The next thing I knew, I jolted awake, my heart pounding and mouth dry. I hadn’t remembered falling asleep, but I must’ve. A weird tingle moved over my skin as I dragged in a deep breath. Did I have a nightmare? I couldn’t remember, but something felt off. Disoriented, I threw the blanket back and looked around the dark cell.

Every muscle in my body seized as my eyes picked out a darker, thicker shadow in the corner by the door. Tiny hairs on my body rose. Air halted in my lungs, and fear sunk its icy claws into my stomach, freezing me in place.

I wasn’t alone.

The shadow pulled away from the wall, moving forward quickly. My first instinct screamed Arum, and I reached blindly for the opal necklace, realizing too late I didn’t have it anymore.

“You’re still having nightmares,” the shadow said.

At the sound of the familiar voice, fear gave way to rage so potent that it tasted like battery acid. I was on my feet before I knew it.

“Blake,” I spat.

Chapter 4


My brain clicked off and something a hell of a lot more primitive and aggressive took over. I felt the horrible, sinking sense of betrayal. Swinging out, my fist connected with what felt like Blake’s cheekbone. It wasn’t a girlie hit, either. Every bit of anger and pent-up hatred I felt toward him was packed into that punch.

He let out a startled groan as white-hot pain danced across my hand. “Katy—”


“You bastard!” I swung again, my knuckles slamming into his jaw this time.

He let out another grunt of pain as he staggered back. “Jesus.”

I spun, grabbing for a tiny lamp beside the bed, and without warning, the overhead light came on. I wasn’t sure how it did. If my abilities didn’t work in here, then Blake’s shouldn’t, either. The sudden glare caught me off guard, and Blake took advantage.

He sprang forward, forcing me to back away from the lamp. “I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” he warned.

“Go screw yourself.” I swung at him again.

He caught my fist and twisted. Sharp pain shot up my arm, and I let out a surprised gasp. He spun me around, and I kicked out. Letting go of my arm, he narrowly avoided the thrust of my knee. “This is ridiculous,” he said, hazel eyes narrowed. Anger churned the green flecks.

“You betrayed us.”

Blake sort of shrugged, and, well, I sort of lost my shit again.

I launched myself at him like some kind of ninja—a really lame ninja, because he easily dodged my attack. My left leg banged into the bed, and the very next second, he slammed into my back. Air punched out of my lungs as I toppled forward, hitting the bed on my side, bouncing it against the wall.

His knees went down on the mattress as he grabbed hold of my shoulders, rolling me onto my back. I slapped at his arms, and he let out a curse. Rearing up, I swung at him once more.

“Stop it,” he growled, grabbing my wrist. The next moment he had hold of my other one. Stretching my arms above my head, he leaned over me, bringing his face within inches of mine, and spoke low. “Stop it, Katy. There are cameras everywhere. You can’t see them, but they are there. They are watching right now. How do you think the lights just came on? It’s not magic, and they will flood this whole room with onyx. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find that very appealing.”

I struggled to push him off, and he shifted his weight so that his knees pressed into my legs, trapping them. Panic was a slow crawl inside me, causing my pulse to jump. I didn’t like his weight on me. It reminded me of how he had snuck into my house at night and slept beside me. How he’d watched me sleep. Nausea rose swiftly, and the panic grew. “Get off me!”

“I don’t know. You’re likely to hit me again.”

“I will!” I bucked my hips, but he didn’t move, and my heart was racing so fast, I was sure I was going to have a heart attack.

Blake gave me a little shake. “You need to calm down. I’m not going to hurt you. Okay? You can trust me.”

Eyes wide, I let out a strangled laugh. “Trust you? Are you insane?”

“You really don’t have a choice.” Bronze-colored hair fell over his forehead. Usually it was styled in that artfully messy way, but it looked like he’d run out of hair gel today.

I wanted to hit him again, and I strained against his hold, getting nowhere. “I’m going to break your face!”

“Understandable.” He pushed down, eyes narrowing. “I know we don’t have the most stable relationship—”

“We don’t have any relationship. We have nothing!” Breathing heavily, I willed my muscles to stop trembling. Several moments passed as he stared down at me, nostrils flared and mouth set in a hard, grim line. I wanted to look away, but to do so was a weakness, and that was the worst thing I could show. “I hate you.” It seemed pointless to say that, but it made me feel better.

He flinched, and when he spoke, his voice was barely above a whisper. “I hated lying to you, but I had no choice. Whatever I would’ve told you, you would’ve told Daemon and the other Luxen. And I couldn’t let that happen. Neither could Daedalus. But we aren’t the bad guys here.”

I shook my head, dumbfounded and pissed beyond belief. “You are the bad guys! You set us up! From the very beginning. It was all leading to this. And you helped them. How could you?”

“We needed to.”

