I shuddered. Nice way to close the conversation with a healthy dose of freak-us-out.

Daemon nodded at the other Luxen, and we headed out, Blake closing the door behind him. Only then did I realize the room was soundproof.

“Well,” Blake said, smiling. “That wasn’t too bad, was it?”

I rolled my eyes. “I have the feeling we just made a deal with the devil, and he’s going to come back and want our firstborn child or something.”

Daemon waggled his brows. “You want kids? Because you know, practice makes—”

“Shut up.” I shook my head and started walking.

We hurried through the club, around the still-packed dance floor. I think all of us were ready to get out of there. As we neared the exit, I looked around Daemon and Blake, my eyes drifting over the dance floor.

Part of me wondered how many, if any, were hybrids. We were rare, but like I sensed at first, there was something different about this place. Something really different about the kid called Luc, too.

Pro Wrestler greeted us at the door. He stepped aside, massive arms folded across his chest. “Remember,” he said. “You were never here.”

Chapter 16

We got home late from Martinsburg, and I went straight to bed. Daemon followed, but all we did was curl up and sleep. Both of us were exhausted from everything, and it was nice with him there, a steady presence that relaxed and soothed my frazzled nerves.

I was a zombie on Thursday, and Blake’s disgustingly chipper attitude in bio made me want to hurl.

“You should be happier,” he whispered as I hastily scribbled down notes. No doubt I’d failed the exam yesterday. “After Sunday, everything will be over.”

Everything will be over. My pen stopped. A muscle in my neck tensed. “It won’t be easy.”

“Yes, it will be. You just need faith.”

I almost laughed. Faith in who? Blake? Or the mafia kid? I didn’t trust either of them. “After Sunday, you’ll be gone.”

“Like the last decade,” he replied.

After class, I packed up my stuff, smiled at something Lesa said, and then waited for Dawson. I didn’t like to leave him alone with Blake. Not when Dawson was eyeballing the dude like he wanted to pummel information out of him.

Blake brushed past us, grinning as he switched his books to his other hand. He swaggered on down the hall, waving at a group of kids that called out his name.

“I don’t like him,” Dawson grumbled.

“Get in line.” We headed down the hall. “But we need him until Sunday.”

Dawson stared ahead. “Still don’t like him.” And then he asked, “He had a thing for you, didn’t he?”

My cheeks burned. “What makes you think that?”

A small smile appeared. “My brother’s hate for him knows no bounds.”

“Well, he did kill Adam,” I said in a low voice.

“Yeah, I know, but it’s personal.”

I frowned. “How is it more personal than that?”

“It is.” Dawson pushed open the door, and we were attacked by the giggle squad on the landing.

Kimmy was captain. “Wow. Why aren’t I surprised?”

I found myself moving in front of Dawson. “And why do I have no clue what you’re talking about?”

Behind me, Dawson shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

“Well, it’s pretty obvious.” She leaned against the rail, her backpack resting on the top. Around her, the girls tittered. “One brother isn’t enough for you.”

Before I could react, Dawson stepped around me and spat, “You’re sad and revolting.”

Kimmy’s smile froze, and maybe the old Dawson would’ve never said anything like that, because she and all her friends looked like someone just walked over their graves. Somewhere, in the back of my mind, I wanted to laugh, but I was so angry—so repulsed by the suggestion I’d be seeing two twin brothers.

I honestly don’t know what happened next. A pulse of energy left me, and the pretty pink backpack shook and then tipped over the railing. The weight jerked Kimmy. Her heeled shoes came off the floor, and in a flash I saw what was going to happen.

She was going to go right over the railing, headfirst.

A scream started in my throat and came out of Kimmy. Her friends’ horrified looks were permanently etched in my memory, and my heartbeat skyrocketed.

Dawson shot forward, catching one of her flailing arms. He had her on her feet before her scream had faded from my ears. “I got you,” he said, surprisingly gentle. Kimmy gulped in air, clutching Dawson’s hand. “It’s okay. You’re okay.”

He carefully pried her fingers off his and stepped back. Her friends immediately surrounded her. Then he turned to me, his eyes clouded. Cupping my elbow, he quickly steered me down the stairwell.

As soon as we were out of hearing distance, he stopped and faced me. “What was that?”

My breath caught and I looked away, confused and full of shame. Everything had happened so fast, and I’d been so furious. But it had been me—a part of me that had acted without thought or knowledge. A part of me that had known the weight of her bag would’ve toppled her right over the edge.

At lunch, I didn’t tell Daemon about what happened with Kimmy in the stairwell, convincing myself that since Carissa and Lesa were with us, it was so not the conversation to have. It was nothing more than an excuse, but I felt as revolting as Kimmy’s words. Later that day, when we were at Daemon’s house, going over plans for Sunday with the crew, I told myself it still wasn’t the time.

