She wasn’t going anywhere, and that was that.

Thankfully, Sex was out for the count and unable to comment.

“All right,” she said. “Let’s talk. I’ll start. Do you hate me now?”

“Hate you? Baby, that might be the stupidest thing you’ve ever said. No offense.”

“None taken. I’m too relieved. After what I did to you…”

“All you did was remind me that I need to up my game where you’re concerned.” And honestly? Her actions had given him hope that she felt as deeply for him as he felt for her.

“You’re not mad at me for going to Galen?”

When he would have done the same thing? “Only at myself. I should have sated you so sublimely, you were never again able to walk.”

“A little more practice on your end,” she teased, “and that’ll be a possibility.”


When she reached up to brush her hair off her face, he saw that she was cut up and bruised. He swallowed back a bark of fury. Having been restrained a time or twelve throughout his life, he recognized the markings for what they were. Rope burns. “Did Galen do this to you?”

Dread shuttered her features. “No, and I don’t want to talk about it.”

Very well. He wanted to reassure her about a few things first, anyway. But he would find out who had harmed her afterward, and as soon as he did, he was going on a rampage for revenge.

“That means you’re ready for talk, part two,” he said, all hint of his amusement gone.

“I—I don’t know about that.”

“Too bad. You need to know that I didn’t sleep with anyone while we were apart.” No matter how weak he’d gotten, no matter how many females his friends had shoved at him. Finally, all but Lucien had continued on their quest to find Sienna.

Mental note: tell Death to call off the search party.

Speaking of, he was pretty sure Lucien had popped in while they were having sex, thinking to protect him from whatever had come to kill him, then had popped back out when he realized what was going on.

“I know.” The tips of her fingers traced languid circles around his nipples. “I trust you. But Paris, you were so near death.” She kissed his chest, just above his heart. “I don’t like that you allowed yourself to get in that condition.”

“Don’t care. And just so you know, Sex missed you, too. You wear a lot of hats, and he wants to do them all.”

She chuckled, a warm, rich sound that acted as manna for his ears. “Right now I’ve got my stern taskmaster hat on, so you two better listen. I have to leave. I just have to, but I need to know you’re taking care of yourself and—”


“Don’t be that way.”

“Try to leave. Just try it. See what happens.”


“You stay or I let myself fade. End of story. Promise me.”

Such heavy silence. “I have a plan I have to see through.”

“Plans change. Deal.”

She banged her fist against his chest. “You are so frustrating.”

“Tell me what I want to hear, Sienna.”

A sigh slipped from her, seeming to drain the fight out of her. “Fine. I’m staying with you, but we’re going to have to brainstorm a solution to our Cronus and Rhea problem, our Galen problem, and our you’re-gonna-die-prophecy problem. Because, did I tell you? Cronus told me that if Galen dies, you and your friends die. If Cronus dies, you and your friends die.”

“I’m not saying I doubt what you’ve heard, but I do doubt the source. But even if what he said is true, there will be a way around this prophecy. There always is. I’m not worried in the least.” In fact, he was overjoyed. And were those tears in his eyes? Yeah. Yeah, they were. If that made him a wuss, that made him a wuss. He didn’t care. She was here, she was staying. She was his.

He glided his arm from around her neck to her lower back, splaying his fingers over her curves. “Thank you,” he said, but the words weren’t enough. They didn’t convey enough. “And now that we’re officially together, I want to tell you some things about me. I want everything out in the open, nothing hidden. I want to share all that I am.”

She must have sensed the direction he headed. “You don’t have to. What happened in the past is the past.”

“Full disclosure. I want you to know what you’re getting with me. That way, if Wrath ever shows you something, or my friends ever say anything, we’ll already have dealt with it.”

“Whatever you say won’t change the way I feel about you.”

“I’m glad, but I’m doing it anyway.”

Her sigh caressed his skin oh, so deliciously. “All right.”

She loved him. She’d copped to the feeling. This would be okay. “I’m an ambrosia addict. But I haven’t touched the stuff since before reaching you,” he rushed to add. “And if something ever happens and I’m exposed to your blood, you don’t have to worry. I will not hurt you.”

