Chapter 10


They let me clean up in an empty communal area. At first I didn’t want to waste the time. I needed to get to Kat, but they weren’t giving me much of a choice, which turned out to be a good thing because I looked like something straight out of the mountains. The growth on my face was out of control. After a shave and a quick shower, I put on the black sweats and white shirt that had been left behind. Same standard uniform they had used years ago. Nothing like dressing everyone the same to make them feel like a nameless face in a crowd of nameless faces.

It was all about control and keeping everyone in line when I’d been here before. To me it looked like Daedalus was no different.

I almost laughed when realization kicked in. It probably had always been Daedalus running the show, even when I’d been assimilated here so many years ago.

When the guard returned, it was the tool from earlier, and the first thing he did was check the plastic razor for the blade.

I cocked an eyebrow at him. “I’m not that stupid.”

“Good to know,” was the reply. “Ready?”


He stepped aside, allowing me back into the hallway. As we headed to another elevator, he was glued to my hip. “As close as you’re riding me, man, I feel like I need to take you out to dinner or something. At least I should get your name.”

He punched in a floor. “People call me Archer.”


My eyes narrowed. There was something about him that reminded me of Luc, and hell if that boded well. “Is that your name?”

“That’s what I was born with.”

The dude was as charming as…well, as me on a bad day. Flipping my gaze to the red number on the elevator, I watched it steadily go down. My gut twisted. If Nancy was screwing with me and Kat wasn’t here, I was about to find out.

I didn’t know what I’d do if she wasn’t. Probably go insane.

I couldn’t stop what came out of my mouth next. “Have you seen her—Kat?”

A muscle flexed in Archer’s jaw, and my imagination ran wild until he answered. “Yes. I’ve been assigned to her. I’m sure that pleases you to no end.”

“Is she okay?” I asked, ignoring the jab.

He turned to me, and surprise crossed his features. Trading insults and barbs wasn’t on my to-do list right now. “She can…she can be as expected.”

I didn’t like the way that sounded. Taking a deep breath, I ran a hand through my damp hair. The image of Beth freaking out popped into my head. A tremor ran down the muscles in my arm. There was no doubt in my mind that no matter what condition Kat was in, I could handle it. I would help her get better. Nothing in this world could stop that, but I didn’t want her to have experienced anything that would’ve damaged her.

Like killing Blake surely would have.

“She was asleep the last time I checked in,” he said as the elevator came to a stop. “She hasn’t been sleeping well since they brought her in, but she seems to be making up for it today.”

I nodded slowly and followed him out into the hallway. It struck me then how brave they were in only giving me one guard, but then again, they knew what I wanted, and I knew what was at risk if I acted a fool.

My heart was tripping out, my hands opening and closing sporadically at my sides. Anxious energy rolled through me, and as we neared the middle of the wide hall, I felt something I hadn’t felt in way too long.

A warm tingle shimmied along the back of my neck.

“She’s here.” My voice sounded hoarse.

He glanced back at me. “Yes. She’s here.”

I didn’t need to tell him that I’d had my doubts, that a part of me had held on to the cold possibility that they’d played to my weakness. It must’ve been written all over my face, and I didn’t care to even hide it.

Kat was here.

Archer stopped before a door and punched in a code after doing the eye-reading bit. There was a soft sound of locks clicking out of place. He glanced at me, hand on the doorknob. “I’m not sure how long they’ll give you.”

Then he opened the door.

Like walking through quicksand or in a dream, I moved forward without feeling the floor beneath me. The air seemed to thicken, slowing my progress, but in reality I was rushing that damn door and still not moving quickly enough.

Senses on high alert, I stepped into the cell, vaguely aware of the door closing behind me. My gaze shot right to the bed pressed up against the wall.

My heart stopped. My entire world came to a halt.

I walked forward, and my step faltered. Only at the last possible second, I caught myself from hitting the floor on my knees. The back of my throat and eyes burned.

Kat was curled on her side, facing the door, appearing terribly small on the bed. The chocolate-colored length of her hair fell across her cheek, covering the sleeve of her exposed arm. She was asleep, but her features pinched as if even in rest she wasn’t wholly comfortable. Her small hands were tucked under her rounded chin, lips slightly parted.

Her beauty struck me hard, like a bolt of lightning right in the chest. I froze there, for how long I don’t know, unable to take my eyes off her, and then I took two long strides that brought me to the edge of the bed.

Peering down at her, I opened my mouth to say something, but there were no words. I was struck speechless, and I swear Kat was the only one who could do this to me.

I sat beside her, my heart pounding as she stirred but didn’t wake. Part of me hated the idea of waking her. Up close, I could see the dark shadows blooming under her thick lashes like faint ink smudges. And honestly, I was happy—no, thrilled—to just be in her presence, even if it meant that I wasted the entire time soaking her up.

