"Ah…" Sheron smiled. "There is that."

Shoving away from the wall, Aidan raised the point of his glaive. His heart beat in a steady rhythm, his chest rose and fell without labor, but his emotions were nowhere near as calm. "The book says something about the Key, the Lock, and the Guardian destroying the world as we know it."

"Does it?" Sheron asked quietly.

Aidan paused, recalling what he'd transcribed and suddenly doubting the conclusions he'd drawn.

"Vids are everywhere, Cross. Until your men took over the cavern, I couldn't speak freely. As for bringing you back, the Elite would not have commandeered this place if you weren't here, and you will need these tools if you are to have any hope of succeeding. Everything had to happen exactly the way it did. Trust me."

"The pendant?"

"Read the book. It's all there. The Elders are unaware of its loss. "Your men here will afford you the time you need."

"You're betraying the other Elders. Why?"

"We all want the same thing—an end to the Nightmares. I just believe that there are different ways to go about achieving that end. I can do nothing without losing my position, but you can work in my stead. You may not always understand why I do something, such as with the pendant, but trust that there is a purpose to everything." Sheron moved toward the door in a swirl of gray robes.

Aidan leaped to stop him, but as quick as he'd come, the Elder was gone. Vanished into thin air.

As JB grumbled loudly and kneaded her thigh, Lyssa rolled into the sofa cushions and pulled the chenille throw over her head.

"Go away," she protested, hating that he had woken her up. At least when she was asleep, she wasn't thinking about Aidan. For the first time in her life, not having dreams was a blessing.

A month had passed since they'd parted, and still the pain of his loss ate at her. The intensity of her longing and sorrow hadn't lessened at all.

It was made worse by the fact that no one remembered Aidan at all so there was no one she could share her torment with. If not for the clues left behind—the books, the pendant, his sword—Lyssa might have thought she was fucking crazy. Not that she wasn't close to insanity anyway Sometimes, in those dark moments when she cried until there were no tears left, Lyssa wished Aidan had cleared her mind, too. Just for a moment. One blessed moment of peace.

JB crawled over her thigh and nudged his head against her. Lyssa withdrew her hand from beneath the blanket and rubbed behind his ears.

He yawned. She cried. Crushed under the weight of her grief, she curled into a ball. Her chest heaved with painful sobs; her heart ached in all its many pieces.

Her mind sifted through her sorrow, remembering blue eyes filled with predatory heat and possessive intent. Remembering a hard, powerful body, and a savagely beautiful face. Phantom touches of Aidan's callused hands moved over her skin.

I love you. Tell me you know that.

She did know that, with a soul-deep surety. It was both a salve and a barb. To have found a love like that, only to lose it… Knowing he was still out there somewhere, loving her, and yet they would never be together.

The doorbell rang.

She ignored it. Her mother had stopped by earlier to berate her and order her to go to the doctor. It had been torture to sit up and pretend that she was just tired, and not dying from a broken heart. Finally she'd yelled at Cathy to go away, and her mother had stormed out the front door in a huff, leaving Lyssa to collapse in relief. Going to work during the week was bad enough; dealing with prying visitors was too much.

The door opened and she groaned, snuggling deeper. If it wasn't her mother, it was Stacey and she didn't want to see either of them.


Aidan's soft brogue caressed her skin like warm velvet. She stiffened, afraid to look. Afraid not to look. Afraid she would wake up. Afraid she had died and gone to heaven, where her deepest wish was granted.

"Hot Stuff." The love and the concern in the beloved voice made her cry harder. Then gentle hands were lifting her, arranging her, scooping her up effortlessly. She curled into the hard, familiar body, crawling over him as he sank into the sofa. Her thighs straddled his hips, her arms circled his neck, her nose pressed to his throat, and she cried against his skin.

"Lyssa." Aidan's hands stroked the length of her spine; his lips pressed kisses into her hair. "Don't cry. I see you crying and it kills me."

"Stacey doesn't remember… no one remembers…"

"Look at me," he murmured.

She took a deep, shaky breath. Her head lifted, and she met his gaze—dark as sapphire and deep. So deep, with centuries of memories behind them. She cupped his impossibly gorgeous face in her hands and pressed trembling lips to his. "I thought you were gone forever."

"I'm here," he said hoarsely, "and I love you. Christ, I love you too much." He took her mouth, his lips slanting across hers, kissing her breathless. His hands were in her hair, angling her to better fit his kiss. His body stirred beneath hers, growing harder. Everywhere.

