“I … I had to do something. I had—”
“You didn’t have to do anything.” The hue of his eyes deepened to violet. “I had it handled. That’s what I do.”
“They killed Kent.” My voice cracked. “They were going to kill each one of you because of me. I couldn’t just stand there and let that happen.”
His jaw hardened. “You will stand there and allow that to happen if that’s what it takes for you to survive.”
I gaped at him. “Are you serious? You can’t be.”
“I’m dead serious.”
“And you would’ve been dead!” Pulling free, I took a step back, ignoring the fact that I’d almost killed him myself. “Zoe would’ve been dead. Everyone in that house would’ve been dead. I don’t care how special any of you are. You’re not immortal. You’re not untouchable, and if something happened to—” I cut myself off, wiping at the mist gathering on my face. “I know what I did was dangerous. I knew that when I made the decision to leave with them, I might die. I didn’t make that choice lightly.”
His eyes narrowed. “It was a stupid, careless, and reckless choice. I would’ve handled the situation.”
“By jeopardizing everyone’s lives in there? Is that how you would’ve handled it?”
Luc’s lips formed a thin, hard line.
“That’s how you’ve handled it before, right? With Paris?”
“Someone’s been talking.” His shoulders tensed.
I knew it was a harsh thing to bring up, but I had to. “You’ve done it before. Put others at risk for me. You would’ve sacrificed everyone in that room, and you can’t keep doing that, Luc.” Struggling to stay calm, I swept my wet hair back from my face. “That was my choice to make—”
“It was not your choice.” Anger filled his voice. “I know I said this to you before, but I feel like I need to repeat myself just so you’re clear. I didn’t spend half of my godforsaken life trying to keep you alive for you to just throw it all away!”
“I wasn’t throwing it away!” I yelled, hands balling. “I was trying to save the lives of people I care about. If you honestly think I would’ve stood by and allowed more people to die because of me, then you don’t know me at all.”38Everyone in the house studiously averted their gazes the moment I walked through the busted front door. I didn’t have it in me to be embarrassed that they clearly had either heard or seen everything.
A quick glimpse around the room revealed several scorched patches on the floor against the walls. There were no bodies. There was nothing left of them.
I didn’t even blink an eye.
I headed straight for the man now tied up in a kitchen chair with what looked like bungee cords.
Archer’s gaze flickered over my shoulder, and I knew without looking that Luc had joined us. I didn’t want to look at him, because I understood why he was mad, but he also had to understand why I’d done what I had.
I kept striding forward, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw that someone had laid a blanket over Kent, covering his upper body. It was Zoe. She was still kneeling by his body, her face stained with fresh tears.
My chest squeezed painfully as I stopped in front of the man. Up close, I saw that he was middle-aged, with fine lines around his eyes and pinched mouth. His dark eyes darted to my face. He looked normal to me, like he’d be married with 2.5 kids. A guy who’d spend Saturday mornings mowing the grass and chatting with his neighbors about mulch and Weed Eaters.
And he’d been sent to either apprehend a teenage girl or kill her, and he’d accepted the job. Didn’t quit or anything like that.
Pushing aside the roiling emotions, I exhaled raggedly. “I want to know what I am, and if you even try to lie, I swear to God, I’ll break your other arm.”
“Dayum,” someone murmured behind me.
Steven’s gaze darted around the room, and I could feel Luc growing closer. I didn’t even want to know how I knew that, but I did. The man’s bruised throat worked on a swallow. “My team … was hired. I don’t know who—”
“You might want to think twice about going down that route.” Luc glided up to my side. “You have another 205 bones I can break, and you have a lot of tissues that I can liquify with a touch.”
My lip curled with disgust.
Luc grinned. “So you wanna try answering that question again?”
“I’m kind of hoping he doesn’t answer.” Daemon strode toward the kitchen, shoving a couch cushion out of the way. “I have some pent-up aggression I would love to really work out.”
I crossed my arms. “I think you really need to answer the question differently.”
Steven’s chest rose raggedly. “We don’t work for the government. We’re a part of the Sons of Liberty.”