Cael paused as he heard Acheron's voice behind him. He turned around on the sidewalk to see him walking through the night's mist. There was something really spooky about Acheron. There always had been.
He'd first met Acheron on September 15, 904, on a cool night much like this one in Cornwall. Cael had been covered in the blood of an entire raiding party of Vikings that night. The fires he'd started had singed his hair and blistered his skin.
But he hadn't cared. All that had mattered had been avenging his wife, brother, mother, and sister who had been slain by the Vikings.
Even after all these centuries, he could still see Morag's beautiful freckled face, hear the gentle lilt of her voice as she called out his name. With hair redder than the sun and a smile every bit as radiant, she had been his entire world.
Her and his baby sister who'd been on the brink of adulthood.
Corynna had held eyes so blue they rivaled the sky and a laugh so musical that it should have belonged to a songbird.
And his father had sold them all into slavery to save his own life. But the Vikings hadn't wanted slaves. They'd wanted victims to practice on. Bound in chains, Cael had watched helplessly as every one of them had been tortured and killed for fun while their cries of pain and pleas for death had echoed in his ears.
Not even his own death had been able to silence their agonized voices. It hadn't erased the sight of them being beaten and dismembered. There were times even now when he came awake, shaking from the memory of it.
Acheron had appeared to him after he'd taken his vengeance on those who'd preyed on his family, and had shown him, a simple peasant bastard, how to fight the Daimons and how to live again when he had nothing in this world worth living for.
He owed everything to the Atlantean leader of the Dark-Hunters. Had Acheron not shown him how to put the past behind him and go forward with his life, he'd have never made it to this time and place.
Never made it to Amaranda.
Through her, he'd found the one thing he'd thought was lost to him forever.
Most of all, she gave him solace, peace, and acceptance. She was his haven in a harsh life that had been nothing but violence and fighting until the day she'd entered it. And he would do anything to hold on to that and to her.
Except hurt Acheron. Cael was nothing if not loyal, and he hated being torn between the two people he loved most in this world.
He offered Acheron a lopsided grin and used a greeting from one of Acheron's favorite cartoons. "Greetings, O Great Gazoo. How nice of you to join us here on planet Earth again."
Ash rolled his eyes. "Thanks, Barney. How's Betty and Bam Bam doing?"
"Great, if I could only get them away from Wilma and Pebbles. Those women are nothing but trouble."
"Nah, they're good women. It's the ones in red who are always the downfall of good men."
Laughing, Cael extended his hand to Acheron. "Ain't it the truth, my braither?"
Ash reached out and took his hand. Cael went to clap him on the back, only to have him move out of reach.
Cael didn't miss the grimace Acheron quickly hid. "You okay?"
Acheron shrugged his shoulders as if trying to alleviate something uncomfortable. "I hurt my back earlier. It'll be all right though."
Cael nodded. "It's good to be immortal, huh?"
"Some days, anyway."
They grew silent as they stood out on the open street, in front of a small coffee shop where a group of college students were lolling about, studying and talking while music filtered out of the store. Cael wasn't far from home, but he had no intention of taking Ash there. He'd always kept as much distance as possible between his boss and his wife.
Acheron knew things that no one had a right to know and it always chilled him.
"Did you need something?" Cael asked.
Ash didn't speak as a thousand thoughts went through his mind. He wanted to warn this man and knew that if he did so, he'd change so many more fates than just Cael's. The endless chain of change was playing out in his mind.
A thousand lives rewritten because of one spoken word...
That was so much easier said than done. How he hated knowing what was to come and being constricted by a human conscience from preventing it. Then again, if not for that conscience, it wouldn't matter what happened to Cael one way or another. He wouldn't care about anything except himself.
He'd become Savitar...
Ash winced at the thought. Recovering himself before Cael realized what he was doing, Ash rubbed his cheek. "No, I just wanted to wish you a good night. "
By Cael's face he could tell the Celt didn't believe him. "Yeah, okay. I'll catch you later." He turned and started heading for his home.
Ash stood on the street, watching him walk away. Every part of him wanted to call Cael back and warn him.
And every part of him knew why he couldn't. He didn't know if he should curse or thank Artemis for this gift.
But then the only thing worse than knowing the future was not knowing it, which happened whenever the future involved him or someone whose future directly influenced his.
"Hi there, cutie."
He turned his head to find an extremely attractive college student by his side. With black curly hair, she was dressed in jeans and a tight green top that displayed her curves to perfection. "Hi."
