Obsession - Page 24

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“Her name is Serena,”

Hunter said, eyes narrowed on me. “And she was just about to go upstairs. Weren’t you?”

“I hope she isn’t going to run off,” the twin said, casting his brother a look I couldn’t decode and probably didn’t want to.

“It’s not often that I’m with such beautiful company.”

“I seriously doubt that,”

Hunter replied dryly, and I had to agree.

The twin smiled. “But still…not beautiful company like her.” He didn’t elaborate on what that meant as he extended a hand. “My name is ridiculously unpronounceable, like Hunter’s real name, but most call me Sin.”

I stared at Hunter.

“Hunter’s not your real name?”

“What?” Sin’s eyes went wide. “She didn’t know?

Oh, Serena, there is so much I could tell you.”

The muscle in Hunter’s cheek went crazy. “That is the only name I answer to.”

My gaze dropped to Sin’s still outstretched hand.

Human manners dictated that I take his offer, but I had to force my hand toward his. When his fingers wrapped around mine, a small charge passed between us. Out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Hunter move forward.

His brother let go, his fingers gliding over my palm.

Sin turned to his brother.

“So this is why you’ve been too busy to call, email, or even write?”

Hunter now stood off to the side of me and folded his arms across his chest.

“I haven’t wanted to get in contact with you. And right now, I’m really not feeling up to this.”

“Ouch.” Sin didn’t look affected at all. He sat on the edge of the couch, stretching out long legs.

His gaze flickered between the two of us before finally leveling on his brother.

“You look a little pale, Hunter. Have you been taking care of yourself?

Eating well?”

On top of feeling like I was being visually molested by Sin, I so knew what he was referencing.

Hunter’s spine stiffened.

“That’s enough, Sin.”

He chuckled as he glanced at me. “My brother is a prickly bastard, isn’t he? It’s all about the diet, I keep telling him. If he… fed better, he’d be in a better mood. What do they say about food?”

“You are what you eat?”

I suggested, brows rising.

“Ah! Yes.” Sin clapped his hands down on his thighs. “You are what you eat, Hunter.”

“That’s what I hear.”

Hunter unfolded his arms slowly.

Sin arched a brow.

“Have you heard from Lore at all? I can’t seem to… find him.”

“Lore?” I asked before I could stop myself.

“Lore is our brother,” Sin replied. “We’re triplets.”

I turned to Hunter.

“Huh…?”

“I only have one brother that I claim.”

Hunter smirked.

“I’m sure everyone here can guess which brother that isn’t.”

Yep, I had a good idea.

In the silence that followed, something passed between the two brothers. I didn’t know what, but I had the distinct feeling that they were seconds away from ripping into each other.

Sin’s smile didn’t slip.

“Perhaps we should continue this conversation outside? It’s such a lovely day for a walk.”

It looked like it was about to start raining.

Hunter nodded curtly. “I agree.”

Both brothers headed toward the door, but Hunter stopped, sending me a long look that promised trouble later. I wasn’t concerned with that.

Instead, I wondered if either of them would return from their “walk.”

Chapter 15

Outside in the damp morning air and among the ancient trees, I glared at the back of my brother’s head. Of all the moments for Sin to decide to show up, it had to be now.

Sin tipped his head back and laughed. “That’s a pretty little piece of ass you got there. Are you sharing—?”

I snapped my brother’s neck.

Just like that—two hands on either side of the head and then twist, crack, crackle, pop, and all that jazz. Sin hit the ground, reduced to nothing more than a twitching heap.

In the few blissful seconds of silence, I leaned against the tree, and while I waited, I tried to remember the exact number of times I’d broken Sin’s neck. Twenty or more? Definitely more.

Sin’s body began to blur and darken as it lost all shape.

Dark essence swirled over the ground, rising up. Thick tendrils of smoke spread out, reaching the lower branches. As they came into contact, the leaves withered to a lifeless brown.

Show-off.

The hazy smoke receded, revealing my brother’s true form for a moment. As Sin turned, the liquidlike movement hid the predator beneath the grace.

Then Sin slipped into his human skin. “What. The.

Fuck. Hunter?”

“I can’t help myself whenever I’m around you.

It’s like a habit.”

“Well, break the fucking habit, because that hurts.

Jesus.” Sin took a step back, straightening his shirt. “If you weren’t my brother…”

“You’d what? Annoy me to death?” I pushed off the tree, getting right up in his face. “Or do you think you can actually take me?”

Sin laughed. “Do you think you can take me?

You don’t feed on Luxen anymore. You are weak. I could kick your ass clear across this godforsaken planet.”

“Oh, is that what you think?”

“It’s what I know. You’ve become nothing but the DOD’s little bitch boy.

