Authors: Sara York
Rafe raced into her bedroom before she could stop him, a smile covering the lower half of his face. When he saw her glaring at him, he changed his expression.
“What happened to Lash?”
“You know him?”
“Yeah, he’s an old childhood friend. We’ve known each other forever.”
Alexandria had covered Lash’s privates with a towel, and now she was glad she had. “He passed out.”
“Hmm, you don’t say. Were you guys doing it when he went down?”
Alexandria’s entire body went hot. “That’s none of your business.”
“More of my business than you think.” Rafe pulled Lash to his feet, then ducked his shoulder under Lash’s waist and put him in a fireman’s hold.
She grabbed on to Rafe’s arm, trying to stop him, but he brushed off her hand. “What are you doing with him?”
“I’m going to take him home. Help him get back on his feet.”
“What if I want him to stay here?” Alexandria asked.
“Lash is a complicated sort of fellow. I’ll take care of him and, if he wants to come back here, he’ll be free to do so. But I can’t leave a buddy like him lying on the floor.”
Rafe marched out of the bedroom to the front door before Alexandria could follow. She called after Rafe, asking him to call when Lash woke up.
She threw her hands up in the air and screamed out in frustration. After catching her breath, she called her cousin. When Mac didn’t answer his phone she made up her mind to pay a little visit to him, and then Rafe. She would find out what he’d done with Lash. She needed to talk to Lash and sort out what he’d meant when he’d said he wasn’t who everyone thought he was.
Rafe pushed Lash to the back of the closet and secured the chain to the floor. “There—the golden chain should keep you locked down here. The gold is from the rivers of Heaven, so you can’t break the metal or escape. Don’t even try.”
“You bastard. What are you going to do to Alexandria?”
Rafe posed for Lash, showing off his devastatingly handsome physique. “What woman wouldn’t want to have a piece of this? I’ll make her happy. For a while, at least.”
“No, I demand you stop.”
Rafe threw back his head and let out a howl of laughter. “You demand. God Himself is punishing you, and yet
stop. I don’t think you are in any position to demand anything from me.”
“Michael will stop you. He’ll be here any minute. Things have changed.”
“No, they haven’t, and no, he won’t. I’m not endangering little Alexandria with my plans. It’s fair to take you out of the picture by disabling you. I haven’t attacked you or tried to hurt our girl. It’s all good.”
Rafe slammed the closet door, glad he’d been able to trap Lash. It wasn’t every day a demon put one over on an angel. Heaven wouldn’t be singing his praises, but who gave a shit?
Now, what to do about Alexandria? She wouldn’t be able to resist his charms, and he could make Lash look like an idiot too. This day couldn’t get any better.
He left his apartment, surprised to see Alexandria pulling up in her old pickup truck. She seemed a little angry and slightly confused. A thrill shot through him. Using her doubt and insecurities to colour her impression of Lash would win him some points. The only downside was that he couldn’t take her upstairs for a little fun, since Lash occupied his bedroom closet.
Rafe ran down the stairs and pulled her into a tight hug. “Alexandria, what a surprise.”
She pushed against him. It was nothing like the way he’d imagined her cuddling up against him as he stroked her ego and her body.
“Oh, that was so unfortunate and embarrassing for him. I dropped him by the fire house.”
“What? He’s not alone, is he? Only a few minutes ago he was passed out on my floor.”
Rafe tisked his tongue, trying to look the part of a concerned friend. “Yes, well, he came to and was devastated.”
Rafe ducked his head and swiped at his face to keep from laughing. He did his best to look upset. “Well, you know he… Gosh, this is embarrassing.”
“He can’t perform.” Again, Rafe had to run his hand down his face, hiding the smile that threatened to erupt. Brilliant didn’t even begin to describe him. He’d slammed Lash without really even trying.
“Perform?” Alexandria’s eyebrows bunched together, then her face turned pink as she put her hands on her hips, her stance cocky. “He’s perfectly capable of performing. What’s
The slant of her eyes and the tilt of her chin meant she wasn’t buying his story. This bitch was a tough nut to crack. Why didn’t she believe him? Maybe he hadn’t been giving the little angel enough credit. Rafe had never scored with the women when he’d been in his old body. Usually he’d had to use deception to even get close to a woman. But with his new body getting women should be easy.
