The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 162

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“No. I don’t. I just—I saw her on TV.” I turned back to Dee. “I always watched you…” I trailed off, wincing.

Archer smiled.

Luc murmured, “Don’t worry. That didn’t sound creepy at all.”

I shot him a dark look I knew he could see.

Zoe laughed.

“So, you’ve watched me basically talk to a wall?” she asked, smiling.

“If that wall is Senator Freeman, then yes.”

Dee laughed as she leaned into Archer, and I couldn’t help but notice how both brothers were eyeing Archer like they wanted to punch him into another galaxy.

“Uncle Luc! Uncle Luc!” a child squealed.

Turning toward the sound, I saw a little girl, maybe four or so years old, on Dawson’s hip, stretching out waving arms as she wiggled in his grasp. There was a woman standing next to them, her dark hair pulled up in a messy topknot. She had a hand on Dawson’s back.

Uncle Luc?

My eyes nearly popped out of my head as Luc walked over to the girl, lifting his hands. The child practically propelled herself out of Dawson’s arms into Luc’s. She wrapped tiny arms around his neck.

I suddenly remembered what Luc had said when Dawson realized who I was—or who I’d … I’d been connected to.

I really don’t want to make Bethany a widow and little Ash fatherless.

This was Dawson’s wife and child.

Which would mean that since Dawson was a Luxen and Beth was a hybrid, the little girl was an … Origin.

The woman was shaking her head in wonder. “She hasn’t seen him in years, but she remembers him.” She smiled at me, extending a hand. “Sorry. I’m Beth. Dawson’s wife.”

I shook her hand, wondering if I’d met her before or not. “Nice to meet you.”

“How is my favorite Ashley doing?” Luc asked, leaning his head back.

“I’m your only Ashley!” She planted her hands on his chest, pinning him with a rather serious look for such a young child.

He just smiled at her in a way that was a little sad. “You’re getting so big, almost as tall as I am.”

Her head cocked to the side. “I’m not that big!”

“Uh-huh,” he said.

“Nuh-uh!”

My heart … well, it did this weird little thing as I watched Luc with this girl. It squeezed and swelled, and while I wasn’t even remotely entertaining the idea of babies of any kind, seeing him with her …

I sighed.

“That should be illegal, shouldn’t it?” Zoe murmured in my ear. “A guy that hot holding a kid.”

I nodded in agreement as Luc continued to argue with the child over whether or not she was getting as tall as he was.

Folding my arms over my chest, I looked around, realizing that Grayson had disappeared. “Where’s Grayson?” I whispered to Zoe.

She sighed, shoving her hands into the pockets of her jeans. “I think he just needed some time alone.”

Kent. Bitter grief rose from what felt like a never-ending well. I knew whatever I was feeling was nothing compared to what the others were experiencing.

“I want to introduce you to someone very special to me, Ash.” Luc turned toward me. “This is—”

“Nadia,” the little girl said.

Uh.

“No, this is Evie,” Luc gently corrected her.

“No, it’s not.” The little girl studied me, wrinkling her little nose. “She’s Nadia.”

Um.

“Okay.” The girl’s mother swooped in, deftly plucking her child out of Luc’s arms. “It is way past your bedtime. I let you stay up to see your daddy, but it’s time for you to snuggle in with the bedbugs.”

“Bedtimes are stupid,” the little girl grumbled as she all but threw herself over Beth’s shoulder so that she was facing me. “And I don’t want to snuggle with bugs.”

I wouldn’t want to, either.

Beth turned around. “It was really nice getting to see you guys. I’m sure we’ll see you in the morning?”

“Yes.” Luc joined me.

Dawson nodded at Luc and then gave me a little half smile. “Take it easy tonight, kids.”

“Kids?” Luc snorted.

Beth and Dawson walked off, and little Ash ended up in her dad’s arms. She was waving at us, and I waved back.

“Sorry about that,” Daemon said. “Ash can be … different.”

“It’s okay, but how did she know? Based on her age, she couldn’t have met me before. Right? Did she read my mind or something?” I asked, and then frowned. “Well, that doesn’t make sense, because I wasn’t thinking about being Nadia or anything like that.”

“She can read thoughts,” Dee explained. “But Ash is … very different. Sometimes creepy, but in an adorable way.”

Zoe’s brows rose.

“Well, that explains why she loves Uncle Luc,” I said.

Luc nudged me with his arm. “Don’t be jealous.”

“Did you guys run into problems on the way here?” Kat asked, rubbing a hand along her belly.

“Not on the way in, but on the way out, we did.” Archer dropped his arm on Dee’s shoulders. “We’ll talk later. It’s getting late.”

Luc looked up, beyond the group. His arm tightened around my shoulders. “General Eaton,” he announced. “Should I salute you?”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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