Must be nice to have a wacky internal sensing system like that.

“And I can’t come in?”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.” He glanced as I heard a door open. “And I don’t think that’s an option.”

I looked over my shoulder. A man stood at the door—a distinguished-looking man. Three-piece suit and all, with midnight black hair that was silver at the temples. I didn’t know what I was expecting from an Elder Luxen. Maybe a guy with a white gown and bald head—they did live in a colony at the foot of Seneca.

This was totally unexpected.

Even more so was the fact that Daemon didn’t drop his hands and put appropriate alien-human distance between us. Instead, he whispered in his own language and slid a hand down my back as he stepped beside me.

“Ethan,” Daemon said. “I wasn’t expecting you.”

The man’s startling violet eyes slid toward me. “I can see. Is this the girl that your brother and sister kindly informed me about?”

Tension tightened Daemon’s frame. “Depends on what they kindly informed you of.”

Air stalled in my lungs. I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I stood there, trying to look as unaware as possible. The fact that I knew the guy in a suit wasn’t human was a big deal. Other Luxen couldn’t know I was in on the secret or that I was a hybrid.

Ethan smiled. “That you’ve been seeing her. I was surprised. We’re practically family.”

Somehow I thought it might have had more to do with the fact that they wanted him to make little alien Daemon babies with Ash than him not sending out a mass text notifying everyone that he was no longer on the market.

“You know me, Ethan; I don’t like to kiss and tell the world.” His thumb trailed a lazy, soothing circle along the small of my back. “Kat, this is Ethan Smith. He’s like a…”

“Godfather,” I said, and then I flushed, because that was the stupidest thing I could say.

But Ethan’s expression said he liked the sound of it. “Yes, like a godfather.” Those odd eyes settled on me, and I forced my chin up a notch. “You’re not from around here, are you, Kat?”

“No, sir, I’m from Florida.”

“Oh.” Dark brows rose. “Is West Virginia to your agreement?”

I glanced at Daemon. “Yeah, it’s nice.”

“That’s lovely.” Ethan came down a step. “It’s a pleasure to meet you.” He extended a hand.

Out of habit, I reached for it, but Daemon interceded, wrapping his fingers around mine. He brought my hand to his lips and kissed my palm. Ethan noted the action with a flicker of curiosity and something I couldn’t place.

“Kat, I’ll come over in a little while.” He let go of my hand, placing his body in between us. “I have some catching up to do, okay?”

I nodded and forced a smile for Ethan. “It was nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” the man said. “I’m sure we’ll meet again.”

For some reason, the words settled over me with a frost-like bite. I gave Daemon a little wave and then hurried back to my car and grabbed my bag. They’d already headed inside, and I’d give my left thumb to know what they were talking about. As long as I’d known Daemon and Dee, I’d never seen another Luxen from the colony come to their home.

Kind of wigged out by Ethan’s appearance, I dropped my backpack inside the hall and grabbed a glass of orange juice. Mom was asleep, so I tiptoed down the hall and shut my bedroom door. I sat on the bed, placed the glass on the table. Concentrating on my laptop, I raised my hand.

It came off the desk and moved straight to my hand. I tried not to use the alien abilities too often—maybe once or twice a day to keep the…uh, whatever well oiled. There was always this weird rush when I used it, like being on a roller coaster as it crests a hill, ready to fly down at eighty miles an hour—the moment when the stomach jumps and the skin tingles with awareness. It was a different feeling—not bad, kind of fun, and maybe even a little addictive.

And when I’d tapped into whatever it was the night Adam died, I’d never felt more powerful in my life. So, yeah, I could see how that power would go straight to the head. If the mutation had stuck with Will, God knew what crazy things he was doing.

I couldn’t afford to think about him now, so I powered up my laptop and trolled the Internet for a half an hour, reading reviews until I shut off my computer and sent it back to my desk. Grabbing a book, I curled up, hoping to get some chapters in before Daemon swung over, but I ended up drifting off to sleep three pages in.

When I woke up, it was dark in my bedroom and upon further investigation, I discovered it was already past nine and Mom had left for work. Surprised that Daemon hadn’t stopped over, I slipped on my boots and headed next door.

Dawson answered, a can of soda in one hand and a Pop-Tart in the other. “Nice sugar rush you got going on there,” I said, grinning.

He glanced down. “Yeah, I guess I’m not sleeping anytime soon.”

I remembered what he’d said about not sleeping at all, and I hoped that had changed. Before I could ask, though, he said, “Daemon’s not here.”

“Oh.” I tried to hide my disappointment. “Is he still with the Elder guy?”

“God, no, Ethan was only here for about an hour. He wasn’t happy. But Daemon went out with Andrew.”

“Andrew?” Unexpected.

He nodded. “Yeah, Andrew and Dee and Ash wanted to grab something to eat. I didn’t want to go.”

“Ash?” I whispered. Okay, really unexpected. And what was totally expected was the wave of irrational jealousy that swept through me, determined to carry me into crazy-girl land.

“Yeah,” he said, and then he winced. “You want to come in?”

I didn’t realize I’d followed him inside until I was sitting on the couch, my knees pressed together. Daemon really went out to dinner with Ash and the others? “When did they leave?”

Dawson took a bite of his Pop-Tart. “Uh, not that long ago.”

“It’s almost ten at night.” The Luxen had huge appetites, but come on; they didn’t do dinner at night. I knew better than that.

He sat in the armchair and glanced down at his pastry. “Ethan left around five. And then Andrew, he came over around…” Dawson glanced at the wall clock, expression pinched. “He and Ash came over around six.”

My stomach tumbled over itself. “And the four of them left after that to go get something to eat?”

Dawson nodded, as if speaking was too painfully awkward.

Four hours for dinner. I suddenly couldn’t sit any longer. I wanted to know what restaurant they went to. I wanted to find him. I started to stand, but I tried to swallow down that god-awful burning lump in the back of my throat.

“It’s not what you think,” Dawson said quietly.

My head jerked toward him, and I was horrified to find tears in my eyes. The irony of it all bitch-slapped me in the face. Was this how Daemon had felt when he knew I went to dinner and then lunch with Blake? But we weren’t together then. Wasn’t like I’d owed him a ton of obligations at that moment.

“It isn’t?” I croaked.

Dawson finished off his Pop-Tart. “No. I think he just needed to get out for a little while.”

“Without me?”

He brushed a few sugary crumbs off his jeans “Maybe without you or maybe not. He’s not the same brother I knew. I would’ve never thought he’d be with a human. No offense.”

“None taken,” I whispered. Without me. Without me. Those words were on repeat. I wasn’t one of those needy girls who had to be around her boyfriend all the time, but damn if it didn’t sting.

And that sting was turned into a hot, angry knife when I pictured Dee and Andrew sitting on one side of a booth and Daemon and Ash on the other, because that’s how they had to have sat when they went out to eat. It would be like old times—when Daemon and Ash were together.

Blake and I may’ve kissed once, but we didn’t have a long-standing relationship. God, they’d probably had—

I checked myself right there.

Dawson stood, made his way around the coffee table, and sat beside me. “Ethan pissed him off. He wanted to know that Daemon’s relationship with you wouldn’t interfere with his loyalties to his kind.” Dawson leaned forward, rubbing his palms over his bent knees. “And, well, you can imagine Daemon’s response.”

I wasn’t so sure that I could. “What did he say?”

Dawson laughed, eyes squinting like Daemon’s did. “Let’s just say Daemon explained that who he was with didn’t affect his loyalties, but he used different words.”

I grinned a little. “Bad words?”

“Very bad words,” he said, glancing at me. “They didn’t expect this from him. No one did. Me? Yeah, well, they never expected much from me. Mainly because I didn’t care what they thought—not that Daemon does, but…”

“I know. He’s always been the one to take care of everything, right? Not the one to cause problems like this.”

He nodded. “They don’t know what you are, but I doubt Ethan’s going to let this drop.”

“They’ll outcast him?” When he nodded, I shook my head. If a Luxen was outcasted, he wasn’t allowed in or near Luxen communities, which meant he couldn’t be near the protective cluster of beta quartz. He’d be virtually on his own against the Arum. “What is Ethan? I get he’s an Elder, but so what?”

Dawson’s brows pinched. “Elders are like the mayors and presidents of our communities. Ethan is our president.”

My brows rose. “Sounds important.”

“All those who live in the colony will listen to him. Those who don’t risk the same social fallout.” He leaned back, closing his eyes. “Even those who mingle with humans, like the ones who work outside the colony and whatever, are afraid of ticking off the Elders. None of us can just leave without the DOD’s permission, but damn, if they wanted us out, they’d find a way to do so.”

“Did they do that to you because of Beth?”

His face tensed. “They would’ve, but there hadn’t been enough time. Not enough time for anything.”

Pain sliced my chest and I placed my hand on his arm. “We’re going to get Beth back.”

A small smile appeared. “I know. This Sunday… Everything comes down to this Sunday.”

My stomach did a topsy-turvy thing, and my pulse picked up. “What was it like in there?”

His eyes opened into thin slits. Several moments passed before he answered. “At first, it wasn’t too bad. They let Beth and me see each other. They told us they were keeping us for our safety. You know, the whole ‘if people find out what I did to Beth, it would get bad and we needed to be protected’ bit. Daedalus was on our side. It really seemed that way for a while. I…I almost believed we’d walk out of it together.”