Greece, in a cave next to the water. I won’t remember any of the good things that happened to me, yet I’m aware that the memories were taken. Not that that makes any sense.

I’l know who I am, every terrible thing that’s ever been done to me, every terrible thing I’ve done, and the hate… God, Amun, I’m always fil ed with so much hate. For the first few years of a new life, that hate is the only thing that drives me.”

He rested his chin on top of her head, his warm breath ruffling strands of her hair, tickling. How long have you been alive this time?

“About eleven years.”

Why have you never come after us before?

She should lie. The truth would destroy the tranquility of this moment. He deserved the truth, though.

After everything, he deserved the truth.

“I have come after you,” she admitted. “A few years ago, some of you were in New York. I helped burn down your home. And then, a few months ago, in Budapest, there was a shootout. I was there.”

No, I mean, in one of your other lives. I’ve been around a long time, yet this is the first time since ancient Greece that I’ve encountered you.

He wasn’t going to take issue with her confession. He wasn’t even going to acknowledge it as the travesty it was.

The realization was staggering. “I always remain in seclusion until I’ve got the hate under control. And even then, I have to wait until I can pass myself off as someone else before I can rejoin society and the Hunters, which means waiting until the people who might have known me are dead.”

How do you know who they are, if most of your memories are taken? And how you are Haidee now, if you’ve changed your identity?

“I’ve come back so many times, and with so many years apart, I’m often able to reuse the same name.

As for the rest, I keep records inside my cave, files detailing everything I’ve been through in one lifetime.

I also send newspaper clippings, photos, that sort of thing, to a mailbox nearby.”

That’s smart. His sincerity warmed her as surely as his touch.

“Thank you.” She lifted her arm, drawing his attention to her tattoos. She’d never done this before, either. Never explained what the etchings meant. If she and Amun were ever going to make a relationship work, though—you want a ful -blown relationship now?—one of them had to take that first, trusting step.

“See this?” she asked, ignoring her question to herself.

With her free hand, she traced a circle around the only address amid the faces, phrases and dates.

His fingers curled around her wrist, slowly turning her arm, al owing him to study each of the surrounding tattoos. He rubbed the pad of his thumb over Micah’s name, as if he could wipe it away. Just then, she wished he could.

Yes, he said. I see.

“That’s where my mailbox is.”

At first, he didn’t respond. Then his breath emerged raggedly and he stiffened. Don’t tel me anything else about how you survive. Okay?

“O-okay,” she said, confused. “Why?” Because he’d feel obligated to tel his friends, but didn’t actual y want them to know? Yes, she realized a moment later. That was exactly why.

The thought of possible betrayal should have sent her leaping out of his lap. Instead, she cuddled closer.

He was stil trying to take care of her.

Who’s the Bad Man? he asked, changing the subject.

Hearing a nickname she’d only ever thought jolted her.

“How did you know about him?”

His thumb brushed the side of her jaw, and she shivered. I had a vision of you. Like the one we saw together, of you on the veranda. Except in this one, you were a little girl.

Everyone else, I can read their minds, but you…I have only ever seen snatches of your life.

First, he could read al minds but hers? That was kind of…

disappointing. She wished he could see al of her, know al of her. If anyone could help her sift through her confused emotions and conflicting desires, it was this man. “The Bad Man was the first Hunter I ever met. He found me after my parents were kil ed.”

Blood, a river between her mother and her father. Both helpless…dead.

Oh, no. No way in hel would she al ow that hated memory to resurface now. “He saved my life after…someone like you tried to kil me. He thought I’d come in handy.” She laughed bitterly. “He was right, he just didn’t know it. I was nearly a teenager when he sold me in the slave market after failing to train me. But after I died the first time, I remembered his lessons and that’s how I later hooked up with the Hunters.”

And that’s when you helped kil Baden? Simply asked, with no hint of his emotions.

Goodbye, sweet, stolen moment. If any topic could ruin their ease with each other, it was that one. Stil .

She nodded, tears once again burning her eyes.

Who did we take from you that drove you to hate us so deeply?

Again, there was no emotion in his voice. Not anger, not condemnation. Far more stunning, his question offered her absolution. A justifiable reason for her actions. He would never know what that meant to her, how profoundly that affected her.

