Luc’s eyes widened slightly as he faced me. A measure of surprise splashed across his striking features, parting his full lips. “Are you actually threatening me?”

I had the common sense to recognize I was treading on thin ice with lead boots. Like the kind of thin ice that was already cracking under my feet. “It’s not a threat.” I managed to keep my voice level. “It’s a warning.”

“That’s the same thing, Evie.” Luc stepped toward me, the pupils of his eyes seeming to expand. “It’s a threat.”

The air stalled in my lungs and my body moved without thought. I took a step back, but he came forward once more. I kept going until I was against a damn wall again.

“No one has even the tiniest inclination to threaten me,” he said, the pupils of his eyes starting to turn white. An icy chill ran down my spine. “Because they know better.”

My chest rose sharply.

“They especially know better than to threaten what I’m trying to do here.” His chin dipped, and he was right back in my space, eye to eye. Several seconds passed, and the stupidest, absolute dumbest thoughts occurred. I thought about that meaningless kiss that wasn’t even a kiss—about how those full lips had felt.

How they were soft yet hard, and I—

What in the world was wrong with me? Had I hit my head and damaged my brain earlier? The answer was yes, a resounding yes.

“Dammit,” he growled, and then he did the strangest thing—stranger than me thinking about kissing him, which was next-level bizarre.

He dropped his forehead to mine as he breathed in deeply. “Peaches. I am really beginning to have a thing for peaches.”

I tensed as my eyes widened. What was happening? And why was I standing here? At this point I probably shouldn’t even be trusted to own a phone. “It’s j-just lotion.”

A breath shuddered through Luc. “You were never supposed to be here. Do you understand that? That was the deal.”

My heart lurched in my chest. “What are you talking about?”

The tips of his fingers brushed my cheek, and my entire body jolted as if I’d touched a live wire. He pulled back. A stark intensity filled his stare, and I thought maybe his gaze dropped again, to my mouth. He tilted his head to the side, almost like he was lining up his mouth with mine, and whispered, “The deal was I would stay away . . .” He paused, the brilliant light of his pupils increasing. “If you stayed away.”

“What?” I said breathlessly.

Tension filled the air, popping and sparking around us. Static cracked, and the overhead lights flickered, dimming briefly before roaring back to life, becoming ultra bright.

I sucked in a sharp gasp.

Luc smiled.

Just a few feet away, the door at the end of the hall opened. The lights in the hall returned to normal. The acute pressure and edginess seeped slowly out of the hall, but my pulse was pounding so fast, I felt like I’d run up five flights of stairs. I broke eye contact with Luc and saw the blue-haired guy standing in the doorway. His name was Ken or Kent.

He checked out Luc and then me. “I was wondering what was taking so long.”

Luc took a step back, but even though I wasn’t looking at him, I could feel the intensity of his stare still focused on me. “What’s up, Kent?”

“He’s getting worse,” he replied.

Swearing under his breath, Luc stalked off. For a moment I didn’t move—I couldn’t. I was stuck to the wall. What had just happened there? And what deal was he talking about? None of that made sense.

And none of that mattered.

All I needed—all I wanted—was my phone and then to be out of here.

I sprung off the wall, hurrying to catch up to Luc as Kent stepped aside. He held the door open. I half expected both of them to shut the door in my face, but Kent just arched a reddish-brown brow at me as Luc prowled into the room.

It wasn’t empty.

There was a guy standing in the corner, and it took me a moment to recognize him. I’d seen him last night with Luc. It was the guy with the military haircut who had sat down next to Luc.

He turned toward me, and the first thing I noticed was his eyes. They were just like Luc’s. An extraordinarily violet color, and those eyes widened. “What the—”

“Don’t,” Luc warned.

The man twisted toward him. “Don’t what?”

“You know exactly what I’m telling you not to do.” Luc kept his back to the man as he sat down on the edge of what appeared to be a narrow bed.

I had no idea what was going on as the stranger faced me once more. “I have so many questions,” he said, looking at me in a way that made me feel like I was under a microscope.

Kent snorted. “Don’t we all?”

“She is no one you need to worry about, Archer.”

Archer? What kind of name was that?

“Huh,” Archer murmured, and then gave a little shake of his head. “Anyway, you think it’s wise that she’s here? Now?”

“No,” Luc replied.

My brows shot up, and I opened my mouth to speak, but Luc leaned back, and I got an eyeful of who was lying on the bed. Gasping, my hand flew to my mouth. “Oh my God . . .”

A man lay on his back. At least, I was guessing it was a man. His brown hair was matted, coated in sweat and . . . and blood. His face was a mess of angry, purplish bruises. Eyes swollen shut, lips puffy and torn. The man’s chest barely moved.

“What . . . what happened to him?” I asked.

Luc’s gaze drifted to me and he sighed. When he spoke, he sounded way older than eighteen. “Good question. I’m not quite sure.” He folded the washcloth in half. “I was about to find out, but I was interrupted.”

Me. He was talking about me.

Archer crossed his arms. “I found him like that, outside by the dumpsters in the alley.”

A shiver danced over my shoulders. I knew what dumpsters he was talking about. The window I climbed out last night emptied right into the alley beside those dumpsters.

“I don’t know who he is,” Archer continued, glancing over at me. A strange look crossed his handsome face. “Or what he was doing out there.”

“That’s Chas.” Kent sat in a small, metal chair. “He . . . helps out around here.”

It was like Luc forgot I existed as he leaned over the man, carefully dotting the washcloth along the man’s forehead. The man named Chas shuddered, and the very edges of his body blurred. His bloody skin lost some of the color, becoming . . . translucent. Another gasp parted my lips as I lowered my hand.

The man was a Luxen, a very badly injured Luxen.

I saw the bluish veins in Chas’s still arms for only a brief second before his human form took hold again. I saw no sign of a Disabler. Based on only the injuries I could see, I had a feeling that if he were human, he wouldn’t be breathing.

“When was the last time you saw him?” Luc asked.

“Last night.” Kent rubbed the heel of his palm along his chest. “After the raid.”

Archer’s jaw locked. “You think the ART officers did this?”

My stomach tumbled at the thought. The man looked like he was near death. Why would the officers do that?

“No,” answered Luc. “If it were them, they would’ve taken Chas into custody. They wouldn’t have left him lying out there.”

“Had to be another Luxen to get the upper hand on Chas.” Kent glanced over at Archer. “Especially considering those types of injuries. Chas knows how to defend himself.”

Feeling like I shouldn’t be here for this conversation, that I was hearing things I shouldn’t, I started to back up. I only made it about a foot.

“Stay put, Evie,” Luc said softly, and I stopped, wondering if he had eyes in back of his head. “Just for a few more moments.”

I stopped, not even sure why. I wanted my phone, but I could wait out in the hallway until he was done in here. I glanced around the room. “Shouldn’t . . . shouldn’t he be in a hospital?”

“A hospital isn’t going to help him,” Luc answer, his voice stoic, and I wondered if that was because Chas might be unregistered.