“I already knew that.” He paused. “Obviously. Because I just said that.”

Irritation chipped away at the unease and confusion. Luxen or not, I didn’t know who in the hell this guy thought he was. He was rude, and I was not going to sit here and let someone talk to me like that. “I’m sorry. Who are you again?”

That half smile spread an inch. “My name is Luc.”

Was his name supposed to hold the answers to the universe? “And?”

“And I want to know why you’re here.”

Frustration pricked at my skin. “Are you like the official club greeter or something?”

“Something like that.” He kicked a booted foot up onto the square glass table in front of him as he leaned toward me. The distance between us evaporated. His eyes met and held mine. “I’m going to be blunt with you.”

I barked out a harsh laugh. “You haven’t been blunt already?”

He ignored that comment and didn’t look away, not once. “You shouldn’t be here. Like, of all the places for you to be, this is the last place. Isn’t that right, Grayson?”

“Beyond right,” answered the blond Luxen.

Warmth burst open in my chest, burning up my throat. Sucking in a sharp breath, I willed my face to remain emotionless even though what he said stung for reasons it shouldn’t. It didn’t matter if he was human or not or that I’d never seen this guy before and probably would never see him again once I walked out of this stupid club. Having someone tell you that you didn’t fit in didn’t feel good. Ever.

No way was I letting him, a complete stranger—an alien—get the better of me. At the end of the day, he was a jerk-face, and I wasn’t going to allow him to hurt my feelings. Absolutely no way.

Holding his gaze, I summoned a little of my mom—scary mom. “I didn’t realize I needed your permission to be here, Luc.”

“Well,” he drawled, his broad shoulders tensing, “now you do.”

I drew back. “Are you serious?” A shocked laugh escaped me. “You don’t own this place. You’re just some—” I cut myself off before I said something incredibly ignorant. “You’re just some guy.”

Tipping his head back, he chuckled deeply. “Now, I know that’s not what you were about to say or what you’re really thinking.” His fingers tapped along the back of the couch, and I wanted to reach over and smack my hand down on them. “Tell me what I really am. I cannot wait to hear it.”

“Whatever.” I glanced over at the dance floor, unable to see Heidi, since it appeared the crowd had tripled all of a sudden. Dammit. “I came here to hang out with my friend. That’s all I’m doing. It has nothing to do with you.”

“Everything has to do with me.”

I blinked once and then twice, waiting for him to laugh, but when he didn’t, I realized I’d officially met the most arrogant being on this planet.

“By the way, you’re not hanging out with your friend. Like I pointed out earlier, you were standing by the dance floor . . . just standing there, all by yourself.” His eerie eyes tracked over my face with such intensity that the tips of my ears started to burn. “Is that what you normally do when you hang out with your friend? Stand by yourself, drinking water?”

My mouth moved, but there were no words. He was absolutely the most antagonistic thing I’d ever met.

The one side of his lips tipped up even farther. “You’re not even old enough to be in here.”

I was willing to bet he wasn’t either. “I’m old enough.”


“Your big burly friend checked my ID and let me in. Ask him.”

Luc’s chest rose deeply. The breadth of his shoulders stretched the worn gray cotton. His shirt read NO DRAMA LLAMA. That shirt was a lie. This boy was all about the drama llama. “Let me see your ID.”

I scowled. “No.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re some rando dude in a club. I’m not going to show you my ID.”

That gaze slid back to mine. Challenge was etched into every striking feature. “Or maybe you don’t want to show me your ID because it proves you’re not twenty-one.”

I said nothing.

One eyebrow rose. “Or is it because you think I’m a Luxen?”

“Now that sounds like the real issue,” Grayson chimed in, and my gaze darted to him. He’d finally put his phone down. Unfortunately. “That’s probably also why she’s not comfortable. I bet she’s one of those people.”

“Those people?” I repeated.

Grayson’s ultra-blue eyes met mine. “The kind scared of the Luxen.”

I shook my head as the music and the club seemed to fade into the background. It was then when I realized no one, not a single person in here, approached this area. Everyone gave this alcove a wide berth.

Luc made a noise under his breath. “Does being around Luxen like this, out of the public eye, bother you? Scare you?”

“No. It doesn’t.” That wasn’t exactly true, because come on, I wasn’t part of the Hate All Luxen train roaring through every city and small town, but they were scary. You had to have absolutely no common sense if you didn’t fear them a little. They’d killed millions of people. Maybe these two guys hadn’t, but they weren’t wearing Disablers. They could kill me before I even saw it coming.

But the urge to prove that I didn’t care if they were Luxen or not rode me hard. My ID wasn’t real. It didn’t have my address or real name on it. Showing it to him wouldn’t endanger me. I sat my drink down on the table and pulled the ID out of the thin slot.

“Here you go,” I chirped, forcing as much brightness into my voice as possible.

Luc lifted his hand off the back of the couch and took the card. His fingers brushed over mine in the process. Static crackled, sending a tiny jolt up my arm. Gasping, I pulled my arm back.

His smile kicked up a notch, and my stomach pitched. Had he done that purpose? Shocked me? His lashes lowered. “Nola Peters?”

“Yes. That’s my name.” That was so not my name. It was a combination of two cities I’d never visited—New Orleans and St. Petersburg.

“It says you’re twenty-two.” He lowered his hand as he looked at me. “You’re not twenty-two. I bet you’re barely seventeen.”

I inhaled deeply through my nose. I was not “barely” seventeen. In six months I’d be eighteen. “You know, you don’t look like you’re twenty-one.”

“Looks can be deceiving.” He moved the card over his fingers, flipping it back and forth. “I have a baby face.”


“I like to think I’m going to age gracefully. People will think I’ve found the fountain of youth.”

“Okay,” I said, drawing the word out. “Look, it’s hasn’t been nice talking to you, so I have to go. I need to find my friend—”

“Your friend is busy, you know, having fun.” His grin spread into a cheeky smile that would’ve been endearing if I didn’t want to straight up punch him in the face. “Unlike you. You are not having fun.”

“You’re right. I’m not.” My eyes narrowed, and I resisted the near primal urge to pick up my water and throw it on him. “I was actually trying to be polite—”

“Quaint,” he murmured.

Oh my God, this guy was going to make my head spin right off my shoulders. “But truth time? I really don’t want to spend another minute in your presence.” I started to get up. “You’re a dick and I don’t know you. I don’t want to get to know you. Peace out, home skillet.”

“But I know who you are.” He paused. “I know who you really are, Evelyn.”


He knew my name. Not my fake ID name, but my real name.

It felt like the entire building was moving even though nothing had. My spine turned to steel as an icy sensation drenched my skin. I stared at him for several moments. “How do you know my name?”