Without any warning, he meshed their mouths together, unable to stop himself, thrusting his tongue inside. She opened without protest, eagerly accepting his brutality. Good thing. He had no control, and was glad for it. He had only a beginning—Olivia—and the hated end—her loss. And that loss…gods. Losing her would slay him.

No, he thought then. Her kiss would. His demise rested in this meeting of souls, he realized, and again, he was glad. He tasted and claimed and conquered without reservation. He gave and he took.

If this were the end, he would die like a warrior.

“I will make you mine, woman.” He jerked her robe around her waist. Her legs, bared. Her core, his. Still she wasn’t wearing any panties, and the knowledge nearly floored him. One day, he wanted her on a bed. Wanted to remove her clothing slowly, take her lingeringly. Savoring every second, every breathy sigh.

Now, he just wanted her.

Urgency rode him as he reached for the button on his pants, tried to open—it caught, so he ripped them apart. His cock sprang free. “I hope you’re ready for me, Olivia.”

READY FOR HIM? Olivia thought she would be ready for this man every minute of every day for the rest of her life. He was peering down at her as if she were necessary for his survival. As if he lived only because she did.

And this would be the last time she ever experienced such a gaze.Sadness threatened to overwhelm her, but the force of her desire beat it back. Later. Later she could wallow in her misery. But for now, she was in Aeron’s arms. Her body was on fire for him. She was wet and shaky and aching all over.

This was what she’d given up her wings for, after all. This was what she’d given up eternity for. And here it was, hers for the taking. No matter what happened next, she would always have this.

“Olivia,” he said, her name a guttural beseeching.

“Ready. Promise.”

He cupped her bottom, lifted her, and as she wound her legs around his waist, he drove inside her, all the way to the hilt. She cried out, unable to strangle the sound. As big as he was, he stretched her, but as sore as she should have been, considering they’d done this not long ago, her pleasure was unparalleled.

“Need you.” In and out he thrust.

“Yes!” Her nails dug into his back, scouring. There was no holding back, not for her. She needed this. Needed this memory to keep her warm at night. “Just like that.”

Harder and harder he pounded inside her. It was heaven and it was hell. So good, so close to ending. Last forever, she prayed, but she knew it wasn’t a prayer that would be heeded.

The railing rocked with them, whining, then finally giving out entirely. Over they tumbled, falling…falling…Aeron never slowed his thrusting. She loved it, reveled in it, the wind whipping around them. Freedom and love and pleasure, all wrapped together. Without fear or regret. Aeron would keep her safe.

And he did. Just before they hit, he twisted and his wings expanded, gliding them to a slow stop. He settled her gently on the ground, those thrusts continuing still, never ceasing. She kept her legs locked around him, accepting him, arching up into him, desperate and eager and lost.

The sun fell steadily, pretty and pink, and anyone looking down would be able to see them. She didn’t care. Her need was too great.

“Olivia,” he panted.


Their gazes met, his violet irises wild. His expression was taut, feral, his lips thinned and bleeding from where she must have bitten him. There was something so hauntingly beautiful about him like this. Something so savagely tender.

“You are mine,” he gritted out.

More than anything, she wanted to be. “Yours.” Until he gave himself to Legion. Then, as the girl had said, Aeron would be hers. Stop. Enough. She had now, this moment.

As though sensing her thoughts and wanting to drive them away, he lowered his head and kissed her again, this one even more wonderfully vicious than the last, his tongue stabbing at hers, his teeth grinding against hers. So much passion…

She scratched and bit and shouted, hurtling over the edge of sanity, once again falling, this time spiraling apart, screaming, clutching at her lover, every muscle in her body spasming deliciously. There. Oh, yes, there. He hit her just right, and her orgasm soared higher. She couldn’t see, her eyelids squeezed firmly, but she felt him shudder over her. Heard him roar her name.

When he collapsed on top of her, his weight crushed her, but she loved it too much to offer a rebuke. If only they could stay like this forever, lost in the here and now.

“Olivia,” he croaked.

Slowly she blinked open her eyes. Aeron was watching her, his features somehow stripped bare. Open, needy. “Don’t say it,” she said. If he planned to tell her that this had changed nothing, she knew that and didn’t need him to sink the knife deeper into her chest. If he planned to ask her to stay, even though he had to be with Legion, even only once, she would be tempted to do so. Even though the Council would send someone to kill him. Even though images of him with the demon would haunt her forever.

