Unchained nr-1, page 26part #1 of Nephilim Rising Series
“Damn it. I know Baal knew who it was.”
“He would never tell you if he did. Many would rather face an eternity in Hell with Him instead of betraying Asmodeus.” Julian kissed the top of her head as he clasped her hand, threading his fingers through hers. “It’s late. Let’s go.”
She let him pull her away, but she couldn’t help but look back. A black mark seared the cement beam that Baal had been against, the only reminder of the fallen angel. Shuddering, she thought of those women, and how she would have been one of them if it hadn’t been for Julian all those years ago.
Sunday should have consisted of more hunting and sleuthing, but instead it involved eating in bed and bad action movies.
And sex, lots of sex.
“I’ll never let you out of this bed,” Julian murmured. “I think I could keep you here forever.”
She climbed on top of him. “Haven’t you had enough?”
He grasped her hips, sliding her toward his erection. “I’ll never have enough.”
Really, she believed him. He had been insatiable. Not that she was complaining. It was nice to forget everything for a little while, especially after the night before. Hovering above him, she clasped his hands to the mattress. “I have to go back to the Sanctuary tomorrow.”
“I can’t believe you are going back to that place.” He glowered at her.
“Julian.” She sighed.
“I cannot fathom your devotion to a place and people who have so willingly turned their backs on you.”
She wiggled a little, watching him squirm as he tried to concentrate. “Not all of them have turned their backs on me, Julian.” Luke had called her cell at least a dozen times since last night. “I know it’s hard for you to understand, but it’s not like being cast out of Heaven. I’m allowed back into the Sanctuary. And well, you’re not allowed back into Heaven.”
He gave her a droll look.
She snickered. “Anyway, you promised you wouldn’t bring this up anymore.”
He quirked a sandy-colored brow at her. “Some promises are hard to keep.”
Lily grinned. “Well you need to work on that.” She slid down him, her lips so very close to the part of him that was growing rapidly. “Tomorrow I have to go back. And tomorrow night we need to start looking for more minions.”
He was watching her with eyes filled with anticipation. “Yeah, tomorrow…Nephilim stuff. Sure.”
“Julian, I have never heard you so unintelligible. That sentence didn’t even make sense.”
“No.” Her pink tongue flicked over the throbbing head of his cock.
His lips parted. She did it again, and this time her lips followed the path. His hands balled into fists under hers. Peeking up through her lashes, she gazed at his enthralled face and wanted to bring him to the same pleasure he had so selfishly given her in the beginning.
Of course, Julian had other plans, and in one swift movement, he sat her down on his throbbing member. She tipped her head back, reveling in how good it felt.
Somewhere during the weekend, Lily had decided that proving Julian wasn’t evil became as important to her as finding out who was betraying them. When she shared this with him, he actually laughed and then wished her good luck.
But Lily was determined. There had to be a way for the other Nephilim to see him like she did, and she told him she would find a way. Instead of laughing at her this time, he kissed her softly. “Having you see me as you do is good enough for me, Lily.”
Those words touched a part of her, one that was tender and vulnerable. Curling herself around him, she rested her head on his chest and smiled. Her phone rang once again, but like all the other times, she ignored it.
“Stop the limo!” the senator yelled for a second time as he adjusted his tuxedo. “Damn it, is a good driver too hard to come by these days?”
The man across from him smiled lazily. “Remold was a great driver, but I didn’t like the way he looked at me, and you know my temper. It’s not my strongest suit.”
Senator Sharpe’s gaze narrowed on the thing sprawled across the leather seat. God, he hated minions more than he hated the fallen angel that held him by the balls. Temperamental and unpredictable, the one who shared his limo tonight had snapped the neck of his driver last week. Sharpe still had no idea what had provoked Gareth to do such a thing, but he would never understand minions.
“How long will we have to be at this thing?” Gareth asked, clearly annoyed with the charity event being held at The Mayflower.
