Crush (Crave #2) - Tracy Wolff


Woke Up Like This

Being the lone human in a school for paranormals is precarious at the best of times.

At the worst of times, it’s a little like being the last chew toy in a room full of rabid dogs.

And at average times…well, at average times, it’s honestly pretty cool.

Too bad today is most definitely not an average day.

I don’t know why, but everything feels a little off as I walk down the hall toward my Brit Lit class, the strap of my backpack clutched in my hand like a lifeline.

Maybe it’s the fact that I’m freezing, my whole body trembling with a cold that has seeped all the way to my bones.

Maybe it’s the fact that the hand clutching my backpack is bruised and sore, like I got into a fight with a wall—and most definitely lost.

Or maybe it’s the fact that everyone, and I mean everyone, is staring at me—and it’s not in that “best of times” kind of way.

Then again, when is it ever?

You’d think I’d have gotten used to the staring by now, since it kind of comes with the territory when you’re a vampire prince’s girlfriend. But nope. And definitely not okay when every vampire, witch, dragon, and werewolf in the place is stopping to stare at you with their eyes wide and their mouths gaping even wider—like today.

Which, to be honest, really isn’t a very good look for any of them. I mean, come on. Aren’t I supposed to be the one weirded out in this equation? They’ve known all along that humans exist. It’s only been about a week since I found out the monster in my closet is real. As are the ones in my dorm room, my classes…and sometimes in my arms. So shouldn’t I be the one walking around with my mouth wide open as I stare at them?

“Grace?” I recognize the voice and turn with a smile, only to find Mekhi gawking at me, his normally warm brown complexion more waxy than I’ve ever seen it.

“Hey, there you are.” I shoot him a grin. “I thought I was going to have to read Hamlet all by myself today.”

“Hamlet?” His voice is hoarse, and the hands that fumble the phone out of his front pocket are anything but steady.

“Yeah, Hamlet. The play we’ve been reading for Brit Lit since I got here?” I shuffle my feet a little, suddenly uncomfortable as he continues to stare at me like he’s seen a ghost…or worse. This definitely isn’t typical Mekhi behavior. “We’re performing a scene today, remember?”

“We’re not rea—” He breaks off mid-word, thumbs flying over his phone as he sends what his face says is the most important text of his life.

“Are you okay?” I ask, stepping closer. “You don’t look so good.”

“I don’t look so good?” He barks out a laugh, shoves a trembling hand through his long, dark locks. “Grace, you’re—”

“Miss Foster?”

Mekhi breaks off as a voice I don’t recognize all but booms through the hallway.

“Are you all right?”

I shoot Mekhi a “what the fuck?” look as we both turn to find Mr. Badar, the Lunar Astronomy teacher, striding down the hall.

“I’m fine,” I answer, taking a startled step back. “I’m just trying to get to class before the bell rings.” I blink up at him when he stops directly in front of us. He’s looking a lot more freaked out than an early-morning hallway exchange warrants. Especially since all I’m doing is talking to a friend.

“We need to find your uncle,” he tells me as he places a hand under my elbow in an effort to turn me around and guide me back in the direction I just came from.

There’s something in his voice, less than a warning but more than a request, that gets me walking through the long, lancet-arched hallway without complaint. Well, that and because the normally unfazed Mekhi scrambles to get out of our way.

But with each step I take, the feeling that something isn’t right intensifies. Especially when people literally stop in their tracks to watch us go by, a reaction that only seems to make Mr. Badar more nervous.

“Can you please tell me what’s going on?” I ask as the crowd parts right in front of us. It’s not the first time I’ve seen the phenomenon—once again, I do date Jaxon Vega—but it is the first time I’ve seen it happen when my boyfriend is nowhere around. It’s beyond weird.

Mr. Badar looks at me like I’ve grown a second head, then asks, “You don’t