Oh my God.

For the second time in only a handful of hours, I wasn’t alone in a bed. I was lying on my back, and there was a warm, heavy arm tossed over my waist, and a leg—an actual boy leg—tangled between mine. My eyes went wide as they shifted from the TV to the ceiling, and my heart skyrocketed into uncharted territories.

Luc was right next to me, so close that I could feel his breath against my temple.

I remained very still, close to holding my breath.

How did this happen? I remembered Luc listing all the memorable Arnold Schwarzenegger lines, and there had been a lot, before he ended up settling on some crime show about murders. Totally a weird combination to fall asleep to, but I had, and here we were, together. At least we were on top the comforter, but I didn’t think that made much of a difference.

At least Mom hadn’t checked in on us, because I would’ve known if that happened. Her screams of rage would’ve woken me and—

Luc’s entire body shifted.

It wasn’t much, maybe just half an inch, but it was everything. His thigh shifted against mine, between mine, and his arm moved. Somehow, I didn’t even know how, his hand was flat against my stomach. My bare stomach. His fingers moved in a small, unconscious way, dragging over the skin near my navel. I bit down on my lip as I squeezed my eyes shut.

I had no idea what to do. I should get up or wake him up. Do something, but I did nothing. I lay there as a sweet fire built under my skin, making it difficult to remember exactly why this was wrong, because it didn’t feel that way. It felt right.

Every part of my body was aware of his. The strength in his hand, the hardness of his thigh, and the steady dancing of his breath, and we were lying together like we’d done this a thousand times.

Oh boy, I was wide-awake now.

He was a super-attractive guy, and I’d been through a lot. Had had my arm broken, and stuff—other stuff had had happened. I was vulnerable to doing and thinking stupid things. Plus my hormones were kicking into high gear, shooting lightning through my veins. Yep. That was exactly why I was letting myself sink farther into his warmth.

I should really wake him up.

I should probably also run from the house with my arms flailing.

I didn’t.

Luc moved, his hand sliding back across my stomach to curve around my waist. He squeezed, and then—oh my—he was pressing into me, pulling my shoulder to his chest, his leg to—

Oh gosh.

This sound came from him: a sleepy growl that sent shivers pounding down my spine. I kept my eyes closed, swallowing a sound that would have embarrassed me as his long, tapered fingers brushed the band of my leggings. His breath and then his lips coasted over my temple.

I knew the exact moment Luc woke up.

He stiffened against me. I didn’t even think he breathed for a good half a minute. I didn’t move, keeping my breath as deep and even as possible. I didn’t want him to know I was awake—awake this whole time.

Which was probably pointless, since he could read my thoughts and could be doing that right at this very moment.

God, I hoped he wasn’t.

Luc lifted his hand first, seemingly one finger at a time, and then he moved his leg. He stayed close though, for just a couple of moments. I waited, the tips of my fingers tingling. His breath drifted over my cheek. He seemed to hesitate, and then I felt his lips press against my forehead.

I stopped breathing, and my heart, well, my heart sort of imploded.

The mattress bounced slightly as Luc left the bed. I stayed completely still, my ears prickling until I heard the window slide open. Cold air seeped into the room, cut off as the window came back down. I heard the lock latch into place, and I didn’t move for a good minute or two after that.

Luc had kissed my forehead.

That was . . . so sweet, and it made my heart feel all gooey, and that was dumb, because he was still in love with some dead girl, and I didn’t even really like him. I mean, I did like him. He was kind of growing on me. Like mold—if mold was ripped and hard and hot and—

“Ugh,” I groaned.

Okay. I needed to be real with myself. I did like him.

I rolled over and planted my face into the pillow and inhaled. Oh God. The pillow smelled like him. I flopped onto my back once more, letting out an aggravated curse.

I needed help.


* * *

I was running late for school—so late.

Having finally fallen back to sleep sometime close to dawn, I’d dozed right through my alarm. I ended up barely having time to shower, leaving only time enough to twist my hair up in a wet bun and to grab the cleanest pair of jeans I could find.

I saw that it was rainy and overcast, so I pulled a thin black thermal on over my head and then grabbed my backpack. On the way down the steps, I shoved up my sleeve to check my left arm.

The bruise was almost completely gone, having faded overnight into a pale blue mark. Still, my stomach dipped. The Origin had—

Wait. Dammit. I’d forgotten the stun gun.

Cursing under my breath, I ran back to the bedroom, snatched my new best friend off the nightstand, and shoved it into my bag. Once again, I was stomping down the steps. I was going to grab a granola bar and then break several speeding laws.

Mom was in the kitchen, sitting at the island. She held a mug in her hand, but she didn’t look up as I zoomed past her, heading for the pantry. “Hey,” I called out. “I’m running super-late. I just need to—”

“Slow down,” she said. “There’s no need to rush.”

“Oh yes, there is.” I threw open the pantry door. “I’m going to be so late, and that means I have to park all the way in the back of the school parking lot. I’m way too lazy to make that walk twice.”

“Honey, we need to talk.”

With the conversation with Luc so fresh, talking to her was the last thing I wanted to do at the moment. Hold up. Did she know about Luc being here last night? I slowly turned around, feeling like the fact that Luc had been in my bed—had kissed my forehead—was tattooed all over my face. “About what?”

She lowered her mug. “Why don’t you put your bag down and have a seat?”

Unease blossomed in my stomach as the bag slipped from my shoulder to my elbow. “Why?”

“Evie, come have a seat.”

I opened my mouth, but I finally noticed her—really looked at her. Mom hadn’t showered yet. Her shoulder-length hair was secured with a barrette, and several strands had fallen free. Based on the wrinkled blouse and dark trousers, I wondered if she’d slept in her clothes from yesterday—or slept at all.

My mouth suddenly dried. “What’s going on, Mom?”

Her brown eyes met mine and she seemed to pale before my eyes. “Come sit down.”

For some reason I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear what she had to say. Maybe it was instinct. “I have to get to school.”

“Evelyn, we need to talk now.”

I hitched up my bag, walking away from the pantry without grabbing a granola bar. I made my way to the island.

“Luc paid me a visit yesterday, while I was at work.”

The bag slipped off my arm and hit the kitchen floor this time.

“How he got as close as he did unnoticed is beyond me.” She took a sip of coffee. Her hand trembled, but her hands never shook. “I know what happened yesterday.”

I stared at her from the other side of the kitchen island.

“He told me that you were attacked by an Origin and that he healed you,” she added.

I felt dizzy. Well, now that confirmed my mom knew about the Origins, but I already knew that, didn’t I? But why hadn’t Luc mentioned this little meeting to me last night? He’d had ample time. Tons of time. I placed my hands on the island, but I felt like I was still moving.

The mug shook as she placed it back on the gray tile coaster. The coasters belonged to a set I’d gotten her for Mother’s Day last year. “I really think you need to sit down.”

My heart was pounding so fast, I thought I’d be sick. “I don’t want to sit down.”

Her face pinched as she briefly closed her eyes. “I’d hoped I would never have to have this conversation with you. I see now that was foolish. I should’ve known the moment Luc walked through that door that I was . . . that I was on borrowed time. I should’ve told you the truth then.”