Obsession - Page 20

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I smiled.

Throwing out my arms, I slipped the human skin. Air crackled as the Luxen raced toward me. I whirled to the side, drawing the shadows toward me, multiplying my shape and strength as my essence latched on to the night around us.

A pulse of light cut through the shadows, shooting straight for me.

Dipping down, I slammed a fist into the ground. Soil flew into the sky as a shock wave rippled outward, picking up the Luxen and tossing him into the air. I darted up, catching the Luxen as thick, dark smoke blew off me, turning night into the darkest hour.

I spun, tossing the Luxen like a disk.

It smacked into a tree and hit the ground but quickly shot to its feet.

Charging forward, white light tinged in blue trailed behind it, like a tail on a comet. Lobbing another nuclear power worth of energy toward me, it let out an inhuman battle roar.

Leaning to the side, the bolt fizzled out as it zoomed past me.

I laughed, and in my true form, my voice carried like a whisper, straight into the mind of the Luxen . ISSS that all you’ve got?

The Luxen reared back, preparing to deliver another nasty blast as I reached out, pulling everything that wasn’t rooted down toward me. I really was like my own black hole, the exact opposite of the Luxen.

Where they could repel, I could attract.

We were the fucked-up yin and yang of the universe.

Unable to fight the pull, the Luxen skidded forward, kicking up loose stones and dirt. I let go of the shadows as I reached for the Luxen, letting what cloaked the patch of forest fall to the ground, revealing what I truly looked like.

The Luxen’s form shifted back to human, its eyes wide with terror. Flipping back and forth from human to Luxen, it tried to break free of the pull, arms flailing at his sides.

I spun low, knocking the legs out from underneath my opponent. A second later, I was atop the Luxen, knees pressed into its chest. Fear radiated from the Luxen, filling the air with its sickly sweet stench.

“Don’t—”

Jabbing down into the center of the Luxen’s chest, my hand slipped past the skin and muscle, embedding deep into the center of the Luxen, to its core.

The Luxen threw its head back, screaming.

IT’SSS NOT A FATAL WOUND, SSSO KNOCK IT OFF. I leaned over, my head inches from the Luxen’s. YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENSSS AT THISSS POINT. I CAN FEED. I CAN drain you completely.

He was breathing irregularly under me, flickering in and out. While it wasn’t a fatal wound, it probably hurt like hell. “F- Fuck you,” stuttered the Luxen.

Wrong response.

I inhaled. Not like I had with Serena. The way the Arum fed from a human was different. From the mouth it usually occurred, which led to centuries worth of tales of succubus and incubus. Feeding from a Luxen was different. An Arum had to be connected first, latched on like one big mosquito.

I drew only a little bit, a warning, and pure energy seeped into me. It was like taking a hit of the purest drug out there. Shit. Now I sounded like I belonged in a Luxen Anonymous Group or something.

Underneath me, the Luxen thrashed and wailed.

Now, I’m going to dare to ASSSK AGAIN . I placed my other hand on the Luxen’s forehead, forcing it still.

Why are you here?

Arms free, the Luxen railed, but the blows did nothing other than annoy me. I drew a little more, feeling the red-hot burn of energy sliding through my veins.

WANT TO TRY THAT AGAIN? I asked. I CAN KEEP THISSS up if you want.

“A woman,” the Luxen gasped out, and then he flickered into his true form.

His light flared and pulsed erratically. I shook him until he resumed his human form. “There is a woman I’ve been sent to find.”

And kill?

“Yes.” A shudder racked the Luxen’s body.

Anger rippled through me, twisting around the pulsing energy. WHO TOLD YOU THAT THE WOMAN WASSS here?

It took a couple of more drains to get the Luxen to answer. By then, he was only able to hold his human form for a few minutes at a time.

“An agent said she’d been placed in West Virginia. I thought she’d been placed with the colony, but when I didn’t find her, I just stumbled onto this place.”

WHO WASSS THE AGENT?

When the Luxen didn’t answer, I tapped him again. TELL ME AND I WILL LET you go.

The Luxen’s body spasmed. “I don’t know who. I was sent here by Senator Vanderson. The agent…talked to him.”

Air constricted as I lifted him off the ground, pulling the Luxen toward me as I stood.

WHO ELSSSE knowsss thisss?

“No one.” His eyes were wide, his body still flickering in and out. “The senator came to me directly. Why—why do you care? Why are you here?

Unless…unless you’re working with the DOD to protect her?”

I said nothing. Fucking Luxen. Did they really think the DOD hadn’t partnered up with their enemies just in case things went south between the humans and Luxen?

Horror crept into the Luxen’s face then.

Realization followed, and he began to shake.

“You’re…not going to let me go?”

I shook my head.

The Luxen’s struggles renewed—thrashing and flailing in my arms—but he was weakened and I was one of most powerful of my kind. Subduing the Luxen took very little, and as the Luxen’s screams rattled the branches, I fed.

