Opposition (Lux, #5)(9)

“It’s like an apocalypse,” Archer murmured.

I swallowed hard. “All we’re missing are the zombies.”

He looked down at me, brows rising, and he opened his mouth, but the snack aisle threw up all over the place.

Chips and pretzels flew into the air, along with cheese puffs and foil wrappings. They rained down, pinging on the floor. There was a hole in the middle of the snack aisle now.

“Let’s get out of here,” he said, and this time I didn’t argue.

I was saving all my words for a different battle, because I knew when we got back to the cabin, if we could, Archer was going to push for us to bounce on out of Idaho. I got that it wasn’t safe here anymore, and if he wanted to leave, so be it. Considering Beth’s condition, it would be smart to get her far away from all of this, but there was no way I was leaving here without Daemon.

Screw that.

We darted down a demolished checkout lane. Archer was in front of me when I ground to a halt, every muscle in my body locking up as a series of tight tingles traveled over the base of my neck.

My knees went weak as the air leaked out of my lungs. The tingling was there, warm and familiar, a feeling that had been absent for two days. In my chest, my heart kicked into hyperdrive, sending the blood roaring through my veins.


I stumbled around slowly, like I was moving in quicksand, scanning the destroyed aisles. Light peeked and pulsed through the destruction of the market. Time seemed to slow down, the air thickening until I couldn’t drag in enough breath. Dizzy, and too hopeful with the rising tide of tangled emotions, I moved back toward the lights.

“Katy!” Archer’s voice traveled from the broken doors. “What are you doing?”

My pace picked up as I neared the collapsed display of candy bars. Snack bags crunched under my feet. My mouth dried and my eyes blurred. The aches and burning pain radiating from my shoulder faded into the background.

Wind picked up, whipping the long, loose strands of hair around my face, and I wasn’t sure where that was coming from, but I pushed forward, nearing the edge of the destroyed snack aisle.

I stepped to the side, just a foot or two, and looked up the aisle to the end. My heart stopped. My entire world came to a startling pause.

“Dammit!” shouted Archer, his voice closer. “No!”

But it was too late.

I saw him.

And he saw me.

He stood at the end of the aisle in his true form, shining as bright as a diamond. He didn’t look any different than the rest of the Luxen, but every ounce of my being knew it was him. The very cells that made me who I was snapped alive and cried out for him. He still was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Tall and shining like a thousand suns, edges shimmering a faint red.

I took a step forward at the same moment he did, and I reached out to him the way we could, because when he had healed me all that time ago, he’d connected us together. Forever.

Daemon? I called out to him through the connection.

He disappeared from in front of me, moving too fast for even me to track.

“Kat!” Archer yelled. At the same time, I swore I heard my name echoing in my head in a deeper, smoother voice that caused my belly to flip and the strings attached to my heart to pull taut.

Warmth traveled across my back and I turned, coming face-to-face with dazzling emerald-colored eyes; skin that seemed to always be tan, no matter the time of year; broad, sweeping cheekbones; and unruly black hair that brushed equally dark eyebrows.

Full lips tipped up at the corners tightly.

It wasn’t Daemon.

A good head and a half taller, Dawson locked his eyes with mine. I thought I saw a flicker of remorse, but that could’ve simply been wishful thinking. Light rushed from behind his pupils, turning the entire orb of his eyes white. Static traveled across his cheeks, forming tiny fingers of electricity.

There was a flash of intense light, a shocking wave of heat that seemed to lift me off my feet, and then there was nothing.


{ Daemon }

The constant stream of voices in my true tongue, along with a dozen other human languages, caused a fierce throbbing in my temples. The words. The sentences. The threats. The promises. The goddamn nonstop chatter of my newly arrived oh-so-extended family members as they discovered something new to them, which was about every five freaking seconds.

Oh! A blender.

Oh! A car.

Oh! Humans sure do bleed a lot and break easily.

Hell, as soon as they opened their eyes, they were seeing something for the very first time, and while the awe as they tinkered with appliances or with human anatomy was a bit childlike, it was also a little on the demented side of things.

The newly arrived were the coldest sons of bitches I’d ever seen.

In the last forty-eight hours, literally thousands of my kind had come to Earth for the first time, and it was like one giant hive. We were all connected, one wavelength to another, little worker bees for the queen.

Whoever the hell that might be.

The connection was overwhelming at times, the needs and desires and wants of thousands all joined together in the forefront of every Luxen’s mind. Take over. Control. Rule. Dominate. Subjugate. The only time there was even a measure of relief was when I was in my human form. It seemed to dull the connection, dial it back, but not for everyone.

Striding across the polished wood floors of an atrium in a mansion that could house a militia and still have room for sleepovers, I saw my vision tint red when I spied my twin. He lounged against the wall, near a set of closed double doors. His chin was tilted down, brows furrowed in concentration as his fingers flew over the screen of a cell phone. When I was halfway across the brightly lit room that smelled like roses and the faint metallic scent of spilled blood, he lifted his head.

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