"I only wish it were more useful."
"It was useful."
He took the cloth from her hand and added more soap.
Kat almost moaned when he started washing her br**sts. "Well, there is more."
She had to put her hands on his shoulders to steady herself as he tenderly bathed her. "You probably know that the Dimme aren’t really friendly to the gallu. So Kessar is stockpiling his demons around their tomb."
He paused. "Do you know where the tomb is?"
Sin laughed before he picked her up and kissed her. "Thank you."
"Aha! So I am useful."
"Yes, you are. Now all we need is a plan."
Kat nodded. "One that doesn’t end up with all of us dead."
"That would be a good start."
She widened her legs as he dipped his hand to stroke her between her thighs. Then he let the cloth fall to the floor so that he could stroke her with his long fingers. Kat sucked her breath in sharply as he slid his index finger deep inside her.
"I was in such a hurry before that I didn’t even get to taste you."
Kat couldn’t speak as he toyed with her. All she could do was watch as he dropped to his knees and nudged her legs farther apart until he could replace his fingers with his tongue. Her br**sts tightened in response while his gruff whiskers rubbed her tender flesh, adding even more chills to her.
Sin growled as he tasted her body. He wanted her scent all over him. Wanted to taste her pleasure. Her thighs were wet from the water, and her soft moans were precious to his ears. He’d never wanted to please a woman the way he wanted to her. There was nothing more gratifying than the sight of her orgasm. The sound of her calling out his name as she came for him.
The hot water pounded against his back while he tongued her. He slid his fingers deep inside her, wringing another cry of pleasure.
And in one hot moment, she gripped his hair and shuddered above him. Sin laughed in triumph as he continued to lick and torment until he’d wrung every last bit of her orgasm from her.
When she was finished, he rose up to pull her close against his chest.
Kat couldn’t breathe as Sin entered her again. He held her pinned to the wall as he thrust against her. Her entire body burned and his last made her hungry. Holding him close, she sank her fangs into his neck. She was so weak, it was all she could do to stand. How he had any energy left, she didn’t know. But it didn’t take him long until he was growling in her ear as his own release took him.
"You are insatiable," she panted as she released him.
"I was a fertility god, remember? We tend to be that way."
She laughed. "I can certainly see why women would worship you." She laid a gentle kiss to his cheek. "But don’t let that go to your head."
"Don’t worry. I know you better than that. I’m sure you’ll be cutting me down to size any moment now."
Kat gave him a squeeze before she withdrew and finished her bath.
As soon as they were finished with the shower, Sin called Damien, Kish, and the two Charonte into his room.
Simi squealed the instant she saw Kat. "Ooo Akra-Kat you’re back!"
"I am, Simi, how have you been?"
"Really good. We’ve been doing lots of shopping." She held out her hands to show Kat that each finger held a new ring. "Did you know there were stores here in the casino? Xirena and the Simi has been shopping like the demons that we are."
Kish scoffed. "Yeah. Their room looks like a warehouse." Simi tossed her hair over her shoulder. "And I like warehouses.
They have lots of good stuff in them."
"Which is why I introduced them to the Container Store’s Web site." Kish winked.
"Ooo," Simi cooed, "we loves that too. They have lots of boxes to hold the Simi’s QVC and sparklies."
Sin cleared his throat. "Yeah and I hate to interrupt but we’re facing an even bigger crisis than stockpiling demon wear." He turned to Kat. "Show them the underground layout."
Kat used her powers to draw the cavern diagram in the air.
"According to Xypher, Kessar sleeps here." She marked an X down one corridor. "He holds court and plans strategy with the other demons here." It was the corridor furthest from his sleeping chamber. "The Dimme are back here." Which looked like a round chamber quite a ways from where Kessar slept.
"Now the problem is he’s intending to move all the gallu to the Dimme area and have forty humans there as sacrifice to them. While the Dimme are chowing down on the humans, he intends to propose an alliance between them. If the Dimme agree to the alliance, they and the gallu are coming for us as a united force."
Damien frowned. "If they refuse?"
"He plans to let them bust a large hole to the surface for all the gallu to run out and then kill the Dimme before they can leave the cavern."
Kish duplicated Damien’s scowl. "Can Kessar do that?"
"Don’t know," Kat said with a sigh. "The Tablet doesn’t work on Simi or Xirena." She looked at Sin. "Would it work on a Sumerian demon?"
He shrugged. "The only people to know that would be Anu or Enlil and they’re dead."
"Which is not useful to us," Damien said sarcastically.
Kish let out an aggravated breath. "Can’t we just nuke these bastards in the ground?"
Sin scoffed. "Nuclear testing is what started freeing them. It’s mother’s milk to their kind."
"But if you can burn them …?"
"Burning is a separate process. It’s not the same as the bomb. Different molecular something or other. I’m an ex-fertility god, not a scientist. All I know is nuclear bombs don’t work, but fire does."
"Then someone get some napalm," Kish said.
Kat ignored him. "Question? Why haven’t they established themselves on earth? Seriously. If they can get out in small groups, why haven’t they nested on the surface before now?"
"They have." Sin stepped closer to her diagram to study it while he talked. "Acheron and I have been going after them whenever we find them. Kessar has stayed underground because he has protection there. They’re stronger on their home soil which is what the caverns have become for them."
"Plus there’s safety in numbers," Damien added. "Out here they’re controlled since they are killed within no time of leaving their territory. In the caverns…"
"There are thousands of them to fight," Sin added. "Even going after the Dimme in there is suicide."
Kat laughed. "Who wants to live forever?"
Kish put his hand up. "For the record, I do."
