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I strut out in my untouchable form, now feeling as though I have control, and I grin at them as they all barge into the room. I feel the glares before I see all four of them.

“Guess what, boys? I just leveled up.” As soon as the words leave my mouth, I force the flesh to return, even as I wobble a little.

The second they move, I turn back, grinning as my untouchable phase offers me a fuck-you shield.

“What the actual hell?” Jude asks, slinging broken pool sticks around as he angrily stalks out of the closet.

I turn to flash a grin at him over my shoulder. “It’s amazing how much survival instincts aide a girl when she needs them most.”

His grin slowly forms when I feel the pressure of gravity again, and I curse, wobbling until I crash into a strong body. Two arms come around me, and warm breath fans against my ear.

“What was that?” Ezekiel asks in a taunting whisper as he rips my shirt open.

It takes a lot of effort, but I manage to shift again, and I pass through his hands, blowing out a relieved breath.

“Fucking savages,” I accuse, pointing at all of them as I start backing out of the room on my good legs instead of those stupid real legs.

“It’s cute the way you act like you don’t want it now that you can have it,” Gage tells me.

Four wicked grins stay fixed to their devilishly tempting faces. “No,” I say loudly. “Not happening. You don’t all get to kiss me stupid so that I forget I sort of hate your ungrateful asses.”

“We’re not going to kill you, Keyla,” Ezekiel says, moving closer. “We just want to make those fantasies of yours come true.”

“Ha! Worst pickup line ever,” I lie, hoping they don’t hear that pathetic little tremor of hesitation in my voice.

After all, I did spend a lot of time thinking of little else. I’m starting to realize there are far more important things in life.

I flicker back to flesh before I manage to strain and concentrate on staying untouchable. It’s getting harder to do now. It’s like my body demands a little time in its new form, and I’m denying it.

“She can’t hold it much longer,” Jude says with a deviant spark in his eye, just ready to pounce.

A very important thought occurs to me, and I feel like an idiot for not thinking of it sooner. I’m going to blame it on the fact I finally have adrenaline, and it makes you super durable, but hella stupid.

If I’ve seen a place before, I can zap myself there. Well, maybe not all the way to hell, but definitely to Purgatory and anywhere in range within the states.

A grin curves my lips. And if I’m whole…I might not need their presence to exist. Which means I can go anywhere without them. Seems like the perfect time to test that theory.

“If you really want to touch me, you have to woo me.” I say this with a straight face, but I almost cringe when I hear the words aloud in one fluent sentence.

They all give me an incredulous look.

“Woo you?” Jude finally asks, his eyebrows arched in utter confusion, as though it’s the most preposterous thing he’s ever heard.

“Yes. If I’m going to be sticking around until I know for certain the devil isn’t going to strike you dead, then I might as well be getting some perks before I leave the four of you to continue on in your hellish ways. I’ll get the four of you, and you’ll get my protection. Then we’ll part ways, and I’ll go find my one true love, while the four of you move back on to your harem of women.”

“Harem?” Gage asks, a sardonic curve to his lips.

I flicker between forms again, but manage to hold on a little longer. I need to get this all out.

“Harem is an interesting choice of word, considering you’re the one getting four of us at once, while we only get you,” Ezekiel points out with a devious twist of his lips.

“Yes, you’ll be my harem. Deal with it. I’m the only one who gets access to you for the duration of however short our time left together may be. In return, I get the ultimate experience to start my new life out with a bang.”

I flicker again, sucking in a breath as I strain harder.

“Start your new life out with a bang. Again, interesting choice of words,” Ezekiel states with that same infuriating expression.

“I get my fantasy,” I go on, not letting him deter me, since my time is very limited for how much longer I can hold the new form back.

“All the things you’ve done to coerce a woman—”

“Seduce a woman,” Gage interrupts, smirking. “Not coerce.”

“—into bed with you,” I continue, not acknowledging the interruption. “I get that. All of it. Everything I’ve had to watch over the past five years.”