But I couldn’t stop myself from touching her.

Slowly, I reached out and carefully brushed the silky strands of hair back from her cheek, fanning the long length over the stark white pillow. Now I could see the faint bruises across her cheekbone, a faded shade of yellow. There was a thin cut on her lower lip, too. Anger punched its way through me. I inhaled deeply, letting my breath eke its way out.

Placing one hand on the other side of her, I lowered my head and pressed a soft kiss to the cut on her lip, silently promising that I’d make whoever was responsible for the bruises and pain she’d faced pay dearly. Instinctively, I let the healing warmth flow from me to her, erasing the bruises from sight.

A soft, warm sigh blew across my mouth, and I lifted my gaze, unwilling to pull too far away. Kat’s lashes fluttered and her shoulders hitched as she dragged in a deeper breath. I waited with my heart in my throat.

She slowly opened her eyes, and her gray stare was unfocused as it moved over my face. “Daemon?”

The sound of her voice, husky with sleep, was like coming home. The burning turned into a ball in my throat. Leaning back, I placed the tips of my fingers on her chin. “Hey, Kitten,” I said, my own voice hoarse as hell.

She stared at me as the cloudiness in her gaze cleared. “Am I dreaming?”

My laugh came out strangled. “No, Kitten, you’re not dreaming. I’m really here.”

A heartbeat passed, and then she rose up on her elbows. A single strand of hair fell across her face. I straightened, giving her more room. My heart rate kicked into supersonic speed, matching hers. Then she was sitting up fully, her hands on my face. My eyes closed as I felt the gentle touch all the way to my soul.

Kat slid her hands over my cheeks, as if she were trying to convince herself that I was real. I placed mine over her hands and opened my eyes. Hers were wide and wet, shining with tears. “It’s okay,” I told her. “Everything’s going to be okay, Kitten.”

“How…how are you here?” She swallowed. “I don’t understand.”

“You’re going to be mad.” I pressed a kiss to her open palm. I reveled in the shudder that rolled through her. “I turned myself in.”

She jerked back, but I held onto her hands, not letting her get away. And yeah, I was selfish. I wasn’t ready to go without her touch. “Daemon, what…? What were you thinking? You shouldn’t—”

“I wasn’t going to let you go through this by yourself.” I slid my hands down her arms, cupping her elbows. “There was no way I could do that. I know that’s not what you wanted, but this wasn’t want I wanted.”

She gave a little shake of her head, and her voice was barely a whisper. “But your family, Daemon? Your—”

“You’re more important.” The moment those words came out of my mouth, I knew they were true. Family had always come first for me, and Kat was a part of my family—a bigger part. She was my future.

“But the things they’re going to make you do…” The wetness in her eyes swelled, and a single tear escaped, racing down her cheek. “I don’t want you to go through—”

I caught the tear with a kiss. “And I’m not going to let you do this by yourself. You’re my—you’re my everything, Kat.” At the sound of her soft inhale, I smiled again. “Come on, Kitten, did you really expect anything less from me? I love you.”

Her hands fell to my shoulders, flexing until her fingers dug through the cotton of my shirt, and she stared at me for so long I started to worry. Then she sprang forward, wrapping her arms around my neck and practically tackling me.

Laughing against the top of her head, I caught myself before I toppled over. One second she was beside me, and then she was in my lap, wrapping her arms and legs around me. This—this was the Kat I knew.

“You’re crazy,” she whispered against my neck. “You’re absolutely crazy, but I love you. I love you so much. I don’t want you here, but I love you.”

I slid my hand down her spine, curling my fingers against her lower back. “I’ll never grow tired of hearing you say that.”

She pressed against me, her fingers burying in the hair at the nape of my neck. “I missed you so much, Daemon.”

“You have no idea…” I ran out of words at that point. Her being this close after so long was the sweetest kind of torture. Each breath she took, I felt in every part of my body, in some areas more than others. Really inappropriate, but she always had a powerful hold over me. Common sense jumped out the window.

She pulled back, her eyes searching mine, and then she reclaimed the distance, and, damn, the kiss was half innocent, half desperate, and wholly perfect. My grip on her back tightened as she tilted her head, and even though the kiss started out as something sweet, I totally took it there. I deepened the kiss, throwing every fear into it, every minute that had passed that we’d been separated, and everything I felt for her. Her breathy moan shook me, and when she wiggled it nearly undid me.

I gripped her hips and pushed her back. It was the last thing I wanted to do. “Cameras, remember?”

Color crawled up her neck and splashed across her cheeks. “Oh, yeah, everywhere except—”

“The bathroom,” I supplied, catching the flash of surprise across her face. “They’ve filled me in.”

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