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“Wait…,” I said, my mind final y focusing enough to form coherent thoughts, “you said the Nephilim were wiped out in the big flood. So how can I be related to them?”

Jared raised his eyebrows once, sighing. “That was a tactic used to keep Jesus’ blood line pure. That doesn’t mean fal en angels taking human women didn’t happen after that.”

“Oh,” I said, deflated. “I’m five-feet-four, Jared. How is it even possible I could have even an ounce of giant blood in me?”

Jared chuckled. “You’re Irish, too. Makes me wonder how you’re Merovingian. They were leaders of the Franks…early German and French.”

“Wel , now I know Jack was wrong. I couldn’t be French. The language is lost on me.”

Jared’s face turned grave. “We should take this seriously, Nina. We’re in the middle of a war. If I could leave you, that would be one thing, but I can’t.”

My mouth flew open. “Why would you even say that?”

“Because it's the right thing to do...disappear from your life to keep you safe. As long as we're together, you're in danger.”

“I won't let you,” I said, grabbing his shirt,. The thought of being without him terrified me. “If I can't be with you, I don't care what happens to me.”

Jared grabbed my hands. “I know. That's why I won't leave you. And now that we know what you are, we need to find out who it’s a threat to. And as frightening as it is…threatening Hel is the better option.”

Chapter Eight


An unexpected knock on the door revealed Bex standing on the landing, holding a half-eaten apple. A backpack hung from his shoulder, signaling that he would be staying the night.

“You call ed him, didn’t you?” I accused Jared, crossing my arms.

Jared slipped on his jacket, preparing to leave. “You’ve had a long forty-eight hours. You need sleep.” He hugged me then, squeezing a bit too tight.

Bex shifted his weight nervously, holding the door open with one hand, holding his apple with the other.

“C’mon, Nina. You’re going to give me a complex,” Bex said. “I brought doves to put in the oven.” A sweet, hopeful smile lit his face, and I relaxed.

“Okay,” I said with a half-grin.

Jared patted Bex's arm as he passed, but just as he stepped out onto the landing, I grabbed his jacket. “Wait. What if it’s different? What if he needs to tel me something?”

“Who?” Jared asked, his attention focused.

“Gabe. Or Jack. We’ve learned a lot today, maybe the dream wil change.”

Jared and Bex traded glances, and then Jared sighed. “Tomorrow.”

“I didn’t think we have time to spare,” I countered.

“We don’t, but….”

“I’m right. You know I'm right. So stay,” I said, pul ing him into the loft.

Jared pointed at his brother. “Don’t go anywhere.”

Bex shook his head, and then shut the door behind us. “No way…I wanna see this.”

“Great, now I’m a circus freak,” I said, making my way to the table. Jared pul ed out my chair and I sat, taking his hand and kissing his palm in appreciation. We had spent the last two days together, yet I felt I hadn’t seen him at al .

Jared sat across from me with a smile. “You are far from a circus freak. You’re amazing. Big difference.”

“Watching me float and scream is not amazing,” I grumbled.

“You only floated once,” Bex pointed out, unwrapping the dove and seasoning it before shoving the baking dish into the oven.

We discussed the possibilities for over an hour: how I could do things in my sleep that I couldn't do in a conscious state.

“It doesn't matter how. What is important is why,” Jared said.

“It matters to me,” Bex said.

“You're going to overcook your birds,” Jared said, nodding to the oven.

Bex jumped up, tending to dinner. He placed our plates of tender, steaming dove and mixed vegetables in front of us, and then returned quickly with his own. “I’ve got to figure out how to do that. If she can do it, we have to be able to do it, right?” he said to Jared, shoveling meat into his mouth.

“She’s not doing it, Bex,” Jared said. His eyes darted from me to Bex in warning. It was clear he didn’t want to dwel on the subject during dinner.

“Oh. Right,” Bex said, chewing.

After I finished the diner dishes, I retreated to the downstairs tub, lingering long enough to let my fingers transform to dried raisins, and then I wrapped myself in my favorite terry cloth robe, making my way to the bed. Jared was waiting for me, his hair stil wet from the shower. I crawled under the sheet next to him, relaxing my cheek against his bare chest.

I breathed him in, focusing on the moment we were in, bathing in the gift of peace and stil ness. No one spoke of Others or giants. Just us, in our quiet space in time. It was in those moments that I found Heaven, and he was there with me, I could tel , as he pul ed me in closer.

“I’m right here,” he breathed. “Nothing bad wil happen to you, I swear it.”

“Don’t swear,” I grinned, my eyes growing heavy. That heaviness rested over my entire body, warm and inviting. Jared’s skin felt like a silky electric blanket against mine, and I let myself sink into it. Any light that seeped through my eyelids extinguished, letting the darkness take me deeper into oblivion.

“Nina,” a voice said somewhere in the shadows.

“I’m here,” I said sleepily.

“You’ve real y done it this time.”

“Daddy?” I said, sitting up. I was in my old bedroom. Jack sat at the foot of my bed. He was as I remembered him, his salt and pepper hair perfectly in place, his dark, no-nonsense eyes looking softly upon me, clean-shaven and in his favorite gray suit.

He smiled, but his eyes were sad. “I’m sorry I failed you. You’l have to save yourself, now.”

My lower lip quivered. “Why didn’t you tel me?”

Jack placed his thick hand on my ankle, his expression pained. “I tried, many times. I couldn’t bear to see those sweet eyes sad. I wanted you to have everything, Nina; most of al a normal life.”