The twins had been born a little over a month ago, and yet they appeared quite older.

The boy stared at Kane as if plotting his murder.

The girl looked him over and dismissed him, concentrating on William and holding out her arms. Grinning, William claimed her from her father. She nuzzled against the warrior’s neck, resting her head on his shoulder and sighing with contentment.

“Isn’t she the best?” William said, his grin widening. “She used to have claws, but they shrank. Didn’t they, princess? Oh, yes, they did, but they’ll come out to play if some dumb loser ever tries to take what you don’t want to give, won’t they?”

Another sharp pain tore through Kane’s chest. “The children are beautiful,” he told the beaming parents, and he meant it. He removed a bejeweled dagger from the sheath at his side, and handed it hilt first to Maddox. “This is for Ever, from her uncle Kane.”

Maddox nodded his head in acceptance.

He palmed the matching dagger, and placed it on the small table beside Ashlyn. “This is for Urban.”

She offered a soft, sweet smile in thanks. “How wonderfully thoughtful. The children will love them, I know it.”

“Well, I don’t. Put those dangerous things away,” William chided. “My darlings can’t play with knives for another couple of months. And why are you giving them presents now? Why can’t you wait until the appropriate time and—” His gaze zeroed in on Kane, and he pressed his lips together.

Did he suspect the truth—that Kane was leaving for good?

Whatever. Kane ignored him, slapping Maddox on the shoulder. “I want to thank you for everything you’ve done for me. Words cannot express what you mean to me.” He didn’t wait around for the warrior’s reply; he couldn’t. The backs of his eyes were burning. He must have gotten dust in them.

He strode from the room, intending to hunt down the remaining warriors he loved more than life. Torin, Lucien, Reyes, Paris, Aeron, Gideon, Amun, Sabin, Strider and Cameo. Over the centuries, they’d fought together, avenged each other, saved each other. Yes, for many years they’d been split into two different groups, one determined to battle the Hunters, the other determined to exist in peace. But at heart, they’d always been together. And in the end, the war had boiled over, bringing them back to the same purpose. Survival.

Each warrior would be devastated by his departure. He knew that for a fact—because they’d once lost another of their brethren. Baden, the keeper of Distrust. They had mourned for centuries, and still hadn’t truly recovered. But Kane didn’t have a chance to hunt down a single person. William swept up to his side, keeping pace.

“You’re leaving,” the warrior said.

“Yes.” He’d already admitted that much.

“Forever.” A statement, not a question.

He wanted to lie. William could try to stop him. William could tell the others, and they could try to stop him. Still he said, “Yes.” Demons loved lies, and while there wasn’t much Kane could do to deny Disaster pleasure, telling the truth was one of them.

“Well, I’m going with you,” William announced.

Kane stopped and faced the male, irritation hanging in the air as heavily as shackles.


Breathe. “Why?” His tone lashed with more force than he’d intended. “You don’t even know where I’m going or what I’m planning.”

A shrug of those wide shoulders. “Maybe I could use a distraction. I’ve been hunting a Sent One, some punk kid named Axel, but he’s proven to be wily and it’s starting to annoy me.”

Sent Ones policed the skies, killing demons. They were winged, like angels, but as vulnerable to their emotions as humans. Right now, the Lords and the Sent Ones were on the same team.

Everyone knew that could change at any moment.

Kane narrowed his eyes. “Maybe you think I need a babysitter.”

“That, too.” As always, William was utterly unabashed.

“Well, no thanks. I don’t need you, and I certainly don’t want you nearby, bugging me all the time.”

William clutched his heart, as though offended. “What’s wrong with you? You used to be so sweet.”

“People change.”

“Not me. I’ve never been sweet, and I never will be. Your needs and wants don’t matter to me. I’m more concerned with saving my babies. I have to make sure you live up to your word and stay away from the fortress. Have you forgotten you’re destined to start an apocalypse?”


Los Angeles

APOCALYPSE. THE WORD echoed in Kane’s mind for days. No matter what he tried, he couldn’t escape it.

Right before he was captured by the Hunters and escorted into hell, the Moirai had summoned him to their realm in the lowest level of the skies.

The three keepers of fate were neither Greek nor Titan. He thought they might be witches, but he wasn’t sure. They’d told him three things—one for every witch. He could marry the keeper of Irresponsibility. He could marry another female—William’s daughter. And lastly, he would cause an apocalypse.

