How are we connected? he demanded, switching the subject again. Bye-bye distraction. He’d asked an excel ent question. How were they connected in mind and body?

“I—I don’t know.” Her cheeks flamed when she heard the stutter. She had fought and won too many battles to count.

This man would not intimidate her.

Why can’t I harm you?

Had he tried? The thought unsettled her. “Maybe for the same reason I can’t harm you.”

And that is?

You’re the sweetest form of temptation. I know the spicy decadence of your kiss. I’ve ridden your fingers and want to ride them again. Not that she’d make such an admission aloud. “I don’t know. I’ve had the opportunity, though,” she reminded him. “Several times.”

A sigh slipped from him, easing some of his tension. But you soothed me instead. Protected me.

She nodded. “As you did for me.”

For a long while, only the pattering of the water against the porcelain could be heard. Part of her was glad they knew about each other. That she didn’t have to wonder what would happen when he discovered her secrets. The other part of her had never been more frightened.

They knew, but if they pursued each other anyway…there could be no excuses for their actions. For their stupidity.

Their friends would blame them, perhaps begin to hate them. And for what? No matter what they did, there could never be a happily ever after for them.

She must have retreated into her mind—a shocking discovery, that, since she never al owed herself to drop her guard—because she never saw him move, but suddenly his hands were clamped onto the flare of her hips. Another gasp escaped her as their gazes tangled anew.

Amun backed her up, pushing her under the waterfal , then walked through the spray himself, not stopping until she was smashed against the tiled wal . And even though they weren’t touching anywhere but her waist, the heat of him wrapped around her, sinking past skin into bone. Her nipples hardened, aching for contact.

He looked capable of anything just then. Most especial y of driving her to the brink of passion, of madness.

Stop this before it’s too late, she commanded herself. A single brush of his lower body against hers, and

“too late”

would happen. She knew it. After their last kiss…

She flattened her palms on his chest, felt the erratic rhythm of his heartbeat. A harried rhythm that matched her own. “I can’t be with you this way. Until I’ve spoken to Micah.” Oh, God. Had she real y said that? Had she real y just pushed the qualification out of her mouth, trying to pave the way for them to be together? Even for a little while?

Seriously. What the hel was wrong with her?

Amun’s eyelids narrowed, hiding his irises. That should have lessened the dangerous magnetism of him.

It didn’t.

She doubted anything could.

Why? The single word was snapped, demanding an immediate response.

“I have to tel him it’s over between us.” That was the only honorable thing to do. For al her faults, she truly wasn’t a cheater. But God, even talking about this, she was undermining everything she’d already decided, not to mention her resolve to leave Amun alone.

You would end your relationship with him in favor of me? A demon-possessed warrior you’ve sworn to murder? He laughed without humor. I’m not as foolish as you apparently think I am.

She was the foolish one. They would never be able to trust each other, and with good reason. That stil didn’t stop her from saying, “Yes.” See? Foolish. She wanted to be with him. Despite everything, even her reasons for pushing him away, part of her needed him and that part clearly would not be denied.

His false laughter died quickly. Your relationship didn’t stop you from kissing me before. Now his voice was a growl of frustration.

“I didn’t know who you were then.”

He pondered that for a moment, then nodded. Fine. I’l give you that. But how do I know this isn’t a trick?

Nope, no trust. Not that she blamed him. “You don’t.”

And how do you plan to speak with this Micah?

“I’l cal him.” How else?

Water droplets rained down Amun’s hard expression. And during the conversation, I’m positive you won’t speak in code and inform him of your location. I’m equal y positive he won’t try to swoop in and save you. Of course, that means I’m positive he won’t then try to capture everyone inside this fortress.

“No.” She shook her head to emphasize her denial. “I would break it off with him. No more, no less.”

Intense need flickered over his expression. Need blended with possessiveness and primal instinct, with hope and helpless indecision.

No one had ever looked at her like that. As if she were a treasure, wanted in the most primitive of ways—as if she were a bundle of dynamite that could detonate at any moment.

So badly she wanted to glide her hands to his back, lock her fingers together and jerk him into the soft line of her body. Then she’d feel his hands settle on her bottom and heft her up, forcing her to wrap her legs around him. She’d grind against the long, thick length of his erection until they were both screaming from the pleasure. Already she was close to begging for it.

