“I’m told you’re female,” he added, his tone hard, harsh. As always. “But that won’t stop me from cutting you down, either. Because, and here’s something you need to know, when I want something, I don’t let anything stand in the way of my getting it.”

Olivia shivered, but not for the reasons Aeron probably hoped. Such determination…

I should leave before I aggravate him even more. With a sigh, she spread her wings and leapt, out of the fortress and into the sky.


“YOU, CLOUD, BELONG TO ME,” Bianka said. That was not an attempt to escape, nor another sexy outfit, therefore it was acceptable. “Lysander gave you to me, so as long as I don’t touch him, I get what I want. And I want you. I want you to obey me, not him. Therefore, you have to heed my commands rather than his. If I tell you to do something and he tells you not to, you still have to do it. That’s what I want.”

And oh, baby, this was going to be fun.The more she thought about it, the happier she was that she couldn’t touch Lysander again. Really. Seducing—or rather, trying to seduce—him had been a mistake. She’d basically ended up seducing herself. His heat…his scent…his strength…Give. Me. More.

Now, all she could think about was getting his weight back on top of her. About how she wanted to teach him where she liked to be touched. Once he’d gotten the hang of kissing, he’d teased and tantalized her mouth with the skill of a master. It would be the same with lovemaking.

She would lick each and every one of his muscles. She would hear him moan over and over again as he licked her.

How could she want those things from her enemy? How could she forget, even for a moment, how he’d locked her away? Maybe because he was a challenge. A sexy, tempting, frustrating challenge.

Didn’t matter, though. She was done playing the role of sweet, horny prisoner. She still couldn’t kill him; she’d be stuck here for eternity. Which meant she’d have to make him want to get rid of her. And now, as master of this cloud, she would have no problem doing so.

She could hardly wait to begin. If he stuck to past behavior, he’d be gone for a week. He’d return to “check on” her. Operation Cry Like A Baby could begin. Tomorrow she’d plan the specifics and set the stage. A few ideas were already percolating. Like tying him to a chair in front of a stripper pole. Like enforcing Naked Tuesdays.

Chuckling, she propped herself against the bed’s headboard, yawned and closed her eyes.

“I’d like to hold a bowl of Lysander’s grapes,” she said, and felt a cool porcelain bowl instantly press atop her stomach. Without opening her eyes, she popped one of the fruits into her mouth, chewed. Gods, she was tired. She hadn’t rested properly since she’d gotten here—or even before.

She couldn’t. There were no trees to climb, no leaves to hide in. And even if she summoned one, Lysander could easily find her if he returned early—

Wait. No. No, he wouldn’t. Not if she summoned hundreds of them. And if he dismissed all the trees, she would fall, which would awaken her. He would not be able to take her unaware.

Chuckling again, Bianka pried her eyelids apart. She polished off the grapes, scooted from the bed and stood. “Replace the furniture with trees. Hundreds of big, thick, green trees.”

In the snap of her fingers, the cloud resembled a forest. Ivy twined around stumps and dew dripped from leaves. Flowers of every color bloomed, petals floating from them and dancing to the ground. She gaped at the beauty. Nothing on earth compared.

If only her sisters could see this.

Her sisters. Winning a game or not, she missed them more with every second that passed. Lysander would pay for that, too.

She yawned again. When she attempted to climb the nearest oak, her lingerie snagged on the bark. She straightened, scowled—reminded once again of the way her dark angel had stalked to her, leaned into her, hot breath trekking over her skin.

“I want to wear a camo tank and army fatigues.” The moment she was dressed, she scaled to the highest bough, fluttering wings giving her speed and agility, and reclined on a fat branch, peering up into a lovely star-sprinkled sky. “I’d like a bottle of Lysander’s wine, please.”

Her fingers were clutching a flagon of dry red a second later. She would have preferred a cheap white, but whatever. Hard times called for sacrifices, and she drained the bottle in record time.

Just as she summoned a second, she heard Lysander shout, “Bianka!”

She blinked in confusion. Either she’d been up here longer than she’d thought or she was hallucinating.

Why couldn’t she have imagined a Lord of the Underworld? she wondered disgustedly. Oh, oh. How cool would it be if Lysander oil-wrestled a Lord? They’d be wearing loincloths, of course, and smiles. But nothing else.

And she could totally have that! This was her cloud, after all. She and Lysander were now playing by her rules. And, because she was in charge, he couldn’t rescind his command that she be obeyed without her permission.

