He stepped aside, allowing me back into the hallway. As we headed to another elevator, he was glued to my hip. – As close as you’re riding me, man, I feel like I need to take you out to dinner or something. At least I should get your name.
He punched in a floor. – People call me Archer.
“You guys ready?” Archer asked. He was already at the door, holding it open. “Guess who I heard from this morning?” He paused as Daemon strutted past him. “No, jackass, it wasn’t Justin Bieber and I’m not in love with him. What the hell?”
She glanced at the small pink bag as she tucked her hair back. “What’s in there?”
“Oh!” I snatched up the bag. “Something I had ordered.”
Daemon shrugged when Archer glanced at him. “I don’t know what it is. She hasn’t told me.”
Excited about my find, I reached inside the bag and held up the one-piece sleeper for their inspection. “What do you think?”
Daemon’s brows rose as he read the words in black block lettering. “Boyfriends Are Better in Books?”
Giggling, I placed it on the arm of the chair. “I think Dawson and Beth will appreciate it.”
Archer looked confused. “I don’t get it.”
“I’m not surprised,” Dee responded drily. “I think it’s adorable.”
“Me, too.” I folded it up and tucked it back into the bag. “I’m going to get her addicted to book boyfriends at a young age.
“Anyway,” Dee said. “I thought our waitress was checking him out. Like nonstop. Like I wasn’t even there.”
That was hard to imagine, treating Dee like she wasn’t there.
“So I was, you know, doing something normal,” she said.
“Normal?” Archer barked out a short laugh. “She was fantasizing running the poor waitress over with the car. Like in complete gory detail.”
One slender shoulder rose as she shrugged. “Like I said, you shouldn’t look into people’s thoughts and then complain about what you see.”
“I wasn’t necessarily complaining,” he said, leaning down so his mouth brushed the curve of her ear. “If I remember correctly, I’d told you that it was kind of hot and that it made me want—”
“All right,” Daemon shouted. “That is stuff I just don’t even want to think about.”
Dee frowned at her brother. “What? You think we don’t have wild—”
“Stop,” he warned, waving his hand. “Seriously. I barely like him as it is, so please don’t make me want to hurt him.”
“But I like you,” Archer replied.
“Then what are you worried about?” he asked.
“You. Dee. Archer. Dawson and Beth, even though they’re safe for now. I’m even worried about Luc.” I paused, frowning. “Though Luc is probably the last person I should worry about because he’s Luc, but I’m scared for him and even Hunter and Lore and Serena. I’m worried that—”
Daemon kissed me deeply, cutting off my words, and he took that kiss to a whole new stratosphere. “You’ve got a big heart, Kitten.” His lips cruised over mine as he spoke. “That’s what I love about you most. Well, that and I am a really big fan of your sweet body, but your heart? Yeah, that completes the package of you, wraps it up with a nice little bow. It makes you perfect to me.”
“Sometimes . . .” I stared at him, blinking back wetness. “Sometimes you say the most amazing things.”
“And I do love the sight of my hands on your ass, too.”
A laugh burst out of me. “Oh my God, and then you say things like that.”
“Got to be myself.”
“She’s in there with Archer now,” I said.
Kat sighed. “He’s not a bad guy.”
“He’s an Origin.”
She rolled her eyes. “Archer may be an Origin, but he’s still a good guy, and he cares about her, Daemon. He really does, and he’s been worried about her this entire time.”
“You know he can protect her. And he’ll be good for her, so—”
“I’m letting them be. I know she needs him, especially right now when she’s . . . Well, she’s got a lot going on in her head that she’s dealing with.”
Kat’s eyes searched mine, and then she smiled broadly. The blood on her chin didn’t deter from the beauty of it, but I smoothed my thumb over the red, wiping it away. “Wow. I’m sort of proud of you, Daemon.”
“Don’t be too proud, because I still don’t like him.”
“You know what I think?” She lowered her voice as if she were sharing a secret. “I think you do like Archer, and you just don’t want to admit that you’re in the beginning stages of a bromance to end all bromances.”
I snorted. “Whatever.”
Kat stood and I followed, more than ready to get the hell out of Dodge, but as we walked past Lotho, he suddenly stepped in front of Kat. I started to pull her back from him, but he was fast.
“You have balls bigger than the males in this room,” Lotho said, his face inches from her. “I like you. And I’d keep you if it weren’t for the fact that you’re part Luxen. So that’s probably good news for you. Boo for me.”
And then he kissed her. Full-on, mother-freaking kissed her.
Before either of us could react and I could unleash my fury, Lotho shifted into something that was nothing more than smoke and shadow, and was gone.
“I’m going to kill him,” I swore, feeling the Source crackling along my skin.
Kat jerked out of my grip, her face pale and lips tinged in blue, like she’d been making out with a Popsicle, and she swung on Hunter and Archer. “I want to leave right now.”
Hunter glanced at Archer. “Yeah, I think that’s a good idea, before this whole trip goes to waste.”
“Here?” Archer asked.
He nodded with a tight smile. “Why else do you think I suggested the airport? It’s not like I like to hang out here.”
“How were we supposed to know?” Daemon responded, eyeing the manhole like it was the last thing he wanted to climb into. Ditto. “You’re an Arum, so . . .”
“I really was hoping you’d drop that damn attitude by now.”
Daemon smirked. “Kiss my ass.”
“No, thank you,” he replied, but neither of them had any real heat behind their words.
Then Daemon spoke. “What up, asshole?”
My jaw hit the ground.
“You really know how to greet people,” Archer muttered.
The Arum who had been behind the wheel inclined his head with a sigh. “You again.”
“You sound just as happy as I am to see you.” Daemon’s lips twisted into a mockery of a smile as he folded his arms. “Let’s just get one thing straight before we go any further. If you plan on screwing us over in any way, it will be the last thing you plan to do.”
Hunter smirked as he turned his head toward his brother. “Told you he’s a cuddly one.”
The other Arum leaned his arms on the roof of the car and a brow rose over the dark sunglasses he also wore. “Cuddly as a damn porcupine.”