The Burning Shadow (Origin 2) - Page 164

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“Sounds like a plan.” She turned to where Luc was beside me.

“Go find Grayson,” he said softly, taking the lamp from her. “Make sure he’s dealing with everything.”

“I’ll do my best,” she said, and then she was gone in a blur.

“You lost someone.” Dee brushed her ponytail over her shoulder. “Kent.” That one word, just a name, was filled with so much sorrow. “He’s not with you.”

“Yeah, it was Kent.” Luc’s hand found mine, and I squeezed his. “There were more.”

“I’m sorry,” she said, letting out a heavy sigh as she started walking. “It never gets easier. After everything we’ve all been through, will probably still go through, it never gets easier. I’m really sorry for all your loss. He was … he was Kent.”

“Thank you,” Luc murmured.

Dee led us past the wooden area to a street on our left. “This is where we all live, so we can be all up in one another’s business. This house has been made ready.”

We followed her up a cracked driveway to a small rancher-style home. She stopped in front of the door, unlocking it, and then she moved in, lighting gas lamps as she went.

“All brick. Keep the extra bedroom doors closed, blinds drawn during the day, and windows open at night, and it stays cool this time of the year.” She gestured at the ceiling. “You also get a nice cross-flow that even turns the fans.”

The fan was spinning lazily. I looked around, spying several pieces of comfortable furniture and a kitchen.

“I was assuming you two are okay with staying in the same place?” Dee stopped, placing her hands on her hips. “I probably should’ve checked that first.”

Luc looked over at me, the soft light from the lamp casting a glow over his features. He waited to hear what I would say, leaving the decision up to me.

I nodded. “That’s fine. I mean, it’s okay. Totally.”

A smoky little smile played across Luc’s lips, and I felt my cheeks flush.

“Good. There are some fresh toiletries in the bathroom. I’ll bring over some extra clothes that should fit and some food in a few minutes, okay?” Dee waited at the door.

“That would be perfect,” Luc answered.

She nodded and dipped out of the doorway, disappearing into the night.

For several moments, Luc and I stood there, and then he said, “Let’s find out where the shower is.”

Down the narrow, short hall we went, into a bedroom that smelled like lavender and fresh air. Luc placed my bag on the bed and then walked over to the nightstand. Another gas-powered lamp flared to life. The shower ended up being in a quaint little bathroom behind one of the doors.

Luc placed the lamp he’d carried from outside onto the vanity. The soft glow beat back the shadows. “Why don’t you shower first?”

“You sure?”

He nodded, backing up as he looked around. “You’re super gross.”

I laughed, the sound raspy but there. “Nice.”

A grin appeared. “Here’re some towels, and there’s … a robe on the back of the door.” Picking up the towel, he placed it on the vanity next to the lamp. “You good?”

“Yeah.” I stared down at the towel. It was either pink or off-white. There was some kind of monogram on it.

“You sure?”

I forced a nod as I looked around the bathroom. There were toothbrushes and mouthwash, shampoos and conditioners in the shower. All of this had been placed here by Dee, but people had definitely lived here. “Do you think they made it out?”


“The people who lived here.”

“I don’t know. Let’s just hope that they did.”

I decided that was what I would hope, because if they hadn’t made it out, and they were no longer here, in their own home, that meant they just didn’t make it.

Everything felt heavy, and I … I didn’t want to think about death anymore.

“I’ll be right outside,” Luc said, closing the door behind him.

Glancing at the shower, knowing it was going to be ice cold, I didn’t give myself time to really think about it. I stripped off my muddy, ruined clothing and then turned the water on. Muttering a curse under my breath, I stepped under the spray.

“Holy shit,” I gasped, the air punching out of my legs as the icy spray hit my skin. For a moment, I was shocked into immobility, but I pushed through it. I snatched up a bottle of shampoo and then took the quickest, coldest shower in my life.

I stepped out, shivering as I grabbed the towel and rubbed at my chilled skin. Tiny bumps were all over me, and my hair felt as if it were encased in ice. Freezing, I grabbed the robe and shoved my arms through it, cinching it tightly around my waist. I found a comb and then opened the bathroom door. Luc was walking into the bedroom, carrying a plate of food. My stomach grumbled.

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance