“Your sisters are gone?” Daniel asked as he glanced around.
“Yeah. I sent them away for the night, so we have the place to ourselves,” Penn said over her shoulder as she walked into the kitchen.
“I suppose I would prefer this without an audience,” he said under his breath.
A bottle of wine was chilling in a bucket of ice on the counter. Without asking if he wanted any, Penn poured two glasses and walked back over to him.
“Here, have some.” She handed him a glass. “It’ll loosen you up.”
Instead of taking a sip, Daniel sniffed the glass. “You didn’t drug this or anything, did you?”
Penn laughed again and tossed her silken black hair over her shoulder. “Of course not. I want you totally present for tonight.”
“Thanks.” He took a long swallow, almost gulping it down.
“Why don’t I show you to the bedroom?” Penn suggested.
“So soon? Shouldn’t we warm up first? Get to know each other?”
When she smiled, there was a devilish sparkle in her dark eyes, one that Daniel found unsettling. “I think I know everything about you I need to know.”
Taking his hand, Penn led him through the living room and up the staircase to the loft above. There was only one bed in the center of the room, covered in black satin sheets. The bed had a heavy-looking iron headboard, with a gold wrap draped across it, apparently to set the mood, and Daniel wondered dimly where Thea’s and Liv’s beds were.
She took his wineglass from him, now nearly empty, and set it on the nightstand next to a black candle with an oddly purple flame. Then she came back to him, standing so close that when he breathed in deeply, his chest pressed against hers. The smile playing on her lips was wicked, and she gently bit her lip with teeth that were too sharp to be human.
Her tanned skin seemed to glow in the flickering candles, and he tried to think about how beautiful she was. If he could focus on the lovely parts of her exterior instead of the vile creature that lurked beneath, he might be able to get through this.
Penn seemed to be waiting for him to make the first move, so he knew he needed to do something. He put his hand on the small of her back, pressing her body against him, and he could feel the warmth of her skin through the thin fabric.
That was all Penn needed, and a small, purring sound escaped her lips. She reached up and ran her fingers through his disheveled hair until her hand rested on the back of his neck. Her grip was strong, too strong, and her fingers felt like fire, sending hot electricity through him.
Penn kissed him slow at first, reminding him of the way she’d kissed him out on Bernie’s Island. Her mouth worked gently against his for a moment, but she couldn’t keep up the restraint for very long.
She put her arms around him, almost clinging to him. As she fell back on the bed, she was pulling him down with her, and he let her. He lay on top of her, and her legs wrapped around him, holding him to her. When she pushed up against him, he felt his body responding.
He needed the physical reaction to get him through this, to be able to perform and keep Harper safe, but he’d never before felt more betrayed by his own skin. Penn was repulsive and monstrous, and no part of him should find any pleasure in this.
Breathing heavily, he pulled away from her, which was rather difficult when she clung to him so tightly. He held himself up with his arms above her, and her lips were pressed into a tight pout.
“Penn, can I ask you something?”
She rolled her eyes and groaned. “Haven’t we talked enough?”
“No, I need to know something.”
“Daniel.” She ran her hands through his hair, so her fingers went over the scar that ran along the back of his head. “Come on. You can’t back out of this now.”
“I’m not. I swear, I’m not,” he told her honestly. “I would if I could, but I know I can’t.”
Penn sighed and let go of him, allowing Daniel to sit up on the bed next to her. “So what? What do you need to know that’s important?”
“When this is over, are you gonna kill me?”
“I’m not a praying mantis.” She still lay back on the bed, staring up at the skylight and the darkening sky above them. When he’d arrived, the sun had been setting, but now the stars were starting to come out.
“You kinda are, actually,” Daniel countered.
She sat up so she could look at him directly. “Why are you even asking me this?”
“Because I want to know. Wouldn’t you want to know if you only had a few hours left to live?”
“A few hours?” Penn smirked. “You’re being generous.”
“You told me you were gonna ‘rock my world,’ so I’m making assumptions here.”
Her smiled changed, and Penn climbed onto his lap. She tried to straddle him, but Daniel pushed her legs to the side, so she had to settle for having her arms around his neck.
“Penn,” Daniel said firmly, keeping his hand on her thigh to stop her in case she tried to wrap it around him again. “No. I’m not doing anything until you answer the question.”
“What if I am?” Penn asked, the same sultry smile and glint in her dark eyes.
She lowered her eyes, staring down at his mouth. “What if I plan to kill you when we’re done? What then?”
“Then … I guess I’d better get busy dying.”
Her eyes widened, either in disbelief or surprise. “Really? You wouldn’t try to talk me out of it?”
“I don’t know what choice I have,” he admitted. “If I put you off anymore, you’ll take it out on Harper or Gemma. And if I do it tonight, you’ll probably kill me. I’m choosing the lesser of two evils.”
“What if…” She chewed her lip, as if debating on whether or not to say more. “What if I told you there was a third option?”
“A third option?”
“Yeah.” The velvet in her words grew more excited. “I’ve been thinking about it. I cringe at the word ‘love’ and all its frivolities, but I feel something for you that I haven’t felt for anyone in centuries. And I’m not about to let you go.”
“So you’re not planning on killing me?” Daniel asked.
Penn shook her head. “Not exactly. I want you to join me.”
He waited a beat before speaking, almost too afraid to find out what she meant by that. “Join you how?”