At least, she prayed that was the way this would work.

“Remove the trees,” she heard him snap.

She waited, unable to breathe, but the trees remained. He couldn’t! Grinning, she jolted upright and clapped. She’d been right, then. This cloud belonged to her.

“Remove. The. Trees.”

Again, they remained.

“Bianka!” he snarled. “Show yourself.”

Anticipation flooded her as she jumped down. A quick scan of her surroundings revealed that he wasn’t nearby. “Take me to him.”

She blinked and found herself standing in front of him. He’d been shoving his way through the foliage and when he spotted her, he stopped. He clutched that sword of fire.

She backed away, remaining out of reach. No touching. She wouldn’t forget. “That for me?” she asked, motioning to the weapon with a tilt of her chin. She’d never been so excited in her life and even the sight of that weapon didn’t dampen the emotion.

A vein bulged in his temples.

She’d take that for a yes. “Naughty boy.” He’d come to kill her, she thought, swaying a little. That was something else to punish him for. “You’re back early.”

His gaze raked her newest outfit, his pupils dilated and his nostrils flared. His mouth, however, curled in distaste. “And you are drunk.”

“How dare you accuse me of such a thing!” She tried for a harsh expression, but ruined it when she laughed. “I’m just tipsy.”

“What did you do to my cloud?” He crossed his arms over his chest, the picture of stubborn male. “Why won’t the trees disappear?”

“First, you’re wrong. This is no longer your cloud. Second, the trees will only leave if I tell them to leave. Which I am. Leave, pretty trees, leave.” Another laugh. “Oh my gods. I said leave to a tree. I’m a poet and I didn’t know it.” Instantly, there was nothing surrounding her and Lysander but glorious white mist. “Third, you’re not going anywhere without my permission. Did you hear that, cloud? He stays. Fourth, you’re wearing too many clothes. I want you in a loincloth, minus the weapon.”

His sword was suddenly gone. His eyes widened as his robe disappeared and a flesh-colored loincloth appeared. Bianka tried not to gape. And she’d thought the forest gorgeous. Wow. Just…wow. His body was a work of art. He possessed more muscles than she’d realized. His biceps were perfectly proportioned. Rope after rope lined his stomach. And his thighs were ridged, his skin sun-kissed.

“This cloud is mine, and I demand the return of my robe.” His voice was so low, so harsh, it scraped against her eardrums.

The sweet sound of victory, she thought. He remained exactly as she’d requested. Laughing, she twirled, arms splayed wide. “Isn’t this fabulous?”

He stalked toward her, menace in every step.

“No, no, no.” She danced out of reach. “We can’t have that. I want you in a large tub of oil.”

And just like that, he was trapped inside a tub. Clear oil rose to his calves, and he stared down in horror.

“How do you like having your will overlooked?” she taunted.

His gaze lifted, met hers, narrowed. “I will not fight you in this.”

“Silly man. Of course you won’t. You’ll fight…” She tapped her chin with a fingernail. “Let’s see, let’s see. Amun? No. He won’t speak and I’d like to hear some cursing. Strider? As keeper of Defeat, he’d ensure you lost to prevent himself from feeling pain, but that would be an intense battle and I’m just wanting something to amuse me. You know, something light and sexy. I mean, since I can’t touch you, I want a Lord to do it for me.”

Lysander popped his jaw. “Do not do this, Bianka. You will not like the consequences.”

“Now that’s just sad,” she said. “I’ve been here two weeks, but you don’t know me at all. Of course I’ll like the consequences.” Torin, keeper of Disease? Watching him fight Torin would be fun, ’cause then he’d catch that black plague. Or would he? Could angels get sick? She sighed. “Paris will have to do, I guess. He’s handsy, so that works in my favor.”

“Don’t you dare—”

“Cloud, place Paris, keeper of Promiscuity, into the tub with Lysander.”

When Paris appeared a moment later, she clapped. Paris was tall and just as muscled as Lysander. Only he had black hair streaked with brown and gold, his eyes were electric blue and his face perfect enough to make her weep from its beauty. Too bad he didn’t stir her body the way Lysander did. Making out with him in front of the angel would have been fun.

“Bianka?” Paris looked from her to the angel, the angel to her. “Where am I? Is this some ambrosia-induced hallucination? What the hell is going on?”

“For one thing, you’re overdressed. You should only be wearing a loincloth like Lysander.”

His T-shirt and jeans were instantly replaced with said loincloth.