Doing their favors while the Luxen continue to thrive! Is that why that woman’s in your cabin? I bet it does have something to do with them. The DOD says jump and what does Hunter say?”

I twisted halfway, laughing under my breath, and then whirled back.

Grabbing Sin by the neck, I flipped him over. His heavy body hit the tree with such force several branches fell to the ground.

I flew into Sin’s face, digging my fingers deep into his throat. “Hunter says kiss my ass.”

Sin held up his hands, choking out a laugh. “Oh, so Hunter has fed recently, hasn’t he? I doubt that female could give you that kind of power. If so, can I have a taste—just a little, and while I’m at it, can I fuck her?”

I slammed Sin’s head back against the tree hard enough to crack a skull, but my goddamn brother just laughed. “You never knew when to shut up.”

“And you never had the balls to do what’s right,”

Sin spat back.

Letting go, I took a step back before I did something I regretted.

There were times when I wanted to kill my brother— this was one of them—but Sin was my family. We shared the same blood, the same history.

“It has nothing to do with balls,” I said. “Our sister is dead because of this war —no, don’t you fucking look away from me.”

But Sin did.

Shooting forward, I grasped his chin, forcing Sin to look at me. “Our sister is dead. Lore almost died because of a war our ancestors fought—a war that no one will win, especially not here, not on this planet.”

“We will win.” Rage filled Sin’s eyes. “We will pay them back tenfold for what they did to our people.”

“Yeah, you do that.” I let him go. “You and every other Arum out there that wants to avenge their fallen ancestors are going to get yourselves killed.

Maybe some other planet, but here, with the humans, you’ll lose, because they will support the Luxen— they already are. They will follow right behind them, right to their deaths. And in the meantime, they’ll help the Luxen exterminate every one of us. So screw me that I’m not drinking that bullshit Kool-Aid anymore.”

Disgust filled Sin’s expression. “How dare you turn your back on us.”

“This has nothing to do with us, Sin. This has to do with our family. I’m not going to bury another sibling for a cause they had no part in!”

“But we do have a part in it, Hunter.

We were created to do what we are trying to do. Born and raised to destroy the Luxen. We’re the only thing that can stop them from dominating another world.”

That part was true, but everything else was full of so much shit that I needed a damn shovel. “So what do you think we should do?

Let the Luxen be? Just let it all go?” My brother’s lip curled in disgust. “Hell, soon you’ll think it’s okay to mix the two races.”

Now he was just being stupid. “I’m not saying that we should hold hands and sing Kumbay-fucking-ya with them. I’m not saying they should even be hands off.”

Sin shook his head.

“Then what are you saying?”

“I’m saying move on. Let it go.”

He smirked. “Like you and Lore have. Where is Lore by the way?”

“He doesn’t want anything to do with you, Sin.”

Sin turned his cheek, pressing his lips together.

“I think I know what the problem is with you two. I think you both are scared.”

“I’m too old to be goaded into that shit.”

“You and Lore,” Sin continued, swaggering up to me. “Fucking pussies.”

I smirked. “Rather be fucking pussies…”

“Funny. You tell Lore he can’t hide from me forever and, just like you, he needs to face his duty.”

Anger rippled over me so deep and so hot that it was hard to hold my human form. “It’s not my duty or his to fight a war we don’t even believe in.” I paused.

“Take care of yourself, but get lost. I really don’t have the time for this shit.”

Sin’s eyes darkened until they were nothing but pitch-black pupils. “Sooner or later, you’re going to need to get back into the game, brother. And if anything or anyone is preventing you from making the right decision, I will personally, happily, remove that obstacle.”

“Are you threatening me or what is mine?” Whoa, wait. Did I just say mine?

Fuck it. “Sin?”

My brother’s gaze slid beyond me to the cabin.

“There are some obstacles I’ll have a hell of a lot more fun removing.”

After Sin slinked off, I had traveled the heavily wooded area around the community in my true form for hours, until night had fallen, making sure Sin had left the region. He hadn’t left immediately. Oh fuck no, the bastard lingered, testing me. He’d kept circling back near the cabin, near Serena.

Mine.

What in the fuckadeefuck had I meant by that? Mine? I stamped a claim on her after coming within seconds of killing her last night?

Smooth. That wasn’t even the most fucked-up part. It was the fact that it felt right. Like not taking the shit back kind of right.

Weird. I knew I needed to stay away from her, but I didn’t want to.

I also knew I wouldn’t.

Perhaps I just needed to get her out of my system.

Scratch that itch and what not. I just needed to do it without killing her.

When I returned to the cabin, I found Serena waiting on the couch. She jumped to her feet when she spotted me in the doorway. “Okay. Before you start yelling at me, I just want to say that I thought you were dead.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout Romance
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