“Not really.” A moment paused. “We were only a moment behind you. Zoe wanted to give you space. Well, the illusion of space. I shouldn’t have listened to her. If I’d just gone after you, you wouldn’t have seen that.”

I looked over at him, my stomach turning. “The body—”

“The police were called. I think they’re still there. The party was shut down.”

A shudder worked its way through me. “Did you . . . hear who it was?”


When that was all he said, dread set in. I clasped my knees. “Who was it?”

“Some guy who went to your school. I think his name was Andy. At least that’s what Zoe said.”

“God,” I whispered, looking away. Andy was one of the guys who’d been eyeballing the young Luxen at school. What I knew about Andy wasn’t good, but I wouldn’t want him or anyone to die like that. It was terrible.

I folded my arms across my stomach. “This is going to make stuff at school so much worse.”

“Probably,” he agreed. “The Origin must’ve followed you there.”

I frowned. “I don’t think it was him, though. I saw something there. I think—no, I know I saw an Arum.”

“What?” He pushed away from the couch, nearing the platform.

I squeezed my knees. “It was just like Kent and Emery said it would look. I thought it was just shadows at first, but then the shadows moved and thickened. The temperature dropped and . . . there was something there.” I shivered. “That’s why I ran.”

“An Arum can’t kill a human like that. They can assimilate some of the Luxen ability if they feed, but when they kill a human, it doesn’t look like what happened to the guy. It had to be a Luxen or an Origin.” He paused. “Or possibly a hybrid, but let’s stick to the first two as possible suspects. And we already know there’s a ticked-off Origin murdering people.”

“I know what I saw. It wasn’t my imagination. And before I saw the body, I heard my name, but—”

“It was in your head?” he interrupted. “The Arum, when in their true form, speak on a different wavelength. It sounds like it’s in your head, but that’s just how your human ears process the sound. But that doesn’t explain how an Arum would know your name.”

“It doesn’t.” I lifted a shoulder. “Then again, maybe another one of my friends is an Arum for all I know. It could be James.”

He snorted. “Arums don’t interact with humans on that kind of level. They stick to themselves. Usually in dark, damp places.”

“I’ll have to take your word for it.” The moment that came out of my mouth, I tensed. I couldn’t just believe what he said. Not now.

Luc exhaled roughly. “The Arum could’ve sensed the Origin and was tracking him, but instead of finding the Origin, the Arum found you.”

“And I ran.”

“Into a parked car.”

I shot him a look.

“Running was the smart thing to do. That’s what you need to do if you ever come face-to-face with an Arum or a Luxen who is trying to hurt you,” he stated. “You cannot possibly fight them. There is no training a human can do to be able to take one out. Running is why you’re still alive.”

“Well, this convo is making me feel a lot better about everything.”

“It’s just the truth. It’s not meant to make you feel better.”

All righty, then. I glanced at the clock on the nightstand and saw that it wasn’t even midnight yet. “Where is . . . Where is Zoe?”

“She’s here. Not down in the club, since it’s open, but she’s here.” His shoulders seemed to tense. “Do you want me to get her?”

“No,” I replied quickly, standing. “I don’t want to see her.”

Luc folded his arms across his chest. “Don’t be so tough on her.”

“Excuse me?” I turned to him slowly.

“Don’t be so tough on Zoe. The girl cares about you—”

“She lied to me! Are you serious right now?”

“Zoe lied to you, because what could she tell you, Peaches? There was nothing she could do without you thinking she was crazy. You were never supposed to find out the truth.”

“Well, I did, didn’t I?” Anger rose swiftly. “And don’t call me that.”

“The fact that she’s an Origin and knows the truth about who you are doesn’t change that she’s your friend.”

In the back of my mind, I knew Luc had a point. Hell, he was probably right, but I wasn’t ready to face that. “It’s the fact that everyone I know and care about has been lying to me. That’s just not something you easily forgive.”

“But you could try understanding.”

Pressing my lips together, I shook my head. “Whatever.”

“Whatever? Fine. Let’s move this conversation to something else that’s important.”

“Oh great,” I snapped. “Can’t wait to hear this.”

He ignored me as he stepped up on the platform. “What in the hell were you thinking? There is a psychotic Origin on the loose and what do you do? You spend all day driving around, practically wearing a neon ‘come break my other arm’ sign.”


“Then you go home, leave your freaking house in a mess, scaring the shit out of Sylvia, causing her to think something happened to you.”

My eyes widened. “How do you know that?”

“Because I was there, watching over you to make sure you didn’t end up dead.”

“Oh my God, that’s not okay! I told you that I didn’t want you doing it. You could’ve had Grayson or Daemon—”

“Pretty sure after the stunt you pulled this morning, that was enough punishment for Daemon,” he shot back, eyes afire. “And then you go to a party. A party, knowing there’s an Origin who apparently wants to use you in some cliché revenge plot? Are you out of your mind?”

I was about five seconds from being out of my mind. “Why am I even here with you? I told you I didn’t want to see you again.”

His lips twisted into a smirk. “Do you want me to take you home then, to Sylvia?”


“Then congrats, you’re stuck with me.”

Turning to him, I closed my hands into fists. “That doesn’t mean I have to stand here and listen to you.”

“Damn straight you do. What you did tonight, by going to that party, was absolutely, fundamentally—”

“Want to use another adverb?”

“Yeah.” His jaw locked down. “How about irresponsibly, recklessly, and carelessly immature?”

I sucked in a stuttered breath. “You’re acting like I just found out today that my parents are getting divorced and I’m overreacting.”

“I don’t think you’re overreacting. I cannot even fathom what you must be thinking or feeling, but that doesn’t mean you made smart choices today.” Luc’s lips formed a thin, hard line. “I didn’t spend half of my godforsaken life trying to keep you alive for you to just throw it all away!”

I sucked in air, and something, something exploded inside of me, like a buckshot, and I got right up in his face, putting my hands on his chest. He caught my wrists. “I don’t belong to you, Luc! My life doesn’t belong to you! No matter what you did for me.”

Luc drew back as if I’d slapped him. “I never said you did.”

My entire body was trembling. “I want to make something very clear. My name is Evelyn. You can call me Evie. That is who I am, no . . . no matter who I used to be.”

“I know,” he said solemnly, his gaze never leaving mine. “Nadia doesn’t exist. Not anymore.”

I wasn’t exactly sure what happened next. Maybe he pulled my hands back to him, or maybe that was all me, but suddenly my palms were flat against his chest. He was wearing a shirt, but the heat of his body seemed to burn through the cloth, searing my palms.