. In the brief change of captors, I tried to break away, but Dimitri was too fast and too strong. He grabbed my arm and started pulling me away from the scene.

"We can make this easy or difficult," said Dimitri as we walked through the woods. "There's no way I'm letting you go to Jesse. Besides, he's at the med clinic, so you'd never get near him. If you can accept that, I'll release you. If you bolt, you know I'll just restrain you again."

I weighed my options. The need For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to make Jesse suffer was still pounding in my blood, but Dimitri was right. For now.

"Okay," I said. He hesitated a moment, perhaps wondering if I was telling the truth, and then let go of my arm. When I didn't run off, I felt him relax very, very slightly.

"Alberta told you to clean me up," I said evenly. "So we're going to the med clinic?"

Dimitri scoffed. "Nice try. I'm not letting you near him. We'll get first aid somewhere else."

He led me off at an angle from the attack location, toward For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница an area still at the edge of campus. I quickly realized where he was going. It was a cabin. Back when there had been more guardians on campus, some had actually stayed at these little outposts, providing regular protection for the school's boundaries. They'd long since been abandoned, but this one had been cleaned up when Christian's aunt had visited. She'd preferred hanging out here than in the school's guest housing where other Moroi regarded her as a potential Strigoi.

He opened the door. It was dark inside, but I could see well enough to watch For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница him find matches and light a kerosene lantern. It didn't provide a huge amount of light, but it was fine for our eyes. Glancing around, I saw that Tasha really had done a good job with the place. It was clean and almost cozy, the bed made up with a soft quilt and a couple of chairs pulled up to the fireplace. There was even some food—canned and packaged—in the kitchen off to the side of the room.

"Sit down," said Dimitri, gesturing to the bed. I did, and in about a minute, he For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница had a fire going to warm the place up. Once it was in full blaze, he grabbed a first aid kit and a bottle of water from the counter and walked back over to the bed, dragging a chair so he could sit opposite me.

"You have to let me go," I begged. "Don't you see? Don't you see how Jesse has to pay? He tortured her! He did horrible things to her."

Dimitri wet some gauze and dabbed it to the side of my forehead. It stung, so I apparently had a cut there. "He'll be punished For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница, believe me. And the others."

"With what?" I asked bitterly. "Detention? This is as bad as Victor Dashkov. Nobody does anything around here! People commit crimes and get away with it. He needs to hurt. They all need to."

Dimitri paused his cleaning, giving me a concerned look. "Rose, I know you're upset, but you know we don't punish people like that. It's … savage."

"Yeah? What's wrong with that? I'd bet it'd stop them from doing it again." I could barely sit there. Every part of my body trembled with fury. "They need For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница to suffer for what they did! And I want to be the one to do it! I want to hurt them all. I want to kill them all." I started to get up, suddenly feeling like I'd explode. His hands were on my shoulders in a flash, shoving me back down. The first aid was long forgotten. His expression was a mixture of both worry and fierceness as he held me down. I fought against him, and his fingers bit in tighter.

"Rose! Snap out of this!" He was yelling now too. "You don't mean For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница any of it. You've been stressed and under a lot of pressure—it's making a terrible event that much worse."

"Stop it!" I shouted back at him. "You're doing it—just like you always do. You're always so reasonable, no matter how awful things are. What happened to you wanting to kill Victor in prison, huh? Why was that okay, but not this?"

"Because that was an exaggeration. You know it was. But this…this is something different. There's something wrong with you right now."

"No, there's something right with me." I was For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница sizing him up, hoping my words distracted him. If I was fast enough, maybe—just maybe—I could get past him. "I'm the only one who wants to do anything around here, and if that's wrong, I'm sorry. You keep wanting me to be some impossible, good person, but I'm not! I'm not a saint like you."

"Neither of us is a saint," he said dryly. "Believe me, I don't—"

I made my move, leaping out and shoving him away. It got him off me, but I didn't get far. I'd barely For my nephews, Jordan and Austin 17 страница gotten two feet from the bed when he seized me again and pinned me down, this time using the full weight of his body to keep me immobilized. Somehow, I knew I should have realized it was an impossible escape plan, but I couldn't think straight.

"Let me go!" I yelled for the hundredth time tonight, trying to free my hands.

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