“Five years? Before we even get sex? I can’t even count the number of women who’ve been in here in that span of time,” Kai growls, as though I’m ludicrous.

I open my mouth to speak, but Jude waves his hand. “No need to recite the number, comoara trădătoare,” he says, his accent subtly shifting to one I can’t pinpoint on the last two words.

“What did you just call me?” I ask, then shake my head when I remember I’m on a timer here. “Never mind. Not the important part,” I go on calmly.

“I want five-and-a-half years of seduction, and not just the touching kind. Roses. Jewelry. Fancy dinners. All of it. I want the same amount you did for them crammed into the limited amount of time we have.”

“High maintenance little piece of ass, aren’t you?” Kai asks with an eyebrow arch.

I point a finger at him. “You’ll be lucky if you get to do more than watch. I’m the one getting to be selfish in the bedroom, while selflessly risking my life for you and following around your ungrateful asses.”

Another flicker that I force back has me taking a deep breath, that fortunately helps to calm me. Bonus.

The other three guys just grin over at Kai.

“It’d almost be worth it just to see you suffer,” Jude states, his grin growing.

Kai snarls at him, and then turns his glare on me.

“You’ll change your mind.”

“Highly unlikely,” I dutifully point out. “If you want to touch me while I protect you, because I’ll be protecting you regardless, then you need to remember how very important it is to woo me. The sex will happen naturally and at my speed, while the wooing continues in between bouts of it. And I’ll let you do almost anything to me. As long as my fantasies get put out for me as well.”

“We’ve had a taste. What happens if you leave and we start losing our minds the way E did already?” Gage asks, a very scary look on his face that has me questioning my confidence. I’d say it had me questioning my sanity, but that went years ago.

“I thought we agreed we weren’t going to touch her for that very reason,” Jude points out as though he’s being reasonable and accusatory in the same breath.

“You felt it. You went after her too,” Gage tells him without looking away from me.

“You were just too slow,” Kai adds, smirking as he darts a taunting look toward Jude.

Jude’s jaw clenches, and he forces his eyes back to me. “I take it back. It wouldn’t be almost worth it. It’s definitely worth it. Sign me up. Tell me how many fucking roses or bracelets you want. Who gives a damn if we’re stuck with you for all eternity? As long as Kai suffers, I’ll sign eternity over.”

Kai flips him off, and I give Jude a dubious look, even as I flicker in and out of flesh, working even harder to force it back this time.

“If it is a long-lasting issue, which I highly doubt, we’ll find out how long you can be without me, and I’ll return at the end of that span. No touching during those times,” I quickly add. “My body like this works just fine in reeling you in from that mad edge. We can go on without ever crossing a line again, and I can be loyal to my one true love.”

“I’m sure he’d be just fine with you coming to see your real-girl-christening quad every so often so we can get our fix,” Kai states flatly.

They truly are exasperating.

“I rescind the offer. You’re making it too complicated.”

I turn to leave, and Gage darts in front of me, passing through me, and causing me to lose my hold for a moment.

He immediately pins me against the wall, and for the first time, I feel trapped, unable to simply pass through him. His eyes drift over my face as he lifts a hand and fingers a lock of my hair.

His other hand fists against the wall like it’s taking a concentrated amount of effort not to touch me in any other way. I finally manage to force the form back, and his hand slips through my body, ghosting those tingles throughout me that has me straining twice as hard.

I stay in my place, even as he continues to loom over me.

“Uncomplicate it,” he says, even though it looks like he hates the words.

“I know nothing else about this world than the four of you. Outside of my fantasies, I don’t even know what goals are to be had. I’m asking you to take care of me in all ways, and ease me out there. I can’t tell you how many times I was tempted to give into the fade, to stop fighting so hard for so little. I didn’t survive this long just to fall into the world with blinders on and get myself killed before I get to live. The tradeoff is me and my devout protection, though as I said, you’re protected regardless.”

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