Grayson grinned as he reached into his pocket, pulling out a sucker. “Cosign.”

Wayland raised his hands. “Now, everyone, let’s just calm down—”

“You’re down to thirty seconds,” Luc reminded them.

“Screw that.” Charity stepped to the side. “Screw this.”

“Twenty seconds,” Luc counted.

Her beautiful face twisted as she lifted a hand. “You know what. We don’t need your help.”

“Charity,” warned Wayland.

“Ten seconds.”

Her chest swelled. “Fine. We’re leaving.” She took a step back. “But first? You’ve upset me. I’m thoroughly disappointed with the great and powerful Luc.”

“Oh Lord,” murmured Grayson. He’d unwrapped his Blow Pop and shoved it into his mouth.

“I guess I should just show you how disappointed I am.” Bright white light erupted from her arm, spiraling down to the tips of her fingers. She tapped into the Source. “Hey, Peaches,” she called out, and I froze from my not-so-hidden place. “You didn’t have to die today, but you can thank Luc for that. Oh wait. You can’t, because you’re going to be dead.”


Someone cursed as light exploded from Charity’s fingertips and arced across the room, coming straight at me. There wasn’t even time to scream.

I was going to die.

Without warning, something—no, Luc—crashed into me. The impact knocked the air out of me. He brought me down, twisting in midair and hitting the floor, taking the brunt of the fall. For a brief second I was splayed out on top of him, hip to hip, absolutely stunned. “That was . . . fast.”

Luc rolled quickly, shoving me underneath him as the plaster exploded above us, sending puffs of drywall dust into the air. “God, you still don’t listen to anything I say.”

“Wait. What?” I whispered.

“Stay put,” he said to me, and then sprung up, spinning around. “That was a huge mistake.”

I rolled onto my belly, lifting my chin.

Stalking forward, Luc lifted a hand as I sat up, scrambling to my feet. A rush of air whipped through the corridor, lifting my hair and sending the strands flying across my face. The next second, Wayland was scooting backward, across the dance floor. Sean slammed into the wall and slid up it, pinned several feet off the floor.

“Wow,” I murmured.

Charity charged Luc—straight up charged him like a linebacker.

Gasping, I shot forward, skidding to a halt when Luc stepped into the attack. He dipped as she swung at him. White light crackled from her open palm. Luc caught her outstretched arm as he rose, twisting her backward. She flipped through the air, but Luc caught her before she hit the floor.

Grayson pulled a stool off the table and sat down, shoving the Blow Pop back into his mouth.

Luc held Charity there with one hand around her throat. He lifted her up. “Normally I don’t like to do this, but you just tried to kill Peaches, and I find myself partial to peaches. Even the edible ones. Don’t”—Luc gripped her other hand before it connected with his arm—“even try it.”

Luc threw her back. She hit the floor, rolling several times. He prowled forward as she shot to her feet. Charity slipped into her true form. Her veins lit up. My breath caught. A white sheen filled the club as the light in her veins seeped into her skin, replacing bone and tissue. Heat flared like the air was kicked on, and I shrunk back, pressing against the bar.

The glow was so intense, like staring into the sun. Within moments, Charity was incased in light. She went after him again.

“Wow,” Grayson said, cocking his head to the side. “She does not learn.”

“Nope.” Luc stepped to the side, nothing but a blur. He caught her by the throat again, bringing her to her knees. He was seemingly oblivious to the crackling light stretching out toward him.

Sean fell from the wall, landing in a crouch. He popped up and darted across the dance floor. Without taking his gaze off Charity, Luc threw out his other hand. Sean shot into the air, flipping sideways, right over Grayson’s head. He landed in one of the shadowy alcoves.

“You know, you could help, Gray,” Luc gritted out.

“Nah.” He swirled the stick around in his mouth. “Looks like you got it all handled.”

Luc rolled his eyes as he focused on Charity. “I didn’t want it to come to this.” A different kind of light rippled over his arm as he knelt down. “But you do not threaten what is—”

Charity’s scream drowned out the rest of what Luc was saying. Her arms flailed out as her back bowed. Her light flickered rapidly, like a bulb that was going to burn out.

Sean’s roar sent a bolt of fear through me as he pushed to his feet.

“No!” Wayland shouted a second before he went all Luxen.

It was too late.

Her glow receded just as the brighter light, the light radiating from Luc’s hand, burst from her eyes and open mouth, streaming to the ceiling of the club where it seemed to roll harmlessly across the studs and beams.

Luc let go.

Charity hit the floor, her arms outstretched, her knees bent. I pressed my hand to my mouth. She looked like . . . like what my mom had said, like Chas when he was slipping back and forth between the two forms when he’d been injured. Her skin reminded me of a translucent shell with empty, dull veins and features that were almost human but not quite.

Wayland shot across the floor, making a beeline for Luc, who was stepping over the body. Sean was running out of the alcove, bypassing Grayson, who looked like all he was missing was a bowl of popcorn.

The two male Luxen launched themselves at Luc. I didn’t think. Spinning around, I grabbed the closest thing possible—a heavy bottle of amber liquid. Cocking my arm back, I winged it as hard as possible. The bottle smashed into Sean, shattering upon impact.

“A bottle?” Grayson laughed. “Did you just throw a bottle?”

“At least she’s helping,” Luc shot back, lifting his hand.

“Hey.” Grayson pulled the sucker of his mouth. “I’m here for moral support.”

I cringed as Sean shook the broken glass and liquid off and slipped back into his human form. His eyes narrowed on me.

Luc opened his fist, and it was like an invisible lasso caught Wayland around the waist. Whipped right off the floor, he was thrown into the air and then he just—he levitated there.

Sean shot toward me, and I reached blindly behind me, grabbing for another bottle. Then he wasn’t coming at me. It was like a giant invisible arm swept him across the floor. Sean crashed into the table Grayson sat at. They went down in a tangle of legs, arms, and chairs.

Luc chuckled. “Moral support, my ass.”

With wide eyes, I picked up another bottle as one of the toppled stools flew across the floor, shattering against the wall. Grayson was on his feet, his usually perfectly coifed blond hair falling into his face.

“You made me drop my sucker.” Reaching down, he gripped Sean by the collar of his shirt and lifted him up. “And it was my favorite. Sour apple.”

Striding toward Wayland, Luc cocked his head to the side. “I would say I’m sorry about this, but that would be a lie. I’m not.” Luc closed his hand.

Bones cracked like thunder. Wayland’s body twisted and churned, his arms and legs breaking at impossible angles. His body folded like an accordion, collapsing into itself and squashing Wayland’s light like he was nothing more than a bug.

“Oh my God,” I whispered as horror rose inside me. When Luc said he could do everything a Luxen could do but better, he hadn’t been joking.

Luc’s head whipped around. His pupils glowed like diamonds as he lowered his hand. Wayland fell to the floor, and I knew he was dead before he even landed. Luc’s gaze dropped to where I clutched the bottle. That muscle flexed along his jaw and then he turned away.

Grayson suddenly skidded across the floor, thrown by Sean. “We came to you for help!” shouted Sean. “And this is how you respond?”

Spinning toward Sean, Luc stiffened.

“You’re going to regret this, so help me.” Sean moved so fast, he was nothing more than a bolt of streaking light.