"You want to go inside for a drink? It's on me."
Ash paused as he saw her past, present, and future simultaneously in his mind. Her name was Tracy Phillips. A political science major, she was going to end up at Harvard Med School and then be one of the leading researchers to help isolate a mutated genome that the human race didn't even know existed yet.
The discovery of that genome would save the life of her youngest daughter and cause her daughter to go on to medical school herself. That daughter, with the help and guidance of her mother, would one day lobby for medical reforms that would change the way the medical world and governments treated health care. The two of them would shape generations of doctors and save thousands of lives by allowing people to have groundbreaking medical treatments that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to afford.
And right now, all Tracy could think about was how cute his ass was in leather pants, and how much she'd like to peel them off him.
In a few seconds, she'd head into the coffee shop and meet a waitress named Gina Torres. Gina's dream was to go to college herself to be a doctor and save the lives of the working poor who couldn't afford health care, but because of family problems she wasn't able to take classes this year. Still Gina would tell Tracy how she planned to go next year on a scholarship.
Late tonight, after most of the college students were headed off, the two of them would be chatting about Gina's plans and dreams.
And a month from now, Gina would be dead from a freak car accident that Tracy would see on the news. That one tragic event combined with the happenstance meeting tonight would lead Tracy to her destiny. In one instant, she'd realize how shallow her life had been, and she'd seek to change that and be more aware of the people around her and of their needs. Her youngest daughter would be named Gina Tory in honor of the Gina who was currently busy wiping down tables while she imagined a better life for everyone.
So in effect, Gina would achieve her dream. By dying she'd save thousands of lives and she'd bring health care to those who couldn't afford it...
The human race was an amazing thing. So few people ever realized just how many lives they inadvertently touched. How the right or wrong word spoken casually could empower or destroy another's life.
If Ash were to accept Tracy's invitation for coffee, her destiny would be changed and she would end up working as a well-paid bank officer. She'd decide that marriage wasn't for her and go on to live her life with a partner and never have children.
Everything would change. All the lives that would have been saved would be lost.
And knowing the nuance of every word spoken and every gesture made was the heaviest of all the burdens Ash carried.
Smiling gently, he shook his head. "Thanks for asking, but I have to head off. You have a good night. "
She gave him a hot once-over. "Okay, but if you change your mind, I'll be in here studying for the next few hours."
Ash watched as she left him and entered the shop. She set her backpack down at a table and started unpacking her books. Sighing from exhaustion, Gina grabbed a glass of water and made her way over to her...
And as he observed them through the painted glass, the two women struck up a conversation and set their destined futures into motion.
His heart heavy, he glanced back in the direction Cael had vanished and hated the future that awaited his friend. But it was Cael's destiny.
"Imora thea mi savur," Ash whispered under his breath in Atlantean.
God save me from love.
Susan leaned back against the wall as she sorted through files on Jimmy's computer. "Dammit, Jim. I'm just a reporter, not a mind reader," she said, feigning a Bones McCoy quote from Star Trek. "Couldn't you have at least left me an obvious crumb to follow? Is one loaf of bread too much to ask?"
Sick to her stomach, she decided to take a break and clicked on the photos folder.
A bittersweet pain lacerated her chest as she flipped through pictures of him and Angie at a party last year. God, what she wouldn't give to hear Angie tell her she was five by five again. To hear Jimmy's raspy voice teasing her about being too uptight all the time.
Startled, she jumped at Ravyn's deep voice as he entered the room with that silent cat walk of his. "You scared me..." She paused to watch him come closer. Honestly, he was the best-looking thing she'd ever seen in her life. He had his hair pulled back in a ponytail and even though his shirt was untucked, it didn't disguise the fact that he was ripped with sinewy muscles. Distracting herself from that thought, she indicated the laptop with her chin. "I was just spying on Jimmy's pictures."
He handed her the coffee he'd gone upstairs to get for her. "Maybe you should close the file." He sat down beside her so that he could look at the screen, too.
"No, it's okay. I just found this one set of pictures from Jimmy's Halloween party at his precinct last year. He went as Frankenstein and Angie was-"
"Bride of Frankenstein?"
"No... she went as a Holy Cow." Susan smiled at the memory. "She was always a bit offbeat that way."
Ravyn laughed as she showed him the picture of Angie in a cow suit with a halo suspended above her head and a giant wooden cross around her neck. He'd only seen her a couple of times in the shelter while they'd held him, but the woman had seemed decent enough.
