“Nothing else?”

There was a pause. “A few people checking out were talking about aliens and how they always suspected that the government was covering it up. Something stupid about a UFO crashing in Roswell back in the fifties. I honestly stopped listening.”

I relaxed a little. That was good news. At least there was no mention of lynch mobs hunting down aliens. We drove most of the day, but the more miles we put between Vegas and ourselves didn’t really ease the tension. It would be a long time before any of us was truly comfortable.

The first things I noticed about northern Idaho were the tall fir trees and the majestic slope of the mountain range in the distance. The town near the large, deep blue lake was small in comparison to Vegas but bustling. We passed an entrance to a resort, and I tried to pay attention to the directions Luc was giving Archer, but I sucked at directions. He lost me at “turn right at the intersection.”

Another fifteen minutes or so and we were at the edge of the national forest. And if I thought Petersburg was in the middle of nowhere, I obviously hadn’t seen anything yet.

The Dodge bumped along a narrow dirt road crowded with firs and other trees that looked perfect for hanging Christmas decorations.

“I think we might get eaten by a bear,” Daemon commented as he stared out the window.

“Well, that might happen, but you won’t have to worry about too many Arum.” Luc twisted in his seat and flashed a tired grin. “This place has natural quartzite deposits but no Luxen that I’m aware of.”

Daemon nodded. “Good stuff.”

“The Arum…do you think they just happened to show up?” Dee asked.

“Not at all,” Archer replied, looking in the rearview mirror for a second. He smiled a little, I think for Beth. “Daedalus has some Arum on the back burner, called out when Luxen…step out of line. There was this issue in Colorado, right before they caught up with you guys outside of Mount Weather. Some lady in a wrong place, wrong time situation, and an Arum was brought in.”


“You met him,” Luc said, glancing back at Daemon. “You know, the Arum at my club you wanted to go all He-Man on? Yeah, he was called in by the DOD to take care of one of the problems.”

I looked at Daemon, who was sporting a major frownie face. “He didn’t look like he was taking care of the problem.”

Luc’s smile turned part mysterious, part sad. “Depends on how you look at taking care of things.” He paused, turning back around. “That’s what Paris would say.”

I settled back in the crook of Daemon’s arm, planning on asking him about that later. The vehicle slowed down on a bend, and parts of a log cabin peeked out from the firs—a very large, very expensive log cabin that was two floors and the size of two houses.

Luc’s bar must have been doing amazingly well.

The vehicle coasted to a stop before a garage door. Luc hopped out and loped around the front of the car. Stopping in front of the doors, he flipped open a keypad and entered a code with quick, nimble fingers. The door opened smoothly.

“Come on in,” he called, ducking under the door.

I couldn’t wait to get out of the vehicle as it rolled into the garage. My butt was numb and my legs a little shaky when I put my feet on the cement. Getting the blood moving again, I walked out of the garage and into the sunlight. It was significantly cooler for August, probably in the low seventies. Or was it September? I had no idea what month it was, let alone the day.

But it was beautiful here. The only noise was the chirping of birds and the rustling of small woodland creatures. The sky was a nice shade of blue. Yeah, it was pretty here and reminded me of…home.

Daemon came up behind me, wrapping his arms around my waist. He leaned into me, resting his chin atop my head. “Don’t run off like that.”

“I didn’t run off. I just walked out of the garage,” I said, placing my hands on his strong forearms.

His head slid down, and the stubble on his cheek tickled me. “Too far for right now.”

Any other time I would’ve read him the riot act, complete with the diva crown, but after everything, I understood the why behind it.

I turned in his arms, forcing mine under his and around his waist. “Is everyone already investigating the house?”

“Yep. Luc was talking about one of us going back into town later and getting some food, before it gets too late. Looks like we’re all going to be holed up here for a while.”

I squeezed him hard. “I don’t want you to go.”

“I know.” He reached up and smoothed my hair back off my face. “But only Dawson and I can change the way we look. And I’m not letting him go by himself or letting Dee go.”

Inhaling deeply, I squared my shoulders. I wanted to rant and rave. “Okay.”

“Okay? You’re not going to give me evil Kitten eyes?”

I shook my head, focused on his chest. Sudden emotion crawled up, getting stuck in my throat.

“Hell must’ve frozen over.” His fingers splayed across my cheek. “Hey…”

Pressing forward, I rested my head against him, and my fingers dug into his sides. One arm slipped to my waist, and he held me close. “I’m sorry,” I said, swallowing hard.

“A lot has happened, Kat. There is no need to apologize. We all are doing the best we can right now.”

Lifting my head, I blinked back tears. “And you? Are you doing okay?”

He stared down at me, silent.

“You don’t blame yourself for what happened back in Vegas, do you? It wasn’t your fault. None of it.”

