- The Darkest Whisper
“No shower. Not without me. You’re so weak you’ll fall.” Sabin gathered her up. He expected her to protest but she burrowed her head in the hollow of his neck. So trusting. Damn, but he liked that.
“I won’t shower, then. Things happen when we shower together.”
As if he needed a reminder. “I’ll control myself,” he told her.
“But will your demon? I don’t have the strength to fight him. Just…give me ten minutes,” she said when he set her down. Her curls were knotted around her head. “Come to my rescue only if you hear bone slam into porcelain,” she added as she gripped the sink for balance.
He felt his lips twitch, beyond relieved that she was strong enough to tease him. “I will.”
Nine minutes later, she emerged, face damp, the scent of lemons wafting from her. His mouth watered for a taste, a deeper, fuller taste than he’d gotten last time. She’d brushed her hair, and it cascaded down her back. “Feel better?”
Her gaze remained fixed on the floor, her cheeks bright with color. “Much. Thank you.” She tried to walk, but both of her knees collapsed.
Sabin had her snuggled against his chest before she hit the ground. Once more, she welcomed his attention. So did he.
“I got my ass handed to me, huh,” she said, wincing when her wounded shoulder brushed the sheets.
“Yes.” He stood at the side of the bed, arms crossed over his chest. “But we can fix that. I’ll train you.” Whether or not she ever fought again, she needed the necessary skills to protect herself.
Whether or not she ever fights again—like it’s a question now? I thought you wanted her to fight, no matter what. He couldn’t blame the hesitation on Doubt. It was all his.
“Okay,” she said, surprising him. Her eyelashes were drifting shut once more. “I’ll let you train me, because you were right. I like the thought of hurting Hunters.”
Not what he’d expected her to say. “You may change your mind before I get through with you. I’ll hurt you, even though it won’t be intentional, make you bleed and break you down.” But she would be stronger because of it, so he wouldn’t go easy on her.
Are you trying to talk her out of it?
No, he just wanted her prepared. He wasn’t hardwired like the other warriors to view female soldiers as weak, fragile and in need of protection. He didn’t coddle them, either, and never had. Maybe that’s why Cameo had chosen to go with him when he and Lucien had split the group. He even treated female Hunters the same way he treated male ones. Had he tortured a few? Yeah. And he wasn’t sorry. He’d do it again, do more if necessary.
With Gwen, however, he was a bit uneasy. She wasn’t just any other female soldier and she wasn’t his enemy.
A breathy sigh. She’d fallen asleep again. He covered her more securely and settled in beside her, resigned to the now familiar task of waiting for her to wake up.
“MOVE EVEN AN INCH, and I’ll take your goddamn head off.”
Sabin came awake instantly. Cold steel pressed into his jugular, a bead of blood trekking down his neck. His bedroom was dark, the curtains over the window drawn. He drew in a breath and caught a scent—female. The intruder smelled of ice and wintry skies. Her long hair tickled his bare chest.“Why’s my sister in your bed? And why is she sleeping—and injured? Don’t tell me she’s fine or I’ll make you eat your own tongue. I can smell the wounds on her.”
The other Harpies had arrived.
Apparently they’d blown through Torin’s state-of-the-art security without a single problem, because none of the alarms were screeching. Still more proof that he needed these women on his team—assuming he still had a team. “Are my men still breathing?”
“For now.” The blade pressed deeper. “Well? I’m waiting, and I’m not the most patient of creatures.”
Sabin remained utterly still, not even trying to go for the weapon under his pillow. Some help here, he said to Doubt.
I thought you hated me.
Will you just do your job?
He swore to the gods the demon sighed inside his head. Are you sure you want to hurt this man? Doubt asked the Harpy. What if he’s Gwen’s lover? Gwen might hate you forever.
Her hand trembled against him, loosening slightly.
Good boy. It was moments like this that made him appreciate the beauty of his curse. “She’s here because she wants to be here. And she’s injured because my enemy came after us.”
“And you didn’t protect her?”
“You’re one to talk.” His teeth ground together. “No. I didn’t. But I learn from my mistakes and it will never happen again.”
“You’re right about that. Did you give her blood?”
There was an irritated growl. “No wonder she’s sleeping with you in the room! How long ago was she injured?”
A gasp of outrage. “She needs blood, you ass. Otherwise she’ll never recover.”
