The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 72

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“You told Luc you ran away from your father when he was passed out one night,” she said, staring at Nadia. “Why did you lie?”

Surprise gripped me as I saw the same emotion dance across Nadia’s flushed cheeks.

“Your father was very good at hiding who he was,” Mom stated. “Alan was once a soldier with the kind of medals only bravery could earn.”

She knew my father—my real one? And he had a name. My real father had a name. Alan.

“He went to war overseas with Jason, fought side by side with him. Jason considered him a friend, but he didn’t know who Alan really was. I don’t think many knew what kind of monster was under the mask he wore when your mother was still alive.”

I felt like I needed to sit down.

“Why didn’t you tell Luc the truth?” she asked. “Once you learned what he was and what he is capable of, you knew he could at any time reach into your mind and take those secrets.”

Nadia was quiet for so long. “I didn’t think about it around him.” Her voice was barely above a whisper. “I don’t think about it.”

“Of course not.” Sympathy softened Mom’s tone, and, like a fool, I wanted to believe it was genuine. “You were protecting yourself against a monster.”

“I know what he was,” Nadia snapped, her slim chest rising and falling rapidly. “I know what he wanted. He was going to sell me to—”

“If we had known what your father was doing, we would’ve stepped in sooner. We wouldn’t have—”

“Tried to buy me from him like I was a piece of meat?” Tears clouded Nadia’s eyes. “Because it was him that I saw talking to Dad outside? It was Jason Dasher who came to the house that night? I couldn’t hear his voice or really see him, but it was him, wasn’t it?”

Sylvia nodded.

“Dad … he told me that he was going to sell me to him. That I’d finally be worth—” She sucked in a deep breath. “He’d said that it was our last night and I knew he wouldn’t stop this time.”

Oh God.

A knot of nausea lodged in my throat.

“I couldn’t stand it. I just couldn’t.” Her little hands balled into trembling fists. “When he grabbed me, I don’t even know when I picked up the knife.” Nadia closed her eyes. “I don’t remember even … putting it in him. There was just so much blood and I ran. That part wasn’t a lie.”

Holy crap.

Nadia killed her father.

I killed my father.

“He deserved far worse than that,” Mom replied. “Soon enough, you won’t have to worry about those thoughts ever intruding on you again.”

Nadia looked at her then, her brown eyes slightly unfocused but still filled with so much steely will and sharp intelligence. She was no one’s fool.

“The kid I ran into two days later, by the park with all the ducks?” Nadia’s voice roughened. “He was the one who told me about Paris and the club Harbinger—said that Paris had a soft spot for street kids. That I could get something to eat there. That kid … that was no accident, was it?”

“No, it wasn’t.” Sylvia smiled briefly. “We needed you to meet Luc. Paris isn’t the only one who has a soft heart when it comes to broken things.”

A strangled laugh wheezed out of Nadia. “What is the Daedalus? A psychotic Match.com? What would you have done if Luc had kicked me out? He hated me at first. Told me I smelled and looked like a Garbage Pail Kid.”

Sounded like something Luc would say.

“We would’ve found another, but that’s irrelevant, because he didn’t. He took you in and made you his.”

They would’ve found another, confirming what I’d already suspected. They would’ve kept putting people in Luc’s path, little time bombs waiting to be exploited.

The pink in her once pale cheeks deepened. “I guess you all just—” A rattling cough shook her entire body. “I guess you all just got lucky with the whole cancer thing.”

Sylvia turned back to the photo album, her fingers trailing over the photo of Evie. “There is no such thing as luck, Nadia.”

My lips parted. No. There was no way she could mean what I thought she did. The Daedalus couldn’t give people cancer.

But they could take alien DNA and meld it with humans’. They could create entire species and use technology the public had no idea even existed. They were capable of anything.

“Evie, I need you to wake up.”

The weird dream rippled without warning, the gray countertops and white cabinets fading until everything went black. It lasted seconds, maybe minutes. There was no concept of time, and then everything came back into focus.

“Why are you telling me this?” Nadia asked, wincing as she shifted on the stool. “Because the serum doesn’t work and I’m going to die anyway? If that happens, Luc will find out. He will kill you.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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