Sins of the Night (Page 28)

Sins of the Night (Dark-Hunter #8)(28)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

Date. There was a word Alexion had never thought to hear in relation to himself. Moving back, he let her get up to go shower as he thought over the strangeness of all this.

He was going on a date? He’d seen such things in movies and read about them in books, but to actually be on one…

How completely odd.

None of this is real. Don’t get any more involved with her. You’ll regret it later. There were only three more days until he’d have to return.

And then he’d never see her again.

Danger popped her head back in the bedroom door. Alexion was still lying nak*d on her bed. She had to admit that he looked incredible like that. Michelangelo would have a field day painting that divine Greek body. It was absolutely perfect in proportion. She’d never seen anyone with a better set of abs or a nicer rump. And when it came to his pecs and shoulders…

She was already getting turned on again.

Except that he continued to look sad and forlorn. "Hey? Want to join me?"

He looked startled by her question. "Really?"

She laughed at his shock. "It’s not like you haven’t already seen me nak*d… a lot."

He smiled, then scooted off the bed to join her. Before she could move out of his way, he scooped her up and carried her to the shower.

She yelped as he turned on the water, which was freezing cold.

"Sorry," he said. The water turned warm so quickly that she knew he’d intervened with the temperature.

His thoughtfulness never ceased to amaze her. Don’t, Danger. She couldn’t afford to let herself fall for him more than she already had.

Then again, why not? If he was to be believed, and she certainly did believe him, she wouldn’t recall him at all by week’s end.

And that made her want to cry. How could she forget someone who meant so much to her? That thought alone was terrifying.

Just my luck. After all these centuries I finally find the one person I actually want to be around only to find out that it really is impossible.

La vie n’est pas juste. How many times had her mother told her that? And unfortunately, her mother was right. Life wasn’t fair. It was cruel and sad, but at times it was fun and miraculous.

And tonight it would be miraculous. She refused to let herself or anyone else ruin it. She might not remember him, but he would remember her and she didn’t want his memories to be of a sullen-faced crybaby. He deserved one perfect night.

Everyone did.

Alexion picked up the cloth and soaped it before he turned to Danger. Her eyes were closed, her arms raised, as she parted her hair to let the water saturate it. To his amazement, he felt himself starting to harden again as he watched her. What was it about this woman that left him so hard and needful all the time?

She opened her eyes and pinned him with a tender gaze that left him breathless and aching. He kissed her before he started bathing her.

Danger sighed at the sensation of Alexion’s hands on her body, soaping her skin.

"There has to be some way around this." She hadn’t realized she’d spoken out loud until he straightened.

"There isn’t, Danger. When I leave, it’s over."

She wanted to curse in frustration. "I can’t believe that we can’t make it work. Surely there’s some way we can fix this."

"I’m not real. I’m not even human anymore."

He kept saying that, but everything about him refuted those words. How could someone let go of the best thing they’d ever found simply because… Well, there was a lot of "becauses" in this relationship. Still, love could conquer all, right?

But she knew better. Love couldn’t conquer death. Ever.

Sighing, she didn’t say anything else as they bathed and dressed.

After they were ready, Alexion opened the door to the hallway to find Xirena there.

Standing in the hallway, she had her head cocked as she gave him a look reminiscent of a hawk sighting prey, "I have been thinking much this last day. I know you care for my sister and I want to stay with her. But I don’t want to bond myself to the cursed god for it. His mother is unkind and vicious, and no matter what you say, I don’t trust her son to be any better. But if I don’t bond, the bitchtress can reclaim me and make me go back to Kalosis and serve her. My brother has left there and gone I know not where, and my sister was sent away countless centuries ago."

Her eyes were troubled and sad, and they showed the full depth of her heart. "I only want to be with my family, Alexion. Will you let me bond to you so that Xirena can’t be forced back to Kalosis?"

Alexion exchanged a shocked look with Danger as Xirena’s words rang in his head. That was one hell of a request she was making.

To bond with a demon was irreversible. At least as far as he knew. Xirena would become a part of him in much the same way that Simi was part of Acheron. She would live on his body and be his to command.

Could he even do that?

"I’m not human or a god," he said to her. "I don’t really even have a body for you to bond to."

"We bond to the ousia. Not the flesh."

He looked back at Danger. If he took Xirena up on her offer, he would have one more entity who could guard her at all times. No matter when or where Stryker attacked, Xirena would be with him.

But he couldn’t take advantage of the demon for his own peace of mind. That would be selfish and cruel, and there was no way he would ever be like that to another living being. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

Xirena nodded. "I have to. Please don’t make me go back there. The bitchtress will kill me and I only want to stay with my sister. Please."

"Will Ash be mad?" Danger asked.

Xirena hissed like a cat. "I don’t care what the cursed god says. He doesn’t control me."

Truthfully, Alexion didn’t know how Acheron would react, but he couldn’t imagine him getting angry over this, especially not if it made Simi happy.

In a weird way, it made total sense. The last thing he wanted was to see Xirena pulled back into Kalosis where she might be punished for helping him. He didn’t know much about Acheron’s mother, other than the fact that she wasn’t known for her understanding or compassion. Alexion had already had Simi for nine thousand years-at least this one was an adult.

"I guess it’s okay," he said.

Danger gaped. He was bonding with a demon? She didn’t know what that was, but it didn’t sound good. "Are you two getting married?"

He laughed. "No."

Still not sure, she watched as Xirena’s body became a bizarre shadow that shrank in size until it was no larger than half a foot. She took on the shape of a dragon.

