Kat squeezed my arm when the sign for the chapel came into view. The heart on the side was a nice, gaudy touch. “The Little White Wedding Chapel isn’t so little,” she said as I turned into the parking lot.

I parked the car, and as I pulled the keys out of the ignition, I slid back into the form Kat was accustomed to.

An amused smile lit her face. “Better.”

“I thought the other guy was hot?”

“Not as hot as you.” She patted my knee, then pulled back. “I’ve got the license.”

Turning to the window, I almost couldn’t believe that we were here. Not that I was having second thoughts or anything, but I couldn’t believe we were actually doing this, that in an hour or so, we’d be man and wife.

Or Luxen and hybrid.

We hurried inside and met with the “wedding planner.” Handing over our license, IDs, and the fee, we got the ball rolling. The bleach-blonde behind the counter tried selling us every package they had, including the ones where we could rent a tux and gown.

Kat shook her head. She’d taken off the hat and sunglasses. “We just need someone to marry us. That’s all.”

The blonde flashed an ultra-white smile as she leaned against the counter. “You two lovebirds in a hurry?”

I dropped an arm over Kat’s shoulders. “You could say that.”


“If you just want something quick, no bells and whistles or a witness, then we have Minister Lincoln. He’s not included in the fee, so we do ask for a donation.”

“Sounds good.” I bent down, brushing my lips along Kat’s temple. “You want anything else? If so, we’ll do it. Whatever it is.”

Kat shook her head. “I just want you. That’s all we need.”

I smiled and glanced at the blonde. “Well, there you go.”

The woman stood. “You two are adorable. Follow me.”

Kat bumped me with her hip as we trailed behind the blonde entering the “Tunnel of Love”—and boy did I have a ton of nasty comments building up in me about the name of that. I’d save them for later.

Minister Lincoln was an older man who looked more like a grandfather than some guy who married people on a whim in Vegas. We chatted with him for a few minutes, and then we had to wait for another twenty while he finished up a few things. The delays were starting to make me paranoid, and I expected an army to storm the chapel any second. I needed a distraction.

I pulled Kat onto my lap and circled my arms around her waist. While we waited, I told her about the ceremonies my kind did, which were very much like a human wedding with the exception of rings.

“Is there anything you do in its place?” she asked.

Tucking her hair back behind her ear, I smiled a little. “You’ll think it’s gross.”

“I want to know.”

My hand lingered along the curve of her neck. “It’s kind of like a blood oath. We’re in our true form.” I kept my voice low, just in case anyone was listening, though I was sure stranger things were heard in the Tunnel of Love. “Our fingers are pricked and pressed together. That’s about it.”

She lightly stroked my hand. “That’s not too gross. I was expecting you to say something like you have to run around naked or consummate the relationship in front of everyone.”

I dropped my head to her shoulder and laughed. “You have such a dirty mind, Kitten. That’s why I love you.”

“That’s all?” She wiggled down so that her cheek was beside mine.

My grip tightened. “You know better than that.”

“Can we do it—what your kind does—later?” she asked, tapping her finger on my chest. “When things die down?”

“If that’s what you want.”

“It is. I think that would make it more real, you know?”

“Miss Whitt? Mr. Rowe?” The blonde appeared at the opened doors. I was sure the tan chick had a name but couldn’t recall it for the life of me. “We’re ready when you are.”

Hoisting Kat to her feet, I took her hand. The chapel portion was actually pretty nice. Enough room if you wanted people to be there. White roses were everywhere—on the ends of the pews, bouquets of them in the corners and hanging from the ceiling and placed upon the pedestals at the front. Minister Lincoln stood between the pedestals, holding a bible in his hand. He smiled when he saw us.

Our steps made no sound on the red carpet. Actually, we could’ve been stomping our feet and I wouldn’t have heard it over the pounding of my heart. We stopped in front of the minister. He said something. I nodded. God only knew what it was. We were told to face each other, and we did, our hands joined.

Minister Lincoln kept talking, but it was like Charlie Brown’s teacher, because I didn’t understand a single word of it. My gaze was locked on Kat’s face, my attention focused on the feel of her hands in mine and the warmth of her body next to me. At some point I heard the important words.

“I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

I think my heart exploded. Kat was staring up at me, her gray eyes wide and misty. For a moment, I couldn’t move. Like I was frozen for a precious few seconds, and then I was moving, cupping her cheeks and tilting her head back. I kissed her. I’d kissed her at least a thousand times before this, but this one—oh, yeah—this one was different. The touch and taste of her reached down into me and branded my soul.

“I love you,” I said, kissing her. “I love you so very much.”

She gripped my sides. “And I love you.”

Before I knew it, I was smiling, and then I was laughing like an idiot, but I didn’t care. I pulled her into my arms, cradling her head against my chest. Our hearts were racing, beating in tandem—we were in tandem. And in that moment, it seemed like everything we’d been through, everything we’d lost and had to give up, was worth it. This was what mattered—would always matter the most.

Chapter 26


Feeling like one of those cartoon characters that daintily raised a leg when she was kissed by Prince Charming, I was dizzy with happiness and absolutely swept off my feet in a way I never believed possible. It was just a piece of paper I clenched in my hand. A certificate of marriage between two names that weren’t even real.

But it meant the world.

It meant everything.

I couldn’t stop smiling, nor could I get the emotional lump out of my throat. Since we’d exchanged vows, I’d been in a constant state of almost crying. Daemon probably thought I was insane.

On the way out, the blonde from the front stopped us. She handed me a photo. “On me,” she said, smiling. “You two are a beautiful couple. It would be a shame if you didn’t have something to capture the moment.”

Daemon peered over my shoulder. The photo was of our kiss—our first kiss as a married couple. “Good Lord,” I said, feeling my cheeks burn. “I’m pretty sure we’re eating each other’s faces.”

He laughed.

The blonde smiled as she stepped aside. “I think that’s the kind of passion that lasts a lifetime. You’re lucky.”

“I know.” And in that instant, I did know how lucky I was, all things considered. I looked up at my…my husband. Deep down, I knew the marriage wasn’t legal, but it felt real to me. My eyes wanted to start with the waterworks again. “I do know how lucky I am.”

Daemon rewarded me with a scorching kiss that lifted me clear off the floor. Any other time I would’ve been embarrassed by that, since we were in public, but I didn’t care. Not at all.

We totally cornballed it up on the way back to the house, holding hands and making googly eyes. It took us a couple of minutes to get out of the car. The moment he turned off the engine, we were all over each other. Greedy—we both were so greedy. The kissing wasn’t enough. I crawled over the gearshift, straddling his lap. My hands were under his shirt, against the ridges of his stomach. He slid his hands up my back, tracing the line of my spine until his fingers tangled in my hair.

I was breathing heavily when he pulled back, pressing his head against the seat. “Okay,” he said. “If we don’t stop, we’re going to do something very naughty in this car.”

I giggled. “That’s one hell of a way to pay her back for letting us borrow it.”

“No doubt.” He reached over and opened the driver’s door. Cool air washed over us. “You better get going before I change my mind.”

I wasn’t sure if I wanted him to change his mind, but I forced myself to climb out of the car. Daemon was right behind me, his hands on my hips as we entered the house through the door that led into a small pantry.

Matthew was in front of us the moment we stepped into the kitchen, blue eyes flashing with anger. “Where in the hell have you two been?”

“Out,” replied Daemon. He stepped around, blocking most of Matthew.

“Out?” Matthew sounded flabbergasted.

I peeked around Daemon, holding the license close to my chest. “I wanted to see a few things.”

Matthew’s mouth dropped open.

“I really don’t think that was a good idea,” Archer said, appearing in the open archway. “To go sightseeing when you have half the government gunning for your ass.”

Daemon stiffened. “It’s all good. No one saw us. Now if you would excuse us…”

Archer’s eyes narrowed. “I can’t believe you two…”

The whole time he was talking, I was singing “Don’t Cha” in my head, desperately trying not to think about the marriage, but one of us must’ve failed, because Archer’s mouth snapped shut, and he looked floored. Like someone just explained to him that you can have an endless salad bowl at Olive Garden.

Please don’t say anything. Please. I kept thinking the words over and over, hoping he was peeping in my head at the moment.

Matthew glanced back at Archer, brows furrowed. “You okay, bud?”

Shaking his head, Archer pivoted on his heel and muttered, “Whatever.”

“I know you’re butt sore about this, Matthew. We’re sorry. We’ll never do it again.” Daemon reached back, finding my hand. He started forward. “And you can yell at us all you want in about…five or so hours.”

Matthew folded his arms. “What are you up to?”

Sliding past him, Daemon cast him a cheeky grin. “It’s not what. More like who.” I smacked his back, which was ignored. “So can your epic lecture hold off for a little while?”

Matthew really wasn’t given a chance to say any more. We breezed out of the kitchen and through a purposeless room with lots of statues and a table in the middle. Dee’s and Ash’s voices echoed from another room.

“We’d better hurry,” Daemon said, “or we’ll never get away.”

Though I was eager to spend some quality time with Dee, I knew why we were hurrying. Halfway up the stairs, Daemon turned and wrapped his arm under my knees, picking me up.

Biting back on the giggles, I looped my arms around his neck. “That’s not necessary.”

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