Touched By Sin: Chapter 23

AURELIA

I wake up to voices drifting in through the gap in the door where it has been left ajar. The last of the embers crackle in the fireplace. Ronan, who was left on guard duty, is asleep in the armchair. He looks younger in his sleep, his sharp features smoother.

I push myself up to sitting. The dead girl is gone, and my dress has been changed. The one I have on now smells faintly of soap and midnight. It must belong to Dariana. I’m shorter than her, so it falls around my knees when I push to standing.

Lifting the skirt, I inspect my thigh. It’s healed, and my skin is smooth and void of blood, as if last night never happened. They must have cleaned me, too. Not wishing to wake Ronan, I pad barefoot to the door, careful not to make it creak as I slip outside. I can make out the deep timbre of Daemon’s voice up ahead. “What can you tell me of the Light?”

“Why this newfound interest all of a sudden?” The other voice with him is new.

“You’ve seen it.”

Curious, my feet slow as I reach the doorway to the kitchen. Maybe they want privacy? I should turn around and walk back upstairs to my room. It’s what I should do, but I don’t. Instead, I take a hesitant step forward and peer into the room. The man with Daemon is an older copy of him, with short black hair, a sharp jaw, and the same straight nose. Fine lines frame a deep set of the brownest eyes I’ve ever seen, except for Daemon’s.

You would have to be blind not to notice their similarities. The man wears a black button-up that stretches tight across his broad chest. His slacks are fastened with a black leather belt, and the buckle draws my eyes when it catches the light above the sink. His wings are large and inky black. Even folded, I can tell they’re impressive.

When he turns, he spots me, and I don’t know how to feel about the smile on his lips. It’s the kind of smile that draws you in, hoping you’ll get another flash of straight teeth, but there’s also a darkness to it. Before the man has even uttered a word, I know he’s dangerous.

“You must be Aurelia.”

Daemon’s head snaps toward me in the doorway and he grinds his teeth so hard, it looks painful. “What are you doing here?”

“Don’t be rude, son.” To me, he says, “Come here.”

The air crackles with tension. I should have stayed with Ronan or walked upstairs to my room. What I shouldn’t have done was to come here. I know that for certain when the man sweeps his eyes down my body like I’m a curiosity—one he’s no stranger to.

“Well. Well. I never thought I would see the day.” He holds his hand out. “Perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m Daemon’s father, Lucifer.”

I freeze, my eyes widening. “Lucifer?”

He shakes my hand with a firm grip. “I’m sure you will have heard of me.”

“Yes,” I reply, but the quiver in my voice betrays me. Lucifer was the first fallen angel to choose evil and turn away from God. The first angel to fall from grace. The original. Seven more angels rebelled and joined him soon after.

He tsks, sliding his hand out from mine. “You shouldn’t believe in everything your elders teach you. What do they call me now? Satan? The Devil? Do I still torture human souls for eternity in a pool of hellfire?”

My mouth has gone dry. I’m as terrified, standing here in front of him, as I am fascinated. Lucifer is a man of myths and legends, the monster in every fairytale. I’m also strangely intrigued by him. He was the first angel to look up at the shimmering gates with curiosity and a desire to discover what lurked outside of Paradise. No other angel before him had the same curiosity. Not until me. What about the other seven angels? Lucifer convinced them to join him by telling them there was more to life outside God’s paradise. If not for Lucifer, they wouldn’t have left Eden. The man in front of me is a man I can relate to more than any angel back home.

Lucifer smiles tightly, and the way his dark eyes burn into me awakens my flight instinct. My heart starts racing in my chest. I will it to stop.

“I have somewhere else I need to be. I look forward to seeing you at our family dinner tonight.”

Family dinner?

Daemon’s eyes stay glued on mine as his father clasps his shoulder. “Don’t be late, son.”

As soon as his father is gone, Daemon surges forward and traps me against the counter. “Why did you leave the living room?”

He’s so close that my breath gets caught in my throat when his masculine scent tantalizes my senses. My gaze travels up his chest, past his collarbones and long throat, to his devastatingly handsome face. Dark stubble on olive skin gives way to sharp cheekbones and stormy eyes.

I shouldn’t have set sail in these treacherous waters by escaping Eden. I was done for the moment I crushed my compass beneath my shoe and set course for the dark clouds on the horizon. But I couldn’t stay moored any longer.

“You should have stayed in the fucking living room.”

His voice drifts into my consciousness. I don’t care that I’m drowning in his eyes; death can’t come soon enough.

Wait? I frown, giving my head a shake to clear it. “Did you just say I shouldn’t have left the living room? Am I your prisoner now?”

Placing his hands on the countertop behind me, he leans in. “I stole you from your precious Eden and treat you like shit, remember? Those were your words.”

My gaze falls to his lips, only to flick back up. He’s so close, his breath dances across my face.

“My father is not a good man. You’d do well to stay clear of him.”

“You’re not a good man either.”

He takes his hand off the counter and toys with a strand of my hair, the backs of his fingers brushing my collarbone. “I’m the Devil’s son, sweetheart. The minute you snuck out of Eden, you entered my land.”

“It’s not your land yet,” I hiss, lifting my chin defiantly. I can’t believe he never told me who he is. All this time, I never realized.

“Touché,” he chuckles before stealing my breath with a single look that makes my toes curl in my shoes. “I’m the next heir. My father may be immortal, but even the immortal pass away.”

I’m drawn like a moth to the flames that flicker in his eyes. If I don’t wrangle this desire, I’ll burn myself. Still, I can’t resist singeing my fingers on his hard chest. The black fabric creases in my hands as I press up on my tiptoes to place a kiss on his jaw.

The second my lips connect with his stubble, his hand flies up. He grabs my jaw, forcing my mouth to his. His kiss is hard, ruthless, and fucking delicious. I moan as his sharp teeth sink into my bottom lip, and the taste of copper teases the back of my throat. I’m just about to beg him to take me when Ronan stumbles into the kitchen, bleary-eyed and yawning.

Daemon steps back, adjusting his dick in his pants. “Our little angel ran into my father thanks to you falling asleep on guard duty and allowing her to sneak around the house.”

Ronan lowers his fisted hand from his mouth. “Shit, man.”

“Yes, shit.”

“What did he say?”

“He was here to remind me of the family dinner tonight.”

“How do these family dinners work?” I ask, looking between them. “Does your dad have women tied to poles in the dining room?”

Daemon doesn’t even bother with a reply. It’s like I’m not here anymore. “He’s curious. I could see it in his eyes.”

“Yeah, but that doesn’t have to mean anything.”

Their voices drift away when they walk out. Left alone, I blink as my lips tingle from Daemon’s kiss.

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