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The Brew My face hurt from keeping up appearances and smiling through conversations I didnt give a damn about

and introductions to other pure-bloods Id already forgotten. This was the last place I wanted to be, but if I ran off too soon, peopleimportant, powerful peoplewould start to ask questions. A member of the Council said something, and I nodded, having no idea what hed said. All I could think about was Alex on the Brew and left alone with Seth. I didnt trust any man with two eyes to do right in that situation. Alex would be. I couldnt finish the thought. I wasnt sure I could even trust myself in a situation like that. But Seth had sworn that he would look after her. A warm hand skimmed up my arm, and I turned, finding myself staring down at a pure-blooded woman a good five years older than me. Her red-painted lips split into a wide smile as she leaned into me. Aiden St. Delphi, she purred, placing her other hand on my chest. You should grace the Catskills with your presence more often. Your visits are too far apart. I had no idea who this woman was. Politely as I could, I reached down and removed her hand from my chest as I sidestepped her. She followed, blue eyes flaring with challenge. Sorry, I said. Not interested. She cocked her head to the side and honey-colored hair cascaded over her shoulder. What? Do you prefer male companionship? Lashes lowered coyly. I dont have a problem sharing. I arched a brow, so over all of this. There was somewhere I needed to be. Im not interested in any form of companionship. Good night. Pivoting on my heel, I rolled my eyes at the rough curse that came out of the womans lips. Heading out of the ballroom, I nodded my goodbyes to Marcus and Head Minister Diana. Luckily they didnt stop me. Felt like it took forever to get to Seths floor. I knocked, hoping I didnt wake Alex if shed passed out. Gods willing, shed fallen asleep instead of going through the effects of the Brew. When there was no answer, I opened my door, my gaze roaming over the empty bed, and then toward the small settee. Knots twisted in my stomach. Where is she? Seth? I stepped into the room, breathing deeply. Noise came from inside the bathroom. A muffled voice and then footsteps followed. I bent down, swiping a sweater off the floor. It was Alexs. My gaze moved by the bed again. There were jeansher jeans and her I dropped the sweater and picked up the lacy, black cloth. Seth entered the room. Shirtless. Jeans unbuttoned. Hair disheveled. I was going to fucking kill him.

Look, I know all this looks really bad. Its not what you think. Rage Id never felt before boiled my blood and rose like a savage monster. My fingers clenched her shirt. I wanted to grab a dagger and shove up under his chin. This isnt what it looks like? Really? Because I think this belongs to Alex. Seth just shook his head, like he didnt even have anything to say. I tossed the cloth aside and pushed past him, to the open door of the bathroom. Im not sure what I saw first that snapped the thin thread on my controlAlex on the floor, hair soaked with sweat and a deathly pale sheen to her pinched features. Was it the fact that I hadnt been there for her when the sickness took her? Or was it the fact that she was wearing one of Seths shirts and that was all? Her watery eyes met mine and her voice was thready and weak. Aiden, its not I spun around. Seth, I trusted you. Look. I know. This wasnt I punched him. Dull pain flared across my knuckles. I welcomed it. I didnt give a flying crap what he had to say. It was black and white to me. Alex was under the influence of the Brew. Seth had taken advantage of that. There was no in-between. And Seth didnt defend himself right away. Not even when I hit him in the jaw again. He stood there. He took it, because he knewhe knewthat he had screwed up, that what he had done was horrible. I saw that flash of guilt in his eyes. Oh yeah, it mattered that it was Alex, but for him to do this with any female who had her ability to make decisions stripped away from her was repulsive. I saw that flimsy piece of clothing again. There wasnt an ounce of control left me. I pounced on him, taking him to the ground like a linebacker. Then he fought back, swinging his arms. Barely feeling the glancing blows, I laid into him. Obviously, Seth had enough of the beating. He tossed me off, and I fell back, knocking into the dresser. On my feet, I rushed him and we both went down again, swinging and kicking, beyond employing techniques wed learned in training to be Sentinels. This was like a cage match. Alex stumbled into the room, swaying dangerously to one side. Guys, come on you both are being so stupid. Neither of us stopped. We were past that. I forced Seth across the room, away from where Alex stood. His gaze flicked over my shoulder, landing on her, and Ill be damned if he even got the pleasure of looking at her. I lunged at Seth, bring him down on the floor hard. Aiden! Stop it! Alex lurched forward, swearing. Sethdont choke him!

