He wanted to touch her. Had to feel how soft she was. How warm she was. Had to know she was healthy and whole and she’d escaped without harm.

Escaped. The word tormented him. He remembered they’d been inside that crypt, and he’d been shot. He’d carried Nightmares into the cemetery, fallen to his knees, waiting for his friends, but he didn’t recall anything after that. He fisted the sheets. Answers first, then he could allow himself a single touch.


Concentrate. “What happened?” Odd. Olivia’s voice wasn’t the only one to have changed. His had never sounded so smooth or strong.

She offered him a shaky smile. “We thought we’d lost you. You were shot, and the bullet was laced with immortal poison, slowly killing you.”

Yes, that made sense. A bullet had never affected him like that, but this one had weakened him unbearably. “How’d I get here?”

“Paris and William came and got us.”

“No trouble?”

“With Hunters?” She shook her head, that cloud of hair dancing around her shoulders. “None. We even picked up Gilly on the way back here, but we never encountered them.”

It was only a matter of time, though. As close as they were, and with the success of their demon-possession, they would attack soon enough. “How’s Paris?”

“He’s fine, strong and taking care of himself now.”

Or he’d tricked everyone into thinking so. Paris was good at hiding his actions—or lack of action—behind humor and smiles. Most likely he was drinking ambrosia and neglecting his body’s needs.

“I’m not going to say that!” Olivia suddenly snapped.

Aeron frowned. “Say what?”

“Sorry.” Her shoulders slumped. “The voice returned, telling me to do all kinds of things to your body. I’ve named him Temptation, and I’m pretty sure he’s a demon.”

A demon? None that he knew, which could mean that someone else listed on the scrolls was hiding in town. But why torment Olivia? And with sexual thoughts, of all things?

Whatever the reason, he wouldn’t stand for it.

Punish, Wrath said.

Aeron was glad the demon had recovered, as well. And yes. He wanted to punish the ones who had hurt them. He just had to—

“Oh, no,” Olivia said with a shake of her lovely head. “I can see the thoughts spinning behind your eyes. We’ll worry about the demon later. He’s irritating, that’s all. Right now, I’m more concerned about you.”

Sweet, darling Olivia. His protector, something he’d never thought he’d need. Something he’d never expected to want. But he did want, desperately. Need, certainly. Yet he had to convince her to return to the heavens. In—how long?

He glanced at the window, the split curtains framing a waning moon. “How long did I sleep?”

“Most of the day and night. You’re still naked, if you hadn’t noticed.” A blush stained her cheeks. “Not that that’s important right now.”

Most of the day and night. Which meant morning would arrive all too soon. Which meant he had eight days to convince Olivia to return home. Eight days to save himself and Legion.

Eight days to resist her.

He wouldn’t last. A single touch wasn’t going to be enough, he admitted that now. He would want more. He would have more.

More, Wrath echoed.

Yes, more. He wasn’t going to stop himself. Not this time. Selfish of him, yes, but selfish he would be. He could have died out there. Died without warning. Without knowing what it was like to sink inside her, feeling her clench around his cock, clawing his back, gasping his name.

When he knew, he would stop wondering, stop craving. He could continue on as before. And she would have had her fun. She could go home satisfied.

Selfish? Ha! He was a giver.

“How did I heal?” he asked. Better question: would he lose steam midway? He didn’t want her leaving this bed until she reached her peak twice. At least. He owed her. Her crack about his lack of prowess still stung.

Olivia’s gaze shifted away from him. “An antidote.”

Why couldn’t she meet his eyes? “An angel antidote?”

“Yes.” She motioned to a glowing blue vial on his nightstand. “Water from the River of Life. One drop, and death is chased away.”

No wonder his senses were heightened.

“Once we run out,” she continued, “we’ll be given no more. Which is a shame. Lysander told me the Hunters have many, many more of those poisoned bullets.”

“How long will the effects last?” He would’ve expected Wrath to fume at being fed a heavenly substance. Instead, the demon purred a little louder, as if given a great gift.

In a snap, Aeron thought he understood. Legion represented hell, and Olivia heaven. The latter he’d already figured out, but the former… He realized now that Wrath missed his home. Both his homes. High Lords had once been angels, Olivia had said, before falling from the sky. Home number one. And landing in hell. Home number two, though Wrath hadn’t considered it as such until he compared it to Pandora’s box.

