The wisps of hair at the nape of my neck stirred. Something touched my cheek. Soft. Quick. Warm. Air lodged in my throat as icy fear seized every muscle in my body. Instinct exploded as my ears buzzed. Heart lurching into my throat, I slowly turned around as panic dug in.

Nothing was there.

I lifted my hand to my cheek. Good Lord, if someone were standing behind me, I would’ve had a heart attack, right then and there. Dead before I was eighteen, and that would suck so bad.

Luxen could open doors that were locked, and they were also fast—fast enough that one could run past me, touch me, without being seen. It was possible, but why? Why would one be in this house? I seriously doubted it was Luc. I didn’t know him well, but I had a strong suspicion he would’ve made himself known.

Obnoxiously so.

Hands shaking, I kept backing up, past the dining table, and then I turned around.

Mom’s office doors were closed.

The breath I took got stuck. Silence fell as I stared at the closed French doors. I lifted my phone and then jerked as a knock sounded from the front door. For a moment, I didn’t move. I couldn’t. My pulse was thundering, blood roaring. The knock came again. I glanced over my shoulder. Whoever was in here wouldn’t be knocking on the door, right?

It was like moving in slow motion. One step in front of the other until I pressed into the door and peered through the peephole.


Relief nearly cut my legs out from underneath me. Throwing the deadbolt, I yanked opened the door. “Zoe!”

She must’ve seen something in my expression, because concern filled hers. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. No.” I stepped back, looking over my shoulder at my mom’s office. “I think someone was in here.”

“What?” Zoe stepped into the house. “Why do you think that? Have you called the police?”

“No. It just a happened.” I swallowed hard, lifting my phone. “I was upstairs and I heard something fall over down here. I don’t know. It was a loud noise and I came downstairs. I didn’t see anything at first, but then I saw that the back door was open and—” I turned and my eyes narrowed. The back door was closed. “Wait. It was just open.”

Zoe stepped around me, her gaze following mine. “Did you close it?”

Clutching my phone harder, I shook my head. “No. I didn’t even go near it.”

She started for the door, and I quickly followed, practically snapping at her heels. She reached for the door. I started to tell her to stop, but when she turned the handle, the door didn’t budge. “It’s locked.”

“What?” Not believing her, I shot around her and tried the door myself. She was right. The door was locked. “That’s impossible.”

Zoe stared at me.

“Well, it’s not impossible. Luxen can unlock doors. That means they could probably lock them, right?”

“Right.” Her gaze searched mine. “But why would they do that?”

“I don’t know.” I twisted. “Those doors were open. I swear.”

Zoe didn’t say anything for a long moment and then she charged forward, back toward the front of the house. “Let’s check it out.”

I didn’t get a chance to protest that possibly unwise life choice, because Zoe was already climbing the steps. Not wanting to be left behind, I quickly caught up with her. Every room was checked, and in less than five minutes we were back downstairs, in the living room.

“You don’t believe me,” I said.

She placed a hand on my arm. “You’re shaking. So I know something happened, but, Evie . . .”

“But it looks like nothing happened.” I slowly shook my head, feeling like I’d lost my mind a little. “I heard something. I felt someone. They walked past me. Touched my cheek—”

“Touched you?” Zoe’s brows lifted.

Nodding, I brought my fingers to my cheek. “That’s what it felt like.” I walked to the couch and sat down on the edge. “I don’t understand.”

Zoe followed me. “What were you doing upstairs?”

“Just looking at cupcake videos,” I said, and Zoe pressed her lips together. “Then I got on Facebook and I saw that Amanda’s grandparents reported her missing. . . .” A shudder racked me. “Maybe reading that, I let my imagination get away from me.”

Zoe sat down next to me and glanced at the front window. “Maybe. I mean, the mind can do crazy things, right? Especially after everything we’ve all been through with the invasion. It can play tricks on you. You okay?”

“I’m fine. Just freaked out.” I ran my palm over my knee as something occurred to me. I twisted toward Zoe. “What are you doing here?”

She laughed at my question. “I was craving Walkers and I grabbed a burger. I texted you.”

“You did?” I glanced at my phone. “There’s no text from you.”

“I guess it didn’t go through. Weird.” She frowned. “Anyway, I thought I’d stop by and see if you heard from Heidi yet.”

Zoe rarely just stopped by my house. Come to think of it, I couldn’t recall a time when she was here with my mom home. Moving a loose strand of hair back from my face, I glanced at the closed and locked back door. “She texted me a picture of her and Emery earlier. I think they were at a restaurant.” I exhaled roughly. “Did you hear about Amanda?”

“I saw something when I was at Walkers. She was at school and it’s only been a couple of hours, but . . .”

I dragged my gaze back to her. “But what?”

She lifted one shoulder. “But I guess something else must’ve happened for her grandparents to think she’s missing after such a short period of time.”

“I was thinking the same thing.” I leaned forward and placed my phone on the ottoman. My head was in a thousand places as I sat back. The run-in and weird conversation with Luc competed with Amanda’s possible disappearance. And whatever the hell happened here tonight was still taking center stage.

And I really, really wanted a giant candy bar now.

“You sure you’re okay?” Zoe asked again.

I nodded even though I had a hard time believing that my mind had tricked me into hearing what I did, seeing two doors open, and feeling . . . feeling what I had. I leave bags of chips open all the time. Not doors. I wasn’t stupid.

If someone had been in here, they’d been in my mom’s office.

That left two questions.

Who and why?

* * *

Smothering a yawn, I grabbed my English textbook out of my locker and shoved it into my bag.

“You look like you just woke up five seconds ago,” James commented.

I glanced up at him. He had his baseball hat on, turned backward. I gave him about five minutes before someone yelled at him to take it off. “I overslept.”

Which was the God’s honest truth. I hadn’t been able to fall asleep easily last night, since I was expecting a door to randomly open and close all night long. When I did finally pass out, my alarm seemed to go off minutes later.

I hadn’t told Mom what had happened last night.

By the time she got home and Zoe had already left, I was beginning to doubt everything and it felt silly trying to explain what I thought had happened.

“I can tell.” He stared over my head as he slipped his cell phone into his pocket. “Here comes April.”

I groaned under my breath as I pushed a strand of hair out of my face.

“And she looks surprisingly . . . chipper this morning.”

“Chipper?” I coughed out a dry laugh as I rooted around for the granola bar I knew I had in my locker. “Is that the word of the day for you or something?”

“No.” James paused. “Gadzookery is.”

Wrinkling my forehead, I stopped lifting books and looked at him. “That cannot be a real word.”

“Yeah, it is. Look it up. You might learn something.”

I knelt down, rolling my eyes.

“Hey.” April stopped behind me and there was a pause. “Didn’t you wear that cardigan yesterday, Evie?”

Closing my eyes, I counted to ten before I answered. “Yeah, I did, and most people wouldn’t point something like that out.”