The Darkest Passion / Page 45

Page 45


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They’d spent hundreds of years in Tartarus as cell neighbors. Her wit had been the only thing to keep him sane.


“William?” Gilly’s husky voice suddenly rang out.


He turned on his heel and there she was, standing at the end of a long hallway. She was slender, dark haired, dark eyed, and more…knowledgeable than someone her age should ever be. That should have been clue number one, he thought.


Maybe he’d sensed it, but hadn’t wanted to acknowledge it.


She wore jeans and a T-shirt, and sneakers that had a tracking device hidden in the soles, not that she knew it. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, not a speck of makeup on her face.


That didn’t seem to bother the boy next to her. He was staring at her as if hypnotized. But having heard her say William’s name, that boy had frowned. And when he followed the line of her gaze and spotted William, his frown deepened and he paled.


Boyfriend? Or potential boyfriend?


Someone would have to put a stop to that. She was too young, with too traumatic a past. She needed to be alone. Until she was at least forty.


“Hey, pet,” William said with a finger wave.


Grinning, she rushed forward and threw herself into his arms. He hugged her tight before latching onto her wrists and gently pushing her back. He might enjoy her, might want the best for her, but he didn’t want to encourage her crush anymore.


“What are you doing here?” she asked.


The boy she’d been with eased up behind her. He was tall for a teen, reaching William’s ear, with brown hair and blue eyes.


“Who are you?” William demanded unceremoniously.


“C-Corbin, sir.”


“What kind of a name is Corbin Sir? And if you ever hurt Gilly, I swear to the gods I will personally—”


Gilly slapped William’s shoulder. “Stop. Cori’s my friend. He just wanted to make sure I reached the office okay.”


“Well, that’s admirable,” William said, never removing his narrowed gaze from the boy. “As long as protection was his only goal.”


Corbin pulled at the collar of his shirt. “Are you her…boyfriend or something?”


“Brother,” William said as Gilly said, “Yes.”


His gaze finally whipped back to her, and he arched a brow. Yes? They needed to have a chat, then. Maybe later, though. Hearing the word had caused something to tighten in his chest. He’d figure out what that tightening meant first.


“So why are you here?” she asked again, her cheeks reddening.


He didn’t like that he’d embarrassed her, but there was no help for it. “Aeron’s been hurt. There are problems in the city, and we want you in the fortress with the others until it’s safe again.”


“Aeron?” Corbin asked.


“Another brother,” William informed him.


The boy’s eyes widened. “How many do you have?”


“A lot,” Gilly replied with a weary sigh. “So you’ll be there, Liam? At the fortress?”


Liam. Her nickname for him. Once he’d liked it. Now he saw it as the endearment it was meant to be. Oh, yes. They’d be having a chat. Damn his irresistible beauty. “Yes, I’ll be there. So let’s go home, pet. Aeron’s in the car and he needs some medical attention stat.”


Despite her fear of the Lords, she paled with worry, grabbed his hand and led him from the building. “Bye, Cori,” she called over her shoulder.


“Bye,” the boy returned, and there was a bit of an edge to the sound.


William spied the Escalade but couldn’t see Olivia through the window tint, not to mention the god-awful number of deer now surrounding the vehicle. However, he didn’t have to see her to know that if they failed to get Aeron to the fortress safely, the angel, for all her goodness, would erupt into a seething cauldron of feminine fury. It was there in her eyes, a churning, unstoppable passion just waiting to boil over. Something she probably didn’t realize she was capable of, but William realized it because, unlike his cluelessness with Gilly, he’d picked up on Olivia’s dreams, fears and needs the moment he’d seen her.


Aeron was her everything. If the warrior died, even the gods wouldn’t be able to stop her rampage.


CHAPTER EIGHTEEN


OLIVIA SAT AT THE EDGE of Aeron’s bed, hip pressed to hip. Legion sat on his other side, hip pressed to hip. In their concern for him, they’d worked together to strip him. Olivia hadn’t allowed herself to look at his penis, no matter how often the voice had told her to do so.


Oh, yes. The voice of temptation had returned.Weak as Aeron was, any peeking on her part would have been wrong. He was so weak, in fact, that he hadn’t stirred once. He’d even stopped moaning, though she wasn’t singing, and she didn’t think that was a good sign.