“Lash isn’t himself. He has issues. Really, the guy is disturbed. Not someone you should hang around with long term.”
She frowned. “He did say something about not being who everyone else thought he was.”
“So that’s why he passed out.” Rafe wanted to smack his head. Why had he said that out loud?
“Excuse me? Why did he pass out?”
“Oh, nothing. Anyways, how about I take you out for a drink? Or dinner?”
Alexandria shook her head. “No, thanks.”
Rafe’s arms start to shake and his hands curled into a fist. How dare the bitch say no? She’d already turned away, totally ignoring him. Maybe some pain would help her learn respect. He could attack her, then rush in to save her. Or maybe he could pay someone to beat her up, then there would be no confusion about what had happened.
Mac’s truck pulled into the parking lot, ruining any plans Rafe had for Alexandria. Rafe ground his teeth together as Mac hugged his cousin. His plans of attacking her died as Mac and Alexandria walked together towards Mac’s apartment.
“Hey, Rafe, how’s it going?” Mac called over his shoulder.
“Good. You two going to hang out together tonight?” Rafe asked.
“We’re going to grab some food. Want to join us?” Mac had a protective arm around his cousin, giving Rafe no chance to manipulate her into going with him.
“No, thanks, I have some things to take care of.”
Rafe waited until Alexandria and Mac had entered the apartment before taking off towards Alexandria’s place. Eventually she would come home, and when she did he would strike.
Alexandria felt better after spending some time with Mac. Scott had stopped by, and they’d all enjoyed some pizza and beer. After eating, Scott had begged off, making some excuse about needing to head home. She’d been disappointed that he hadn’t stuck around longer.
Her cousin had pulled her to the couch, wrapped his arm around her shoulder and told her to spill it. They’d always been close, so she’d felt comfortable voicing her concerns about Lash. Mac had reassured her about the man, telling her that anything weird could be chalked up to nerves on his part.
A blast of freezing air hit Alexandria when she opened the door to her apartment. Had she left a window open? Dang, she’d been so out of her mind after Lash had passed out. She checked all the windows, finding the bathroom window wide open. One of them must have opened it to get Lash some fresh air.
She grabbed an extra blanket and stripped out of her clothes before sliding between the sheets. As sleep came close, making her brain fuzz, she thought she heard a noise and jolted out of her stupor.
The dark apartment spooked her, but nothing moved in her room. She sat up, groping for her robe. Damn it—she’d left it in the den after Rafe had taken Lash. The street lights outside her apartment gave her enough light to see around the room as she lay in bed. There was nothing out of the ordinary. The noise was probably a bird outside or a dog barking. Her head hit the pillow and she snuggled under the covers, trying to ward off the chill in her apartment.
Tomorrow, she’d go visit Lash. He had to be mortified about what had happened, but she wanted to see him again. Everything about their relationship seemed strange. He wasn’t her type, but something unexplainable connected them.
Alexandria slid further under the covers, wrapping herself in warmth and comfort. Thoughts of Lash filled her mind. Maybe they could plan another date for this weekend.
She had just begun to shut down again when she heard the shuffle of feet inside her apartment. Her heart stalled before thundering at a rapid pace. Her mind batted around a few different things she could do to protect herself, but they all seemed impossible with a real threat only feet away.
The attack happened quickly. Her breath whooshed out. Her head slammed against the mattress and her arms were pinned at her sides. The scream she wanted to let loose clung to her throat, only eking out as a whisper. A cover slid over her head and blocked all the light from her view. Her attacker tied the cover tight around her neck, only giving her just enough room to breathe.
Panic set in as she tried to flail her arms, but nothing worked. He lifted her up and slung her over his shoulder before she could even get in one hard smack. Her attempts to beat his back with her arms proved useless. The man had overpowered her and won. He carried her outside, banging her into the door on their way out.
