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Who happens to be a child of the devil.

The devil’s son has a more devoted lover than I’ve ever even dreamed of having.

Regardless of their lineage, I’m a sucker for a good romance, and I’m determined to make sure this one stays put together. Love like this doesn’t deserve to be sabotaged.

“Any chance you could tell me how to fall in love? I mean, you chose the devil’s son and still have more love than anyone else I’ve ever come across. Clearly you know what you’re doing,” I go on, striking up a one-sided conversation.

Lamar glances around, going on alert suddenly. I almost think he’s heard me when he stands up and pales a little.

Without any warning, three men are suddenly in the room with us, and my breath leaves in a rush. Lamar straightens, staring at them with his wrists bound by cuffs like he’s prepared to die with dignity.

The first one lunges, and my heart hits my chest as I dive in front of him. I’m not sure what exactly flies out of me, but all three men are blown into the cell wall so hard that it thunders with a metallic echo around us.

I stagger back, taking a major hit from that surge.

Lamar’s eyes widen, but I barely glimpse him as the first leather-mask-wearing ghoul charges again.

“Un bracco!” I shout, and Lamar’s cuffs fall away just in time for him to slam his fist through the heart of the man.

His power pulses with an eerie, ominous warning before a dark smile graces his lips. Gone is the man who was willing to accept death. This version of Lamar seems more fitting for an occupant of hell.

“Releasing me might give you honor in death, but it will definitely assure your death,” Lamar tells them, not realizing it wasn’t them.

I dive out of the way on instinct as a burst of energy booms from him, and three screams of agony tear through the air.

Well, then. I guess he doesn’t really need my help. He just needed those cuffs off.

One of the guards manages to disappear in time to save his own life, but the other two are basically roasted, unable to get out.

I take a seat and watch the show.

I’m telling you, I’m going to eat the hell out of some popcorn one day.

As soon as there’s nothing left but the dying echo of their screams and some ashes, Lamar reaches down and lifts his cuffs, breaking them with little effort. The crumpled heap is dropped near the door, and he takes a seat, sitting a little higher.

I get the feeling he left one alive for a reason.

I pat his shoulder, as though he can actually feel it, and he goes utterly stiff before looking directly through me. Did he feel that?

His eyes don’t meet mine, since they’re shifting back and forth in my direction like he’s searching for something, meaning he can’t see me.

Deciding to test my theory, I reach down and pat his hand. He jerks his hand aside, and growls. “What’s in here? Show yourself, demon.”

Demon? I think not. I’ve heard about demons.

After a few minutes of me keeping my hands to myself, I pull my knees to my chest. Not even he likes help from the unknown. I’m the reason he’s alive, and whether he knows it or not, he’s just like the hell squad.

In the devil’s league, no one trusts anyone.

I guess I shouldn’t take it personally.

Chapter 17

“Keyla!” I hear Kai shouting a few days later. Or maybe it’s been a week. Hard to tell.

There’s no sunlight in hell. The only illumination is compliments of the pit of fire that loves to shoot up and hiss a warning to all the occupants. It lights the cells up through the stones, causing them to glow on occasion.

Lamar hasn’t had any more visitors. He also can’t seem to hear the guys when they shout my name on occasion. And they can’t hear me when I try to answer, even though I haven’t left Lamar to go to them just because they want to summon me.

I also haven’t announced my presence to him again by touching him. I’ve gone out of my way to stay out of his way.

But now, for some reason, Kai’s voice sounds extra urgent.

Lamar is sleeping at the moment, and since he’s had a good eight hours, I pat his back. He immediately jerks upright, looking around as he blinks rapidly.

“Foolish, Lamar,” he growls to himself. I get talking to yourself. It keeps you from going too loco when you’re on your own. “You can live without sleep,” he adds, shaking his head and slapping the side of his face to wake himself up properly.

Once I’m certain he’s not going to doze back off, I pass through the cells until I’m finally back in with the guys.