Seth gained the upper hand, rolling me onto my back. He threw his arm into the air. Blue light shimmered around his fist. Son of a bitch Alex smacked into us, her arms wrapping around Seth the same moment I shoved my fist into his stomach. Seth fell backwards, taking Alex with him. Her shoulder knocked off the edge of the bed and she yelped. The sound of her pain cut through the red haze. I popped to my feet and grabbed Seth by his ripped shirt, tossing him aside. Alex rolled onto her side, right next to her bra. Her cheeks turned red as she closed her eyes. What the hell? another voice rang out. Leon. Have you all lost your godsforsaken minds? Seth shoved himself to his knees, wiping a hand over his busted lip. Oh, were just wrestling. I shot him a hateful look as I knelt beside Alex. Alex, are you okay? I got my hands under her arms and helped her sit up. Say something. Im great. Brushing the mess of hair back from her face, I grimaced. Im sorry. I should have never Aiden, I know youre pissed Pissed? You took advantage of her, Seth. Anger propelled me to my feet. You son of a Stop it! Leon ordered. You two are going to bring every Guard in this building to this room. Seth, get out of here now. This is my room. Seth climbed to his feet. And if this dickhead would give me five I growled, Im going to kill you. Oh, thats it. Seth whirled around, eyes flaring an intense amber. Let me see you try. Alex staggered to her feet and reached for me. Dont. Please. This isnt Seths whoa. Alex? I spun around as she leaned to the right and kept on going. Dipping down, I caught her around the waist before she hit the floor. She was out. Shit. Slipping my arm under her knees, I lifted her to my chest. Seth inched closer, thrusting both of his hands through his hair. Is she Get out, I snarled. I Get. Out. Leon stepped forward, putting his hand on Seths shoulder. I think you need to leave, buddy. Seth's eyes locked with mine for a second, and then he shrugged Leons hands off. Im not your buddy. Without saying another word, he stormed from the room, slamming the door behind him. Leon sighed. I can stay with her, just in case she wakes up again. No. I turned to the bed, gently laying her down. Im not leaving her. I shouldnt have let her come up here with Seth.

Its not your fault, Aiden. There was a pause. You can trust me. I barked out a short laugh as I tucked her legs under the covers. I dont trust anyone. Do you trust yourself? Leon was suddenly behind me. I hadnt even heard him move. Because if she wakes up, shes probably still going to be feeling it. You get what Im saying. Turning to his slowly, I looked him dead on. Im not leaving her. I am the last person you have to worry about when it comes to her. I said nothing, because nothing in this world would convince me otherwise. Id already failed her by allowing Seth to be with her. I wasnt making the mistake twice. Leon held my stare and then shook his head. Whatever. Its your funeral. He spun and stalked to the door, where he stopped. Ill keep watch outside. Before I could say thank you, Leon was gone. Cursing under my breath, I turned back to the bed. Alex was curled on her side, hands tucked under her cheek. Color had returned to her face and she looked peaceful. She looked I shook my head as I went over to the settee and dropped down on it, rubbing my aching jaw. All I could hope for was that shed stay asleep long enough for the Brew would wear off. Should have known I wasnt that lucky. Aiden, came her voice, not even an hour later. My gaze flicked up. She was sitting in bed, the blanket shoved off her long, long legs. Yes? Youre here. I am. Her head tilted to the side and she smileda beautiful, amazing smile that reached inside my chest and squeezed. Youre here. My lips cracked into a smile. Yes, Alex, Im here. Good. She tipped her head back and sighed. Wariness peeked. I wanted you here. I always wanted you here. I tried not to feel anything in response to those words. She lowered her chin. You were starting to smile and now youre not. Im fine. You should probably lie down or youll be sick again. I feel great. Then she flopped on her back. Have you been in this bed? Oh my gods, Aiden, its amazing. Id marry it. You know that? I couldnt help it. My laugh burst out of me. Marry a bed? Alex made a disgruntled little sound. Seth laughed, too. My humor dried right up at the mention of him.

