The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 142

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He had a point, a big one, but my shoulders still slumped under the weight of disappointment.

“There’s also the issue that you might be recognized.” Sympathy filled Zoe’s voice. “Your image was plastered all over the news in connection with Syl—with your mom’s murder.”

And another good point. Wasn’t like I hadn’t forgotten that I’d been conveniently blamed for her murder. I was just trying to not think about that messed-up factoid, but that reminder was a punch in the chest.

“Yeah, you guys are right.” I leaned back against the table, and Luc’s hands settled on my hips. He squeezed gently. “I know it’s not personal.”

Daemon’s gaze met mine. “It’s really not. I hope you know that.”

“I do.” And I did. Sometimes the truth was harder than something being personal.

And very few know when to step aside, Luc’s voice whispered among my thoughts.

I took a deep, steadying breath. I just want to be able to help out.

I know. His hand slid to my lower back. You will.

“I can go,” Zoe was saying. “I’ve done it before when I’ve been here.”

“Perfect.” Daemon looked toward Luc. “We’ll meet tonight at the entry house.”

I hoped that was a lot duller than the last time everyone was there. Wondering why Grayson hadn’t volunteered, I waited until later that evening, while Luc was getting ready, to ask.

Sitting on the bed, I watched him root around in the stack of shirts. Damp hair toppled on his forehead as he bent, pulling out a plain, black shirt. The black cargo-type pants he wore were still unbuttoned. I was convinced either magic or the Source was holding his pants up, because those suckers were defying gravity at the moment.

“Why didn’t Grayson volunteer to go?” I asked.

He shook the shirt out. “He knew he was needed here.”

I started to ask why, but then it struck me. “He’s staying behind to babysit me.”

“I wouldn’t call it babysitting.” Straightening, he looked over at me. He seemed to freeze for a moment, eyes slightly wide as he stared at me. Shirt forgotten in his hand, he strode toward me. Stopping in front of me, he placed his hands down on either side of me and dipped his head, his lips finding mine.

His kiss was gentle and slow, the kind that threatened to shatter me into a million little pieces. When he kissed me like this, so softly, it told me what words could never capture.

Pressing his forehead to mine, he shuddered as he slid his hands up my sides. “I forgot what we were talking about.”

I let out a little laugh, because I, too, had to think about that. “Grayson babysitting me.”

“That.” He shifted his head, kissing my temple. “He’s just keeping an eye on things.”

“Seems like that’s his number-one job.”

“It’s his most important one.”

I bit down on my lower lip as he pulled away, shirt in hand, the material now wrinkled. There was an ache in my chest. Luc had to know how Grayson felt, and making me Grayson’s top priority just seemed wrong.

“I know.”

I blinked. “What?”

His gaze met mine. “I know.”


He was saying he knew how Grayson felt. “Then do you think making him stay back here is a good idea?”

“I know it’s a good idea, because that’s what he wants.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” I admitted after a moment. “I mean, unless what he feels is this pure, unselfish type of love where he—”

“Protects you, because of what it would do to me if something happened to you?” he cut in.

I nodded. “I have to admit that I … yeah, I wouldn’t be that good of a person.”

“And neither is Grayson. I can’t even believe you’d think he was. How many hours ago was he wondering how long it would take for people to suffocate? He’s not selfless.” Luc grinned. “You should see your face right now.”

“I don’t need to see my face to know it’s the picture of confusion,” I told him. “If he’s not that good of a person, then why would he want to stay behind?”

“Because love can be complicated, Evie.”

I lifted a brow. “Okay. That was unnecessarily vague.”

“Look. Don’t worry about Grayson. He’s fine. If I thought he wasn’t, he wouldn’t be staying here.” He pulled the shirt on over his head. “Unless him staying here makes you comfortable.”

“It doesn’t.” I wrinkled my nose. “Well, I mean, half the time, I don’t even know he’s around.”

“He’s good like that.”

“He’s creepy like that,” I muttered.

Thrusting his hair back from his face, he chuckled. “I’ve got to admit something.” Luc zipped up his pants. “I almost pushed for you to come along.”


He nodded. “For purely selfish reasons. I don’t like the idea of leaving you here. Not because you can’t protect yourself or that I think anything will happen.” Buttoning his pants, he peered over at me through thick lashes. “I would rather have you by my side. I’m needy like that.”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance