An Excerpt From

Babysitting.

 

Declan O’Connell had been reduced to babysitting.

 

This was so humiliating. He was going to have to have a talk with Grayson when he got home. Surely his punishment for last month’s misunderstanding should be nearing an end.

 

It wasn’t his fault they needed a new roof in the atrium. That had been entirely Nathaniel’s doing. Declan had merely supplied a little motivation. It was the Golden Boy that did the glass breaking.

 

So how was it that the Golden Boy kept picking up all the choice jobs, while Declan was stuck trailing around after high schoolers?

 

He leaned heavily against the brick wall of the alley and watched as his target disappeared into a restaurant across the street, only to reappear a few moments later on the wraparound patio, trailing after a hostess. They settled in at a table overlooking the water.

 

At least with this vantage point he wouldn’t have to follow them into the restaurant.

 

She’d spotted him twice already. Not that he was particularly trying to hide from her at this point. It made things easier when the target didn’t know he was there, sure, but there wasn’t any hard and fast rule about it.

 

Declan had been shadowing the pair for nearly an hour before he’d realized that something was off.

 

Usually, his job involved protecting innocent humans from the monsters that walked amongst them unnoticed. From the things that went bump in the night. Things a whole lot like him, just without the charm … or a functioning moral compass.

 

Judging from the haze of static electricity that followed the girl around like a rain cloud, however, there was something very different about this mark.

 

Playing a hunch, he’d broken his cover and followed the two girls into a clothing shop. Ten minutes later the store’s registers were toast and his suspicions had been confirmed.

 

He wondered if the girl knew what she was.

 

Better yet, he wondered if Grayson had known when he’d given Declan the assignment and just hadn’t said anything.

 

“I want you to keep an eye on the girl, Declan.”

 

“No other specifics?”

 

“Just keep her away from bookstores, if you can.”

 

Bookstores.

 

Thanks, Grayson. That helps.

 

Apparently whoever said, “no harm ever came from reading a book” hadn’t met this girl.

 

Grayson’s orders were usually pretty detailed. The fact that these weren’t could mean a couple of things.

 

Either Grayson didn’t know the specifics of the danger the girl was facing, or he did, but for whatever reason, he felt Declan didn’t need to know.

 

It was the second possibility that worried him.

 

He didn’t think that Grayson would ever intentionally send him out on an assignment at a disadvantage—but if Grayson felt like he couldn’t trust Declan with the details, then Declan wanted to know why.

 

The cell phone tucked in his jacket pocket began to vibrate. He fished it out and checked the screen.

 

The caller ID read “GRAYSON.”

 

Declan narrowed his eyes at the shuddering phone. Weird. Grayson never called anyone while they were in the field. He knew better.

 

Returning his gaze to the restaurant patio, Declan answered the call. “Miss me already?”

 

“I want an update on the girl.”

 

Declan considered telling him what he’d learned about her, and then thought the better of it. That could wait. “She’s spending the day shopping with a friend.”

 

“Shopping?”

 

“Clothes shopping. No bookstores in sight. Not so far, anyway.”

 

“Hmm.”

 

“You going to tell me why this girl is so special you’re calling me for updates? My next check-in’s not for another two hours.”

 

“Just do your job, Declan. Keep her safe.”

 

The line went dead.

 

If Declan had been suspicious before, now he was outright convinced that something was up.

 

What was so important about this girl?

 

*     *     *     *

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© 2019 Jena Leigh. 

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