House of Royale (Secret Keepers #4)(9)

Oh, and there was also the small thing of him wanting to steal a stone that was keeping both worlds alive and functioning. Worlds he lived on. He had to be completely insane. “What is Laous’s plan once he gets this stone? Does he think the threats to both worlds are no longer there? That the treaty is obsolete?”

Maya shrugged. “I’m not sure he’s thinking clearly at all anymore. He had a very traumatic childhood. He let some of it slip to me when he thought I was in his custody and not going to be released. All he sees is the power. He’s determined to never be vulnerable again.”

Xander and Chase both shook their heads then, almost in sync. “There was never any indication that Laous had an abusive upbringing,” Chase said. “From what my parents said, he was top of his classes, succeeded in all areas, had a close tie to his brother, Lucas.”

Xander made a sound of agreement. “And Daniel’s father, Lucas, never mentioned anything about his parents being that horrible. He would have said something, right? The only thing he ever told Daniel was that his parents were killed in an accident just before Daniel was born.”

Daniel…. I was trying to remember who he was. Pretty sure he was the mate of another secret keeper. Callie, maybe.

We all just stood on the dock, and since security was an issue, I found myself looking around, trying to make sure there was no attack on the way. “You’re safe right now,” Xander said, brushing by me so he could take the lead.

I tried not to react, but his skin sliding across mine, even for that brief second, created a strange sensation in my body. I had momentarily forgotten I was standing there in just a wet shirt and underwear, but Xander definitely created an awareness in my body. My blood was bubbling … fizzing. Like water when it was disturbed.

Shaking that off, I hurried after the small group. Maya fell into step with me. Before I could stop her, she reached out and linked our arms together. Somehow, despite her tiny stature, it worked comfortably. “I’m so glad we found you before Laous.” She flashed those kind blue eyes at me and I couldn’t bring myself to pull away.

It kind of felt nice, actually. Like I had a friend. I remembered how it was done. I hadn’t been a loner my entire life, but it had been a while.

“I’m glad as well, as long as you all aren’t leading me to my death now.”

Maya just chuckled and squeezed my arm. I had to laugh too. I mean … their story was so far-fetched that it had to be true. No one would make up something that crazy. Plus … it explained so many things about me. My water abilities. The reason my parents always called me a burden and a responsibility. They needed to make sure the secret keeper was kept alive until I turned eighteen. After that, I was on my own. My own responsibility.

It would have been nice if they’d told me more about Daelighters before they just bailed. I almost walked right into a huge situation involving aliens. Freaking aliens!

“Why do you think my parents never said anything to me? I mean, if they work for the government and this was their job, surely they shouldn’t just take off?”

Maya let out a tiny huff, almost like annoyance. “They will be in big trouble when the government catches up to them. Not to mention, you’re not just a job, you’re their child.”

I shrugged. “I thought I was, but maybe they had to adopt me? Maybe my actual parents were killed?”

For some reason, that made me feel better, an explanation I could go with rather than that the very people who should have loved me most thought of me as nothing more than a job to get through.

“I will check with my parents as soon as we’re back in contact,” Maya said. “We’re off the radar now, in case Laous figures out how to track us.”

Her face fell, and I could only guess that if you had a loving family, it would be really tough to not be able to talk to them.

Our conversation was cut off when we arrived at a very fancy black car parked just around the corner from the moored boat. “This is our ride,” Chase said, holding the door open for us. “Time to get back to the secret lair.”

He winked at his girl, and she shook her head, a soft smile spreading across her face.

Meanwhile I was trying to control my breathing because it was all getting real for me now. Secret lair. Aliens. Fancy cars. None of this was my life.

I had no choice. I needed to see this through. So I was getting in the car.


“I’m soaking wet,” I reminded them, staring at the seats. “I will destroy the leather.”

“Here is a towel to keep you warm.” Xander surprised me by handing across a huge, warm, white beach towel. “Don’t worry about the seats, you won’t hurt them.”

Maya shot me a grin. “These guys have more cars than brain cells. Don’t stress about it. They really don’t care.”

I shrugged. “Okay, then, I can only offer.”

My hair was mostly dry from the boat ride, so I just quickly rubbed the towel over the ends.

“Your hair is amazing,” Maya said, her gaze running along the strands. “It’s silver and rainbow. Unicorn hair.”

More like mermaid hair. “This is a House of Royale thing, right?” I asked Xander, wanting it confirmed. I’d seen it in his hair, so I was pretty sure.

He nodded. “Yes, this is a feature from my house. The pigments in our hair open up under the water, which creates a rainbow effect. Like when rain and sun mix together in the sky.”

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