Page 27

His apology weakened her as nothing else could have. His vehemence delighted her. Combined? They slayed her. “Hey, don’t worry about it,” she offered, at last giving in to the desire to touch. Her fingers traced up his arms, learning every ridge of muscle and sinew. “Gideon Speak is kinda fun.”

Like that, the anger drained from him, wonder overshadowing everything else. “You aren’t too good for me. In every way. No, thank you, devil. For everything.”

He thought she was too good for him? Slayed. Her. “No welcome,” she replied softly.

He licked his lips as his gaze fell to hers, and suddenly she knew his passion hadn’t been extinguished, after all. “I—I—”

“Want to kiss me?”

He nodded. “I’m not dying to do so.”

Don’t admit it, don’t you dare admit it. “Me, too.”

One more time, she thought dazedly. She would enjoy him one more time. Sex, though? No, she wouldn’t go that far. But kiss him, continue touching him? Oh, yes. She needed to pass the time, anyway. At least, that’s the only reason she would cop to just then. Besides, it wasn’t like she truly would have left him here, helpless against any god or goddess who entered the room. For the moment, he was still her husband and she would protect him.

“If we do this, the shadows and the screams will return,” she warned. “I won’t be able to stop them. They’re part of me, part of my demon.”

“I dislike anything that’s a part of you. I don’t want to experience everything you have to offer.”

Melting… “Then kiss me,” she commanded. Then his sweet words would cease, and she could begin to rebuild the ice. That needed ice.

Gideon needed no other encouragement. His lips were on hers a second later, kissing her as if he needed the air in her lungs to survive. He moaned as if he’d never tasted anything more delicious. Kneaded her breasts as if nothing, even weakness, could prevent him from enjoying them.

Once again, her blood heated in her veins, a growing inferno that liquefied her bones. Her nipples hardened, ever-ready for his mouth, and her skin tingled, a plea for more.

“Want you clothed,” he rasped.

Only time she ever had to translate his demon’s lies was when they were in bed, her mind on other things, so it took her passion-fogged brain a moment to realize that Gideon actually wanted her naked.

Sex? she thought again. If she got naked, he would be inside her. She might even beg for it. Beg…yes… Hopefully, though, she had a little too much pride for that. “No,” she managed.

He paused, lifted his head. Their gazes met, his eyes so bright a blue they rivaled a king’s ransom in sapphires. He licked his already moist lips, breathing careful. “How about we don’t negotiate?” His voice was rough, as if each of the words had been rubbed with sandpaper.

Negotiate, huh? “All right.” Never let it be said that she was unreasonable. “Shoot.”

“All rather than half.”

Reality: he was willing to remove half her clothing rather than all. A concession, yes, when he could have insisted on full nudity. Eventually, she would have caved. “And in return I get…?”

“Definitely not an orgasm.”

Her lips quirked at the corners. “Do you want me to remove the top or the bottom?”

“Top.” Lightning fast, no hesitation.

He wanted her pants off, and gods, she wanted to take them off. “Deal,” she said with a nod. “You can take my top off.” Better that way.

Too bad she hated “better.”

His lips quirked as hers had done, because he knew she’d purposely misunderstood. “As if you didn’t know I wasn’t lying,” he said, calling her on it. “As if I don’t know you meant to say pants.”

With a strength she wouldn’t have thought him capable of in light of his demon’s curse, Gideon shoved the sweats and panties from her waist to her ankles, then off completely. A gasp left her, cool air suddenly caressing her. He didn’t give her time to complain or even encourage him. He crawled down her body. And there was the moment to stop him…gone. He pushed her legs apart. Another moment…gone again. He licked the most aching part of her.

“Yes!” Her back arched as she cried out, her hands already in his hair, holding him close.

She rode the waves of pleasure with abandon. No, no, not abandon. Had to keep the shadows and the screams inside. Gideon didn’t mind them, he’d said, but she wasn’t yet ready to share him. She wanted this moment all to herself, that fiery tongue working her, loving her.

“Don’t want more?” he rasped.

“I—I—” Can’t admit it. He’ll say something sweet, and more of that ice will melt. “More. Please.”

“No more it is.” He continued to lick, his teeth scraping perfectly, making her shiver. Soon his fingers joined the play, one sinking in and out, then two. Three. The shadows pulled, and the screams tugged.

“Gideon.” She released him and grabbed the headboard, hips arching in a fluid, desperate rhythm. Felt so good, so damn good. Was propelling her so close to the edge…

“Terrible,” he muttered, eye closed to half-mast, lips curled in a half-smile. “Just terrible. Had my fill. Will always have my fill.”

He likes it, she reminded herself. Wants more. Wouldn’t ever get enough.

Ice…melting. Heating…

Don’t care, she realized suddenly. She wanted the blaze to grow, consume.

Scarlet draped her legs over his shoulders, the heels of her feet digging into his lower back, her thighs squeezing his temples.

“But something I do like…you’re not holding out on me.” A muscle ticked below his eye as his lashes lifted and he pinned her with a hard stare. “Where are the shadows and the screams you didn’t promise me?”

“I don’t…I can’t… Don’t stop now!”

“Don’t let them go, and don’t show me our wedding,” he said, and then sucked her clitoris between his teeth.

She screamed, she shook, she almost came, the pleasure was so intense. But she wasn’t quite there. Just a little more, and she’d fly to the heavens. “Please.”

“Scar…wedding…I don’t want to see it.” His voice was strained, as if he had to force the words out.

“Now?” she panted. While he was…while she was…“We’re a little busy.”

“Can’t you do it while I’m sleeping?” He blew a puff of air against her warm, moist folds, and as sensitive as she currently was, she was thrust ever closer to satisfaction.

It was wonderful and terrible, gratifying and frustrating.

“Yes,” she grumbled. “I can do it while you’re awake.” She could project images into his mind at any time. Nightmares was just as able to invade daydreams, after all. But just then Scarlet wanted Gideon concentrating only on her aching body. On the here and now.

“Then, nope. I want you to do it later.”

“Why?” Why couldn’t he wait till after? Because he feared she’d leave him? Because he thought she’d deny him? “Never mind. But be warned. The ceremony was short, we couldn’t risk something longer, and kind of somber.” She’d give him what he wanted, though. “Just know that the moment you stop, I stop.” There. Bargaining, just as he liked.

“My displeasure,” he practically purred, tongue flicking out and darting back and forth over her clit.

Once again, her back bowed. Okay, maybe demanding he continue hadn’t been the most brilliant of plans. Her thoughts were fragmenting again, her blood heating yet another degree, her organs blistering before erupting into more of those decadent flames, her bones melting, wanting only to pour over him.

In a burst, the shadows and the screams escaped her hold, swirling around Gideon and filling the room. Just as well. She could use them to create the daydream.

Concentrate. Scarlet dug through her favorite mental files—files she’d buried and thought to never consider again—and found the one Gideon desired.

Instantly the scene opened up in both their minds.

Late at night, while the prisoners of Tartarus slept, Gideon roused Hymen, the imprisoned Titan god of Marriage, and brought him to the cell they used for making love.

For Scarlet, Gideon had arranged a lingering bath a few hours before, and had given her a clean white robe. Only, that robe was composed of lace and that lace conformed to her curves. She’d never felt lovelier, before or since.

When the two men stepped into her cell, she threw back her hood in eagerness, and her long, dark hair cascaded over her shoulder, brushed and silky for once. Gideon reached out, pinched a lock between two fingers, and brought the strands to his nose. He breathed deeply his gaze perusing her.

“Hideous,” the Gideon between her legs breathed just as the Gideon in the dream rasped, “Exquisite.”

A blush stained her cheeks, then and now. But she wasn’t the exquisite one, and she knew it. There was no more gorgeous sight than Gideon. His black hair rose in spikes, his blue eyes were bright, the midnight lashes framing them like feathered fans, and his lips still swollen from her earlier kisses.

He possessed a shadow beard, sharp cheekbones and a strong jaw. There wasn’t a flaw to him. He wore the thin silver armor she’d shown him in his dream of Steel, as directed by Zeus, and that armor was etched with jagged butterflies exactly like the tattoos they now bore.

“Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked nervously. Back then, her voice had lacked the…hardness of today, and even Scarlet had to acknowledge how sweet and innocent she sounded.

“I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life, sweetness.”

Her blush intensified, and ever shy, she cast her gaze to the ground, lips curling into a happy smile. “I’m glad.”

“Well, I’m not sure about this,” Hymen said. He cleared his throat, drew his hood around his face to keep his features hidden in shadow. “If anyone learns of my part in this, I’ll be executed.”