The heat of his touch…the rough texture of his palms…another shiver stole through her. “I’m not sure.” Did she sound as breathless to him as she did to herself? “I was walking aimlessly, searching for the exit. You wouldn’t happen to know where it is, would you?”

“Yeah. Two days’ walk in the other direction.”

“Oh.” She’d have to pass the castle, then, and if she passed it, she would be drawn inside. No question. If she went inside, she wouldn’t come out again.

“I’ll take you,” he said at the same time Zacharel said, “I can fly you there in just a few hours. And I am not impotent. I have simply never experienced desire.”

Whoa. Talk about an attention stealer. Questions immediately poured through her mind. Why not? Were angels asexual? How old was he? What kind of woman could break through that icy shell and jump-start his hormones?

Maybe when things settled down she would set the angel up with someone—not that she knew anyone—because no one should go without physical contact of some kind. It hurt.

When she’d first opened her eyes and discovered her new ghostly form, she had tried to touch someone, anyone. No one had sensed her, in any way, and her mind had threatened to snap from the lack of sensation.

“You’re not flying her anywhere,” Paris growled. He’d been watching her, she realized, gauging her reaction to Zacharel’s offer. “I told you. No touching. Besides that, she stays with me, by my side. That’s nonnegotiable.”

She could have argued with him. Should have argued with him. They had no future together, and prolonging the inevitable would destroy her in the end. But the thought of two more days with him proved irresistible.

“I stay with him,” she said with a nod.

A flare of satisfaction sparked in Paris’s eyes as he, too, nodded his approval.

“After you have a woman, you quickly grow tired of her,” Zacharel said. “Is that why you are so eager to be alone with this one?” He sounded genuinely curious rather than waspish, yet the words stung all the same. “If that is the case, then I will gladly allow you some time together.”

She must have flinched, because Paris released her and spun for attack, two daggers in his hands.

“Do you want to die?”

Zacharel remained focused on her. “You have only to say my name, female, and I will come for you.” He vanished.


PARIS LUNGED FOR ZACHAREL, encountered only air and let loose a dark stream of curses. The main one being, “Stupid cock block.” He turned back to Sienna with narrowed eyes. “Say his name, and sign his death warrant.” He didn’t give her a chance to respond—not that she knew what to say—but returned to her side and swooped her into his arms. He started forward, his pace smooth, her weight seemingly insubstantial. “There’s a cavern up ahead. We’ll get you patched up before heading for the exit.”

“How do you know there’s a cavern?” She’d lived here for months, far longer than Paris had, yet she hadn’t known about any caverns.

“I scouted out the area when I first arrived.”

Such a warrior thing to do, and sexy as hell. She sighed and let her head drop onto his shoulder. The muscles bunched beneath her cheek. And now that they were heading toward the castle, the tug became less pronounced, allowing her to relax.

“You know,” she said, “we’ve only been reunited a short time, but this is, like, the hundredth time you’ve had to carry me.”

A snort. “Your math might be a little off, baby. Besides, I like carrying you.”

Baby. She loved when he called her by the endearment, loved the way his voice dipped so huskily. Her chest constricted, and her belly quivered. He was the first to ever speak to her in such a way and, unlike the time he’d called her “sweetheart” so long ago, he clearly meant it to be something special just for her.

As she rubbed her cheek against him, his champagne-and-chocolate scent hit her, more intense than ever before, and derailed her thoughts. She pressed her nose against his hammering pulse, drinking in as much of the aroma as she could. Her nerve endings perked up, singing for his touch, his caress.

His gait slowed. A few steps later, he tripped.

Was he distracted by her, or injured? Concern overshadowed her arousal when she recalled the cuts on his arm. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” he replied gruffly. The reassurance was ruined a second later when he stumbled over a rock.

Definitely injured. “Put me down.” She struggled against his hold. “I want to walk.”

“Be still,” he hissed, as though in pain. “Distract me. Tell me why you joined the Hunters. You told me before, that day I woke up in your cell, but some of the details are missing.”

She struggled until the rest of her strength drained, and got nowhere. Even in a weakened state, he was stronger than she was.

