There was something inhuman about it, and it had a prehistoric quality to it. It was a small noise, one that Penn had seemed to make unconsciously, but it was enough to make his skin crawl.
“I still can’t decide what I’m going to do with you,” Penn admitted with a sigh. “One minute, I can’t wait to devour you, and the next, I’d much rather sleep with you.”
“Why do you want to do anything with me?” Daniel asked. He sat down on the seat at the edge of his boat and pulled on his shoes.
“I don’t know,” she said, and that seemed to upset her.
Daniel looked up at her, squinting in the bright sunlight, and she leaned back against the bench across from him. Her legs were stretched out long before her, and she tilted her head back, letting her hair hang over the edge of the boat.
“Are you familiar with Orpheus?” Penn asked.
“No.” He’d finished putting on his shoes and leaned back. “Am I supposed to be?”
“He’s a very popular figure in Greek history,” Penn said. “He’s renowned for musical ability and poetry.”
“Sorry, I don’t read that much poetry,” Daniel replied.
“Neither do I.” She shrugged. “I never read much of his, anyway. But when I was with him, he’d all but stopped writing and he’d given up his music and went by the name Bastian. The ‘mythology’ says that he died after the death of his wife, but the truth is that he only changed his name and gave up his old life.”
“So he’s like you, then?” Daniel asked. “Immortal or whatever?”
Penn nodded. “He is. But unlike sirens, who gained their immortality through a curse, he got his from being blessed. The gods were so pleased with him and his music that they granted him eternal life.”
“Why are you asking me about this guy?” Daniel asked. “What does he have to do with me?”
“Nothing, probably.” Penn crossed and uncrossed her legs. “We were very close for a while, Bastian and I. He was one of a handful of immortals who was immune to siren song. All the gods and goddesses were unaffected by it, but many of the other immortals—humans who gained eternal life from either a curse or blessing—still succumbed to it.
“But not Bastian.” She stared off, something wistful flitting across her expression, but she quickly erased it. “Anyway. I thought maybe you were a relation of his.”
“I’m fairly certain that nobody’s immortal in my family tree.” He stood up. “Listen, Penn, it’s been great, but I really have to get to work. I have—”
Before he could finish his sentence, she was upon him. She pushed him down so hard, his back slammed painfully into the bar. Then she leapt on him, straddling him. She squeezed her thighs tightly against his sides so he couldn’t move.
One of her hands was pressed against his chest, the razor-sharp fingernails poking through his shirt and digging into his flesh. The other was on his neck, but this one was almost caressing him, her touch soft and gentle.
With her face hovering right above his, her lips nearly touching his, her black eyes stared right into him. She leaned in closer, pressing her chest against his, so his shirt would be left damp.
“I could eat your heart right now,” Penn told him in a provocative whisper, and she stroked his cheek gently, her fingers running along his stubble.
“You could,” Daniel agreed, meeting her gaze evenly. “But you’re not.”
“I will, though.” She studied him for a moment. “Eventually.”
“But not today?” Daniel asked.
“No. Not today.”
“Then I need to get to work.” He put his hands on her waist, and when she didn’t react with clawing or yelling, he lifted her up and set her on the seat next to him.
Penn pouted. “Work is so drab.”
Daniel shrugged. “It pays the bills.”
He’d moved away from Penn to the edge of the boat and was about to step off when he felt Penn’s hand clamp onto his wrist. She moved supernaturally fast, and it was hard for him to get used to that.
“Don’t go,” Penn said, and it was the pleading in her words that made him pause. She knelt on the bench next to him with a strange desperation in her eyes. Hurriedly, she blinked any emotion away, trying to recover with an uneasy smile that was probably meant to be flirtatious.
“I have to,” he insisted.
“I can pay you more,” she said, her tone almost comically breezy.
For all her attempts at trying to seem nonchalant, her grip on his wrist had only tightened. It’d gotten rather painful, but Daniel refrained from pulling it free. He didn’t want her to know that she was hurting him.
“What would you need me to do?” Daniel asked.
“I could think of something.” She winked at him.
He rolled his eyes and finally yanked his arm free. “I’ve told them I’d build the sets for the play, and I’m a man of my word. They’re expecting me.”
“A fence,” Penn said hastily as Daniel climbed off his boat. She stayed behind, leaning on the rail so she faced him. “You could build a fence around my house.”
“What do you need a fence for?” he asked, waiting on the dock to see if she had any good reason for it.
“What does it matter to you why I need a fence? I just need one.”
“I have my hands full already.” He turned away from her.