Her silky hair tickled his chest as she nodded. “I know you won’t hurt me, but Paris, I drugged you. I didn’t know about your addiction, or I would have found another way to knock you out. I am so, so sorry, and I will never forgive myself.”

He hated the implication that she would have left him still, but he drank up her concern for him. “Forgive yourself right now. That’s an order. But I will, of course, be spanking you before I forgive you.”

The most adorable noise escaped her, a snort and a laugh combined. “I accept the spanking. Deserve it.”

His lips twitched with the sweetest kind of humor. “You can’t accept your own punishment, baby. You’ll have to fight me.”

She purred, actually purred, and the vibrations had him rock-hard again.

Tell her the rest, so you can move on to the good stuff. He lost his half grin. “Okay, here’s part three. I know you told me you’ve seen my past, but I’m not sure if Wrath showed you everything. I told you about that one slave, but he wasn’t the only one. I’ve…been with men.”

Not even a pause. “Oh, yeah? Well, in college I kissed a girl. She was my roommate, it was raining outside, dark with the occasional flashes of lightning, romantic yet scary. You know how it goes.”

That she wasn’t going to make a big deal about it, that she again just accepted each facet of him…no wonder he loved this woman. “Did you like it?”

“I kinda did,” Sienna said in a scandalized whisper.

Mmm, but he liked her scandalized. Wondered what he could do to ramp that up, what would make her nervous but too excited to say no. Finding out, well, he’d never looked forward to a bedding more.

“Later, after your spanking, we’re gonna do a little role playing. I’m going to be your sweet, innocent roommate, Parette, and you’re going to demonstrate that kiss on me.” And then I’m going to talk you into doing things you’ve only ever dreamed about.

“Incorrigible beast.”

“But you love me anyway.”

“I love you always.”

Before he could respond, there was an explosion of white light at the front of the tent. In a flurry of movement and frothing rage, Paris grabbed both the crystal blades, pressing one into Sienna’s hand. He was standing a moment later, unconcerned by his nakedness.

Cronus had arrived, and if his fearsome scowl was any indication, he was ticked. First instinct: attack. Paris tamped it down. Barely. Second: recon. Answers, he needed answers.

The king’s narrowed gaze slid past Paris and onto Sienna, who had just finished righting her clothing. “You ruined everything,” he growled.

Paris moved in front of her, blocking the king’s view. Cronus merely pointed to the side of the tent, and Paris was propelled there on a powerful gust of wind, his arms spread, his legs spread, invisible ropes tying him in place. Though he fought, he couldn’t free himself.

Helpless. Just like that. Panic was like bitter pills in his mouth, and he swallowed so many he might just overdose.

Darkness…so much darkness…I will hurt him. I will kill him. He struggled so viciously his muscles began to tear from his bones. That didn’t slow him.

A scowling Sienna popped to her feet. Use the crystal, he projected with the last vestiges of his control. She didn’t; she stood her ground, her chin held high.

“I’m not going back to Galen,” she announced.

“Even if he were addicted to you, Galen will not trust or follow you now. He hates you. You took his prisoner, damaged his soldier, and he is not the type to forgive or forget. To him, every offense is to be returned a thousandfold.”

Those gossamer black wings extended. “There’s another way. We’ll find it. Just give us time.”

“Time? Time.” Menace pulsed from Cronus. “You once asked me why I wanted you willing. The answer was simple. Eventually you would have turned on me. Now you have and that’s no longer a concern. So, no, I’m afraid you’re out of time. Now I will destroy everything you hold dear.”

Paris snarled as Cronus vanished and reappeared in front of Sienna in a single blink. He snagged her by the hair. At last Paris managed to free himself, both shoulders popping out of joint. He was running for them. Nearly upon them.

Just before he reached her, Sienna shouted, “Zacharel! I summon you.”

Cronus reached out and stabbed Paris just before Paris reached them. Sienna gasped. The pair vanished, her gaze locked on Paris as he fell to his knees, a searing pain consuming him.


“WE ARE NOT DOING THIS again,” Sienna shouted, worried for Paris, desperate to return to him. “I’m sick of everyone flinging me where they want me to be.” Black, all around her. In her nose, in her lungs, pouring through her bloodstream. No color, no life, just an endless void. “That ends now.”