But his smile died when Susan flipped to the next picture and he saw the people in it.
It couldn't be. Surely he was mistaken...
Susan flipped to another.
"Wait! Go back."
Susan frowned. "Why?"
He set his own coffee aside and frowned as he examined the picture of a tall blond woman who was dressed as a classic campy Hollywood vampire, complete with all-too-real-looking fangs, standing with her arm around Angie. "I know her."
Susan gave him a less than pleased glare. "For the record, Puss in Boots, I hope you're not speaking biblically. Because if you are-"
"No," he said, interrupting her tirade, even though a part of him was flattered that she felt that way. "She's a Daimon... or was. I killed her."
Susan scoffed at him. "Not her you didn't."
Ravyn looked again and studied the woman's sharp patrician features. In the back of his mind, he could still see her dressed in a black pair of slacks and a red blouse as he found her standing over her victims. The sight had sickened him as she had wiped the blood from her mouth and laughed about it.
"It was her, I'm sure of it."
Still Susan had doubt in those blue eyes. "How would you know? Do you memorize the face of every Daimon you snuff out?"
He gave her a droll stare. "No, but I remember her."
" 'Cause she's a bimbo?"
He shook his head. "Because she didn't run from me. She actually dared me to kill her. She said that she had a get out of jail free card and that unless I wanted every Dark-Hunter in Seattle to die, I'd leave her alone."
Susan was unamused by that. "So naturally you just had to kill her."
If a dry stare could mutilate, she'd be in several pieces on the floor.
"She'd just taken the life of a pregnant woman and her small child outside of a Laundromat. I had to kill her to release those two souls or both of their souls would have died. "
"While fascinating and gross, that can't be this woman. "
"How do you know?"
"Because she's the wife of Paul Heilig, the chief of police. And she died in a car wreck in Europe. I saw the photos of it."
Ravyn went cold at her words as they confirmed his suspicions. "What?"
"You heard me." She flipped through the pictures until she got to one of the Daimon with two very tall blond men, who were also dressed as Bela Lugosi vampires, and a short, pudgy man with dark hair, highlighted with gray, and glasses, dressed as an explorer. The man appeared to be around the age of fifty, with thinning hair and sharp gray eyes. "That's her, her sons, and her husband."
Ravyn narrowed his gaze on them before he looked up at Susan. "Don't you think it odd that the chief of police is married to a woman who looks to be the same age as her children?"
"Plastic surgery, baby. Some of the best surgeons in the country live right here."
"Yeah, and so do some of the best Daimons."
Susan went cold as she stared at the woman, and her emotions sobered. It all made sense now. "It's just what you said, isn't it? He married an Apollite who turned Daimon, and now he's using his position to keep them safe."
"Except for the wife I killed. No wonder they wanted to torture me in the..." His voice trailed off as he remembered something the half-Apollite vet had said.
"Paul wants to see this one suffer...."
Since he didn't know who Paul was, he'd completely forgotten that. But now he understood. Paul was Paul Heilig. Chief of Police and father of two Daimon sons.
They were screwed.
"When did you kill her?" Susan asked.
"I don't know. About two months ago, maybe."
That was around the same time the chief's wife had died. Susan remembered the articles about it clearly. No body had been returned to the States for a funeral, but they had held a memorial service for her.
Of course if she was a Daimon, there wouldn't have been a body to bury. Oddly enough, it made a perfect cover.
Ob jeez, now you're thinking like Leo. But then Leo wasn't the crackpot she'd taken him for...
"Do you remember anything about her?"
"Yeah," he said breathlessly. "She was a nasty bitch with a mean left hook."
"Not that," Susan snapped. "Something that could help us identify her as the chief of police's wife."
"The words get out of jail free card-"
"Maybe she played a lot of Monopoly. Who knows what weirdness Daimons partake in to pass the time." At his withering stare she held her hands up in surrender. "Okay, bad stab on my part. Please continue."
"Couple that with Jimmy's paranoia that someone high up in his department was covering up murders and disappearances. C'mon, Susan, this is too much to be coincidence."
"I know I'm playing devil's advocate here. We have to have concrete proof before we accuse this man of framing us and hiding murders."
"Susan..." he said in a chiding tone.
"Look, Ravyn, I already ruined my life because something that looked like a duck and quacked like a duck turned out to be a tiger with an entire battery of attorneys bent on taking everything I might ever own again. All the evidence was there, clear-cut and perfect, and I leaped at it and, in the morning, everything that said he was guilty was just a bad coincidence for me. I don't want to make that mistake again." She held up her wrist to show him the scars she still bore. "I really don't want to relive my past."
