Opening my eyes, I forced my head to turn in the direction of his voice. Moonlight glanced over his cheekbone, and in the low light, his hair was a mass of dark, messy waves. White lights were where his pupils should’ve been, and he was several feet below me.
And the man in the white shirt and olive-green pants flickered in and out between us.
“It’s Jason Dasher.” I shuddered. “I saw him, and he told me not to disappoint him. He told me to use what is inside me.”
“It doesn’t matter. None of that matters.” Luc was standing on the bed. Only then did I realize that wasn’t moonlight on his face.
It was me.
My skin hummed. I could feel it now inside me, this rushing, roaring power. Pushing at my insides, at my skin and bones, stretching me. Shadow and light pulsed around me.
It wanted out.
And I wanted to lash out, to spin out of control. To free the vortex of fear and fury. I wanted to rage, wreak destruction. Tear down the walls until nothing stood but me, because I could still taste those sticky, blood-soaked realities.
“You’re looking at me, Peaches, but you don’t see me,” he said. “See me.”
I jerked as my gaze connected with his. “He said he would kill you. That he could and he would—”
“That was before, in the past, and Peaches, he couldn’t kill me then.” He pulled on my arm, his features straining and the diamond white of his eyes flaring. My feet touched the floor, and now it was Luc who towered over me. “And he sure as hell can’t touch me now.”
Another shudder racked me. “He was in my head. He’s in my head. He has to be for me to dream that.”
“You dreamed that because of everything you learned, but he’s not in there. I can hear your thoughts now, and it’s only you in there, and it’s only us out here. We’re all that matter.” Luc touched his fingers to my cheeks. I flinched at the contact, at the way the power around me thickened, reaching out toward him like it was drawn to him. “And that man will never matter.”
I trembled as he flattened his palms against my cheeks. Movement near the door had me turning—
“Look at me, Peaches. Just look at me,” Luc coaxed, dragging his thumbs over the lines of my jaw. “It’s just Gray. He was nearby. Heard you scream.”
Grayson was in here, in the bedroom? I tried to look again, but Luc held on. “Don’t pay him any mind. He knows everything is okay. That you just had a bad nightmare.”
“That’s one hell of a bad nightmare,” came the bored, familiar tone of the Luxen.
“Yeah, it is, but we all have bad nightmares,” Luc went on. “Don’t we, Gray?”
The Luxen didn’t respond.
“Now that he knows everything is okay, he’s on his way out. Right, Gray?”
A heartbeat of silence and then a droll, “Right. Everything seems completely under control in here. Should I alert the locals to let them know you have everything handled?”
“That won’t be necessary.” Luc’s lips curved up on one side, giving me that lopsided grin that was both endearing and daring. The same grin he’d worn the first time I’d met him as Evie, when his club was being raided. It was the same grin he’d had after being riddled with bullets. “Have a good night, Gray.”
“Yeah, you, too,” he said, and I felt him withdrawing without actually seeing.
The instinct to give chase, to stop his escape, cut through me like a swift wind. I didn’t want to do that, wasn’t even sure why I felt it, but the predatory impulse dug in deep. “I want to go after him.”
“Who hasn’t wanted to go after him?”
“You don’t understand. It’s like … there’s this thing inside me. It wants to go after Grayson.” I fought it as I lifted my hands, gripping Luc’s wrists. The door still swung. “But I don’t want to hurt him.”
“I want to hurt him, but only a little. That’s why you’re better than I am.” That smile of his wrapped its way around my heart. “You’ve always been better than I’ve been.”
“How?” A strangled laugh made its way free. “I’m about to blow. I can feel it, Luc. I thought … I don’t know. I thought we had time to fix this, but—”
“You haven’t blown yet, so we still have time. Nothing has happened other than maybe a painting or a book falling.” His features were now cast in shadows, but I could see his brilliant pupils searching mine. “I know we can, Evie. Together. Just keep focused on me. Not the memories. Not the nightmares. Just on me.”
Heart hammering, I struggled to do just that when I felt like a balloon seconds from popping. I willed my fingers to relax. They tightened instead, until my knuckles ached and I could feel his bones. I could feel my body tipping toward him, and I managed to stop myself. “It’s not like when I was in the woods. It feels different now.”