My Wolf's Bane (Shapes of Autumn, #1)(2)

By: Veronica Blade

“Good idea.” Daniel gave Hot Guy another scalding look before grabbing my hand and jerking me away. I breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn’t have to referee a brawl.

“Ass hat,” Hot Guy muttered.

Daniel kept walking, practically dragging me along. He couldn’t have heard the insult or he would’ve stopped and turned on Hot Guy. But I had heard it so clearly. Weird.

“Hang on and I’ll walk you to class.” Daniel paused at his locker and spun the combination lock.

“Sure,” I said absently. I glanced over my shoulder to Hot Guy, who was leaning against a locker fiddling with his cell phone. The least I could do was give him an apologetic smile and mime, “Sorry.”

I didn’t get a chance. His gaze met mine, his mouth twisting as he raised one brow. Okay, so this wasn’t going to be an easy fix. Hot Guy seemed too old to be in high school anyway. Probably a college student dropping off his younger sibling, which meant I’d never see him again.

I wanted to keep staring at his perfectly sculpted nose, angular cheekbones and deep brown hair that fell haphazardly over his forehead, but he spun and strolled off in the opposite direction. A tug of my hand drew my focus back to my future ex-boyfriend.

“Hold up,” I said. The warning bell sounded, but I barely heard it as I yanked my hand from his. “Why’d you have to act like such a psycho?”

Daniel shrugged, as though the answer was obvious. “He was touching you.”

I laughed. “Seriously?”

“You’re mine, Autumn. No other guy can ever touch you again.” He said it like he couldn’t believe I’d even question him.

“I’m no one’s property,” I hissed. “Besides, I tripped and he was just helping me up.”

“Why are you defending that loser?” His voice rose and his face flushed.

My hands balled into fists. “Because I don’t like how you treat people.”

“What are you talking about?” He gave me a look that said it all — I was insane. I opened my mouth to start in on him, but his eyes swept the corridor before he said, “We’re gonna be late for class.”

Daniel was right. The hall was deserted. A stream of mild curses spewed from my mouth as I sprinted to homeroom with only seconds to spare.

† † †

Just before lunch, I scribbled notes in my textbook and tried to concentrate on the current assignment, but my mind drifted to Hot Guy. Why had I heard his insult when Daniel obviously hadn’t?

The bell rang and I gathered my books and headed to the cafeteria. As soon as I entered the corridor, I caught a whiff of cinnamon and orange. John’s signature scent, since he always chewed this weird gum. I glanced around, expecting him to be right next to me.

A moment later, John stood beside me and that same cinnamon-orange scent heightened. But why had I smelled it before he even got there?

“Hey.” I flashed him a smile.

Daniel and my friend Gina didn’t talk to super-geeks like John. I did though, ever since a few weeks ago when I’d watched him get between little Benny Frampton and two big jocks.

To avoid witnessing carnage, I’d rushed over and flirted with the bullies. John took his cue and got the kid out of their way. Ever since then, I never treated John like a nerd, no matter how much Daniel and Gina protested my friendship with him. To me, he was Brave John, my friend.

“Heard what happened this morning,” John said as he fell into step with me, “but I see you’re still in one piece.”

Ah, the gossip mill running fast, as usual. “Yeah. Good as new,” I said, marveling at how my hands and knees weren’t sore at all. First the amazing hearing, then the super-human sense of smell and now the lack of bruises. Weird. Was I sick or something?

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