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Her anger had returned, hotter than before.

That’s when Cronus had appeared before her. “Come with me,” he’d said, “and you will live again.”

“I don’t want to live again.” The life she’d led had not been the stuff of dreams. After her younger sister was abducted from her home, her father and mother had checked out. They’d wanted nothing to do with anything, even their remaining child. Fighting the Lords of the Underworld had become Sienna’s cause, her sole purpose. There would be no evil in the world, no more abductions, if Pandora’s demons were destroyed, she’d been told.

Cronus, though, had not given up.

“You can avenge your death, then,” he’d replied.

“I don’t want to do that, either.” She’d just wanted to pass quietly into the afterlife, the world and its inhabitants forgotten. Perhaps there she would have found her sister.

“You don’t know what you want. But I can see your desires in your eyes, whether you admit them or not. You’re desperate for a second chance. You want what you were denied. A family. Someone to protect you, to cherish you. Someone to love you.”

She’d swallowed the lump in her throat. “And how will I get that with you?”

“I’m creating an army. A holy army of warriors the likes of which you have never seen. You can be a part of that.”

That’s how he planned to find someone to protect, cherish and love her? “No, thank you.”

“I cannot do this without you.”

Why? She was too frail to win a physical altercation and had always been a little too timid to call anyone on their shit. That’s why Dean Stefano, her boss, had always used her in the office, researching demon lore. She’d been flabbergasted when he’d asked her to seduce Paris and at first, she’d said no.

Then she’d seen his picture. No man was more exquisite, sensual in ways no mortal could ever hope to be. Her heart had raced and her palms had actually sweated, desperate to touch him. As plain as she was, no one like him had ever paid her any notice. As beautiful as he was, she hadn’t understood how he could house such evil.

The desire to meet him, to see that evil for herself, had become an obsession. So she’d finally said yes. She’d arranged an “accidental” meeting in Athens. He’d been interested in her, which had made her feel special. She almost hadn’t drugged him, had almost sent him on his way. But then she’d noticed the red tint bleeding into his eyes, glowing, broadcasting his malevolence for the entire world to see. There’d been no denying his origins then. He was evil, even though he kissed like an angel. And maybe, just maybe, if she helped destroy him, the world really would become a better place to live. Maybe child abductions really would end. So she’d done it. She’d drugged him.

And she had died for her efforts.

And, terribly enough, what did she regret most? Not enjoying him, fully, completely. Just the two of them, worries forgotten. What came in only a distant second? Not killing him.

“Join me,” Cronus had added, “and you’ll meet Paris again. I swear it. He’ll be yours to do with as you please.”

His words were proof that he did indeed know what she wanted, whether she would admit it aloud or not. See Paris again? Have the warrior at her mercy? Yes! And yet, it hadn’t been enough. “No.”

“But more than that,” he continued as if she hadn’t spoken, “I will ensure you see your sister again.”

She’d nearly grabbed him and shook him, so great was her shock. “You know where she is?”


“And she’s alive?”


Thank God. Thank God, thank God, thank God. “Then yes,” she’d said without hesitation. “Yes, I will help you. Now. Hurry. Please.”

“You are saying that you will be mine, my soldier. Yes?”

“Yes. If you take me to my sister.”

“I will. One day.”

Her sense of urgency intensified. “Why not now?”

“Your mission comes first. Do you agree?”

No. But she’d said, “Yes.” Anything to see her precious Skye again.

“Then it is done.” He’d grinned slowly, satisfaction radiating from him, and whisked her to this palace in the heavens.

Had she gotten to see her sister yet? No. Had he trained her to fight? No. Had he sent her on that mission, whatever it was? Again, no. He’d simply kept her here, alone unless he visited or summoned her, with nothing to do but think. And hate.

She’d tried to leave, but she couldn’t. She was bound to Cronus in a way she still didn’t understand. A way she couldn’t refute or disobey. Whatever he asked of her, she did, compelled by a force she could not defeat. Even though she’d tried to do so, countless times.

“I asked you a question,” Cronus said now, drawing her from her memories and straight back to the pain pulverizing her. “How are you?”

“Worse.” A whimper.

He sighed. “I had hoped otherwise, for I’m eager to use you.”

“What’s wrong with me?”

