“So you say,” she shot back.

“No. So I know. You will never know the kind of denial I went through, Corrine. You’ll never know it because I will never let you know it.” As he made the promise, his hands went in different directions, traveling intimately over her slender body. “I can promise you this with all of my heart, sweetness.”

Corrine sighed and smiled into the bed sheets. It was a promise she knew she could believe.


Kane rubbed at his nearly healed wrists, tugging his shirtsleeves down over faint bruises. True, he could have had a Body Demon heal them for him, but there was something poignant about the sight, about touching them, about remembering what he had gone through that Samhain night. He wished he hadn’t healed so fast. He wanted the reminders to last just a little while longer.

He looked up when he heard a door close softly. She appeared like a vision in a dream, wearing something that flowed like soft, shimmering silk around her. The color was a pale aqua, as though clean tropical water clung to her. The dress was unlike anything he’d ever seen her wear before, other than the gown he had chosen for her in an alternate reality. But he had known it was within her, the desire to wear such lush, beautiful things. And she wore it as though she had been born to it. As she walked down the stairs it was like watching an elegant queen.

“Hey, Sis!”

The moment was broken as a raven-haired speedball bolted between Kane and Corrine, throwing herself into her sister’s arms. The sisters hugged fiercely, their opposite colored hair mixing together in an astounding clash of red on black.

“You’d think they hadn’t seen each other in years,” Jacob remarked wryly as he came to Kane’s side and stood there in his usual stoic pose, his arms folded over his chest. But there was softness in his eyes and a slight smile on his lips as he watched his mate. To outsiders the change in him might seem small, but to Kane the alteration in his older brother was profound. It made Kane smile and put off his irritation at being thwarted from having his mate in his arms. Over these past two days he had come to know Bella much better, had learned how dynamic she was. There was much of her sister in her, but there was a wisdom and reserve in Corrine that made her somehow more special to Kane.

“She looks well,” Jacob remarked.

“She’s better,” Kane agreed. “But we don’t have what you and Bella have. I mean, her ability to read my thoughts is limited to times when we are very close and speaking of highly emotional things. And I cannot speak with her from any distance. I don’t like it. I feel that I am missing a key piece of armor when it comes to protecting her. Knowing there are magic users out there and others who might try to harm her to get to me. .”

“The odds of that are very low,” Jacob said as he tried to reassure him. “Has she shown any signs of special ability?”

“No. Not yet.”

“It may take time,” Jacob mused. “We are grateful she is even alive. I am grateful.” Jacob looked at his brother. “It would have crushed me to know I was the instrument that robbed you of the woman who would love you best.”

Kane felt the power of his brother’s guilt as well as his love for him, all in that single statement. It didn’t even matter to him that Corrine had yet to declare her love for him.

She would.

In time, with his love and care coaxing her heart to his, she would.

Corrine looked up at him, over her diminutive sister’s shoulder, and smiled at him.

He read her thoughts and his smile grew.

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