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Infamous (Chronicles of Nick #3)(5)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

And Stone, because of his father’s money and the fact that he played on the football, basketball, and baseball teams, thought he was above everyone, and that all should bow down to him. In particular, he and the other animals he ran with had singled out Nick as the omega wolf to be picked on and belittled. In part because Nick, until he’d started working for Kyrian, had been a poor scholarship student. However lately, Stone’s animosity stemmed from the fact that his on-again off-again girlfriend, Casey Woods, had been making advances at Nick.

But Nick had never been Stone’s willing victim, and it was not in his genetic code to back down from anyone or anything. As a result, their fights were the stuff of legends among the student body and faculty.

As Richardson started calling roll, the door opened to admit two unfamiliar students with their principal, Mr. Head. Taking them to Richardson’s desk, the principal spoke in a low tone to her while the boy and girl swept nervous glances over the room.

“Must be new meat,” Stone whispered loudly to his friend Mason.

Mason nodded. “He don’t look like much, but the girl’s edible.”

“Mason!” Casey snapped as she turned around in her seat to grimace at him. “Stop it! You’re so gross. Both of you.” She paused to pass a hot look at Nick, who did his best to not react to it or let Kody see it.

Too late. He got that what-are-you-doing-Nick stare from Kody right before she shot a girl-I’m-going-to-pull-you-bald-headed-if-you-don’t-leave-my-boy-alone sneer to Casey.

Casey rolled her eyes at Kody before she flounced around in her seat and tossed her hair over her shoulder.

Oooo, not something he’d advise her doing, since he’d seen Nekoda handle a sword. His girl had no qualms about beheading things she saw as a threat.

Too bad Casey didn’t know that.

He still didn’t know what game Casey was playing with him. As the head cheerleader, she’d been Stone’s girl off and on for the last three years. But for the last year, every time Nick turned around, she was in his face, making passes at him.

“Class!” Richardson clapped her hands together to get their attention. “We have two new students. A brother and sister transferring in. Joey and Jill Becker.” She pushed her glasses back up on her crooked nose. “Take your seats, children.”

Joey grabbed the seat up front by Richardson’s desk—poor dude. He’d soon learn. Jill took her time skimming the room before she smiled at Nick and made her way to the empty desk on his left.

Kody turned to give him an arch stare.

Nick held his hands up in surrender. I’m innocent, he sent his thought to her.

The look on her face said she didn’t believe him.

How do I get into these things? More important, how could he get out of them?

He certainly couldn’t help it if his hotness attracted the opposite sex. Yeah, okay, that was a joke. He didn’t know what was in the water lately, but no man wearing his hideously orange shirt, and possessing his teen clumsiness caused by his ever lengthening body could ever seriously attract anything but flies and mosquitoes.

Jill held her hand out to him. “Hi, I’m Jill.”

Feeling the daggers Kody was shooting at him, Nick reluctantly shook her hand. “Nick.” Then he quickly let go.

“You wouldn’t mind showing me to my next class, would you, Nick?”

Help me.… Where, oh where art thou, hellmouth? Why have you forsaken me in my hour of desperation? Open quick and I’ll throw myself in.

Caleb turned to face her. “I’ll be happy to show you. I’m Caleb, by the way.”

“Mr. Malphas?” Richardson snapped irritably. “Do you have something to share with the class?”

Caleb grinned at the condescending shrew. “No, Ms. Richardson. I was merely offering to help our new student not get lost or be late to her next class.”

“While that is nice of you, you need to listen for your name.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Gah, that had to irritate Caleb. Thousands of years old, he was more powerful than anyone Nick had ever met, except for Acheron. He had no doubt the demon could fry Richardson in her seat.

And to think, he’d once been jealous of Caleb’s Hollywood-slick good looks, perfect body, great wardrobe, and money. Until he’d learned the truth about him. Now Nick knew there wasn’t enough money in the universe to compensate Caleb for what he’d been through, and for having to put up with Nick’s cranky butt all the time. While the demon wasn’t big on sharing anything about himself or his past, there was no missing the haunted shadows that darkened Caleb’s eyes whenever he thought no one was looking.

It made Nick wonder if his own scars were that visible whenever he let his guard slip.

Not soon enough, the bell rang, liberating them from Richardson’s whiny drone. Thank goodness he didn’t have her for English anymore. Last year had been the longest of his life.

Nick had just slung his backpack over his shoulder when Jill planted herself firmly in front of him. He passed a nervous glance to Caleb, then to Kody, who seemed less than pleased by the attention Jill was giving him.

“My first period is in room 214. Can you help me find it?”

Nick stepped back so that Caleb could slide in.

“I’d be more than thrilled to show you,” Caleb said in his deepest drawl.

Jill frowned. “I’d rather Nick guide me, if you don’t mind.”

The expression on Caleb’s face was priceless. With his fashionably cut, black hair and dark good looks, he wasn’t used to taking second to anyone when it came to a female’s attention.

Kody wrapped her arm around Nick’s and brushed her hand through his dark brown hair. “I’m sure Caleb doesn’t mind in the least. However, I do have a bit of a problem with it. I’m Kody. Nick’s girlfriend. Nice meeting you.” She all but hauled him out of the room.

Because of her tight grip on his arm and his unwillingness to hurt her, Nick was still stumbling in the hallway as they made their way to first period. “Easy, Kody. I wasn’t doing anything wrong.”

She loosened her hold. “I know you weren’t. While you are absolutely gorgeous, in spite of what you think, it’s that demon glamour you have that attracts every female you meet.”

Further proof Richardson wasn’t female.