No matter which way this played out, they were doomed.

“I have to.” His voice was throaty. “I want you to know—”

“Uh, Aeron,” someone called. “Hate to interrupt, but it’s time to go.”

Caught again, she thought with a sigh. Would they never be allowed to enjoy the afterglow humans so praised? Except, this time she was glad of the reprieve. She scooted out from under Aeron and stood, smoothing her robe to her ankles.

“Go,” she said without looking down at him. “As promised, I’ll be here waiting.” And then we’ll say goodbye.


3:00 A.M. MOONLIGHT was no longer quite so bright, and the streets were deserted. Shops were closed, and partying humans had finally left The Asylum. The lights were out, not a single movement inside.

About a hundred yards away, Aeron was crouched beside Strider in a shadowed corner. The warrior held a remote control and a tiny four-wheeler with an even tinier camera attached to its roof. Apparently that camera could cut through the dark, filming faces and bodies as clearly as if they were bathed in sunlight.Torin always found the coolest toys. The proof rested in Strider’s wide grin as he launched the vehicle forward.

The rest of the men were scattered around the building. A building they’d once helped restore—a building they were about to destroy. Some were high on rooftops, gun barrels pointed down. Others were on the street like Aeron, hidden in different locations.

Aeron lifted the portable monitor that would allow him and Strider to see through the camera’s lens. And sure enough, the buildings and roads he’d traversed since their creation were visible. Amazing.

“We’re good,” he told Defeat.

“We’re ready for you, Willie,” Strider said into his earpiece.

Aeron wore a headset, as well, and heard William’s reply. “Gods, I can’t believe I let Anya talk me into this. I’m going in.”

A few seconds later, William abandoned his post and rounded a corner. His clothes were disheveled, and he clutched a bottle of whiskey. He bore no resemblance to himself, his dark hair now bleached, his piercing blue eyes hidden by dark contacts. And his face…somehow, he’d roughened his skin and changed the shape of his features.

Every step he made looked as if it threatened to topple him over, but he managed to belt out a love song while moving forward.

Mocking bastard. Not that he knew Aeron planned to betray Olivia.

Sweet Olivia.

Mine, his demon stated.

Ours. No. He nearly smashed the device he held. No one’s. Not Wrath’s, and certainly not his. Except…

How was he supposed to go on without her? She was light, and she was happiness. She was love, and she was bliss. She was…everything.

“You with me, Wrath?” Strider muttered.

The question came just in time, drawing him to the present. He watched as William tripped, as planned, and crashed into the front door of the club. Distraction. Glass shattered as he fell. He lay there a moment, sputtering drunkenly. The remote-controlled truck raced over the shards of glass, slipping inside the building unnoticed.

Didn’t take long for a flood of armed men to come barreling toward the immortal.

“What are you doing?”

“God, he reeks!”

“Get him out of here and clean this up. Now!”

Two of the guards latched onto William roughly, hauling him to his feet. “Hey, gents,” he slurred in an appalling British accent. “This where the party’s at? Oh, lookie. A gun. How bloody manly. But I should probably warn the angels on the hill. Can’t encourage crime, you know.”

“Boss?” one of the men holding William said. “We can’t just let him roam. He’s seen too much.”

“First, I’m not your boss,” William said, then he frowned and clutched his stomach. “Second, I think I’m gonna be sick.”

The man in charge—Dean Stefano, Galen’s right-hand man, Aeron realized, even as Wrath prowled through his head, ready to hurt, to kill—flicked his attention to William before turning back to the shattered remains of the door. “Make it look like he was mugged. And do it away from the building. I don’t want anyone sniffing around here.”

A cold, utterly uncaring death sentence for a man they assumed was human. Humans, the very beings they allegedly strove to “protect.” But then, Stefano was a cold, uncaring man. He blamed the Lords, particularly Sabin, for his wife’s suicide, and wouldn’t rest until all of them were dead.


In the past, Aeron would have secretly loved the demon’s command and hated himself for it. No matter how much the victim deserved what he dealt. But no longer would he castigate himself. Losing Olivia was reason to rage. Destroying someone evil? A reason to rejoice. And he would.

He’d have fun.


The two guards jerked a now-protesting William outside. “What’s going on? Just let me go and we’ll—”