The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 4

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My heart pounded against my ribs as panic seeded like a noxious weed. What if he or another Trojan used the Cassio Wave again? Or what if what happened in those woods occurred again?

What if Luc couldn’t reach me the next time?

Then I’d turn into a mindless minion, and not even one of the cute yellow ones.

A laugh bubbled up, but it got stuck in my throat, where I felt like I was being choked, and it was probably a good thing, because it was the scary kind of laughter that ended in tears or blood.

Jason Dasher could take it all away from me again. Memories. Sense of self. Free will. Autonomy. My friends. Luc.

The mere idea of losing myself all over again burst open a door deep inside me, and out came a mess of emotions. A cyclone of fear and anger rose up, drenching every fiber of my being.

I would destroy myself before I allowed everything to be taken from me again.

“Never.”

My gaze jerked to Luc. Energy spit into the air, hissing and crackling as Luc picked up on my thoughts, something that annoyed the living crap out of me even though he couldn’t always control it. According to him, my thoughts were often … loud.

“Never will you have to make that choice,” he vowed, the surge of power emanating from him pulsing brightly and then easing off until there was no glow around him. The air in the room lightened, becoming easier to breathe. “He will never have control of you. No one will.”

But I hadn’t had control of myself in those woods, not when I’d attacked him and Daemon. That hadn’t even been me—

“It doesn’t matter.” Luc was suddenly directly in front of me, his warm palms cupping my cheeks. Skin against skin. Like always, the contact sent a muted charge of electricity dancing over my skin and coursing through my veins. The brightness of his pupils receded until they were normal. Well, normal by Luc’s standards. The fuzzy black lines around his irises and pupils were now visible. “That was you in the woods. Just another part of you that I haven’t quite made friends with yet, but I will.”

“I don’t know about that.” That power that was in me, the Source that had been twisted by all the serums and the alien DNA, wouldn’t make friends with anything other than maybe a honey badger.

“Honey badgers are extremely intelligent creatures, did you know?”

“Luc.”

He gave me a lopsided grin. “To be honest, I think the honey badger part of you thought I was the bee’s knees.”

A strangled laugh broke free. “Bee’s knees?”

“Yeah. Isn’t that what all the cool kids are saying?”

“Maybe in the nineteen-twenties.”

“I could swear I heard someone say it recently.” He lowered his head, stopping when the bridge of his nose brushed mine. “I’m not worried, Peaches.”

Peaches.

In the beginning, I thought that was such a weird nickname, but now? Hearing him say that made my heart feel as if it were being squeezed in the best possible way.

Genuinely curious and disbelieving, I asked, “How can you not be?”

“Because I have faith.”

I stared at him.

“In me.” His head tilted, and I felt his cheek against mine, curving up in a bigger grin. The next breath I took was full of pine and fresh air and so very full of Luc. “I have faith in you. In us. You’re not going to turn into some mindless minion.” A pause. “Unless it’s Halloween.”

He was referencing my last costume. “I thought you said I looked like Big Bird.”

“My sexy little Big Bird,” Luc corrected, and I wrinkled my nose. He slid a hand back, curling his fingers through my hair as he gently guided my head until our eyes connected and held. “You’re Evie. You will not lose control. I won’t allow that. You won’t allow that. Do you know why?”

“Why?” I whispered.

“Because we didn’t come all this way, survive all we have, only to lose each other again,” he said. “You won’t allow that. I know you won’t, but if you can’t believe in that yet, then believe in me until you can. How about that?”

Emotion swelled so acutely that when I blinked, my lashes were damp. His words broke my heart and also soothed the sting. I nodded as some of the panic died.

For a heartbeat, Luc rested his forehead against mine. The simple comfort released the rest of the panic. “Together,” he murmured. “We’re in this together.”

The shaky breath I took felt clean. “Together.”

Lifting his head, he stopped to press a kiss against my temple before pulling away. His hand dropped from my hair but stayed against my lower back.

“I thought you two forgot I was even here,” Eaton remarked dryly, but when I looked over at him, his lined features had softened. “The Daedalus still haven’t taken it into consideration.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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