I met the Arum’s gaze head-on, and his lips peeled back in a snarl as smoke and shadows stirred around him.
“Hunter.” Luc’s voice was calm in the way that sent a shiver of warning down my spine. “I like Serena, and I like you, so I’d hate to have to kill you in front of your wife.”
What an accurate name, because I felt hunted, but I was not prey.
That was what the Source was feeding me as my chin tilted back a notch.
Grayson threw his Blow Pop in a small plastic trash bin. “I was told you were out meeting with Lore and Sin.”
“I just got back,” Hunter replied, and I swore the temperature dropped twenty degrees. I bet he and his wife had no problem in the hot, humid Texas summer.
Evie, I want you to move to stand on the other side of the table, but move slowly.
I heard Luc, but I didn’t move. I didn’t need to.
Half of Hunter’s body became nearly transparent. “If you know what that thing is and you’re thinking to protect it, we’ve got a problem, Luc.”
“I know exactly who I’m protecting.” Heat pressed against my back. “And I also know what will happen if you take one more step toward her. You will become nothing more than a pile of ashes. She is not responsible for what happened, and man, I’m sorry to know that went down. He was good. Better than you. He didn’t deserve that.”
I had absolutely no freaking clue what Luc was talking about, but I figured he was picking up the Arum’s thoughts. I tried to hear something, but there was nothing coming from the Arum.
“Get out of my head, Luc,” the Arum snarled.
“Someone’s got to be in there,” Luc said. “She is not what you think she is.”
But I am exactly what he thinks I am, the Source whispered back to Luc.
Heat flared, pulsing against the corners of my vision. Evie?
I blinked. I don’t know where that came from. A lie. But I’m still here.
You have control?
Yes? No. Maybe? I decided yes.
The shadows intensified around Hunter, and I didn’t think he was going to listen to Luc.
My hands slipped off Spencer’s arms as Eaton stepped back from the table, grabbing ahold of Jeremy and hauling him aside. The young man had gone as still as a statue.
“What in the hell is going on here?” the old man demanded, and there was no answer.
“Hunter.” Serena stayed a foot behind him, to his side, where she had me in sight in case she decided to use that gun I knew she was now palming. The fact I even knew that almost disturbed me, but at this point, I figured it was another Source-fueled instinct. “We trust Luc. Maybe we should listen to him.”
“We do not trust Luc.”
“Now you’re just hurting my feelings on purpose.” Luc’s tone was light, but I knew it would be a poor life choice if one judged his mood on his words.
Hunter’s pale eyes flared. “One of those things killed my brother.”
“Which one?” Grayson asked, his posture lax, but when he threw away his Blow Pop, something I wasn’t sure I’d ever seen him do, he meant business.
“Lore.” Hunter dropped the name like a bomb of pain and heartache. I jolted in recognition. He’d been alive on Halloween. How could he be gone?
But Kent had been alive that night. So had Clyde and Chas.
So had my mom.
“Damn,” Grayson murmured.
“I am really sorry to hear that,” Luc repeated. “Lore was one of the good ones. He really was, but she had nothing to do with your brother’s death.”
“She is not natural,” seethed Hunter.
“Neither am I.” All pretenses were gone from Luc’s voice. “And I clearly recall you realizing not all that long ago that I could kick your ass into the next galaxy, and buddy, you were not wrong with that estimation. This conversation is getting old, and I’m starting to become bored. Do you want to know what happens when I become bored?”
Serena’s arm moved—
“She has a gun,” I warned, and I wasn’t sure who I was warning. Everyone in the room or the woman herself. The hairs all over my body started to stand up.
“I know, Peaches, but she’s not going to use it.” Luc paused. “Are you, Serena?”
Hunter blinked at the nickname, and Serena said, “I don’t want to.”
“I would strongly advise that you didn’t,” Grayson chimed in, finally adding something of value. “If you’re alive later, I’ll tell you what happened to the last group of men who pulled a gun on her. They were kind of all over the place by the time she was done with them.”
I wanted to smile, which felt all kinds of wrong, so I managed not to.
“Things are getting a wee bit tense here,” murmured Jeremy.
“I don’t know what is going on here, and I don’t care. You all need to take it elsewhere,” Viv barked out, returning with an IV bag full of the blood in one hand and one of those manual bag valve masks. She tossed the latter to Jeremy. “I’m trying to save Spencer’s life, in case anyone cares.”