“The Cloak will be in his pocket. As it folds, it shrinks. It’s gray, soft. Grab it and run. Don’t look back. Just run. Okay?”

Like his, her heart was pounding against her ribs. Sweat was beading over her skin, her limbs were shaking and her mouth drying. “What about you?” He claimed he was ready to die, but she wasn’t ready to watch him do so. He was a nice kid who’d seen too many bad things in his short life. He deserved a happily ever after.

“I’ll handle Galen. Okay?” He pulled the other tie from his scrubs and there was a blade attached. His knuckles whitened as he clutched the hilt. “Just reach into his pockets, grab whatever you can and run.”

Pockets. Galen wore a robe just like Olivia’s, so she knew that there were three pockets. Two on the right and one on the left. It would be impossible to frisk all three at the same time. Still, she said, “Okay,” and prayed she chose correctly.

The door swung open, and Galen strode inside. He stopped in the center of the room, head swinging left and right to survey the empty gurneys. She didn’t think about her next actions, just propelled into him and slid her hands along his sides, into two of his pockets.

He cursed and tried to push her away. Perhaps Lysander was helping her, after all, because Galen did not succeed.

Her broken arm throbbed, the fingers swollen and slow to react to mental commands, but she grabbed everything she touched, turned and ran. Just ran. Just as Dominic had wanted. Fingers snagged in her hair and jerked, but she kept moving.

She passed the door, halfway expecting hard hands to settle on her shoulders or tangle in her hair again, but that never happened. Instead, she heard a shout, a roar of pain, and knew Dominic had just stabbed Galen.

A stabbing wouldn’t keep the immortal down for long.

Through the open doorways of the other rooms, several men raced into the hallway. As their confused, panicked gazes hit her, she increased her speed and peered down at her bounty. There, in the center of her palm, was a square of gray material.

Relief. Excitement. Yes, she experienced both. They gave her strength. Olivia dropped everything else, it wasn’t important right now, and shook the material out. Because of her inattention, she plowed into a solid wall of man.

The action jarred her, hurt her, but not enough to stop her from continuing to shake out the material as she fell. Just as the man bent down to grab her, she wrapped the Cloak around her shoulders.

One minute she could see her limbs, the next she couldn’t. Don’t even breathe. Be quiet.

All of the men spun, frowning, looking for her. They fired at where she’d been, but she’d already moved. She pressed against the wall, and they finally darted past her, shouting for help.

Galen stomped out of the room, blood spurting from his gut. He was scowling and dragging an unconscious—please, let him be alive—Dominic behind him.

“Where’d she go?” he demanded.

“I don’t know.”

“She just disappeared.”

Galen ran his tongue over his teeth. He dropped Dominic, who didn’t even utter a gasp. “She couldn’t have gotten far. She’s injured. Spread out and move toward the demons’ lair. That’s where she’s headed. If you feel anything you can’t see, shoot. If you hear a woman panting but can’t see her, shoot. Do you understand? I’m done playing nice. She has something that belongs to me. Do not set foot on the hill, though. The Lords will see you, and I’m not ready for that yet.”

A chorus of yeses rang out, and the men were off.

Galen stood there for a long while, popping his jaw, breathing deeply. Olivia didn’t dare risk an exhalation; she simply held the oxygen in her nose and waited. Finally, he stormed off, following behind the men.

She tiptoed forward and placed her fingers at Dominic’s neck. No pulse. Her chin trembled, and tears once again filled her eyes. He’d been ready to die, had wanted it even, but it still broke her heart. He’d never known joy. He should have known joy.

Pray for his soul. Later. You can’t help anyone if you die, as well. Olivia stood, her tears pouring down her cheeks like rain. She could barely see in front of her, but she stumbled forward, taking the same path as Galen.

The hallway led to an empty area, but that empty area led to a closed doorway. The exit? Most likely. The seam between the double doors revealed a stream of sunlight.

Gulping, she held out her uninjured hand and pushed the panels open. Warm air instantly enveloped her. And sure enough, the sun was shining brightly over a parking lot. Too brightly for her now-sensitive vision. Still, she blinked against those rays as she trudged onward.

Until a smiling Galen stepped into her path.

His wings were spread wide, and she was moving too quickly to stop. She knocked into him and careened backward, falling into the metal wall of the warehouse. With a shocked, pained gasp, she slid to the rock-laden ground.

“I thought you’d stay behind to check on the boy,” he said, grin widening. “Your friends caused his death, yet still you thought to return to them. So disappointing. So predictable.”


