All dashed.Trembling, she bent down to retrieve her robe and wrenched the material over her head. Thankfully, Aeron’s wings kept her concealed the entire time. How she would have loved to bask in the afterglow. To discover if Aeron had been as affected as she was.

Sex was…so much more than she ever could have imagined—and she’d imagined a lot, since the first orgasm he’d given her. The pleasure, the satisfaction, the power of knowing you were driving someone out of their mind. The closeness, the sharing, the giving, the taking. Every minute was a miracle.

She’d been alive for centuries. Why hadn’t she been doing this all that time? Although, she suspected the act would not be the same with any other man. Only Aeron. Her Aeron. The man who made her ache…dream.

Legion’s high-pitched screeches drew her back to the present. “Bitch! Whore! I’ll kill you!”

Temptation laughed inside Olivia’s head. He’d been silent during the act, having gotten what he’d wanted. Why had he returned?

William still had a grip on Legion, but that grip could fail at any moment. Olivia kind of hoped it did. Someone needed to put Legion in her place, and she would be more than happy to do so. She wanted her afterglow, damn it!

“Dress,” Olivia told Aeron, hating that another woman—especially this one—was seeing him like this. All those tattoos should be hers, and hers alone, to feast upon. Visually or otherwise. She wished she could have licked them.

Next time.

Would there be a next time?

His expression was hard, unreadable, as he tugged on his pants and fastened them at the waist. Because his wings were still expanded, he couldn’t don a shirt. At least dressing spurred him into action. He kicked forward, wrapped an arm around Legion’s waist and hefted her into his side like a sack of potatoes.

The demon’s flailing never ceased. “Let me go! Let me at her!”

“You can go,” Aeron told William. “I’ll handle things from here.”

There were cuts on William’s face and arms, and all of them were bleeding. The warrior nodded, his lips twitching in amusement. “Good luck, my friend. Oh, and just so you know, a meeting’s been called. Entertainment room, ten minutes.” With that, he strolled into the hallway, shutting the door behind him and whistling under his breath.

Aeron carted his bounty to the bed and tossed her onto the mattress. She bounced up and down and tried to scramble off, gaze still locked and loaded on Olivia.

“Stay,” he barked.

Legion froze, glaring up at him—until an obvious sense of self-preservation took hold and she smoothed out her features. The self-preservation was quickly followed by determination, though, and she settled on the edge of the bed, elbows behind her, breasts thrust forward, legs on the floor but spread and ready to wrap around him.

“Care to join me?” she asked huskily.

Oh, no, she didn’t, Olivia fumed as Temptation yelled his own denial. Enough! She stalked forward, bypassing Aeron without a word, and stopped in front of Legion. Before either of them knew what she was about, she punched Legion in the mouth.

Legion’s head whipped to the side, her bottom lip split and already bleeding. Olivia’s knuckles throbbed, but she welcomed the sting. Try to kiss him now.

Hard, hot hands settled on her shoulders and spun her around. Aeron wasn’t looking at her but over her shoulder at Legion. “Stay.”

The command was met with a growl, but Legion obeyed.

Aeron’s gaze finally shifted to Olivia. Surprise began to swirl in those lovely violet irises, chasing away his fury. “I never thought I’d have to tell you to behave.”

She raised her chin. “I will not tolerate being called such vile names.”

“You won’t have to.” Once more his gaze moved to Legion. “Understand?”

The support surprised her. Was he…could he be choosing her over Legion? For a moment, Olivia couldn’t breathe. Could barely stand. There wasn’t time to bask in the wondrous sensation, however. Aeron moved around her as if she were already forgotten and crouched in front of Legion.

“There’s no need for you to hurt my—the angel. I love you,” he said. “You know that.” His tone was soft, caring now. “Tell me you know that.”

“Yes. I know it.” All the anger drained from Legion, as well, and she reached out, cupping his jaw, trying to pull him down for a kiss. “I love you, too.”

Aeron removed her hands with a gentle yet forceful jerk. “I don’t love you in that way. I love you like a daughter. Tell me you know that.”

First, anger reclaimed the demon’s features. Then shock. Then fear. All in the span of a single second. Her chin trembled, and tears of abject misery filled her eyes. “But I’m pretty.”

“You were pretty before, but that doesn’t change how I feel.”

Legion shook her head in denial. “No. You have to be with me. You have to—”

“That’s not going to happen, baby.”

Several droplets spilled, tumbling down her cheeks. “Is this…is this because of the angel?”

“Olivia has nothing to do with what I feel for you.”

