Final y the kiss slowed…slowed…and then Haidee leaned back. “Are you okay?” Soft knuckles stroked his cheek.

Just need…a moment… Amun closed his eyes and settled on his haunches, inhaling unhurriedly, exhaling with care.

Every muscle in his body was locked in a desperate tug-of-war with his bones, lancing thousands of aches through every part of him. Al at the same time. From the demons, yes, but also from unfulfil ed desire. He hadn’t been ready to stop.

“My internal thermometer gets the better of me sometimes.

I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to—I could feel it… I’m sorry,”

she said again, a trace of misery in her tone. “I’l control it, I promise.”

No apologies, he told her. You did nothing wrong. Besides, I like it.

He wasn’t sure why the demons were calmed by her one moment, then roused by her the next. He wasn’t sure how she pul ed on them or why they reacted that way, but he would puzzle over the answer later. With the distance between him and Haidee—minute though it was—the heat returned to him and the demons ceased fighting so stringently. For the moment, that was enough.

Secrets, though, had remained unaffected throughout the entire ordeal. Amun didn’t think his soul-companion had liked the change in temperature, but the beast hadn’t been

—and stil wasn’t, because yes, Amun planned to have another go at his woman—screeching in fear. His woman.

The phrase delighted him in a way he never would have expected. But she was. His. In every way that mattered—

and soon in every way imaginable. His friends wouldn’t understand. Might even hate him, might consider him a traitor. He couldn’t make himself care. Just then, her wel -

being came before his own.

The change in his mind-set was radical, even to him, and he wasn’t quite used to it yet. That didn’t lessen the impact, though. He’d held her in his lap, listened to her story of loss, had heard the heartbreak in her voice, and something inside him had broken. He’d begun to comprehend the truth. They were alike in so many ways. Determined, constantly bombarded by the worst the world had to offer—

people, places, circumstances—yet finding joy where they could.

He wanted this woman. Would have her. And yeah, maybe he was driven purely by desire right now, convincing himself of feelings he wouldn’t normal y entertain to ease the shame of being with the enemy, but he didn’t think so.

“Maybe it’s best that we stopped,” she whispered on a trembling breath. “I—I stil can’t sleep with you.”

Amun’s eyelids sprang open, and he knew flickers of firelight showcased the dark menace in his eyes.

Because of him? he demanded.

“Yes. I won’t cheat.”

He popped his jaw. When did you last sleep with him? With every new word, there had been an increase of rage in his voice.

“I didn’t. Not once.”

The rage vanished in a blink. Had she said yesterday, he would have wanted her stil —he doubted anything could change that—but knowing Micah hadn’t touched her in that way stoked his new sense of possession. When you dated him, you thought he was me, he reminded her.


Amun gripped her hips, urged her forward and rubbed against her. Then you are cheating on me by staying true to him.

She moaned, her eyelids drifting to half-mast. When he forced her to steady, she nibbled on her bottom lip, white teeth sinking deep. “Maybe I am, but there’s stil a note of dishonesty there. So, no sex. Not until I tel him we’re over.


But Amun could kiss her, she was saying. The rage returned ful -force. Kissing is a form of cheating, Haidee.

He knew how he would react if he caught her kissing another man. Blood would flow.

Her shoulders sagged, her expression suddenly tortured.

“You’re right. I’m sorry. I know you’re right. You just make me so…hot. We’l stop, then. For good.

Until—just until.”

Break up with him in your mind. Now.

“In my heart and in my mind, he and I are done already. But I have to tel him, Amun. He deserves to know. I know you won’t believe me, but he’s a good man.”

Amun had just realized he would do anything to protect this woman, even give up life as he knew it, simply to be with her. Yet she couldn’t let go of an old boyfriend for him. Not completely. While part of him admired such loyalty, the other part wanted that loyalty directed only at himself.

No sex, she’d said, and now, because of what he’d said, no kissing, either. Wel , then, by the gods, he would do everything else. Scowling, he caught her by the back of her knees and jerked, tossing her to her back. She landed on the flower petals, their softness cushioning the blow. Before she could suck in a breath, he was atop her, shoving her legs apart and fitting himself against her.

Don’t cheat me, Haidee. Don’t cheat me. Please.

