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“You know this how? Because you guys are so close? Face it, Bronwyn,none of us really know each other. Hell,youcould’ve done it. You’re smartenough to plan something this messed up and get away with it.”I’m kidding, but Bronwyn goes rigid. “How can you say that?” Her cheeksget red, giving her that flushed look that always unsettles me.She’ll surpriseyou one day with how pretty she is.My mother used to say that about Bronwyn.My mother was wrong, though. There’s nothing surprising about it.“Eli said it himself, right?” I say. “Anything’s possible. Maybe you broughtme here to shove me down the hill and break my neck.”“You broughtmehere,” Bronwyn points out. Her eyes widen, and I laugh.“Oh, come on. You don’t actually think— Bronwyn, we’re barely on anincline. Pushing you off this rock isn’t much of an evil plan if all you’d do istwist your ankle.”“That’s not funny,” Bronwyn says, but a smile twitches at her lips. Theafternoon sun’s making her glow, putting glints of gold in her dark hair, andfor a second I almost can’t breathe.Jesus. This girl.I stand and hold out my hand. She gives me a skeptical look, but takes it andlets me pull her to her feet. I put my other hand in the air. “Bronwyn Rojas, Isolemnly swear not to murder you today or at any point in the future. Deal?”“You’re ridiculous,” she mutters, going even redder.“It concerns me you’re avoiding a promise not to murder me.”She rolls her eyes. “Do you say that to all the girls you bring here?”Huh. Maybe she knows Marshall’s Peak’s reputation after all.I move closer until there’s only a couple of inches between us. “You’re stillnot answering my question.”Bronwyn leans forward and brings her lips to my ear. She’s so close I canfeel her heart beating when she whispers, “I promise not to murder you.”“That’s hot.” I mean it as a joke, but my voice comes out like a growl andwhen her lips part I kiss her before she can laugh. A shock of energy shootsthrough me as I cup her face in my hands, my fingers grasping her cheeks andthe line of her jaw. It must be the adrenaline that’s making my heart pound sofast. The whole nobody-else-could-possibly-understand-this bond. Or maybeit’s her soft lips and green apple–scented hair, and the way she winds her armsaround my neck like she can’t stand to let go. Either way I keep kissing her aslong as she lets me, and when she steps away I try to pull her back because itwasn’t enough.
“Nate, my phone,” she says, and for the first time I notice a persistent, janglytext tone. “It’s my sister.”“She can wait,” I say, tangling a hand in her hair and kissing along herjawline to her neck. She shivers against me and makes a little noise in herthroat. Which I like.“It’s just …” She runs her fingertips across the back of my neck. “Shewouldn’t keep texting if it weren’t important.”Maeve’s our excuse—she and Bronwyn are supposed to be at Yumiko’shouse together—and I reluctantly step back so Bronwyn can reach down anddig her phone out of her backpack. She looks at the screen and draws in aquick, sharp breath. “Oh God. My mom’s trying to reach me too. Robin says