His wound was still seeping, and even though the piece of her robe wrapped around his shoulder was self-cleaning, it couldn’t keep up with the flow and was soaked through. His tattooed skin was clammy, no longer hot with sweat. To warm him up, they’d placed blankets all around him, but it hadn’t affected his plummeting temperature.


As a last resort, they’d sat beside him, hoping their body heat would be the magic cure.


“What did you do to him?” Legion demanded, hands rough as they petted him.


“Nothing,” Olivia replied, though she couldn’t keep the guilt out of her tone. She should have done more for him. “He was shot by Hunters.”


“Because you didn’t protect him.”


Slap her.


Ignoring the voice no longer proved difficult, her concern for Aeron overshadowing everything else. “What could I have done?” The question brought a fresh wave of torment.


“You could have taken the bullet for him. I would have.”


Yes, Legion probably would have. I’m a failure as a girlfriend. Not that she was his girlfriend. But she wanted to be, therefore she should have acted like one. “Even if he survives this—” which he would, she would accept no less “—he’s going to die in a few days because of you.” Oh, Deity. Sorrow joined the torment.


“Liar!” Though the word was snarled, Legion leaned down and gently kissed Aeron’s brow. “Do you hear this, darling? Your angel is a liar. You will never die. I won’t let you.”


Shove her away and claim your man.


Again she easily ignored the voice and the darkness that came with it. “In nine days, an angel assassin will come for him. That assassin will take his head. Because of you. Because you wouldn’t stay in hell where you belonged.” Rage now.


Legion straightened, twisted toward her, teeth bared in a glower. Once more, her eyes were glowing that demon red. “Another word and I’ll stab you while you’re sleeping.”


“While I’m sleeping next to Aeron?” The taunt was all her own, and she couldn’t regret that she’d said it.


“You bitch!”


“Uh-oh. Catfight,” an amused voice said from the doorway.


William.


If only it had been William to fascinate her, she thought then. He would have seduced her that very first day, and because his attention span lasted only a few days, she easily could have given him up at the end of her two-week trial.


Then again, she probably would have taken his head if ordered, so she wouldn’t have sacrificed her future for a little time with him in the first place. Where Aeron was selfless, William was selfish, a trait that would have been irritating in anyone else. William wore it well, that was for sure.


He had one shoulder pressed into the door’s frame, arms crossed over his chest. “Sorry we tried to stab you when we got home,” he said to Legion. He and Paris had been completely taken aback when they’d spied the strange female flying down the steps and shouting Aeron’s name.


They’d tackled her to the ground. Only Olivia’s explanation about who she was—and how she’d gotten that way—had stayed their hands from delivering a deathblow.


Should have stayed quiet, she thought. Not that it would have done any good. Torin, who had eyes and ears all over the fortress, it seemed, had quickly confirmed her story.


“You can’t blame us, though,” William continued smoothly. “The change is mind-blowing. Besides, I figured we’d reached our limit on pretty females long ago and couldn’t possibly be lucky enough to score another.”


Ugh. Flirting. Did William never stop? The only time she hadn’t heard him flirt was on the drive back to the fortress. Gilly had tried to gain his attention, but he’d been strangely silent.


“Well, it’s not like you would provide a real fight for me,” the demon girl grumbled, probably charmed despite herself. Weren’t they all?


“You wound my honor.” He clutched his chest. “We’ll have to fight again later and see who actually comes out on top. I prefer my battles naked. You?”


“You said you were going to talk to the others,” Olivia interjected, moving them along. “Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong with Aeron?”


“That’s actually why I’m here,” William said, accepting the change of topic without protest. “Torin thinks he’s been poisoned.”


Poison. That made sense. And considering the people in high places the Hunters knew, she would bet that poison was heaven-sent. Human poison, like human alcohol, wouldn’t have affected him this severely. “Does Torin have a remedy?” she asked hopefully.


William gave a grave shake of his head. “He’s got the women searching through old scrolls Reyes has, so I’d give them another few hours before you start panicking.”


Hours? Did Aeron have that long? She gulped, tears burning her eyes. Perhaps it was time to change the subject again. If she broke down, she’d be no help to anyone.


“How’s Scarlet?” she asked shakily.


“Locked up and still sleeping. Cute little thing,” he added as an afterthought. “I might have a go at her.”


“Well, I think she’s ugly,” Legion huffed. “Just like the angel.”


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