With a growl, Paris tossed the empty flask as he’d tossed the stone. It slammed into the building’s wall, plumes of dust and rock filling the air. “One day, someone’s going to fascinate you, draw and ensnare you, and you’ll crave her with every cell in your body. I hope she drives you insane. I hope, for a little while at least, she denies you, leading you on a merry chase. Perhaps then you’ll understand a glimmer of my pain.”

“If that’s what’s necessary to repay the favor you did me, then I’ll gladly endure such a fate. I’ll even beseech the gods for it.” Aeron couldn’t imagine ever wanting a female, immortal or human, so much that it disrupted his life. He wasn’t like the other warriors, who constantly sought companionship. He truly was happiest when he was alone. Or rather, alone with Legion. Besides, he was too proud to chase after someone who didn’t return his ardor.

But he’d meant what he said. For Paris, he’d endure anything. “Did you hear that, Cronus?” he shouted to the heavens. “Send me a female. One who will torment me. One who will deny me.”

“Cocky bastard.” Paris chuckled. “What if he actually sends you this unattainable female?”

Gods, that amusement pleased him. It was so like the old Paris. “Doubtful.” Cronus wanted the warriors focused on defeating Galen. Which had been his obsession ever since Danika had predicted the god king would die by Galen’s hand.

As the All-Seeing Eye, Danika’s predictions were always accurate. Even the bad ones. But there was a silver lining: those visions could be used to elicit change. At least in theory.

“But what if?” Paris prompted when his silence dragged on too long.

“If Cronus answers my plea, I’ll enjoy the ride,” Aeron lied with a grin. “Now, enough about me. Let’s do what we came here to do.” He sat up and peered down at the street, scanning the thinning crowd.

To preserve the roads, cars weren’t allowed in this part of town, so everyone had to hoof it. That’s why he’d picked this location. Pulling a female out of a moving vehicle wasn’t something he enjoyed. This way, Paris had only to make his selection and Aeron would spread his wings and fly the warrior down. One glance at the gorgeous blue-eyed devil, and the chosen female would stop and gasp. Sometimes a smile was all that was needed to convince her to strip, right there in public, where anyone lurking in the alleyways could watch.

“You won’t find anyone,” Paris said. “I’ve already looked.”

“What about…her?” He pointed to a plump, scantily dressed blonde.

“No.” No hesitation. “Too…obvious.”

Here we go again, he thought with dread, but gestured to another woman. “And her?” This one was tall and perfectly curved with a short cap of red hair. And she was dressed conservatively.

“No. Too mannish.”

“What the hell does that mean?”

“That I don’t want her. Next.”

For the ensuing hour, Aeron pointed out potential bedmates and Paris shot them down for various— ridiculous—reasons. Too pristine, too rumpled, too tan, too pale. The only rejection that mattered was “I’ve had her before” and as many as Paris had had, Aeron heard that one a lot.

“You’re going to have to settle on one eventually. Why not save us both the hassle, close your eyes and point. Whoever you’re pointing at will be our winner.”

“I’ve played that game once before. Ended up—” Paris shuddered. “Never mind. It’s not good to wander down that particular memory trail. So no. Just no.”

“What about—” His words halted abruptly as the woman he’d been eyeballing disappeared in the shadows. She hadn’t faded from view, as was natural. Normal. She had simply ceased to exist, there one moment, gone the next, the shadows somehow tugged to her as if they’d been jerked on a leash.

Aeron jumped to his feet, wings automatically pushing from the slits in his bare back and expanding. “We have a problem.”

“What’s wrong?” Paris, too, sprang to his feet. Even though he wavered slightly from the ambrosia, he was still a soldier and palmed a dagger.

“The dark-haired female. Did you see her?”

“Which one?”

That answered Aeron’s question. No, Paris hadn’t seen her. If he had, the warrior wouldn’t have needed to ask of whom Aeron spoke.

“Come on.” Aeron snaked his arms around his friend’s waist and leapt from the building. Wind blasted through Paris’s multicolored locks, whipping several strands against his face as the ground loomed closer…closer still… “Be on the lookout for a woman with shoulder-length black hair, straight as a pin, roughly five-ten, early twenties, black clothing. Most likely she’s more than human.”


“Capture. I have questions for her.” Like how she’d disappeared like that. Like why she was here. Like who she worked for.

Immortals always had an agenda.

Just before they hit concrete and stone, Aeron flapped his wings. He slowed just enough to land upright with only a mild jarring. He released his charge, and they instantly branched in separate directions. After thousands of years of fighting together, they knew how to proceed without first outlining every move.

As Aeron sprinted down the alleyway to his left, the direction the woman had been heading, he folded his wings back under their slits. He spotted several people—a couple holding hands, a homeless male draining a bottle of whiskey, a man walking his dog—but no dark-haired female. He reached a brick wall and spun. Damn this. Was she like Lucien? Able to whisk herself to any location with only a thought?

Scowling, he kicked back into motion. He’d search every alley in the area if need be. Only, halfway down, the shadows around him thickened, consuming him, choking out the golden glow of the street lamps. Thousands of muted screams seemed to seep from the gloom. Tortured screams. Agonized screams.

He stopped, lest he slam into something—or someone—and palmed two blades. What the hell was—

A woman—the woman—stepped from the shadows, only a few feet away from him. She was the only light in that sudden, vast expanse of dark. Her eyes were as black as the gloom around her, her lips as red and moist as blood. She was pretty, in a feral kind of way.

Wrath hissed inside his head.

For a moment, Aeron feared Cronus had actually listened to him after all and sent a female to torment him. But as he stared over at her, there was no heat in his veins, no flutter in his heartbeat, as he’d heard the other Lords expound on whenever one found a female he just “had to have.” She was like any other to him: easily forgettable.

“Well, well, well. Aren’t I a lucky girl. You’re one of them, a Lord of the Underworld, and you came to me,” she said, her voice as raspy as smoke. “I didn’t even have to ask.”

“I am a Lord, yes.” There was no reason to deny it. The townspeople recognized him and the others on sight. Some even thought they were angels. Hunters recognized them on sight, as well, but were all too quick to renounce them as demons. Either way, the information could hardly be used against him. “And I did come looking for you.”

At his easy confirmation, her features revealed a hint of surprise. “A great honor, to be sure. Why were you looking?”

“I want to know who are you.” Better question—what was she?

“Maybe I’m not as lucky as I thought.” Those lush red lips dipped into a pout and she pretended to wipe away a tear. “If my own brother doesn’t recognize me.”

Well, he now had part of his answer: she was a liar. “I don’t have a sister.”

She arched a black brow. “You sure about that?”

“Yes.” He hadn’t been born to a mother and father; Zeus, King of the Greek gods, had simply spoken him into existence. Same with all the Lords.

“Stubborn.” She tsked, reminding him of Paris. “I should’ve known we’d be just alike. Anyway, it’s so nice to finally catch one of you alone. Who’d I get? Fury? Narcissism? I’m right, aren’t I? Admit it, you’re Narcissism. That’s why you plastered your body with tattoos of your own face. Nice. Can I call you Narci?”

Fury? Narcissism? None of his brothers carried those demons. Doubt, Disease, Misery and many others, yes, but not those. He shook his head—only to remember that other demon-possessed immortals

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