“The older you get and the more you access your powers, the stronger it becomes. I wish we could find something to turn it off.”

“Yeah, but doesn’t Caleb have it, too?”

“Unfortunately, no. He’s a different type of beastie. His kind were bred to fight, not serve.”

“Serve” was a polite term for demon slavery. Something his father had been bound by for thousands of years until he’d either convinced or tricked, or probably both, his master’s servant into freeing him. No one was sure how Adarian had broken free of the Nether Realm, since everyone who’d made the mistake of asking him that had been gutted.

As for Caleb, even though he wasn’t a “servant” class demon, he was now enslaved to Nick, but again, Nick had no idea how or why. Caleb wasn’t into sharing any more than his father was.

Nick paused in the hallway next to Kody’s locker so that she could drop off her sweater. “You still haven’t told me how it is you know so much about me and my powers.”

“I know.” She bent down to unlock the door.

Yeah … after a year, he should be used to her dodging his questions about her, her powers and her ability to know him so well.

Nick jerked to attention as he saw a shadow run across the wall, then vanish into a crack above the bathroom door. “Did you see that?”

Kody stood up immediately. “What?”

Nick turned his head and used his powers to try and sense whatever had been there. But he didn’t pick up on anything. “Must have been my imagination.”

Spinning her lock, Kody narrowed her eyes. “Last time you said that, we almost got slaughtered by a mortent.”

True, and he still had that tight feeling in his gut that usually signaled some form of demon species was nearby.

His gaze went to a flash of pink approaching them. It was Brynna Addams—one of the first friends Nick had made at St. Richards and an all-around sweetheart.

Smiling, she touched Kody on the arm. “Hey hon, I was wondering if I could borrow you after school? LaShonda and I got drafted to do the decorations for the Fall Out Dance, and I could really use some help.” She turned her pitiful begging look to Nick. “You, too, Gautier. Want to help a sister out?”

“I would love to, but I have to work today. Kyrian has some returns I have to make, and a pickup from Liza’s.”

Brynna pouted before she turned back to Nekoda. “Please, Kody?”

She hesitated, then nodded. “Sure.”

Squealing, Brynna hugged her. “You’re the best!” She dashed off, vanishing into the crowd.

Nick laughed. “Thank goodness she grabbed you. I don’t want to be in the dog house anymore.”

“You’re still not in the clear, buddy.”

Nick sighed. “Story of my life.”

The warning bell sounded.

“You better go,” Kody said. “I don’t want to see you get another detention.”

“You? At this rate, I should just make a bed on the floor of Richardson’s room. Tell me again why she couldn’t have gotten eaten by a zombie?” Nick fell silent as he contemplated a way to facilitate that happening. It wasn’t too late. “I wonder if Madaug has any more copies of that game laying around.”

Kody paled. “Don’t even joke about that. Now go.”

Saluting her, he turned and headed toward his first period, where Caleb was waiting at their computer lab table.

Either Caleb or Kody was with him in every class—something they’d both insisted on. After what had happened last year with the coach who’d sold his soul for victory—literally—and who had then blackmailed Nick into helping him get items he could use to kill students, the two of them were paranoid something would grab Nick in the middle of the day if one of them wasn’t nearby.

Nick’s home was considered a safe zone since they’d set up protection symbols and sealed the apartment. However, the school was a public building with hundreds of people in it—including some known preternaturals who were supposed to be there, and who posed no threat to him. There was no way to make it completely safe without banning those students, too.

Nick sat down at the same time Caleb shot to his feet. “Something wrong?”

Caleb narrowed his eyes as he made a slow circle around his stool, scanning every corner of the room. “There’s something here. Can you feel it?”

“I thought I saw a shadow in the hallway a few minutes ago.”

Caleb’s eyes flashed orange.

Nick glanced around to make sure no one else had seen him do that. “Yo, D, the freak eye thing? Dead giveaway, man. Sit down before the wings pop out, and we both end up in a real science lab, under the microscope.”

“Malphas?” their teacher snapped. “You have trouble finding your seat?”

Caleb turned at Mr. Tendyk’s question. “No, sir.” He sat down beside Nick.

The bell rang.

After closing the door and dimming the classroom lights, Tendyk turned on the overhead projector that displayed his desktop for everyone in the class to see. Nick sucked his breath in sharply while the rest of the room erupted into chaos.

Instead of the boring icons they were used to staring at on a vomit green background, Tendyk’s desktop wallpaper was a montage of Brynna Addams nak*d, doing extremely lewd things.

Tendyk almost broke his computer as he fumbled to turn it off. “Who’s responsible for this?” he demanded angrily.

Utter silence rang out.

Until Stone laughed again. “From the looks of it, I’d say Brynna Addams. Who knew that was hidden underneath all those high buttoned shirts and sweaters?”

Laughing, Mason high-fived him.

Pandemonium returned as everyone had a foul or gross comment to make. Everyone except Nick and Caleb. Nick was too horrified by how Brynna would react once she found out about it. And he was sure some snotwit would beeline right to her with the news. There was nothing the goobs in his school loved more than to be the bearer of really bad news, especially to the person it related to. It was like they enjoyed seeing the misery it caused, firsthand.

He turned to Caleb. “That wasn’t Brynna, was it?”

Caleb shook his head. “That was someone’s idea of a sick joke.”

Speaking of sick, Nick felt ill over it. His stomach heaved in sympathetic agony for her. “Can you tell who?”

He did that weird head c**k move as if he were listening to a song only he could hear. “No idea. But it was done for sheer malice.”

“Brynna will die when she finds out.”

“I know.” A tic started in Caleb’s jaw. “Can you feel the hatred behind it?”


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