Sin scowled at him. "Then why do you irritate me so often?"
"Suicidal tendencies are inherent in my species?"
Kat ignored their banter as she stared on the opposite side of Sin. "It’s like Kytara said, isn’t it? We need an army."
Sin shook his head. "Yeah, well, we’re a little short-handed. The Dark-Hunters can’t unite to fight without weakening each other. The Greek gods could care less and those who care are dead. Except for us."
Damien nodded. "And we will most likely die in a good cause."
"Yeah," Sin said slowly. "Kessar has been battering me all week in my dreams and I’m exhausted from it. What we need is a miracle."
Kish quickly added, "Or at the very least a plan that doesn’t end with my death."
Kessar growled as he dragged Xypher away from his throne in chains.
Xypher fought against his restraints. He wasn’t in corporeal form. How the demon had managed to capture him, he had no idea. But he didn’t like it and if he got free, he was going to tear the bastard limb from limb. He looked at Zakar who refused to meet his gaze.
Had the dream god managed to sell him out? It was what he deserved for trying to free him. How many times was he going to let someone betray him before he learned? People were always ass**les only out for themselves. Damned be everyone else.
Zakar was the only way Kessar could have found him. Zakar was the only one he’d allowed to see him. So much for trying to help him.
A demon female grabbed him and sank her fangs into his thigh. Xypher hissed in pain. He tried to knock her away, but Kessar jerked the chain on his hands back so that he couldn’t reach her.
She pulled back in confusion as she spat his blood on the ground. "He doesn’t taste right."
"I’m not alive, bitch. My blood is thicker because it doesn’t pump through my body like a human’s."
Kessar kicked him in the ribs. "Thank you for the science lesson."
The female wiped her hand across her bloodied lips. "What good is he to us? Kill him."
Kessar studied him as if he were an insect. "If he’s dead, I don’t think we can."
Xypher tipped his finger to him. "Score one for the genius."
This time, Kessar kicked him hard in the back. Xypher grunted, wishing pain was banned after death. But what the hell? He was used to it.
"So what are you doing here?" Kessar demanded. "Spying for Sin?"
"Who the hell is Sin?"
Kessar kicked him again-oh he was going to enjoy ripping that bastard’s throat out. "Don’t be coy. You’re here to spy and the only one with a vested interest in this place is Sin."
"Not true," Xypher said slowly. "I was just skimming through when I noticed there’s a lot of angry people here. A Skotos could live a long time on say, you, alone."
Kessar bent over him and when he did, Xypher saw what he needed. The Tablet medallion.
Gold, round and shining, it was a beautiful thing.
Before Kessar could guess his intent, he grabbed it and ripped it free of the demon’s throat and kicked him back. Xypher rolled away from him.
Kessar screamed out, his face changing as he grabbed for the chain.
Xypher was sure Kessar had him. But as the demon reached for him, he was knocked back.
Zakar grabbed him and pulled him toward the throne. "Tell Sin the Rod is in the house. He’ll understand."
The next thing Xypher knew, he was back on Olympus, in the quad between the temples of Zeus, Apollo, Artemis, and Ares. "What the…"
He didn’t move as he ran through the last few seconds in his mind and came up with the only plausible outcome.
To save his life and get a message to Sin, Zakar had just condemned himself to death.
Sin leaned against the bar, studying the map in silence while Kat and Damien made notes on a pad across from him. There had to be some way to settle this without everyone dying.
But damned if he could think of it.
No matter how he looked at the situation, it was going to be a bloodbath. He could feel it. Every scenario, every plan he devised ended up with them being eaten.
There had to be something he was missing…
Sin cocked his head as a new thought entered his mind. Scowling at the map, he moved closer to it as he realized what he’d over looked.
"Where’s the lock?"
Kat glanced up from her pad. "What lock?"
"The one I have to reset to keep the Dimme in their cage. Zakar was the one who reset it last time. It should be somewhere near them on a chain, but I don’t see it."
She got up to study the diagram with him. "What would it look like?"
She gave him an unamused stare. "I don’t see it."
"That is a really bad thing," he said. "If there’s no lock, there’s no stopping them."
Her eyes widened.
The hair on the back of Sin’s neck stood up as he felt a new presence behind him. He spun around, ready to battle, only to find the Dream-Hunter Xypher there, looking a lot worse for wear. "What happened to you?"
Xypher snorted. "Was mistaken for a punching bag again." He wiped the blood from his lips as he joined them by the diagram. "Your brother just resigned himself to death to get me out of danger."
Sin’s stomach sank. "What?"
He nodded. "We have to get him out of there immediately. Kessar is planning on using him as a sacrifice to the Dimme-if Kessar doesn’t kill him over the fact he freed me."
As bad as Sin felt about that, a tiny part of himself was relieved to know that his brother wasn’t completely converted. He was still trying to do the right thing.
"Zakar also wanted me to tell you that the Rod is in the house. I really hope that makes sense to you because I have no idea what he means by it."
Sin frowned as he shook his head. He had no idea either.
At least not at first. "Wait a sec… The Rod." He spun around and headed for his bedroom. He could feel Kat behind him, but he ignored her as he went into his closet and opened the safe.
He pulled several old scrolls out of their clay containers, then headed to his bed to spread them out.
Kat grimaced. "What are you doing?"
"Can you read Sumerian?"
"It’s been awhile, but I used to."
He handed her a scroll. "We’re looking for anything to do with the Rod of Time."
She snorted. "Rod of Time, Forsaken Moon, Tablet of Destiny… you Sumerians really liked your hokey terms, huh?"
He gave her a droll stare. "They didn’t exactly ask my opinion before they named them."