Ravyn's gut clenched at the sight of the scars where she'd cut her wrist. "Susan..."
"Don't patronize me, okay? I know it was stupid. But I was completely alone. Everything I'd ever believed in caved in on my head and I had to sit through lawsuit after lawsuit until the rubble settled and left me homeless, friendless, and hopeless. I clawed myself up every morning from bed so that I could be kicked again. And then I decided that though I was ruined, I wasn't dead, and that my life, such as it was, was mine and I refused to let them take that from me, too. I've come a long way, but it's been hard and brutal, and the last thing I want is to accuse an upstanding, highly decor-rated official and relive that nightmare all over again. Understand?"
Ravyn's throat tightened at the pain he heard in her voice, the agony she held in her eyes. He kissed her wrist, and held it in his hand as he locked gazes with her. "You won't ever relive that, Susan. I promise you."
"Don't make promises you can't keep."
"I can keep this one. And if I'm wrong, I'll go down alone with my error. But if we're right..."
Cael had just reached the back door of the Happy Hunting Ground when his cell phone started ringing. He pulled it off his belt to see it listing Amaranda's number. Flipping it open, he held it to his ear. "Yeah, babe?"
"Don't come home."
"What?" he said, not sure he'd heard her right with the loud music that was drowning out her voice. He reached for the doorknob.
"Don't. Come. Home," she repeated only slightly louder than the last time.
"Is this a joke?" he asked angrily. Amaranda would never tell him not to come home. "If this is you, Stryker, go fuck yourself." He slammed the phone shut, then opened the door.
As usual, the club was thumping and loud with college kids gyrating on the dance floor and guzzling alcohol at the tables that surrounded it. He inclined his head at Amaranda's cousin who was waiting tables as he passed by.
Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
Cael closed his eyes and searched the building mentally for any telltale sensation of a Daimon. Nothing set off his radar. Wanting to double-check in case he was still unnerved by the earlier fight, he pulled out his phone and ran the Daimon trace program that was in it.
It, too, came back negative.
Cool, there was nothing here that needed his attention... except his wife.
Cael pulled his thin jacket off and slung it over his shoulder as he descended the stairs to the basement. Looking forward to spending some quality time with Amaranda, he began whistling while he headed for his room.
Until he opened the door.
His whistling stopped mid-tune. Kerri was in his room, bound and gagged. Her eyes were large and terror-filled as she begged him with her gaze to set her free.
And in that instant, he came face-to-face with his past. The pain of it was almost crippling. And most of all, he could feel his Dark-Hunter powers wane.
Was it some kind of joke? If it was, he damn sure didn't find it funny.
"What the hell's going on, Kerri?" He'd only taken one step toward her when the door slammed shut behind him.
He jerked around to find a human male there, glaring at him. In his mid-fifties, the pudgy little man had shifty gray eyes that re-fleeted his insanity. "What the hell's the meaning of this?" Cael demanded.
"Where's Ravyn Kontis?"
Cael forced himself to betray nothing. "Who?"
"Don't play stupid with me," the man snarled, spewing spittle in his rage. "Answer the question."
"I can't. I don't know anyone named Ravyn."
Disbelief twisted his features. "No?"
The man tsked as he moved forward toward Kerri's chair. "Too bad. I guess I'll have to kill you and your whore then." He headed for Kerri, whose eyes widened even more as she started squealing through her gag.
The man gave him a vicious glare. "No one's innocent. And even if she was, I don't give a damn." He pulled a hunting knife out from his jacket and angled it at Kerri's throat. "Tell me where that bastard is or watch her die."
"But I don't-" He broke off as the man pressed his knife so close that it pricked Kerri's neck.
She screamed, trying to angle her neck away from the blade.
"Okay, okay," Cael said, trying to stall for time as his powers weakened even more. But what concerned him most was where had Amaranda gone? Obviously, she was the one who'd called him and this idiot had mixed the two of them up. Even so, if anything happened to Kerri, Amaranda would never forgive him.
Nor would he forgive himself.
And then he felt it... that prickling sensation of a Daimon's presence.
Only there were two of them.
The door opened and Cael's entire world shattered. Amaranda was between the two Daimons with her hands tied behind her back. She was pale and shaking as she bled from a wound at her neck.
