Even if he asked for more. “That’s three. Next.” Why hadn’t he asked her about the Hunters?

“Rhea, then,” he said, as if that explained everything.

Haidee schooled her features, unwil ing to show him the depth of her confusion. Rhea, the supposed queen of the Titans? Haidee had heard of her, of course. A smal group of Hunters even worshipped her.

But why did Defeat assume the woman was responsible for Haidee’s curse?

Or “infection,” as the Bad Man had cal ed it? “Two more questions to go. Better make them good.”

“When I saw you with…him, kissing—” he’d almost said a name, she realized, but had managed to stop himself in time “—were you interested in him as a man or as a possible escape route?”

Of everything Defeat could have asked, why that? “Why the hel do you care?”

His traced the tip of his tongue across the seam of his lips.

“I don’t believe our bargain involved explanations on my part.”

Fine. “The man.”

There was a beat of silence before he gave her a reaction.

A flash of that fury, quickly gone.

“He’s always been the gentle one, you know,” Defeat said almost absently. “He’s rarely ever displayed a temper. Has never hurt one of his friends. And he would be horrified to know what he did to me.” As soon as he realized what he’d said, what he’d admitted, he scowled at her, as if the confession was her fault.

She pretended not to notice. “You have one more question.

And did I forget to tel you that if you lied to me, I would personal y reacquaint your spine with a shard of glass?”

He stared at her for a long while, studying, searching for something. Whether he found it or not, she didn’t know.

Then he spoke, soft, gentle. “Why did you help kil Baden, Haidee?”

She sucked in a breath. Of everything he could have demanded to know…how dare he ask that? As if he didn’t already know the answer. As if he hadn’t ral ied to destroy her, al those centuries ago. As if he would enjoy hearing her pain and her heartbreak.

Just like that, al the hate inside her exploded to the surface, and she stomped to the bars, placing herself within striking distance. She didn’t attack him but dared him to attack her.

He didn’t move, just continued to stare at her.

“Why did I help kil him?” She threw the words at him as if they were weapons, and maybe they were.

“Because he took what I loved most. And don’t try to lie and say he didn’t, that I’m confused, or misremembering. I saw him. I was there.”


“I’m not done! Why else did I help kil him? Because he represented what I despised most. Because he deserved what I did, and he knew it. He wanted me to do it. And not once, not once in al these years, have I ever regretted it.”

Again, silence. Those blue eyes glittered far more dangerously than before as he reached inside his pocket.

Haidee expected a dagger to the stomach but stil didn’t back down. Physical pain might dul her emotional anguish.

He merely keyed the lock. The cel door swung open, the hinges squeaking. “For some reason, you calmed…our boy before. He’s worse now, and we need to know if you can calm him again.”

Him. Amun. So, she thought, furious al over again, Defeat had meant to take her to the warrior al along.

She hadn’t had to answer a single question. She’d been tricked, just not the way she’d thought. What a fool she was. “And what is it, exactly, that I calm him from? How is he worse? What the hel did you do to him?”

“I’m going to take you to him,” the demon went on, ignoring her. Either he was unaware of her volatile emotions or he just didn’t care. “But if you harm him, Haidee, I wil kil you.

And I’l make it hurt in a way you can’t even imagine.”

THE MOMENT DEFEAT led her down the hal way to Amun’s bedroom—a hal way stil fil ed with towering angels and their outspread wings—she heard the warrior’s voice inside her head and forgot everything else.

Haidee! That single word was a tormented wail. Need…


How long had he been cal ing for her? Why hadn’t she heard him before now?


She’d uncover those details later. Right now, he was in pain, so much pain, and nothing but helping him mattered.

Wrenching away with al her strength, she broke free of Defeat’s hold and rushed forward. No one tried to stop her.

Not the angels and not the Lord. She expected Amun’s doorway to stil be splintered from Defeat’s vicious kick, but someone had fixed the metal and wood, both now blocking her entrance.

She twisted the knob—unlocked, thank God—and raced into the bedroom, quickly slamming the door shut behind her. She tried to flip the lock in place and noticed it had been removed. Shit! Something else to worry about later.

Tiny beads of ice dotted her skin, and her knees knocked shakily as she pivoted. Then she saw him. He was thrashing atop the bed, just like last time.

