The morning was suddenly off to a much better start.

Desire trembled through her.

He turned to her and though he was the same height as always, he seemed larger, more menacing. His eyes glowed that bright violet, his tattoos stark, and the pulse in his neck hammered wildly. He wore a black shirt and black pants—both easily removable—and she could see the bulge of weapons at his waist and ankles.

So beautiful, she thought, heart picking up speed. She wanted to stroke him again. Wanted to dance her lips over his entire body. Especially between his legs. When she’d gripped him there, she’d felt that bead of moisture.

What would that bead taste like?

He gulped. Had he sensed the direction of her thoughts? “You know how to take a shower, right? You…strip—” his voice caught on the word “—step under the water and lather the soap from head to toe.”

“Are you going to join me?” She pulled the tank over her head, letting the material float to the floor. Revealing her body should have made her uncomfortable, she supposed, but she wanted him to see and to yearn, just as she did. Unbearably. Besides, she was confident, aggressive, and now that she knew the kind of pleasure they could give each other, she would do anything, say anything, to receive it. “Or are you just going to watch?”

If that’s the case, you can watch me do this. She cupped her breasts the way she suddenly imagined him cupping them, unable to stop herself. Oh, yes. That felt good.

His eyes widened, seemingly glued to her, the air in the bathroom changing. Charging with electricity. “Don’t do that.” Harsh, choked.

“Why not?”

“Because your Deity should be rewarded for creating those.” He shook his head, though his narrowed gaze didn’t leave her. “I mean, because I— Damn you. And damn me. I should be punished. The thoughts in my mind…”

Were they like hers? “Aeron,” she beseeched.

“I just realized I never kissed them,” he uttered in a rough voice charged with the same electricity that hummed in the air. “And gods, woman, that’s a crime.”

“Kiss them now.” Please.

“Yes.” He leaned toward her, head bowing, pupils expanding—and this time she knew it was desire rather than anger.

Her nipples pearled, waiting…expectant…but just before contact, he caught himself, straightened and growled. She released a breath she hadn’t known she’d been holding. He’d almost… Sweet Deity. He really had almost kissed her there.

“Aeron.” The ache such knowledge evoked… Do it. Don’t stop now.



“Because!” He knew what she craved, what she needed, yet denied her still. Just because. Bastard! “You do this alone.” He passed her and stepped outside the bathroom, tugging the door shut behind him, leaving only a small crack of light.

So close…

She could have screamed, her skin suddenly too tight for her body. Instead, she removed the rest of her clothing and entered the stall. The moment that first cascade hit her, she wished she had screamed. Anything to ease some of the pressure building inside her. Pressure the soft caress of water merely provoked.

She tried to blank her mind, but an array of words kept claiming her attention. Kiss. Breasts. Bodies. Moving. Kneading. Argh!

“I don’t hear you lathering,” Aeron snapped.

“Get bent,” she snapped back, an expression she’d heard humans utter to those who irritated them. And oh, did Aeron irritate her.

Kiss. Breasts. Bodies. Moving. Kneading. Sliding. Taking. Her knees almost buckled.

“Olivia.” A warning?

“Zip it, demon!” Shaking, she pumped a few squirts of rose-scented soap ito her hands and finally began cleaning herself. Even that disturbed her, doubling the pressure. How had he revved her up this quickly and this intensely? Without kissing her?

Kiss. Breasts. Bodies. Moving. Kneading. Sliding. Taking. Possessing. Licking. Sucking.

Soon she would break.

Distraction. Yes, that’s what she needed. “Did Paris and William use this soap? And yes, you may speak now.”

“I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t be thinking about them. More than that, I’ll be asking the questions here. How did you know we’d fail to capture Scarlet yesterday?”

“I told you. I know a lot of things that can help you, but so far you haven’t seemed interested in learning them.”

“Well, I’m interested now, so start talking. Are there any other demon-possessed immortals in town?”

Confident, she reminded herself. “You think it’s that easy?” Aggressive. “You make a demand and I deliver?”

A pause. A hesitant, “What do you want?”

Relief! “We’ll start with an apology.”


Grudgingly offered, greedily received. “No,” she finally answered. “There aren’t any other demon-possessed immortals in town.”

“All right, then. I’ll need you to take me to where this Scarlet is staying.”

