This was one of those moments in my life that I didn't know if I should laugh, cry, or run away as fast as possible.

Daemon smiled tightly. "I can tell what you're thinking. Not that I can read your mind, but it's written all over your face. You think I'm dangerous."

And a jerk...and hot, but I wasn't admitting that. And an alien life form? I shook my head.

"This is crazy, but I'm not scared of you."

"You're not?"

"No." I laughed, but it sounded a bit crazed - totally unconvincing. "You don't look like an alien!" It seemed important to point that out.

He arched a brow. "And what do aliens look like?"

"Not...not like you," I sputtered. "They aren't gorgeous - "

"You think I'm gorgeous?" He smiled.

I shot him a dark look. "Shut up. Like you don't know that everyone on this planet thinks you're good-looking." I grimaced, shocked to even be having this conversation. "Aliens - if they exist - are little green men with big eyes and spindly arms or...or giant insects or something like a lumpy little creature." Daemon let out a loud laugh. "ET?"

"Yes! Like ET, asshole. I'm so glad you find this funny. That you want to screw with my head more than you guys have already screwed with it. Maybe I hit my head or something." I started to climb to my feet.


"Sit down, Kat."

"Don't tell me what to do!"

He stood fluidly, arms out to his sides. That creepy glow filled his eyes, like two orbits of pure light. "Sit. Down."

I sat down. With a one-fingered wave, of course. He might be all about sharing his alien-ness with me now, Mr. Badass Alien, but I instinctively knew he wouldn't hurt me.

"Will you show me you what you really look like? You don't sparkle, do you? And please tell me I didn't almost kiss a giant brain-eating insect, because seriously, I'm gonna - "


"Sorry," I muttered.

Daemon closed his eyes and inhaled. Light appeared over the center of his chest, and like back at the road, he started to vibrate and then fade out until nothing but this brilliant reddish-yellow light surrounded him. Then the light took form. Two legs, a torso, arms, and a head made of nothing but light. A light so intense it lit up everything around us, turning night into day.

I shielded my eyes with a trembling hand.

"Holy shit."

And when he spoke, it wasn't out loud. It was in my head. This is what we look like. We are b eings of light. Even in human form, we can b end light to our will. There was a pause. As you can see, I don't look like a giant insect.

Or...sparkle. Even in my head I could hear the disgust on that last one.

"No," I whispered. Out of all the paranormal books I'd read and reviewed, no one glowed like this. Some glittered in the light. Others had wings. No one was a freaking giant sun.

Or a lumpy little creature, which I find offensive, b y the way. One arm made of light stretched out toward me. A hand and fingers formed, opening palm up. You can touch me. It won't hurt. I imagine that it's pleasant for humans.

For humans? Sweet. Baby. Jesus.

Swallowing nervously, I raised one hand. Part of me didn't want to touch him, but to see this, to be next to something, well, out of this world, I had to. My fingers brushed over his, and a jolt of electricity danced over my hand, up my arm. The light hummed along my skin.

I sucked in a sharp breath. Daemon had been right. It didn't hurt. His touch was warm, heady.

It was like touching the surface of the sun without being burned. I curled my fingers around his, watching as the light grew until I could no longer see my hand. Little bands of light flicked out from his hand, licking over my wrist and forearm.

Figured you'd like it. He pulled his hand free and stepped back. His light slowly faded, and then Daemon was standing in front of me -

human Daemon. I felt the loss of his warmth immediately. "Kat," he said, this time out loud.

All I could do was stare at him. I'd wanted the truth, but actually hearing it - seeing it - was totally different.

Daemon seemed to read my expression, because he slowly sat back down. He looked relaxed, but I knew he was more like a wild animal, coiled and ready to spring in case I made the wrong move. "Kat?"

"You're an alien." My voice was weak.

"Yep, that's what I've been trying to tell you."

"Oh...oh, wow." I curled my hand back to my chest, staring at him blindly. "So where are you from? Mars?"

He laughed. "Not even close." He closed his eyes briefly. "I'm going to tell you a story.


