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Rising Darkness(Rylee Adamson #9)(10) by Shannon Mayer

She was gone and back in a flash. And I blanched. Damn, I should have cut faster. Deanna swept into the tent and handed the still packaged needle and syringe to Faris. She shook her head. “I never thought badly of you ‘til now, Rylee.”

What the hell was she talking about? I stared at her as Faris twisted my wrist, looking for the vein in my forearm like a pro. “You’ve done this before?”

“More than you probably realize,” he muttered. As he prepped my arm and the needle. I looked away, my stomach clenching at the thought of that long, thin metal rod going into one of my veins.

I let my eyes wander, not really thinking about what he was doing. I’d rather have used my knife, but that wouldn’t go over well if I said that now. Nothing to do but act like I didn’t care either way. A trickle of sweat slid down the back of my neck and spine.

“Hold still,” Faris said, and a sharp pinch in my arm made me clamp my teeth together. I refused to look at what he was doing and in doing so, ended up looking at Doran. He seemed . . . confused. Deanna was pissed, Will was resigned, Mer was tired, and Frank was scared. But it was the confusion that held me tight.

“All done.” Faris slid a thumb over the injection site and I stepped away, putting pressure where his thumb had been. A full vial of blood stared back at me. “Give it to the troll. Let’s see what happens.”

The troll slowly lifted his eyes to me. “Not all trolls are bad, Tracker.”

I shrugged. “Not all demons, either. But I have to go with the majority.”

Deanna took the needle and changed the tip, then handed it back to Faris. He lifted the troll’s arm, found a vein, and slid the needle in. My stomach rolled watching the needle pop the skin and then the plunger depress. I gave a shiver and looked away.

Alex butted up against me. “Growdy gross. I hates those needles.”

I dropped a hand to him and steadied myself. “Yeah, me too.”

He turned his big eyes up at me and wrinkled his nose up. “Pamie listening.”

Pam? Everyone else was looking at the troll, not listening to Alex. No, that wasn’t true. Faris’s eyes met mine and then flicked to the door of the tent. Why wouldn’t she just come in?

Only one way to find out.

CHAPTER 5

Pamela

Alex ratted me out, the stupid wolf. I hurried away from the tent, ducking behind a vehicle when I heard Rylee call me. She could Track me, but why bother when I was right here? At least, that’s what I was hoping. I peeked over the edge of the car in time to see her duck back into the tent.

I ran to my own little tent and grabbed a bag. Peta, the sweet little cat stared up at me. “I have to go, I’m sorry.”

She gave a soft purr and clawed at my bag. “I can’t take you with me.”

Ignoring me, she leapt up to my shoulders and draped herself across them. A sigh escaped me. “Fine. But I can’t be looking out for you too.” I scratched the top of her head and secretly I was pleased. Peta was coming with me, even though she obviously was with Rylee. At least someone chose me over her.

I stuffed my bag with clothes, the food I had stashed, and the little bit of money I had. Not much, really. I hooked the rucksack straps over my shoulders and Peta adjusted herself so she cradled between me and the bag. “Ready?” I asked her.

“Ready for what?”

I spun to see Frank standing in my doorway. “Go away.”

He pushed his glasses up with one finger and then slid a hand through his too long hair. “What are you doing, running away?”

“And if I am?”

“I thought we were friends, Pam.” His voice reached out to me and I shivered. We’d shared a few kisses in the last six months, but that was it. I shrugged. “I’m sure you’ll find someone else to be friends with.”

“Pamela, come on. Stay.” He took my hand, tugging me gently into his arms. I shivered again. I liked Frank, more than I thought I would. We had a lot in common. No real family left, and trying to learn how to use our abilities without any mentor.

Still, he had defended Rylee more than once.

Which meant he chose her over me.

“I have to go. There is only one person who can train me and I have to go to her,” I whispered.

“Then I’ll come with you. I can’t let you go alone. What if you get hurt?”

I wanted to laugh, and then did. “And what, if I die you’ll bring me back as a zombie bride?”

He smiled down at me. “Maybe. Let me pack my bag. Wait for me?”

I finally nodded and he ran from the tent. “I can’t wait too long for him, Peta.”

She gave me a “purp” of understanding. Frank didn’t make me wait, though. He was back in no time, a rucksack on his back.

“After you.” He gave me a silly bow and I strode in front of him, trying not to laugh. He let the tent flap shut behind us. “Wait, I forgot something.” He darted back into my tent and then out again. Nothing in his hands.

“What did you forget?”

He cleared his throat. “Ah, it was silly, I don’t want to say.”

“No, you can tell me.”

He blushed. “Just an old thing my mom used to do. When you go on a trip, you say the name of the one you love before you leave your house. You have to say, ‘This person is my home, no matter how far I go’ so you will always have a place to come home to, even if it isn’t here.”

A funny, warm kind of heat curled up in me. “Whose name did you say?”