“Oh God,” he whispered.
My arms slipped away from Heidi as I became vaguely aware of Grayson entering the room. “You recognize me, don’t you?”
“Jesus,” he uttered.
Grayson struck like lightning striking past me. In a blink of an eye, he had grabbed the front of the man’s shirt. Dishes rattled as Grayson shoved the hybrid against the cabinets. The new Luxen shouted, starting toward them as the glow of the Source surrounded him.
I didn’t stop to think.
Summoning the Source, I stopped the Luxen. His body jerked as if his feet were glued to the floor. It wouldn’t stop him from striking out with the Source, but I hoped it was a warning he’d heed. “Please don’t attack Grayson,” I said, and the Luxen’s head swung in my direction. His lips parted on a sharp inhale. “I don’t want to have to hurt you.”
“Holy guacamole,” Heidi whispered. “You’re … Evie, you have black glitter all over you.”
“I know.” I kept my eyes trained on the Luxen. “That’s one of the things you’ve missed.”
“I don’t want to hurt anyone, either,” the Luxen responded. “Neither does he.”
“You sure about that?” I asked. “You’re starting to glow like a lightning bug.”
“Sorry. It’s a knee-jerk response,” he said, and the glow faded until nothing surrounded him.
I nodded, but I didn’t ease up on him, keeping him in place.
“Who are you?” Grayson demanded.
Beyond Grayson’s shoulder, the hybrid’s wide eyes were fixed on me. A cold chill knotted my muscles as he swallowed. “A dead man. I’m a dead man.”34“That’s a strange-as-hell name,” Grayson said, lifting the hybrid off his feet. “So you may want to think that answer over.”
Georgie, the old farmer, walked in from the dining area, a woven basket tucked under his arm as he jerked to a stop. He took one look at the room and sighed. “Not again. Doris,” he called out, setting the basket down. Straightening, he opened the old refrigerator door.
My eyes nearly popped out of my head. The insides had been hollowed out to hold yet another stash of rifles.
“What?” came Doris’s voice.
Pulling out a rifle, he leveled it directly at the hybrid’s head. “You may as well wait outside for a bit. We’ve got an issue in here.”
Grayson lifted the hybrid even higher as the Source started to bleed into the air around him. “I’m starting to get impatient, and just so you know, I’m not known for my patience.”
“I know their names.” Jeremy had also grabbed one of the rifles from the mudroom. With one quick glance, I saw that Emery had Heidi behind her. The female Luxen’s pupils were diamond bright. “They were vetted. The Luxen is Chris Strom,” Jeremy answered. “The hybrid’s name is Blake Saunders.”
Neither name meant a thing to me, but they did to Grayson and Emery.
“Holy Christ,” whispered Emery.
“That can’t be right.” The Source flared around Grayson. “I know that name. Blake Saunders is dead.”
The hybrid said nothing, but the Luxen did. “It’s true. His name is Blake, and I’m sure a lot of people believe him to be dead, but he didn’t die. We’re not lying. We not here to cause any problems. If we’d known that Luc was here, we wouldn’t have come—”
“Why would it cause problems?” I demanded. “Who are you two?”
The hybrid’s gaze shot to me.
“Don’t look at her,” Grayson warned. “Jeremy, I need you to get Hunter. Now. He’ll be able to confirm exactly who these two are. And I need you to get him fast,” Grayson instructed. “Don’t talk to anyone else about this.”
“On it,” Jeremy said, and he then rushed from the room.
“Everyone should leave. Sorry, Georgie. I know this is your house, but I want you and Doris nowhere near here,” Grayson instructed. “Take Emery and Heidi to Cekiah. She’s at the old library. Tell her what is going down. Make sure it stays quiet. There are others here that don’t need to learn of this.”
“Others?” Chris asked, still frozen where I held him, his chest moving and falling rapidly. “Who else is here?”
His question was ignored as Grayson dropped the hybrid. He fell back against the counter, eyes flying open. His shirt was torn around his collar. He said nothing, keeping his gaze trained on Grayson.
“Evie,” Grayson said as Emery took ahold of Heidi’s arm and joined Georgie at the door. “Go with them.”
“What?” I exclaimed. “I’m not going anywhere.”
“I don’t care where you go, but you’re going somewhere that’s not here.”
“No, I’m not.”
Keeping one hand planted on the center of the hybrid’s chest, he spared me a brief glance. “I’m not asking.”
“Good,” I shot back. “Because even if you were, I’m still not listening. If you want me to leave, you’re going to have to make me, and that is something I’d like to see.”
The Source flared violently around him, and for a moment, I thought he was going to try, but then he gave me a tight-lipped smile. “It’s your world, isn’t it?” Then he turned back to the hybrid. “Sit. I want both of you to sit.”