He lunged for the wall, and Olivia rolled out of the way, clutching as many rocks as she could hold. She scrambled to her feet, careful not to make another sound, and Galen ended up slamming into the building.

He straightened. “Doesn’t matter. I can see your footprints. It’s just a matter of following you now.”

Thanks for the warning. She zigzagged left, right, gaze continually moving, searching for a path to safety. Only dirt and gravel greeted her. Which meant anywhere she stepped, he would continue to see her prints. And he did. He followed her.

“Escape me, and I’ll go after Aeron next. I’ll cut off his head while you watch, helpless.”

He was taunting her, trying to trick her into retreating.

Slowly, inch by agonizing inch, Olivia moved backward. Still Galen followed. She threw a glance over her shoulder. A hundred yards away was a busy area, with a high-traffic road and many other buildings. Hunters had probably chosen the location as a way of hiding in plain sight, but what they hadn’t counted on was that it would be easier for their prisoners to hide, as well. All she had to do was make it there, and then she would be safe. He would never be able to pick her out.

Problem: he was fast, faster than her, and uninjured. If she ran, he could catch her. Worth the risk.

Drawing on a reservoir of strength she hadn’t known she possessed, she spun around and sprinted forward. There was a crunch of gravel, and she knew that Galen was still hot on her trail. Her entire body screamed in protest each time she threw one leg in front of the other, but she only increased her speed.

Almost there… Galen gripped the Cloak and jerked. Yelping, fisting the material with her free hand to keep it around her, she rounded a corner and slammed into a group of pedestrians. Two fell backward as her shoulder and arm were revealed. Panting, Olivia refit the material around her, then plastered herself against the nearest wall.

She tossed her handful of rocks into a pole. Pop, pop, pop. She watched, hopeful, as Galen soared past her toward the pole, giving chase to where he thought she’d gone.

So close. So close to disaster. But she’d done it. She’d really done it.

Hot breath slammed in and out of her nose, burning her throat and lungs. Sweat was pouring obscenely now, and she probably smelled. Her limbs were once more shaking. Unfortunately, she couldn’t go to the fortress. Galen’s men would be surrounding the place by the time she reached it. She couldn’t call Aeron for a pickup because she didn’t know his number.

She had to do something, go somewhere; she couldn’t stay here. Using the wall to prop herself up, she careened forward, winding around several corners, letting herself become lost in the different crowds and locations. Finally, she spied a shadowed, empty alley and sat. Mistake. The moment her body stilled, she knew she wouldn’t be able to force it into action again. Her muscles clamped down on her bones, and every spark of energy drained.

“Lysander,” she whispered. Waited.

Once again, she received no reply.

Alone. A terrible thought. This wasn’t the best location to hide. Someone could stumble over her invisible legs. More than that, Hunters would probably be searching all the alleys when she failed to reach the fortress. But…

She’d rest her eyes, she thought. Just for a bit. Catch her breath, too. Then she’d pick herself up and start moving again. Except, she must have fallen asleep, because when she finally opened her eyes, still unable to move, she saw that the sun had set and the moon was glowing prettily.

Her pain was magnified, her resolve finally shaken. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t go on. Death would be welcome. She wouldn’t fight. She would—

“Olivia,” a male voice said, startling her. “Come on, sweetheart. I know you’re here. Your spirit trail ends here, but I can’t see you.” A second later, a body materialized.

Lucien. She recognized him, though they’d never been properly introduced, and knew he carried the demon of Death. How appropriate. He could escort her—

“I’m not going to hurt you. I want to help you. Aeron’s looking for you.”

Aeron. Death could suck it. With a shaky hand that felt as if boulders anchored it in place, she reached up and tugged the Cloak from her shoulders. “H-here. I’m here.”

Lucien’s eyes widened when she suddenly appeared. “Oh, sweetheart. I’m so sorry. Everything will be—” He shook his head. “No time to explain what’s going on. There’s a soul at the warehouse where you were tortured, and I need to escort him into the hereafter.”

“His name’s Dominic,” she said in that savaged voice of hers. “He saved me. Be gentle with him, please.”

“I will.” Lucien disappeared.

She folded the Cloak as best she could, expecting—Lucien reappeared with Aeron.

All other thoughts faded. Aeron. Unexpected. Welcome. “I thought you were…the soul…”

“That’s what I’m doing next. See you back at the fortress,” Lucien said, and once again disappeared.