Soon she was writhing against him again, moaning. Even reaching between their bodies, tunneling inside his pants and gripping his cock. He hissed in pleasure, in pain. She wasn’t gentle about that, either, and though she didn’t know the way of it, her motions a little too jerky, her touch was so welcome he found himself moving into her hold. Hard, fast, uncontrollable.

A knock sounded at the door.

He didn’t still. He couldn’t. She’d thumbed the slit at the head of his cock, spreading moisture, and in the span of a few seconds, he’d catapulted past the point of return. Reality would not intrude this time.

“Don’t stop,” he told her.

“It’s so…just a little…more…” Her grip tightened. “Aeron.”

Again he jerked in pleasure. He had to cut back a roar as another knock sounded.

“Don’t you dare stop, either!” Olivia screeched, then her tongue was back inside his mouth, her nails all over him, her knees gripping his sides.

In and out he pumped his fingers. Her grip tightened even more, pulling his skin, but gods, the burn was good. So damn good. And when his thumb found her clitoris again, she screamed, loud and long and with so much pleasure a wave of pride flooded him—and with the pride came a release of his own.

A release so complete he didn’t care that he was jetting seed all over her stomach. Didn’t care that he was shouting profanities and slamming his free hand into the headboard and cracking the wood. Didn’t care that what he’d done could damn him in Lysander’s eyes.

As a third knock reverberated, Aeron collapsed on top of Olivia, his strength utterly depleted. Panting, sweating, he rolled to his side so that he wouldn’t squish her.

“Okay,” she said after a moment, sagging into the mattress. “Now I can cross one item off my To Do list. Good job, and thank you. I know other men enjoy cuddling, but I believe you mentioned earlier that you don’t want to do that, so…”

Dismissed, he thought, eyes widening. Just like that.

Hell. No. He was just leaning toward her, meaning to jerk her into his arms and force her to cuddle him, when yet another knock reverberated. Scowling now, frustrated, he drew the sheet around her, popped to his feet and stalked to the door. Someone was about to die.



A naked Aeron threw open the door, and Olivia watched him unabashedly. That beautiful butterfly flew at the top of his back and she had touched it. In fact, his skin was welted and bleeding from where she’d scratched him. Perhaps that should have embarrassed her. It didn’t. She was proud. She’d marked him. Marked the man she lusted after. And he had responded; he had climaxed. She wanted to do it again. Only, she wanted to do more. Go all the way.Stupid intruders.

Who was here and what did they want? If it wasn’t life-and-death, Olivia hoped they fell down the stairs later.

The violent thought, so unlike her, gave her pause. Or maybe such violence wasn’t unlike her. She was new and improved, after all.

And the new and improved Olivia might—might—have gotten Aeron to change his mind about that cuddling by subtly mentioning how much others enjoyed it. And, to be honest, cuddling sounded more delightful by the second. Warmth, strength and raw sex appeal, all wrapped around her.

Maybe next time. If there was a next time. He’d seemed so sure this would be a one-time deal.

“What?” Aeron barked. His big body blocked her view, so Olivia couldn’t see who it was.

“Heard some shouting.” Cameo stepped to the side for a peek inside the room, finally answering Olivia’s unspoken question. The female warrior spotted Olivia’s disarray, and her mouth dropped open in astonishment.

Olivia just grinned and waved. She wasn’t embarrassed by what had happened with Aeron. Well, not much. She was mostly jubilant. She’d given up everything she’d ever known to be here and experience the glories of the flesh, so inhibitions weren’t going to be tolerated.

Besides, over the years, she’d seen humans do all manner of things. Sex, drugs. So much good, so much bad. What she’d done had been beautiful. There was no shame in it.

“You look well,” Olivia told her.

“You, too.” Had Cameo’s voice not been so sorrowful, Olivia thought she might have heard laughter in the undertone.

“Eyes on me, Cam,” Aeron said, clearly irritated for some reason. “Why are you here?”

Cameo faced him, lips twitching. “Torin watched some footage he recorded last night and caught a glimpse of Nightmares. Far as he could tell, she went into a building and never came out.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Your Shadow Girl. Olivia told us she’s possessed by the demon of Nightmares. Anyway, we’re going into town to, uh—” her gaze flicked pointedly to Olivia “—chat with her. You in or out?”

Aeron stiffened, and there was a beat of silence. Then he said, “In,” and glanced over his shoulder at Olivia. “Don’t get comfortable. You’re coming with us. While we’re out there, we’ll find someplace for you to stay until you decide where you want to live permanently.”

