“If you were letters on a page, you’d be fine print.” Luc’s voice clashed with the dreams of cities falling, and the white light spread.
His voice was closer. “You’re going to love this one. My doctor says I’m lacking vitamin U.”
The hole widened, and I felt the warm touch of his fingers against my cheek, the strong curve of his arm around my waist as, farther in the city, billboards evaporated and giant screens cracked before turning to shimmering dust. Cathedrals decayed rapidly, caving into themselves. The world fell apart around me until nothing remained but the gaping hole of crackling, stunning light and the warm, hard feel of Luc’s body pressed to mine.
We stayed that way for a while, caught between the nothing of sleep and the life that existed beyond it.
Turning toward the voice, I saw myself standing there, wearing a shirt that was too big. A black shirt that featured a UFO sucking up a T. rex. It had to be a shirt straight from Luc’s closet. Wind lifted the strands of blond hair in the mirror image of me, but where I stood, the air was stagnant.
“Time for what?” I asked once more.
Ink bloomed under her eyes like shadows, and her eyes were the darkest night lit by lightning, and it was the same under her skin, the network of veins a kaleidoscope of darkness and moonlight.
She was power.
She bled death.
“It’s time to end this.” She lifted a hand and pointed to the ground—to a grassy knoll that had not been there before, to the boy who stood there, a bronze-haired god of enormous power.
“Luc?” I whispered.
Slowly, he turned to me—to us. All of his body, his veins were lit from within. The light poured into the air around him, crackling and spitting with the power of the Source. His pupils were the sharpest diamonds, brilliant and cold, and he didn’t look at me but to the version of me who was not his equal—something deadlier and far more powerful.
“Never,” he vowed.
That one word was a punch to the chest, and I fell apart. Shattering and breaking into a million tiny pieces that scattered until I became a part of the dead city and the glimmering ashes falling to the ruined ground.
And then I was nothing.
No memories. No sight. No sound. No sense of being, and I slipped further away into the nothing, to where dreams that felt like memories and nightmares of destroyed cities couldn’t reach me. I stayed for an eternity.
Then I heard Luc’s voice again, and I heard him call to me with one word.
Nadia.15Slowly, I became conscious of the body beside me, noticing first the weight of an arm curled around my waist, then the tangle of legs and finally the thigh tucked between mine. Only a few seconds later, I became aware of the solid chest pressed to mine and the soft, steady breath against the top of my head.
Then I felt, against my lips, warm skin.
My heart skipped a beat and then sped up in recognition. My soul knew the feel and weight of him, the taste and scent of his skin, because it always knew even when I didn’t.
He was holding me like I was the most cherished treasure in the universe.
I focused on each breath he took until my body seemed to naturally meet his, falling into a rhythm. His were deep and steady, but he wasn’t asleep. I knew this, because his hand moved along the center of my back, tracking up and down my spine. Each pass of his hand caused the skin along my back to hum in a pleasantly distracting way.
Drawing in a shallow breath, I took a deeper, longer one and willed my eyes to open.
I had no idea why, but I tried again with the same result. Thinking I could move another part of my body, I tested out my hands. Turned out my arms were folded against a hard stomach, so that was no go.
Should I be concerned that moving was proving to be so difficult? Probably. But other than my muscles not responding to the commands my brain was sending, I felt okay. Granted, that was a pretty big deal. Maybe I needed to start with something small.
And holy hallelujah, I could wiggle them!
Approximately five seconds later, I almost regretted my achievement.
Pins and needles swept up my legs in a quick succession. I wanted to stop moving my toes, but I pushed through it. The rush of sensation cooled mere seconds later. Feeling confident about the progress, I flexed my foot.
Luc’s hand stopped, bunching my shirt under his grip, and his breath stilled against the top of my head. “Evie?” The way he said my name—it was full of restrained hope but sounded like it came from the other side of the room.