They'd been feeding from her and by her appearance, they'd almost drained her dry.
"Look who we found trying to warn him, Dad."
"Damn you!" Cael snarled. Without thinking, he rushed at them.
Even though his powers were all but gone, he caught the first one about the waist and they went sprawling into the hallway. The Daimon didn't let go of Amaranda, who landed on top of Cael.
He took a second to make sure she was okay before he cut the rope on her hands then kicked the second Daimon away from them. Growling, Cael reached for the one he'd tackled only to hear a gun firing.
He recoiled as the bullets ripped through his body in rapid succession. The pain of it stole his breath as he bled all over the floor.
The Daimon picked him up and slugged him hard in the jaw. The impact knocked him back into the wall so that the other Daimon could kick him in the stomach.
As the Daimon moved to kick Cael again, he grabbed his leg and shoved him back. The Daimon slipped on Cael's blood and hit the floor with a thud. He kicked the Daimon in the ribs and turned to grab the other one.
"Freeze, asshole, or I give your little playmate here a bullet in her brain. And since she's an Apollite, it'll cut her short life even shorter."
Cael froze instantly.
He did and saw that the older man had Amaranda in front of him with his gun angled at her head. Cael's heart pounded at the sight of her fear as anger clouded his vision. Damn this bastard for scaring her.
"It'll be okay, baby."
"Not if you don't answer my question." He cocked the snub-nosed .38 against her temple.
Cael heard Amaranda praying in Atlantean under her breath.
If he gave up Ravyn's location, they would kill him. If he didn't, they'd kill Amaranda.
His best friend or his wife. How could he make that call?
"Fine," the man snarled. "Have it your way." He started to squeeze the trigger.
"No!" Cael shouted, taking a step forward. "He's..." He couldn't say it. He just couldn't. Having been betrayed, how could he betray someone else?
"Don't play with me, boy."
Cael took a deep breath and leveled a sincere look of hatred on the bastard. "He's at the Last Supper Club in Pioneer Square."
The man narrowed a doubting gaze on him.
One of the Daimons grabbed Cael by the hair and pulled his head back. "Are you lying to us, Dark-Hunter?"
"No," he lied with conviction. "I wouldn't dare."
"What do you think, Dad?" the Daimon holding him asked the man with the gun.
"He's either telling the truth or he's a damn good liar. Since I don't know which, I think we should keep them alive, just in case."
Images of his family dying while he'd been powerless to stop their torture ripped through his mind. He looked at Amaranda and her sister and saw the terror in their eyes.
There was no way in hell he would relive that moment. He wasn't about to let them be tortured in front of him while he was powerless to stop it. And with that thought, the last of his Dark-Hunter powers seeped out of him.
The man tossed a pair of handcuffs at the Daimon, who caught them and snapped one over Cael's wrist. He swung about and elbowed the Daimon straight in the face.
"Derrick!" the man shouted before he opened fire on Cael again.
Cael refused to stop. He pulled his dagger out and turned to kill the Daimon.
Another gunshot rang out, an instant before Cael felt something sharp and hot pierce his back. It was the knife the man had used to threaten Kerri. Cael knew it the instant the blade didn't protrude out of the front of his chest. The man twisted the blade sideways and then snapped it off at the hilt to leave the blade buried deep in Cael's heart.
Cael's ears buzzed as he tasted his own blood. He heard Amaranda's screams through the haze as his vision dimmed.
He was dying...
Unable to breathe for the pain, he fell to his knees.
Amaranda screamed out loud at the sight of Cael falling. Agony and grief assailed her and it awoke the fighter inside her. Her rage taking root, she ran at the man who'd stabbed him. Before she could reach him, his Daimon son turned to fight her. He grabbed her and slapped her hard. She spun around to face him again and then acted on pure Apollite instinct.
She launched herself at his throat and sank her fangs into his flesh. His father cursed as he tore her away from his son, but by doing so he caused her to sever the Daimon's jugular. Instead of dying quickly, he fell to the floor and lay there as his blood ran over him and he shook uncontrollably.
His father let out an anguished cry before he shot Amaranda and her sister.
Her vision dimming in pain, Amaranda fell to the floor and couldn't move. It was as if she were completely paralyzed.
"So help me," the man shouted, "I will see all of you dead. Dead!" He stomped her hard on the small of her back before the other Daimon pulled him away from her.
"C'mon, Dad, we'll mourn Derrick later. We have to get out of here before the Apollites realize we're here and what we've done."
