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Touched By Sin: Chapter 26


I’m on my way to the library when Dariana catches up to me in the hallway. “You have that glow,” she teases.

“What glow?”

Her hair is up in a messy bun, and her black dress flows around her thighs. She smiles at me through her red-painted lips. “Like you’ve had them all at the same time.”

My eyes widen as I pause in the middle of the hallway. “They told you?”

Waving me off, she continues walking. “Relax, no one said a thing. It was a lucky guess.” She looks at me over her shoulder and winks. “And I was right, judging by the blush on your cheeks.”

Okay, so maybe I’m smiling a little too big. Sue me. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Right, right.” She nods as we enter the library.

I love the silence and the smell of old books, the wisdom that whispers in the air. The lady behind the counter looks up from the novel splayed in front of her before lowering her gaze back down and turning the page. We walk deeper into the library until we reach the back, where there’s a small seating area. Lanterns sit in the middle of the circular table, and the soft glow from the flames throws shadows across Dariana’s face as she takes a seat in one of the chairs.

I pick up a lantern, using it to peruse the books on the nearest shelf while she watches me. Feeling self-conscious, I peer at her over my shoulder. “You’re staring at me.”

“What are you looking for?”

The flame of the candle flickers wildly as I hold it up in front of the books. “Something to shed light on my dreams.”

Surely, there must be information in a library this old. The chair scrapes on the stone floor, and then she’s behind me, reaching over my shoulder to drag her fingers over the spines. Her nails are painted red to match her lipstick, and she’s wearing a golden bracelet with a small heart charm.

“What are we looking for exactly?”

I try to focus, but it isn’t easy when she’s so close and her warm breaths dance across my bare shoulder. “Something about doors, maybe?”

“Doors, maybe? Or dreams about being attacked by Lucifer’s brother.”

My eyes widen, the flame flickering wildly inside the lantern as I whirl around.

“What’s the matter?” she says, before I’ve had a chance to utter a word. “Didn’t think we would figure it out?”

“Oh, my God,” I whisper shakily. “I don’t want them to do something stupid.”

She lifts her hand, twirling it through the air. Then she clicks her fingers, and the fire in the lantern goes out, bathing us in darkness. My heart starts pounding. “Dariana?”

With another click, a small flame flickers to life in the palm of her hand. She brings her eyes to me, watching me over the flickering fire. “Daemon will stop at nothing to keep you safe.”

It’s why I need to find a way to escape. “You’re friends with him; he’ll listen to you.”

“No,” she replies, blowing out the flame. “He won’t.” Shifting closer and sliding her hand into my hair, her lips curve into a smile against my neck. “He’ll burn the whole world down for you.”

“I need to escape.”

“Don’t you get it?” Dariana whispers, lowering herself down onto her knees and tossing my leg over her shoulder. “There’s no escape.” She drags her warm tongue up the inside of my thigh all the way to my aching pussy. She’s just about to taste me when Dmitriy’s voice drifts through the shelves. Dariana stiffens, her hot breaths tingling my sensitive skin for a brief moment before she lowers my leg back down and rises to her feet. Her hand clamps over my mouth as she whispers, “Quiet, baby.”

“She’s not going to go with me willingly.”

“Then you need to work your charm, don’t you?”

My eyes widen in the darkness. What is Amenadiel doing here at the academy?

Dmitriy snorts. “They’ve got her wrapped around their little fingers. She’s untouchable in these hallways.”

“You’ve fucked her before—”

“She came to me.”

“It doesn’t matter. I’ve found a way into her mind. If she doesn’t come to you, we’ll get her somewhere they can’t reach her.”

My pulse is beating against the pulse point in my neck. So, he was real and not just an apparition in my dream?

“I don’t have your powers, Dad. I can’t do what you do.”

“Don’t worry about that. You do your part and I’ll work on the rest.”

“What about Uncle? Will he go along with it?”

“Lucifer is blindsided by the promise of me stepping down. He can’t see reason. To him, she’s just another girl. He can’t see how she’s become a weakness to his son and a weakness to the kingdom.”

“What’s so fucking special about her anyway? So, she has white wings? Big deal.”

“Besides the fact that she has God’s light within her, something no one in this kingdom has.” Amenadiel chuckles. “Daemon likes a challenge.”

