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A fierce pounding on the door yanked me from a comfortable, deep sleep. For the first time in three years, I'd slept an entire night without my combat boots on, but by the sound of that urgent pounding on the door, I'd live to regret it.

The carpet beneath my toes felt foreign. Worse yet, I felt unprepared for what lie on the other side of that door, standing there barefoot, wearing only a bra and fatigue bottoms.

Tom joined my side. "It's okay. Just Briana."

Another door-rattling pound. "Dakota, it's Bree!"

My racing heart slowed to a quick jog as I scurried to the side to retrieve my tank top. "Comin'."

Tom snatched his shirt and stepped to the bathroom. Hope we didn't break any Melace rules by sleeping in the same bed together. I mean, we fell asleep holding each other, that was it, so I was sure we'd be safe.

I could almost still feel his warm arms around me.

I slid my shirt over my head, then disengaged the locks and opened the door. Briana stood, hands planted on hips, in the doorway. "Yeah, what's up, girl?"

"You were still sleeping?"

"Rough day yesterday, you know?"

"Rough night, too." Briana stormed past me into the room, then faced me.

"What happened?" I moved toward the mini fridge tucked between the dresser and desk and grabbed a water bottle. I could taste my dragon breath, and that was disgusting.

"Wow. You're looking very refreshed," Briana said as she eyed the bed, then me. "Sleep well?"

I flicked my finger out toward her and sent a tiny stream of electricity at her elbow. She flinched and slapped at her skin. Her already wide eyes nearly popped from her eye sockets.

"How did you do that?" She rubbed her elbow, never taking her gaze off me. "You're, like, five feet from me."

I wiggled my eyebrows and nodded toward the bathroom. "One of the perks of being Patronus."


"Long story. It's just the way it is, now. So, why did you interrupt the best night's sleep I've gotten in my entire life?"

"You slept?" She shrugged her shoulders.

"Yes we slept. Mind out of gutter, please. Tell me what is going on."

Briana shook her head. Her chestnut hair settled over her shoulders, and her eyebrows furrowed together. "Sean's grabbed Jordan."

"What? How do you know?" I screeched.

Tom barreled out of the bathroom. "Sean took Jordan?"

Briana jumped toward me, hands to her throat, then turned around. "Shit, Tom. You scared me."

"Sorry. Tell us." Tom moved around Briana and to my side.

A wave of mint followed him. No fair, he got to brush his teeth.

"Jordan was able to click on his intercom while Sean was man-handling him. He pulled an image or something from Jordan's mind about Dakota still being alive or something."

"So much for the mental blocks," Tom said.

"Jordan's been here over two years. Paired with your mental blocks, he should have been able to keep his walls up." I looked at Briana. "So, what's happening?"

"The line went dead, but we heard enough to know that Sean said he didn't believe that Dakota was dead and that he'd better get a message to her to meet him at her spot."

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