Strider threw his towel in the hamper and stomped from the room.
FOR SIENNA, THE NEXT few days passed in a blissful haze punctuated by moments of mourning. Except for two things, all was right in her world. But she wasn’t going to think about those two things. She would erupt into one of her rare and shocking rages, and rip the entire castle apart.
Instead, she would think about the fact that Paris adored her. She would think about all the times she and Paris had made love, and how each time he had been more frantic to get inside her than the last. He’d taken her in ways that scandalized, delighted and thrilled, and in the quiet afterglow, they had talked.
No subject had been off-limits. They discussed the Hunters—where certain facilities were, the names of some of the higher officers, the location of the cavern where Galen supposedly met with Rhea and the pair performed rituals for “the greater good.” Then they’d talked about themselves, about where they would travel and what they’d do if there hadn’t been a war to fight.
Paris picked the mountains, with the cold and the snow and a soft rug in front of a fireplace. She picked the beach, wanting to watch him rise from the water, glittering droplets sliding along the ropes of his stomach and catching in her new favorite place on his body—because the waves would have stolen his swimsuit.
Of course, earlier this morning he’d strode out of the shower, dripping wet, no towel in sight, with a wicked smile on his face, and she’d laughed at his antics (after she caught her breath). She was desperately trying to guard her heart against him despite his demand that they stay together, because she knew she still had to leave him for Galen, that she had to stop Rhea from taking the Titan throne, that she couldn’t kill her greatest enemy because doing so would kill Cronus, and as he’d said, if he died, chaos would reign and Paris would die.
The only way to save him was to control Galen, and thereby Rhea. Not the best revenge, but it was all she could allow herself.
She wished Skye could have met Paris, wished the girl could have seen the good in him, that man and demon were not truly one and the same, that the demon was dark and dangerous, destructive, but the man was fun and caring, worthy of respect. Just like Sienna was not the sum total of Wrath’s deeds, but a woman who fought for what was right.
Once upon a time, Sienna had considered giving the demon back to Aeron. But if she did, she would die—for real and forever—and she would be unable to avenge her sister, even in the smallest way. Plus, she needed him. He still hadn’t figured out what was “wrong” with Skye’s death.
Don’t cry, Enna. Boys are stupid, Mama said so, and if that fathead Todd doesn’t want to go to the dance with you, he’s the stupidest ever!
I miss you so much, Skye. Sienna turned the corner—and barreled into a speeding golf cart. After crash-landing on her butt, she saw the cart was blue with orange flames painted on the sides, and the minor goddess of the Afterlife/keeper of Narcissism was at the wheel.
“Sorry, I’m sorry.” Most times Sienna didn’t bother watching where she was going, because only Paris, Viola and Lucien could see and touch her. Everyone and everything else she ghosted through and no one ever even knew. But because the cart belonged to Viola, Sienna could feel the metal that had just flattened her lungs.
“I’m late,” Viola said, waving a piece of paper in the air. “You, too? Do you need a ride?”
As always, Wrath shot Sienna’s mind full of images. Viola, breaking hearts. Viola, double-crossing others to save herself. Viola, unconcerned by the pain she left in her wake.
A whisper rather than an urge. For some reason, Wrath had been on his best behavior lately, never trying to overtake her, his hunger under control though she’d done nothing to feed him.
“Sienna. Female…ghost person. Do you need a ride? Time is a serious issue right now.”
“I would love a ride.” She needed a few minutes alone with the woman, so this was actually perfect. “I’ve been looking for you.” No longer did she bear any ill will toward the woman. After all, Sienna had watched Paris interact with her, and the guy could barely mask his impatience to escape.
But having done all of that watching, Sienna now knew how to deal with the goddess. She also knew Viola was one of the few people who wouldn’t curse her outright, who would hear her out.
“Well, hop on and stop standing there all lost in your thoughts. I don’t want to miss the good part.”
Sienna didn’t ask what “the good part” was, because the woman would have explained in minute detail about how everything pertained to her. She simply unfolded from the floor and slid into the plush leather seat, careful of her wings.
“Well?” the goddess prompted, stomping on the pedal. They jolted into motion, cutting corners, honking at nothing, flashing their lights. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
To begin: flattery. “As intelligent and powerful as you are, you’re the only one capable of helping me.”
“Well, of course I am. Here’s a well-known fact. I’m more than made of awesome. I am the original awesome.” From behind the wheel, Viola flicked her pale hair over her shoulder. She wore a gown of shimmery gold, the material cinched just under her br**sts and flaring at her hips. Red-carpet worthy, for sure. “Soooo?”
“I’m trying to figure out how best to ask for what I need.”
“Try opening your mouth and forming words. That’s what I do, and I can assure you my methods are always stellar.”
Sienna ran her tongue over her teeth, not allowing herself to issue a snappy retort. She didn’t think Viola meant to be so haughty, but hello, a girl could only take so much. “Well, I’m running out of time.”
And there was the main reason for her recent string of temper tantrums. Her time here was ticking, ticking away. Soon she would have to leave. Not just because she had heard some of Paris’s friends plotting her downfall, and not just because those same friends hated her guts and would never trust or forgive her, but because she really was going to Galen, keeping him away from Cronus, so that Cronus could keep Rhea away from his throne, no matter how sickening the tasks she had to perform.
“Do you want me to buy you more time?” Viola asked, as if such a thing were possible. They reached the stairs. Without pause, she took them. Bounce, bounce, bounce. “You’d have to pay me back. I mean, with two-hundred-percent interest, but—”