Wrath grunted his approval.
Gruff, Paris said, “I’m sorry about what happened, baby. I wish I could go back, stop him.”
Melting… “Is there a way to fix me?”
“Not to my knowledge.”
She leaned into Paris, pressing her lips into his. He wanted to continue the conversation, she could tell, but he was into the kiss and accepted her tongue, taking it as his right—and it was. While he was distracted, she reached for the ring Viola had left her. Slid the metal onto her middle finger.
Tears burned the backs of her eyes. Do it.
“Sienna,” Paris said. He cupped her jaw as he liked to do, as gentle as if she were a precious treasure he couldn’t bear to bruise. “Talk to me. Tell me what you’re thinking. Please.”
Do it. Do it! First, one more kiss, just one more. She dove back in, filling her mouth with his special taste. All that heat and chocolate. What lay ahead of her was an eternity of misery, but then, that was her punishment, wasn’t it. For what she’d done to him before. Part of her even thought Wrath approved, for the demon was now purring in the back of her mind, as he’d done for Olivia, feeding off Sienna’s sorrow.
Do. It. Still she hesitated. Was she going to talk herself out of this? No, oh, no. She was talking herself into it, she realized when her next thought hit. Paris had to fall out of love with her. He just had to. He had to forget the vow he’d made her, and live. Live happily.
And so she did it. She did the one thing guaranteed to make him hate her.
She positioned her ringed finger at his throat, just as she’d done once before, that day they’d first met. His pulse was erratic, a drunken drumbeat.
DO IT. A tragic “I’m sorry” left her as she struck. She shouldn’t have said that. Should have been cold, heartless.
His eyes flared wide. “What the—” Comprehension bled into his irises, even as they glazed. The liquid had broken the blood/brain barrier instantly. Rather than shout at her, curse at her, he slurred out, “Don’t leave me. Don’t…leave… Stay…mine…please…”
Though he fought the effects, he couldn’t stop them, and his eyelids drifted shut. His arms plopped to his sides. He was very still, his chest rising and falling evenly. Took everything she had to climb out of the bed. To dress in clothing Cronus had provided for her, choosing a long-sleeved T-shirt that fit around her wings, black leather pants and combat boots. She quaked the entire time, tears pouring down her cheeks.
She claimed two daggers, and neither of them were crystal. Those she left on the nightstand, resting next to each other. They were his. He would need them. She strapped the weapons on her wrists, hilts down. A shake of her arms, and those blades would slide right into her palms.
For a moment, she closed her eyes. Had to be done, had to be done, she chanted. Didn’t make her ache any less, or feel any better. Or any less guilty. Why couldn’t Paris have looked at her with anger there at the end? Why’d he have to be so understanding?
She refused to delude herself. He would come after her.
She had to stop him.
Though she almost broke down and sobbed when she exited the bedroom, she somehow managed to pick herself up and scour the castle. She found Lucien down the hall, in the room he’d claimed for his own. He sat in a velvet-lined chair, a glass of something amber in one hand, the other wrapped around Anya, who perched in his lap.
He sensed the intrusion immediately, his gaze arrowing straight for Sienna. He set his glass on the floor.
“What’s wrong?” Anya demanded. “You tensed.”
When he registered Sienna’s identity, he relaxed, his scarred face easing off the someone’s-gonna-die throttle. “Anya, sweetheart, will do you something for me?” he asked, tenderly running his fingers through her fall of pale hair.
“Anything, Flowers.” She licked up his neck, humming ecstatically. “You know that.”
He fisted a thick lock and lifted her head, forcing the pleasuring to end. “Will you go to the kitchen and make me some hot chocolate? With whipped cream and marshmallows?”
“Wait. What?” Her red lips pulled into a frown. “I thought you wanted me to do something totally, absolutely freaky to your body, and I was one-hundred-percent racer ready for that. Hot chocolate—”
“Anya. Please. I have a craving.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Are you pregnant?”
“What? It’s a legit question right now, considering what you’re willing to give up, but fine. My man has a craving.” Off Anya went, grumbling, leaving Lucien alone with Sienna and not realizing it.
“I drugged Paris,” she admitted. And wow, what a way to kick things off poorly.
Scowling, Lucien jumped to his feet. “Did you hurt him?”
“No, no. Of course not.” She leaned against the door, no longer able to hold herself up. “Cronus wants me to go…to Galen…to spy for him, to control him.” Why was this so difficult? She’d drugged the man she loved; this should be as easy as breathing. “It’s the only way to save Paris, and you guys, from certain death. The longer I stay here, the more likely the chance Galen will get to Cronus, and Rhea will take the throne.” And the harder it would be to leave Paris.
His blue eye swirled, hypnotizing her, while his brown one seemed to lock her in place. “I could accuse you of lying, of saying this so that we won’t suspect you of rejoining your flock and sharing our secrets.”
Her tongue thickened with the need to curse, but she plowed ahead anyway. “Yeah. You could. And that’s fine, more of the same, but Paris, he trusts me and he wants me to stay. He wouldn’t let me go.”
In the ensuing silence, she noticed something. Wrath was quiet now; he’d truly fed from her pain and her actions, and wasn’t concerned by Lucien in any way. And also, maybe she’d gotten it right before and Aeron had already won this battle. Maybe the Lords were exempt from the demon’s brand of justice. Whatever. Didn’t matter. She wasn’t going to be around them anymore, was she? Wrath could feed off her sorrow for eternity.
“Paris will want to come after me,” she said. “You know he will.”
A dark brow knitted into Lucien’s hairline. “So he can retaliate for being drugged?”
“No. To save me from Galen.”
His lips pursed as he considered her words. “What do you want me to do?”