“I just meant that, uh, my back hurts,” she added. “I need your support.”

“Like a good jockstrap,” William said, patting his boy on the shoulder. “But then, that’s Paris for you.”

Even with Sienna in his arms, Paris managed to give him a two-fingered salute. Mentally, of course, but William saw it all the same.

“I should have asked him to finish you off, rather than to let you go,” she muttered. Then, “Are we heading to the fifth floor?”

Ah. So she knew what was up there. “Yes.”

“Why?” Paris asked.

“You’ll see,” William replied.

Sienna opted to ruin the surprise. “Other demon-possessed immortals are up there.”

“Other demon…” Paris increased his speed, leaving William eating his dust. “Are they armed?”

“No,” she said, “but they’re trapped.”

“Show me.”

“That’s what I was trying to do,” William muttered as he chased after them. One day it would be nice for someone to place him first. Not a lover, though, and not the girl who haunted his dreams. The girl he would protect with his life now and always. She wasn’t meant for him.

His one true love would die—or kill him. It had already been foretold, and there was no other option.


CAREFUL TO KEEP HIS MIND on the situation at hand, rather than on his aching, needy body, Paris stopped in the center of the fifth-floor hallway. He was shocked by what he found. Only Sienna’s slight weight in his arms, her tropical, feminine scent in his nose, her silky hair brushing against his skin, grounded him.

Funny, that. The magnification of her drugging scent should have sent him flying straight into a round of withdrawal—or chewing at her neck. Instead, the need to protect her, even from himself, beat everything else.

There were three immortals up here, a female and two males. They stood at the back of their rooms, staring at him, making no moves toward him. He’d never met them, which meant he hadn’t locked them in Tartarus before his possession. Still, they were glaring at him. Did they know who he was? What he was?

I want them, Sex said.

Wow. What a shock.

A whiny I’m becoming weaker by the minute followed.

Believe me, I know. How he longed for the days when Sex retreated into the land of silence and led him simply through urges. Now, do me a solid and stuff it.

That’s what I’m trying to do!

Crude bastard.

Like Paris was really any better. Over the years Paris had slept with thousands of different people for thousands of different reasons, and not all of them had been about passion. He truly needed to take a woman, like, yesterday, and that’s one of the reasons he was here, to be with Sienna again. But he hadn’t so much as kissed her, even though he was desperate to do so, because he didn’t want to be with her for any reason but passion.

Mutual desire mattered.

She desired him, yes. At least, he was pretty sure he’d caught the scent of her arousal while she’d offered to “service” him, but he’d treated her shabbily. She’d looked at him with those sad, watery eyes, hopeful for forgiveness, and he’d snapped at her.

Damn it, he didn’t want her apology or her gratitude. Didn’t want her pity, and certainly didn’t want her to want him because of his demon’s pheromones. Had he taken her up on her offer, gratitude and pity would have been in that bed with them, as well as anger, distrust and regret. He hadn’t done the ménage thing for a long time.

Maybe he should have taken what he could get, though. Waiting was kind of stupid. Case in point—his current weakness. More than that, Sienna might not give him a second chance. She might run, as he’d feared. It was just, she wasn’t like any of the other women he’d been with, and he didn’t want to treat her as if she were.

What makes her different from the others?

The question sprang from deep within him, throwing him. She was gutsy, but so were others. She was witty, but so were others. She was sometimes sweet and sometimes spicy, but again, so were others.

Mmm, spicy.

Stupid Sex. Anyway. Sienna was also guarded, yet vulnerable. Determined, yet kind. She was willing to go to any lengths to see a mission through to the very end. Just like him. She had seen visions of his past, yet had thrown no judgment his way.

Once, Paris had asked Aeron exactly what the demon revealed in regards to him. The reply had been brutal: all the hearts you’ve broken, all the tears you’ve caused. That’s what Sienna had seen and forgiven. So, yes, she was different, and he liked those differences.

She stiffened when Paris returned to the first door from the landing. That suggested there’d been conflict between her and the man inside. So, of course, Paris studied the guy intently. He was tall, muscled and glaring more fiercely than the others, as if Paris were already tagged and under a microscope. Handsome, if you were into deeply tanned skin and freaky bicolored eyes. Not that Paris was jealous or anything.