"You're going to tell me a story?" Nodding, he dragged his fingers through his tousled hair. "All of this is going to sound insane to you, but try to remember what you saw. What you know. You saw me do things that are impossible. Now, to you, nothing is impossible." He paused, seemed to gather himself. "Where we're from is beyond the Abell."

"The Abell?"

"It's the farthest galaxy from yours, about thirteen billion light years from here. And we're about another ten billion or so. There is no telescope or space shuttle powerful enough to travel to our home. There never will be." He glanced down at his open hands, his brow lowered. "Not that it matters if they did. Our home no longer exists. It was destroyed when we were children. That's why we had to leave, find a place that is comparable to our planet in terms of food and atmosphere. Not that we need to breathe oxygen, but it doesn't hurt. We do it out of habit now more than anything else." Another memory tugged loose. "So you don't need to breathe?"

"No, not really." He looked sort of sheepish.

"We do out of habit, but there are times we forget. Like when we're swimming." Well, that explained how Daemon had stayed underwater for so long. "Go on." He watched me for a few moments, then nodded. "We were too young to know what the name of our galaxy was. Or even if our kind felt the need to name such things, but I do remember the name of our planet. It was called Lux. And we are called Luxen."

"Lux," I whispered, recalling one of my freshman classes. "That's Latin for light." He shrugged. "We came here in a meteorite shower fifteen years ago, with others like us. But many came before us, probably for the last thousand years. Not all of our kind came to this planet. Some went farther out in the galaxy.

Others must've gone to planets they couldn't survive on, but when it was realized that Earth was sort of perfect for us, more came here. Are you following me?" I stared blankly. "I think.

You're saying there're more like you. The Thompsons - they're like you?"

Daemon nodded. "We've all been together since then."

That explained Ash's territorial nature, I guessed. "How many of you are here?"

"Right here? At least a couple hundred."

"A couple hundred," I repeated. Then I remembered the strange looks in town - the people at the diner and the way they'd looked at me...because I was with Dee - an alien. "Why here?"

"We...stay in large groups. It's not...well, that doesn't matter right now."

"You said you came during a meteorite shower? Where's your spaceship?" I felt stupid for even saying that.

He raised a brow at me, looking like the Daemon I knew. "We don't need things such as ships to travel. We are light - we can travel with light, like hitching a ride."

"But if you're from a planet millions of light years away and you travel at the speed of light...It took you millions of years to get here?" My old physics teacher would be proud.

"No. The same way I saved you from that Mack truck, we're able to bend space and time.

I'm not a scientist, so I don't know how it works, just that we can. Some better than others."

What he said didn't sound sane at all, but I didn't stop him. Like he pointed out, what I saw earlier did not make any sense so maybe I was no longer the judge of what did make sense.

"We can age like a human, which allows us to blend in normally. When we got here, we picked" He noticed my wince with another shrug. "I don't know how else to explain that without creeping you out, but not all of us can change our appearances. What we picked when we got here is what we're stuck with."

"Well, you picked good then."

The corners of his lips twitched up as he ran his fingers over blades of grass in front of him.

"We copied what we saw. That only seems to work once for most of us. And how we grew up to look alike, well, our DNA must've taken care of the rest. There are always three of us born at the same time, in case you're wondering. It's always been that way." He paused, lifting his gaze. "For the most part, we're like humans."

"With the exception of being a ball of light I can touch?" I let out a low breath, blown away.

His lips twitched again. "Yeah, that, and we're a lot more advanced than humans."

"How advanced is a lot?" I asked quietly.

He smiled a little then, running his hands over the grass again. "Let's say if we ever went to war with humans, you wouldn't win. Not in a billion years."

My heart turned over heavily and I scooted back again, not even realizing I'd been leaning forward, toward him. "What is some of the stuff you can do?"

Daemon's eyes flicked up to mine briefly.

"The less you know is probably for the best." I shook my head. "No. You can't tell me something like this and not tell me everything. owe that to me."

"The way I see it, you owe me. Like three times over," he replied.

"How three times?"

"The night you were attacked, just now, and when you decided Ash needed to wear spaghetti." He ticked them off on his fingers.

"There better not be a fourth."

"You saved my life with Ash?"