“Oh, did I forget to tell you?” He laughed, the sound carefree. “You now carry the demon of Wrath inside you.”

Everything inside her stilled. The screams. Her spirit’s heartbeat. Even the darkness ceased swirling. The demon of Wrath was…inside her?

No. No, no, no! She was not one of them. Couldn’t be one of them. “You’re lying. You have to be lying.”

“Hardly. It’s trying to make itself at home in your mind, and its wings are sprouting from your back.”

Panic built, spread. Wings, he’d said. Exactly as she’d suspected.

“I’m sure you can hear its thoughts by now, urging you to do things you wouldn’t normally want to do.”

Oh. God. He had. He’d truly done it. He’d paired her with a demon. Noooo! This time, the word was a wail inside her. He’d made her the very thing she’d fought against. The very thing she’d hoped to destroy.

A sob burst from her. “You bastard! You’ve cursed me!”

He huffed and puffed, insulted. “How dare you take that tone with me? I’ve blessed you. How could you fight for me as a mere human, a lost soul? The answer is simple. You could not. And so I gave you a way to do so.”

The tears streaming from her eyes burned as if they were carving grooves into her cheeks. “You ruined me in the process.”

“One day you will thank me,” he said confidently.

“No. No. One day I’ll kill you for this.” A vow.

Heavy silence slithered between them, a hungry snake ready for its meal. “You threaten me even though I brought you a present.” He tsked. “Someone you were dying to see.” Skye?

Not daring to breathe, Sienna forced her eyelids open, and through the blur of her vision she saw that there really was a female standing next to the god king. The girl reached his shoulders, had a mane of dark hair like Sienna’s own and olive skin. Her facial features were obscured by shadows, but that didn’t stop Sienna’s heart from thundering inside her chest.

Trembling, Sienna reached out. “Sister?”

There was a rustle of clothing as the pair moved away from her. “You don’t deserve a present today, pet. Therefore, you will not get one.”


Silence. The two turned away and marched off. The girl never uttered a word of protest.

“Skye!” she shouted again. “Skye! Come back. Talk to me.” The last choked from her, tangling up in the hard knot forming in her throat.

Again, there was no response.

Sienna collapsed against her bed, new sobs racking her. How could Cronus have done this to her? How could he be so cruel?

He must pay. He must suffer.

The deep voice whisked through her head, and she jerked in shock and revulsion. Shut up, shut up, shut up. I know what you are. I hate you.

The insult had no effect. He must pay. He must suffer as you suffer.

Expecting the voice this time, she didn’t jerk. She stilled. She even began to ponder. The demon of Wrath was inside her. And helpless and sick as she was, there was nothing she could do about that. Yet. So why not use it? Just once? Just to balance the scales and make things right?

“H-how? How do I make him suffer as I now suffer?” Oh, God. She was talking to a demon. Stop! It was weird and wrong…yet oddly freeing. There would be no stopping. Cronus had to pay for this.

You must steal that which he values most.

“And that is?” Whatever the answer, she would do as the demon suggested and steal it. She would not hesitate. Cronus had thrown her into this terrible fire; he could burn with her. “His wife? His children?”

His power.

“All right.” Another vow. But just how was she supposed to steal power from a god?

He will pay. He will suffer.

Yes. Gradually, her tears dried and her heartbeat calmed. The lump in her throat dissolved. Cold seeped through her, filling her up, consuming her. “He will pay. He will suffer.”

“VISIT HELL? No damn way.”

Amun stood in front of the large plasma screen in the entertainment room, facing William. This had been the only way to get the man’s attention. Whenever Amun had knocked on William’s bedroom door, he’d been told to go away. Whenever he’d followed William into town, the warrior had ignored him as he plundered his way through the female population, one—or two—at a time. Sometimes the bastard had even done his business with Amun standing there.Now, William was a captive audience. Because Amun had brought in reinforcements. Anya, the goddess of Anarchy. As powerful and vindictive as she was, she could make anyone do anything she wanted at any time. Especially William.

The two were best friends and loved to torture each other. Which was why Anya had stolen some book that belonged to William. A very important book, apparently, and one the warrior needed to save himself from some curse. The two were always careful to keep those details buried behind inane thoughts while in Amun’s presence.