Chapter Twenty-Four

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The five minutes spent waiting for her father to show up were the longest of Zoe's life.

Lucifer stood staring at her, the intensity of his gaze not wavering for even a second. His pistol remained poised, at the ready to shoot her—as if he were daring her to try something so that he could use it. He was close enough that she could have gone for his eyes or kneed him, as Nate would have instructed her, but with the gun right there she was too scared to try anything.

She eyed it hesitantly. "Why do you even need that? If you're the devil, don't you have the ability to hurt people without needing a weapon?"

"Of course," Lucifer said without missing a beat. "But I have a soft spot for these things. They're probably one of the only things humans have ever done right." His eyes burned. "And I like how the sight of them strikes fear into the hearts of little nephilim."

So he was getting off on her fear. She should have known that.

Zoe chanced a look toward the door, her gaze lingering on Nate's still figure as she did. "We shouldn't stay here, you know? Somebody's eventually going to see the broken door and all that mess you left, and they'll call the police."

"If any human looks at the front of this store, all they're going to see is a locked door with a closed sign across the front of it." He blinked—slowly, like a cat. "And do you really think I would let a couple of police officers stop me?" He tutted. "Those angels really haven't taught you much, have they?"

A situation that Zoe planned to remedy if she managed to get out of this alive.

She heard her father before she saw him. Like Nate had been, her father was the sound of glass crunching as his heavy work boots made their way across the dining area. Lucifer smiled at the sound, then pulled Zoe away from the counter.

He moved around her, positioning her so that she stood between him and her father. One of his hands clutched her shoulder painfully. The other held that gun far too close to her head for comfort.

Zoe tried to steady her breathing.

Her father's eyes were blazing with fury when he stepped into the kitchen. She could almost see the green flickering, much like the gold in Lucifer's eyes, and for the first time it truly made her believe that there was something more beneath her father's skin—an angel just waiting to break free.

His gaze softened only when he looked to her. "Are you hurt?"

Zoe shook her head. She didn't trust herself to speak.

Her father knelt down to check on Nate, his fingers brushing against the boy's neck in search of a pulse. Zoe waited with bated breath to see if it was good news or bad, but her father's expression betrayed nothing when he looked back up. He stood to face Lucifer.

His brother.

"What do you want?" he demanded.

"How much do you know?" Lucifer asked in return. "It's clear to me that you've found your memories, but I want to know exactly how much you remember. How much all of you remember."

"We remember everything," her father said tersely. "The fight; the fall; the curse you placed upon us. And we know that the Host slammed the gates behind us, and that it pissed you off."

Lucifer's hand clamped down tighter on her shoulder, and Zoe winced.

The devil hissed. "How do you know that?"

Her father—Uriel—said nothing.

"So He's playing favourites again, is he? Interfering where he shouldn't." Lucifer's breath was warm against her ear. "No matter. Those gates won't be closed to me for long." He tugged on a strand of her hair again. "Zoe here is going to help me open them."

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