"Perhaps the wall is not as damaged as I feared," Kadence told Geryon. Maintaining a firm grip, she used the jagged stones to edge along, ever conscious of the seemingly endless void awaiting her should she lose her balance. "A goddess can hope, at least."

"Yes, a goddess can hope." Geryon kept a steady pace in front of her, remaining as close as possible every inch of the way without actually touching her.

She yearned to slide against him, drink in his strength, belong to him if only for a moment, but she did not, too afraid of startling him. And not even when a rock tumbled from the small ledge on which she had placed her foot did she relent. Sadly, neither did he.

"Do not show the flames fear," he said. "They feed on it, will try to increase it."

"They are alive?"

"Some of them."

Dear gods. How had she not known? "I did not imagine such a climb would be necessary. I assumed we would flash wherever we needed to go. Silly of me."


"Yes. The ability to move from one location to another with only a thought."

"Would be difficult to flash along this wall. You might end up in a spot without a ledge. When we finish here, can you flash us to the bottom of the pit? Once there, we can search for the demons on foot."

"No," she said on a sigh. "I wish, but no. I've never taken this route. I would not know where to stop, and might very well cause us to materialize underground."

He did not show any disappointment. "Still, it is a handy power to possess. I envy you."

Poor man. He'd been stuck at the gates of hell for more years than she could count. "If you could flash to anywhere in the world, where would you go?" Once they'd destroyed the demons trying to escape, perhaps she would take him there.

He grunted. "I do not wish to lie to you, goddess, therefore I will not answer your question."

Curiosity bombarded her. Why would he not answer such a question? Unless...did his answer embarrass him? If so, why? She desperately wanted to know, but let the matter drop. For now.

When they reached the far side of the wall, he somehow angled himself behind her. Still he didn't touch her, yet she felt the heat of him pressing into her back, holding her steady. It was not a heat she minded, even amidst the smoldering furnace that was hell. His was...heady.

"I'm sorry to say it's worse than I thought it would be." His breath trekked over her.

"Wh - what?" she asked, horrified. Being near her was worse than he'd thought?

"The wall. What else?"

Thank the gods, she thought, expelling a breath. Foolish woman. Her life depended on this wall. She should not care whether a man found her attractive. Or not.

She forced her gaze straight ahead, her mind centered on her job, not the intriguing man behind her. At least somewhat. Thick claw marks abounded. And what had appeared to be thin grooves on the other side were massive craters here. Hope abandoned her.

"They are more determined than I realized," she said, voice trembling slightly.

Geryon adjusted his grip, his arm just over her shoulder. A tremor raked her. If she stood on her tiptoes, she would feel his skin against her chimation. Though it had been hundreds of years since she'd had a man, she remembered the comfort such simple contact could offer.

"Do not worry. I will not allow them to hurt you."

"And I will not allow them to hurt you," she vowed.

Chuckling, he latched onto her waist. She gasped. Finally. It was amazing and wonderful...wild and intense. But there was no comfort in it, as she'd expected. No, instead she experienced white-hot, searing arousal.


"Time to fall, goddess," he said, and then he released the rocks, taking her over the edge with him.