Page 24

A wealth of warmth blossomed in my chest at those words, and then spread when I realized that Aiden was under the covers and he was shirtless. Maybe even pantsless. “I’m not complaining.”

In the soft light from the nightstand, his eyes were a luminous silver. “How are you feeling?”

Wiggling closer, I bit back a sigh as his hand slid around the nape of my neck. “I feel…I feel good. I mean, hurling up those gods changed things. That was crazy, right?”

His lashes swept his cheeks and then lifted. The intensity in his gaze was consuming. “It isn’t something you see every day.”

My lips tipped up at the corners. “It’s a relief to know that a lot of what I was feeling wasn’t coming from me.”

“I have to agree.” His knee rose under the covers, and soft flannel brushed my bare legs. Damn. He did have pants on. “Want to talk?”

What I really wanted to do was cross the scant distance between our mouths, but I did need to talk to him. There had been so much I’d held back while the gods had been squatting in my head, and there was so much Aiden needed to know, so I told him everything from how I’d felt when I fought Ares to what it was like the moment all those violent emotions rose to the surface.

When I was done, he smoothed his hand over my cheek. His hand had stayed on me the whole time. “Do you feel that way now—the way you felt with Ares?”

I met his gaze as I placed my hand against his warm chest. “I think there will still be moments when it…well, when it sucks, but I don’t want to die. I’m glad I didn’t.” I laughed, a little embarrassed. “I don’t feel that way anymore.”

“Good.” Aiden inched his head over and kissed me so softly, like he was being cautious, and then pulled back. He slipped his hand off my cheek, placing it over where mine rested against his chest. “It killed me, Alex, when I heard you admit that to Seth. All I wanted to do was go in there and hold you, figure out some way to make it better.”

“I’m okay now.” I turned my hand over and threaded my fingers through his. “But I’m still scared.”

“That’s normal.”

“I know. And I know it’s okay to be scared.”

He squeezed my hand. “Damn. I should record that statement.”

I laughed, and it was a real sound. It was good. “I never thanked Seth, and I need to, Aiden. He helped me calm down. He didn’t try to manipulate me. If it hadn’t been for him, I would’ve brought that building down.”

His eyes latched onto mine. “About Seth…”

Swallowing heavily, I prepared myself. “I can’t blame the gods for that. I knew what I was doing when I went to see Seth. I should’ve woken you and told you where I was going. That was my fault.”

“He was right,” he said, as if he hadn’t heard me.

I blinked. “What?”

“The little bastard was right.” He let out a heavy sigh. “I was jealous when I found you with him. I was jealous afterward. I am still jealous.”


“I heard what you said,” he stated quietly, not looking away. “I heard you say that you loved him.”

My eyes widened and my stomach dropped as a horrible feeling opened up in my chest. How had I forgotten that he’d overheard me saying that too? For a moment, I didn’t know what to say. Awkward didn’t even cover it. “I did say that, but it’s not the same—”

“Same way you feel about me.” His eyes shut briefly. “I know. I honestly know it’s not, but hearing that…? I wanted to punch him. I still do for various reasons, but mostly because I know that there will always be a part of you that does love him. That you two will have this connection for the rest of our lives, and that’s something I can never compete with.”

An ache opened up in my chest, and I closed the distance between us, practically crawling onto him. “I’m sorry.”

His brows rose as he rolled onto his back, wrapping an arm around my waist. “For what, Alex? I should say I’m sorry. I was a dick to you because of my stupid jealousy. You shouldn’t have to apologize.”

“But you shouldn’t have to deal with a freaky Apollyon connection.” I peered down at him. “What normal couples have to deal with that?”

“We deal with a lot of things normal couples don’t deal with,” he replied dryly.

“I know! That’s why I’m sorry you have to deal with…with Seth and me on top of everything else. If it was me, and you were connected to someone, I’d probably stab her in the eyeball every time I saw her.”

Aiden’s lips quirked up lazily. “Really?”

“It’s not funny.” I smacked his chest lightly. “I would. I wouldn’t be able to deal with it, so I totally get your jealousy. I just don’t want you to feel that way, because I love you. I’m in love with you. Forever and ever, and all the corny things I can attach to that.”

He chuckled deeply, and the sound brought a smile to my face. “I know you do. And I have to work on not hating him for this. I have to remember that there are other reasons to want to kill Seth.”

I laughed, and he rewarded me with another tender kiss that curled my toes. It didn’t go any further than that. He guided my head down to where his heart beat steadily in his chest. I wanted to take that kiss further, but the moment my cheek hit his skin, I found my head too heavy to lift.

Aiden told me how the rest of the group had taken the news about releasing Perses. He also had explained to them that Apollo had checked Seth out, and the First could be trusted…as far as anyone could really trust Seth. Then he explained to them about the evil god twins, and for that I was eternally grateful. That was the last thing I wanted to explain all over again.

