The Darkest Surrender(159)

By: Gena Showalter


“Just for today, we’re going to pretend you love me for my body.” He lay back down, pulling her with him. “So, you can start up top and work your way down. Okay, okay. You can also show me how grateful you are for my brilliance while you’re at it. I mean, your sister is safe because of me. It’s the least you can do.”

She barely cut off her laugh. “You’re not afraid I’ll challenge you?”

Those navy eyes gleamed. “Baby doll, I’d be disappointed if you didn’t.”





EPILOGUE





KANE CAME AWAKE IN AN INSTANT, jolting upright. Panic swam through him, perhaps left over from the falling boulders—and deepened when he saw the iron bars around him.

Bars? A cage? He was in a damned cage? What…why…? Before the thought could fully form, he saw that William, unconscious and bleeding, was outside the cage and being carted away.

Dread slapped at Kane, cold and hard and stinging. He reached out, his hand shaky, and tried to shout for his friend. Wake up. Fight. But no words emerged.

Kane swallowed, his throat filled with sawdust. And damn it, his head throbbed like a son of a bitch. His stomach threatened to heave at any moment, his body jostling left and right, left and right.

The cage was being wheeled through a cavernous hallway, he realized. Then dizziness flooded him and he closed his eyes. He measured his breaths, hoping the spinning would stop. The air was hot, humid and layered with the scents of rot and sulfur.

Rot. Sulfur. They could mean only one thing. Hell. He was being taken deeper into hell.

His demon roared.

Kane cracked open his lids and glanced at his surroundings, slow and easy this time. He spotted horned, winged monsters beside his cage. They had scales rather than skin, and glowing red eyes.

Demons. Minions.

The roaring in his head turned to laughter. His demon was genuinely amused. That was not a good sign.

He must have groaned. One of the creatures glanced in his direction and scowled, flashing long, white saber teeth. A moment later, a clawed hand reached inside the cage and batted at his cheek, splitting skin.

Once more, Kane slipped into oblivion.





ONE ITEM LEFT ON HIS LIST, and then he could go after Sienna, Paris thought. All he had to do was find Viola, the minor goddess of the Afterlife and discover how a man like him could see the souls of the dead.

Word was, she frequented a bar in the heavens. He was headed there now. As he stomped along the streets, he withdrew his phone and sent his man Strider a text.

I release U from UR vow

He pressed Send and pocketed the phone. After what he’d learned from Arca about the dangers of the two realms he’d have to enter—and the possibility of never leaving one of them—he wasn’t willing to risk his friend’s life. Especially since the guy had just married his Harpy. Yeah, he’d gotten a text from Strider with the happy news.

I’ll never have that, he thought hollowly. Rather than wallow in despair, however, he opened himself back up to the darkness now constantly frothing inside him. So much darkness. A mist, sweeping through him, turning him into a cold, hard bastard.

Hurt…kill…

Good. He needed that coldness, now more than ever.

No matter what, he would save Sienna—even at the expense of his own life.