“Just curious, how do you guys keep it from smelling like piss in here?” I ask as I step in, seeing them all staring at the wall I normally come back in through. “Not to mention the other gross bodily—”

They all turn as one, and Ezekiel snaps his teeth, eyes feral, as Kai and Gage curse and grapple him back before he can lunge at me.

“What the hell?” I ask, rushing toward him even as they try to keep him back. It’s not like he can hurt me.

“He’s been getting worse, but today he’s fucking lost it. This is what we meant by the damn gifted curse,” Gage gripes, struggling to restrain Ezekiel.

His pupils are almost taking up his entire eyes that are normally a blue color when gold isn’t speckling his vision.

My hands go to his face, and I hold either side to the best of my phantom ability, even as he snaps his teeth through my face. This is one of those rare times where I’m thankful to not be a real girl.

“You’re blaming me for this?” I ask absently.

“No. We’re blaming Lilith,” Kai says hesitantly, like he’s worried I’ll bail again if they piss me off. Accurate assumption, at the moment.

“He looks in on you all the time at the house when you disappear. He just does it without you knowing,” Jude tells me before he winds up and punches Ezekiel so hard that it lays him out.

It’s almost like I feel that punch too, and I go down with him, crashing to my knees at Ezekiel’s side as his eyes roll back in his head.

“It’s been bad since he was finally able to touch you,” Kai says on a labored breath as he sinks to the floor next to Ezekiel. “I think it’s dangerous for him to be separated too long for right now.”

I mimic the motions of running my fingers through Ezekiel’s hair, even though not a single strand gets pushed out of place.

“Keyla, don’t—”

“I’ve not touched him since you all ganged up on me and told me not to, but right now, I’ll touch him if I damn well please. If you don’t want me consoling him when he’s clearly hurting, don’t fucking yell for me to come in here and witness it,” I interrupt, glaring over at Jude.

His lips curve into a slow grin.

“I was going to say don’t leave for a while. What the hell are you doing anyway?”

“Looking for a new quad,” I lie without hesitation.

Kai narrows his eyes on me, and Jude laughs under his breath.

“What are you really doing?” Gage asks seriously.

“Something you’ll all hate me for, but I really don’t care about your opinions anymore,” I say with a cold smile, then return my attention to Ezekiel as his sleeping evens out.

Without giving a damn about their objections, I curl up next to him.

“I think I know how to get you out of here, but you should know Lucifer is the one who put you in here. And his reasoning really is to keep you safe, but it’s believed to be because someone else is whispering ideas into his ear that he, in his apparently maddening state, is listening to without fail,” I tell them as I prop my head on Ezekiel’s chest, making sure I don’t pass through it as I lay against his side.

Jude watches me, his eyes running the full length of our contact before his jaw tightens.

“How could you possibly know that?” Kai asks me, taking a seat right next to me, his body so close it almost passes through me.

“I spied on Manella while he was talking to Lamar,” I say honestly.

Gage sucks in a breath, as Jude’s tight jaw relaxes once again to make room for his smile.

“Lamar is out?” Gage asks.

“No. He’s several cells over. Manella pulled strings to speak with him, and I listened to their very private exchange. Manella isn’t the one trying to kill you, and Lamar was set up.”

Jude’s smile disappears so he can groan. “You don’t seriously believe that, do you?”

“Unlike all of you, I trust that some things are exactly as they seem. They had no reason to put on a show for a ghost they didn’t know was watching them.”

Even though it feels wrong to share so many intimate details about Manella and his true love that I spied on, I still do. They don’t have the capacity to believe in people, for whatever reason, but even I know love like that can’t be faked.

I’ve watched a lot of romances. Nothing has ever felt that powerful and real. I envied each touch, each caress, and each heartbreaking moment of longing.

After I finish explaining the encounter, Jude runs a hand through his hair.

“If it’s not Manella, who else would it be?” he growls, looking at the others.

“How do we know it’s not Manella faking it in front of Lamar so that Lamar takes the fall?” Gage asks.

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