“Is everything okay?” Ava asked.
Caleb smiled, but didn’t look at her. “Sure.”
“You seem . . . I don’t know . . . nervous?”
He glanced at her briefly. “Just doing my job.”
Ava snorted. “Your job is tutoring physics.”
“Call this moonlighting.”
Ava tucked her hands more deeply into her coat pockets as Caleb returned to his steady surveillance. She started to say something more, but forgot it immediately when Caleb stopped suddenly.
“Shhh . . .” He stepped in front of her, his head tilted to the side.
“What is it?”
He touched a finger to his lips, his body impossibly still.
Ava froze, pressed slightly against his back as she tried to peer over his shoulder. He stretched his hand behind him, as if blocking her from something, and his fingers curled slightly around her hip, stilling her movement.
A prickle of awareness ran over her skin, stealing her breath. For a long moment, the world seemed to slow around her, growing silent and still, and Ava closed her eyes, unsure what she was searching for, but feeling her consciousness reach out, calling out into the darkness.
Ava gasped suddenly as a strong arm wrapped around her waist, sweeping her up in a blur of motion. Her eyes flew open, trying to make sense of the whirling world around her, and in the next instant, she found herself pressed against a wall, Caleb’s back to her. Her fingers gripped his shoulders as she tried to regain her balance and clear her head. A low voice chilled her blood.
“Get out of the way, Foster.”
No. Not him. Not again. Ava’s confusion gave way to outright fear. She shrank behind Caleb’s back, as if hoping to disappear.
“Leave her alone, Tiernan,” Caleb said, his voice deadly. “The Council gave me three days.”
A mocking laugh grated back at him. “Time’s up.”
“Not until tomorrow.”
“Technicalities aren’t going to change a thing,” Tiernan growled. “The Council’s fed up with your stalling. I’m taking her now.”
“No,” Caleb said, his voice a quiet but not subtle threat. “You’re not.” He grabbed her again, so fast she didn’t even see him move. Once more, she found herself fighting for breath, suddenly behind a tree and unsure of how she got there. A moment later, Tiernan’s hulking frame appeared a few feet away.
“You can’t outrun me, Caleb,” he said, shaking his head. “And you don’t dare risk a shift.”
Another blur of movement and Ava was face-to-face with a door.
“Go inside,” Caleb urged. “I’ll draw him away.”
“What?” Ava shook her head. “What’s happening? Where am I?”
“It’s your dorm,” he hissed. “Hurry, before he—”
“Really, Caleb?” Tiernan’s mocking voice interrupted him. “This is getting tiresome, don’t you think?”
Caleb turned, squaring his shoulders. “You’re not taking her.”
A flash of red and blue lights drew their attention, and Ava breathed shakily at the sight of a police car driving up the path.
Tiernan glared at Caleb. “This isn’t over,” he said.
And then he was gone.
Two city cops stepped out of the car, hands resting on their weapons, one shining a flashlight toward them. Caleb pulled Ava through the door into the dorm.
“What are you doing?” Ava asked. “We need to tell them he was back.”
“Not a good idea,” Caleb muttered. He grabbed her wrist, heading down the hallway, but she yanked out of his grasp.
“Caleb, what the hell’s going on?” she asked, stepping back warily from his angry gaze. “How did you do that . . . move so fast? What happened out there?”
“We don’t have time for this,” he snapped.
She reached for the door, Caleb’s eyes following the movement. Her challenging gaze focused on Caleb as she whipped the door open to run to the police and tell them what had happened.
At least that was her intent.
But before she even turned the knob, Caleb had her across the hall, all but carrying her around the corner.
She gasped. “What . . . what are you?”
Caleb frowned. “That’s not your concern.”
He placed a hand on her forehead, and the world went black.