“Stop,” I whispered, blinking back tears.

“I’ve taken everything from you—your mom, your blog, your life. So much so that you found enjoyment in eating something just because it wasn’t on a plastic tray. And your back…” His jaw locked down, and he gave his head a little shake. “And I have no idea how I’m going to fix all of that, but I will. I will keep you safe. I will make sure that we have a future to hold on to and look forward to.” He took a breath at the same time I did. “I promise you.”

“Daemon, this isn’t—”

“I’m sorry,” he said, voice cracking. “This—all of this—is my fault. If I—”

“Don’t say that.” I turned in his lap, my dress riding up as I placed my hands on either side of his face. I stared into his brilliant eyes. “This isn’t your fault, Daemon. None of this is.”

“Really?” he said in a low voice. “I think the whole mutating-you thing was my fault.”

“It was either that or let me die. So you saved my life. You didn’t ruin it.”

He shook his head, sending the short, dark waves across his forehead. “I should’ve kept you away since the beginning. I should’ve kept you safe so you never ended up getting hurt in the first place.”

My heart ached at his words. “Listen to me, Daemon. This isn’t your fault. I wouldn’t change a damn thing. Okay? Yes, things have sucked, but I’d go through it all again if I had to. There are things I would want to change, but not you—never you. I love you. That’s never going to change.”

His lips parted on a sharp inhale. “Say it again.”

I smoothed the pad of my finger over his lower lip. “I love you.”


He nipped at my finger. “The other words, too.”

Leaning down, I pressed a kiss to the tip of his nose. “I love you. That’s never going to change.”

He slid his hands up my back, one stopping just below my shoulder blade and the other cupping the nape of my neck as his eyes searched mine. “I want you to be happy, Kitten.”

“I am happy,” I said, tracing my fingers over the curve of his cheek. “You make me happy.”

His chin lowered, and he pressed his lips to the tips of each of my fingers. Under and all around me, his muscles tensed, and then he placed his mouth to my ear and whispered in a deep voice, “I want to make you really happy.”

My heart fluttered. “Really happy?”

He dropped his hands to my outer thighs, his long fingers slipping under the material. “Exceedingly, insanely happy.”

I was breathless. “There you go again with the adverbs.”

His hands inched up, causing heat to flood my body. “You love it when I whip out the adverbs.”


He trailed his lips in a hot line down my throat. “Let me make you exceedingly, insanely happy, Kat.”

“Now?” My voice came out an embarrassing squawk.

“Now,” he growled.

I thought about all the people inside the house, but then his lips were on mine, and it felt like forever since he’d kissed me. His hand moved into my hair as the kiss deepened, our breaths mingling. He dropped his arm around my waist, and then he was standing, and my legs were wrapped around his hips.

“I love you, Kitten.” Another deep, scorching kiss lit up my insides. “And I’m going to show you just how much I love you.”

Chapter 24


My arms tightened around her as I waited for her answer. Not that I really believed she’d turn me down. It wasn’t about that. I wanted to make sure she was ready after everything. Last time, she hadn’t been ready, and it hadn’t just been the headlights. If she wasn’t, it’d be okay. Holding her all night would be just as amazing.

But I’d need a cold and really long shower.

Because having her in my lap, with the softest part of her pressed against the hardest part of me, was testing my self-control and had me turned on like no one in and beyond this world could.

Kat lifted her chin, her eyes locking with mine. Everything I needed to see, needed to believe in was in her eyes. “Yes.”

I wasted no time after hearing that one little word. Doing this, being with her in every way that I could, wouldn’t replace all the terrible things that had happened, but it was a start.

“Hold on,” I told her, and then I captured her breathy response with a kiss.

She circled her arms around my neck as I gripped her hips. As I stood, her legs clamped down on me, and I bit back a groan. Surprised by the fact that I was even attempting to make it to a bed, I never took my mouth off hers. Kissing her. Drinking her in. It wasn’t enough, could never be enough.

I carried her into the house and through the many useless rooms that would never, ever end, it seemed. She giggled against my mouth when I bumped into something that probably cost a small fortune. I found the stairs, climbed them without breaking both our necks, and found the bedroom I’d deposited our stuff in earlier.

Kat reached out, slapping at the air until she found the edge of the door and closed it behind us, just as I caught her lower lip with my teeth. A little nip, and the sound she made boiled my blood. I was going to combust before anything got started.

I turned us toward the bed, lifting my mouth from her warm lips. I wanted to strip the sheets and comforter and find richer, suppler coverings that were worthy of Kat.

She pressed a hot little kiss against my pounding pulse.

Screw finding better sheets.

I placed her down on the bed, moving slower than my body demanded. She sent me a tiny smile, and my heart turned over in my chest as I knelt on my knees before her. Our eyes locked.

