Perses moved forward so fast I hadn’t even seen him move. One second he was in front of Hades, and the next he was towering over me. Neither Aiden or Seth had a chance to react. “Swear it,” the Titan said. “And you will have my word.”
“We promise.” The words tasted like ash on my tongue. “We swear it.”
Hope swelled in my chest. Well, this wasn’t too hard.
Perses smiled. “On one condition.”
Oh. I tried not to show my distrust. “What is your condition?”
His smile returned, and it was hungry. I wished he’d take a step back. “I need something strong to drink, and I need a woman. Maybe two.”
I was in Vegas with a Titan who needed to get drunk and get laid.
What in the holy Hades? Like, at what point in my pretty short time on Earth had my life veered off so that I would end up here?
If someone said this was going to happen a few hours ago, I would’ve told them to get off the drugs, but Hades had poofed us just outside the Palms Place, a colossal shimmery hotel near a million glittery casinos. It felt like my stomach was still in the Underworld as I gazed at the Sky Tube connecting the Palms to a casino.
I’d never been to Vegas. I remembered not too long ago, before I’d Awakened and the world went to hell, Aiden and I had made plans to get assigned to a place like Vegas. There was a huge—or used to be huge—community of pures out here, and that meant there’d be daimons to stab and all that jazz. But I wasn’t sure if the community still existed here or if they’d fled to one of the Covenants.
“Vegas,” Perses’ deep voice rumbled. “It’s like an Olympian playground?”
A wry grin pulled at Aiden’s lips as he twisted toward us and ran a hand through his hair. “Vegas is basically a playground for adults.”
The Titan smiled. “Then it is my kind of place.”
“We need to get a place for the night.” Seth looked up at the lighted hotel. “This should work.”
Hades had given us explicit orders to meet him back here at noon the following day, which hopefully was enough time for Perses to do, uh, his thing. As the four of us headed toward the front entrance of the Palms, we passed several mortal tourists. The world had gone to hell in a hand basket, but by the teeming streets and crowded sidewalks, nothing had really changed here.
Mortals had a wonderful ability of sticking their heads in the sand, even as the entire world came down on top of them.
I envied that.
Perses strode past two laughing college guys. They immediately quieted when the spied the near eight-foot tall man in leather. Although I’m sure there were stranger things to see in Vegas, he was sure going to draw a lot of attention.
We’d made it about a foot when a string of curses exploded behind us. I whipped around, as did Aiden. The two college guys were pushing each other, dangerously close to the curb. Under the glowing street lamps, their faces were red with anger.
A shiver ran down my spine. “It’s you, isn’t it? Already, you’re affecting mortals.”
He shrugged and kept walking.
I glanced at Aiden, and we shared the same thought. This is not going to go well.
The lobby of the Palms was opulent and wildly calming compared to the glitz of outside. I lingered back as Seth strode to the registration desk. I knew he was using compulsion, and I couldn’t bring myself to feel bad about it. I looked up, awed by the size of the dazzling crystal chandelier.
Aiden smoothed his thumb over my cheek. At the same time, he was keeping an eye on Perses, who was keeping an eye on a cluster of young woman dressed in short, sexy dresses—the kind of dress I’d wear if given a chance.
Then again, I’d seen the scars on my legs. I doubted the world wanted to witness that hot mess.
So here we were, standing in Vegas in our Sentinel uniforms next to a giant Titan, looking like damn fools among all the fancy-dressed patrons of the hotel and casino.
The guys could have been wearing used garbage bags, and they would still have looked hot. Every female around us openly gawked at the trinity of hotness. I, on the other hand, looked like I belonged in a paint-ball arena.
Aiden’s hand slipped to my shoulder as Seth returned, several key cards in his hand. He grinned. “I got us Penthouse A.”
“Penthouse A?” I took the card, curious.
We left the lobby and headed for the elevator just as I thought I heard a fleshy smack, like one of the women had just slapped another across the face. We were on the top floor—almost half of the top floor.
Penthouse A had three bedrooms and a game room. The place was completely decked out. It was the kind of room that catered to the filthy rich—lush furniture, stocked bar and fridge, Jacuzzi tub, TVs in the bathroom mirrors, and a breathtaking view of Vegas from the all-glass wall.
Perses and Seth each picked out rooms, and the Titan immediately disappeared into one of the bathrooms. I couldn’t imagine what he thought of modern technology, but he seemed to figure it out, because as I neared the open door, I heard the shower running.
Glancing over my shoulder, I saw Aiden disappear into the last bedroom. I tucked my hair back and walked forward, hesitating just inside the door. Seth was sprawled across on one of the plush white couches, glass in hand. Man, he’d found the liquor quick enough. He arched a brow when he spotted me, and the cord tightened within me.
“Want a drink?” he offered. “It’s scotch. Found it in the bar.”