“Nope, sorry.” Olivia twisted and turned under the water’s spray, the bubbles running down and off her body. Kiss. Breasts—Argh! “I’m not doing anything for you.”

“You will.”

Another demand, uttered with such determination…determination that should have been annoying rather than sexy. Pressure mounting…again… “Why are you so eager for my aid now?”

“I want you to see the kind of life I lead. I want you to see the fights and the blood and the pain. I want you to see that I don’t care about anyone other than my friends and Legion, and I will hurt anyone—anyone—who threatens them.”

Anyone—even Olivia? Even though he’d chosen to help Olivia yesterday and send Legion away? Undoubtedly. Goodbye, pressure. Hello, emptiness. They had been cold, hard words, more vow than threat. He might not want to do so, but he wouldn’t stop himself.

“All right,” she said. If he wanted to spend the rest of his life showing her those things, she’d let him. And she’d return the favor! She’d show him exactly what he’d be missing if she left. Like the breasts he should be “punished” for ignoring. Like the mouth that wanted so badly to suck on him.

Pressure…worse than before…

Breathe, she needed to breathe. She manipulated the knobs until the water shut off, the air around her instantly cooling her. Only, that failed to temper her needs. Little bumps broke out over her soaked skin, and she groaned. No more.

Perhaps she could give herself relief, she thought, intrigued. Aeron had used his fingers…and she did have fingers of her own… She licked her lips, heart pounding anew. He wouldn’t have to know. She’d turn the water back on, pretend to need more lathering, and—

“Done?” he asked.

She tensed. “I—I just—”

“Olivia, I believe I mentioned that I’m pressed for time.”

True. He wouldn’t be alive much longer.

The reminder sobered her, chilled her desire as the air hadn’t. She’d thought she had accepted his coming death. But nine too-short days? That was hardly enough time to experience everything she wanted to experience with him. Especially as stubborn as he was being.

You’ll have to make it enough.

“All right,” she said with a sigh, and stepped from the stall. Going with him now would also grant them more time together. And she supposed she wouldn’t torture him with what he’d never have, she thought sourly, hating to abandon so sweet a revenge. She supposed she’d offer her breasts and her needy mouth—and anything else he wanted—without restraint.

In between the offerings, she could protect Aeron, as she’d vowed to do, should anyone or thing threaten him.

“All right what?” he asked, confused.

There was a toothbrush on the shower ledge, along with a tube of minty paste. Having seen humans perform the task a thousand times, she knew what to do and managed to brush her teeth without incident. “All right, I’ll show you where Scarlet lives.”

Mouth fresh and clean, she grabbed the brush on the counter. The bristles caught on several tangles, making her grimace, but she didn’t stop until her hair was smooth. Next time, she’d remember to bring her robe with her even if she didn’t plan to wear it.

“What changed your mind?” Suspicion dripped from each word.

“Arguing with you is a waste of precious time.” True, if somewhat misleading.

“A rational female. Who would have guessed?”

She tossed the brush into the sink. “An insensitive male who won’t get a kiss if he keeps that up.” Again, true. And shocking. This vengeful side of her…she liked it.

Silence greeted her. Did that mean he craved another kiss? Despite her new affinity for tormenting, she tried not to hope too intently.

“I haven’t hurt Legion, you know,” she said. “Even when she hurt me.”

“Actually, angel, she hurts whenever you’re near. Or she used to, when you had wings. But I never did, nor did the other warriors, and we’re just as demonic as Legion is. Why was that? Were you doing it on purpose?”

“Of course not. Though it’s true demons hate to be around angels, you’ve managed to humanize yours. At least somewhat.” Now. Enough talk about Legion, even though Olivia had been the one to bring her up this time. “Do you want to know how to capture Scarlet or not?”

“Sorry,” he muttered. “Yes. I do.”

She fought a grin. Another apology. Just as grudging, but just as sweet. “Here’s what I know. Because she’s possessed by Nightmares, she’s weakened during the daylight hours.” As she spoke, Olivia studied herself in the foggy mirror. There were bruises under her eyes and her cheeks were a bit hollowed. She only ever wanted Aeron to see her at her best, not like this, but it couldn’t be helped. “She’s like vampires in that regard. She sleeps during the day, her body too frail even to walk.”