"Oh yeah, when she said she could end you, she meant it." He sighed, tipping his head back and closing his eyes. "Dammit. Why not? It's not like you don't already know. All of us can control light. We can manipulate it so that we're not seen if we don't want to be. We can dispel shadows, whatever. Not only that, but we can harness light and use it. And trust me when I say you don't ever want to be hit with something like that. I doubt a human could survive."

"Okay..." I barely breathed. "Wait. When we saw the bear, I saw a flash of light."

"That was me, and before you ask, I didn't kill the bear. I scared it off. I'm not sure why you passed out. You were close to my light. I think it had an effect on you. Anyway, all of us have some sort of healing properties, but not all of us are good at it," he continued, lowering his chin. "I'm okay at it, but Adam - one of the Thompson boys - can practically heal anything as long as it's still somewhat alive. And we're pretty much indestructible. Our only weakness is if you catch us in our true form. Or maybe cut our heads off in human form. I guess that would do the trick."

"Yeah, cutting off heads usually does." My mind was going completely blank, only capable of processing what he was telling me and about one line of coherent thought every minute or so.

My hands slid to my face and I sat there, cradling my head. "You're an alien." He raised his brows at me. "There is a lot we can do, but not until we hit puberty, and even then we have a hard time controlling it. Sometimes, the things we can do can get a little whacked out."

"That has to be...difficult."

"Yes it is."

I lowered my hands, curling them above my chest. "What else can you do?" He watched me closely as he spoke.

"Promise not to take off running again."

"Yes," I agreed, thinking what the hell. Not like I could get more freaked out.

"We can manipulate objects. Any object can be moved, animated or not. But we can do more than that." He picked up a fallen leaf and held it between us. "Watch."

Smoke immediately started wafting from it.

Bright, orange flames erupted from the tips of his fingers, curling over the leaf. Within seconds it was gone, but his flames still crackled over his fingers.

I scooted forward, placing my fingers near the fire. Heat blew off his fingers. I pulled my hand back, looking at him. "The fire doesn't hurt you?"

"How can something that's a part of me hurt?" He brought his flaming fingers over the ground. Embers flew from his hand, but the ground remained untouched by the fire. He shook his hand. "See. All gone." Eyes wide, I inched closer. "What else can you do?" Daemon smiled and then he was gone.

Pushing back, I looked around. He was leaning against the tree several feet away.

" the world - wait! You've done that before. The creepy, quiet, moving thing. But it's not that you're quiet." I sat back against the tree, dazed. "You move that fast."

"Fast as the speed of light, Kitten." He reappeared in front of me and slowly sat down.

"Some of us can manipulate our bodies past the form we chose originally. Like shift into any living thing, person or creature." I stared at him.

"Is that why Dee fades out sometimes?" He blinked. "You've seen that?"

"Yes, but I figured I was seeing things." I stretched out my legs a little. "She used to do it when she was feeling comfortable, it seemed.

Just her hand or the outline of her body would fade in and out." Daemon nodded. "Not all of us have control over what we can do. Some struggle with their abilities."

"But you do?"

"I'm just that awesome."

I rolled my eyes, but then I sat up straighter.

"What about your parents? You said they work in the city, but I've never seen them."

His gaze fell to the ground again. "Our parents never made it here."

An ache for him and Dee filled my chest.

"I'm...I'm sorry."

"Don't be. It was a long time ago. We don't even remember them."

That seemed sad. Even though my memories of my dad seemed worn over the years, I still had them. And I had so many questions about how they survived without parents, someone taking care of them when they were little. "God, I feel so stupid. You know, I thought they worked out of town."

"You aren't stupid, Kat. You saw what we wanted you to see. We are very good at that," he sighed. "Well, apparently not good enough." Aliens...Wow, those crazy people Lesa were talking about were right. They'd probably seen one of them. Maybe the Mothman was real.

And the chupacabra really was out sucking goat blood.

Daemon's odd eyes flashed for a moment, and then they settled on my face. "You're handling this better than I expected."