Especially when Dee was demanding to go and Daemon was having none of that.

“I need you and Ash to hang back, along with Matthew, just in case something goes wrong.”

Dee folded her arms. “What, you don’t think I can handle myself with you guys? That I might trip and stab Blake to death?”

Her brother shot her a bland look. “Well, now that you say it…”

She rolled her eyes. “Is Katy going in with you?”

My shoulders slumped. Here we go.

Daemon’s body tensed. “I don’t want—”

“Yes.” I cut him off with a deadly look. “Only because I got most of us into this mess, and Blake won’t do any of this without Daemon and me.”

Ash smirked from the settee. Other than staring at Daemon like she wanted to rekindle their romance, she wasn’t doing or saying much. “How valiant of you, Katy.”

I ignored her. “But we do need people on the outside in case something goes wrong.”

“What?” Andrew asked. “You don’t trust Blake? Go figure.”

Daemon sat back, running both his hands through his hair. “Anyway, we’ll be in and out. Then everything…everything will be over.”

His brother blinked slowly, and I knew he was thinking about Beth. Maybe even picturing her, and I wondered how long it had been since he last saw her. So I asked and surprisingly, he answered.

“I don’t know. Time there was different. Weeks? Months?” He stood, shoulders rolling. “I don’t think I was at that Mount place. The place was always warm and dry whenever I was taken outside.”

Taken outside, like a pet or something. Wrong on so many levels.

Dawson let out a ragged breath. “I need to walk or move.”

I looked around quickly. The sun had set a while ago. Not like he needed it, though. He was already out the door before anyone could say a thing.

“I’ll go.” It was Dee this time.

Andrew stood. “I’ll follow.”

“I guess I’m out of here.” This from Ash.

Matthew sighed. “One of these days, we will get through everything without any drama.”

Daemon laughed tiredly. “Good luck with that.”

In about five minutes, everyone except Daemon was cleared out of the house. Perfect time to ’fess up to almost breaking Kimmy’s neck, except there was a glint in Daemon’s jade-colored eyes.

My mouth dried. “What?”

Daemon stood and stretched, flashing a slice of taut skin. “It’s quiet.” He offered his hand and I took it in mine. “It’s never quiet around here. Not anymore.”

He did have a point. I let him tug me to my feet. “It’s not going to last long.”

“Nope.” He pulled me to him and a second later, I was in his arms and we were zooming up the stairs. He placed me on my feet in his bedroom. “Admit it. You like my method of travel.”

Feeling a little dizzy, I laughed. “One of these days I’m going to be faster than you.”

“Keep dreaming.”

“Tool,” I threw back.

Daemon’s lips curved up on one side. “Trouble.”

“Oh.” I widened my eyes. “Harsh.”

“We should make use of this quiet time.” He advanced toward me, like a predator with its prey in its sight.

“Really?” Suddenly feeling way too hot, I backed up until I hit his bed.

“Really.” He kicked off his shoes. “I say we have about thirty minutes before someone interrupts us.”

My gaze dropped as he pulled off his shirt and tossed it. I sucked in a sharp breath. “Probably not that long.”

His lips formed a wicked smile. “True. So let’s say we have twenty minutes, give or take five.” He stopped in front of me, his eyes hooded. “Not nearly enough time for what I’d like to do, but we can work around that.”

Heat swept through my veins, and I felt dizzy again. “We can?”

“Mmm-hmm.” He placed his hands on my shoulders and pressed down until I was sitting on the very edge of the bed. Running his hands to my cheeks, he knelt between my boneless legs so that we were eye level with each other.

Daemon’s lashes lowered, fanning his cheeks. “I’ve missed you.”

I wrapped my fingers around his wrists. “You’ve seen me every day.”

“Not enough,” he murmured and pressed his lips where my pulse pounded along my neck. “And we’re always with someone.”

God, wasn’t that the truth. Last time we were alone for any considerable amount of time, we’d both slept. So these moments were precious, brief, and stolen.

I smiled as he trailed a line of kisses up my chin, stopping short of my lips. “We probably shouldn’t spend it talking, then.”

“Uh-huh.” He kissed a corner of my lips. “Talking is such a time waster.” And then he kissed the other corner. “And when we talk, we usually end up arguing.”

I laughed. “Not always.”

Daemon pulled back, brows raised. “Kitten…”

“Okay.” I scooted back and he followed, climbing over me, his arms huge and powerful. God, I was in way over my head with him sometimes. “You might be right, but you’re wasting time.”

“I’m always right.”

I opened my mouth to disagree, but his lips took control of mine, and his kiss reached deep down inside me, melted muscle and bone. His tongue swept over mine, and at that moment, he could have been right all he wanted as long as he kept kissing me like that.