Besides, it hadn’t even felt like a real kiss, and I had been really kissed before. Brandon and I had kissed. A lot. What had gone down in that hidden room was barely a kiss—

Why was I even thinking about this? There were so many more important things to focus on, like, for example, the fact that we both could be sitting in jail at the moment.

“Luc is hot, Evie.” Apparently, Heidi hadn’t gotten the memo to move the conversation along.

“He’s a legit alien,” I muttered.

“So? From what I hear, they have all the working parts necessary. Not that I know from personal experience, but that’s what I’ve heard.”

“Glad to hear that they have the working parts.” That was a phrase I’d never thought I’d ever say in my entire life. I didn’t want to think about Luc and working parts. “And side note, the last time I checked, you don’t know anything about working parts.”

She giggled. “Just because I’m still part of the purity parade doesn’t mean I haven’t done a lot of research or used the Internet for nefarious purposes.”

I smiled as I dropped my hands. “He was a jerk, Heidi. If he talked to you like he did me, you would’ve punched him in the face.”

“Was he really that bad?” She threw up her hands, extending her middle fingers. “Like on the scale of one”—she wiggled the middle finger on her left hand—“to ten middle fingers, how bad was he really?”

“Fifty.” I paused. “Fifty times a million middle fingers.”

She laughed as she rolled onto her belly. “Then I probably would’ve punched him in the nuts.”


“That’s a shame.” She sighed. “When someone has the physical thing working out for them, it really sucks when the inner part is as ugly as a skinless rat.”

Skinless rat? Ew. “It was so weird. He was just so rude. He kept demanding to know why I was there, like I had the audacity to walk into that stupid club.” On a roll now, I wanted to start punching things. “Who is he? I mean, obviously, he’s an alien named Luc, but . . .”

Heidi sat up, dangling her pajama-clad legs over the edge of the bed. Her hair was twisted up in a messy bun that had flopped to one side. “But what?”

Pressing my lips together, I shook my head. There was something else I hadn’t told her. “He . . . he knew my name, Heidi.”

Her eyes widened. “What?”

I nodded. “How is that possible? He said he knew who I was and he knew that I’d never been there before.” Uneasy, I folded my arms over my waist. “That’s really freaky, right?”

“Yeah, it is.” She slipped off the bed and came to her knees in front of me. “I don’t know if I said something to Emery when I was there before. It’s possible I mentioned your name to her. I mean, I know I’ve talked about you.”

“That . . . that would make sense.” Relief seeped into me. That made so much sense, but . . . but why would Emery be talking to Luc about me?

“It has to be that. There really is no other way he would’ve known you. He doesn’t go to our school. None of them do.”

Exhaling roughly, I nodded again. I didn’t want to think about Luc anymore. “Promise me you won’t go back there.”

Her gaze drifted over my shoulder. “Well . . .”

“Heidi!” Leaning forward, I smacked her arm. “The place gets raided for unregistered aliens. Those ART officers had the kind of guns that also kill humans. That place is not safe.”

Heidi let out a heavy, loud breath. “That’s never happened before.”

“Luc said it happens, like, once a week,” I told her. “And even if he was just being dumb, once is still enough. So many bad things could’ve happened tonight.”

Biting down on her lip, she sat back on her butt. “I know. You’re right.” She peeked up at me through her lashes. “But guess what.”

“What?” I wasn’t sure if I believed her or not when it came to her going back to that club.

A small smile appeared. “I got Emery’s phone number.”

“Really?” Seeing the excitement on her pretty face was a nice distraction from what had happened. “Well, if you have her number, there really is no reason for you ever to step foot in that club again.”

“Right.” Her smile spread. “She was so excited to meet you tonight. I was super-bummed that you didn’t get the chance.”

“Me too, but if you got her number, then maybe that will lead to hanging out, and I can third wheel it?”

“There’s no better third wheel than you.”

My nose wrinkled. “Thanks? I guess.”

Heidi snuck downstairs after that and stole the carton of cupcakes. We gorged ourselves on the chocolate - goodness - topped - with - peanut - butter - frosting heaven while she gave me all the details on Emery. Heidi fell asleep pretty quickly, but what felt like hours passed before I could relax enough to even stop staring at the glow - in - the - dark stars dangling from the ceiling above Heidi’s bed.

Tonight was wild and it was scary and it could’ve ended so badly. That knowledge was hard to shake, to let go. Heidi could’ve been hurt. I could’ve been hurt. The dangers we all faced after the invasion hadn’t really gone away. They’d just changed.

As soon as my thoughts started to drift, they found their way to Luc. Heidi had to be right. She must’ve mentioned me before and somehow I came up in random conversation with Emery, and Luc had capitalized on that.

But I still couldn’t figure out why he’d lie about being a Luxen.

It didn’t matter, though, because I was never going back to Foretoken and no matter what he’d said to me, I was never going to see him again.

Thank the Lord and baby Jesus—

Oh my God.

Sitting straight up in bed, my eyes went wide as I cursed. My phone. Where was my phone? I threw the covers off and scampered from the bed. I found my clutch near my book bag. I grabbed it, peeled it open, and felt around, confirming what I already knew.

I’d left my phone in that damn club.

I clenched the steering wheel as I stared at the red doors of Foretoken. Part of me had expected to find it roped off with police tape since it had been raided just last night.

But it wasn’t.

“You don’t have to go in with me,” I said. It was about thirty minutes after I’d left Heidi’s house, and cars streamed up and down the street outside of the club. In the daylight, it didn’t look so intimidating. Kind of. “You can just stay here and if I don’t come out in, like, ten minutes—”

“Call the police?” James Davis laughed as I looked at him. “I’m not going to call the police and tell them my underage friend just walked into a club looking for her missing phone and hasn’t come back out yet. I’m going in with you.”

Relief left me feel dizzy. I really hadn’t wanted to go back in there by myself, and honestly, I should’ve known that James wouldn’t let me go in there alone.

As corny as it sounded, James was the epitome of the boy next door, and he got away with so much because of it. Brown hair, warm brown eyes, and as big and cuddly as a teddy bear, all he had to do was flash those dimples, and parents around the world just opened the door to him. Even my mom. She didn’t have any problem with James hanging out in my bedroom with the door closed.

But because he was big and often unintentionally intimidating, I recruited him this morning by showing up at his house and promising him breakfast afterward. James was always swayed by food.

My knuckles were starting to ache. “I need to get my phone back. Mom will kill me if I lost it. Do you know how much that thing costs?”

“Your mom will kill you for being here.”

“True, but she’s never going to find out, especially if I get my phone back,” I reasoned. “If you lost your phone here, what would you do?”

“I wouldn’t be here to lose my phone, but whatever.” He turned to the window. The Baltimore Orioles baseball cap he almost always wore shielded the upper half of his face. “I know why you asked me to do this and not Zoe.”