He threw her to the ground, and her arms scraped against gravel. Her efforts to scramble to her feet ended when something hard slammed against her head. Everything went blank.
When she came to, her body was freezing. The hood over her face had been removed. The light in the room glowed yellow, giving her skin a sallow cast. She tried to stand but her knees gave out. Her attacker stood with his back to her. He had tossed his shirt, revealing muscles that bulged with each movement of his arms. When he turned to face her, she gasped.
He smiled, changing his face from the angry scowl to a pleasant greeting, but, no matter how pleasant he might seem, his attitude didn’t fool her.
Anger flicked over his features and he stalked towards her. “Don’t ask about him again.”
She shrank back against the wall, bumping her head in the process. Pain raced down her back, leaving her arms weak and useless.
“Now, it’s time for us to have some fun.”
“Where are we?”
“My house. Do you like the place? This is where you’ll spend eternity. I’m in this relationship for the long haul.” Rafe burst out laughing. He stopped his cackle suddenly. “You’re not amused? Why?”
“Let me go. I swear I won’t tell anyone. The police don’t need to know.”
Rafe laughed again, and the noise echoed off the rock walls. After he’d made a show of drying his eyes he chuckled some more, his smile belittling as he stood above her and looked down.
“You really are stupid. The police can’t get here. No mortal can.”
This time, the fear zipping around her body made her shiver. “Let me go.”
Rafe puffed up, his face growing red. She tried to stand but it was no use. “Please, I just—”
“No, you are mine.” Rafe roared and a chunk of rock fell from the ceiling. He stalked around the room, glancing back at her every few seconds as he bashed his fists against the walls and repeated “
” over and over again.
Alexandria tried to shrink away but he came at her, pulling her to her feet. The angry sneer on his lips scared her almost as much as the crazy look in his eyes.
Something poked up from his forehead. She squinted, trying to get a good look. “What the hell is that thing?”
Rafe reached up and touched the lump on his forehead. His eyes turned red, and she could swear he grew by another foot. Now the man truly looked menacing. He shoved her against the wall and started rummaging through his belongings. After a moment he pulled a mirror from a drawer.
“Shit, it’s a fucking horn.” He turned towards her, his lips curved in a snarl as he talked. “I’m back, baby, and everything is about to get nasty in here.”
Alexandria didn’t understand. On the mountain, Rafe had seemed like a great guy. Maybe he wasn’t only deranged, but dangerous, too. If she wanted to live she needed to escape. Her body wouldn’t cooperate as she tried to stand. Rafe had moved across the room and was busy looking through a cabinet. He was too twisted up with anger to pay any attention to her.
The strength required to stand wiped out all the energy she had. Two steps felt like hundreds as she shuffled away from Rafe. She’d moved ten steps before he roared with anger. Goosepimples broke out over her body and a chill shook her to the core.
“Stop.” Rafe’s voice filled the cavernous room.
She tried to run, but her body refused to move. Rafe flicked his wrist and her arms were thrown up over her head. He moved his fingers and she span around. Her heart beat so fast she thought the organ would pop. She took two steps towards Rafe as he moved his hands.
Her eyes watered and her breath came in hiccups. The bastard could control her with just one movement.
“What the fuck are you?” she whispered.
“I’m a demon at heart. My real name is Lahash.”
The control he had over her body waned as he dropped to his knees, pain etched across his face. He doubled over, knocking a chair out of his path.
Alexandria tried to move, but Rafe snaked out his hand, pulling it into a fist. She dropped to the floor as pain laced through her. This wasn’t real. Somehow Rafe had control over her. What if he really was a demon?
Lash thought about chewing off his hands at the wrists. The golden chains binding him to the closet floor were impossible to break. He’d even tried to break the support beam running through the building, but the task had proven to be too much of a challenge. Hell only knew what torture Rafe had planned for Alexandria.
He jerked the chains again, pulling hard, letting them clatter against the floor. His powers were diminished, his body too small to be useful, and he had allowed himself to be captured by a demon. If he didn’t find Alexandria soon, Rafe would have her secreted away in the underworld, and he’d never see her again.