“I still don’t fucking get it. You used to live in Eden, too.”

“I did, but my light burned out a long time ago. Hers is still there. She’s about to be yours soon, son, so you’ll have plenty of time to explore the ins and outs of it then.”

Their voices drift away.

Dariana conjures a new flame. Her wide eyes take me in before she whispers, “We need to tell Daemon and the others.”

My throat jumps and I quickly shake my head. “No, we don’t. Listen to me. That’s what they want. Amenadiel is trying to force my hand. Don’t you see? If I tell Daemon, he’ll attack Amenadiel or his son.” I wave my hands around the room. “Amenadiel wins. He doesn’t really want to give up the power he holds now. If he can find a way to make Daemon break the treaty before then, he will.”

Dariana looks unconvinced. “What if he kills you in your dream next time?”

Pushing off the shelf, I walk back to the circular table and plop down onto one of the chairs. Dariana puts out the flame in her hand and sits down, too. I’m getting a headache. Massaging my temples, I try to think. “There must be more to this?”

“You’re asking the wrong person. I stay out of their millennia-long argument. No one even knows how much time has passed since the fall. Only they do and the other angels involved… but it’s been a very fucking long time.”

“I can’t get between Lucifer and Amenadiel.” I lower my hand, meeting her gaze.

“No, you can’t,” she agrees. “Lucifer will kill you if he thinks you’re a threat.”

“I don’t get this. Daemon doesn’t even like me that much. We fight most of the time.”

Her hand slides across the table and she trails her fingers over mine. “You don’t have to understand it. Daemon is a powerful man, the next heir. Everything comes easy for him. Well, it did until you. You’re different, and not just because of your wings. You have a spark and a fight in you that very few possess here. Daemon never stood a chance. None of us did.”

Compliments make me uncomfortable. I shift, hiding my blushing cheeks.

“It doesn’t change the fact that Amenadiel could kill you in your sleep. We have to tell Daemon.”

I pull my hand away from hers and grip the edge of the table as I lean in. “We don’t tell Daemon anything. Amenadiel won’t kill me.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do! If he kills me, he has no leverage over Lucifer and no way around the contract. He needs Daemon to break, and that way is through me. Let’s not tell Daemon anything until I figure a way out of this.”

Dariana’s eyes flash with uncertainty, but she backs down. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“We have two options right now.”

She stiffens, piercing me with her gaze. “I don’t like the look in your eyes.”

I ignore her comment. “I go willingly with Dmitriy, or I disappear.”

Leaning forward, her hand shoots out and circles my wrist. “No. Fuck, no!”

I’m so tired. Ever since I got here, I feel like I haven’t slept. “It’s not up to you, Dariana. I’m Daemon’s weakness, and you know it.”

“If you disappear, he’ll burn down the entire kingdom to find you!”

“And if I go willingly with Dmitriy?”

She lets go of my wrist before leaning back in her seat and folding her arms over her chest. Her unyielding eyes hold mine. “He might just lock you in a cell in his basement and never let you out.”

Her words make me shiver because I know she’s right. Daemon wouldn’t hesitate to take away my freedom. “Promise you won’t tell him?”

Her gaze burns into me, and for a long moment, I worry she won’t answer me. “I can’t promise you anything.”

My throat swells with emotion and I avert my gaze. Of course her loyalty lies with Daemon—I expect nothing less—but I’m trying to protect him. Why can’t she see that? “Dariana… I care about Daemon. I wouldn’t do this otherwise. I’m just a girl; there’s nothing unique or interesting about me.” I shrug, my eyes brimming with tears. “He’ll find someone else. I’m not special enough to be the catalyst for war in Hell. I don’t want to be the reason for Lucifer’s fall.”

Rising to her feet, she leans over with her hands on the desk. Shadows dance across her face from the flame inside the lanterns. “You’re not home anymore, Angel. We don’t do what’s good or right here. We take what we want. Stop trying to be the fucking hero. You’re dangling the light inside you—that spark of goodness—like a worm on a hook. Sooner or later, the fish will bite.”

I rise to my feet too, when she turns to leave, throwing my arms out. “What the fuck do you want me to do then? Nothing?”

