Home > Tremble (Denazen #3)

Tremble (Denazen #3)
Jus Accardo

1

There were too many people and I had nowhere to run. My heart pounded, and I swallowed back the thick lump of worry caught in my throat. I didn’t need this. Not now. Not tonight.

He moved across the room slowly but with determination. I’d tried to duck out of sight when he came through the door, stepping into the middle of a larger crowd and stooping low to avoid detection, but it’d been pointless. Like radar, he locked onto me immediately.

I took a deep breath and braced myself, convinced this could only end one way—in disaster. I’d had a feeling about coming here tonight. You’d think after all the crazy crap I’d seen over the last few months, I’d pay more attention to stuff like that.

Apparently not.

For a brief moment, I thought about mimicking. Using my Six ability to become someone else and slink away unnoticed. He couldn’t possibly follow if he didn’t know who I was, right? Unfortunately, there were a few problems with that scenario. First off, there were too many people here. It would be impossible to mimic without being seen. Maybe if it were later in the night and people were a little drunker… You’d be surprised the things you could explain away when Jell-O shots and schnapps were involved.

Next, I wasn’t willing to mimic a dude. I’d done it twice and it wasn’t something I wanted to do again. Ever. Extra body parts and things dangling in places they shouldn’t? No way. And mimicking another girl would be useless.

This guy?

He’d follow anything with boobs.

“Dez, baby!”

I stepped out from behind a large guy with a beer in each hand and forced a smile. “Curd. ’Sup?”

“Cookies, babe. Just cookies.”

Curd was intent on creating his own language. The sick part was, a week from now everyone would be saying it. I had no idea how he did it, but the guy was like a verbal infectious disease. I scanned the room for help. The bastards who’d dragged me here against my will were, of course, nowhere in sight. “Here alone?”

Curd winked. “I won’t be as soon as I find my Love Goddess. She’s with you tonight, right?”

“Of course,” I mumbled. He was talking about Jade, my epic-rival-turned-reluctant-guard-dog. He’d seen her at a Halloween party in October and had been obsessed ever since. She’d gone as Venus, the goddess of love—Curd had gone as the devil. Unfortunately for him, the attraction only went one way. She preferred her guys a little taller with a side of ninja. I knew because she’d tried to snag Kale from me. Tried—and failed. “But I’m pretty sure she’d disagree with the your Love Goddess part.”

“All in time, baby. All in time. So what about you? You stag tonight?”

“She’s here with me,” Alex said from behind. Sure. Now he showed up. I made a mental note to kick him in the balls as soon as we got outside. You don’t drag a girl to a party, then slink off and leave her to drown. There were social rules to follow, dammit.

Curd looked from Alex to me, right eyebrow rising slightly. “That’s the third time in two weeks I’ve seen you two partying together. What’s the deal? Be honest—you back together? ’Cause I was starting to like the weird dude. Plus, I think he owes me a pair of shoes…”

At the mention of Kale, it felt like someone dropped a house on my chest. If I were being honest—something I didn’t do often these days—I would have admitted I had no desire to be here. This was just a lame, half-assed attempt at going through the motions in hopes of finding something real. A spark of the old me. The one who used to exist on shallow, pointless things like parties and cheap thrills.

And what had I gotten out of it? A big fat nothing. All I felt was the same empty blackness that had settled in my soul the moment Kale walked away with Marshal Cross—AKA my dad. The kind that comes complete with an über helping of pain and an unhealthy dose of irrational guilt.

The kind you know will crush you someday.

“We’re just hanging,” Alex said. He turned, eyes affixed to mine. “Kale had to go out of town for a while, but he’ll be back.”

He’ll be back.

I turned away, trying hard not to laugh. It’d been months and we hadn’t found any sign of him, Dad, or Denazen. It was like they’d left planet Earth entirely—which was weird. Denazen, a company looking to control the Six population, wasn’t usually known for duck and cover. Ginger, Kale’s biological grandmother and head of the Underground, had assured me she had people working on it around the clock. The Underground, a small group dedicated to seeing Denazen dismantled and in ruin, had their ear to the door. So far, the bad guys hadn’t made a sound. The more time that passed, the less hopeful I became that we’d ever find them.

In the weeks following Kale’s return to Denazen, I’d gone back to the town where we’d found my half sister, Kiernan, and torn apart her house. Of course, I hadn’t uncovered anything worthwhile. The place was in exactly the same shape we’d left it the day we’d gone to get her. She’d never been back. I spent the entire day there, going through her drawers and papers, sifting through closets and tearing apart boxes in the garage. I hoped for an address or picture. Something—anything—I could use to find out where they might be. I would have even settled for something on Supremacy—the Denazen science project I was an unwilling part of.

Denazen had taken a group of regular Sixes and given them a drug to enhance their abilities. It’d been a failure. All they’d gotten, instead of the powerful army they wanted, was a handful of crazy and death spanning across several decades. Word on the street was that there was a cure, but we’d yet to dig anything up. Finding something at Kiernan’s place would have made sense, since she was, after all, the only one who’d been given it.

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