Alexion lifted his shirt and she laid herself across his ribs to form a brightly colored tattoo there.

Completely stunned, Danger reached out to touch the demon tattoo. "Does that hurt?"

"Burns a little," he said as he looked down at the demon on his skin.

"What did she do?"

"I’m not exactly sure how they do it, but she’s now a part of me. She can feel my emotions. If she senses I’m in danger, she’ll manifest back into her demon form and protect me."

Wow, mat was impressive… and scary. "Can she hear us?"

"No," he assured her. "I can hear her thoughts, though, and if I allow her to, she can hear mine."

"That’s just so weird."

"I know. Apparently, the ancient Atlantean gods used to pick one demon they favored above all others to become their companions."

"So Simi is Ash’s?"


Her face lightened as if she finally understood something. "So that’s why Ash’s tattoo changes shapes and positions? It’s not really a tattoo. It’s his demon."

He nodded.

"Well, that’s just a total freak. So what happens if one of you dies? Does it kill the other?"

He felt the color drain from his face. "Now there’s something I never thought about. Let’s hope we never find out."

"Yeah, it could seriously stink, huh?"

Before Alexion could answer, Xirena started crawling up his chest, toward his shoulder. He jumped as her path burned him and caused him to shiver. "Xirena, stop moving!"

"Sorry, akri."

"Don’t call me akri, Xirena. I’m not a control freak."

"You are good, quality people, Alexion. Xirena will sleep now."

"You two talking?" Danger asked.

"For only a second. She’s going to sleep for a while." He rubbed his chest where Xirena now rested as a permanent part of his being. "Now I understand why Acheron jumps every now and again for no reason. Simi must be twitching on him."

Danger laughed. "I hope you don’t start doing that. People around here might think you’re having a seizure. Next thing you know, they’ll be throwing you down on the ground and putting a stick in your mouth."


She laughed again. "No. C’mon, gullible. Let’s go eat."

"So why aren’t you eating this time?" Danger asked as they sat in a small family-owned Italian restaurant down the street from her house, looking over the menu.

"I told you, I can’t taste anything."

She gave him a piercing glare. "C’mon, Alexion, don’t lie to me. With the exception of the popcorn, you haven’t eaten anything since you’ve been here, have you?"

He looked away from her.

Danger reached across the table and took his hand. She wanted an answer to this. "Please tell me the truth."

Alexion considered the ramifications of being honest with her. But then she wouldn’t remember it, so why not? She already knew more than she should.

But what if it disgusted her?

Then again, that might be beneficial. She might find the truth so repellent that she’d leave him to do this alone, and not be in danger anymore.

He didn’t know, but in the end, he found himself confiding in her. "Have you ever studied Greek myth at all?"

"A little."

Good, that would make this a little easier on him. "Do you remember when the heroes would travel to the Underworld what they had to do to be able to speak with Shades?"

She thought it over for a few minutes before she answered. "They made a blood sacrifice."

He braced himself mentally for her possible reaction. "And what did the Shade do with their sacrifice?"

Her face went pale as she realized the truth of him. "It drank the blood so that it could speak."

He nodded.

Danger sat there horrified at what he was telling her. "You live on blood?"

Again he nodded.

She went completely cold at the next thought that entered her mind. There was only one person he could feed from. Only one person he was ever around. "You drink Ash’s blood?" .


"Ew!" she said, scooting her chair back. She had a horrible image in her head of the two of them feeding each other. "So you suck on Ash’s neck?"

"Hell, no!" he said in an offended tone. "A, never in a million years-I’d rather be dead and tortured, and B, you go near that man’s neck and you better have a will made out. He can’t stand for anything to touch his neck."

"Then how do you feed?"

"He literally opens a vein, drains his blood into a cup, and gives it to me to drink. I know it’s disgusting. I know you’re horrified. But if I don’t feed, I return to what I was and I don’t know if it’s true or not, but Artemis claims that if I return to a Shade, there’s no way to bring me back again."

She thought about that until she remembered something he had told her yesterday. "But you said you were different from the other Shades. Do they drink blood too?"

"No. Acheron brings them back another way."

"And that would be?"

"I don’t know. Acheron never shared that secret with me, probably because he knows I’d want to kill him for the injustice of it."

She couldn’t blame Alexion there. Ash really had screwed him up. "So how did he learn this other way?"

He sighed. "About three hundred years after he brought me back, he met a…"-he hesitated as if searching for the right word-"teacher who taught him how to use his god powers. Savitar is the one who showed Acheron how to bring back the dead without using blood for it. But it was too late for me. Because I live off his blood, he and I are bonded much like two classic Hollywood vampires."

Now they were back to being gross again. "So he has to feed from you too?"

"No. Well, actually I guess, in theory, he could. But I think he’d rather die than feed from a man."

Oh, yeah, like the alternative was any better. "So he feeds off women? Stryker was right, he is a Daimon."

"Calm down," Alexion said, taking her hand in his. "He’s not a Daimon or an Apollite. And he doesn’t prey on people. He only feeds from one person and she’s not human either."

And in that instant she understood who. "Artemis."

He nodded.

Everything made sense now. No wonder Acheron put up with all of them. He really had no choice. "So neither one of you can eat?"

"We can eat. We just don’t have to. I don’t eat out of habit. Since I can’t taste food, it’s rather futile."

"Then why are we here?"

"Because you do need food to fuel your body, and I want you to live a long and happy immortality."