She comes to a halt and looks over her shoulder. “I don’t know, Angel. Maybe you should fight for us, too? You accused Daemon of running away. Who’s doing the running now? Who’s letting the enemy win?” She turns fully. “Daemon isn’t the only one who cares about you.” The stoic quiver in her voice squeezes my heart like a vice. “You must clearly care so little about us if you can just walk away.”

She leaves, and the tears in my eyes finally spill over, trailing a hot path down my cheeks. I wipe them off, but more fall. How fucking difficult is it to make her see that I’m not running away? I want to stay. I want it more than anything. At first, I wished so desperately to return home and be let back into paradise. But now…

I leave the way I came, keeping my head low so the other students don’t see me cry. The hallways are empty except for a handful of boys standing by the lockers. Everyone else is either in the cafeteria or outside. By the time I reach Mr. Kozlov’s classroom, my tears have dried. I raise my hand and knock on his door three times.

“Come in.”

No one pays attention to me as I enter the classroom. The teacher sits behind his desk, grading papers. At the sound of my heels clicking on the floor, he looks up and straightens in his chair. “Aurelia, I didn’t expect to see you here.”

I’m unsure how to broach the subject with him, and my nails dig into my palms to give me something to focus on. “Remember when we did the guided meditation class?”

He regards me before gesturing to the chair across from him. “Have a seat.”

Lowering myself down, I place my hands in my lap. He’s halfway through the stack of papers on his desk and one of the sheets has fallen to the ground. Leaning down, I pick it up and hand it to him.

“Thank you. What about the meditation class?”

“I have dreams.”

He pauses in his mission to straighten the stack of papers on his desk. “Dreams?”

Chewing on my bottom lip, I nod. I’m unsure how much to share, but if I want answers, I have to open up sooner or later. “There’s a door in my dream.”

“A door?”

“Yes. Just a door, like you asked us to visualize during class. No house or anything.”

His brows pull down low and he slowly leans back in his seat, motioning for me to carry on. “What else can you tell me?”

Rain patters on the windows to my left, and I study the droplets of water on the glass before whispering, “They’re not regular dreams, Mr. Kozlov. They spill out into this reality, too.”

Silence, except for the rain outside. “What exactly do you mean by spill out?

I figure the best way is to show him, so I brush my hair aside and bare my neck. “Something attacked me. And the time we meditated in class, well, I had scratches on my arms after.”

His eyes are wide. “It shouldn’t be possible for your mind to bleed into this reality. Somehow, the veil between the two worlds is torn.”

“I don’t understand.”

Leaning forward, he pins me with his gaze. “It means whoever attacked you could have done so in this reality, or they could have stepped through the veil.”

“Can anyone do that?”

He shakes his head, loosening his tie. “No, only someone powerful can step between realities.”

My brain is trying to process what this all means.

“The meditation,” he starts, “was to explore the power residing at your core.” He hesitates, rubbing his fingers through his beard. “You mention a door. Have you ever tried to step through?”

“No. I turned the handle once.”

“I think you’ll find your power behind that door.”

There’s a hard knock, and Daemon and his entourage walk in before Mr. Kozlov has given them permission to enter.

“It’s time to go, Angel,” Alaric barks while Daemon glares at the poor teacher.

I shoot Mr. Kozlov an apologetic glance and scoot my chair back. “Thanks for your time.”

“I wish I could have been of more help.”

Daemon pins me with his glare as I walk past him on my way out. The guy is always grumpy. “What was that about?” he asks as soon as the door clicks shut. The hallway is slowly filling up with students on their way to class.

Ignoring Daemon behind me, I walk away. It goes down as well as could be expected. He allows it for all of two seconds before seizing my arm and hauling me back. I collide with his hard chest.

“Answer me!”

“Let me go!” I growl, my heart fluttering at his proximity.

“Not until you answer my fucking question.”

Why does he have to smell so nice? It makes it hard to think. “I needed help with my homework.”

“What homework?” chuckles Ronan beside us.

I shoot him a glare, and he winks at me.

Daemon jostles me like he wants to shake the truth out of me. “What were you doing in there?”

My mouth slams shut, making him growl. I frustrate him, but that’s okay. He frustrates me, too. My arms are bruised from his tight grip when he lets go. That’s Daemon for you—always too rough, always too much. Still, I need more. Maybe that’s why I keep poking the sleeping bear.

