“I’ll get your mother’s approval. You just need to find a good breed that is very protective. I want you to research them before we go to pick one up.”

Grinning from ear to ear he says, “Got it. Can I have one for my birthday too?”

“Would it drive your mother crazy?” I ask.

“Yes!”

“Then we already know the answer. But the same rules apply, it has to be very protective of you two. The animals must serve a useful purpose.”

20

Lily

Sleeping without Lucifer in bed with me proved to be difficult last night.

The bed is much too big and much too cold without him in it. I spent most of the night tossing and turning, unable to rest without his arms around me. Without him pressed up against my back, keeping me trapped.

What was he doing out so late at night? Had he returned to the strip club? To Cherry? Or was he out hunting Marshall down?

I know Marshall was the topic of some unpleasant conversation last night and Lucifer seemed to be of a mind to do something about him.

Too many scenarios were running around in my brain for me to sleep comfortably.

Peeking at the clock, I see that it’s a little after seven in the morning and Lucifer still isn’t home yet.

Crawling out of bed, I shower and get dressed for the day, and try not to worry about him. He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself, obviously.

Still, I can’t help but wonder where he is…

Checking the weather, it’s bitterly cold outside which is completely normal for this time of the year, but it’s the weekend. I’d like to take the kids out and do something. Maybe we could go see a movie together.

Checking myself one last time in the mirror, I pull open the bedroom door to see Lucifer approaching.

Immediately I feel my lips pulling into a smile and a pleasant warmth fills me. Is this happiness?

I hold the door open, my heart fluttering as I wait for him. His eyes sweep over me, warming with heat. Taking a step forward, I try to wrap my arms around him.

Shaking his head, he holds out his hand, pushing me away.

My heart falls instantly.

“Don’t touch me right now, Lily.”

My face falls and I jerk back. Why did he reject me? Did I do something wrong?

Before I can fully process the hurt, he grabs me by the arm and pulls me into the bedroom with him.

Shutting the bedroom door behind him, he grabs me by the arms and holds me away from him. “Let me get clean first. I don’t want to get you bloody.”

His words shock me into awareness.

Looking him over, I finally notice his shirt and pants are speckled with blood. “Are you hurt?”

He shakes his head and smiles at me tenderly. “It’s not mine.”

I return his smile for a moment. “That’s good.” As he relaxes and begins to pull away, I just have to ask, “Is it Marshall’s?”

I wouldn’t be surprised if he found him and did something to him.

He shakes his head and turns away. Loosening the tie at his throat, he yanks it out of his collar.

I don’t know whether to be relieved or completely horrified that it wasn’t Marshall but some other man splattering Lucifer with his blood last night.

Never in a million years did I ever think my life would come to something like this. That I’d ever have to accept these things as a normal part of life.

“Did you find him last night?”

Tie gripped in his hand, he asks coldly, “No, why?”

“I heard you talking about him during that meeting…” He gives me a sharp look and I know I’ve somehow made a mistake. I lick my lips nervously before explaining. “I wouldn’t be upset… it would just be nice to know…”

How do I even say this?

“Know what, Lily?” he asks impatiently, taking a step towards me, his tie gripped in his fist.

Pressing back against the door, I consider my words carefully. My pulse is racing so fast I feel sick, and I know I’m not feeling sick for the right reasons.

“What do you want to know?” Lucifer presses, closing the distance between us.

I take a deep breath and can’t believe I am actually going to say this. I’m an awful, horrible human being, but, “It would be nice to know if I’m a widow or not. It would save me a lot of paperwork.”

Lucifer blinks at me as if I surprised him and then he’s grinning. Leaning over me, he chuckles. “No, I haven’t made you a widow.”

I open my mouth, meaning to say something but he talks over me.

“In fact, you will never be Marshall’s widow. I’ve taken care of that.”

I frown at him now. Totally not following. “You mean Marshall is under your protection or something?”

“Absolutely not.” His eyes flash with menace. “I’ve taken care of all the paperwork for you. You and Marshall are no longer married.”

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