She couldn’t help herself. She pressed a kiss on the pulse thumping at the base of his neck. “My parents.

My sister.




His arms tightened around her. Before, you mentioned only one of us had done the deed. Do you know…do you know which of us it was?

That hesitancy…he feared he was the culprit, she realized.

“I did not see the face of the one who kil ed my parents and sister, but I do know it wasn’t you or any of your friends. He was a demon-possessed warrior, though. As for my husband…” She sighed. “I’m not sure exactly who was responsible, but I do remember seeing your friends the night of his death.”

He tipped up her chin and met her gaze, his black eyes deep pools of regret. He didn’t speak, and neither did she.

Earlier he had offered her absolution, and with her silence, she now did the same for him.

He nodded in understanding, in thanks, and released her chin. His hand slid into her hair, his fingers combing through the strands. Do you know the story of how I came to be demon-possessed?

“I think so. You and the others stole and opened Pandora’s box, unleashing the demons that were trapped inside. The gods decided to punish you, and rightly so,” she couldn’t help but add, “by bonding each of you with a demon of your own.”

That’s right.

“Why’d you steal the box, anyway?”

Zeus asked Pandora to guard it rather than asking us, and we were…upset.

“Insulted, you mean.” Men and their pride, sometimes the reason nations fel .

Yes. We wanted to teach the god king a lesson, show him our worth.

“And did you?”

Hardly. We showed him exactly how stupid we were.

She fought a grin. At least he saw and accepted the truth.

He lifted a lock of her hair to his nose and breathed deeply, a moan of satisfaction drifting through her mind. The reason I brought up the box was to tel you that there were more demons locked inside than there were warriors to punish for unleashing the evil. Those that remained were placed in the prisoners of Tartarus. An immortal prison, he explained.

Ah. She knew where he was going with this. “So the man who kil ed my parents and sister might have been released from that prison.”

Or escaped. Yes.

“And whoever kil ed my husband could have escaped, as wel ?”

That, I don’t know. I wish otherwise, but… If you saw us that night, I’d say there’s a ninety-nine percent chance we were responsible.

No excuses, just brutal honestly. With countless lifetimes steeped in mystery, she appreciated such unvarnished probabilities. She kissed his pulse a second time, letting him know the admission hadn’t propel ed her into a rage.

His sandalwood scent consumed her senses, reminding her of their shower. Which reminded her of their almost-kiss. Which reminded her she was in his arms and had only to stretch up to press their lips together.

Have you seen the man who—have you seen him since?

She blinked. Concentrate. While she’d been opening the doors to her body’s desires, Amun had been focused on the being responsible for her family’s demise, stil determined to look out for her. “A few times,” she hedged.

More like a hundred.

When? Where?

“Each time, just before I die,” she admitted. Always a prelude to the end of her current existence, as if he poisoned whatever life she’d managed to build for herself.

But as many times as she’d seen him, she’d never fought him. And she’d wanted to fight him, so badly.

He would simply reveal himself, that dark robe dancing around his ankles, his feet not quite touching the floor. He would watch her, hate dripping from him. He would curse at her. But he would never touch her or al ow her to touch him. Then, he would disappear.

I need to think on this, Amun said.

Her stomach chose that moment to rumble, and her cheeks flushed with embarrassment.

Once again Amun lifted her up, but this time he placed her on that bed of petals. Instantly she mourned the loss of his arms, his heat. I need to find you something to eat. I was afraid the snakes would harm you, even in their deaths, so I brought none of their meat with us.

Always taking care of her, her Amun. “I wish that stupid angel had packed a few protein bars and bottles of water,”

she said, snappier than she’d intended.

Beside her, the pack in question plumped up with a whoosh. She and Amun shared a confused glance.

Frowning, he leaned over, unzipped the panels and reached inside. He withdrew a handful of protein bars.

His frown deepened as he upended the bag and dumped out the contents: more protein bars, fol owed by bottles of water. Just like that, his frown softened with hints of relief and wonder.

Ask for something else, he commanded.

Haidee lumbered to her knees, not daring to hope. “I wish the pack had sandwiches and fruit.”