“You don’t need to attend this,” Sharpe responded thinly. Frankly, he wished Asmodeus hadn’t sent one of his minions with him. It wasn’t like he was going to do anything to jeopardize his plans. Sharpe didn’t have a death wish. Not yet, at least.
Gareth sighed. “I hate these fund-raisers. It’s Sunday night. There are better things I could be doing.”
He didn’t bother with a response. Flicking a piece of string off his tuxedo, he prepared himself to mingle with the city’s elite power players attending the fund-raiser at the magnificent hotel. The senator only had a moment of warning before the door opened, and a dark form fell across the opening. Moving astonishingly fast, the shade darted into the limo, taking form beside the smiling minion. The door swung closed behind it.
His heart pounded painfully as the pressure settled over him. Spittle blew across the seat as he struggled to breathe. His face was shoved back into the cool leather when he tried to lift his head. “What is this about?” he gasped as his fingers dug into the seat.
Gareth chuckled idly. “Hello, Nephilim brother.”
Senator Sharpe froze as the hand that held him tightened around his skull. It was the Nephilim, the one from the Sanctuary.
“How dare you even acknowledge me?” said the Nephilim, voice laced with revulsion.
Gareth snickered and then said, “Oh, how you think you’re so much better than us. When you are just as wicked as me, Nephilim.”
The tension in the limo heightened to near unbearable levels. The senator was afraid if Gareth continued to taunt the Nephilim, he would be the one who ended up with a snapped neck. The Nephilim shifted over him, and there was a crunching sound that made Sharpe’s insides crawl.
Trying to remain calm in his precarious position, Sharpe managed to twist his head far enough so that he could breathe a bit more easily. “Do you bring names…for me to give?” he asked, his voice panicked and pitiful even to him. He hated the sound of it, detested how much power these things held over him. God, if he could go back in time he would have never slept with the secretary who started all of this. I should have fired that bitch!
“Why else would I be around your kind of scum?”
The senator knew better than to point out any of the Nephilim’s current character flaws. He hoped Gareth would also refrain from doing so. He struggled to get the words out. “What do you want me to tell Asmodeus?”
“The cop is progressing through the training faster than initially expected. He has been offered the Contract by the Sanctuary.”
“Contract?” he sputtered. He had no idea what the hell the Nephilim was talking about.
“Asmodeus will know what that is.”
The hand that wasn’t smashed under his chest curled into a fist. He felt helpless. It sickened him. “Is that all?”
He laughed. It was a much harsher sound than what Gareth made. It was twisted, cold and flat. “Tell him that two more Nephilim have been discovered in Montana. They are female. He should find that particularly interesting.”
Something fell beside the senator’s face. From what he could see, it looked like a file. “Is that all?” he gritted out again.
“For now,” responded the Nephilim.
The pressure was suddenly gone, and the sweet smell of honeysuckle floated in through the open limo door. Senator Sharpe pushed himself up and immediately started fixing his rumpled tux. He glanced over
Pale dead eyes stared sightlessly up at the senator. The minion’s head lay on the polished shoes of the senator, mouth open wide in a silent scream.
Horrified by the brutal violence, he stared at the minion’s slumped body as his hand clutched against the sudden pain in his chest. “Jesus Christ.”
Monday had consisted of training a very sour-faced Michael, who didn’t like anything she had to say. She avoided being alone with him because she really didn’t have the answers he needed.
She also spent time avoiding members of the circle, which hadn’t proved too difficult since most of them were avoiding her like she had the black plague. She stuck to the training room and cafeteria, where the likelihood of confrontation was slim. The only ones who talked to her were Rafe and Remy. Either they didn’t know all that had happened or they were good at pretending Lily was still the cat’s meow. She tried to find Nathaniel to tell him about Baal and the info gained from the minion, but he was never in his office, and he didn’t return any of the messages she’d left with Sandy.
Luke had cornered her the moment she stepped foot inside the Sanctuary, demanding to know why she couldn’t have returned one phone call all weekend. She gave him a look that said he would rather not know, and now she was avoiding him, too.
Monday night, she and Julian scoured the entire city for more minions but came up empty-handed. Not a single corrupted Nephilim nor a human possessed moved around the streets. The night turned out to be a total bust when it came to making any progress with who was betraying them.
On the flip side, Julian had gone back to her apartment with her for a rousing round of lovemaking. That wasn’t too shabby.
The rest of the week went like that. Michael grew more annoyed with each passing day, especially after he realized his personal time was really turning out to be more like indefinite leave. Annoyed wasn’t the greatest description. He finally did go ape-shit, and only after he was hauled off to Nathaniel’s office—without Lily—did he calm down.
Lily continued to play hide-and-seek with the circle. Eventually, she stopped trying to avoid Luke and told him about Baal and Asmodeus. Thank God she had told him in the corner of the training room, because when he realized she had been hunting with Julian, he also went ape-shit on her.
“You’ve been hunting with him?” Luke demanded.
Her gaze darted to Rafe and Michael. “Luke, lower your voice. You heard me the first time. It doesn’t matter. Baal is dead. And we know the Nephilim betraying the Sanctuary is an arrogant male and has been feeding info to Asmodeus.”
“It doesn’t matter?” His voice rose. “Are you insane?”
Michael missed his mark with the knife and faced them with a deep scowl.
“Now look what you did,” she muttered.
“I don’t care,” he said, much lower. “Lily, when you are being suspected of working with the Fallen, the worst thing you could do is go hang out with them.”
She exhaled slowly. “Did you even hear me? We know Micah is working with Asmodeus. All we need is evidence.”
“Lily.” Luke sighed. “Why are you so hell-bent on it being Micah?”
“Because it is him!” she hissed back.
“You little shithead, do you think Nathaniel hasn’t been watching Micah? Do you think I haven’t been?”
She huffed. “Whatever. Nathaniel doesn’t think it’s Micah. He thinks I’m being coerced.”
Luke dragged his fingers through his messy brown hair. “You’re wrong. He’s followed Micah, and he hasn’t found anything. Now he is looking at other possibilities.”
Lily was so not ready to let go of the sense of betrayal that came with Nathaniel. “So who is he looking into?”
Luke turned to watch Michael. His silence was her answer. She swore. “What do you expect?” he asked quietly. He looked at her crossly then. “You’re going to hate me, but I’m going to Nathaniel. This has to stop. And your ass needs to be locked up.”
She whirled on him, hands balling into fists. “If you do that, so help me, you will never see my ass again.”
He cocked his head to the side, not at all worried. “You’re not fifteen anymore. You can’t just run away.”
She opened her mouth but couldn’t come up with anything clever. Of course he wouldn’t forget the night when she did try to run away after Nathaniel refused to allow her to accompany Luke on a hunt. It hadn’t been one of her finer moments.
“I’m worried about you,” he said quietly.
She scanned his face. He did look worried, like he hadn’t slept in days. There were faint shadows under his eyes, and his irises were almost transparent. “Don’t worry about me, Luke. I have things under control. Give me a couple more days, and I will have something that proves my innocence.” Hopefully, she could figure out a way at the same time to prove to them Julian wasn’t evil, too.
“I don’t know.”
“Please, Luke.” She gripped his arm. “You know me. You know I will pull this off. I always do. Please, just give me a few more days?”
He stiffened. A muscle popped along his jaw. Terse, awkward silence stretched out between them. “You and Anna are a lot alike, you know that? Both of you had Nathaniel eating out of the palms of your hands. And neither of you could see what you were doing to the people who cared about you. Sometimes it’s hard to tell you two apart.”
Lily sucked in a sharp breath.
“You’re going to end up just like her.”
“Luke,” she gasped.
He closed his eyes, seeming to gather himself. “You love him, don’t you?”
