The Darkest Kiss(2)

By: Gena Showalter


“Why do humans not know about them?” Lucien scrubbed his jaw with two strong fingers, a habit of his. “Paris has watched the news stations and there has been nothing. Not even speculation.”

Silly boy, she thought, relieved sex was not the night’s topic. You know about them only because I wanted you to know. No one else would—or could—see them. She had made sure of that with a sweet little thing called chaos, her strongest source of power, hiding the temples with storms to keep humans away, while at the same time feeding the Lords enough information to draw them the hell out of Buda.

She wanted Lucien out of Buda and off his game. Just for a little while. A disconcerted man was easier to control.

Reyes sighed. “Perhaps the new gods are responsible. Most days I am sure they hate us and long to destroy us, simply for being half-demon.”

Lucien’s expression remained blank. “Does not matter who is responsible. We will travel in the morning as planned. My hands itch to search one of those temples.”

Reyes tossed the now-empty flask onto the table. His fingers curled around the top of one of the chairs, his knuckles slowly bleaching of color. “If we’re lucky, we’ll find that damned box while we’re there.”

Anya ran her tongue over her teeth. Damned box, aka dimOuniak, aka Pandora’s box. Constructed from the bones of the goddess of Oppression, the box was powerful enough to contain demons so vile even hell had not been able to hold them. It was also powerful enough to suck those same demons out of the Lords, their once unwilling hosts. Now these wonderfully aggressive warriors were dependent on the beasts for their survival, and needless to say, they wanted the box for themselves.

Again, Lucien nodded. “Do not think about that now; there’ll be time enough for that tomorrow. Go and enjoy the rest of your evening. Do not waste another moment in my boring presence.”

Boring? Ha! Anya had never met anyone who excited her more.

Reyes hesitated before ambling off, leaving Lucien alone. None of the human women approached him. Looked at him, yes. Cringed when they saw his scars, sure. But none of them wanted anything to do with him—and that saved their lives.

He’s taken, biyatches.

“Notice me,” Anya commanded softly.

A moment passed. He didn’t obey.

Several humans glanced in her direction, heeding her demand, but Lucien’s gaze latched on to the empty flask in front of him and remained, becoming a wee bit wistful. Much to her consternation, immortals were immune to her commands. A courtesy of the gods.

“Bastards,” she muttered. Any restrictions they could place on her, they did. “Anything to screw with lowly Anarchy.”

Anya hadn’t been favored during her days on Mount Olympus. The goddesses had never liked her because they assumed she was a replica of her “whore of a mother” and would jump their husbands. Likewise, the gods had never respected her, again because of her mother. The guys had wanted her, though. Well, until she’d killed their precious Captain of the Guard and they’d deemed her too feral.

Idiots. The captain had deserved what she’d done to him. Hell, he’d deserved worse. The little shit had tried to rape her. If he had left her alone, she would have left him alone. But noooo. She didn’t regret cutting the black heart out of his chest, didn’t regret placing said heart on a pike in front of Aphrodite’s temple. Not even a tiny bit. Freedom of choice was precious, and anyone who tried to take hers away would feel the sting of her daggers.

Choice. The word rang inside her mind, bringing her back to the present. What the hell would it take to convince Lucien to choose her?

“Notice me, Lucien. Please.”

Once again, he ignored her.

She stomped her foot. For weeks she’d cloaked herself in invisibility, following Lucien, watching, studying. And yes, lusting. He’d had no idea she lurked nearby, even as she willed him to do all sorts of naughty things: strip, pleasure himself…smile. Okay, so the last wasn’t naughty. But she’d wanted to see his beautifully flawed face light in humor just as much as she’d wanted to see his naked body glisten with arousal.

Had he granted even that benign request, though? No!