Every new thing she learned about him made her want him more, and made him that much sexier.

Ultimately she relaxed back against him, conceding defeat only long enough to plan. Or not. Her thoughts derailed a second time as more and more of his scent permeated her skin. Desire for him began to overwhelm her.


His question. Right. And, okay, fine. If he wanted to carry her despite his weakness or whatever was wrong, she would let him carry her. Being close to him was a need. “I bought into their ideology. I was convinced the world would become free of hurt, disease, badness and evil if only you and your friends were destroyed.”

“Killing us won’t turn the world into a utopia. Humans make their own choices, bringing the bad and the evil on themselves. But let’s say we do influence the world. Would that matter? People still have choices. They can resist, fight, and choose to act as they were meant.”

“I know that.” She licked her lips and imagined licking her way to his—then lower. “Now.”

“Do you really?”

“If I repeat my answer, will you finally believe me?”

A moment passed in silence. A silence as thick and heavy as the air around them. “Yes.”

She blinked in surprise, momentarily distracted from the subject at hand. “Why?”

“Because I want to believe you.”

Not because he trusted her, she thought, and tried not to be disappointed. But then, asking for his trust would be like asking a human male to gift her with the moon and the stars. Impossible. And yet his faith, even given for that reason, was a promising start.

“Then, yes, I truly believe killing you would serve no purpose.”

The edge of his jaw appeared chiseled from stone as he nodded. “Next question. Has Cronus ever told you why he enslaved you?”

A dangerous topic, but she said, “Yes.”

He shifted his hand, his fingers brushing the underside of her breast. Just like that, the desire returned. “Well. Tell me.”

Trying to seduce the information out of her? No need. She’d lied to him once upon a time, and she’d already decided never to lie to him again. Trust was a precious thing, and she wouldn’t turn her back on his, no matter the trouble she courted. “He wants me to return to the Hunters, watch their leader and steal his secrets.”

Against her cheek, she felt his heart stop beating. Just stop. One second, two. Finally the organ kicked back into gear, but its strikes were too fast, too brutal.

“Will you?” he asked. They’d reached the entrance of the cavern, which just happened to be the mouth of one of the giant skulls. Paris had to hunch his shoulders to get inside without scraping his head on the teeth.

“Yes,” she whispered, praying her inner torment over the fact remained hidden. “I will.”

“For Cronus or for yourself?”

“For…all of us. For answers about my younger sister. She’s missing, has been for years. For vengeance. I hate the Hunters. Hate what they do.” For you, she added silently. “Though hopefully I won’t have to do things Cronus’s way.” No reason to mention the mistress thing. Her plan to sneak in now, interrogate and kill could work.

Whether Paris believed her or not, he didn’t say. He carted her to the center of the enclosure, where a natural spring rested, and set her on the ledge. He arranged her wings so that their tips wouldn’t scrape the dirt floor.

A frigid breeze blasted through, filling up the entire space and making her shiver. Silent, Paris started a fire the old-fashioned way, sparking two rocks together and letting the flames catch on the twigs he’d gathered. Golden flames illuminated his face, bathing his features in a heady mix of light and shadow.

He was always beautiful, but just then he was mouthwateringly exquisite. A mythical god of the heavens, no mere mortal worthy of him. Especially not her.

“I didn’t come here to punish you,” he said.

She remembered the accusation she’d launched at him while he’d had her pinned to the wall, her lips stinging from the brutal kiss he’d forced on her. A kiss she might have enjoyed under any other circumstances. But at that moment, as scared as she’d been of the shadows and of her feelings for him, she’d needed gentle.

Until gentle hadn’t been enough for her riotous body.

“I’m glad,” she said softly.

“You believe me? Just like that?” He snapped his fingers.


His gaze jerked to her, crackling with the same flickering heat as the fire. “Why?”

“Because I want to.”

An angry shake of his head, dark hair whipping against his cheeks. “Or maybe because you’re grateful to me.”

She licked her lips, tasting him in the air, knowing they were now talking about something entirely different. “No.”

“Or because you merely wish to keep me strong.”


“Certainly not because you desire me,” he said, his tone sharp as a whip. “Not because you hunger for me.”