Getting liquored up was probably the only way I was going to make it through this night, but I shook my head. “What are we going to do with him?” I nodded back toward the hall that led to the bathroom.
“Let him get what he needs for the night.” Seth laughed to himself as he swished the golden liquid around in his glass. “Ladies and liquor—the fundamental L’s of life.”
“We can’t just let him roam Vegas by himself. He walked past two guys and they nearly had a wrestling match.”
“I wasn’t suggesting that.” Seth finished off his drink and stood. “I’ll watch him.”
Yeah, I wasn’t so keen on that. “Do you think that’s a good idea?”
“Better than staying here with you two.” He strolled up to me. “There’s only a thin wall separating our rooms. I think I’d rather spend my night frolicking in high-priced strip clubs.”
I rolled my eyes. “Nice.”
“Just being honest.”
“You don’t have any money,” I felt the need to point out.
He chuckled. “Do you really think I’ll need money?”
If any guy could get attention in a strip club without money, it would be Seth, but that was beside the point. “Aiden could go with him,” I argued.
Seth cocked his head to the side. “Aw, Angel, are you trying to spend time with me?”
Hearing the shower turn off, I winced. I so did not want to be in here if Perses decided to walk out with no clothes on. I doubted he cared about privacy. “Look, I’m just making—”
“You don’t trust me.” Seth leaned against the wall in front of me. Close. Very close. “I wouldn’t if I were you.”
I frowned. “Well, that’s a reassuring statement, Seth.”
He shrugged one shoulder as he stared down at me.
Growing frustrated, I looked behind me when I heard a door close somewhere in the suite.
“You know he’s right inside your room, waiting. And he’s probably doing pushups or something to keep him from coming in here and stopping me…” He bent his head, so that his mouth was inches from mine. “From getting this close.”
I sucked in a breath as the cord in my belly jumped.
His lips formed a half-smile. “So, why don’t you help out the Saint and go back to him before we make another scene.”
Taking a step back, I met his gaze. “Don’t be a douche.”
“Don’t be a pain in my ass.” He reclaimed the distance, crowding me, and for a second, unease gave way to a spark of fear. “It’s better if I go out with Perses.”
I didn’t understand the sudden shift in mood with him. While he’d been in the cell, and after the evil god twins had been yanked out of me, Seth had been understanding and repentant. Now he was back to the Seth I wanted to shank with a rusty spork.
What’s up with you? I tried the whole mental path thing, hoping it would help. The last thing anyone needed was the two of us going at each other’s throats.
His eyes flared. “Nothing is up.”
Bull. You’re incredibly moody.
“Incredibly moody?” Seth tipped his head back and laughed. You have no idea.
“Then tell me.”
Seth blinked and then he leaned in again, speaking loud enough for everyone and their mother to hear. “I’m really not interested in talking with you. Other things? Maybe. You know, for old times’ sake.”
“You were wrong,” Aiden announced from behind me, appearing in the doorway like a damn ghost. “I wasn’t doing pushups to stop myself. I was just visually entertaining myself with all the different ways I could break your jaw. So back the hell off.”
Seth snickered as he pushed off the wall, raising his hands. “Look, all I was doing was telling her I would pull babysitting duties. She wanted me to stay and you to go. Don’t hate on me.”
My nails dug into my palms. I’m on to you, jerk-face. You’re trying to piss me off on purpose.
Seth winked, but then the door behind him swung open and Perses swaggered out, dressed in a white suit.
Momentarily distracted, I moved so I could see around Seth. “Where did you get the suit? Wait. I don’t even want to know.”
Perses laughed as he checked himself out in a gilded mirror. He wasn’t wearing a shirt under his jacket, and when he turned, the cut of his broad chest really drew the eyes. Speaking of eyes, they looked mortal now. “So the male Apollyon is babysitting me.” He walked up, clapping a large hand on Seth’s shoulder. “That will work.”
Remarkably, Seth had no reaction to the Titan getting all hands-on. “We’ll have fun.”
There was something in Seth’s voice that said he wouldn’t be having that much fun. I folded my arms, feeling like a mother who knew her child was about to go out and raise all kinds of holy hell but couldn’t prove it. It wasn’t that I thought Seth was going to try to take out Perses and run back to Ares. I believed with every cell in my body that he hated Ares as much as I did, but there was something going on.
“What happened to your face?” Perses asked, startling me as he twisted back to the mirror and straightened his jacket.
Aiden stopped whatever he was doing behind me, which probably involved giving Seth “I’m going to kill you while you sleep” looks, and placed a hand on my lower back. “That’s none of your business,” he snarled.
The Titan simply laughed deeply. “The pure-blood is touchy, isn’t he?”
Seth snorted as he headed for the door. Apparently he was going to wear his Sentinel uniform for his night of hell-raising. The daggers and gun were no longer visible, but I knew he still had them on him. “You have no idea,” he replied.