My pulse pounded fast, feeling it in every part of my body. “I don’t deserve you.” The words came out before I could stop them. They were the truth. Kat deserved the world and then some.

Leaning forward, she placed her hand on my cheek, and I felt the touch through every cell in my body. “You deserve everything,” she said.

I turned my head, kissing her palm. So many words came to the tip of my tongue, but when she stood and reached down, hooking her fingers under the hem of her dress, my heart stopped, and the words died in the silence between us.

Kat lifted the dress over her head and dropped it onto the floor beside me.

I couldn’t move. I couldn’t even get my lungs to function. Thinking became almost impossible as I stared up at her. She consumed me. Wearing nothing but a thin scrap of cloth, her hair tumbling down her shoulders and over her breasts, she stood there, looking like some kind of goddess.

“You…you are so beautiful.” I stood slowly, my eyes following the slight flush down her neck. I grinned. “You’re really beautiful when you blush.”

She ducked her head, but I caught her chin, forcing her eyes back to mine. “Seriously,” I told her. “Absolutely beautiful.”

The tender, almost shy smile appeared again. “Flattery will totally get you everywhere right now.”

I chuckled. “Good to know, because I’m planning on going everywhere—and taking the scenic route.”

That flush deepened, but she grabbed at my shirt. I beat her to it. Tugging it over my head, I let it fall wherever her dress landed. For a moment, we stood there, separated by only a few inches. Neither of us spoke. A current of electricity filled the air, raising the hair along my arms. The pupils of Kat’s eyes started to dilate.

Sliding a hand around the nape of her neck, I gently pulled her toward me. Then we were chest to chest, and the shudder that rolled through her short-circuited my senses. Her lips parted the moment they touched mine; her fingers found the button on my jeans, and my fingers discovered the delicate string resting on her hips.

I guided her to the bed, and her hair fanned out around her like a dark halo. Her eyes were heavily hooded as she watched me, but I could see the dim white glow radiating from them.

Her stare burned me from the inside. I wanted to worship her. I needed to. Every inch. Starting at the tips of her toes, I worked my way up. Slowly. Some areas held my attention a lot longer. Like the graceful arch of her foot and the sensitive skin behind her knees. The curves of her thighs enticed me, and the valleys above beckoned me. The way her back arched, her rapid breaths, soft sounds, and how her fingers dug into my skin rattled my world. When finally I climbed my way up to her, I placed my hands on either side of her head.

Staring down at Kat, I fell for her all over again. Lost my heart when she smiled. Found a whole new purpose when she reached between us and touched me. I broke away long enough to grab protection. And the moment there was nothing between us, there was no more waiting, any intentions of selflessness vanished. My hands were greedy. I was greedy, and my hands were everywhere, my lips following their path. Our bodies moved together like there had been no time separating us. And as I stared down at her, my gaze traveling over her flushed cheeks and swollen lips, I knew right then that there’d never be a more beautiful, more perfect moment in my life than this.

I was drunk on her taste, on her touch. There was only the sound of our pounding hearts, until she called out my name, and I broke apart. The room was awash in flickering white light; I wasn’t sure if it was coming from her or me, and I didn’t care.

For the longest time, I couldn’t move. Hell, I didn’t want to move. Not with her hands sliding down my back, her breathing ragged in my ears. But my weight had to be crushing her even if she wasn’t complaining.

Lifting up, I rolled onto my side. My hand trailed over her rib cage, across her hip, and she turned in to me, wiggling so close that once again there wasn’t an inch between us.

“That was perfect,” she murmured sleepily.

I still wasn’t capable of speech. God only knew what would come out of my mouth at that moment, so I placed a kiss against her damp forehead. She let out a contented sigh, and then she dozed off in my arms. I had been wrong before.

There was not a more perfect, more beautiful moment than this. And I wanted a lifetime of them.


In the morning, our legs and arms were tangled together, and the sheet twisted around my hips. It took some ninja-stealth moves to wiggle free from Daemon. Stretching my arms above my head, I expelled a happy sigh. My body was one big pleasant ache.

“Mmm, that’s sexy.”

My eyes snapped open. Startled and exposed, I grabbed for the sheet, but Daemon’s hand shot out, catching mine. Fire swept across my face as my gaze collided with his forest-green one.

“What?” he murmured lazily. “You’re modest now? Don’t really see the point.”

Heat swept down my throat, and my skin prickled. Daemon kind of made sense. Modesty hadn’t been anywhere last night, but still. Early morning sunlight streamed in from the window. I tugged the sheet from his grip and covered myself.

He pouted, and it was ridiculous that he could do it and still manage to look sexy.

“I’m trying to keep the mystery alive,” I told him.

He chuckled, and the deep sound rolled through me. Shifting closer, he kissed the tip of my nose. “Mystery is overrated. I want to get to know every freckle and every curve on a personal level.”

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