What? He still planned to get rid of her? After everything they’d done? Sure, she’d told him it wouldn’t change anything, but that had been before it changed everything. That one little taste of pleasure wouldn’t be enough for her.

You were assertive before, in this bed. You can be that way again. “Sorry, but no can do. I’d probably almost die again,” she said, and she almost grinned when his eyes widened. The man had a serious problem with thoughts of her death, expecting it at every corner. “I think I’ll stay here.” And you’ll like it, she projected to him. Some people didn’t know what they needed to achieve happiness. Clearly, Aeron was one of them. She’d just have to instruct him, as she’d already planned.

He massaged the back of his neck. “We talked about this, Olivia. You can’t stay here. No matter what happened between us.”

“Okay.” She threw her legs over the side of the bed and stood, dragging the sheet with her.

“So you’re going into town with me?” he asked, obviously suspicious. And angry and relieved. What a weird combination of emotions.

“Of course not.” Placing one foot in front of the other while her knees trembled was difficult, but she managed to do it. Without falling. She brushed past Aeron—oh, sweet Deity, his heat, his strength—and smiled as she did the same to Cameo, who winked at her.

She paused in the hallway as a thought occurred to her.

Glancing at Aeron over her shoulder, she said, “I’m going to explore your fortress. Oh, and, Aeron. When you fail to find Nightmares, whose name is Scarlet, by the way, please don’t come home and take your bad mood out on me. Unless you want me to kiss it better. That would be acceptable.”

She didn’t wait for his response, but meandered around the corner.

“Olivia,” he called.

Ignoring him, she continued on. She had a feeling he wanted to argue with her. Her body was still humming with threads of the pleasure he’d given her and arguing would ruin that.

“Olivia! You’re practically naked.”

Naked? She stilled, glanced down at the sheet draped over her bare breasts and gulped. Partial nudity was fine when she was with Aeron, but not so fine when she would most likely run into others. And that had nothing to do with a lack of confidence, she assured herself.

Being with Aeron had helped defeat the memory of what had happened in hell, yes. But then, nothing about the two experiences had been similar. Aeron had sought pleasure; the demons had sought pain. Still. Seeing lust in someone else’s eye might bring those memories roaring back to life.

With a sigh, she rushed back inside the room, bypassing Aeron and his infuriated expression without comment. Cameo had already wandered off. Olivia dropped the sheet, grabbed her shirt and pulled the fabric over her head. Thankfully, she was still wearing her skirt and panties.

“Better,” she said with a nod.

“No, it’s not. Not for what we’re about to do. And yes, I’m saying you’re coming with me.”

She closed the distance between them, rose to her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. “See you later. And please be careful.” Down the hall she meandered again.


She ignored him, attention riveted by the many doorways ahead of her. She peeked her head into the first, unsure of what she’d find. Of course. A workout room. She should have guessed, but as many times as she’d secretly been here, her focus had been on Aeron.

“Olivia,” he called, and this time he sounded resigned. “Fine. Stay. Whatever. I don’t care.”

Liar. At least she hoped he was lying.

The second room, she saw, was empty. The third, she heard voices floating from before she reached the doorway. Not allowing herself to be dissuaded by fear or uncertainty, she peeked inside.

It was a bedroom, like Aeron’s, only there was no pink or lace. Dark walls, metal furniture rather than wood, and of all things, a karaoke station in the corner. A woman was seated at the side of a large bed, reading to a man who rested atop the mattress.

Olivia must have made a noise because that man’s gaze lifted and landed on her. He tried to rise, but the woman protested. “Gideon. What are you doing? Lie down!”

Gideon. Olivia racked her brain. Keeper of Lies?

“I’m resting,” he croaked out. “We’re alone.”

Oh, yes. He was indeed the keeper of Lies, unable to tell a single truth without suffering severe pain. He was also very, very cute, with blue hair, electric eyes and a pierced eyebrow. But he was clearly injured. White bandages were wrapped around his wrists where his hands should have been.

Confident. Aggressive. “Sorry to interrupt. I was just…in the neighborhood.” Truth. “I’m Olivia,” she said, waving. Though this demon raised her hackles as Torin had done, she didn’t scream at him to leave or run away herself. Before, she’d been injured and lost to those terrible memories. Now, her body was stronger—or as strong as a human body could be. She could handle this. “I’m with Aeron.”