… I paced the length of the living room. An hour had passed and there was still no Hunter. Concern made me incredibly antsy, and stuck in the cabin, I never felt more powerless.

Correction: I felt pretty damn powerless when the Luxen had held me in the air with one arm.

A shiver danced across my shoulders and I resumed my pacing, finding myself standing in the entrance to the foyer.

Forcing myself away from the door, I let out a shaky breath as I returned to the living room and approached the panel of glass. With the lights off inside, I could see straight into the surrounding woods, but the night had turned everything beyond the cabin walls into dark, sinister shapes.

Somewhere in the living room the clock ticked away.

Heart pumping, I turned from the glass and padded back into the living room.

The minimalistic black and white clock on the wall said it was fifteen past eleven.

If he wasn’t back by thirty after, I had to do something. There was no way I could wait here and not try to help…if he needed help. And if he’d fallen to the Luxen, then they’d be coming for me.

I backed up, hitting the couch.

My heart was racing so fast it didn’t feel like I was getting enough oxygen in my lungs. I had to calm down because freaking out wouldn’t be any help.

I frantically searched my thoughts for something else to fixate on before the panic completely took hold. I ended up thinking about last night—the dream I had. Or had it been a dream? I really wasn’t sure. Because when I’d woken up, half undressed and aching to my core, I swore I had felt Hunter in that bedroom. That he had been touching me.

Or maybe that’s just what I had wanted.

It had been so long since I’d been with a man that there was a good chance my hymen grew back and I was just that desperate to want a guy to touch me, even if I was asleep.

The click of the lock turning from the front door spun me around. Hope swelled like an overinflated balloon, but I looked for a weapon just in case. My luck hadn’t been the greatest lately.

Spying a vase—a very expensive-looking black and white vase—I picked it up, ready to swing it like a baseball bat.

Hunter swaggered into the living room, coming to a halt just inside the entrance. One eyebrow arched. “Serena…”

Ignoring the humor in his tone, I scanned his face and body for signs of an obvious scuffle.

Blood didn’t stain his shirt or jeans. His hair was a little wind tossed, but no bruises marred his flawless broad cheekbones. His lips were full and slightly curved at the corners in amusement.

But he looked different.

His cheeks were slightly flushed, infused with a glow that hadn’t been there before. He looked like he’d won a boxing match and was ready to go again.

And his eyes…they were still a pale blue, but the color was deeper, less milky and more substantial.

Instinctively I knew. Like putting together a puzzle with pieces of knowledge I had gained from Hunter.

He had fed.

He had killed.

“Are you going to throw that at me?” he asked.

My pulse pounded as I stared at him. “I didn’t know if it was you.”

“It’s me.” He cocked his head to the side, his gaze drifting over me.

I shivered. It was feral.

Possessive.

“You’re frightened.”

I forced myself to put the vase down, and my hands were shaking as I smoothed them over my hips. I tried not to be so affected by the fact he’d just killed something, but if he hadn’t, I’d probably be dead, and it wasn’t the first time, but it was still unnerving.

Hunter took a step forward and, intuitively, I stepped back. “And I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact there was a Luxen outside.”

The urge to lie was too much. “Well, that was pretty nerve-racking.

I didn’t know what had happened or if you were okay. You were gone for over an hour and—”

“You’re frightened of me,” he interrupted.

Words died on the tip of my tongue. Truthfully, I was a bit frightened of him.

Who wouldn’t be? But it was more being scared of what he could do and not of what he was.

The corner of his lips tipped up.

“It’s understandable. It’s very human of you.”

“You say that like it’s a bad thing,” I said.

“It’s a weakness.”

Irritation rose.

“Being human isn’t a weakness.”

He raised a brow. “It’s not?”

“No.”

His gaze was trained on me as he stalked forward.

“Come.”

A quiver started in my stomach as much as I wanted to not feel it. There was something different in the way he walked, the way he looked at me.

“Come where?”

Hunter went into the study, holding the door open. I took a deep breath and then walked forward, spine straight. He crowded me as soon as I entered his study, picking up a strand of my hair and then letting it fall back onto my shoulder.

I was all too aware of the way my body tensed as he stepped even closer, his chest nearly flush with mine. God, he smelled wonderful—soap and spice. I didn’t like that he was this close, and at the same time I sort of craved it in the way you wanted to do things you should never do.

Breathless, I struggled to get back to the important stuff. “Do they know I’m here? Will there be—”

Clasping the sides of my cheeks, he drew my mouth to his. The kiss took me completely off guard. It was fierce, punishing, and hard, but my lips immediately parted. A hot, sweet flush swept through my body.

He backed me up against a stacked bookcase. The length of his arousal pressed against my belly as his hands skimmed over my arms, down to the tips of my fingers, and to the drawstring on my shorts.

“The Luxen was looking for you,”

he said, unraveling the string with quick, nimble movements.

“He is no longer looking for anyone.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Romance
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