The stranger was attractive in a mind-blowing way.
His eyes were glowing spheres of white as static crackled down his arm, followed by the intense light. Fear tripped up my heart as the stranger zeroed in on Hunter, but Hunter did nothing but cock his head like he was daring the younger Luxen to do something.
Was he insane?
“Hunter,” I said, my voice sounding too loud.
His head snapped toward me, as did the Luxen’s. The light around his arm fizzled out and I swore the stranger’s mouth dropped open.
YOU SSSHOULDN’T HAVE COME OUT HERE . Hunter’s voice filtered through my thoughts. EVERYTHING ISSS okay.
Everything did not look okay.
Everything looked weird.
“But he’s one of them.”
The Luxen’s eyes widened and the eerie glow faded, revealing eyes that were an extraordinary green color, so bright and deep it reminded me of spring grass.
Hunter’s head swung back to the Luxen and his chest rose as he took a step back. A second later, he was in his human form.
“Serena, go back to Luc’s office.”
Jesus, did he get off on bossing me around?
His eyes narrowed on me, and an instant later, the bouncer appeared out of nowhere and strode across the dance floor, wrapping an arm around my shoulders. “This really ain’t where ya need to be right now.”
I dug in. “But—”
“Come on, I got some stuff to show you.”
Hunter’s dark brows furrowed. “What stuff?”
The bouncer winked over his shoulder. “Stuff.”
I wasn’t given much of a choice. Seconds later, I was back in the office, angry at being bossed around, but also worried about what was happening out there.
Taking a spot in front of the door, the bouncer folded his arms across his massive chest. “Those two ain’t gonna hurt each other, so you can relax.”
Relaxing was the last thing I was going to do.
“They don’t look like they’re about to hug.”
He cracked a toothy grin.
“That might be the truth, but that boy has got bigger problems than messing with an Arum.
Bigger problems than you, to tell the truth.”
Considering how messed up my life was right now, I doubted that.
The bouncer unfurled his arms and scratched at his chin. A couple of moments passed and then he said, “They took his girl from him, and getting her back ain’t going to be easy.
Not expecting that, I took a step back and plopped down on the couch. “Who took her?”
My head churned that over. “Why?”
One large shoulder rose in a shrug. “Why not? The gov does what it wants. So do the Luxen. So do the Arum.” He paused. “We’re in their world, babe. Don’t ya worry about the Luxen boy in there with Luc.
Worry about yourself.”
I didn’t have a lot of time to mull those happy, happy words over. The door swung open and Hunter stalked in, totally unscathed. I started to get to my feet.
He held up a hand. “I’m fine.”
“I can see that. What was going on out there?”
he answered. The bouncer left the room and Hunter faced me. “He’s here to talk to Luc. It has nothing to do with us.”
I felt guilty for the amount of relief that coursed through me. “It’s about…a girl?”
Hunter nodded, seeming distracted. “That’s what it sounds like.”
Thinking about what the bouncer had said, I leaned back against the surprisingly comfortable cushion. “Why would they take her away? Did she find out what he was?”
“I don’t know why, but I’m thinking it’s more than that. Maybe he mutated her.” Hunter rubbed at his forehead. “Either way, if they’ve got her, then he has little hope of getting her out.”
I sucked in a soft breath, saddened by the situation, even though the boy outside was a Luxen and I didn’t know them. Another life in shambles, and for what? I really didn’t know.
Honestly, I didn’t know anything anymore.
“You’re so human.”
Lifting my head, I found Hunter watching me with a curious expression. “Yeah, that’s me. Human through and through.”
He took a step toward me but stopped. “I didn’t mean that as an insult. I can see your sadness for them. You care for them even though you never met them. It is very human of you.”
I really didn’t know what to think of that. Empathy wasn’t something abnormal to me and I didn’t think it was such a strange notion to Hunter, either.
“You’re more human than you realize, Hunter.”
He looked like he wished to argue, but the door opened once more and Luc prowled in, sending Hunter a sidelong glance.
“You should’ve stayed in here, Hunter.”
“Call me crazy, but I didn’t like the idea of a Luxen being here and me not knowing what was going down.”
Luc walked behind the desk and sat down. “You are crazy, but that has been established already.
Anyway, let’s get this show on the road before I have more unexpected visitors crawling out of my ass.”
My brows rose, but I wisely said nothing.
Luc opened up a door and pulled out a slender silver cuff. In the middle was a black, oval-shaped piece of opal with a red streak down the middle.