"I have a search warrant."
"And you just killed two members of their family. Search warrants are for your people, not mine. They'll kill us both."
He stomped her one last time before they left.
Amaranda could barely see for the tears in her eyes. She'd never known physical or mental pain like she felt right now.
"Cael," she whimpered, needing to touch him. Even though all she wanted was to close her eyes and let death carry her away from the agony of her body, she refused to go without holding his hand.
It was what he'd promised her on the night they'd married.
"I won't leave you alone to die. I'll be there with you, hand in hand, until the end. "
She wouldn't let him die without knowing she was there for him. Hand in hand.
Her limbs shaking, she pulled herself across the slick floor until she reached him. To her shock, he was still alive, but only barely. There were tears in his eyes as he breathed in shallow gasps. No longer the black of a Dark-Hunter, his eyes were a beautiful amber.
She saw the fire in his eyes as he stared at her. "Sunshine," he breathed.
She choked on a sob as he called her the nickname he'd given her during their wedding vows... vows he'd written just for her. "Even though I walk only at night, I will never know darkness as long as you, my sunshine, are by my side. "
He swallowed as he reached out to touch her cheek. "I'm sorry I didn't listen to you."
Amaranda licked her lips, retasting the Daimon's blood. "It's okay, baby." She laid her head down on his chest and held him while he played with her hair.
She fully expected to die like that. Closing her eyes, she waited for death to take her.
Or so she thought. But as the seconds ticked by and Cael's breathing grew more shallow, hers only grew stronger.
The pain of her body receded as something started to burn in the center of her chest. It wasn't overly painful, but it wasn't comfortable.
She felt her vision turning more sensitive, her hearing sharper. Gasping, she lifted herself up as she realized what was happening.
She was turning Daimon.
But how? She hadn't...
Her gaze went to the Daimon she'd killed. "Oh God," she breathed as full knowledge assailed her. She'd drunk the blood of a Daimon and in that blood was the human souls he'd taken. Now it was converting her body.
And it was saving her life...
She looked down at her chest to see the small black stain over her heart-the place where the human souls gathered so that they could nourish her Daimon's blood and keep her Apollite body from decaying. And as she watched, her body expelled the bullets out of her flesh and then healed itself.
Her heart raced. She looked to the Daimon whose blood was still pouring out of him. There were only three ways to kill a Daimon. Sunlight, piercing their Daimon mark over their heart, and tearing out their jugular.
The Daimon wasn't quite dead. Once his blood was completely expelled from his body, he would crumble into dust.
But she could save Cael...
He'll never forgive you.
Maybe, but if he died, he'd become a Shade and spend eternity suffering in perpetual hell. There would be no goddess to offer him clemency. No more bargains with Artemis to get his life back. His body would crumble to dust and he would be trapped without his soul. Forever. No way to rest. No way to regenerate or reincarnate.
Just an eternity of pain.
Most of all, he'd be alone.
"Forgive me, Cael," she whispered, laying her lips over his to kiss him gently.
Without another thought, she grabbed the Daimon's arm and pulled him to her. Grabbing a knife from the Daimon's belt, she sliced open his wrist. She hesitated. Dark-Hunter blood was poisonous to Daimons, was Daimon blood also poisonous to Dark-Hunters? By trying to save Cael would she destroy him? But what choice did she have? If she did nothing, he would certainly die. Deciding she would have to take the risk, she held the Daimon's wrist over Cael's lips.
Too weak to turn away, he had no choice but to let the blood flow into his body.
His eyes flew open as he cried out in pain. He writhed on the floor as if in utter agony.
Amaranda pulled back, dropping the Daimon's arm.
He rolled to his side, cursing and jerking as if something were trying to tear him to pieces.
"No, " she breathed, terrified that she'd only hurt him more. She pulled his head into her lap and held him close as he gripped her shirt so tightly that the bones of his knuckles protruded.
And then she saw it...
The knife was working its way out of his back. Slowly, painfully, inch by inch, it crept out until it landed on the floor with a sharp clatter.
Amaranda stared at it as she felt Cael's breathing steady itself. He loosened his grip on her.
She looked down and saw something that according to Dark-Hunter laws was not supposed to happen. Cael's eyes were now an unnatural shade of amber with black streaks running through them.
"What have you done to me, Amaranda?" he asked in a ragged, demonic tone.
"I saved you, Cael. " But even as those words left her lips, she knew the truth. She hadn't saved him.
She'd damned them both straight to hell.