I walked over to the couch and plopped down and closed my eyes. “I had a temporary moment of insanity.”

Luc chuckled. “I think I should be offended by that statement.”

“Probably,” I muttered, pressing my fingers to my forehead. “You didn’t have to call me. I would actually prefer that you forget I asked for your number.”

“Well, that’s never going to happen.”

“Great.” I sighed. “Couldn’t you just lie to me?”

“I would never lie to you,” he replied without a second of hesitation.

I frowned. “Why do you say things like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like . . .” It was hard to put into words. “Never mind.”

He sighed. “What do you need help with, Evie? Tell me. The world is your oyster and I’m your pearl.”

My frown increased. “That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Makes perfect sense.”

“I just want you to know that I rolled my eyes so hard, they rolled down the back of my throat.”

His answering laugh tugged at the corners of my lips. “Tell me why you need my help.”

Falling back against the couch, I sighed again, heavily. “I wanted to get into my mom’s office and see if there was something in there that would explain why someone was in the house on Monday, but I don’t even know what to look for.”

“And you thought I’d know?” A door shut on his end.

“No. I thought you would be able to unlock the door for me since you have unique talents suited for criminal behaviors.”

“I can unlock the door.”

“I know, but it’s pointless, because I have no idea what to look for. I’m not a detective. I’ve never even been in the room.” I kicked my feet up onto the ottoman. If Mom saw that, she would knock my feet right off it. “It was a stupid plan and it’s your fault.”

“How is your lack of creativity when it comes to sleuthing my fault?”

“Because you said—” I deepened my voice. “‘How well do you think you know Sylvia Dasher?’ and now I’m paranoid. That’s your fault.”

“I think that was a very valid question.”

It was, which irritated me. Luc was right. I thought I knew my mom, but I also thought I knew my dad, and obviously, I hadn’t known him at all.

“I have an even better question for you,” he said.

“Oh, goodie gumdrops. Can’t wait.”

His soft laugh annoyed me greatly. “Why do you think you will find something in the office?”

Tension crept into my muscles. “If there was someone here, a Luxen, he or she was in that office.” I thought about what my mom had said my father was involved in before his death. “There had to be something.”

“Are you sure that’s the only reason?” When I didn’t answer, he said, “Or do you think it’s because there just might be something else she’s keeping from you?”

Closing my eyes, I took a breath, but it didn’t do any good. How would he know that? That ever since she told me about my father, I was wondering if there was more she hadn’t told me?

“That’s it,” Luc said quietly. “Hit the nail on the head.”

I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t.

“And maybe deep down, you know there are things I could help you with.” His voice was soft, coaxing. “Things that Sylvia hasn’t told you about. Things I know she won’t.”

My eyes opened. “Like what things, Luc?”

“I won’t come over and open a door that’s going to lead you nowhere,” he said. “But if you come to the club tomorrow, after school, there’ll be a lot of doors to open that’ll lead you somewhere.”


“So.” Heidi plopped down in the seat next to me, cradling a stack of Eastern Europe maps. We all were in the library during English, collecting research books for our next paper. I had no idea why she had maps. I was confident that her paper was on Alexander Hamilton. “Did Luc help you with whatever you needed last night?”

Zoe looked up from the thick tome, raising an eyebrow. “Come again?”

I shot Heidi a look, but she ignored me. I sighed. “Remember me telling you about the guy named Luc?”

“Yeah, the guy who busted up in your house and melted a shotgun.” Zoe slowly closed the book, keeping her pointer finger between the pages. “You were with him last night?”

“No,” I whispered, leaning forward. “I asked for his number, because I needed help with something that required his . . . talents.”

Zoe’s brows lifted. “My brain just took that in several different directions.”

“Mine too.” Heidi giggled, smoothing her hands over her maps.

“God. No.” I glanced over as April shuffled past our table. She stopped a few feet away. I lowered my voice even more. “I wanted to get into my mom’s office and the door was locked. He can help with that.”

Zoe stared at me a moment and then moved a curl out of her face. “Okay. I have several questions. Did you invite him over to your house?”

“No. I didn’t text him.” I turned to Heidi. “But someone told him I asked for his number.”

Heidi shrugged. “Wasn’t me.”

“I know,” I deadpanned. “And why do you have maps of Eastern Europe?”

Glancing down at her pile, she sighed. “I’ve always wanted to travel to Europe.”

“But you’re supposed to be working on a paper about Alexander Hamilton,” I pointed out.

Zoe snapped her fingers, drawing my attention back to her. “Focus. Why do you want to get into her office?”

“It’s a kind of convoluted story.”

“Does it have to do with what happened Monday night?”

Heidi’s forehead wrinkled. “What happened Monday night?”

I quickly told her about how I thought someone had been in the house and had gone into my mother’s office. “So, I thought maybe Luc could help me get into the office.”

“You thought someone was in your house?” Heidi whispered, her eyes going wide.

“We didn’t see anyone and the doors were locked,” Zoe added, and then lifted her hands when I frowned at her. “Not that I don’t believe you. There was just no sign of anyone being there.”

Heidi sat back. “That’s really creepy, especially with everything that’s going on with Colleen and Amanda.”

“Yeah, it is.” I breathed in the scent of musty books and stale air. “When Mom came home, she never mentioned anything being weird about the office, but . . .” I hated what I was going to say. “But I don’t know if she would if she noticed something, you know? I don’t think I . . . I really know her. Like, I do, because she’s my mom. Duh. But obviously, at the same time, I don’t. I know that doesn’t sound like it makes sense.”

Zoe was quiet, her gaze serious. “What do you think she’s lying to you about?”

“I don’t know. I mean, someone was definitely in the house, and the whole thing with her and Dad knowing Luc. I just think . . . I think there’s more.” It was hard to explain without spilling all the secrets, and I wanted to tell them, but instinct told me that they were something I seriously needed to keep to myself. “Anyway, Luc didn’t come over last night, but—”

Someone shushed us.

Zoe lifted her head, pinning a dark look onto some unfortunate soul somewhere behind me. “But what?”

I curled my fingers around the edge of my book. “I think Luc knows something about Mom and my dad.” And about me, whispered a weird voice in the back of my head. Shivering, I ignored it. “He pretty much insinuated that he did and that he would tell me.”

Well, I guessed that was what he meant in his very obnoxiously mysterious way of his.

I thought Zoe looked surprised, but her expression smoothed out so quickly, it had to be my imagination. “What could he possibly know?”

“I don’t know.” I looked between the girls. “But I’m going to find out.”