“Jesus,” he said, and grunted, clamping his arm over the backs of my legs. “You do realize I could easily pitch you out of a window, right?”

“Then do it,” I spat back, digging my elbow into him. “I’d like to see you try explaining my splattered body on the sidewalk to the authorities.”

Luc snorted. “That sounded really dramatic.”

Fury burned my skin as he prowled down the hall. “My mother—”

“Your mother isn’t going to do anything. You know why?” Luc shifted swiftly, and for a second I thought I was going to slide right off his shoulder. “Because your mother knows better.”

I hit him again. “Let me go, Luc.”

He stopped, and I felt his cheek press into my hip. “If I do, do you promise not to run off?”

My face wrinkled. “Yes.”

“You’re a liar, liar.” The door in front of him opened. “The moment I put you down, you’re going to run. Probably end up hurting yourself.”

Groaning, I jabbed my fist into his lower back and was rewarded with another grunt. “I’m going to hurt you!”

Luc chuckled.

He actually chuckled as he walked into a room.

I swore to God and the Holy Ghost, I was going to ninja kick him in the face.

Luc stopped in the dark room, and I was suddenly sliding down him—down his entire front. The contact was like a brush burn, frying out my nerve endings. The moment my feet hit the floor, I swayed unsteadily as I reached out, finding nothing around me but him. I kept moving until the backs of my thighs hit something soft, and I plopped down.

The overhead light flipped on, and my wild gaze darted around. It was a small windowless room with narrow beds pushed against the wall. It reminded me of a cell. Panic took root in my chest and blossomed.

This isn’t happening.

His expression was as hard and cold as a sheet of ice. “Stay,” Luc ordered, backing up.

Stay? Like a dog?

I sprung up from the narrow bed and darted to the side. Luc’s sigh could’ve rattled the walls as he snagged me with one arm like I was an errant child running amuck in the frozen food section of a grocery store.

Tucking me against his side, he walked me back to the bed and deposited me there. “We can keep doing this all day if you want.” He let go, folding his arms across his chest. “But I really hope you don’t, because I have things to do. I’m kind of a busy guy.”

“Then let me go,” I reasoned, clenching the edge of the mattress. “And you can get back to being the busiest guy in the world.”

He arched a brow. “If I let you go, I have a feeling I’m going to be even busier.”

I started to stand, but Luc lifted his arm. My hair blew back from my face. I sucked in a sharp breath as I tried to straighten out, but it was like there was hands on my shoulders, pushing me back down. Within a heartbeat, I was on my butt and I wasn’t getting back up.

Luc wasn’t even touching me.

No one was.

He was just standing there, staring down at me with a raised brow. He even lowered his hand, but I couldn’t . . . I couldn’t stand up. A shiver danced over me as my heartbeat stuttered.

Holy crap.

I stared at him with wide eyes. This was how powerful he was, and it was terrifying.

And it was also infuriating.

I didn’t like to be told what to do or forced to do anything, and I sure as hell didn’t like feeling afraid.

Sweat broke out across my forehead as I fought the unseen weight bearing down on me. Arms trembling, I managed to lift my hands from the mattress as fury poured through me.

Luc closed his eyes, brows pinching as his shoulders tensed. It was almost like he was in pain—like he was the one struggling to stand. “You’re still so incredibly stubborn.”

“You . . . don’t know me,” I gritted out.

He didn’t respond, and I honestly didn’t care what he was talking about at the moment. I couldn’t move any farther against the force pushing on me. Desperation trickled in. I would wear myself out in minutes, getting nowhere while he just stood there, and then what? He was going to keep me here, against my will?

“You’re hurting me!” I shouted even though it wasn’t true. I didn’t feel any pain.

Luc moved so fast, I couldn’t track him. In a second he was crouched in front of me, eye to eye. The pressure was gone, but before I could move, he clasped my cheeks in an oddly gentle grasp.

His stare met and latched on to mine. His pupils were black against the purple, the irises fuzzy. “I could do a lot of things. I have done a lot of things, and sometimes, I do hurt people,” he said quietly, softly. “But I could never hurt you.”

I didn’t want to believe him, because it didn’t make sense. He could easily hurt me, but he sounded so incredibly genuine. Like he was speaking the only truth he knew. I couldn’t look away, even though I wanted to. An odd sensation washed over me. A sense of . . . a sense of awareness seeped in. Luc inhaled sharply as his eyes took on a hooded quality, as if he were suddenly half asleep. My heart stuttered and then sped up.

“Luc,” a male’s voice came from the door.

A muscle flexed along Luc’s jaw. “You couldn’t have worse timing.”

“I like to think I have the best timing,” was the reply. “But obviously, I’m interrupting.”

“And you’re still standing there because?” Luc’s eyes closed.

“Because I’m nosy.” There was a pause. “And I have nothing better to do at the moment.”

Luc swore under his breath, and his hands left my cheeks in a slow, dragging way that caused my skin to tingle. He rose, and I saw the tall man who stood in the doorway.

He was . . . Wow, he was gorgeous.

The stranger’s hair was dark and wavy, brushing his temples. His eyes were the color of polished emeralds, bright and shiny. The eyes were a dead giveaway. Luxen. But so was his chiseled, sculpted face, because it was almost too perfect, like Luc’s. As if there were no flaws to be found in how he was pieced together, and all humans had flaws.

This guy appeared to be college aged, maybe a little older, and he seemed familiar, but I would’ve remembered him. I know I would’ve. No one could forget the name that belonged to a face like that.

“What are you doing, anyway? Archer and I—” The man’s dark brows lowered and then his eyes shot wide. “Holy shi—”

“Don’t.” Luc turned to the man. “Don’t say what I know you’re going to say.”

The corners of my lips turned down. Archer had had the same reaction to me. Was it so shocking that I was human?

The Luxen snapped his mouth shut and blinked. “Now I know why you don’t visit anymore. Never call to chat with us. You’ve been keeping secrets, Luc.”

“You know why I don’t come, Daemon.”

A shadow crossed over the man’s face and then smoothed out, disappearing. “True.”

Luc exhaled heavily. “Don’t you have something you should be doing right now?”

“I do,” Daemon replied. “I’m here for the . . .” Those stunning eyes glanced off me. “Just getting things ready for the . . . package, but I heard a ruckus. Thought I’d check it out.”

“A ruckus?” Luc repeated. “Have you been watching TV from the fifties?”

“Well, you know how deprived Archer is. He’s on this Happy Days kick recently. Freaking annoying as hell. Every time we get out of the city, he’s watching it on the damn tablet. Then we get back, Kat wants a damn breakdown of every episode. It’s driving me insane.”

“Good to know.” Luc sounded impatient. “Would love to chat more about Archer’s TV obsessions, but I’m kind of busy right now.”

“Yeah, you’re busy with . . . ?”

“Evie,” Luc said. “This is Evie.”

Daemon’s brows lifted. “Evie.” That eerie gaze settled on me again. “Hi, Evie.”

I had no idea what was going on, but I was no longer frozen by super-special Luxen power or my own stupidity. I lurched to my feet and blurted out, “He’s trying to kidnap me.”