But just how much time had the guy spent with Sienna?

“That’s Cameron. He’s the keeper of Obsession,” she said with a tremble.

A tremble born of fear…or desire? I won’t ask. I won’t. With the way they’d left things in the room, and hell, with the things Paris had done since their first parting, the answer wasn’t his business.

“Has he ever touched you?” Damn. He’d asked, and with a whole lot of force.

She looked surprised. “No. The same invisible doors that keep me inside the castle keep them imprisoned in their rooms.”

Her voice. Would he ever get enough of it? His ears hummed with sensation every time she spoke. “Did you want him to touch you?” He had to stop this.


A beautiful reprieve. “Then he can live,” Paris muttered. He repositioned her in his arms, reached out and, yep, sure enough, there was an invisible block preventing him from entering the room.

“So you’re not going to murder him? That’s quite generous of you,” she said dryly.

Irreverent humor from her, with him, was a shocker every time. In each instance they’d been together—and granted, there weren’t many—things had been serious between them, gravely so. He liked that she now felt comfortable enough to tease him.

“I try.” He stopped at the second doorway.

“This is Púkinn, aka Irish. He’s bonded with Indifference,” she informed him.

Indifference was half man, half animal. Horned, clawed and furred. Something out of a nightmare. For real. The man beast just looked Paris up and down and turned away, as if Paris were of no importance.

At the third door, Sienna twirled the ends of her hair around her finger. “Here we have Selfishness,” she said with a hint of…anger? Or the same stinging jealousy he (hadn’t) felt?

“She’s very pretty, isn’t she?” Sienna asked.

“Yes.” The female had the same bicolored eyes as the first male, the same deeply tanned skin. She was attractive, there was no denying that, but he hungered only for the woman in his arms.

“Her name is Winter.”

“That’s great. How long have you been here?” Paris asked, looking down at Sienna instead of the immortal. Her lids were downcast, her lashes causing shadows to tumble over her cheeks. “How long have they been here?”

“I’ve lost track.” The pink tip of her tongue slid over her mouth, leaving a glistening sheen of moisture. “They were here first, though.”

I want to taste her. I will taste her.

His blood heated another degree. Get in line.

With all of Paris’s experience, he was clueless when it came to this woman. What would soften her toward him totally and completely? Not just light a fire under her sympathies, but truly seduce her? She had changed since they’d last met in Rome, but she was still just as much of a mystery to him.

That she’d cried, that she’d apologized, that she’d sounded sincere, all were far more than he’d ever unexpected from her. Try hell had just frozen over shocking. But she had, on all three counts, and she’d looked at him like she’d never looked at him before. As if he were a man worthy of affection and attention. As if he weren’t some dirty, disgusting thing on the bottom of her shoe. As if she wanted to protect him.

How the hell was he supposed to deal with that? How was he supposed to react?

Was he a fool for wanting to believe her? Hell, not wanting to, but actually doing so.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been so offended by her offer to service him. Maybe he should have just taken her up on it. He’d had her on a bed. He could have stripped her, spread her legs and pounded inside her. Her hands would have been all over him, her passion cries ringing in his ears.

He cut off a bitter laugh. He was all twisted up, confused, waffling and contradicting himself. He didn’t trust her; he trusted her. He wouldn’t touch her without passion; he’d touch her any way he could get her. And shit. Why hadn’t she run from him, despite her vow? Or was she too busy regretting her offer to service him to launch into motion?

And really, what did that mean to her? That he could take her here, now, anytime, or that she would go down on him? Don’t think about that. He’d just get hard again.

The bitter laugh escaped. Make that, just get harder. His erection had yet to dissipate, acting like a heat-seeking missile as the female immortal strolled to her doorway, her hips swaying in a totally feline way. Didn’t matter that Paris wasn’t attracted to her. His demon saw, his demon wanted.

Part of him had hoped that being in Sienna’s presence would stop this kind of thing from happening. But, no. Even though he could have her again, his demon still sought other women and always would.

I’m such a prize. No wonder she’d once hoped to slay him.

As carefully as he was able, he set Sienna on her feet. When she moved to his side, he dragged her back in front of him, pressing his erection between the curves of her ass. He hissed at the beauty of the pleasure. Pure, undiluted. Yet…