How would he?

Would her skin be as soft as it appeared? Would her curves create the perfect cradle for him?

A few feet away, the lid to a trash bin flew open. As the wind picked up, debris propelled toward Kane, most assuredly courtesy of Disaster.

Tinker Bell stomped her foot. “I can’t concentrate when you look at me like that,” she said.

“Like what?”

“Like I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like you want to strangle me or something.”

Or just wanted to get his hands on her. But he got what she was saying, knew his desire was tangled with darkness.

He nodded, ashamed of himself. “I’ll stop.”

She licked her lips, and said, “My people know you’re looking for me, and now they’re hunting you.”

“Your Fae family or your human one?”


“And that’s who you’re with right now?” he asked, wanting to verify the information Taliyah had given him.

“Yes. I don’t know what you’ve heard about the race, but the Fae can be brutal, bloodthirsty and without a shred of compassion. They’ll haul you before the king and he’ll sentence you to death just for looking at me. No matter how star-struck he is by you!”

He wasn’t sure what the star-struck comment meant, and wasn’t going to waste time finding out. “Why would he want to kill me?” The only viable answer slammed into him, and the patent stillness of a predator came over him. “Are you his lover?”

She gave another stomp of her foot. “Would you be serious?”

“Answer me.” The words were nothing more than a hiss.

“Of course I’m not his lover! What a disgusting prospect!”

He relaxed—and he had no desire to ponder why he’d reacted so fervently to the thought of her with another man when he wouldn’t be taking her for himself. “I’ve been hunted by brutal, bloodthirsty people before.”

“Yes, I know, but the Fae are gifted with special abilities. Like, say, causing you pain with only a word.”

Like the pain she caused him? But then, she’d never needed to speak for him to feel it. “Can you do that?”

“No, but my brother can,” she said.

“You can project your image, as well as rip the demons out of people.”

Her jaw dropped. “So that’s what happened. I took your demon?”

“You mean you didn’t know?”

She hooked several tendrils of hair behind her ear, the action feminine and sweet and somehow more erotic than a striptease from another woman, and if he didn’t get his thoughts and his body under control right now, he would self-destruct.

“I take abilities and strength for a few hours, maybe a few days or weeks,” she said, “but not...that. Never anything like that.”

“You can. You did. You must take weaknesses, too.” And that’s exactly what the demon was. “Don’t do it again,” he stated flatly. Already her life was so miserable she wanted to die. How much worse would it be for her with Disaster hanging around? And what if she got stuck with the creature forever, rather than temporarily? Was that possible?

Kane didn’t want her to risk it. This girl, she was...he didn’t know what she was to him. He only knew he couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering.

Her nose went into the air, making her look sullen and defiant and utterly adorable. “Don’t get any ideas about rescuing me. I’ll do what I want, when I want.”

Want me.

The ground cracked beneath his feet. He didn’t care.

“Can you control the ability?” The words croaked from him.

“I don’t know,” she admitted softly. “I’ve never gotten to test my limits with people I didn’t want to borrow from.” Her gaze lowered to his lips, and she shifted from one foot to the other.

She’s not thinking about kissing me. She can’t be thinking about kissing me. “You need skin-to-skin contact?”


“I’ll help you with that, too.”

Her eyes brightened, the clouds rolling out to reveal endless oceans backed by glorious sunlight. The brightness didn’t last long, however. She glowered, and the clouds returned. “You can’t help me, Kane, not without putting yourself in danger. So will you listen to me and either prepare for battle or run for your life?”

“No to both. Why would the king of the Fae want to kill me for looking at you?”

She was desperate to argue; he could see it in those narrowed eyes. But she must have realized he was stubborn enough to wait all night for the answers, and just messed up enough to get physical with her the next time they were truly together.

No telling what would happen then.

“He feels he must dispose of anyone who threatens to take me away from the kingdom.”

“Does he plan to have me brought into the kingdom or have me executed on sight wherever I’m found?”

“The kingdom. He likes to watch.”

Good. “I’m glad they’re coming.”

“You’re glad?” she choked out.

“They’ll do the work for me.”

She sputtered for a moment before finally deciding on a verbal path. “What work?”