Wracked with grief, confusion, and a terrible need to assure herself that he was real, Lyssa tugged up his T-shirt, her hands finding and caressing hot satin skin. He groaned into her mouth and her tongue stroked his, swallowing the sound. She felt his lust rise, felt the effect she had on him as his kiss turned from fervent love to raw, carnal desire.

Her fingers moved lower, to the waistband of his jeans.

"Wait," he said, looking as if that was the last thing he wanted her to do. She brushed his fingers away and ripped open his button fly.

"Hot Stuff…" The gritted-out endearment made her nipples hard. It was a sound of both surrender and demand. "Don't get me started," he warned. "I've missed you until I was insane with it. Let me calm down a bit."

"You'll be calm enough in a few minutes."

His cock sprang out into her hand—hard, thick, and throbbing. His breath hissed out when she wrapped slender fingers around him. His clothes didn't quite fit, and from his earlier explanations, she knew why. It was a tiny bit of proof that she wasn't dreaming and she latched on to it gratefully.

She licked the crown.

"Ah…" he growled. "Do that again."

His head fell back as her tongue traced the path of a vein. His hands clenched in her hair, tugging at the roots, and her gaze lifted to meet his in surprise. His eyes were nearly black, the blue irises dilated with lust, his cheekbones flushed with desire. With his beautifully etched lips parted on panting breaths, he gasped, "Open your mouth."

She blinked, startled at the harsh order. She was even more shocked when he pulled her closer, one of his hands fisting around the base of his cock and aiming it at her lips.


He pushed into her opened mouth, his head falling back as her lips wrapped around him. "I ached for you to touch me like this."

It was then she noted how he trembled from head to toe, her immortal seducer of such renown. She stroked her tongue lightly across the sensitive underside of the tip, and his back bowed upward with a groan. She was willing to bet that he had never been this out of control when it came to sex. Lyssa.

She smiled around her mouthful.

His head lifted, and he stared down at her with narrowed eyes. "You're going to kill me."

She sucked lightly just to watch him writhe, then released him to say, "That'd be a neat trick."

He tugged her closer, "You're doing a damn good job, believe me."

"I felt like dying," she said softly, her lower lip quivering. "Every day for the past month."

"No way." Aidan's leg came up and kicked the coffee table aside. He moved over her, pressing her backward and down, his large, hard body pinning hers to the floor. "How much do you remember about the last time we were together?"

"Too much."

"They're not going to succeed, Lyssa." His jaw was tight and hard, his hands rough as he shoved her dress up and tore off her lace thong. "V'tfe're going to make this work." !

Her heart leaped at the determination in his voice. "How will we get around the mortal/immortal thing?"

His hand slid up her calf, stopped at her knee, then pushed it aside so that she was spread wide for him. He stared down into her eyes with hot intensity, his callused fingertips drifting between her legs, parting her, stroking across her clit. "We'll take it one day at a time until we figure it out."

As he slid two fingers into her, Lyssa arched helplessly into his embrace. "Wager and Connor are working on it in the Twilight. I'll be working on it here."

Her breathing grew labored as Aidan stroked the sensitive inner walls of her pussy with those expert fingers.

"Working on what?" was all she managed to get out. His thumb was rubbing her clit, his hand flexing as he fucked her. In and out.

Aidan settled more comfortably, his head resting on one hand, watching her, while his other worked her into a state of unmitigated arousal. "Looks like I've got a treasure hunt ahead of me."

As she writhed beneath his attentions, Aidan withdrew his fingers, tossed one jeans-clad leg over her hips to keep her still, then returned to his sensual torment.


His eyes glittered with mischief. "Let's talk when we're done. Next week work for you?" He rubbed a spot inside her that made her whimper with pleasure.

"Don't your men need you?" she whispered, her skin hot and tight, her pussy sucking hungrily at his pumping fingers. A week in bed with Aidan… She shivered.

"I need you. When you left with Connor—" His fingers paused. He closed his eyes a moment, then exhaled harshly.

Her hand came up to stroke his cheek, and he nuzzled into her palm.

"There's a lot to be learned," he said roughly. "We haven't even scratched the surface of what you can do or what you're supposedly going to do. And that damn pendant…" He growled. "We'll work it out. As long as we're together."