Page 31

“You know…” Perses faced us once more, and his brand spanking-new irises shone like polished obsidian. “I could end you in half of a second.”

I shifted so I was standing in front of Aiden. The knot of unease between my breasts grew and then doubled when Aiden somehow ended up in front of me.

“I know you can end me with a snap of your fingers,” Aiden said, his body tense. “But it is still none of your business.”

The smile on Perses’ face widened.

I forced my muscles to relax as I stepped to stand side by side with Aiden. “Ares did it.”

Perses cocked his head to the side as his gaze moved from me to Aiden and back. “I assume those are not your only scars?”

I shook my head.

At the door, Seth had paled visibly. He looked like he wanted to bolt. I couldn’t blame him. So did I.

“How bad was it?” Perses asked.

While I had no desire to discuss this with anyone, let alone Perses, we needed to keep the Titan somewhat happy. And if that meant strolling down Awkward Lane, then so be it. “It was really bad. He kicked my ass.”

The Titan was unaffected by the statement, but he tipped his chin toward Seth. “Where were you when this was happening? Aren’t Apollyons bonded if there are two at the same time?”

Seth didn’t answer immediately. “I wasn’t there for her,” he said, and those words were like a cold wind.

“Interesting.” Perses shrugged his broad shoulders, stretching the material of his suit jacket. “It’s a shame.”

I frowned, not following where he was going with that statement. “What is?”

“What was done to you,” Perses replied. “I bet you were beautiful at one time.”

* * *

Sitting on the most comfortable couch known to man, I picked at the dinner Aiden had ordered from room service after Perses and Seth left to go do things it was best not to think about. Aiden sat beside me, the TV was on, and we were trying to be normal, but my mind was elsewhere. I felt edgy, restless.

Aiden laughed softly, drawing my attention. A small smile pulled at my lips. “What?”

“You haven’t heard a word of what I’ve been saying, have you?”

My cheeks flushed as I shook my head. “Sorry. I’m just distracted. What were you saying?”

“It honestly wasn’t anything important.” He put his empty plate on the glass coffee table and twisted toward me. Taking the plate from my hands, he also set that aside, and then faced me. “Are you okay?”

With anyone else I’d get annoyed with that question, but coming from Aiden, it made me love him more. “I’m fine. Really, I’m not lying.”

“Something is on your mind.” He reached out, gently clasping my cheek and causing a delicate shiver to skate over my skin. “You’re still beautiful. You know that, right?”

A wider smile pulled at my lips.

“What Perses said isn’t true.” He bent his head, brushing his lips over mine. The touch was barely there, but I felt it in every part of my being. “You are still as beautiful as you were the night I saw you standing in that warehouse in Atlanta.”

I placed my hand on his chest, kissing him back as his heart jumped under my palm. “Thank you, but it’s not what Perses said that’s bothering me.” I pulled back, running my teeth over my tingling lower lip. “I mean, yeah, I’m as shallow as the next girl, and hearing that kind of sucked, but it’s not like I haven’t accepted that I’m not going to be entering beauty pageants any time soon.”

“What’s going on in there, then?” Aiden tapped his forefinger off my temple.

At first, I wanted to say nothing and just enjoy this quiet time with Aiden, because I doubted we would have many more moments like this for a long time, but there was no reason to keep things to myself. No matter how small it was, I owed that to Aiden.

“It just seems bizarre to be sitting here while everything is going on.” I shook my head, frustrated for a hundred different reasons. Unable to sit still, I stood, and the floor was cool under my bare feet as I padded over to the window. Vegas at night was like seeing the stars on the ground. “It’s not like we have endless time on our hands. Ares is doing gods-know-what right now. Our friends are back at the University, where we’re not.”

“Apollo is with them. He’ll keep them safe.”

“I know.” I pressed my forehead against the window and blew out a breath. “And who knows what Seth and Perses are getting themselves into. You saw it outside, right? He walked past two guys and they started fighting. That and Seth’s charming personality is a winning combination.”

“You’re worried about what kind of trouble they’re getting into?” he asked, and I heard him stand.

“Yes. No.” I sighed and turned toward him, leaning back against the glass. “It’s just ridiculous that we’re doing this. Perses is going to cause trouble. And Seth? I doubt he’s really going to try to stop him.”

Aiden stopped a few feet in front of me. “You want to go see if we can find them? Maybe tail them?”

Tipping my head back, I closed my eyes. That seemed like a reasonable idea, but… “No. Seth will feel me the moment we get near him, and it’s not…” I stifled a groan. “There’s something going on with him.”

Even though he didn’t say anything at first, I felt his sudden shift in interest. Tension poured into the air, and the cord tightened deep inside me. “Do you think he’s up to something?”

