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She balled her fists and dug in her heels. “Don’t waste my heart on you? Fine. I won’t. But I also won’t waste my life hiding from a fight because it might not go my way. I’ve lived in that dual-society hellhole all my life. If anyone should fight for the people in the magical government not to be such turds, it’s me. I have a score to settle, too. Someone has to get Valens back for treating spirits badly. For killing fairies and illegal game. I mean, fuck that guy! So screw you. I’m joining this fight. I’m joining the ranks. There’s nothing you can do to stop me. Besides kill me, and I’ll haunt the shit out of you.”

He surged up before he knew what he was doing. He’d wanted to do what his mother had said. To do the right thing. He’d tried. But if the woman wouldn’t go…

He grabbed her neck and reeled her in, crashing his lips to hers and kissing her for all he was worth. She shoved him back, making him butt up against the bench and fall back onto it. Her hands yanked at his pants and his fingers ripped at her jeans buttons. He pushed down the fabric as she stroked his cock, her touch fanning the fire inside him.

She stepped out of her jeans and straddled him on the bench, no hesitation. Passionate and headstrong, like he liked ’em. She lowered and rubbed the tip of his cock down her wet slit, already ready for him. Eager, like he was for her.

He grabbed her shoulders, and when she’d lined them up, pulled down. He groaned as her tight warmth sank down on him, his world bursting into color. Her middle—her soul— throbbed and her touch stroked the very center of him, an incredibly intimate feeling that heightened the sensation of her physical body wrapped around his cock.

She bobbed with abandon and he reached between them, massaging her clit as he thrust, hard and deep. Pleasure tugged on his gut and the sensations wound, tight and hot. Electricity raced through his body and he lost all semblance of control.

He stood, wrapping his arms around her waist and taking her weight. He rocked his hips up, crashing into her. Loving this feeling of her hanging off of him. Of plunging into her wet depths over and over.

His balls tightened and the pleasure dragged him under to a place where only she existed. Only the feel of her body and the connection between their souls.

“Don’t leave,” he commanded. Or maybe he begged. “Stay.”

“I was…always…going to,” she said, then moaned, a low, feminine sound. “I’m not…going…anywhere.”

His world exploded as he climaxed. A delicious, incredible climax. He groaned as he emptied into her depths, soaking up the exquisite sensation. She cried out, and then she was shaking, too, calling his name. He thrust again, riding the intense wave as bliss washed over him. One more time and the strength went out of his body.

He staggered back, trying not to drop her, feeling her shiver again before she relaxed against him. He sat down, hard, onto the wooden seat. His breath came in heavy gasps, hers was ragged.

“Hmm,” she moaned, before lightly trailing her lips against his neck. “I have one request, though.”

“Let me guess…” He leaned back, holding her firm. He didn’t want her getting off of him just yet. That would mean the moment was over, and he would have to face the hard truth of what lay ahead of him. “You don’t want me to tell the kids about any of this.”

She laughed against his skin. “Just until I can break it to them gently. I need to figure out the right angle.”

“And you think that angle exists?”

She didn’t say anything, just lay against him, her middle throbbing happily.

Fear wormed into his gut. Ten minutes ago, the worst thing the future could bring was death. With Alexis safe, and his mother freed, that was a fate he’d been willing to face.

Now, however, it wasn’t just his death on the line. It was hers. And they both knew some things were worse than death. Specifically, what Valens would do to her if he found out what she was.

Success was now infinitely more dire.

41

Alexis

I held my head high as I stepped onto my front steps and stopped outside the door.

“Well you look…refreshed,” Frank said with a smirk. A couple men behind him started laughing and an older woman scowled.

“Shut up,” I whispered, one hand on the door knob. I smoothed my hair with the other, trying not to react.

We hadn’t stopped with just the one lovemaking session. He’d gotten hard again before I could even climb off him, and we’d had another go, the second time slower and more emotional. I’d meant to leave quickly. To hurry home and act like nothing untoward had happened. But I couldn’t bring myself to say the words. Before I knew it, we’d been sitting there for hours, half naked and not worried about it, overlooking the ocean and chatting about everything and nothing.