Daemon was silent for a very long time. “It was my idea.”

My heart turned over heavily. “But we all got behind it.”

“Maybe there was something different we could’ve done.” He looked away, throat constricting. A taut pull appeared at the corners of his mouth. “The whole way here I kept thinking it over. What other options did we have?”

“We didn’t have any.” I wanted to crawl inside him and somehow make it better.

“Are we sure of that?” His voice was quiet. “We didn’t have a lot of time to think it through.”

“We didn’t have any time.”

Daemon nodded slowly, eyes narrowed and focused on the tree line. “Ash and Andrew and Paris—they didn’t deserve that. I know they agreed to it and knew the risks, but I can’t believe that they are…”

I stretched up, cupping his cheeks. The aching spread though my chest, becoming a physical pain. “I’m so sorry, Daemon. I wish there was something more I could say. I know they were like your family. And I know they meant the world to you. Their deaths aren’t your fault, though. Please don’t think that. I couldn’t—”

He silenced me with a kiss—a sweet, tender kiss that eclipsed all my words. “I need to tell you something,” he said. “You might hate me afterward.”

“What?” I pulled back, totally not expecting that comment. “I couldn’t hate you.”

He cocked his head to the side. “I gave you a lot of reasons to hate me in the beginning.”

“Yeah, you did, but that was in the beginning. Not anymore.”

“You haven’t heard what I have to say.”

“It doesn’t matter.” I sort of wanted to punch him in the face for even suggesting that.

“It does.” He took a breath. “You know, when the shit started really going down back in Vegas, I had my doubts. When I saw Paris get taken out, then Andrew and Ash, I asked myself if I would’ve done this again, the same way, knowing the risks.”


“The thing is, I knew the risks when I got out of the car. I knew people could die and that didn’t stop me. And when I looked up and saw you standing there, alive and okay, I knew I would do it all over again.” His bright emerald eyes settled on me. “I would do it, Kat. How incredibly selfish is that? How messed up? I think that makes me pretty worthy of your distaste.”

“No,” I said, and then I said it again. “I get what you’re saying, Daemon. It doesn’t make me hate you.”

His jaw clamped down. “It should.”

“Look, I don’t know what to say. Is it a hundred percent right? Probably not. But I understand it. I understood why Matthew turned Dawson and Bethany over and then tried to turn us over. We’ll all do crazy shit to protect the ones we love. It may not be right, but…but it is what it is.”

He stared down at me.

“And you can’t beat yourself up over this. Not when you told me I couldn’t beat myself up over what happened with Adam because of the decisions I made.” My breath was shaky. I wanted to erase the pain in his eyes, the hurt. “I couldn’t hate you. Ever. I love you no matter what. And it doesn’t matter what happens in the future or what happened before this.” Tears burned my eyes. “I will always love you. And we are in this together. That’s never going to change. Do you understand?”

When he said nothing, my heart skipped. “Daemon?”

He moved so fast that he startled me. He kissed me again. It wasn’t sweet and tender like the last one. It was fierce, intense, and powerful—a thank-you and a promise rolled into one. That kiss broke me down and then rebuilt me. His kiss…well, it made me.

He made me.

And because of that, I knew it went both ways. He made me. And I made him.


The trip into town with Dawson had been surprisingly uneventful. We were in and out of the market quickly. There was no avoiding the newspapers with pictures of glowing figures splashed all across them or overhearing the conversations while in line. Some of it was just plain crazy, but tension cloaked the people in the store, in a small town nestled against a lake, a world away from Vegas.

From what we could gather, the government hadn’t made any official announcement with the exception of declaring a state of emergency for Nevada and labeling the “horrific actions” an act of terrorism.

Things were going to get bad. Not just from the human standpoint but from the Luxen. Many of them had no problems living in secrecy. We’d blown that right through the roof. And then there were those who would take advantage of the chaos, like Luc had said. I couldn’t help but think about Ethan White, and his warning.

It was late once we got back to the cabin, and Kat and Dee fixed spaghetti. It was mostly Kat cooking, since Dee tried to heat up everything with her hands, which usually had disastrous results. Beth had helped with the garlic bread, and it was good seeing her up and moving around. I almost couldn’t remember what she’d been like before Daedalus. I did know she was a lot more talkative then.

And she had smiled more.

I helped Kat clean up afterward. She washed the dishes, and I dried them. The kitchen was outfitted with a dishwasher, something Luc had felt the need to point out, but I think the tedious task was calming. Neither of us spoke. There was something intimate about this, our elbows and hands brushing.

Somehow Kat got a cluster of frothy white bubbles on her nose. I wiped it off, and she grinned, and, damn, her smiles were like basking in the sun. They made me feel and think a lot of things, including some majorly cheesy stuff I would probably never say out loud.

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