“Seth is always up to something.” I let my arms fall to my side and squeezed my eyes shut until I saw little white dots. “I know it’s not anything to do with Ares. It’s something else. I can feel…” I trailed off as it hit me. I did groan out loud then. “Dammit.”

“What?” Aiden’s voice was closer.

“I feel frustrated, restless, and pissy, but I didn’t know why. It’s not me. I’m picking up on Seth through our bond. And I know that’s weird and you probably didn’t ever need to know that, because it’s worse than having PMS—”

Without warning, I felt Aiden’s lips touch the center of my throat, and I gasped. Opening my eyes, my gaze locked with his. “Gods, you’re as quiet as a ninja.”

One side of his lips tipped up, and his hands settled on my hips. “So, you’re telling me that Seth’s not in a good mood, therefore you’re feeling the effects of it?”

“Yeah.” My mouth was suddenly dry. Trapped between his body and the glass window, I felt my pulse kick up. “It’s been awhile since we’ve been around each other. I forgot that it does that.”

Truth was, I knew that was part of the reason why I was feeling antsy, but I also knew there was something else going on with Seth. I couldn’t put my finger on it, though, and I didn’t want Aiden to worry needlessly.

His hands slid up my hips and settled on my waist. “So how do we fix this?”

“Fix it?”

Aiden dropped his forehead to mine. “Seth can be in whatever mood he wants to be in, but there’s no reason for you to have to feel it if there’s something we could do.”

I was about to tell him that it really wasn’t that big of a deal, but then he tugged me forward, watching me as he did so, and I didn’t say a word.

“Maybe you need a distraction,” he murmured, lashes dipping but not quick enough to shield eyes that were now a heated silver.

What I needed to do was to stop whining and enjoy the downtime. Maybe we could go out and sightsee. I almost laughed, because seriously, that would be so inappropriate given everything, but I honestly didn’t want to be anywhere that required me to share Aiden’s attention.

Because the kind of attention Aiden was giving me right now was the stuff dreams were built of.

Forcing myself to let out a long breath, I shook it all off—Seth, Perses, and Ares. I pushed away the fact that Aiden would be employed in the afterlife, and thoughts of the battles that lay ahead, and the uncertainty of our futures no matter what happened. I wanted to be here with Aiden, because he was here with me. I focused on those pink, bedazzled walls in my head, hopefully cutting off Seth’s access to what I was feeling. So didn’t need a peeping Seth for this.

“A distraction would be nice,” I agreed in what I hoped was a serious voice.

His fingers curled around my side, tightening. He pulled me into the warmth of his body, and I tipped my head back. “Any ideas?”

My mind produced some really naughty ideas like rapid fire. So many, so quick, I was actually worried for myself. “Maybe you could kiss me? That seems to always distract me.”

“Hmm, I could do that.” He lowered his lips to mine, and electricity zinged through my veins. It was that spark—the spark I only had with Aiden. When he lifted his mouth from mine, I almost whimpered. The kiss wasn’t nearly long enough. “I’m not sure that worked at distracting you.”

I shook my head, my heart racing. I placed my hands on his chest, fisting his black shirt. “Try again?”

“I can do that.” He moved his hands to my back, and then his lips were pressing against mine, coaxing them open. The kiss was deep, shattering in the way it completely took me over. I clung to him as one hand flattened against the small of my back and the other caught the ends of my hair. “Did that distract you?” he asked, his voice thick.

I was barely breathing or standing on my own. “A little.”

“A little?” he said, and his chuckle caused me to shudder. “I’ll have to try harder.”

Aiden’s hand drifted down my lower back and around the curve of my waist. His long fingers slipped under the hem of my shirt, and I jerked when they touched my skin.

“Still trying,” he said, using the hand in my hair to guide my head back and expose my throat. He pressed tiny, hot kisses against my throat as his hand slipped up, curving over my breast. I moaned his name, and he made this deep sound in his throat.

“Keep trying,” I said, letting my eyes fall closed as his lips pressed against my pulse.

Aiden murmured something and shifted his body against mine, wringing another breathy moan from me. In this moment, everything was about us and only us, and I welcomed it. A second later, my shirt landed somewhere on the floor, and the glass against my back was cool. He snaked an arm around my waist and lifted me up. I wrapped my legs around his hips as he brought my mouth back to his.

There was something raw and feral in the way he kissed me then. It was a possession, a welcome one that staked a claim on my heart and soul. He turned, and in one powerful surge he trapped my back against a nearby wall and pressed the entire length of his body against mine. I wanted to feel his skin against mine, but with the way he was sealed to me, that wasn’t happening.

Our mouths collided, hungry and demanding as I threaded my fingers through his hair. His lower body rocked against mine, sending sharp pulses through me. The marks of the Apollyon raced to the surface, causing my already sensitive skin to tingle. We kissed like we were drowning in one another, and each time he rolled his hips, I felt like I’d shatter apart.