The Darkest Seduction (Page 88)

The Darkest Seduction (Lords of the Underworld #9)(88)
Author: Gena Showalter

“You’re right. I should respect my elders.” She didn’t turn back, but she did extend a hand and flip him off.

Paris chuckled. “What are you teaching that girl?”

Suddenly serious, William gritted, “How to survive. Now, returning to our convo. Kane’s captors happen to be some serious badasses I used to know down there.”

Badasses tripped a memory. “You’re talking about the Horsemen of the Apocalypse, right? Because yeah, Amun might have mentioned you’re their baby daddy.”

“That damned Amun.” Electric eyes gleamed with the promise of retribution. “What a sissy gossip!”

Back to cussing were they, all the darns and fricks out of the equation?

“Oh, and speaking of gossip,” William continued, his expression now anticipatory. “Have you seen Blood and Gore yet?”

“Who?”

“Pistol and Shank. I rename them every hour or so. Keeps things fresh.”

Yeah, but what were their real names? “That’s why I’m here. I want to meet them.”

“Well, why didn’t you say so?” William threw an arm around his shoulders and ushered him through the sea of familiar bodies. “Out of the way, mutants. My boy P is going in next.”

“But it’s my turn,” Cameo said, and damn if that wasn’t a whine in her voice, mixing with all the world’s misery. She stepped in front of them to block their path to the door, her arms crossed over her chest. “Did you know that seven thousand babies die every year of—”

“That’s why you’re getting skipped.” William offered her a sugar-sweet smile. “Besides, I delivered those hellions and almost had to take an eternal dirt nap because of it. I pick the order, and I say Paris is next.”

Cameo frowned. She was one of the most beautiful women Paris had ever seen. More beautiful, even, than Viola, with long black hair and liquid silver eyes. Lips as plump and dewy as a rose.

“Did you know that about one percent of all births are stillborn?” she asked. The whine was gone, leaving only the misery.

She was also a major downer.

Stab me in the heart already, Paris thought. Because she played hostess to the demon of Misery, the sound of her voice was always enough to tear a guy up. Throw in her death statistics, which she’d been offering unsolicited more and more, and watch a party deflate like a balloon.

“Someone get this girl a lollipop and shove it deep in her mouth, stat,” William shouted, urging Paris past her to the door. He didn’t knock, but barreled inside. “All right, ladies. Our turn.”

Reyes was sitting beside the bed, dark and menacing, with Strider the blond giant at his left. Both warriors were cooing at the thickly blanketed bundle of joy Reyes held.

Ashlyn was propped up on the bed, pale, shaky and clearly weak. Maddox sat beside her, holding the other bundle.

“Out,” William added. “Paris wants to see Smith and Wesson.”

“Don’t call them that,” Maddox said. Paris had never heard the keeper of Violence use such a gentle tone. It was more startling than being punched in the face.

“What do you want me to call them? Shits and Giggles? Fists and Kneecap? Nah, I don’t like that one. Hammer and Nails? Dude, these kids are hard-core gangster. They need kick-A names, not that blah, blah sh—crap you gave them.”

Slowly Reyes stood, waited for William to close the distance and gently placed the bundle in his arms. The dark warrior patted Paris on the shoulder as he left, and Strider did the same. Only, he stopped and said, “Meet me in the gym when you’re done,” before leaving.

Battling a wave of foreboding, Paris nodded. Then the two were gone, the door closed behind them, and he pushed the upcoming chat from his mind. He made his way to William, who seemed perfectly at ease holding such a fragile being. Only in secret had Paris ever allowed himself to contemplate having a family, because no way had he wanted to father a kid with a one-night stand. Now, with Sienna, who had been denied the chance to be a mother…

He wanted to give her this.

At William’s side, he peered down at the first demon-human hybrid infant to join their crew—and what he saw nearly shocked the piss out of him.

“Gorgeous little fiend, isn’t she?” William said, beaming down. He tickled her belly. “Oh, yes, she is. Yes, she really is.”

Gurgling happily, the baby waved her little fists. Her eyes were open and clear, a vibrant, crackling orange-gold, and so freaking intelligent, despite the fact that she peered up at William with total, absolute adoration. And yeah, she was gorgeous. Already had a cap of honey-colored hair, the corkscrew curls spiking up from her head. But the real shocker? She had a mouthful of teeth. Really, really sharp teeth. And those cute little fists? Topped off by curling claws.

“Will she ever be able to pass as human?” he asked quietly, not wanting the probably sensitive mother to hear.

“Maybe, maybe not,” Ashlyn answered anyway. “Time will tell. Either way, they are both beautiful beyond imagining.”

Figured that she’d heard him. She herself might be human, but she could hear any conversation anywhere, no matter how many years had passed. That was her curse. And weren’t the twins in for a real treat, never able to hide anything from mom.

“What’s her name?” he asked.

“Ever,” William said with no small amount of disgust.

Ever did a fist pump in the air. With pride? Or anger?

“The name is perfect, just like her,” Ashlyn said. Her eyelids were fluttering closed, as if she were having trouble staying awake.

“Go on to sleep, sweetheart,” Maddox told her. “I’ll take care of everything.”

“Thank you,” she said as she sighed, head already lolling to the side.

“Want to hold her?” William asked Paris.

“Ashlyn? No, thanks.” Maddox would brain him, same as Paris would brain any warrior who tried to hold Sienna. Not that any besides William and maybe Lucien could even see her at the moment.

William rolled his eyes. “You know what I meant. The baby. Ever.”

“Oh, uh, yeah. I totally knew what you meant.”

“Do you have to be so loud?” Maddox snapped in that quiet, gentle voice so at odds with the roughness of his features.

Paris held up his hands, palms out, whispering, “No way on the holding of the kidlet.” He was too big, and too hard to do anything but bruise the little girl. Besides, Ever growled in his direction, her lips peeling back from her fangs, and it was very clear she was happy where she was.