Heaven and hell, he thought again, unsure how he’d missed the connection before. Olivia and Legion. Two halves of a whole, just as he and Wrath were.

Speaking of… “Where’s Legion?” he asked, gazing around the room in search of her.

“William’s distracting her, but I’m not sure how long that will last.” Olivia traced a finger along his breastbone. “Your heartbeat is improving. Strong.”

His flesh heated where they connected. More.

His ears twitched as he listened to a conversation a few rooms over. Sabin and his crew had returned from the Temple of the Unspoken Ones. A lot of them were injured, but recovering. As soon as they were better, they were going to raid The Asylum and destroy the Hunters residing there.

No one was coming to check on him, then, and there was nothing for Aeron to do at the moment. Except Olivia.

“As you pointed out, I’m still naked,” he found himself saying. “Are you ready to have fun?”

First her jaw dropped. Then she closed it with a snap. Then it dropped again. Unwilling to wait for her to acclimate to his intentions—no more waiting period—Aeron reached up and cupped the base of her neck, drawing her down until she was practically on top of him. Her breath hitched, and the softness of her breasts pressed into his chest.

Yes, he would have this woman. Those breasts, too. The sweet spot hopefully moistening for him even now, definitely.

“Wh-what are you doing?” The breathy question warmed him body and soul, because there was longing in every word.

“Having you.” Finally.

He lifted his head and meshed their lips together. She didn’t resist, not even for a moment. No, she opened for him, meeting his tongue with her own. He could taste the freshness of the water she’d given him, as well as the cinnamon of her breath.

Trembling hands flattened on him, and his heart increased in speed, racing to meet them. Her skin was hot rather than warm, and burned him just right. Silky curls tickled him.

He anchored his free hand under her bottom and tugged her the rest of the way atop him. Their bodies fit together, and her legs opened automatically, cradling him perfectly. He moaned. Yes…yes…

Yes! Wrath agreed.

“No,” she rasped, and wrenched away. She even scrambled from the bed and stood to trembling legs, nearly teetering over.

Both he and the demon wanted to roar. Instead, Aeron settled his weight on his elbows and watched her. Calm. “You want me. I know you do.” Gods, he could smell her arousal just then, heady feminine musk.

“Yes, but I won’t let you rouse my passions and then leave me before I can finish.” She fisted her robe, inadvertently raising the fabric and showing a hint of those beautiful calves. Calves he would lick.

“Olivia, I—”

“No,” she said again, spinning away. Twice she tripped over her own feet as she made her way to his dresser. There, she propped her elbows on the surface and held her head in her upraised hands. “I can’t bear it.”

Was she…crying?

Aeron swallowed the sudden lump in his throat and stood. Not that. Anything but that. He was as naked as she’d promised, his erection waving proudly. “I want you. I’m not going to deny either of us again. This I swear to you, Olivia.”

“Oh, shut up!”

He blinked. Was he making no progress, then? Had his actions ruined everything? “Make me,” was all he could think to say. With a kiss. Please.

“Not you,” she murmured. “The voice. Temptation. He wants me to raise my robe and show you that I’m not wearing anything underneath.”

She wasn’t? Aeron licked his lips and approached. Nothing, not even one of the Hunters’ bombs, could have kept him away after learning that. “I’ll find out for myself.”

Olivia gasped when he placed his now-trembling hands on her hips. Her head lifted and she twisted to peer up at him. Her eyes were huge, watery, and his heart lurched in his chest.

“What—what are you doing?”

“Finding out, like I told you.” First he played with her breasts, cupping, thrumming the nipples, until she trembled. Then he dropped to his knees, his hands never leaving her delectable body, but following him down. “You wanted to have fun, so I’m giving you fun.”

“D-don’t do this if you’re going to stop midway. I’ve been through too much the past few days and I—”

“I won’t.” The scent of her arousal was stronger, a sultry night he wanted to lose himself in. “Nothing could stop me now, angel. Nothing.”

Slowly, so slowly, he lifted the hem of the robe. Not once did she protest, not even when goose bumps broke out over her legs. Her smooth, firm legs, a mix of honey and vanilla. When he revealed her bottom and saw that she wasn’t wearing any panties, his cock jerked in reaction. Beautiful. Even his wings ached from inside their slits.