The Brightest Night (Origin 3) - Page 9

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“I don’t think you did, Peaches. They want me.” Luc dropped his chin to my shoulder. “Can you blame them?”

“Yes.”

That got a cackle from the otherwise stoic general.

“Ouch,” Luc murmured, but a moment later, I felt the brush of his lips against the side of my neck. A quick kiss that sent a wave of shivers racing to all the interesting bits. I wiggled a little in return, and Luc’s arm tightened, stilling me. Over my shoulder, I caught his narrowed glare, and I grinned. “Behave,” he mouthed silently.

“With the Trojans,” Eaton went on. “I don’t know why they’d want Luc alive.” A pause. “No offense.”

“Offense taken.”

Eaton looked like he couldn’t care less. “If I were Dasher, I’d have a bounty so high on your head that the risk of certain death could be overlooked. You’re a threat, a real one, but they want you.” He looked between us. “So, that should be moderately concerning.”

“Moderately?” I repeated. “I’d say that would be highly concerning.”

“What it means is they have plans for me.” Luc couldn’t sound more bored than if he were watching a documentary about being placed on hold. “The Daedalus always has plans for me, and look how all their previous ones panned out.”

Leaning back, I stared at him. “You are one of the few things that can stop them. Keeping you alive means they have even bigger plans than before. You’re not at all concerned?”

Thick lashes lifted, revealing glimmering amethyst eyes. “I’m not remotely concerned. Their plans are always bigger than the ones before, and every single one of them involves controlling me. They’ve never been able to do that, and there’s not a single thing they can do that would accomplish that.”

“There’s not?” Eaton asked quietly as he looked pointedly at me.

Tracking along the same line of thinking, my stomach sank to my toes. “They already have in a way. They got you to walk away and stay out of my life. They used me to do that.”

“That’s different.” Luc held my stare. “And they will never get their hands on you again to be able to use you as a tool to control me. Never again.” He repeated those two words as if they’d be etched in stone. “So, I’m not concerned.”

“Concerned or not, at the end of the day, they want both of you,” Eaton pointed out.

I dragged my gaze from Luc. “They can’t have us.”

The general shrugged. “You know, we’ve done everything to keep Zone 3 as safe from the Daedalus as possible. The wall is constantly patrolled; so are the city limits. We shut down the walking tunnels under the city and blew the entry points. That’s enough for now, but if anyone were smart, everyone here, including both of you, would scatter to the four corners of the earth. Find a nice hole to hide in as long as they can, and scratch out some sort of life until no one can hide anymore.”

I couldn’t believe he had said that. Anger had been a slow burn from the moment he started talking, but now it rose to the surface, prickly over my skin like a heat rash.

“That’s what I should’ve done, but I didn’t. Look where I am now.”

A pink flush crept across his weathered cheeks. “I tried to stop Dasher. I went to everyone above me, and I was warned to mind my own business each time, but I didn’t listen.” He shuffled to his feet. “I kept pushing, and you know what I got in return? I lost everything. I’m not talking about my career or my house. I lost”—he swiped his hand through the air—“everything.”

My foot stilled, stomach sinking.

Luc leaned in, his lips brushing the curve of my ear. “His wife. His son.”

“What?” I whispered, chest squeezing.

Eaton’s shoulders moved with heavy, rapid breath. “They warned me to let it go, and when I didn’t, they came for me, but they got them instead.”

A knot lodged in my throat as I stared at him, having no idea what to say.

He sat on the edge of the couch. “I want to see Dasher and all of them punished in ways that would most likely disturb you. I’m helping the people the best I can, but I know what we’re up against.”

My right foot started tapping again. “I’m sorry about your family. I really am.”

Eaton stared at me several moments and then nodded curtly. A long moment passed. “I know battle strategies. I know simple numbers, and I know what it means to be outgunned even if you’re not outmanned.” He dropped his elbow onto the arm of the couch. “I care about the people here. I even care about that one holding you now. I don’t want to see anything bad happen to any of them.”

“That warms my heart.” Luc straightened behind me. “It really does.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Origin Romance
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