Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 30

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“It looks like Elijah now,” Roth tacked on. “That’s why Layla thought it would be a smart idea to warn you. The other Warden that was with him, if that Warden is still alive, was out cold when the Lilin took Elijah’s soul. He would have no idea that isn’t the real Elijah if the Lilin goes back to the clan.”

“Damn,” muttered Dez. “I’m not sure if we know where they are holed up here to warn them. Perhaps Geoff knows.”

Nicolai’s expression turned thoughtful. “If not, I have a feeling Abbot might have an idea.”

I cringed inwardly at the mention of Abbot’s name, but forged on. “Like I said, we wanted to warn you all, just in case it tries to go to the compound.” The next part was the worst. “Based on how the Lilin was able to pull off a Sam impersonation so convincingly, I think the Lilin gets the person’s memories when it consumes the soul.”

“That makes sense,” Danika said, glancing back at the males. “The soul is the essence, the very core of our beings. It would hold everything.”

Nicolai exhaled roughly. “If that’s the case, then the Lilin would know a lot.”

“Too much,” Zayne stated, and started to turn, his deep gray wings unfurling. “We need to talk to my father and the others.”

Dez and Nicolai agreed with the statement. Danika lingered, glancing between Roth and me. “Don’t be a stranger,” she said, voice low. “Okay? We all need to work together if we’re going to stop that thing.”

I nodded, feeling weird as I watched them. It was hard to think of a time when Zayne was leaving somewhere, and I wasn’t going with him. As the Wardens turned, I stepped forward. Although deep down I knew I should just let them go—let him go—I couldn’t stop myself. There were too many years between us to simply pretend we were strangers.

“Zayne?” I called out.

He was at the ledge when I spoke his name, and I thought I saw his shoulders bunch, but he knelt, and then launched himself into the sky without looking back.

Without acknowledging me.

eleven

NIGHT HAD FALLEN by the time we made it to the Palisades to meet up with Cayman.

The club under Roth’s apartment building was packed with demons, as well as humans with dark, murky auras surrounding them. There was a bit of churning in my stomach, but nothing substantial. Sultry music thrummed as the succubi swayed their diamond-covered hips on the stage. They shimmered and twinkled like the Christmas lights strung across the ceiling.

The Christmas lights were ironic, all things considered.

Roth’s hand was firmly wrapped around mine as he led me around the stage. As we passed the darkened corners, I strained to see what was going on in there, but all I could make out was another card game between a female demon and a human who wasn’t looking too hot, if the yellowish tint to his skin was any indication.

One of the dancers in the cage reached out to me, and then giggled wildly when Roth shot her a warning scowl. His hand tightened around mine. “I’m not going to wander off on you,” I said to him. Last time we’d been there, he’d told me not to dance with anyone, and, well, I ended up dancing with a succubus and an incubus. Sometimes I needed an adult.

His laugh traveled over the music. “I’m really not taking any chances right now.”

“Right now?”

Letting go of my hand, he draped his arm over my shoulders and tucked me against his side as we made our way around the tables. He lowered his head, brushing his lips against my cheek, and then he said into my ear, “Have I told you how much I love those pants?”

“Huh?” Glancing down, I bit back a groan. They were skintight, and I’d practically had to lie down this morning to zip them up. “Your and Cayman’s taste in clothing sucks.”

He chuckled. “I cannot stop staring at your—”

“Eyes?” I suggested helpfully.

“Mmm.” He kissed my earlobe as we finally passed the stage.

“How about my nose?”

“Not quite,” he replied.

I grinned. “You must be checking out my kneecaps then.”

“Closer.” He paused as we neared the bar. “Later, I can give you a hands-on explanation of what I’ve been staring at all day.”

My cheeks flushed. “You’re so helpful.”

“What can I say? You bring out my altruistic side.”

Cayman stepped out from behind the bar before I could respond to that last statement, tossing the white rag on the counter. “Let’s hit the office.”

I’d never seen the office before, so I was curious. Cayman led us through a door just outside the bar that read EMPLOYEES ONLY, but someone had scratched out all the letters except three, leaving LOL behind.

Nice.

The hallway was narrow, lit by actual torches shoved into wall sconces. “Interesting decorating choice,” I said.

Cayman grinned as Roth closed the door behind us, cutting off the hum of music. “My sugar bear, you know we like all flair.”

Roth snorted.

The office was the third door down and the room wasn’t at all like I expected; and to be honest, I wasn’t even sure what I expected, but definitely not this. The space was decked out in pale colors—robin’s egg blue walls, white desk and empty bookshelf. A fuzzy pink chair was sitting in front of the desk, next to a leopard print recliner. A gray leather couch was against the wall. Above it was a giant framed photo of One Direction.

And it was signed by all the members, even the one who’d left.

My mouth dropped open.

“I did not decorate this office,” Roth explained, seeing the look on my face.

Cayman dropped into a rather normal-looking chair behind the desk and kicked his feet up. “He wanted black. Black walls. Black furniture. Blah. Blah. I like a little color every now and then.”

Keeping my opinion to myself, I shuffled over to the couch and plopped down.

Before we hit the club, I’d sent Stacey a text, explaining what happened while Roth filled Cayman in. In return she sent a lot of exclamation points and a slew of frownie faces over what had happened with Elijah. Though she knew there was absolutely no love lost between him and me, she also knew that seeing Elijah die hadn’t been easy.

And knowing that whatever part of him remained outside of the Lilin was in Hell also didn’t sit well. I hated the dude, but an eternity in Hell, among creatures he’d helped put there, couldn’t be a walk in a park.

Worse yet, now that I saw what had happened with Elijah, I knew what had gone down with Sam, and I felt sick to my core. Somewhere out there was Sam’s body, cold and forgotten, and I already knew where whatever was left of his soul was.

I didn’t want to think about any of that, but I couldn’t stop myself. My thoughts would move to one thing, and then bounce back to Sam, to what had happened to him.

After Roth finished up with Cayman, I jumped up from the couch. “Can we go up to your loft instead of going back to the house?”

“If that’s what you want,” he said, pushing off from where he’d been leaning against the desk. “I doubt the Wardens will come looking for us now. It will be safe.”

Relieved to hear that, I knew I’d be happy to see the loft again. I was feeling a little nostalgic, and I actually preferred it over the massive home in Maryland. Sure, the McMansion had nice features and all, but it was too big and felt cold, formal.


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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