Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 76

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Alrighty then.

I wasn’t stupid, so I knew when it was time to make an exit. I walked away from the table in a daze and it wasn’t until a good five minutes later that I stopped in the middle of the crowded sidewalk to wonder out loud, “If that lady is the Boss, then what or who in the Hell is Morris?”

* * *

Instead of texting Roth, I ended up heading back to the house. I walked in through the front door, placing the bag that contained Mr. Snotty on the chair in the sitting room. As soon as I crossed into the living room, Roth was there. Moving as quick as a shadow, within a second, his arms were around me and his lips were skating up the side of my neck.

Immediately, a soft sound escaped me as my blood heated. One of his hands found its way under my sweater and smoothed over my bare skin, sending a hot shiver through me.

“You didn’t text me,” he said to the space just below my ear.

My eyes drifted shut. “Huh?”

His deep chuckle warmed me. “You were supposed to text me and I was supposed to come to you.”

“Oh. Yeah. That’s right.” I bit down on my lip when he kissed the space his lips had brushed against. Why hadn’t I texted him? My eyes popped open. “Dammit. You’re so distracting. I need to tell you something.”

“Mmm. Tell me something.” His other slipped down my back. “I’m listening.”

I was having trouble breathing. “I can’t talk when you’re doing that.”

“Doing what?” he said innocently.

“You know what.” Reaching behind me, I caught his hand and pulled it away from my behind.

“It’s not my fault you can’t multitask,” he said as he started walking me backward. He twisted us around and then sat, pulling me down in his lap so that I was facing him and my legs were shoved against the arms of the chair. “Now. I’m sitting. You’re here in my lap, where I like you to be, and I’m listening.”

“Okay.” I blinked slowly while he grinned up at me.

He looped his arms around my hips loosely. “You met with Zayne?”

“Yes, but that’s not what I wanted to tell you.” As his brows drew down, I poked him in the chest with one finger. “I’ll tell you all about that later. It was good chatting with him and all.”

“But?” His gaze dropped to my mouth, and I had a feeling he was going to kiss me.

I needed to get this out before he ended up succeeding in obliterating my senses and it was hard enough when his fingers started moving along the band of my jeans. “But I think I met your mother, Roth.”

His finger stilled as his lips parted. A dark look crept into his face, tightening the skin around his eyes. “My mother?”

“Yeah. You know, the Boss. She was at the Mall, and I heard her humming ‘Paradise City.’” Everything came out in a rush at that point. “I turned around and there she was. And wow, she’s really pretty. I mean, she looks a lot like you. Not that you’re pretty. You’re handsome and hot, really kind of beautiful and—”

“I get what you’re saying,” he interrupted. “And thanks. But just this once we should talk about something other than my hotness. Did the Boss say anything to you? Do anything?”

“Well, she told me that Lilith made a deal to never escape Hell and that was why I was saved, but that didn’t make a lot of sense, because Lilith dead solves the problem of Lilith. I think she...she took the deal for you—the Boss. And she also said that you were her favorite Crown Prince.” Crossing my arms, I frowned. “She also said that she could undo your existence.”

His eyes narrowed. “Why would the Boss say that?”

“I...um, I kind of threatened her.”

“You did?”

Biting down on my lower lip, I nodded. “I sort of told her that I’d bathe in her blood and wear her entrails as a necklace if she harmed you.”

One corner of his lips twitched. “You did what?”

I lifted my chin. “I wanted her to know that I did not take kindly to thinly veiled threats against you.”

Roth’s face softened. “Oh, Shortie...you do me proud.”

Blushing, I looked away as I rolled my eyes. “Whatever.”

“I’m serious. You sought to protect me.” His fingers curved around my chin and guided my eyes back to his. “I’m honored that you would do that. I’m sure the Boss wasn’t too happy about that.”

“Well, she kind of laughed...and then said she liked me. And then she basically told me I’d wear my own entrails if I ever threatened her again. It was weird. You never told me that the Boss was a female, and your mother. And I thought you called the Boss a he before. Or am I making that up? It doesn’t matter.”

Talk about crazy in-laws, dear Lord.

“A female?” He laughed deeply. “The Boss is whatever and whoever it chooses to be.”

Now I was the one gaping at him. “What?”

He trailed his hand along my jaw, cupping the nape of my neck. “The Boss isn’t my mother or my father. More like my creator, and for some reason recently, the Boss has favored looking like a woman who sort of resembles me, but the Boss is neither male or female.”

I opened my mouth, closed it, and then opened it again. “Um...”

“Weird, right?”

“Yeah.” My head hurt.

After a few moments, Roth frowned thoughtfully. “What was the Boss doing at the Mall?”

“She was playing chess—oh my goodness, I almost forgot! She was playing chess with Morris! You know, Morris as in the chauffeur and jack-of-all-trades at the Warden compound. He was there with her.” I rocked with excitement, causing Roth to get an interestingly strained look on his face. “Why was he with her? Why were they playing chess? Holy canola oil, they were playing chess! How cliché! Oh my goodness, what if he’s—”

“I don’t know what he is,” he cut in.

My eyes were wide. “He never speaks and he’s awesome with a gun and can break out some kung fu moves, but wait... I can’t picture—” I lowered my voice “—you know who shooting a gun or using kung fu.”

His lips were twitching again. “Yeah, tough to imagine the big guy upstairs needing a weapon or martial arts.”

True. I deflated like a balloon with a pinprick in it. For a second, I’d thought I was onto something amazing. “But he has to be something.”

“Anything is possible.” His fingers eased the muscles in my neck as his gaze locked onto mine. “So about your mom...”

I tilted my head, giving him better access. “Your— I mean, the Boss told me that she made a deal to never escape if I was saved, and at first, I thought, wow, Lilith finally did something for me—her daughter—but then the Boss reminded me that if I had died, then Lilith would die, that Lilith knew that. She was basically saving herself.” I shrugged. “So, I guess we know now, huh? How I came back. I’m still grateful. It doesn’t matter how I got back, only that I’m here.”

His expression lost its hard edges again. “You’re right. You’re here and that’s all that matters, but here’s the thing, Layla. The Boss... Well, the Boss has moments of great compassion and sometimes the Boss does everything possible to avoid taking credit for that.” He leaned in, pressing his forehead against mine. “And Lilith could be the same way. Does something good and then hides it. Or maybe she was just saving her own ass, but you know what?”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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