Don’t waste your heart on me, Alexis.

Maybe he’d meant it in a different way, but he was right. I doubted we’d have a future together. We were from two different worlds, and I wasn’t sure either of us wanted to cross over. Kieran would be a leader someday. I knew that in my heart. He’d sort out the issue with his father and go on to rule a territory, probably a large one. Maybe he’d even take over magical San Francisco and fix it up a little. Kieran was destined for great things, and while I could joke about being a prince’s wife, sans the duties, I knew where I belonged. I was an outcast. A misfit. The girl who took in strays and lived in the crack of societies. That was all I knew. Maybe it was all I ever wanted to know. I could put my head down and do whatever I wanted. I didn’t have to listen to anyone, and was only responsible for a couple people, while he’d be a pillar of a community.

But man, being with him was a thrill. Sexy and exhilarating and heart-pumping.

Don’t waste your heart on me, Alexis.

“Yeah, yeah, I heard ya,” I muttered, rubbing at the ache in my chest. I might have to remind myself of that from time to time. Like every five minutes or so. Logic was having a hard time winning over how I felt when I was with him. A really hard time.

I took a deep breath. Time to face the kids.

The smell of BBQ wafted at me as I slowly opened the door. My stomach growled and I slipped inside, hearing voices from the kitchen.

The floor creaked under the weight of my foot. I paused. So did the talking.

Two quick steps brought an expressionless Daisy to the edge of the kitchen. She took one look at me, rolled her eyes, and turned.

“You were right, Bria,” she said. “We’re staying.”

“I knew it,” Jack hollered.

The toilet flushed down the hall and Zorn stepped out of the bathroom. His gaze drifted over me. He walked past me without a word, heading into the kitchen with the others.

Mordecai sat on a chair at the dining table, his face excited but fatigued, and his shoulders slumped. Jack stood at the counter, laughing—at me, apparently—and chopping something. Daisy slid into a chair next to Bria and pulled over a cutting board and a pile of green beans.

“We need a bigger house to congregate at,” Bria said, her voice nasally. There were still white bandages over her nose. She hadn’t wanted the Healer to meddle in her affairs, so she said. I had a feeling it was to get the pain meds.

“This kitchen is tiny,” Zorn said and reached over Jack to grab the salt and pepper shakers.

“Well excuse us, Mr. Money Bags,” Daisy said. “I don’t see you inviting us over to your house for dinner.”

“You’re not magical. You’re not welcome on my side of the tracks,” he said, deadpan.

Daisy narrowed her eyes at him.

“I got you,” Bria told her. “It’s in the works.”

“What’s in the works?” Jack asked.

“Don’t you nevermind.” Bria winked at Daisy before turning her attention to me. “You’re not moving to Sydney, I take it?”

I shifted uncomfortably, wondering how much they knew. “No. This is my home. I’m staying here.”

“I sure hope you didn’t pass up a new house for sentimental reasons,” Daisy said.

“She didn’t,” Mordecai said, drooping. “She wouldn’t pass up a free house. She’s obviously invested in Kieran’s cause and wants to join the fight.”

“Is it the fight, or the man?” Jack asked, turning around.

All eyes drifted my way, but no one spoke, everyone waiting for an answer.

“Toot, toot,” Bria said, pulling the imaginary chain.

“Hey,” someone called down the hall.

I leaned that way so I could see.

Donovan smiled and came forward, leaving the back door open behind him. “What’s up, Lexi? You’re back, I see. What’s the verdict? We have a bet going.”

“She’s staying,” Jack called. “Pay up!”

“No way!” Donovan laughed, putting his hand on his chest as he swaggered toward me. “Demigod Kieran was dead set on you leaving. Dead set.”

“We found someone who doesn’t mind saying no to him,” Zorn said. “That might be useful.”

Jack turned toward Zorn with his eyes wide and mouth opened in an incredulous smile. “Oh how the tables have turned, Zorn. Suddenly you don’t blindly follow our fearless leader?”

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