“This is my life.” Tears of anger swelled in my eyes because I had no control over my life now, partly thanks to him, and I struggled to keep my voice level. “Was any of it true? Chris? You wanting to get him out of here?”

Blake didn’t say anything for a long moment. “They would’ve let Chris go at any time. The story of them holding him against his will was just that—a story to make you sympathize with me.”

“Son. Of. A. Bitch,” I hissed.

“I was sent to make sure the mutation held. They didn’t know what my uncle and Dr. Michaels were planning, but once they knew that the mutation had held, they needed to know who mutated you and how strong it was. That’s why I came back after the night…the night you and Daemon let me go.”

Our compassion that night had been the final nail in our coffins. It was so ironically sad. I wanted to claw his eyes out.

He let out a ragged breath. “We needed to make sure you were powerful enough for this. They knew Dawson would come back for Beth, but they wanted to see how far you’d get.”

“This?” I whispered. “What is this?”

“The truth, Katy, the real truth.”

“Like you’re capable of telling the truth.” I rolled my body, trying to throw him off. Muttering another curse, he lifted up, still holding my wrists, and hauled me off the bed. My bare feet slid over the tile as he dragged me toward the bathroom. “What are you doing?”

“I think you need to cool off,” he replied, jaw set.

Digging in, all I managed to do was rub the bottoms of my feet raw. Once inside the bathroom, I threw my weight to the side, and he slammed into the sink. Before I could start whaling on him again, he thrust me backward.

Arms spinning like wheels, I toppled over the short rim of the shower stall and landed inside on my butt. A sharp slice of pain shot up my spine.

Blake bolted forward, one hand clamping down on my shoulder, the other reaching blindly to the side. An instant later, freezing water surged out of the showerhead.

Shrieking, I clamored to stand up, but his other hand landed on my shoulder, holding me still as the icy water drenched me. I sputtered, arms flailing against the cold. “Let me out of here!”

“Not until you’re ready to listen to me.”

“There’s nothing you can say!” Soaked clothing clung to my skin. The steady stream of water plastered my hair to my face. Fearing he was trying to drown me, I went for his face, but he smacked my hands away.

“Listen to me.” He grasped my chin, his fingers digging into my cheeks, forcing me to meet his eyes. “Blame me all you want, but do you think you wouldn’t be here even if you never met me? If so, you’re insane. The moment Daemon mutated you, your fate was sealed. If you want to get pissed at anyone, you need to get pissed at him. He put you in this situation.”

Blake had stunned me into immobility. “You’re freaking nuts. You’re blaming Daemon for this? He saved my life. I would’ve—”

“He mutated you, knowing that he was being watched. He’s not stupid. He had to know that the DOD would find out.”

Actually, he and his family hadn’t known about hybrids until I turned into one. “It’s so typical of you, Blake. Everything is everyone else’s fault.”

His eyes narrowed, and the green flecks deepened. “You don’t get it.”

“You’re right.” I knocked his hands off my face. “I’ll never get it.”

Backing off, he shook his head as I climbed out of the shower stall. He reached over, turned off the water, and grabbed a towel, tossing it toward me. “Don’t try to hit me again.”

“Don’t tell me what to do.” Using the towel, I tried to dry off as best I could.

He clenched his fists. “Look, I get it. You’re pissed at me. Great. Get over it, because there are more important things to focus on.”

“Get over it?” I was going to choke him with this towel.

“Yes.” He leaned against the closed door, eyeing me warily. “You really have no idea what’s going on, Kat.”

“Don’t call me that.” I dabbed at my clothing angrily and uselessly.

“Are you calmed down enough? I need to talk, and you need to listen. Things are not what you think. And I wish I could’ve told you the truth earlier. I couldn’t, but I am now.”

A strangled laugh escaped me as I shook my head in disbelief.

His eyes narrowed, and he stepped forward. My back straightened in warning, and he didn’t come any closer. “Let’s get one thing clear. If Daemon was locked up somewhere, you would’ve thrown everyone and baby Jesus under the bus to free him. That’s what you think I did. So don’t act like you’re better than me.”

Would I? Yes, I would, but the difference between us was that Blake was looking for acceptance and forgiveness after he told more lies than truths. And to me, that was bat-shit crazy.

“You think you can justify this? Well, you’re wrong. You can’t. You’re a monster, Blake. A real living and breathing monster. Nothing, no matter what your intentions are or what the real truth is, will ever change that.”

A tiny flicker of unrest shone in his steady gaze.

It took everything in me not to rip the towel rod off the wall and shove it through his eye. I tossed the towel aside, shaking more from anger than the wet coldness seeping through my clothes.

He pushed off the door, and I took a step back, on guard. He frowned. “Daedalus aren’t the bad guys here.” Opening the bathroom door, he headed out. “That’s reality.”

I followed him. “How can you even say that with a straight face?”

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