Final y, she was with him again. He was alive. But for how long? He was worse, Defeat had said, and Amun had barely survived the last set of wounds.


So weak, suffused with al that pain. “I’m here, baby. I’m here.” Acid flowed through her as she stumbled toward him.

Some distant part of her brain noticed that every piece of furniture but the bed had been carted out.

Then she was standing at the edge of the mattress, peering down at him, and al thoughts fled.

He moaned inside her head.

“I know. I know you hurt.”

Haidee? Not quite so pained now.

“Yes, baby. Haidee’s here.”

He sighed with the barest hint of relief.

The shadows had returned, were even then dancing around his once again savaged body. His eyes were swol en shut, his hands bloody and torn. The wings of his butterfly tattoo were…moving, breaking apart, forming hundreds of other butterflies. Those, too, danced over him, up his thighs, on his stomach, his pectorals, his arms, then disappearing behind his back.

In that moment, she was absolutely certain the man she watched was Amun rather than Micah. Which meant the Lords wouldn’t hurt him. Thank God. The intensity of her relief was stunning.

What’s wrong with you? she wondered again. Now that her worries over Amun’s possible torture and execution were proven unnecessary, she couldn’t forget or refute two simple facts. This man had never been a Hunter. This man was her enemy.

She should kil him. She should add to her tal y and be al the closer to evening the score. Like Baden, Amun deserved whatever punishment she dished. The vile things these men had done in ancient Greece… Stil . She couldn’t force herself to hurt him. He was too battered, too pitiful.

Had sought only to protect her.

His attitude wil change. You know it wil . The moment he’s wel , his friends wil tel him who you are.

He’l go for your throat faster than you can say, “But I spared you.”

She’d worry about his hatred then. For now, for better or worse, she and Amun were connected. Later, she would search for answers, find out how and why. Maybe she could even convince herself she’d never had visions of him. And then…maybe then she could find a way to cut the ties that bound them. If he didn’t do it first.

Until then…

She would do everything in her power to save this man, just as before.

Even the thought was a betrayal to the Hunters. A betrayal Micah would take personal y. But that didn’t alter her plans, and that, she realized, drove home the knowledge that her relationship with him was over.

She was shocked by her lack of unhappiness at the prospect. Shocked further that she didn’t wish things were different. She just wished there was a way to let him know.

Gently. She desired another man, a demon-possessed man at that, and Micah deserved better than she could ever give him.

She sighed, the relieved sound an echo of Amun’s. It was nice, having something figured out. If only healing Amun proved to be that simple. She reached out and brushed the sweat-soaked hair from his brow. Those dancing shadows screeched, darting away from her and burrowing under Amun’s skin, even as the warrior leaned toward her, seeking closer contact.

What did that darkness represent? What did it mean?

Definitely something evil, as she’d first suspected. Amun obviously hated it, cringing as the last thread of gloom faded inside him.

Haidee, my Haidee. Another sigh wafted through her head, this one laced with contentment. Don’t leave me.

“I won’t leave you.” Her trembling intensified as she climbed in beside him and wrapped him in her arms.

“I’l be here as long as you need me.”

IN HIS OWN BEDROOM, Torin watched Haidee on one of his computer screens. Haidee. Come back to life. Who would have thought? And why hadn’t Strider told him? The questions lost their importance between one heartbeat and the next. His eyes widened as the shadows scrambled to escape her touch. He’d never seen anything like it and had no idea what it meant.

He did know one thing. She wasn’t human, as she’d told Strider. No mere human could frighten demons as she’d just done. And they were frightened of her. They’d hidden inside Amun, rather than try and escape him as they’d done from the first.

“So what the fuck is she?” he muttered.

SCOWLING, STRIDER BARRELED his way inside Amun’s chamber. How eager Haidee had been to reach the warrior, her sworn enemy. And now Strider saw her sprawled on the bed, curled into Amun’s side, tenderly smoothing his brow. As if she wanted to be there. As if she was glad to be there.

Helping a Lord.

She thinks Amun’s her boyfriend, remember? Of course she was glad. Of course she was helping.

“Ex?” he growled with more force than he’d intended.

Her gunmetal gaze shifted and locked on him warily.

“What?” There was nothing wary about her voice. That single word snapped at him with more force than even he had used.