Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 49

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“Of course she is,” he replied, eyeing the bed with a mixture of fondness and irritation. “She knew you were going down there, or at least suspected it. She should’ve stopped you.”

I rested my hands on my knees, meeting his hard gaze. “When I said I was sorry, I meant it. I didn’t know Cayman was going to distract you in that manner. I punched him, if that makes you feel any better.”

He arched a brow, looking unappeased.

I went on. “But I had to try to help Sam. I had to.”

Roth was silent for a long moment and then he exhaled loudly. “You saw Grim? Did you get what you were looking for?”

“I got a whole lot of what I wasn’t looking for,” I said, sliding my palms along my knees. “He told me what the Wardens were before—who they were.”

“Heavenly rejects,” he said, his face impassive. “It was never my story to tell. I wasn’t even sure you’d believe me if I did.”

“In the beginning? Probably not,” I admitted, and then forged on. “He told me that some of them were never awakened, that they are still encased in stone. I never knew that. Did you?”

Roth shook his head. “I had heard rumors, but some gargoyles are just stone carvings and nothing more.”

“He also told me about Lilith. That she was never a demon.”

His brows furrowed. “I think he was messing with you, Layla. Lilith is a demon.”

I shook my head tiredly, and then explained everything that Grim had told me about Lilith. I saw the moment when Roth believed me, when I told him how the Boss had covered it up. “So, I feel like a demon. So did Lilith, but only because no one knew what we really were, and I guess with the Boss telling everyone that she was one, no one thought to question it. People see what they want to see. Even demons, I guess.”

Roth had moved closer to me as I told him what Grim said, but now he knelt in front of me. “You’re not a demon.”

“No. Not according to Grim, and it makes sense. You know, how the demons could never sense me in the beginning, not until recently—not until the witches gave me what they did.” Understanding flared deep in his eyes, and seeing that made it easier to tell him what else I’d learned. “They gave me the blood of one of the original fallen angels. The same thing they’d given Lilith. That’s why I look different now when I shift. I guess it overcame whatever Warden blood I had in me. And ever since then, I don’t have the same urges to...to feed. It’s still there, but it’s nothing like before. I don’t need anything to ease it. I can ignore it. Anyway, good news is, I’m kind of immortal, so you don’t need to worry about me looking like your grandmother one day.”

He stared up at me in silence for a long moment and finally, when I started to worry, he said, “I fail to see where there is any bad news involved in what you’ve just told me.”

I almost smiled. “Well, I’m kind of a bigger freak than you thought I was in the beginning.”

“I don’t care if you grow a third boob when you shift or if you are part Hellion,” he said fervently. “Or if three days a month you end up needing to consume the flesh of the dead.”

Um. That was hard-core.

“I’m going to love you all the same.” He placed his hands over mine. “But knowing that I’m not going to have to make some crazy deal in the future to prevent you from dying of old age on me is the icing on my cake, babe.”

I couldn’t even stop the smile from tugging at my lips. “You’re ridiculous, you know that? You really would make a deal?”

His gaze was steady. “I would do anything for you.”

“Ditto.” I watched him lift my hands to his mouth and pressed his lips to the knuckles of each one. “I didn’t get Sam’s soul.”

“I’m sorry,” he said, and although his words were spoken low, I knew they were true. And I also knew that the only thing he truly cared about in this moment was that I was sitting in front of him, unhurt.

I curled my fingers around him. “The Lilin still has Sam’s soul. Any soul that it consumes, it keeps. Killing the Lilin releases the souls, but Grim said he didn’t know if his soul would last much longer inside the Lilin.”

Roth smiled, showing off one deep dimple. “Well, then that’s also not bad news. We plan on killing the Lilin anyway. That takes care of both problems.”

I didn’t like to think about whether or not Sam was aware of what was going on while he was trapped inside the Lilin. “That’s been our plan, but how? I imagine the Lilin won’t be easy to kill.”

“It won’t be.” Letting go of my hands, he rose and walked over to his dresser. Opening the top drawer, he carefully pulled out something wrapped in thick leather. He carried it to the top of the piano, where he placed it down and pulled the material back. “But we’ll do it the same way we’d kill any demon—with an iron stake.”

Unable to suppress the shudder upon seeing three iron stakes laid out so innocuously, I glanced up at Roth as something occurred to me. “If I’m not a demon, then how did iron injure me before?”

“Because, as far as I know, it’s fatal to the originals, too. While they’re not demons, they are still cursed in many of the same ways demons are. After all, they sinned in ways that were believed to be unforgivable.” He smiled slightly as he looked at me. “You’ve known about my little collection. This is all that I have left.”

Roth didn’t handle the weapons, because they would sear his flesh. The binding at the thicker end of the stake only protected him for so long. It wasn’t that way for me before since I could handle them, which I had always thought was due to my Warden blood, but now I wasn’t sure.

I reached out, quickly brushing my fingers along the cool metal before Roth could stop me. He uttered a harsh curse as he gripped my hand, yanking it back. “It didn’t burn,” I told him. “Same as before. I guess I’m special.”

He narrowed his eyes. “That’s one way of putting it.”

I made a face, and he chuckled as he folded the leather cloth back over the stakes. Warm, I pushed the sleeves of my sweater up. “We need to stop the Lilin. I know we’ve been saying that, but—”

“What is this?” He took hold of my fingers, lifting my arm up in the air. At first I didn’t get what he was looking at, but as he turned my arm over, I saw the bruises, shaped like three fingers had pressed in. His eyes flashed from my arm to my face, his features tensing. “Did I do this?”

“What?” I shook my head. “No.”

Unease bubbled forth as his pupils stretched vertically. “Who did this?”

“Um...”

He tilted his head to the side. “To bruise your skin, someone would’ve had to have gripped your arm with enough force that if you were human, it would’ve snapped your bone.”

“My arm is fine.”

“That doesn’t answer my question.”

“I don’t think I need to answer your question, because you’ll flip out.”

Roth’s lips thinned. “I’m totally calm. I would just like to know who marred your skin so that I can put a name and face to the creature I’m going to kill very slowly.”


Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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