He believed them. To his knowledge, their predictions had never been wrong.

He knew there were two definitions for the word he would love to forget. The first: to uncover or reveal. More specifically, to give revelation, especially concerning a cataclysm in which the forces of good permanently triumphed over the forces of evil.

That, he liked.

The second? Not so much. Universal or widespread devastation.

With the demon of Disaster living inside him, he had to assume he would be responsible for widespread devastation.

“You won’t regret a pit stop like this,” William said, pushing his way through the crowded nightclub. He had to yell to be heard over the erratic pulse of rock screaming from large speakers. “It’s just what the doctor ordered—that, and a pair of testicles, but I can only deliver on the first.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” he said drily.

Kane had made the mistake of sharing a motel room with William, and apparently he’d thrashed and moaned in his sleep, giving Detective William a few hints about what had happened in hell. Now the warrior was convinced a night with a woman of Kane’s choosing was the only way to ever really heal.

“By the way,” William added, “you can call me Dr. Love.”

“I’d stab you in the heart before I called you that.” He stayed on William’s tail, already wishing he’d said no to this. He should be hunting his Fae. And he would have been, if he weren’t just desperate enough to try anything.

What William told him this morning made sense, in a sick, twisted way. If Kane could be with a woman of his choosing...if he could control how things went down...if he could use someone the way he’d been used...maybe the dark cloud of his memories would finally dissipate. Maybe he would stop hurting when he neared the Fae. Without the pain, he would be stronger, more alert. He would have a better chance of helping her with her problems.

At least, for tonight, he didn’t have to worry about her. She was alive, holed up, and safe. With some fancy computer work, illegally tapping into satellite feed, Torin had found her in Montana. Kane had only to swoop in and grab her.

Soon I’ll be ready.

Disaster banged against his skull. A second later, the floor cracked at Kane’s feet.

Apparently, the mire of Kane’s emotions no longer satisfied the demon. Since leaving the fortress, any time Kane even considered helping the Fae, Disaster worked himself into a frenzy.

Hate her, the demon snarled.

The person passing by him tripped and fell, and bone snapped. A howl of agony blended with the pulse of music.

Grinding his teeth, Kane followed William up a flight of stairs, thankfully leaving the bar and dance area behind. Almost to the top, the step under his boot broke, and he fell to his knees.

Disaster laughed, proud of himself.

Kane blanked his mind before he erupted, stood and stomped the rest of the way up. He spotted a big red door at the end of a long hallway, with an armed guard posted in front. The male was tall and muscled, but human. Hardly a threat, even with a weapon.

The guard grinned with genuine happiness when he spotted William. “Willy! Our best money-maker is back.”

William grinned, saying to Kane, “Sometimes, when I’m bored, I do a little Magic Mike show for the ladies. Very tasteful. I’ll get you tickets.” He returned his attention to the guard. “My boy here needs the private room.”

“Sure, sure. Anything for you.” The guy opened the door, but Kane couldn’t see past the thick cloud of shadows. He heard gasping, the slap of skin against skin, moans and groans, and then curses as the guard “helped” the couple stop and dress. A moment later, the pair was tripping past the entrance, red-faced as they pulled on their clothes.

The guard reappeared, his grin wider than before. “All yours, Willy.”

William pushed Kane inside. “Did you see anyone you wanted on the way up here?”

“Anyone will do.” A woman was a woman, as far as he was concerned.

Just as soon as the thought registered, some part of his mind spit and hissed at it. The Fae wasn’t just—whatever. No thinking about her. Anyone was better than a demon minion, and that’s all his sense of choice cared about.

“Give me five minutes,” William said. “I know the working girls. I’ll find you someone who will let you take her any way you want her.”

Crude, but necessary.

The door shut, sealing Kane inside. The pungent smell of sex thickened the air and his stomach filled with acid. He hated the dark, and quickly flipped on the light. In front of him was a wet bar, and beside it a couch, the cushions askew. On the coffee table was a box of condoms. At the other end of the room was a small bathroom with only a toilet and a sink, and beside it a queen-size bed with the covers tangled in a heap at the end. There was a condom stuck to the top.

After pouring himself a shot of whiskey—then another and another and another, then deciding to take the entire bottle with him—Kane settled on the couch.