The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 12

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Did Luc even see me when he stared into my eyes, or did he see the ghost of Nadia and didn’t realize it yet? I wasn’t sure if he even knew what he wanted, if he really wanted this with me, whoever I was.

“I always want that,” he whispered against my lips.

Startled, I jerked back and broke contact. The lit atoms flickered and then fizzled out in a series of crackles. My gaze swung to Luc’s face.

One side of his mouth kicked up as his gaze collided with mine. “All you have to do is ask, Peaches. All you have to do is tell me what you want, and it’s yours.”

I opened my mouth as my cheeks warmed. At a loss, I reached for the soda on the nightstand, taking a huge gulp. A slight tremble rattled the can as I placed it back on the nightstand that was bare except for a silver lamp.

“So…” I cleared my throat, searching for something to say. “How did you meet Paris?”

“It’s kind of a funny story,” he replied after a moment. “He tried to kill me.”

“What?” My head whipped toward him. I had not been expecting that. “How is that funny?”

He grinned. “It was shortly after I’d escaped the Daedalus. I was around five, I think?”

I stared at him. “He tried to kill you when you were five?”

“Well, me at five was like a normal human at sixteen for all intents and purposes, but yeah, he’d been blackmailed into hunting me down with this other group of Luxen. They were supposed to capture and bring me back. That’s not how it went down, though.”

I had a feeling I could guess what happened.

“They, of course, weren’t as prepared as they should’ve been when they found me. All of them except Paris had no issue with what was being done. I could tell.” He tapped his finger to the side of his head. “So, I saved Paris.”

In other words, he’d killed the rest of them … at five years old. I blinked slowly. “How were they blackmailing him?”

“They had his siblings,” he answered. “A brother and a sister.”

Oh God. “What happened to them?”

Luc looked away then. “We tried to find and free them, but they were killed once the Daedalus figured out Paris had teamed up with me instead of killing me.”

“God,” I whispered, thinking there were a lot of moments like this for him. People trying to kill him or control him, experiment on him and use him. “Are you sure you had good memories?”


I wasn’t so sure about that, and I was thinking that maybe it was a little bit of a blessing that I couldn’t remember my childhood. And I wished I could … change that for him.

I looked away from him, my gaze landing on where my camera sat on my backpack. I’d brought it with me, planning to finally go through the pictures, but it sat untouched.

There was something I wanted to do, but it was kind of weird. Like, super-weird.

“Nothing is weird to me.”

I sighed. “You’re in my head again.”

“Guilty as charged.” When I looked at him, he arched a brow, utterly unrepentant. “What is it that you want to do, Peaches?”

“I want to take your picture.” My face felt as if it were on fire. “And I know that sounds creepy—”

Interest filled his expression. “That sounds hot.”

“Not that kind of picture!” Now my entire body was burning. “I just … you have such interesting lines. Your face, I mean. I want to capture them on film.” I rose, wiping my suddenly damp palms as I turned away from him. “God, saying that out loud does sound creepy as hell. Just forget—”

“You can take as many pictures as you want.”

“Really?” I faced him, clasping my hands together. Excitement thrummed to life. “You don’t think it’s weird?”

Luc shook his head, sending messy waves tumbling in every direction.

I glanced at my camera and then back at Luc. The question came out before I could stop myself. “You said Nadia—you said I was always interested in taking pictures?”

He nodded this time. “You liked to take a lot of the outdoors. Fall was your favorite. Then winter, but only when it had snowed. Otherwise, you didn’t like taking those pictures, because—”

“Everything looks dead in the middle of the winter,” I whispered, and when he nodded again, I felt a little dizzy. “It’s weird. You know? That there are pieces of Nadia in me. I guess they’ve always been there.” I walked to my bag and picked up the camera, wrapping the strap around my arm. “Do you think there’s any of Evie in me?”

Luc was quiet for a moment. “I don’t know. I didn’t know her.”

I fiddled with the buttons on the camera. “I was thinking last night that it seemed wrong to replace her, you know? Like it’s an insult to her memory. It makes me feel gross.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance