Which wasn’t a lie. He was one of the reasons she’d come here. She’d just kissed him while lying in a bed and oh, her heart had yet to settle over that. She’d never seen him do that with another female.

Just like that, her mind immersed itself in what had happened. Wow. Just…wow. While his body was hard as a rock, his mouth was soft as a rose petal. His hands had moved all over her, she’d rubbed herself on his massive erection, and those big fingers had pushed inside her. The pleasure…the heat…the surprising abandon…she’d never experienced anything like it.

Now she knew. You really could die from pleasure.

He’d tasted of mint, sweet and spicy; together, they’d been the perfect aphrodisiac, overwhelming her senses. Completion had become her sole source of survival.

“You’re the angel,” the woman said with a welcoming grin, tugging her from her thoughts.

“Yes. Fallen, but yes.”

Gideon relaxed against his pillows. “Wonderful.”

“Pay no attention to him. He’s grumpy from boredom. I’m Ashlyn, by the way.” Ashlyn had golden hair, golden eyes, and looked as delicate as an iris. “Maddox’s wife.”

“Maddox, keeper of Violence,” Olivia said. A giant of a man with black hair, violet eyes identical to Aeron’s and a seemingly untamable temper. “You’ve married?”

“In our own private ceremony,” Ashlyn replied with a blush. She stood. “He’s not so bad, though, I promise.” Her hands smoothed over her rounded belly. “He’s a sweetie once you get to know him.”

Olivia couldn’t help herself. She strode forward and placed her own hands on that belly. Pregnant females had always drawn her, for she’d always known she would never bear children herself—another secret wish of hers. Angels were created, not born, so even if she’d experienced physical desire with another of her kind, she wouldn’t have conceived.

Now that she was human…perhaps there was a possibility.

With Aeron? A girl could hope. For a moment, she pictured what children of theirs would look like. They wouldn’t be born with all those tattoos, of course, and that was a shame, but they might have his beautiful violet eyes, and even his wings. Everyone should experience the joys of flight, if only once. Perhaps their children would even have Aeron’s grit and determination, driving her mad while at the same time enchanting her.

She sighed, returning her attention to the task at hand.

“They are strong, your twins,” she said, knowing mothers welcomed such news. “Fire and ice. You’ll have your hands full, keeping them out of trouble, but you’ll be happier for it.”

Ashlyn’s jaw dropped and for a long while, she simply blinked up at the taller Olivia. “T-twins? How do you know I’m having twins?”

Oh, no. She’d ruined the surprise, hadn’t she? “Sensing who grows in a woman’s womb is a gift all angels possess.”

“That…that just can’t be.” Her skin was paling by the second, even becoming tinted with green. “There’s only one being inside me. I mean, I’m progressing normally. Right?”

How much to tell her? Only enough to calm her, perhaps. “No. You’re progressing slowly. Your children are immortal and require a much longer gestation. But don’t worry. As you promised me, I now promise you. Both your son and your daughter are healthy.”

“A son? A daughter?”

Great. She’d ruined another surprise.

With a shaky hand, Ashlyn brushed a lock of honey-colored hair from her face and hooked it behind her ear. “I need to lie down. I need to call Maddox. I—I—” Her wild gaze swung to Gideon. “Would you mind terribly if—”

“Yes,” he said, grinning. “I would mind.”

She exhaled heavily. “Thank you.” As if she were lost in a trance, the pretty Ashlyn padded from the room, not sparing Olivia another glance.

“I’m sorry,” Olivia called. For more than one reason. Now she was alone with Lies. A situation in which she had never thought to find herself. Injured as he was, however, she couldn’t leave him. “Would you, uh, like me to continue the story?” she asked. Not waiting for a reply, she lifted the book Ashlyn had left behind—ohhh, a romance novel, how decadent!—and claimed the woman’s seat.

“I’d love for you to read to me,” he said. “Your voice is not…creepy.”

Meaning he wouldn’t and it was. Rejected.

She fanned the book’s pages, doing her best to hide her disappointment. “What you’re hearing is a layer of truth. There’s nothing I can do about it. Well, except lie, but that’s not something I want to do. They taste horrible. Plus, they’re too complicated. Feelings get hurt, fights erupt.”

“Yeah, I’d know nothing about that. Lies are awesome,” he said, but she knew he was agreeing with her. There was envy in his tone. “I wish…nothing. I wish nothing.”

Poor guy. He must wish for a lot of things. “So. Do you still want me to leave?”


“Excellent.” Progress. “Can I read now?”

“Yes,” he said again. “I’d rather not talk.”

Oh. Still no romance novel for her, then. “About what?”

“About you. I have no desire to know why you’re here.”

“So you can help me?” she asked hopefully. From fear to need? And so quickly. Perhaps that proved the depths of her desperation to succeed.

“Sure. Why not?”

Choosing to ignore the lie—perhaps he merely thought he couldn’t help her, but would surprise himself—Olivia told him about her decision to fall, what she hoped to gain and the progress she’d made with Aeron. It was nice, having an unbiased bystander to share with. Someone who wouldn’t judge her.

“So you hate him, then?” the warrior asked, and she knew that he meant love.

Love. Did she love Aeron? “No. Yes. Maybe.” She still didn’t know. “I think about him all the time. I want to be with him, give myself to him fully. You know, sexually,” she added with a blush, in case he didn’t understand. Confident. “He said he wouldn’t have sex with me, though.”

“Smart little shit, our Aeron.” Gideon’s grin was slow to form, but wicked and sultry because of it. “Listen, here’s a little unhelpful advice. Don’t consider sneaking into his bedroom tonight—and don’t make lots of noise so he doesn’t kill you, thinking you’re the enemy. Oh, and don’t be naked.”

“Excellent suggestions, thank you,” she said, brightening. She kicked her feet onto the bed. She still wore her boots, and the black leather glinted in the light. “Men do like their nakedness, I’ve noticed. Aeron didn’t want anyone else to see my…breasts.”

The new and improved her could still be embarrassed, she realized.

“How wrong you are. Oh, and, Olive? In that position, I can’t see your panties,” he said, clearly amused.

Confident, you are confident. “Do you like them?”

He blinked in surprise, clearly having expected her to change positions. “I hate them.”

“Really?” That wasn’t embarrassing, she decided; that was empowering. “Would you like them as a souvenir? Since I plan to take your advice and crawl into Aeron’s bed naked, I’m not going to need them anymore.”

Gideon laughed outright. “Nope. I wouldn’t. I would hate to have them as a souvenir. And not just because I’m sure Aeron will be thrilled to know I have his girlfriend’s panties.”

Aeron’s girlfriend. A lie, from Gideon’s point of view, but she could have melted into a puddle. “Then they’re yours. I’ll give them to you before I take off.”

That earned her another laugh. “I don’t like you at all, boy. Not at all.”

She beamed. “Ditto. So now that I’ve told you about me, tell me about him. Aeron. I mean, I know who he is, but I know nothing about his past. I want to understand him. Reach him. Help him stop worrying about my eventual death.” And accept his own.

“No way.” Meaning sure thing.

Gideon shifted on the bed. A lock of blue hair had lodged into the headboard, and it pulled with his movement. He grimaced, reached up, but was unable to clasp a single strand with his bandaged wrists. His frustrated growl propelled her into action.

She dropped her legs, leaned forward and gently smoothed the hair free. “Better?”

“No,” he muttered gruffly.

“Good. I like the blue, by the way. Maybe I’ll dye mine.” She pushed the thought to the back of her mind, to be considered later. Along with that navel piercing. Right now, she wanted to learn about Aeron. Who he’d been, what had shaped him.

“Forgetting Aeron…where do you not want me to start?”

“I know you warriors were kicked from the heavens into ancient Greece. I’ve heard the stories about the torment you caused, slaying innocent humans, torturing, raiding, pillaging, destroying everything you encountered, and so on and so forth.”

He shrugged. “You heard wrong. We had total control of our demons and weren’t lost to bloodlust. And when we did finally lose control, the guilt of what we’d done, well, it was minimal.”

Guilt. A terrible burden to carry. And from what she’d seen of these Lords, they carried far more than any one person should ever have to bear. They deserved peace, she decided. Once and for all.

“Aeron wasn’t a warrior,” Gideon continued, “and yet his actions, even when unwarranted, didn’t torment him—though I was always sure he hated what he did a little too much and loved himself for it. Even still, he did the least amount of work, making the rest of us do all the killing to protect the god king.”

Olivia quickly translated Gideon’s meaning. Aeron had sometimes loved his job a little too much and had hated himself for it, but he’d also loved his friends, so he’d done their work, too, sparing them some of the burden, which had probably been torturous for him.