"Well, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time to panic and have a mini breakdown later. I will probably think that I have lost my mind." After I spoke, something occurred to me. "Can...can you all control what others think? Read minds?" He shook his head. "No. Our powers are rooted in what we are. Maybe if our power - the light -

was manipulated by something, who knows.

Anything would be possible."

As I stared at him, anger and disbelief warred inside me. "This whole time I thought I was going crazy. Instead, you've been telling me I'm seeing things or making shit up. It's like you've given me an alien lobotomy. Nice." His eyes opened, a flash of anger sparked through them along with something else that I couldn't decipher. "I had to," he insisted. "We can't have anyone knowing about us. God knows what would happen to us then." Forcing myself to let it drop for the time being, I asked, "How many...humans know about you?"

"There are some locals who think we're God only knows what," he said. "There's a branch of the government that knows of us, within the Department of Defense, but that's about it. They don't know about our powers. They can't," he nearly growled, meeting my eyes. "The DOD thinks we're harmless freaks. As long as we follow their rules, they give us money, our homes, and leave us alone. So when any one of us goes power crazy it's bad news for several reasons. We try not to use our powers, especially around humans."

"Because it would expose what you are."

"That and..." He rubbed his jaw. "Every time we use our power around a human, well, it leaves a trace on that person, enables us to see that they've been around another one like us. So we try not to ever use our abilities around humans, but you...well, things never went according to plan with you."

"When you stopped the truck, did that leave a... trace on me?"

He blinked and looked away.

"And when you scared the bear away?

That's traceable by others like you?" I swallowed down the cold lump of fear. "So the Thompsons and any other alien around here know I've been exposed to your...alien mojo?"

"Pretty much," he said. "And they aren't exactly thrilled about it."

"Then why did you stop the truck? I'm obviously a huge liability to you." Daemon slowly turned back to me. His eyes were sheltered, closed. Again, he didn't answer.

I drew in a deep breath, ready to run, fight.

"What are you going to do with me?" When he did speak, his voice wavered.

"What am I going to do with you?"

"Since I know what you are, that makes me a risk to everyone. You...can light me on fire and God knows what else."

"Why would I have told you everything if I were going to do anything to you?" Good point. "I don't know."

He moved forward, and when I flinched away from him, he stopped short of touching me. "I'm not going to do anything to you.


I bit my lip. "How can you trust me?" He paused again and then finally reached out to take my chin in his hand. "I don't know. I just do. And honestly, no one would believe you. And if you made a lot of commotion, you'd bring the DOD in, and you don't want that. They will do anything to make sure the human population isn't aware of us." I remained still and quiet as Daemon still held me in his soft grip. Several emotions swept through me.

Looking at him now, as his presence encircled me, it was all too easy to fall into something I knew I would probably never resurface from. I pulled back. "So that's why you said all those things earlier? You don't hate me?" Daemon glanced down at his still-outstretched hand. He lowered it. "I don't hate you, Kat."

"And this is why you don't want me to be friends with Dee, because you were afraid that I'd find out the truth?"

"That, and you're a human. Humans are weak. They bring us nothing but trouble." My eyes narrowed. "We aren't weak. And you're on our planet. How about a little respect, buddy."

Amusement flickered in his emerald eyes.

"Point taken." He paused, his eyes roaming over my face. "How are you handling all of this?"

"I'm processing everything. I don't know. I don't think I'm going to freak out anymore." Daemon stood. "Well then, let's get you back before Dee thinks I killed you."

"Would she really think that?" A dark look crept over his face. "I'm capable of anything, Kitten. Killing to protect my family isn't something I'd hesitate over, but that's not what you have to worry about."

"Well, that's good to know."

He tilted his head to the side. "There are others out there who will do anything to have the powers that the Luxen have, especially mine.

And they will do anything to get to me and my kind."

Anxiety clawed its way back into my chest.

"And what does that have to do with me?" Daemon crouched before me, his gaze roaming the dense forest surrounding us. "The trace I've left on you from stopping the truck can be tracked. And you're lit up like the fourth of July right now." My breath caught.

"They will use you to get to me." Daemon reached out, pulling a leaf from my hair. His hand lingered near my cheek for a second before dropping to his knee. "And if they get ahold of you...death would be a relief."

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