Untouchable Darkness (The Dark Ones Saga, #2)(8)

“I don’t want you dead.”

“Things would be easier if I were,” he whispered.

“Since when have you ever taken the easy way out?”

He broke eye contact and looked down. I’d never seen Cassius do that in all the time I’d known him. His confidence never wavered.

Yet as a human I could see chinks in his armor as if he was falling apart before my very eyes.

“Hey.” I grabbed his arm, and immediately I regretted it as tiny ice crystals formed around my fingertips and imprinted themselves against his smooth skin.

He hissed and pulled back. “Huh, never thought I’d be on the receiving end of that.”

“What?” I clenched my hand into a tiny fist, flexing my fingers.

Cassius caressed the spot on his arm that I’d just touched or marked was more like it. You could still see the indentation where my hand had just been. “Pity… and…” He let out a long exhale like it was getting harder to breathe. “It’s not easy to combat, is it?”

“What? Pity?” Was he losing it? Was being a human finally taking a toll on his once immortal brain? Was that part of his punishment from Sariel?

“The pull… the flavor…” He licked his lips as if he could taste me. “The promise of a Dark One’s touch.”

“But I just touched you. I didn’t…”

“You tried to mark me.” He exhaled again and rubbed his arm vigorously. “We should go, before you kill me.”

“I would never—”

“Just drive the car, get me to Ethan’s in one piece, and then I promise we’ll talk more.”

“No more running away?”

“Where could I possibly go where you wouldn’t find me?”

I wasn’t sure if that was a compliment or just a jab at my stalker tendencies considering he knew how I felt about him, so I left it alone and pulled back onto the freeway.

The car ride was as silent as death the entire way to Ethan’s.

And I couldn’t help but wonder if Cassius being turned human, was the final nail in the coffin.

Hope died in my chest as I realized—I would never be his equal even as a Dark One. He would always be on step ahead of me. He would always be—Cassius. And I? I would always be the little girl he saved.

Never the woman he loved.


MY BODY WAS HOT and cold all at once. It was an odd feeling, like my face was burning up, but the rest of my body had a chill. Maybe I was dying. Hah, wouldn’t that be part of Sariel’s cruel trick? Give me thirty days but kill me before I can even attempt to do anything.

I was doing a hell of a job—of pushing her away, that was.

Every single time I opened my mouth it was like I lost complete control over what I should say and just blurted out things that I knew caused pain. My thoughts were jumbled—when I’d been immortal I was able to compartmentalize, to attack each problem, find a solution, and then deal with the next. Being overwhelmed was never an issue because it never occurred.

But in that car, driving toward Ethan’s, I was so overcome with—life that it was hard to breathe, hard to keep my thoughts straight. It didn’t help that I was ninety-nine percent sure I had internal bleeding and would have trouble getting out of bed in the morning.

I wanted to claim her.

Yet I worried she’d resent me.

I wanted to help her.

And at the same time a part of me was fearful of what she was capable of, even as I was fully aware of how weak I was.

And then her scent would suddenly invade the car and I was lost again to a wave of lust for her—something I’d never in my life experienced until now—because I had no power to push it away.

When I had been a Dark One, I was able to recognize the lust for what it was and shove it away to the furthest recess of my mind. But ignoring the Siren’s call had been manageable, never easy. And now? I shook my head. Impossible. The air was filled with her scent; my arm still tingled where she’d left her fingerprints. Damn it, she could have easily marked me; she was the equivalent of a superhero who’d just discovered they had supernatural powers.

She sighed.

I held my breath. Afraid I’d do something stupid.

As a human it was damn near impossible to ignore anything—hell, even her breathing had me leaning toward her, just wishing she’d turn her head so I could kiss her.

That wasn’t the way to win her over—a sneak attack.

At this rate I was going to die before anything even started.

“Home sweet home.” Stephanie said it like a curse as she pulled the car to a stop in front of Ethan’s compound and turned off the car. “This should be… interesting.”

The ice that had formed across her beautiful skin was receding—good, at least she’d calmed down enough not to kill both of us.

“And here they come,” Stephanie muttered, then pushed open the car door leaving me in silence as I watched Ethan, Mason, and Genesis approach, followed at a distance by Alex, Stephanie’s brother, who I assumed was still pissed off at me on account that I told Stephanie the truth about her heritage.

Slowly, I unbuckled my seatbelt, opened the car door, and stood.

The talking that had been animated only seconds before I stood ceased altogether.

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