“Finding you. I will, you know.” A promise.

One that came with razor-sharp desire.

The crack in the ground widened, dropping Kane several feet.

“I just told you not to—argh! Kane, don’t be foolish! Please.”

The sound of pounding footsteps caught his attention. On alert, he palmed a dagger and looked around, but all he saw was more fog and trash. Then,,, eight bodies broke through, stopping a few feet away from him.

“I found him,” a hard male voice called.

If anyone could see Tinker Bell, they gave no indication.

“But...this is Lord Kane, a warrior of the Underworld,” someone else gasped.

Murmurs of awe arose. “I can’t believe this. I can’t believe I’m standing in the presence of Lord Kane.”

Questions were thrown at him.

“Will you tell us about the battle that took place in the skies? Our men weren’t able to attend, so details are sparse.”

“Did you really chop off a Hunter’s foot and stuff it in his mouth, just because he called Cameo an abomination?”

Tinker Bell paled, backed away. “Oh, Kane. They found you. I’m sorry.” She vanished.


BRUTAL? KANE THOUGHT. Bloodthirsty? Hardly.

“I’m sorry for the need for this, Lord Kane, but I must bind you, as ordered.” The soldier appeared grief-stricken by the thought. “I’ll be slain if I refuse.”

“Do it, and don’t even think about being gentle about it,” snapped the tallest of the bunch. “And you,” he said to Kane. “Where’s the other man? The one traveling with you.”

“There’s a good chance I killed him.”

The guards nodded their agreement, as if they knew him and expected nothing less. All but the one who’d asked the question. He had to be the leader. Nothing else would explain the great waves of entitlement bouncing off him. I’ll call him Evil Overlord.

“The shackles!” Evil Overlord proclaimed, and the soldier raced to obey.

Kane hated being bound, would rather die than endure it again. And yet he allowed the Fae to cuff his hands behind his back without protest.

Hands...all over him...

Mouths...biting at him...

Nails...scraping at him...

As the memories took center stage, he felt as if thousands of tiny needles were being injected into his skin. A loud ring erupted in his ears, and his heart kicked into a dangerously fast rhythm. His lungs constricted, the tissues burning.

Breathe. Nice and slow. In. Out. Good. That was good. And this was necessary. He had to get to Tinker Bell, and this was the fastest way.

Evil Overlord stepped to the side and waved a hand through the air.

That was it, a wave, and yet a doorway from one realm to another appeared. At the edges of the opening was the red brick of the club, the trash bin and cardboard boxes. Through the narrow opening, Kane saw a darkened landscape with multiple torches lining a cobbled pathway. That pathway led to a wide, towering palace comprised of gold-veined marble and bright, sparkly diamonds.

The soldiers formed a circle around Kane and urged him to march forward. One second he was in the city of cowboys, the next the land of the Fae. The night was crisp and damp, the torches giving off little heat. The scent of a thousand floral perfumes saturated the air, and he gagged. Sweat beaded over his skin. More fireflies than he’d ever seen in one place twirled and danced through the sky, creating what appeared to be a shower of glowing raindrops.

Playing his part, he snapped, “Where am I? Who are you?”

“Silence, Lord Kane.” Evil Overlord wasn’t as tall as Kane, nor was he as muscled. None of them were. “What were your plans toward Servant Josephina?”

Servant? For some reason, that irritated him. “Would you like me to be silent or give you the answer? I’m happy to give both a try, but I don’t think you’ll like the results.”

The male scowled at him.

Disaster growled inside his mind. Leave this place.

Screw you.

Hate the girl, Josephina. Want to kill her.

You touch her, and I’ll...

What? One of his daggers fell from his boot, and the demon laughed. You want to stay here? Fine. But you’ll do it without your weapons. Even as the creature spoke, another dagger fell away.

“You guys seem to know a lot about me, considering we’ve never met,” Kane said, ignoring the demon. His hands were weapons enough.

Evil Overlord smirked. “We do. You’re Kane, a Lord of the Underworld. Disaster. Supposedly undefeatable. Wicked. The worst of the worst enemy to ever have.”

“And I touched him,” said the guy behind him, his tone overjoyed. “My wife won’t be able to get enough of me tonight.”