“No. That’s not all you asked for.” She followed him, unrelenting. “You want me to keep your girlfriend safe and Gemma safe and these people safe and blah blah blah. All you do is make demands, Daniel! And you have yet to give me the one thing I want from you!”
“Fine. You wanna have sex? Let’s do it.” He started loosening his tie, but then decided that wasn’t good enough. He turned around and swept his arm across the island, knocking off the glass, the brandy, and the few small appliances and dishes that sat on it, and they all clattered loudly to the floor. “Right here, right now.”
“Not sex, you idiot!” Penn shouted. “I want you to love me!”
He sighed in exasperation. “You can’t bully me into loving you, Penn.”
“I’m not. I will give you anything you want, everything you’ve imagined. Immortality, power, money.” She tried to sound softer, imploring him, nearly begging him, as she put her hands on his chest and stared up into his eyes. “Any earthly pleasure you could ever possibly desire, I will give to you. I will make your life heaven on earth, and all I ask is that you love me for all of eternity.”
“I will do what you say. I will be as obedient as I can,” Daniel contended. “But I can’t love you.”
“You don’t know that. You haven’t even tried.”
She kissed him, and it was hungrier than it had been before. Her patience was wearing thin, and there was an overt desperation in the way her lips moved against his. He let her kiss him, though, and he even tried to kiss her back.
She was unbuttoning his shirt, and he put his hands on her arms, trying to be romantic in even the slightest way. When he felt her fingers, warm and smooth but with sharp nails, running along his bare skin, he instinctively pulled away.
“You’re thinking of her, aren’t you?” Penn asked, growling.
“No. This isn’t about anyone else. It’s just…” He moved away from her and shook his head. “This is abrupt, and I need to get my head in it.”
“It’s not your head that I’m interested in right now.”
When she went to him, he let her kiss him, and again, he tried to go along with it. But she was too aggressive, and her hand sliding down his pants bordered on painful.
He grabbed her wrist, preventing her from going any farther. When she tried to pull it away, he gripped it tighter, and she laughed. He grabbed her other wrist, holding them as tightly as he could, and he knew that if he’d gripped Harper this way, she’d have bruises. But with Penn, it probably barely even hurt.
“You want it rough then, Daniel?” She smiled wider. “I’ll show you rough.”
Still smiling up at him, he heard a strange cracking sound. He had no idea what it was until he saw her wings spreading out from her back. Pure black, they stretched out to the length of the room when she fully extended them.
“That might be a little too rough,” Daniel said, and that just made her laugh again.
He let go of her wrists, so she grabbed him, wrapping her arms around his waist. Then she flapped her wings, and, with startling speed, she flew up, carrying him out of the kitchen and over the railing into the loft bedroom.
She hovered above the floor for a few seconds, and then half dropped, half threw him down. Daniel hit the bedroom floor rather painfully, then she landed, much more gracefully, on her feet.
With her wings still out, she climbed on top of him and tore off his shirt.
“You know, I never could decide which would be more fun: fucking you or eating your heart.” Then she kissed him fervently, and he felt her fangs scrape against his lips and her claws dig into the bare skin of his back.
Harper drove up the winding roads toward the top of the cliff, and she was going well above the speed limit. That surprised Gemma, who normally had to goad her sister to go faster, but now she braced herself against the dashboard.
A flash of headlights behind them caused Gemma to turn around and look behind them. She hadn’t expected to see anyone she knew, but she’d recognized Marcy’s old Gremlin instantly.
“Marcy is chasing us.” Gemma focused, making her eyes shift from human to their more advanced bird form. “And Alex and Kirby are with her.”
“What? Why?” Harper looked back, trying to see what was going on, and she almost missed the curve and drove them into a tree.
“Harper! Watch the road!” Gemma yelled, and Harper jerked the wheel back just in time.
“Sorry.” Harper glanced in the rearview mirror. “I thought you told them to stay—”
Gemma was turned around fully in her seat, watching Marcy follow them, so she saw everything. The moon was nearly full above them, with just a sliver missing, and so Liv cast a shadow as she got closer.
But it all happened too fast for her to say anything. A split second after she saw the shadow, Liv was crashing down on top of Marcy’s car, her golden wings spread out wide behind her. She did a three-point landing, slamming her bare feet and fist into the roof of the Gremlin with all her might.
It was enough to crush the roof of the car inward, and the windows all shattered, glass flying outward.
“Stop!” Gemma screamed, as Marcy’s car skidded and jerked to a halt behind them.
“What?” Harper asked, but she slammed on the brakes. Then she looked behind them. “Holy crap. Oh, no.”
Gemma jumped out of the car and ran toward the Gremlin to see if her friends were okay. Then Liv stood up, and Gemma realized it might not be such a good idea to rush, so she stopped.
Other than the wings, Liv appeared entirely human. Her wide eyes and bright smile still gave her that unnerving innocent look that Gemma had noticed when she’d first met her. When she stepped down from the roof of the car, her foot crunched on the hood.
“If any of them are hurt at all—” Gemma said, as Liv drifted delicately down to the ground, thanks to her wings working like a parachute behind her.
“You’ll what?” Liv asked with a laugh. “Bore me to death?”
The passenger side opened first, and Alex rolled out onto the ground. It took him a few seconds, but he staggered to his feet and shook his head, shaking bits of glass out of his hair. He appeared to have a few scratches, and a thin line of blood came from his temple, but he didn’t look that bad off.
“I’m okay,” Alex said. “I think Kirby and Marcy are okay, too.”