Purity(Cursed #3)

By: Claire Farrell

Prologue





Goodbyes

June



Perdita left her house, keys in hand, steeling herself for another trip to the hospital. Her father didn’t want to see her, so she would sit in the hallway again. At least he’d know she was there, and not with anyone else. Not choosing anyone over her family.

Not this time.

She turned a corner and felt a strange creeping sensation that caused the hairs on the back of her neck to stand on end. She turned slowly, half-expecting a werewolf attack. It would be exactly like her nightmares.

But it was him, standing there, looking at her as though nothing had changed.

Everything had changed: her life, the magic, even her family. Nothing would ever be the same, and now she was forced to go through it alone.

He was still the same boy she once dreamed about, the same boy who made her insides feel as though she had just ridden on a roller coaster when he looked at her. Except these days, the stress was permanently present in his expression. The bags under his eyes matched her own. The biggest difference was that he had become part of her nightmares.

She should have turned back, kept going, but her foot took one step toward him, and his to her.

His eyes locked on hers, and she fought the desire to run. She wanted to hear his voice one more time, to feel close to him just once more. Even though the curse that tied them together had broken, freeing them both, she still fought the need to be near him, next to him, a part of his life. She couldn’t imagine waking up and not wanting to be with him. She didn’t remember what that felt like.

But she promised her father. A sincere promise, for a change.

“I came to say goodbye.” The words burst from his mouth as if he had been waiting to say them for days. He glanced away, closed his eyes for a second, and began again.

“I mean… I came to tell you what’s going on.” His cheeks flushed with colour, and she realised he pitied her, that this was embarrassing to him.

The last lingering hope had already curled up and died inside her. “You don’t owe me anything,” she said as coldly as she could manage, hurt scrambling its way out of her mouth before she could stop it. Pride wouldn’t allow her to take back the words or soften the harsh edges of her tone. She had to protect herself.

He retreated as if she had struck him, putting a clear distance between them. He gazed at her until she twitched, reminded of the times he’d drunk in her features as if committing them to memory. A reminder of everything she’d been trying to forget.

Those days were gone, she told herself, and she turned to leave, but his voice caught her in its hold again, stopping her in her tracks.

“How’s your dad?”

The wrong words. Anger burned in her throat and bristled in her chest at her pain and frustration with everything in her life. It wasn’t his fault that her father lay in a hospital bed, but she couldn’t keep the anger from her eyes, nor the chill from her words.

“Worse. We had a fight before I went to take care of Amelia. Before… while I was gone, he relapsed from the stress. He begged me to stay, but I didn’t, so…” She lowered her chin, unable to bear the sympathy in his eyes. She longed to reach out and touch him, to find the comfort she needed, the comfort that had once been hers to take, but the memory of how it had been cut out of her life was still too fresh to make that kind of a mistake.

“I’m so sorry.” His voice sounded tight. “We’re dealing with it. I promise you. We’re going after them. We won’t stop until we fix this. I’ll make sure they never hurt you again, Perdita.”

She forgot to avoid his eyes. “What on earth do you mean, you won’t stop?”

His eyes narrowed. “I’m going to make them pay. I’m doing this for you.”

“Doing what exactly?”

“Making you safe.” His pupils dilated into black shells that reminded her of his grandfather. His mad grandfather. “We’re going after him. Vin, I mean. We’re going to find him and end this once and for all.”

She was interested in spite of herself. “You know where he is?”

“Not exactly, but Willow’s leading the way. We’re not giving up this time. We’re going to make all of them pay, hunt down every last one of his pack.”

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