The Darkest Kiss(3)

By: Gena Showalter


A part of her wished she’d never seen him, that she hadn’t allowed Cronus, the new king of the gods, to intrigue her with stories about the Lords a few months ago. Maybe I’m the idiot.

Cronus had just escaped Tartarus, a prison for immortals and a place she knew intimately. He’d imprisoned Zeus and his cohorts there, as well as Anya’s parents. When Anya returned for them, Cronus had been waiting for her. He had demanded Anya’s greatest treasure. She’d declined—duh—so he’d tried to scare her.

Give me what I want or I’ll send the Lords of the Underworld after you. They are demon-possessed, as blood-hungry as starving animals, and they will not hesitate to peel the lovely flesh from your bones. Blah, blah, blah. Whatever.

Far from frightening her, his words had caused excitement to bloom. She’d ended up seeking out the warriors on her own. She’d thought to defeat them and laugh in Cronus’s face, a sort of look-what-I-did-to-your-big-scary-demons kind of thing.

One glance at Lucien, though, and she’d become instantly obsessed. She’d forgotten her reasons for being there and had even aided the supposedly malevolent warriors.

It was just that contradictions tantalized her, and Lucien had so very many. He was scarred but not broken, kind but unbending. He was a calm, by-the-book immortal, not blood-hungry as Cronus had claimed. He was possessed by an evil spirit, yet he never deviated from his own personal code of honor. He dealt with death every day, every night, yet he fought to live.

Fascinating.

As if that wasn’t enough to prick her interest, his flowery fragrance filled her with decadent, wicked thoughts every time she neared him. Why? Any other man who smelled like roses would have made her laugh. With Lucien, her mouth watered for a taste of him and her skin prickled with white-hot awareness, desperate for his touch.

Even now, simply looking at him and imagining that scent wafting to her nose, she had to rub her arms to rid herself of goose bumps. But then she thought about him rubbing her, and the delicious shivers refused to go away.

Gods, he was sexy. He had the freakiest eyes she’d ever seen. One was blue, the other brown, and both swirled with the essence of man and demon. And his scars…All she could think of, dream about, crave, was licking them. They were beautiful, a testament to all the pain and suffering he’d survived.

“Hey, gorgeous. Dance with me,” one of the warriors suddenly said at her side.

Paris, she realized, recognizing the promise of sensuality in his voice. He must have finished screwing that human against the wall and was now looking for another bimbo to sate himself on. He’d just have to keep looking. “Go away.”

Unaffected by her lack of interest, he grabbed her waist. “You’ll like it, I swear.”

She brushed him aside with a flick of her wrist. Possessed by Promiscuity, Paris was blessed with pale, almost glittery skin, electric-blue eyes, and a face the angels probably sang hallelujahs over, but he wasn’t Lucien and he did nothing for her.

“Keep your hands to yourself,” she muttered, “before I cut them off.”

He laughed as if she were joking, unaware she’d do that and more. She might deal in petty disorder, but she never uttered a threat she didn’t plan to see through. To do so smacked of weakness, and Anya had vowed long ago never to show a single hint of weakness.

Her enemies would love nothing more than to exploit it.

Thankfully, Paris didn’t reach for her again. “For a kiss,” he said huskily, “I’ll let you do anything you want to my hands.”

“In that case, I’ll cut off your cock, too.” She didn’t like having her ogling interrupted, especially since she rarely had time to indulge. Nowadays, she spent most of her waking hours dodging Cronus. “How’s that?”

Paris’s laughter intensified and managed to snag Lucien’s attention. Lucien’s gaze lifted, first landing on Paris, then locking on Anya. Her knees almost buckled. Oh, sweet heaven. Paris was forgotten as she fought to breathe. Did she imagine the fire that suddenly sparked in Lucien’s mismatched eyes? Did she imagine the way his nostrils flared in awareness?

Now or never. Licking her lips, never removing her gaze from him, she eased into a sensual bump and grind and made her way toward his table. Halfway, she stopped and motioned for him to join her with a crook of her finger. He stood in front of her a moment later, as if he’d been pulled by an invisible chain, unable to resist.