“And why exactly do you guys need to lie low, Wayland?”
Suntan Man male winced only slightly. “There have been a few misunderstandings.”
“Yeah.” Luc snorted. “I’m sure they were misunderstandings. Like I said. It’s not that I can’t help you. It’s that I won’t.”
“That’s bullshit,” seethed the brother.
“I would watch your tone, Sean.” Grayson lifted his chin. “Or there’s going to be another misunderstanding.”
Sean sneered. “You better watch how you talk to me, traitor.”
Grayson’s arms unfolded as a faint white glow shimmered over his shoulders. “What did you call me?”
“You heard him,” the sister chimed in, smiling cruelly. “You sided with them. Fought against your own kind. What else does that make you?”
Holy crap, these Luxen were so not on Team Human. A chill powered down my spine. They were the invading Luxen.
“Intelligent?” Luc suggested. “Unlike you, Charity, and your bother. And your friend Wayland.”
Sean stretched his neck from one side to the next. “Why are you making this so difficult? We are Luxen and you help us. We need to get out of here and we know we can’t do that without you.”
“That’s correct.” Luc moved so that his back was to the hall. “I help Luxen worthy of living out their lives without having to look over their shoulders. I do not help Luxen who signed up for the whole Make Earth Their Bitch club.”
They were definitely not friendlies.
A startling thought occurred to me. Were they responsible for what had happened to Colleen and Amanda? Maybe they thought murdering a human was a misunderstanding? But if it had been them, why would they have left the bodies in such obvious places?
“And why is that, Luc?” Charity glided in front of her brother, and Luc momentarily blocked her from my sight. “Why would you even care about the humans? They should mean nothing to you. I don’t even understand how you can surround yourself with them. If I breathe too deeply, I can smell their leftover sweat and . . . perfume. Peaches.”
I sniffed the air around me.
“This conversation bores me,” Luc replied, his fingers moving idly at his sides. “I’m going to give you a minute to leave here and this city, because I’m feeling generous today. That minute starts now.”
“Do you think we’re afraid of you?” Sean’s stance widened. “We know what you are. You can’t take all three of us.”
“Oh really?” Luc chuckled. “Then you don’t know what I am if you think I can’t take the three of you.”
Grayson grinned as he reached into his pocket, pulling out a sucker. “Cosign.”
Wayland raised his hands. “Now, everyone, let’s just calm down—”
“You’re down to thirty seconds,” Luc reminded them.
“Screw that.” Charity stepped to the side. “Screw this.”
“Twenty seconds,” Luc counted.
Her beautiful face twisted as she lifted a hand. “You know what. We don’t need your help.”
“Charity,” warned Wayland.
Her chest swelled. “Fine. We’re leaving.” She took a step back. “But first? You’ve upset me. I’m thoroughly disappointed with the great and powerful Luc.”
“Oh Lord,” murmured Grayson. He’d unwrapped his Blow Pop and shoved it into his mouth.
“I guess I should just show you how disappointed I am.” Bright white light erupted from her arm, spiraling down to the tips of her fingers. She tapped into the Source. “Hey, Peaches,” she called out, and I froze from my not-so-hidden place. “You didn’t have to die today, but you can thank Luc for that. Oh wait. You can’t, because you’re going to be dead.”18
Someone cursed as light exploded from Charity’s fingertips and arced across the room, coming straight at me. There wasn’t even time to scream.
I was going to die.
Without warning, something—no, Luc—crashed into me. The impact knocked the air out of me. He brought me down, twisting in midair and hitting the floor, taking the brunt of the fall. For a brief second I was splayed out on top of him, hip to hip, absolutely stunned. “That was . . . fast.”
Luc rolled quickly, shoving me underneath him as the plaster exploded above us, sending puffs of drywall dust into the air. “God, you still don’t listen to anything I say.”
“Wait. What?” I whispered.
“Stay put,” he said to me, and then sprung up, spinning around. “That was a huge mistake.”
I rolled onto my belly, lifting my chin.
Stalking forward, Luc lifted a hand as I sat up, scrambling to my feet. A rush of air whipped through the corridor, lifting my hair and sending the strands flying across my face. The next second, Wayland was scooting backward, across the dance floor. Sean slammed into the wall and slid up it, pinned several feet off the floor.
“Wow,” I murmured.
Charity charged Luc—straight up charged him like a linebacker.
Gasping, I shot forward, skidding to a halt when Luc stepped into the attack. He dipped as she swung at him. White light crackled from her open palm. Luc caught her outstretched arm as he rose, twisting her backward. She flipped through the air, but Luc caught her before she hit the floor.