I could feel every breath Archer took, and it seemed like he stopped, waiting for me. “Yes,” I spat. “I understand.”

Archer took a breath.

“Good,” the sergeant said. “Since that’s now settled, let’s move on.”

One of the men at the monitors pressed a button and a small door opened to the training room. Archer didn’t let me go until I was inside the room. Then he did.

I spun around as he backed toward the door, my eyes going wide. I started to ask him not to leave me, but he looked away quickly. And then he was gone, closing the door behind him.

Heart pounding, I darted my eyes around the room. It was about twenty feet by twenty, with a cement floor and another door on the opposite side, and the walls weren’t padded. Nope. I wouldn’t get that lucky. The walls were white with scuffs of red. Was that…dried blood?

Oh God.

But that fear trickled away as awareness kicked in. The rush of power was tiny at first, a rush that felt like tips of fingers were trailing down my arms, but it grew quickly, spreading to my core.

It was like taking a breath of fresh air for the first time. Numbness and exhaustion eked away, replaced with a low buzz of energy that was in the back of my skull, thrumming through my veins and filling the coldness in my soul.

My eyes fluttered shut, and I saw Daemon in my head. Not because I could really see him, but because feeling this reminded me of him. As the Source wrapped its way around me, I imagined being in Daemon’s embrace.

An intercom clicked on overhead, and Sergeant Dasher’s voice filled the room, causing my head to jerk up. “We need to test your ability, Katy.”


I didn’t want to talk to the ass-hat, but I wanted to get this over with more. “Okay. So you want me to call on the Source or what?”

“You will do that, but we need your ability tested under stress.”

“Under stress?” I whispered, glancing around the room. Unease unfurled in my belly, spreading like a noxious weed, threatening to choke me. “I’m feeling pretty stressed right now.”

The intercom clicked on again. “That’s not the kind of stress we’re talking about.”

Before his words had a chance to sink in, there was a loud thumping noise that reverberated through the small room. I whipped around.

Across from me, the other door was sliding open, inch by inch. The first thing I noticed was a pair of black sweatpants like the pair I had on, and then a white shirt covering narrow hips. My gaze crawled up, and I let out a surprised gasp.

Standing before me was a girl I had met before. It felt like a lifetime ago, but I recognized her immediately. Her blond hair was pulled back in a neat ponytail, revealing a pretty face offset by bruises and scratches.

“Mo,” I said, taking a step forward.

The girl who had been in the cage next to mine when Will had held me captive stared back at me. I’d wondered many times what had happened to her, and I guessed now I knew. A heartbeat passed, I said her name again, and then it hit me with startling clarity. She was showing the same vast emptiness that Carissa had when she’d been in my bedroom.

My heart sank. I doubted there was anything I could do that would remind the girl of me.

She stepped into the room and waited. A moment later, the intercom buzzed and Sergeant Dasher’s voice came through. “Mo will assist in the first round of the stress tests.”

First round? There was more than one? “What is she—?”

Mo flung her hand out, and the Source crackled over her knuckles. Shock held me immobile until the last possible moment. I darted to the side, but the blast of whitish light tinged in blue smacked into my shoulder. Pain burst and rushed down my arm. The impact spun me around, and I barely kept my balance.

Confusion swirled as I clutched my shoulder, not surprised to find the material singed. “What the hell?” I demanded. “Why—?”

Another blast sent me dropping to my knees as it whizzed by right where I’d been standing. It hit the wall behind me, fizzling out. In the blink of an eye, Mo was right in front of me. I started to stand, but her knee came up, catching me in the chin and snapping my head back. Starbursts blinded me as I fell back on my butt, stunned.

Reaching down, Mo grabbed ahold of my ponytail and lifted me to my feet with surprising ease. Her hand swung out, the blow catching me right below the eye. That burst of pain caused my ears to ring, and it did something else.

It knocked the stupor right out of me.

Suddenly I understood this stress test, and it sickened and horrified me. I had to believe that if Daedalus knew everything, then they had to have known that I’d met Mo. That seeing her here, in better physical shape than she had been in that cage, would not only knock me off guard but would confirm the futility of fighting against them.

But they did want me to fight—they wanted me to fight Mo, using the Source. Because what else, other than getting your ass handed to you on a silver platter, would cause such major stress?

Another punch caught me right under the eye. She put a hell of a lot of oomph behind it. A metallic taste sprang into my mouth as I called on the Source, just like the sergeant wanted.

But Mo…she was so much faster than me, so much better.

As the ass-kicking of a lifetime picked up, I held on to the small sliver of hope I had: Daemon wouldn’t be subjected to this.


Stashing Matthew’s SUV several miles from the access road leading to Mount Weather, I hoped whoever found his car got it back to him in one piece. It was a pretty sweet ride. Not as good as Dolly, but not many cars were.

I traveled the last couple of miles in my true form, rushing through the heavy thicket. I reached the access road within minutes, and seconds later I was at the cusp of the forest, staring at the all-too-familiar fence that surrounded the grounds.

There were definitely more guards on duty—at least three of them by the gate, and I bet there were more inside. Cameras and security systems weren’t going to go down this time. I didn’t want them to.

I wanted to get caught.

Dawson probably thought I hadn’t given this much consideration. A lot was on the line—not only my future but my family’s and Kat’s. Once the DOD realized I was here, things were going to get rough. Getting in wouldn’t be the problem, and if I got whatever it was that Luc wanted, he would get us out—if he wasn’t lying. And if he was, I would find another way.

Part of me hoped that Kat was still here, that Daedalus hadn’t moved her to another location. Probably foolish to hope for that, because I had a feeling a big ol’ dose of disappointment was heading my way.

So, yeah, I wanted to get caught, but I wasn’t going to make this easy for them.

Stepping out from under the cover of the trees, I let my human form take hold under a strong beam of sunlight. The guards were oblivious to my presence at first, and as I took another step forward, the conversation I had with Kat the night she finally admitted her feelings for me came to mind.

I’d told her that we made the good kind of crazy together, and I hadn’t known how true that really was until this very moment, because what I was about to do was really, truly, 100 percent certifiable.

The first guard, who was pulling something—a cell phone?—out of his black cargo pants, turned, his eyes drifting through the trees. His gaze moved over me and then darted back. The cell phone fell from his fingers, and he shouted, one hand going for the gun on his thigh and the other for the microphone on his shoulder. The two guards behind him whipped around, drawing their weapons.

Time to get this show on the road.

Summoning the Source, I stayed in my human form, but I knew the moment they became sure of what I was. It was probably my eyes. The world was tinted in a brilliant sheen.

A series of popping sounds followed, telling me that the guards weren’t messing around.

I raised my hand, and the bullets appeared to hit an invisible wall. In reality, it was the energy reflecting the bullets. I could’ve sent them back at the guards, but all I did was stop them. They fell to the ground harmlessly.

“I wouldn’t suggest you try that again,” I said, lowering my hand.

Of course they didn’t listen. Why? That would be too easy.

The guard in the front unloaded his weapon, and I repelled all the bullets. After a few seconds, I was so done with this. Turning around, I extended an arm back toward the trees. They began to tremble. Branches shook, sending a waterfall of green needles whirling into the air. Pulling them forward, I spun around.

Thousands of needles shot through the air, speeding forward. They split around me, heading straight for the dumbstruck guards.

The needles slammed into the men, turning them into human pincushions. Not killing them, but if their grunts of pain and surprise were any indication, it had to sting like a bitch. The guards were on their knees, guns forgotten on the ground beside them. Waving my hand, I sent their weapons flying into the woods, never to be seen again.

I prowled forward, passing them with a smirk. Summoning the Source once more, I let the energy crackle down my arm. A bolt of light hit the gate on the electric fence. A burst of white exploded, dancing across the chain-link, frying out the power to the fence and leaving a nice, comfy hole to walk right through.

Stalking over the neatly trimmed landscape that we had previously run across, I took a deep breath as the doors to Mount Weather slid open.

A freaking army of officers emptied out, dressed like they were ready for Armageddon or a guest spot on a SWAT team. Their faces were covered with shields, like that would help them. Going down on one knee, they leveled a dozen or so semiautomatic rifles on me. Stopping so many bullets would prove tricky.

People were going to die.

That sucked, but it wouldn’t stop me.

Then a tall, slender form came into view, walking out of the dimly lit tunnel. The men donned in black uniforms parted, never taking their rifles off me while allowing the primly dressed woman to easily navigate her way to the front.

“Nancy Husher,” I snarled, my hands curling into fists. I’d known the woman for years. Never liked her, which was compounded by the fact that I knew she worked within Daedalus and had known what really happened to Dawson.

Her mouth spread into the tight-lipped smile she was famous for, the one that said she was about to shove a wicked dagger into your back while kissing your cheek. She was just who I was hoping to find.

“Daemon Black,” she said, clasping her hands together. “We’ve been expecting you.”

Chapter 8


After the disastrous training session, I knew the taste of true fear each time someone neared my door. My heart hammered painfully until the sound of footsteps faded, and when the door finally opened, revealing Archer with my evening meal, I almost vomited.

I had no appetite.

I couldn’t sleep that night.

Every time I closed my eyes, all I could picture was Mo standing before me, more than ready to kick my ass every which way from Sunday. The vast emptiness that had clouded her eyes had quickly blossomed into determination. My beating may not have been as severe if I had fought back, but I hadn’t. Fighting her would have been wrong.

When the door opened the following morning, I was only running on a few hours of sleep. It was Archer, and in his quiet way, he motioned me to follow him.

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