Olivia suddenly wished she were someplace, anyplace else. She shouldn’t be here. Shouldn’t be witnessing this private moment. Yes, that’s what she’d do. Go anyplace else. Her knees knocked as she walked to the door.

Stop! Where are you going? Temptation. When would the demon leave her for good?

“You’re lying!” Legion spat. “You love her.”

Her hand froze on the knob.

Silence. The answer…she had to know.

Then, “Legion,” Aeron said on a sigh.

Disappointment choked Olivia, but still she couldn’t force herself to exit. Not yet. Maybe he would—

“You can’t love her,” the demon shouted. “You have to love me.”

“I told you. I do love you.”

Stomach clenching… Say them. Say the words.

“No! You have to love me like a wife. You have to pleasure me with your body. Otherwise…”

“Otherwise?” he demanded harshly.

Olivia tensed. Oh, Deity. The bargain. She’d forgotten about Legion’s bargain with Lucifer. Dread, so much dread. She turned and pressed her back into the wood, shaking. Waiting. This, more than a declaration, she had to hear.

“Tell him,” she commanded. “He deserves to know.”

“Tell me,” Aeron parroted.

Legion gulped. “If I fail to seduce you in eight days, Lucifer will…he’ll…he’ll possess my new body,” she whispered. “If I fail, he’ll…he’ll use me to kill you and your friends.”

No. No!

Aeron flicked Olivia a quick, unsure glance, not comprehending Legion’s confession. “Physically, he can’t leave hell. He can’t—”

“He can. If he possesses her, he can do anything,” Olivia croaked, hand closing over her throat. Her horror didn’t last long. Blood chilled in her veins, numbing the emotion. She’d been so close to paradise, only to be thrust into hell. “He can breed her with anyone of his choosing, assume control of the Hunters, influence humans and turn them against you. He can even see into the angelic realm and slaughter my kind.”

Aeron’s spine became as rigid as a steel pipe. “Why would he want to do any of that?”

“Why else? Power. Freedom. Spite. He despises angels. They were supposed to follow him, yet they chose to remain with the One True Deity instead. But most of all, he despises the True Deity. His destruction is what Lucifer craves most. With his demon High Lords freely roaming the land, he’ll have a better chance of that.”

Enough of this foolishness. Shut her up, Temptation commanded.

Olivia ignored him, only to blink in bewilderment a moment later. Him. She’d already known the voice belonged to a male, but she now realized this male wanted her to win Aeron—and more specifically, for Legion to fail. This male wanted to prevent Legion from convincing Aeron to bed her.

Not a demon, after all.

Lucifer, she realized. Lucifer was her Temptation. He didn’t have to leave hell to cast his voice elsewhere, or to whisper to one particular person. He merely had to link with a soul open to corruption.

Bye-bye blessed numbness. Her horror returned, as did her dread, both mixed with shame. How could she not have known? How had she missed the truth? Stupid angel.

“Why would you make such a bargain?” Aeron demanded.

The tears continued to flow down Legion’s cheeks. “I wanted to be pretty. To be what you needed. I thought I would win you, make you forget the angel. I thought I would make you happy.”

Aeron scrubbed a hand down his face, his nails scraping, leaving angry red welts. “I can’t believe this. Do you have any idea what you’ve done? Do you have any idea of the things you’ve put into motion?”

Legion nodded, chin trembling. “I’m sorry. So sorry.”

A pause, then a sorrowful, “So am I.”

With those words, Olivia knew. She knew. He’d already made up his mind. Aeron would sleep with Legion. He would enter her body the same way he’d entered Olivia’s. To save the little demon from possession. To save his friends from Lucifer. To keep the Hunters from victory.

Tears filled her own eyes, but she blinked them back. With this act, Aeron would prove that what he’d done with Olivia meant nothing. With this act, she would leave. He had to know she would leave.

Had that knowledge made the decision easier for him? she wondered with a bitter laugh. No way she could stay here, knowing he’d bedded another woman. No matter the reason.

Olivia had her own choice to make, then, it seemed. She would leave, there was no question of that. Not now. But would she return to the heavens, possibly saving Aeron’s life, or simply travel to a new location here on earth?

Here, most likely, for how could she possibly return home now? She was changed, human in all the ways that mattered. She would be miserable up there, bringing joy to no one, least of all herself. She would be useless. And if ever she changed her mind about having returned, she wouldn’t be allowed to fall again. No, she would be put to death or permanently cast into hell. There could be no other choice for an angel who lost her way twice.