The Darkest Seduction (Page 87)

The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underworld #9)(87)
Author: Gena Showalter

He beat feet to the next hallway, and wasn’t surprised to find Anya taking down the pictures of Viola and replacing them with pictures of herself. The decorator wars were on, he supposed.

“Gwen, Kaia, seriously,” the (minor) goddess snapped, having trouble hanging on to a frame and a hammer at the same time as she balanced on a ladder. “This is the most important mission of your lives and you’re riding pine on the sidelines? Get in here, you lazy bitches!”

Not wanting to be recruited, Paris ducked his head and kept walking, hands shoved in his pockets. From the corner of his eye, he caught a glimpse of the Harpy sisters in one of the bedrooms, studying a life-size—and warped—drawing of Galen. Guy had horns, crooked teeth and three fingers on each hand. His clown feet were too big for his body, and rather then genitals, he had an X. A really small X.

Gwen was pretending to pull back a crossbow, aiming for his heart, and Kaia was shaking her head no and pointing to the man’s groin.

Sex started in with his purring. Out of habit, maybe, because a few seconds later, those purrs faded. Best part? Paris never got hard.

A wary sigh echoed inside his head. If we do this relationship thing, I’ll need her often.

The demon was willing to try. Paris couldn’t help himself. He gave a fist pump toward the ceiling. Believe me, I know. And we’ll have her a lot more than just “often.”

What an amazing damn day this was turning out to be. A megawatt smile bloomed. Yeah, he had a whole lot of shit to do. Talk to Cronus, spank the guy’s wife, kill Galen while he was at his weakest and find Kane, but first, he wanted to catch up with his friends and visit the newest additions to the family.

Down on the next floor, there was a table piled high with snacks. Without slowing, he snagged an apple and a box of Strider’s Red Hots. A bite of apple followed by a few of the cinnamon candies, and you had a mouthful of delicious.

A lot of his boys were congregated in the hallway outside of Ashlyn’s room, eating, talking, laughing and more relaxed than he’d seen them in a long time. This was what their lives should always be like, he mused.

William was in the corner, a dark-haired girl tucked into his side, the pair of them locked in earnest conversation. Gilly was a teenager on the cusp of womanhood who’d suffered unimaginable abuse as a child. Danika had taken her in, and the girl had been leery around everyone but William. For some reason she’d adored the bastard from day one.

Maybe because she didn’t yet know that William had recently slaughtered her entire family. Paris wondered how she’d react when the truth came out. And it would; it always did.

Gilly had hated her mother, stepfather and brothers, but deep down she’d probably loved them, too, and it was hard to forget that kind of feeling. Most likely scenario: she would leave, and William would follow her, protect her. He wouldn’t be able to help himself. The need to protect ingrained itself in a man’s very soul, and once he felt it, it was hard to forget, too.

Now that William had shed blood for her, that need would be even stronger, as Paris well knew. Every time he’d taken a life, his desperation to reach Sienna had increased. But he had her now. They were together, and he wasn’t letting her go.

When Paris reached the pair, he tapped the girl on the shoulder to gain her attention. She yelped in surprise, slapped him out of reflex and sank deeper into William’s side. Not wanting her to assume he was angry or that he would retaliate, he kept his gaze on the warrior. “What’s the word on the three immortals?”

He could have stopped by their rooms, they were just down the hall, but he’d rather find out through the gossip train that was William’s mouth and save time.

Willy frowned at him. “For frick’s sake. Apologize.”

Frick? “She doesn’t need to apologize to me.” He gave her a reassuring grin. “I was recently informed that I have a very slappable face.”

“I wasn’t talking to her, I was talking to you. Apologize for startling her.”

Oh. “Sorry, Gilly.”

She offered him a soft smile in return. She was a pretty little thing, with dark hair and dark eyes, a sun-kissed complexion and the kind of curves no father ever wanted his daughter to have. “No worries. My bad. I lost track of my surroundings.”

“Well, I can see why you’d want to tune things out rather than pay attention to Willy’s ugly mug.”

She chuckled and Paris faced William, saying, “So, the immortals?”

William shrugged. “No change. I’ve tried everything I can think of, and believe me, it was very impressive sh—uh, crap, but a no-go all the same. They’re locked tight in those bedrooms.”

“Any word on Kane?”

“Uh, yeah, about that.” With his free hand, William massaged the back of his neck. “He’s alive and he’s in hell, but he’s out of enemy hands. You guys want him back, though, you’ll have to go down there and get him.”

Something was off in the guy’s tone. “How do you know this?” Not even Amun had been able to get to the truth.

“Just do. Group’s leaving tomorrow, and by the way, you weren’t invited. My guess is they think you’re a crazy psycho who makes out with himself, but that’s just a guess.”

Whatever. “Who’s going?”

“Amun, Haidee, Cameo, Strider and Kaia.”

Mostly girls. Were their taskforces changing or what? “You’re not going down there with ’em?”

“As if. I mean, sure, the captors kind of made it a condition to Kane’s release, but…nah. I don’t think I will. Got stuff to do, you know. Me and my Aussie have an intimate evening planned.”

Intimate with his conditioner. Figured. “Who are the captors? And why are they insisting you go?” He didn’t bother touching on William’s refusal, because honestly? That didn’t mean shit. If his appearance was a condition for obtaining Kane’s freedom, he’d make an appearance. End of story.

William looked down at Gilly, his expression all gentleness and reverence, and gave her a little push. “Be a darling and find me some gummy bears.”

Her eyelids, usually at half-mast and always halfway to the bedroom when she gazed at the warrior, narrowed. “So patronizing.” Still, she stomped away, just as he’d wanted, affording them a bit of privacy.

“Be sure to watch your mouth while you’re searching for my sweets,” William called after her. That’s when Paris caught sight of his T-shirt. It read, Save a Virgin, Do Me Instead. “Talking back isn’t attractive.”