I wasn’t in the backseat of some car, writhing in unbelievable pain. I was on a bed, a very comfortable bed. Swallowing against the dryness in my throat, I looked around the room. The moment I recognized the bare walls and exposed brick, my heart stopped.

Luc’s apartment.

What happened came rushing back to me. I’d been leaving school and run into this Origin—he’d broken my arm and Luc had done something. Something big, because my arm barely hurt.

He’d healed me, for real this time, and that was huge. He didn’t have to do that. They could’ve taken me to a hospital. Wait. Oh God, was I going to turn into a mutated human—

I shifted and my leg bumped into something hard. I stopped moving. I was so not alone. I breathed in deeply, my heart stuttering when I recognized the woodsy scent surrounding me.

Oh dear.

I looked to my left, and devastatingly beautiful features registered. Yep, that was Luc lying next to me, and I couldn’t even begin to fathom how this had come about.

My eyes widened as I took in the sight of him. He was half sitting up, his back against the wooden headboard, and his chin was dipped down. Thick lashes fanned the skin under his eyes. His arms were folded over his stomach and his chest rose and fell deeply, as if he were asleep.

What in the world?

If I had had my camera, I would have taken a picture of him in that moment. Probably sounded creepy as hell, because he was asleep and all, but Luc at rest was a stark contrast of hard lines and unyielding softness.


I needed to prioritize, and taking pictures of a sleeping Luc was nowhere on the list of things I needed to do. Unable to help myself, I glanced over at Luc. Eyes like polished amethyst jewels stared back at me. Every muscle in my body froze, causing my arm to throb.

“Hey there, Peaches,” he murmured.

“Hi,” I whispered. I was really out of it, because I knew there were a lot of important things we needed to talk about, but those problems, terrifying ones, seemed muted and far away. “Why am I in your bed . . . with you?”

One side of his lips kicked up. “I was dozing.” His gaze dipped and then he sucked his lower lip in between his teeth as his lashes lifted. “Damn, Peaches . . .”

The next breath I took got stuck as what had happened rushed to the forefront of all my jumbled thoughts. “God,” I whispered, shuddering. “Luc, that guy—he’s responsible for what happened to Colleen and Amanda. Maybe even that family.”

The sleepiness vanished from his features. “I wanted to wait to make sure you were okay before we talked about this—”

“This can’t wait.” My heart thundered in my chest as residual fear kicked in. “He admitted to killing them. He said—” My voice cracked. I couldn’t bring myself to say what I needed to.

Luc picked up on it. His lips thinned. “He thought he was grabbing you when he took Colleen? After he saw you talking to me?”

For once, I wasn’t mad about him for peering into my head. “Yes. God.” I felt like I was going to be sick. “Colleen is dead because he thought she was—”

“Stop.” His fingers touched my chin, drawing my gaze to his. “She is not dead because of you. What happened to her isn’t your fault. Okay?”

I drew in a shallow breath. “Okay.”

“I have a feeling you don’t really believe that.”

It was hard to believe that when you knew someone had been killed because they were mistaken for you. My guilt, misplaced or not, wasn’t important right now. “I met him before—I mean, in the parking lot of school. My stuff fell out of my bag and he helped me pick the stuff up. He hadn’t given off any ‘Hey, I’m a serial killer’ vibes then. He was nice, and I thought he was a student, but it was him. And he was in my house that night and he said he left his mark on me the second time.”

Understanding flared in his eyes. “Those marks on your stomach.”

“You didn’t do it. It was him.” Nausea twisted up my insides. “He’s been in my house. Twice.” I looked away from Luc, squeezing my eyes shut. “He knew you, Luc, and he wasn’t a Luxen. He was an Origin. I saw his eyes. They were just like yours.”

Luc was so quiet, but I could feel the red-hot fury pouring off him. It charged the air in the room. “He didn’t happen to give you a name or anything useful?”

“No. I thought there weren’t many Origins left?”

“They aren’t,” he growled. “What did he look like?”

“About my age.” I opened my eyes, willing my heart to slow down. I wasn’t in that parking lot. I was safe. For now. “He had brown hair and the same color eyes as you.”

“Anything else you remember?”

“He was wearing sunglasses nearly the entire time, but he . . . he had a dimple in his right cheek and . . .” I trailed off as I remembered what he’d said to me right before he broke my arm. “He asked me to say something to you, but I don’t think I heard him right.”

The pupils of Luc’s eyes were starting to turn white. “What did he say?”

I shook my head. “He wanted me to ask you if you’d . . . play with him.”

Everything about Luc changed in an instant. He was off the bed in a nanosecond.

His hands were curled into fists at his sides.

“What?” I asked as a kernel of panic took root. “What, Luc?”

“How old did you say he looked?”

“Around my age, give or take a year.”

“He was definitely a teenager? This is important, Peaches. You’re positive that he was a teenager?”

“Yes.” I stared up at him. “I’m positive. Why? Do you know who it is?”

Lifting a hand, he thrust his fingers through his messy hair. “There’s only one person I can think of, but he’s . . . God, he would only be about ten years old now.”

I choked on a hoarse laugh. “He definitely wasn’t ten years old.”

There was a flicker of relief skittering across Luc’s features, but it was brief. “It cannot be.”

“What are you not telling me?” I started to sit up, but the room spun a little. “Whoa.”

“What’s wrong?”

“Just a little dizzy.” I felt out of it. Like I was waking up after being sick from the flu.

He was next to me again in an instant, on the bed and reaching for me. I jerked, but he was fast. His fingers grazed my cheek and then sifted through my hair, curling along the back of my skull as he shifted. He rose up on his other arm so that he hovered over me. I gasped as warmth radiated from him—from his fingers. It was the same feeling I’d felt before, when he’d touched me in the car.

The warmth soaked my body. “Wh-what are you doing?”

“Fixing you.”

“Should you be doing that?” The tingling sensation rippled down my spine, spreading out through every nerve ending. I bit down on the inside of my lip, twisting restlessly, drawing one leg up. “I . . . I don’t want to change into a mutant.”

Luc’s chuckle held a rough edge. “You mean hybrid? You’re not going to turn into one.”

“How do you know?”

“I know things.” There was a pause. “Did that bastard do anything else to you?”

“No. Just my arm.”

“Just your arm?” His voice hardened. “He nearly snapped it in two, Peaches. The dizziness could be left over from that.”

I closed my eyes, remembering the stomach-twisting pain.

“Are you still dizzy?” he asked as his hand slipped down to the nape of my neck.


“That’s good.” His voice sounded deeper.

I could feel my pulse speeding up. “I know you told me that you can heal, but I don’t understand how this is working. It seems impossible.”

“It’s the energy. It can be channeled into a human to repair bone, tissue, and muscle, even nerve damage. Wounds.” He paused. “Like I said before, we can heal almost anything that was caused externally, but we cannot heal damage from an internal source.”