File: CBR, Published by The Penguin Group. Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Sleep would kill me. I was sure of it.

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File: CBR, Published by The Penguin Group. Penguin Ireland, 25 St. Sleep would kill me. I was sure of it. I tried to move as often as possible, forcing my body to remember that it was bruised, scraped raw in ways that should always jolt me back to the present moment.

Pressing up against the cold steel of the cell walls, I sucked in a sharp breath when the icy surface met my skin through the ruins of my clothes. No matter how much my bones were screaming at me to collapse. To puddle onto the floor, letting go of the conscious world. When exhaustion pushed on my head and shoulders, forcing them to the ground. When everythin; g that had happened shoved my eyelids down with tears burning beneath them.

The torture I could take—at least until it killed me. And I was so close to breaking. I no longer remembered how much time had passed between being shoved into this cell and now. I knew I existed on the verge of losing it. And it got much worse whenever I passed out. Because I only had two dreams.

I never knew which one would take me when staying awake slipped out of my control. But they were both deadly. Everyone is here. My whole life, embodied by the wolves I live with and the witches who rule us.

The Keepers stand apart, but still in sight, tall shadows illuminated by firelight and moonlight. Nightshades and Banes ring us—shadows lurking in the woods just behind the pack. The new pack. My pack. The air is static with anticipation and I can hardly keep still. Bryn stands opposite me, but I can see her through the leaping flames of the bonfire. The burning pile of logs sends glossy waves of heat into the night sky. Above us the blood moon is bathed in ochre and crimson.

Voices join the smoke and flames that leap skyward. First Nev. Then Sabine. The minor key of this melody is old, but it feels familiar.

Already I want to howl—to lend my voice to the ancient song that speaks of loyalty, honor, courage. I love you, I mouth. I see her eyes brim and dimples appear on her cheeks when she smiles at me. Living together. Our future. Without a word, we shift. All the wolves. I lift my muzzle, staring at the blood moon, and howl with all my being. My call is a hundred calls.

It sends electric waves beneath my fur. We are the night. We are power. In his wolf form, Ren steps from the shadows, dark as the smoke rising from the bonfire. He stands before us. The only wolf not joining in our song. He waits, alert and unwavering. Our alpha. I think of how her white wolf will look like a ghost materializing from the dark. Ren stirs, turning in an anxious circle as his gaze darts to the forest. Where is she? I force my tone to be light when I answer. Cold feet? God, I hope not.

Bryn has stopped howling. Beside her, Sabine bares her teeth. Mason whimpers in my ear. The thrill of the night racing through my veins has grown cold. The chorus of howls falters. Intermittent snarls and low growls begin to filter through. To me. A large, dark shape shoulders into me. My hackles raise, but I force myself to stay still.

Bryn creeps across the circle, standing close to me but careful not to touch me. There are too many watchful eyes here. What could hurt Calla? I ask, but my stomach is knotted. Sabine, Dax, Ren, and Nev huddle together. New howls echo in the woods and I jump. Stay close, my father says as a low growl rumbles in his chest. My mother comes to his side, pressing her muzzle against his. I wish I knew what she was saying to him.

Emile bursts from the trees, shifting form as he reaches Efron. Efron points at us and Emile grins. My father jumps in front of my mother and Emile stops just short of him. His teeth are bared and drool slips from his jaws. What do we do? Bryn is trembling beside me.

Can we? As my father and Emile stare at each other, fur bristling and muscles quivering with rage, Lumine and Efron move together, closing the space that had separated the Keepers from the wolves.

Lumine passes Emile without a glance. Her eyes are cold as they pass over my mother to rest on my father. Keeping his eyes on Lumine, my father shifts form. He flicks his wrist and Emile lunges forward, knocking my still-human father to the ground. The squeal of the cell door opening woke me.

I cemented my jaw shut, forcing myself to swallow the sob at the back of my throat. The Keepers sent them in at least twice a day. But today—whatever day that was—something different came through the door. Something worse. I recognized him immediately.

The dark fur and smoky eyes. The confidence in his stride. In wolf form. Looking at Ren now, it was clear that we no longer had that in common. My body was barely covered by tattered scraps of formal wear, but my skin was marbled by indigo, sickly green, and gray-blue bruising.

I was caked in my own filth. Ren was none of these things.


Nightshade Series

Preview — Treachery by Andrea Cremer. There are spoilers for Nightshade and Wolfsbane in here. But one andrwa the teens, Owen, walks out, refusing to participate. Really awesome, just outstanding in what she writes.


Order of Andrea Cremer Books





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