The Darkest Craving (Page 22)

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10)(22)
Author: Gena Showalter

Kane rolled his eyes, knowing he’d be dodging William’s annoying prods for weeks, but walked away before the Harpy could respond and never looked back.

* * *

THE MOMENT HE was outside, Kane whipped out his cell phone. Yesterday, he’d taken a snapshot of Danika’s painting and saved the image as wallpaper.

In it, he was on his knees, tears streaming down his face, hands lifted toward the heavens. A blonde female lay in front of him, a hole the size of his fist burned into her chest. Her face was turned away from him, so he had no idea who she was—and wasn’t sure he wanted to know.

The painting was a problem that would have to wait.

He called every black market contact he had, looking to buy a key to Séduire. He would also need a guide, since he had no idea where to find a doorway. But one call after another proved unfruitful. No one was able to help him.

A sense of urgency drove him, and he paced toward the darkened alleys about a mile from the club. There, immortals would be peddling their wares. Drugs. Sex. Anything and everything. Even if he couldn’t find a key, he could find someone who knew someone else with the contacts to help him.

A thick white fog suddenly rolled in, and he paused. Through the density, he could just make out the shape of a…woman? Oh, yes, definitely a woman. She glided toward him, and he could see she was wearing a glowing white dress. Long, dark hair fell over one delicate shoulder, reminding him of…

“Tinker Bell?” he asked, shocked to his core.

Disaster banged against his skull.

Kane raced to her, tried to grab her despite the pain it might cause him, the unwanted desire, and whatever she’d done to him in the forest, but his hands ghosted through her.

Her eyes were as white as the fog and as luminous as the most expensive diamonds. “Would you please stop calling me that?” she said, exasperated. As freaky as she looked, the normalcy of her voice surprised him.

“What’s going on? Are you…dead?” Even uttering the question made him want to kill someone.

“I’m not dead. I’m simply projecting my image into your mind.”

Relief was like a gentle rain, dousing the budding rage—and the overwhelming sorrow he didn’t want to explore. “Exactly how many abilities do you possess, woman? And what exactly did you do to me in that forest?”

“There’s no time for that. I’m weakening, and must hurry.”

Weakening? In a snap, the rage returned. “Why?”

“Doesn’t matter. Listen, Lord Kane. I know I’m not your favorite person right now, and you probably don’t trust me, but please believe me when I say you’re in grave danger.”

Him. Not her. Better. “More danger than usual? And don’t call me Lord Kane. I don’t need a title.” Not from her. “I’m just a man.” Your man.

The thought hit him with the force of a tsunami, and he fisted his hands. His body was suddenly rock-hard, ready to prove the claim, to strip her and take her as he’d longed to do in the forest. A temptation he found as exhilarating as it was frightening.

Can’t touch her.

But if he could…

What would she do? How would she react?

How would he?

Would her skin be as soft as it appeared? Would her curves create the perfect cradle for him?

A few feet away, the lid to a trash bin flew open. As the wind picked up, debris propelled toward Kane, most assuredly courtesy of Disaster.

Tinker Bell stomped her foot. “I can’t concentrate when you look at me like that,” she said.

“Like what?”

“Like I don’t know how to describe it. It’s like you want to strangle me or something.”

Or just wanted to get his hands on her. But he got what she was saying, knew his desire was tangled with darkness.

He nodded, ashamed of himself. “I’ll stop.”

She licked her lips, and said, “My people know you’re looking for me, and now they’re hunting you.”

“Your Fae family or your human one?”


“And that’s who you’re with right now?” he asked, wanting to verify the information Taliyah had given him.

“Yes. I don’t know what you’ve heard about the race, but the Fae can be brutal, bloodthirsty and without a shred of compassion. They’ll haul you before the king and he’ll sentence you to death just for looking at me. No matter how star-struck he is by you!”

He wasn’t sure what the star-struck comment meant, and wasn’t going to waste time finding out. “Why would he want to kill me?” The only viable answer slammed into him, and the patent stillness of a predator came over him. “Are you his lover?”

She gave another stomp of her foot. “Would you be serious?”

“Answer me.” The words were nothing more than a hiss.

“Of course I’m not his lover! What a disgusting prospect!”

He relaxed—and he had no desire to ponder why he’d reacted so fervently to the thought of her with another man when he wouldn’t be taking her for himself. “I’ve been hunted by brutal, bloodthirsty people before.”

“Yes, I know, but the Fae are gifted with special abilities. Like, say, causing you pain with only a word.”

Like the pain she caused him? But then, she’d never needed to speak for him to feel it. “Can you do that?”

“No, but my brother can,” she said.

“You can project your image, as well as rip the demons out of people.”

Her jaw dropped. “So that’s what happened. I took your demon?”

“You mean you didn’t know?”

She hooked several tendrils of hair behind her ear, the action feminine and sweet and somehow more erotic than a striptease from another woman, and if he didn’t get his thoughts and his body under control right now, he would self-destruct.

“I take abilities and strength for a few hours, maybe a few days or weeks,” she said, “but not…that. Never anything like that.”

“You can. You did. You must take weaknesses, too.” And that’s exactly what the demon was. “Don’t do it again,” he stated flatly. Already her life was so miserable she wanted to die. How much worse would it be for her with Disaster hanging around? And what if she got stuck with the creature forever, rather than temporarily? Was that possible?

Kane didn’t want her to risk it. This girl, she was…he didn’t know what she was to him. He only knew he couldn’t bear the thought of her suffering.