If you just lie down for a few moments, she said, patting the bed. Youd totally understand. Then she was sitting up again. Aiden? My wariness went up a notch at how she said my name, like she was rolling it around in her mouth and decided it tasted goodlike the woman downstairs had said it, but I had a totally different reaction to it coming out of Alexs mouth like that. My body went tight and hard in a second. Yeah? My voice was way too hoarse. She climbed onto her hands and knees and thank the gods I wasn't sitting on the bed. Im happy youre here. But that shirt was way too loose around her neck. I looked away. Im happy Im happy Im here, too. Alex crawled forward and slipped her legs off the bed. Is wanting to marry a bed so weird? That caught me off guard. It is a little weird, Alex. Because its an inanimate object and all? I smiled, because she looked endearingly serious. Yeah, that would be one of the reasons. Id marry you if you asked. Words left me. I had no idea what to say to that. Youre not an inanimate object. She stood, surprisingly steady on her feet, while my legs felt weak and I wasnt even standing. But youd never ask me. So Ill ask you. Will you marry me? A rush of warmth hit my chest. Alex She pouted for a second. And then she skippedliterally skipped forwardstopping a few inches from where I sat. But youre not going to ask me. So Ill take a kiss instead. The tightness was back. Not going to happen. Alex eyes narrowed. I know you want to. My mouth opened. Dont lie. Lies are ugly and pointless. You want to kiss me. You want to do more. She moved forward, until her legs brushed mine and her gaze dropped. I couldnt move. I can tell that you do. Damn her. Kiss me. My hands curled into fists. Its not going to happen, Alex. Alexs lips curled up at the corners. Okay. Then at least admit you want to kiss me. I shot her a bland look. Her smile spread. Thats all. I want to hear you say it. Then Ill go back to be, like, a good girl. Having some serious doubts about that, I watched her wryly. I dont believe you. Believe me, she whispered.

The words whipped through me. I knew better. I really, seriously knew better. But they were just words. Yes. Her lips parted. Yes what? Yes, Alex, I want to kiss you. She let out a loud sigh, and then she moved, faster than Id expected from her. A second later, she was straddling my legs and her hands were plastered to my cheeks, forcing my head down. The shirt hell, the shirt had ridden up her sleek thighs, drawing my attention for far too long. Alex grinned. Kiss me. I gripped her arms, holding her back. Alex, I swear to the gods Giggling, she slipped her hands down, under my shirt, over my lower stomach. My whole body jerked at her soft touch. Swearing is bad. Youre bad. I started to lift her off, but she was like a damned octopus, getting her arms around my neck and holding on. Her thighs clamped down on mine with startling strength, and I couldnt help but think about that and everything that came with it. Alex Aiden, she mimicked, and finagled her head against my shoulder. Her lips moved against my neck, warm and wet. The slight touch was felt in every part of my body. You smell so good. They should bottle you up and sell you. Make millions. Yum. My brows shot up. Then her teeth grazed my neck, and I was sure I was in the sweetest kind of hell. I clamped my jaw down, suppressing a groan as she wiggled around. Red-hot desire washed through me and my hands tightened on her arms without intending to. Her lashes swept up and she bit down on her lower lip. Our eyes locked and my breath caught. She didnt break eye contact, not once as her hips rolled against mine, pressing down and rotating. Lust slammed into my gut, made all the worse when a shudder rolled through her. Holy Hades in Hell, I groaned. I shoved to my feet, taking her with me. Her lips moved against my skin, under my jaw, nearing my chin as I moved toward the bed. That direction got her all kinds of excited. The soft noises coming from her throat were heady and made what I did next so incredibly hard. I dumped her on the bed. Alex bounced, her eyes going wide. Hey! Dont, I warned as she started to her feet. She came at me and I caught her shoulders, pushing her back down and holding there until she stopped struggling. She glared at me, cheeks flushed. You want me.

The gods knew I did, probably more than I wanted in anything in my life, and in a way that made me no better than Seth. The only difference was that I wouldnt act on it, no matter how badly I wanted. We went at this for what seemed like hoursshe pouncing me, me dumping her on the bed over and over again until she finally wore herself out. Relief was short-lived because as soon as she settled down, she started shivering. Nothing was making her warmer. The extra blanket did no good. There were no temperature settings in the room. Its so cold in here. Her teeth chattered as she hunkered down, her entire body shaking. I stood at the head of the bed, helpless and frustrated in more ways than anyone could possibly imagine. Watching her like this was torture. She shook so badly the whole bed trembled. Mind made up, I stalked around the other side of the bed. It was a risk, but I couldnt stand it any longer. I climbed into the bed and wrapped an arm around her waist, dragging her against me. T-Thank y-you, she mumbled after a few moments. I said nothing, because while this was a smart idea for her, it was also one of the worst ideas for me. I closed my eyes and began picturing the alphabet in Greek. There was silence, and then she said, Im sorry. My eyes opened. What for? For for all of this. She paused, shivering. I know you dont really want to be here. My heart skipped a beat. Thats not true. Alex said nothing and there was nothing more said the rest of the night. She drifted off to sleep, and all I could think about was how wrong her words were. As messed up as it was and it being the last thing I should ever want, where I was right that moment was the only place I had ever truly wanted to be.

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