I actually might get sick.

“That was fun,” Daemon said, and then the door opened on its own accord. “But I need you to get out of the car.”

Slowly, I lifted my head and numbly unhooked my seat belt. I stood on legs I couldn’t feel as rain pelted me in the face.

“Come on.” His voice was softer, and so was the sudden grip on my arm. He walked me around to the passenger side. “My job was to make sure you got to school safely. Been a while since I played bodyguard. Not doing a great job at it.”

I got in the car. Before I could blink, Daemon was behind the driver’s seat, closing the door and rolling up the window. He shoved his hair, wet from the rain, back from his face.

My breath caught. “I don’t want to go back there.”

“If you don’t go back there, then you’re going to Luc.” He looked over at me. “Those are the two choices.”

I wanted a third choice—actually, I did want to see Luc. “The club.”

“Sounds like a plan.” The car started moving and he looked over at me. “Seat belt. The last thing I need right now is Luc losing his mind if you end up going through a window or something.”

“You stepped out in front of the car,” I reminded him as I buckled up. “That could’ve caused an accident.”

“I made sure it didn’t,” he replied.

Go figure. It hadn’t been my driving skills that had prevented a wreck. I looked out the window, not really seeing anything. Maybe that woman back there wasn’t my mom. Maybe a Luxen had assimilated her and she was pretending to be my mom.


That was my mom. It sounded like her—smelled like her and talked like her. As much as I wanted to believe that wasn’t her, it was. So did that mean what she claimed was true? That I wasn’t Evelyn? That I was this other girl? That everything I’d known and believed . . . since, well, since I could remember, was a lie?

“You doing okay over there?” Daemon asked.

I closed my eyes against the burn. “Did you . . . did you know me before you saw me in the club?”

There was a long pause, so long that I didn’t think Daemon was going to answer. And when he did, I wished he hadn’t. “Yeah, I knew you.”

* * *

I left Daemon in the hallway downstairs and climbed the six damn flights of steps. I went to Luc’s door, closed my hand, and beat my fist off it like I was the police about to serve a warrant.

The door swung open and there was Luc. Hair damp like he’d just gotten out of the shower and still . . . painfully beautiful to look at.

Surprise washed over Luc’s face as he stepped back, letting me inside the apartment. He closed the door behind him.

“Aren’t you supposed to be at school?” He’d changed from last night. Gone was the Henley, and in its place was a black shirt. I was guessing Mom hadn’t been able to get ahold of him. “Did something happen?”

I was never quite worthy of her—of her friendship, her acceptance and loyalty. . . .

Seeing him after what I’d learned this morning was like being smacked in the face and told it was a kiss. If what I had been told was true, he had been. . . . he had been—God, I didn’t even know. But it was wrong. It was beyond wrong.

I’d asked Luc about Nadia last night, if he still loved her, and he’d said—

He’d said, “With every breath I take.”

I didn’t stop to think. I only acted.

My hand shot out and my palm smacked across his cheek with stinging force. His head snapped to the side and then swung back. Luc’s pupils widened as horror gripped me.

I’d hit him.

I’d never hit anyone in my life.

And I didn’t even feel bad about it.

Red blossomed along his cheek. “Was that for last night? Because I didn’t leave before your mom got home?” He paused, eyes flashing. “Or was it because you lay there and pretended to be asleep while you wished I’d stayed?”

My hand cocked back again, but Luc was prepared this time. He caught my wrist and hauled me forward. Air pushed out of my lungs at the chest-to-chest contact.

“Hitting is not nice,” he said, his voice steely. “Pretty sure they taught that in kindergarten, Evie.”

“Evie?” I laughed, and it sounded even more wrong. Worse than brittle. It sounded near hysterical.

His brows knitted and then smoothed out as understanding seeped in. His mouth opened, but he didn’t speak as he dropped my wrist as if my skin burned his.

Words festered and finally boiled over as I stumbled back a step and kept going, until my back hit the door. “Why didn’t you tell me you saw my m-mom yesterday?” My voice cracked on that one, powerful word. “When you were with me last night, why didn’t you tell me you’d talked to her?”

He started toward me, his long-legged pace eating up the short distance.

“Don’t,” I said, voice barely above a whisper. “Don’t come near me, Luc.”

He halted, his amethyst eyes wide and endless. “What did she tell you?”

“Oh, let’s see. She explained that she didn’t give birth to me. Apparently my birth mom died of an overdose? Now, if I was simply adopted, that wouldn’t be a big deal, because a mother isn’t always by blood.” I dragged my hand over my hair, smoothing the strands down. The bun had slipped and was falling free. “But according to her, she’s only been my mom for about four years, and that’s kind of a big deal.”

Luc’s hands closed at his sides.

“And you know? I didn’t believe her, because that sounds bananas, but then she turned into a Luxen. Right in front of me.”

He closed his eyes.

A knot expanded in my throat and moved to my chest. “But you already knew what she was. Didn’t you?”

He didn’t answer.

“Didn’t you?” I shouted, hearing my voice snap.

Lashes lifted. “I knew.”

“Of course you did. And you know what else she told me this morning? She told me why I didn’t have a trace on me. Because supposedly I was given some kind of weird serum,” I said, swallowing against the knot. “But you know that, too.”

“Damn her.” Exhaling heavily, Luc walked away from the door and sat on the edge of the couch. “I didn’t know she was going to tell you. If I had, I would’ve been there.”

Knots formed in my stomach, twisting up my insides. He said that like he meant it, and a distant part of me knew he spoke the truth.

“Been there for what, Luc? Were you going to be there and hold my hand while she told me that whatever memories I think I have, I don’t? Were you going to share coffee with her while she told me that my name isn’t Evelyn Dasher?”

He looked like he wanted to get up, but he stayed put. “I would’ve been there to make sure you were okay. Helped you understand who you—”

“Don’t say I’m not Evelyn. That is who I am.” My voice warbled. “My name is Evie.”

“I know.” He softened his voice. “You’re Evie.”

My muscles tensed. “So, let’s say that this isn’t some kind of dream and it’s real. Why didn’t you tell me the truth? You had chances. Especially when you told me about her—about what happened. You could’ve told me then.”

“I could’ve.” His gaze searched mine. “But would you have believed me? Honestly? If I told you that you were really Nadia Holliday, but your memories were wiped, would you have listened to me or walked away?”

I inhaled raggedly. Truth was, I wouldn’t have believed him. I was having a hard time believing . . . Mom. Closing my eyes, I shook my head. “If it’s true, why did you leave me there—leave me with them? I was supposed to be your bestest friend in the whole world. You said you lo—” Unable to finish that, I opened my eyes again. “Why would you leave me with them?”

His pupils turned white. “I never really left you.”


Pressure squeezed my chest. Denial was the best defense against the confusion and raw pain springing forth inside me. My mouth moved for a good half a minute without words, and then finally, I said the only thing suitable: “Is this a joke? A really bad joke that—”