She smiled as she tilted her head. The tops of her cheekbones glittered. She had the smoky eye thing going on, just like me. “What in the world are you doing here?”

I lifted a shoulder. “Just hanging out. You?”

“With some friends.” Her brows knitted as she tucked several strands of blond hair behind her ear. “I didn’t know you hung out here.”

“Um, this is my first time.” I took a sip of water as I glanced over my shoulder. I didn’t know Colleen all that well, so I had no idea if this was something she did every weekend or if this was her first time here too. “Do you come here a lot?”

“Sometimes.” She smoothed a hand over the skirt of her dress. It was a slightly lighter blue than mine, and strapless. “I didn’t know you liked to come—” Her head jerked toward the dance floor, and her flushed cheeks deepened in color. I thought maybe someone had called her name. “I’ve got to go. You’ll be here for a while?”

I nodded, having no idea how long I’d be here.

“Cool.” She started backing up, grinning. “We should chat later. Okay?”

“Okay.” I wiggled my fingers at her and watched as she turned, slipping past the churning bodies along the edge of the dance floor. I knew that people from school came here, but I guess I hadn’t been expecting to see anyone, which was stupid—

A hand landed on my shoulder. Startled, I jumped and water splashed over my hands and hit the front of my dress. Wrenching forward, I pulled away from the grip and spun around, prepared to throat-punch whoever had grabbed me, like my mom had taught me. I froze, my stomach dropping as I found myself staring into the studded face of Mr. Clyde.

Oh, this couldn’t be good.

“Hi?” I said weakly.

“You need to come with me.” The hand on my shoulder grew heavier. “Now.”


My stomach hollowed as I glanced at the sparkly pillar like it could be of some help. “Uh, why?”

His dark gaze met mine, and all I could focus on was the tiny diamond under his eye. That had to be such a painful piercing. He didn’t speak as he gripped my arm with a meaty hand and wheeled me around. Panic blossomed as I looked at the dance floor, unable to see Heidi or Emery in the crush of dancers.

Heart pounding in my chest, I held on to my water as Clyde led me away from my pretty pillar. My cheeks caught fire as a few people at the tables stared. An older girl smirked and shook her head as she lifted a glass of amber-colored liquor to her mouth.

This was so embarrassing.

I was about to be thrown out. Just my luck. Which meant I was going to have to text Zoe or someone to come get me, because I was not going to ruin Heidi’s night. Not when Emery had approached her. I was going—

Clyde wasn’t leading me to the front of the club.

He suddenly cut to the left, dragging me along with him. My heart dropped all the way to my pinched toes when I realized where he was taking me. The shadowy alcove—to the couch.

Sitting in the same lazy sprawl as before, still tapping those long, tapered fingers, was Luc. His lips tilted up at the corners.

Shock stole my breath. Normally I would be relatively excited about chatting with an extraordinarily hot guy—especially with a guy who, wow, had such thick black lashes—but everything about this was wrong.

I was not the kind of girl who got randomly picked out in a club and then escorted by someone who looked they belonged in the WWE for a one-on-one with the resident hottie. I wasn’t knocking myself. I was just the embodiment of the Triple A.

Average life.

Average face.

Average body.

And what was happening right now was not average.

“What is going . . . ?” I trailed off as Clyde steered me past the blond Luxen, who was still staring down at his phone, toward one end of the couch. The hand left my arm and then landed on my shoulder once more.

“Sit,” Luc said, and that one word was spoken in the kind of voice that probably left a trail of really bad decisions in its wake.

I sat.

Not that I had much choice. Clyde sat me down and then lumbered off, bumping and moving people out of the way like a human bulldozer.

Pulse pounding erratically, I stared in the direction Clyde had gone in, but I was completely aware of the boy sitting about a foot from me. My hand was shaking, and when I inhaled deeply, I caught the scent of pine and soap over the bitter tang of alcohol. Was that coming from him? The pine and soap scent? If so, he smelled amazing.

Was . . . was I really smelling him?

What was wrong with me?

“You can stare in Clyde’s direction all you want, but no amount of wishful thinking is going to bring him back,” Luc advised. “Though, if you’re wishing for that and it works, then you’re made of awesome dark magic.”

I had no idea how to respond to that. My brain had emptied of all words. The plastic cup crinkled under my fingers as the music halted for a brief second. Several people on the dance floor stopped, their chests rising and falling heavily. Then a thick, steady tempo of drums picked up, and the people on the dance floor just lost it.

My eyes widened as fists pumped the air and the dancers on the stage dropped to their knees, slamming their palms against the floor. Shouts grew louder and louder, a rising crescendo that matched the drums. Voices rose, chanting out lyrics that made goose bumps explode all over my arms.

Safe from pain and truth and choice . . .

A shiver broke out across my skin. Something about this—the song, the chants and cheers—was familiar. The weird feeling of déjà vu rose as I frowned. I didn’t recognize this song, but that wiggling sensation was still dominating the back of my brain.

“Like the song?” he asked.

Slowly, I turned my head toward him. His smile was a wolf’s smile, leaving me wholly unnerved. I lifted my gaze. The breath I’d taken punched out of my lungs.

The smile faded from his lips, and he stared at me like . . . I don’t know. There was an almost surprised pinch to his striking features, but his . . .

His eyes.

I’d never seen eyes like his. They were amethyst in color, a vibrant, polished purple, and the black lines around his pupils were irregular, fuzzy even. They were utterly beautiful eyes, but . . .

Heidi’s suspicion was correct. “You’re a Luxen.”

The blond staring at his phone snorted.

Luc tilted his head to the side as the odd look washed away from his face. “I’m not a Luxen.”

Yeah, I was calling total BS on that. Humans did not have eyes like that unless they were wearing contacts. My gaze shot to the hand that rested on his thigh. There was a leather cuff around his wrist with some kind of weird stone in the middle of it. An oval gem that was a kaleidoscope of milky colors. What he wore was not a Disabler used to keep a Luxen from killing half of the people in this club in less than ten seconds.

“Are you a human wearing freaky contacts then?”

“Nope.” He raised a shoulder in a halfhearted shrug. Why would he deny being a Luxen? Before I could ask that question, he spoke again. “Are you enjoying yourself tonight?”

“Uh, yeah . . . I . . . think so.”

He bit down on his plump lower lip, drawing my attention. Goodness, those were totally kissable lips. Not that I was thinking about kissing him or anything; it was just a pure, clinical observation that anybody in my situation would make.

“You don’t sound very convincing. You actually look like you would rather be anyplace but here,” he continued, those heavy lashes lowering once more. “So, what are you doing here?”

His question jolted me.

“Your friend comes here a lot. She fits in. Has fun. You have never come here.” Those lashes lifted and his odd eyes latched on to mine. “And I would know if you had been here before.”

I stiffened. How in the world did he know this was my first time here? There had to be at least a hundred people here, and all of them blended together.

“You stand by the dance floor all by yourself. You don’t have fun and . . .” His stare dropped, coasting over the front of my dress. Without looking, I knew he was staring at the water stain. “You don’t fit in here.”

Okay. Wow. That was blunt, and I finally found my voice. “This is my first time here—”