As one, they turn and walk back the way they came.

I blink.

What the fuck?

Chasing after them, I pull on Daemon’s arm, but it’s like trying to move a tank. “Where are you going?”

Alaric answers for Daemon, “Since you won’t tell us, we’ll beat the answers out of the teacher.”

I fall behind and my eyes widen with panic. I run after them again, launching myself at Daemon’s back like a spider monkey. It’s not fucking easy to cling on when his wings are so damn huge.

“Don’t touch him!” I growl through a mouthful of feathers.

Reaching behind him, he lifts me off and sets me to my feet like I’m nothing more than an annoying little child. Then they set off walking again, parting the sea of students like Moses.

“I asked about my dreams,” I shout, and they draw to a halt.

Daemon turns back, shoving me up against the lockers and trapping me in. I can’t see past him, he’s so big. “What did he tell you?”

“Nothing of great importance.”

He slams the locker so hard that I startle. “Tell me the fucking truth.”

My eyes burn with hot tears. I’m vibrating with anger. “He said my mind is bleeding into this reality.”

“What else?”

“The veil is torn.”

Growing still, he pushes off the locker and turns to Ronan. “If the veil is torn, someone powerful enough can enter through, right?”

Why does he have to be both big and smart? Could he not have muscles and a peanut brain? It would make my life easier right now.

Ronan nods slowly. “The only angels powerful enough are—”

“My father and uncle.”

“An animal attacked me!”

Ignoring me, Daemon slams his hand over my mouth to shut me up. “So if my uncle can step through the veil…”

“He’s the one who attacked her,” Ronan finishes for him.

Fucking, annoying dickheads. I tap Daemon’s hand on my mouth, but the boys keep talking like I’m not here. Beside me, Alaric smirks, nudging my shoulder with his. To the others, he says, “Maybe we should listen to what the lady has to say.”

Tensing up, Daemon grinds his molars and lowers his hand. “Let’s hear it then.”

“Mr. Kozlov pointed out that he thinks my power lies behind the door. That’s what we should focus on. Not your uncle.”

Students hurry past when the boys laugh. My comment wasn’t that funny, but it sure sounds like it.

“So, what do you suggest, Angel?” Daemon asks, leaning next to me on the locker, his ankles crossed. “Should we do nothing and let Amenadiel attack you in your dreams? What’s to stop him from killing you?”

Rolling my eyes, I walk away, calling out over my shoulder. “It was an animal, Daemon. You’re being paranoid.”

“It’s cute when you lie,” he says, following closely behind. I try to pretend I’m not affected by his six-three height and two hundred and fifty pounds of muscle build.

“It doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to kill him.”

I halt in my step and turn around. It’s a big mistake, because now I’m staring at his chest and the black T-shirt that stretches tight over his pecs. I crane my neck to peer up at him. “Why won’t you listen to me? It was an animal. I won’t let you break a contract and put Hell at risk because of your enormous ego. Amenadiel is an ancient Fallen Angel. You can’t defeat him.” I poke him in the chest to emphasize my point, and as soon as I fall silent, he looks up from my finger and grabs my wrist.

“What I do is none of your business.”

“It kind of is when you want to start a war because of my nightmares.”

“Your nightmares,” he growls, leaning in close, “nearly got you killed!”

I wait for a group of students to walk by before I lower my voice. “Don’t you get it? This is what he wants. You’re playing into his hands.”

Releasing me, he walks by and carries on down the hallway. Confused, I blink as Alaric puts his arm over my shoulder.

“Baby, you’ve got to stop angering him like that.”

“Me angering him?” I laugh. “He’s the one being unreasonable.”

“You insulted the heir to the kingdom by accusing him of not being powerful enough to protect you.”

My mouth opens and closes, and then I blurt, “Because he’s not!”

Ronan shakes his head and then walks off too, leaving me to stare after him. When I look up at Alaric, he’s got an amused glint in his brown eyes.

“It’s the truth!”

Removing his arm from around me, he pats me on the top of my head and says, “Keep telling yourself that.”

As he walks away, I huff an annoyed breath before flipping him off, making a group of students laugh nearby. “You know I’m right!”


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