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418 pages, Hardcover
First published June 12, 2012
"Ever had that happen? Once you can’t have something, you want it that much more.”
“Yes,” he said bitterly. “It happens all the time.”
"I don't care if he's not the emotional type or the complimentary type or what. No one can look at you in this dress, in all that fire and gold, and start talking about anachronisms. If I were him, I would have said, 'You are the most beautiful creature I have ever seen walking this earth.”
“Sage?" Adrian lightly touched my arm, and I jumped at the feel of his fingertips against my skin. "You okay?"
"I don't know," I said softly. "I just thought of something crazy."
"Welcome to my world.”
“And I don’t choose you. That’s what you’re missing in all of this.”
Adrian stilled. His smile dropped. “I don’t believe you.”
I scoffed. “Let me guess. Because I kissed you back?” That kiss had made me feel more alive than I had in weeks, and I had a feeling he knew that.
He shook his head. “No. Because there’s no one else out there who understands you like I do.”
“Sage," he said. "What are you wearing?"
I sighed and stared down at the dress. "I know. It's red. Don't start. I'm tired of hearing about it."
"Funny," he said. "I don't think I could ever get tired of looking at it.”
“You need me? You yell. You want to leave? We go. I'll get you out of here, no matter what.”
“You're in an awfully good mood," he observed. "Was there a sale at Khakis-R-Us?”
"Nope. Brayden broke up with me."
“Really, Sage? A date?”
I sighed. “Yes, Adrian. A date.”
“A real date. Not, like, doing homework together,” he added.
“I mean like where you go out to a movie or something. And a movie that’s not part of a school assignment. Or about something boring.”
“A real date.”
“Day 24. Situation is growing worse. My captors continue to find new and horrific ways to torture me. When not working, Agent Scarlet spends her days examining fabric swatches for bridesmaid dresses and going on about how in love she is. This usually causes Agent Boring Borscht to regale us with stories of Russian weddings that are even more boring than his usual ones. My attempts at escape have been thwarted thus far. Also, I am out of cigarettes. Any assistance or tobacco products you can send will be greatly appreciated.
“What do you think Dimitri? Is this a good idea, Dimitri? Please give us your blessing so that we can fall down and worship you, Dimitri.”
“Adrian ordered a martini, earning disapproving looks from his father and me.
'It's barely noon,' said Nathan.
'I know,' said Adrian. 'I'm surprised I held out that long too.”
“The other thing that bothered me… well, he said all that in front of you.”
“Don’t worry about me. I’ve been with much more abrasive people than him.”
“No, no… I mean…” Adrian looked at me and then quickly averted his eyes. “After what he said about me, I can’t stand the thought that you might think less of me.”
"Adrian.” I laid my hand over his and felt a warm spark of connection. He jerked his head toward me in astonishment. “Nothing he said could change what I think of you. I’ve had my mind made up about you for a long time… and it’s all good.”
“You were totally unprepared for her.”
“That's for damned sure.”
"I tried to be a better person for her (Rose)– but it was to impress her, to get her to want me. But when I’m around you, I want to be better because… well, because it feels right. Because I want to. You make me want to become something greater than myself. I want to excel. You inspire me in every act, every word, every glance. I look at you, and you’re like… like light made into flesh. You have no clue how beautiful you are or how brightly you shine."
"Rose once told me about this poem she'd read. There was this line, 'If your eyes weren't open, you wouldn't know the difference between dreaming and waking.' You know what I'm afraid of? That someday, even with my eyes open, I still won't know."
He was more good-looking than he had any right to be. He wore his dark brown hair stylishly messy and had eyes that sometimes seemed too green to be real. He smelled like he'd been smoking recently, which I didn't like.
Eddie was lean and muscled, but most people underestimated just how strong he was. Adrian sometimes called him mini-Dimitri.
Even if I'd been wide awake, I knew Dimitri would've taken my suitcase anyway. That's how he was, a lost remnant of chivalry in the modern world, ever-ready to help others. That was one of the many striking things about Dimitri.
I'd seen him fight before, but it never got old. He was captivating. He never stopped moving. Every action was graceful and lethal. He was a dancer of death.
"If you're here," he began. "You probably want to learn to use those right away." He pointed at the nunchucks.
I caught sight of Adrian's face in the mirror. His expression said, Yes, that is exactly what I want to learn.
"Well, too bad," said Wolfe. "You aren't ever going to use them. Not in this class, anyway. Oh, they've got their uses, believe me. Saved my ass more than once when I was out bow-hunting in Alaska. But if you pay attention to wht I'm going to tell you, you won't ever need to pick those up, seeing as we don't have a rabid moose problem here in Palm Springs."
The new mom raised her hand. "You used nunchucks on a moose?"