He tossed it over to Hunter, who snatched it out of the air with a flick of his wrist. I’d swear the moment Hunter slapped that cuff around his wrist, his cheeks brightened.
“You know I don’t give these over easily. I’ve turned better allies away when they needed one.”
Luc paused. “Therefore this counts toward your one favor.”
Hunter’s gaze darkened. “That’s all I need.”
“Not true. You need a Luxen to feed from.”
Hunter cracked his neck to the side. “I can find a Luxen elsewhere.”
Luc smiled. “That would be unnecessary. I can work that out for you, provide a willing snack, but you’ll owe me.”
“Willing?” I glanced back and forth. “There’s Luxen willing to be fed off of?”
“There are Luxen willing to do anything for me,” Luc corrected. “And this way it will be much safer and quicker. Not to mention, you’re getting someone’s permission. That’s good karma, Hunter. You could use that.”
Hunter scowled. “Yeah, and then I owe you. I know how this game works. No thank you.”
“Aw.” Luc feigned hurt.
“My favors aren’t that bad.”
“Yeah, and I’m secretly a cuddly rabbit.”
A broad grin crossed Luc’s face as he propped his elbows on the table.
“Look, all I would ask is for you to help me out in a time of need. That’s all.
Agree to that and then I’ll bring someone in here.
Easy. Painless. You’ll be on your way.”
Hunter opened his mouth, but I stepped in.
“Wait. So you’d just need help one day? Help with what?”
“Whatever I may need help with,” he replied.
“And this Luxen seriously won’t have a problem with Hunter feeding off him?”
I looked at Hunter.
Granted, I had no idea what kind of whacked-out favors Luc could call in, but forcing a Luxen, no matter what their race had done, didn’t set well with me.
Hunter met my stare and then cursed under his breath as he turned back to a positively beaming Luc. “Fine. Whatever. I’ll help you in your time of need.”
I let out a breath as Luc rose and clapped his hands. “Great.” He pulled a phone out of his pocket, his fingers flying over the screen.
“This shouldn’t take long at all.”
“Is it that punk ass from outside?” Hunter started to smile. “Because I really would enjoy that.”
I thought of the young man with the fierce green eyes and doubted he’d agreed to that.
Luc laughed. “No. He’s got his hands full right now.”
Hunter looked disappointed, but a few moments later, he stilled and I knew a Luxen had arrived. The two headed to the door.
“You should really stay in here this time,” Hunter said.
For once, I listened.
Watching the unlikely duo leave the office, I dropped my head into my hands.
Witnessing Hunter feed wasn’t high on my to-do list. There was already enough that reminded me of how different we truly were.
The Luxen Luc had brought in had been the typical arrogant fuck, but was surprisingly accommodating when it came to the feeding.
Methinks he got off on the pain. Whatever.
Raw and pure energy coursed through me, amplified by the opal. If I didn’t do anything crazy with the borrowed energy, I’d be riding this wave for a long time.
When the Luxen scampered off, I turned to Luc. He leaned against the bar and folded his arms, giving me an arched look.
“What?” I asked.
He shrugged one shoulder. “So what’s the plan now?”
The plan—the fucking plan. I turned, shoving my hand through my hair. “I’m heading to Georgia.”
“To your brother?”
“Sounds like a good idea. He knows how to stay off the radar.” He paused. “And what about Serena?”
Facing Luc, I wondered why in the hell I was even considering talking to him about this. Then again, it was Luc, and weird shit always happened around him. “She wants to go back to Colorado.”
He raised his brows.
“And for what?”
“There’s something her friend left behind. It might be important.”
“I’m assuming it has to do with what her friend overheard and the Luxen’s nefarious plans?” When I didn’t answer, Luc laughed softly. “If there’s evidence of that, it is important.
Though, I doubt bringing such things to light would change anything.”
“So you think Serena should go back there? Risk her life?”
Luc hopped up on the bar and let his legs dangle off. “I think it’s all rather pointless.
Evidence is important, but like I said, it ain’t going to change a damn thing. The DOD will shove their heads further into the sand or they’ll just go after Luxen who don’t have anything to do with this Project Eagle.”
I frowned. “Is there really anything such as a good Luxen?”
“Is there really such a thing as a good Arum?” he challenged. “I’m sure you would’ve considered your sister a good one.”
My jaw locked down. “If you value your life at all, you will not ever speak of my sister.”
“Hey.” He raised his hands. “All I am saying is that there are innocent baby aliens on both sides.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there.
You aren’t planning on accompanying Serena to Colorado?”
I snorted. “I don’t have a death wish.”