Chapter Twenty-Three

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Broken glass crunched under Nate's sneakers as he stepped on it, the sound too loud in the eerie silence of the café. Zoe was following half a step behind, and she did her best to avoid stepping on the tiny crystals.

Every part of her being was screaming at her to get out of there—that something was bad, something was wrong, she didn't want to be there. But she pushed through that, certain that it was meant to deter her and anybody else who might be passing the place. She needed to go in; she needed to see.

They needed to find Luke and get him the hell out of there.

Zoe wished that Paris had been with them. What if Luke was injured? What if he was seconds away from death, and his only chance at living was the healing boy that by now was somewhere on the other side of town? Not for the first time, Zoe wished that she had been given a more useful gift.

The fact that she had not had a dream about Luke dying was far from reassuring—both because it didn't mean that he couldn't possibly be dead, and because if he was alive and Lucifer had him...

Luke was like a second father to her. Since Lucifer had failed to kill her real father, would he go after the second just to get under her skin?

He was the devil. She wouldn't have put it past him.

The dining area was a mess. Besides the broken glass that was now littered across the floor, there were several chairs that had been knocked over and two tables that had been pushed out of the way. Zoe might not have been an expert on the matter, but to her at least it looked like there had been a struggle. Her heart sank at the thought.

Nate was standing still, looking around and listening with an intense look on his face. "We shouldn't be in here. We should have called the police."

Zoe moved past him and peered behind the counter. Nothing to be found there, but the till looked entirely untouched. If somebody had tried to rob the place, they obviously hadn't done a very good job of it. "Luke might not have time for that. We can call them after we find him."

"And if we don't find him?"

Zoe tried not to think about that. She ignored his question as she pushed open the door to the kitchen and stepped through.

The kitchen had fared much better than the dining area. There was no sign of anything being amiss in there, save for the fact that the afternoon's sandwiches had been left only half made on the bench. If Luke had left, he had done so in a hurry—something that Zoe took as a good sign.

Nate stepped through the kitchen door behind her. "Is he i—"

There was a hollow sounding thud, followed by a grunt from Nate. Zoe spun just in time to see him go down, crumpling to the floor in an ungraceful heap. He hadn't even had time to yell.

A figure stepped out from behind the door—behind where Nate had just been standing—and Zoe took an involuntary step back.

Ever since the first moment that Lucifer's name had been mentioned, Zoe had wondered what the devil would be like. Her mind had gone to the sorts of images that she often saw in the horror movies that she loved: red skinned, hoofed, with spiralling horns atop his head; red eyes filled with flames, taloned claws, or maybe an abundance of black leather.

She did not expect to see a familiar face.

And she definitely did not expect to see Luke Maguire—holding a pistol, no less.

The same pistol that she had seen Michael holding in the fake dream that she'd had.

Zoe stared at him, unable to find the words. No, her mind kept screaming. It couldn't be Luke. It couldn't be this man who had been like a father to her for the past six years; it couldn't be this man who had given her a job, helped her father through tough times, been a friend to them for all these years...

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