She groaned, as if in pain, and then she settled. “I—I—

maybe I’m a terrible person, but I need you to kiss me.


Not terrible. Perfect. In that moment, he found he could deny her nothing. So, kiss her? Yes, even though he’d thought to balance the scale. Their mouths met in a frenzied tangle, licking, sucking, biting.

As promised, she kept her temperature under control. Stil cold, but never freezing.

How she did so, he didn’t know. And he didn’t like that she couldn’t let go completely, that she had to remain guarded.

When this was over, he vowed, when he’d gotten rid of the demons inside him, he would have her. Al of her. The cold and every inch of her luscious body. Even her heart. He would shield his own, of course—wanting her, needing her, that was fine, but he would be owned by no one—but by gods, he absolutely would have hers.

He unsnapped her jeans and kicked them down her legs…

off. She didn’t protest, didn’t try to stop him. She trusted him not to cross the line she had drawn. Again he found himself torn, liking that she trusted him, hating that she didn’t crave more from him despite everything against them, as he did. Hating that she had him addicted to her, but didn’t seem to be addicted to him.

Wel , he would just have to change that.

Amun kissed and nibbled his way to her breasts and once again laved her nipples. When she was writhing, hips lifting, greedy for a touch, any touch, he worked his way to her navel. There, he tormented her with fleeting, gentle bites while his fingers toyed with the band of her panties, at her waist, around her thighs, but never stroking where she needed him most.


Begging now. Good, that was good. What he’d wanted.

Yet, his body ached with such unfulfil ed desire, he wasn’t sure he would live through this encounter.

Sweat beaded on his brow, his skin pul ed taut and consuming need blistered him inside and out.

I’m going to taste you again. Take you to the end this time.

Final y he kissed her between her legs, flicking his tongue against the damp fabric of her panties.

Her hips shot up, and she cried out uninhibitedly. “Yes!”

You’re going to give me everything.

“Ye—no.” She undulated, seeking more of his mouth. “I can’t.”

I know. But soon.

“Soon. Yes, soon.”

With that promise ringing in his ears, he ripped the material away and feasted on her. At the first true glide of his tongue, she screamed with absolute abandon. He tasted her femininity and those frosted apricots he’d scented the night they met. He’d thought himself on fire before, but this…this burned him alive.

His cock fil ed to the point of bursting, and he ground himself into the hard floor, pumping as if he were already inside his woman. She tugged at his hair, not to pul him away but to urge him on.

He licked inside her, feeling those tight wal s close around his tongue. He sucked and swal owed, laved and flicked at her clitoris. Soon she wasn’t just writhing, she was making love to his mouth, moving against him, legs finding their way to his shoulders, heels digging into his back.

Hands over your head, he commanded, and he was immensely glad he could speak into her mind, that he didn’t have to stop what he was doing.


Do it.

Hesitantly she released him and drew her arms high.

Clasp the rock behind you.

This time she obeyed without question.

Don’t let go. He grabbed her thighs, lifted, and twisted her so that she faced the ground. Twisted himself, too, ramming himself beneath her, but stil between her legs.

Her body fel back on him, her core directly over his face.

Her grip on the rock kept her from smashing face-first into the petals, but didn’t save her from the increase of pressure his mouth caused as his tongue sank deeper than before.

“Oh, God. Amun!” Tremors rocked her, vibrating into him.

So wet. So perfect.

“Amun. Please, more, need, want.”

With one hand, he clasped her hip. With the other, he stroked his cock. And as he worked her, he worked himself, pretending they were making love. She pumped against him, up and down, her essence al over his face, and he matched her with the movement of his hand.

So damned good. Had he ever experienced something this good? Impossible.

“Hurry! Have to…almost…need…”

Him. She only needed him. He released her hip and reached under her, never ceasing his carnal attentions. On either of them. Feverish, he impaled her with two fingers.

Tight. She was so tight. And as he slammed those fingers deep, so deep, she convulsed around him, pul ing him even deeper.

“There!” she shouted, the climax razing her voice as every muscle she possessed clamped down, trying to hold him inside.

Feeling her spasm around him sent him over the edge. He erupted, hot seed jetting onto his stomach.

And when the last of the shudders left her, when the last drop of come was squeezed from him, she rose on her knees, panting, severing that intimate contact. They moaned in unison at the loss.