Amun’s hands fel away from her, dropping heavily to his sides, and he straightened. The water cascaded over him without mercy, shielding his features from her view.

Never going to happen, Haidee, he said flatly. A simple fuck isn’t worth the consequences. With that, he left her alone in the shower.

His crudeness and cruelty shouldn’t have surprised her, but they did. They hurt her, too. She’d been wil ing to try to make something work between them; he hadn’t. He never had. His eyes had been cold, distant as he’d reduced her to “a simple fuck.” She’d never been more to him, would never be more.

There were too many obstacles between them.

She wanted to hate him. God, did she want to hate him.

Instead, Haidee did something she hadn’t done in hundreds of years. She sobbed like a baby over the cruel fate she’d once again been dealt.


AMUN STRIPPED OUT OF HIS WET sweatpants, toweled off, dressed in a T-shirt and jeans, then waited for Haidee to emerge from the bathroom. He didn’t have to wait long, yet the time apart seemed infinite. When she entered the bedroom, he saw that her features were annoyingly blank, though her eyes were pink and a bit puffy. Had she…cried?

His chest constricted painful y at the thought, and he nearly stalked to her, nearly took her into his arms.

To soothe her.

His hands curled into fists. She couldn’t have cried. To do so, she would have had to care about him.

She didn’t care about him. Therefore, he couldn’t al ow himself to believe a single tear had fal en from her beautiful eyes.

So why did his chest stil ache?

He forced his thoughts to clear and his gaze to move away from her face. A fluffy white towel was wrapped under her arms and hit just above her knees. Obviously she had removed her bra. He saw no tel tale straps. She’d probably removed her panties, too. They’d been so wet. So wonderful y wet.

The constriction in his chest migrated south. He knew what she looked like under al that cotton. Breasts that would fit in his hands. A soft though concave stomach. Hips that flared perfectly. He’d desperately wanted to grip her there and force her to rub against his erection, over and over again.

Even now, she tempted him. Even? Hel , especial y now.

Clothes are on the bed, he told her, turning away before he forgot the reasons he’d left her alone in the shower. Even in his mind, his voice was rough. And yeah, it stil shocked him every time he “spoke” to her without having to sign the words.

The connection between them was the very reason he’d opted to tel her the truth about himself, about what he knew concerning her past. He’d decided to show most of his cards before she glimpsed them on her own, hoping she’d then reveal her own cards.

He hated that his demon had gone silent the moment he’d touched her and hadn’t spoken up again.

Secrets was always either quiet or agitated around her, and he never knew which he’d get. What bothered him most was that the demon probably could have discovered everything about her. Except, though Amun could cast his voice into her head, he couldn’t read her the same way he read everyone else. He would’ve liked to chastise Secrets for that, but didn’t. He chastised himself. What was the use of having a demon if a man couldn’t use the damn thing’s abilities?

Wasn’t like he could use the other demons, either. They’d experienced the opposite reaction when he touched her, shrieking and scrambling for a new hiding place.

Behind him echoed a light patter of footsteps, then the rustle of clothing. He wanted to watch Haidee dress. He was desperate to see those curves again. Al of her curves this time. Through the white cotton of her bra, every bit of fabric drenched, he’d seen those firm breasts crested with rosy nipples perfect for sucking. And those matching panties…

His spine went rigid as another hot blistering wave of need savaged him. Between her gorgeous legs, at the apex of her thighs, she’d had a little tuft of hair slightly darker than the flaxen mass above. He’d almost dropped to his knees, almost dove in and feasted, shoving those unwanted panties out of the way and tasting the essence of her femininity. Gods, he remembered the sweetness of her.

Knew the heaven that awaited him.

He needed to think about something else before he cut the tether of his control and fel on her and took her. He couldn’t take her. As he’d promised her, he would not al ow himself to touch her again.

He blanked his mind. There was one thing guaranteed to piss him off and keep his hands to himself. Her tattoos. Just the thought had him biting his tongue until he tasted blood.

In the shower, he’d gotten a peek at the travesty that was her back, and each marking had turned portions of his desire into boiling rage. If any part of him had ever doubted who she was, the tattoos there convinced him otherwise.