“How do you know? She told me she’s never been injured.”
“Oh, she’s been injured, she just doesn’t remember. We made sure of it. And just so you know, you’re going to pay for every mark on her. Oh, and if I find out you’re lying, that you’re the one who hurt her…”
“I haven’t personally injured her.” Yet. The thought sobered him as nothing else could have.
She eyed him from top to bottom. “Look, I might be impressed by the stories I’ve heard about you, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid enough to trust you.”
“Talk to Gwen, then.”
“I will. In a minute. So tell me. Which demon are you?”
He debated the wisdom of replying. If she knew the truth, she would know to guard herself against Doubt.
“I’m waiting.” The tip of the blade pressed into his carotid.
What the hell, he decided. If he had to unleash the demon, she wouldn’t stand a chance even if she knew what it was. No one did, not even him. “I’m possessed by Doubt.”
“Oh.” Was that disappointment in her tone? “I was hoping for Sex, or whatever you call him. The stories of his conquests are my favorite.”
Yep, disappointment. “I’ll introduce you.” Maybe a good bedding from Paris would lighten the woman’s attitude. For that matter, maybe a good bedding from the woman would lighten Paris’s attitude.
“Don’t bother. I won’t be here long enough to make any memories. Gwen.” In the next instant, Gwen’s body was quaking against him.
The sister was fucking shaking her, he realized with a snarl. Sabin latched on to the Harpy’s wrist. “Stop. You’ll hurt her worse.”
Abruptly the knife left him, her arm ripping free of his grip, and the light was switched on. His eyes watered and he blinked. The Harpy was once again at his neck, but he hadn’t had time to move.
When his vision cleared, he studied her. She was lovely, her skin as luminous as Gwen’s was. But for some reason, Sabin wasn’t transfixed, wasn’t overcome with the urge to bed her. She had bright red hair, not streaked with blond like Gwen’s. They possessed the same amber-gray eyes, though, and the same sensual red lips. Yet where innocence always drifted from Gwen, this woman pulsed with centuries of knowledge and power.
“Listen,” he began, only to be silenced as the knife cut past his skin.
“No. You listen. I’m Kaia. Be glad it’s me who’s wielding the blade rather than Bianka or Taliyah. You phoned Bianka, refused to let her speak with Gwennie, and now she wants to beat you—with your own limbs. Taliyah wants to feed you to our snakes, piece by piece. Me, I’m willing to give you a chance to explain. What were your plans for her?”
He could talk, tell her what she wanted to know, but he wouldn’t. Not like this. If Gwen’s sisters were going to hang around—for despite Kaia’s anger, he thought that they would—and if they were going to fight for him, he had to assert himself as commander.
Without even a twitch of muscle to alert her to his plans, Sabin jerked Kaia on top of him. The blade sank deep, hit a tendon, but he didn’t slow. He rolled her over, away from Gwen, and pinned her with his muscled weight.
Rather than fight him, she laughed, the tinkling sound like candy for his ears. “Smooth move. No wonder she’s in your bed. Must say I’m a little disappointed you didn’t go for my head, though. I expected better of a Lord of the Underworld.”
The bouncing mattress must have finally woken Gwen, because she gasped weakly. Croaked out, “Kaia?”
Kaia shifted her attention, a beauteous smile playing at her lips. “Hiya, baby. Long time no see. And I know you’re thinking I’m mad at you right now for falling asleep, but you’re wrong. I know where to place the blame. In fact, your man and I were just working out a few details about your stay here. How are you?”
“You’re underneath him. You’re underneath Sabin.” Gwen’s pupils were bleeding into gold…white…Her nails were elongating, sharpening. Her teeth gleamed menacingly in the light.
Kaia gaped. “She’s…is she really…”
“Yep. Going Harpy.” Shit. Sabin shoved Kaia from the bed with all of his might. She landed on the floor with a thwack, but he didn’t care. The moment his arms were free, he pulled Gwen into the heat of his body, one hand winding loosely around her neck and caressing her face, the other stroking the soft contours of her belly, where her shirt had ridden up.
Those claws latched on to his shoulders and sank all the way to bone, but he gave no reaction to the pain. She could have done far, far worse.
“We were only talking. I wasn’t going to hurt her. I pinned her to get her blade out of my neck, nothing more. She’s here to help you, wants the best for you.”
“Do you want her?” Gwen rasped.