The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 126

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She looked down at the photo, and it was the one that the three of them were in. A long moment passed. “Evelyn was Jason’s daughter from a previous relationship.”

A ripple of shock made its way through me. Part of me had accepted that all of this was the truth. That my real name was Nadia and that my life was hers . . . but hearing this, that Evelyn Dasher had been someone else, made it feel like I was hearing it for the first time all over again.

“Jason and I could never have biological children. I’m a . . . Luxen and he was human,” she continued. “Evelyn’s mother had died. Heart disease. Looking back, I can see now that was one of the reasons why Jason became so obsessed with finding treatments for diseases like that and cancer. He was in love with her long after she passed. I didn’t realize that at first.” She pressed her lips together. “Evelyn died in a car accident three years before the invasion. Jason had been driving. It was a freak accident. He only had minor injuries, but she . . . died at the scene.”

I clasped my knees and squeezed tight. “And you all just replaced her with me?”

“That wasn’t what we intended.” She placed the picture on the ottoman, image down as if that somehow erased it being there. “But I’m not going to lie now. That’s what happened. That was all me—”

“Because you killed Jason.”

If she was surprised I knew that, she didn’t show it. “Luc was honoring our deal. He was leaving, and Jason couldn’t allow that. Jason always had to win.” Her lips thinned. “He pulled out a weapon and was going to shoot Luc in the back. Not with a normal gun. It would’ve killed him.”

“And you decided to kill your husband to protect someone you don’t even like?”

Her gaze lifted to mine. “Did Luc talk to you about the Daedalus?”

I nodded.

“Everything he said about the Daedalus is true . . . and there’s more, worse than what even he has knowledge of. You may not believe me, but I swear I had no part in the horrific things they were doing.”

I wanted to believe her, but how could I?

“I live like a human, but I am a Luxen. I could never knowingly take part in those horrific experiments and the—” She cut herself off, shaking her head. “Our marriage was rocky before Evelyn died, but when I learned about the Origins and hybrids, it was basically over between us.” Her gaze hardened. “Killing him was no hardship.”

I sucked in a sharp breath. Damn.

“That may sound harsh, but you did not know him.”

That hurt more than she intended. I closed my eyes. I had no idea how to respond to that. It took a moment for me to find my voice. “Why did you give me her name?”

“I’ve asked myself that same question a million times.” Her voice was hoarse, and when I opened my eyes again, I saw tears building in hers. “I think . . . I think I just missed her.”

I started to stand but found that I couldn’t. What was I supposed to think? How should I feel about that?

Was I even real?

I didn’t feel real anymore.

“I know this is a lot for you to process. I understand, but there is one thing I need you to know and it’s the most important thing.” She scooted forward. “Your name is Evie. That is who you are. I can understand the need to find out more about your past, who you were, and I support that. But you are Evie now, and I love you. That is not a lie. None of these past four years has been a lie. You’re my daughter. I’m your mother.”

Emotion clogged my throat, and it wasn’t until that moment I realized how badly I wanted and needed to hear that, but what . . . what did it change? Nothing seemed real anymore.

Words couldn’t change that.

Words couldn’t make it easier to accept.

But she was the only mom I ever knew.

“I . . .” I cleared my throat. “I don’t know what to—”

Glass shattered from somewhere upstairs. I twisted as Mom shot to her feet. “What was that?” I asked.

“I don’t know.” Her features sharpened. “But get behind me.”

I started to do just that, but something—someone flew down the steps, a blur of light that slammed into the wall beside the door, rattling the windows. The human-shaped light toppled forward, hitting the floor. The light faded out. Blond hair. Arched cheekbones.

“Grayson,” I said with a gasp, starting toward him as he slipped in and out of his true form.

“Evie!” Mom shouted.

I skidded to a halt, but I wasn’t quick enough. Terror exploded.

The Origin stood in front of me. A dimple appeared in his right cheek as he smiled. “Hello.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance