“I haven’t said a word.” Sweat beaded his forehead and upper lip. Mirceo didn’t sweat unless he exerted himself during sex.

“You don’t have to; your wild-eyed expression is saying everything.”

Saying what? Explain it to me! Make me understand.

Caspion rose to snatch his clothes off the floor. “Knew this would happen.”

Even now the sight of that physique had Mirceo hardening. What wouldn’t I have promised to possess him? “What does my expression say?”

Caspion grated, “It’s—been—swell.” He stabbed his legs into his pants.

“You’re putting words in my mouth.”

“I knew you’d do this!” His instincts must be going crazy. Just as a demon would need to claim his fated one, he wouldn’t tolerate losing a marked mate. Yet Caspion was clearly trying not to lose his temper. “I knew. But you convinced me to take a chance.”

“Since we are mated, I thought I wouldn’t feel this . . . this . . .”


“Not regret.” Mirceo examined his emotions. “I don’t feel any regret.”


“You never regretted your conquests. Just the mornings after. Damn you, I told you to take time. To be certain.”

“I know.”

“You promised me eternity, and you didn’t even make it eight fucking hours! You told me things would be different with me, with your mate.”

“It is different. My anxiety is stronger than it’s ever been.” Why am I provoking him?

“You prick.” Caspion inhaled a deep breath, making another valiant attempt to control his rising anger. “Look, I understand this is a lot to process. What happened between us was mind-boggling. We’re both emotionally raw and charged up right now. But we have something here. Don’t throw it all away.”

The calmer Caspion managed to remain, the more agitated Mirceo grew. “Throw it all away? Is that on the table?” Make this feeling stop!

“You want it to be?”

“No. No!”

“Last night spooked the hell out of me too, and I’m in a place in my life where this is perfect timing. For you, the timing couldn’t be worse. But if you can trust me, we will make it work.”

That pain in Mirceo’s arm wouldn’t let up. He scowled down at it.

“Are you even listening to me?” Caspion demanded. “What occurred between the time you fell asleep and the time you woke up?”

“That’s what I’m trying to tell you: I don’t know! Maybe . . . maybe I should go away for a couple of days and get my mind in order—”

“No. You made a decision; abide by it. If you leave here this morning, then you leave for good.”

Leave for good. Leave Caspion. Mirceo’s alarm ratcheted up even more.

The demon narrowed his eyes. “You dreamed a memory of mine, didn’t you? I can guess which one.” His face flushed, even as his eyes filled with bitterness.

Mirceo wanted to say, Your memories have nothing to do with what I’m experiencing. But that might be a lie. When he thought of how those demons had mistreated his young mate, his insanity only seemed to peak.

“No denial. So you have dreamed my memories. And you’re saying they aren’t affecting you?”

“They are. Just not the way you assume.” Mirceo couldn’t untangle his thoughts. This strangling sensation wouldn’t relent. He pinched his temples, fearing he was about to pass out from lack of oxygen. “I-I haven’t made any decisions or anything.”

“That’s worse! After last night, how could you decide on anything other than more?”

“Do you think I want to feel like this?” His emotions weren’t just strangling Mirceo, they were breaking over him like a tsunami and crushing him. Drowning him. “What is this? Tell me!” Mirceo hadn’t lost interest—just the opposite. He wanted this male even more desperately than before. “Help me, Caspion. Please. Because I think . . . I think I’m losing my mind.”

“You’re panicked because you don’t want your hedonistic life to change.” Caspion scrubbed a hand over his face. “I’ve no one to blame but myself. I’m an idiot for trusting you. I know your faults—and I saw this coming.”

That pissed Mirceo off. I never saw it coming. “That’s not why I’m unraveling. You keep saying you know me, but maybe you don’t.” His head had begun to ache, a low throbbing over his brow.

“Bullshit!” Caspion pointed his forefinger at him. “I know you better than you know yourself.”

The pain in Mirceo’s head provoked his own anger. “You only think you do, demon. I have secrets.”

“Such as?”

“The first night we met, I led you to believe we’d be nothing more than friends, but I was already plotting to fuck you.”

“And now you have fucked me,” Caspion said without shame.

Might as well do this now. “My friends wagered whether I could seduce the proud demon warrior—the conquest of all conquests.”

“Friends? Those sycophants? We are friends, Mirceo. They are parasites. Is that the life you’re in a hurry to get back to?”

“No!” Return to that superficial, dissolute world? Mirceo would rather live in that dismal cave with Caspion and fight Wendigos his whole life. So why am I losing my mind right now? “I just need to—to think about things for a time.”