I didn’t take long for me to drift back off to sleep as Aiden talked, not with the rise and fall of his chest luring me off or with his hand playing in my hair. I wasn’t sure how comfortable it was for Aiden, considering I was sprawled half on top of him, but when I woke in the morning, neither of us had moved. I was still on my side, one leg thrown over his and my cheek on his chest.

Pleasant pressure built inside me. I wanted a million mornings of waking up like this. I was going to have those mornings. I stayed there for a little while, feeling and listening to Aiden breathe. My mind started to wander over so many things—Seth, my father, my friends, the state of things for half-bloods, the future if we defeated Ares, and what would happen if we failed. By the time I got tired of where my mind had gone, half his body had to be numb. I started to push off.

Aiden’s other arm swung around with startling quickness, and his hand landed just above my knee. “Where do you think you’re going?” he asked, voice gruff from sleep and from…from something else.

A flutter started in my stomach as I raised my head to look down at him. His dark waves were going in every direction. His eyes were heavy-hooded, and his lashes were thick. The slight stubble on his jaw pushed over the edge into dangerous territory. Only Aiden could look so sexily sleep-ruffled. “Nowhere?”

“Sounds about right.” One hand curled around the edges of my hair while the other crept up my thigh, causing me to shiver. “How long have you been awake?”

“Not long.” My gaze dropped to his mouth. Those lips were perfect.

He made a deep sound in his chest, and that flutter picked up in my stomach. “What time is it?”

“No clue.” I couldn’t tear my gaze away from his lips. “But I think we might’ve slept in.”

“Maybe.” The hand slipped up to my neck, and he guided my mouth to his. There was a quick flash of concern over brushing my teeth and kicking morning breath, but that worry went out the window the moment our lips touched.

The kiss was slow, lazy, and never-ending. It felt like forever since he’d kissed me like that when, in reality, it had really only been a handful of hours, but I lost myself in that kiss, in Aiden. And kissing him now was nothing like it had been those hours before. I felt the pressure, the intense sweetness, and the love behind every stroke of his tongue and sweep of his lips, to my very soul. The hand in my hair tightened while the other traveled north, up my thigh, and then over the curve of my hip.

Aiden’s hand stilled and then swept back down, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. He pulled his mouth away from mine and opened his eyes. They were a pure, heated silver. “You’re not wearing anything under this shirt, are you? Like, at all?”

I giggled. “I think you know the answer to that.” He had to, especially considering where his hand drifted to in that moment. I wasn’t giggling anymore. I was barely breathing.

He made that sound again, that absolutely sexy male sound that rumbled through him and then me. “You’re killing me, agapi mou.”

“I’m sure that’s not what I’m doing to you.”

Aiden moved lightning fast. He rolled me onto my back and was above me, on me, pressing his leg between mine. His lips found mine like they’d been born to do so. This kiss was different. Hungry. Starving. My hands slid up the hard sides of his stomach and then onto his back. Those sculptured muscles flexed under my hands as the kiss deepened until my senses were spinning.

There was probably a lot to do today.

Some would also say there were a lot more important things we could be doing at this very moment.

I would argue against that point voraciously, because there was nothing more important than this. Not when those wonderfully rough hands skimmed under the borrowed shirt. His hips rocked against mine, and a fire raced throughout my blood. I wrapped my fingers around the band of his pajama bottoms.

“Agapi mou, I’ve missed you.” His lips moved across my jaw and trailed a heated, shivery path down my throat, and then back to my lips. “I need you.”

My heart stuttered. “Yes.”

Who knows what I was really saying yes to? Anything at that point. Karate chop a few daimons while I was naked? Sure. Do trig formulas for fun? Okay. As long as he kept kissing me, kept calling me agapi mou, and kept touching me, I’d say yes to a lot of things. Too bad we weren’t doing this while I was still in school. I could’ve used his kisses as an amazing studying incentive.

His hand hooked around my hip, urging me to wrap my leg around his, and I stopped thinking. If only I got these damn pants off—

A sudden pop and crackle preceded the overwhelming and very unwelcome presence of a god. Aiden’s lips stilled against mine. My eyes popped up, latching onto his quicksilver ones. No way. I refused to believe it. No freaking way.

“Hades will be here in twenty minutes,” Apollo announced from somewhere way too close to the bed. “Either speed this up or pick it up later, kids.”

“Oh my gods,” I whispered, horrified.

“Oh, and I hope you two are being responsible,” Apollo added.

And then he was gone. There was a muffled, hoarse shout from a room nearby.

“Damn him,” Aiden muttered, dropping his head onto my shoulder. He shuddered. “Damn him to the Underworld and back again.”