Jaded Jewels (The Coveted Saga #2)(6)

By: C.M. Owens

I thought back to all the times I had felt the same way. I had convinced myself that I was just paranoid. Surprised Iris had the same concern, I said, "Wow, I didn't know anything about that."

It annoyed me that no one had said anything to me. Of course, I had been a little absorbed with the whole Tallis-heartbreak thing.

"Yeah, I probably shouldn't be saying anything about it right now. Maybe sometime we can find somewhere we can be sure no one is listening."

He looked out the window, surveying the yard with a wary eye.

"Yeah, I'll think of somewhere."

The only place I trusted was the Verdan house, but I certainly couldn't go there. I changed the subject—since it was off limits anyway.

"So... why do you want to go to school again?" I ask, possibly making it sound incredulous.

He chuckled. I didn't find it funny. Who willingly dives back into hell?

"Well, I heard about the guy that was protecting you—the link and all."

Link this, link that—everyone wants to talk about frigging links.

My emotions had me on the brink of a breakdown, but I concealed it all, remaining stoic as he continued.

"I told them I would help out with you. It's the least I can do right now. Your family is being pretty generous by inducting me into their coven. I would be a sitting duck without a coven's protection. Your crest is now my crest—making us family for all intents and purposes. I'll be safe while I'm planning my revenge."

Angst filled me as the conversation got heavy and serious. I was stressed over a guy; Henry had just lost his family. Looking through the window at our problems, mine seemed to pale in comparison.

"Revenge on who? Was it Graven or Kao?" I asked, suddenly feeling a building of pressure against my spine.

I sat up a little straighter, waiting for his answer. If they killed his family, then they might be coming here next, or they might go after Tallis and his family.

"No. It was someone different. Not all of life-draining bastards are directly linked to Graven. Just like not all of us are linked to Iris. It's someone trying to make a name for themselves. But again, I'm not sure this is wise to discuss here."

I nodded, selfishly relieved this conversation was ending. I was still adjusting to all of this, so it was terrifying the hell out of me.

"Are you hungry?" I asked, unsure of what else to say.

"Yes, actually."

I smiled and motioned for him to follow me. "Let's go grab some food."

I picked my keys up and he followed me to my car, both of us staying quiet all the way outside. This time it was a comfortable silence instead of awkward silence.

"Nice ride," he said, whistling low as he admired my ride that was too expensive.

"Thanks. It was a present from my grandparents. I know this little drive-thru place we can hit."

"Sounds good."

He studied the crests that were embroidered into the car's interior.

"We should be safe as long as we stay in the car. Grandma says there is a slight trail left, but with it only being the two of us, it shouldn't be too bad."

He chuckled, seeming to delight in something.

"Yeah, I know a thing or two about the scents a witch can leave behind."

He winked at me to let me know he was poking at me. I felt stupid now. I didn't know why I had just tried educating a guy who was over a century old.

"Sorry. I was just trying to be reassuring."

He shook his head. "I wasn't being a smartass. I really do know a thing or two about scents. I was just making a private joke. I'll explain it to you one day." He smiled before continuing, "Besides, my two halves almost cancel each other out. My essence has a very weak scent that is barely traceable."

The first part of his comment was a little odd—but oddities were a growing normality. I shrugged it off instead of prying. He had been through a lot, so I really didn't expect him to make sense. I was happy to hear that his scent was limited, though.

We headed down the driveway and made our way toward town. I had made it a habit to constantly check my rearview mirror to see if anyone was following me. He noticed.

"Should I be worried about something?" His voice was leery as he looked around.

I frowned, feeling bad for scaring him.

"Sorry, it's just a habit. Someone has tried killing me—a couple times now. It tends to make you a little paranoid."

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