She opened her mouth to deny it, but her denials died on her lips. Did she love Julian? She wanted to say no, that it was just about sex and companionship, but her heart fluttered.
Luke laughed, but it was without a trace of humor—of Luke. For a moment, well, she didn’t recognize him at all as he stared like she was a virtual stranger to him. Unease knotted her insides. “Luke…”
Blinking, he finally placed his hand over hers. “Yeah, I know you usually pull something off. Whether I’m going to like the outcome or not is yet to be determined.”
Relief shot through her. “I know you hate this, but please give me a couple more days. Please.”
“I’m such a sucker,” he grumbled. “Just don’t disappoint me. Promise me you will stay away from Julian, and I won’t go to Nate.”
She glanced away, unable to lie looking him straight in the eyes. Even Lily had her limits. “I promise.”
Sweat poured and his legs screamed out in protest, but Michael kept pushing. Hours ago, Rafe had left the training room. His parting order was for Michael to run a combination of suicide sprints and burpees until he could no longer move.
Michael lunged up from a push-up. He was surprised Lily was still here, considering she usually disappeared seconds after training ended. “No.”
Lily watched as he sprinted the distance of the room to drop down into another burpee. “You look like you’ve had enough.”
He flipped her off on his way past. Anger boiled under his skin as he sprinted the distance of the room, dropping down into another burpee.
Lily laughed, planting herself in front of him. “Stop—it’s an order.”
He slowed with his hands on his hips. He took a moment to walk off the burn. Only when he didn’t think he’d start wheezing like a fool, he faced her. “You gonna tell me who killed my mother?”
“I’ve already told you I don’t know. No one does.”
“I don’t believe you,” he said. “You know everything but who killed her.”
She sighed. “Hey, I was just checking on you. I didn’t come here to argue. I’ll see you later.” She turned away.
He didn’t want her to leave…not yet. Shoving down the anger, he ran the back of his hand over his forehead. “Sorry. I’m going stir-crazy
She turned back to him, folding her arms over her chest. “Long enough to know you need more time.”
His brows shot up. She doubted him, but at least she was staying. “I’m ready now.”
“You think you’re ready to take me on?” She cocked her head to the side. “If you can beat me, then maybe.”
“I think I’ll do fine,” he offered without an ounce of doubt. He knew if he could prove to her he was ready, then he could get the hell out of this place. He nearly forgot what the outside world looked like.
Lily stared at him. Dark shadows blossomed under her eyes, dulling them. “I’m not going to go easy on you, buddy.”
“I wouldn’t expect you to.” He cracked his neck. The Bugatchi jogging pants hung low on his hips as he straightened. “Let’s do this.”
Lily invited him forward with a saucy grin. She waited till he was only a foot away before she launched a brutal offensive. She was fast and light on her feet. He would feint in one direction to avoid a sharp thrust and end up with a sideways kick in his midsection. Before long, he wound up on his back, panting and swearing from a fierce spin kick.
“I didn’t think you were ready,” she announced, not even out of breath.
Expelling harshly, he jumped onto the balls of his feet. He was better than this. He’d been fighting not only Rafe, but two or three more Nephilim at a time. “I’m not out yet, darling.”
“Darling?” she repeated. “I’m so not impressed.”
He smirked, grabbing two of the half-circle blades off the floor.
“Oh, so you want to play hard?” Lily released the blades from her cuffs. “Getting a bit big for your britches?”
Michael didn’t respond to that. Instead, he flew into a butterfly kick, bringing the blades down as he landed. Lily met him with a wild laugh. Blow after blow, they went after each other. Michael blocked a series of kicks and jabs that would have knocked a lesser man on his ass. He kept up with the moves easily, and even got a little cocky. “Come on, Lily, I’ve heard you can do better than this.”
She sneered right before she turned on her heel gracefully, and with one powerful roundhouse kick, she knocked both of his legs out from underneath him. The blades flew from his hands on impact.