Stay (Page 36)

Once the plane came to a complete stop, Jared unbuckled and stood up.

After a few moments my heartbeat returned to normal. “What, you’re not going to unbuckle me?”

He leaned over and carefully unbuckled my seatbelt. “I didn’t realize you needed my help.”

“I didn’t say I needed it. I just wanted it.”

He shook his head. “You’re worse than me.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” I followed him off the plane. We’d only made it a few feet away before the plane started moving again.

“Stay close,” he called over his shoulder as he walked off the grassy area that functioned as a runway and onto the sand.

I listened. I didn’t feel like getting squashed by the plane as it made use of the makeshift runway again.

“Owen’s supposed to meet us here. I’m surprised he’s not here yet.”

Jared pulled out his phone. “No signal. Wonderful.”

“What did you expect? We’re on a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific.”

“Well, we aren’t all that far from Guam.”

“Far enough that you’re not going to get cell reception.”

He shoved his phone back in his pocket. “I guess we’ll just wait a few minutes then.”

I walked down the beach and looked out at the water. “If things weren’t so insane I’d love to go for a swim.”

“I bet you don’t have any issues skinny dipping.”

“And you do?” I turned, not surprised to find him right behind me.

“No, but most girls are weird about it.”

“And I’m not most girls. You’re not used to shifters. I know you Pterons like your humans and all, but you’d think you’d at least be used to the girls in your family.”

“There aren’t many female Pterons now a days.”

“There aren’t that many female bears either. I’ve never understood that.”

“It’s just something with the genetics I guess. I don’t know.”

“Next time give me the right coordinates, jack ass,” someone shouted.

I whirled around, watching another Pteron approach. This one had blonde hair and a scowl on his face. I assumed this was Owen.

“Oh, hi.” He looked panicked. “I forgot Jared wasn’t alone.”

Jared laughed. “Way to make a good impression.”

“The impression was fine. I’m just glad you’re here. We were getting tired of waiting.” Sometimes the best way to get rid of tension is to make some of your own. “Are we ready to get going?”

“This is Casey’s sister?” Owen asked.

“Yes, can’t you see the resemblance?”

“In looks yeah, but that’s where it ends.”

“Are you trying to say I’m bitchier than Casey?” I put a hand on my hip.

“I don’t know her well, but she always seemed quiet and sweet.”

“Good. I’m glad she hasn’t been corrupted.” Sweet and quiet were definitely not words someone could use to describe me, but they weren’t bad ones. Although from the little I saw of Casey, she was stronger than I think anyone gave her credit for.

“I see why she’s got your attention.” Owen kept talking like I wasn’t there. That wasn’t going to fly.

“If you’re going to talk about me, at least have the decency to look at me.”

“Oh, sorry.” Owen looked legitimately sorry. “I’m just used to giving this guy a hard time.”

“So am I.” I held out a hand. “I’m Vera, and I guess we have something in common.”

“I’m Owen, and it’s nice to meet you.”

“You never slept with my sister, did you?”

“No.” He shook his head then suddenly stopped. “Not because there’s anything wrong with that, but…”

“Save your breath. I was just checking whether you should be on my bad list too.”

“Am I still on your bad list?” Jared moved closer.

“No. You saved her so that cancelled it out.”

“Funny how you’re still treating me like crap.”

“So kissing you is treating you like crap?”

“Kissing?” Owen laughed. “I thought there was nothing going on, Jared.”

“Shut up, both of you,” Jared grumbled.

“Gladly, but let’s get moving. I’m tired of wasting time.” I bit back a smile. These guys were both fun to rile up. If all Pterons were like this I’d have to make sure I spent more time with them. Well, all of them but Jared. He was way too dangerous for me to be around.

“She’s right. Let’s quit wasting time.” Jared pulled off his shirt and tossed it. “You ready?”

I wasn’t sure who he was talking to, but I answered anyway. “Absolutely.”

I waited impatiently for him to wrap his arms around me.

“You’re really excited for this, aren’t you?” He whispered in my ear.

“What? Is this when I’m supposed to say yeah, I’m dying for it?” I said in my seductive voice.

He laughed. “You’re actually fun.”

“You say that like it’s a surprise or something.”

“It is. I just don’t know if it’s a good surprise or a bad one.”

“It’s good. Trust me on that.”

“If you say so.” He wrapped his arms around my waist, and we took off.

My stomach lurched as my feet left the ground, but I gradually adjusted to the sensation. I fought the wind to keep my eyes wide open. It was going to be a short flight, and I didn’t want to miss a minute of it. I’d always been an adrenalin junkie, but this was something else entirely. Not for the first time in my life, I was unbelievably jealous of Casey.

Chapter Twenty

Toby

I had no idea what kind of ceremony Gareth was talking about, but I didn’t actually care. Casey was back to normal. I could see it in her color and the way her eyes shone. But really she was better than normal. She seemed even stronger, and I knew the strength was real. No matter how many things she accomplished, she always found a way to downplay her abilities. For the first time she seemed to be seeing herself for who she really was. She finally understood her strength.

Being inside Casey’s head was strange. I felt like I was doing something wrong, witnessing thoughts and fears I was never supposed to see, but it was also enlightening. Casey was even more amazing than I already knew. At her core Casey was such a good person. She wanted to do what was right even if it meant hurting herself. She also trusted me. I finally had my proof of that.