The Darkest Star (Origin 1) - Page 47

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Go back into my bedroom, sit down with the laptop, and look for a local exorcist, because obviously random, unaccounted-for sounds meant there was a demon in my house. Or go downstairs and investigate the strange noise to determine that it wasn’t a demon. But what if someone was breaking in?

With all the lights on in the house?

That seemed unlikely.

I inched toward the stairwell and headed down them, stopping halfway when I remembered something very important I’d learned recently.

Luxen could unlock doors.

Oh crap.

What if it was a Luxen helping themselves to the bag of chips I knew I’d left on the counter? A shiver crawled along my arms, and I looked down. I was still holding the remote. What the hell was I going to do with the remote? I started to turn back around, but stopped. What was I going to do? Call the police because I heard a noise?

I was being stupid.

Taking a deep breath, I went down the rest of the steps, stopping at the bottom. Front door was shut, but . . . but the French doors to my mom’s office were ajar, cracked open.

I froze.

Those doors were always closed. Always. Had Mom forgotten to lock them? That wasn’t impossible, but it was strange.

Leaning forward, I peered into the rest of the downstairs. Everything looked normal. I shuffled into the living room, making my way through the dining area we never used. The kitchen looked untouched, and I could see the bag of chips, still where I left them. I stopped by the gray upholstered dining room chair, inching closer to the kitchen. There was nothing—

I sucked in a sharp breath.

The back door was wide open and the night air was spilling in, creeping across the tile floor.

I so did not leave the back door open.


Goose bumps returned with a vengeance as I took a step back, my hands clenching the phone and remote control. I doubted a demon had opened the door. Oh God, I should’ve just called the police. I should’ve called—

The wisps of hair at the nape of my neck stirred. Something touched my cheek. Soft. Quick. Warm. Air lodged in my throat as icy fear seized every muscle in my body. Instinct exploded as my ears buzzed. Heart lurching into my throat, I slowly turned around as panic dug in.

Nothing was there.

I lifted my hand to my cheek. Good Lord, if someone were standing behind me, I would’ve had a heart attack, right then and there. Dead before I was eighteen, and that would suck so bad.

Luxen could open doors that were locked, and they were also fast—fast enough that one could run past me, touch me, without being seen. It was possible, but why? Why would one be in this house? I seriously doubted it was Luc. I didn’t know him well, but I had a strong suspicion he would’ve made himself known.

Obnoxiously so.

Hands shaking, I kept backing up, past the dining table, and then I turned around.

Mom’s office doors were closed.

The breath I took got stuck. Silence fell as I stared at the closed French doors. I lifted my phone and then jerked as a knock sounded from the front door. For a moment, I didn’t move. I couldn’t. My pulse was thundering, blood roaring. The knock came again. I glanced over my shoulder. Whoever was in here wouldn’t be knocking on the door, right?

It was like moving in slow motion. One step in front of the other until I pressed into the door and peered through the peephole.


Relief nearly cut my legs out from underneath me. Throwing the deadbolt, I yanked opened the door. “Zoe!”

She must’ve seen something in my expression, because concern filled hers. “Are you okay?”

“Yes. No.” I stepped back, looking over my shoulder at my mom’s office. “I think someone was in here.”

“What?” Zoe stepped into the house. “Why do you think that? Have you called the police?”

“No. It just a happened.” I swallowed hard, lifting my phone. “I was upstairs and I heard something fall over down here. I don’t know. It was a loud noise and I came downstairs. I didn’t see anything at first, but then I saw that the back door was open and—” I turned and my eyes narrowed. The back door was closed. “Wait. It was just open.”

Zoe stepped around me, her gaze following mine. “Did you close it?”

Clutching my phone harder, I shook my head. “No. I didn’t even go near it.”

She started for the door, and I quickly followed, practically snapping at her heels. She reached for the door. I started to tell her to stop, but when she turned the handle, the door didn’t budge. “It’s locked.”

“What?” Not believing her, I shot around her and tried the door myself. She was right. The door was locked. “That’s impossible.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance