Marcus’s gaze lifted to mine. “I have to try.”

“You’ll be sending them to their deaths, Marcus.”

He didn’t look away. “If I gave them the choice, what do you think it would be?”

I already knew. “They’d go, even knowing the odds.”

And that was the damn truth. Sentinels weren’t suicidal. They were just dangerously brave. I had no doubt in my mind that, if Marcus presented them with the option, they would go and they would die trying to save others.

~

Josie

I needed a shower.

Dust covered nearly every square of inch of my body, and it sucked, because I was going to have to wash my hair again.

That’s what I got for practicing with the elements outside during a windy day. All the loose dirt had been stirred up by the wind, and it had coated my skin and hair.

And I hadn’t even been outside for more than thirty minutes.

What I would’ve loved to do was take a bath. Of course, it would’ve been so gross, as dirty as I was, and this bathtub was so not for soaking, but the one at Seth’s house in the islands?

I could marry that tub.

I turned on the faucet until steam filled the air, then stripped off my dirty clothes. As I snatched a towel and placed it on the sink for easy access, I couldn’t stop the kernel of worry forming in my belly.

Seth hadn’t returned yet.

There hadn’t been any earthquakes, so I was taking that as a good sign. Not that I didn’t believe he’d hold to his promise, but if a Titan showed up and went after him?

He’d do everything to keep his promise, but did Seth really know how powerful he was? Things could spin out of control before he even realized it.

Closing my eyes, I stood under the pelting spray of hot water and let all my worries wash away, right along with the dust and sweat. More than anything, I wanted to lose myself in Seth. I wanted him here, where I knew he was safe and I…

I sighed.

I was struck silly by the fact that I missed him even though he’d only been gone an hour or so, but I couldn’t…well, I couldn’t get enough of him. When we were apart, I did miss him desperately, and the longer we were separated, the more I hated it.

I guessed that was what being in love felt like.

A small smile tugged at my lips as I thought about him just holding me as we talked about the future, about our child. A strange thing always happened when he did that. I felt…normal.

Like we were normal and had a future.

Turning, I snatched up the body wash and soaped myself up. My skin was oddly sensitive, have been for, well, at least a couple of days. Probably had to do with pregnancy hormones. They were no joke, because right now, my body was aching for Seth in a way that was almost painful. As if he had branded me somehow and only he could ease the burn.

Gods.

That sounded ridiculous, and I was totally blaming hormones for that thought, but it felt true in that moment.

My head tipped back and I bit my lower lip as I placed the loofah on the little caddy. My hand slipped down my belly and then lower. My breath caught. The touch of my own fingers was nothing like what Seth could do, especially when he did that wicked thing with his thumb…

The mere thought of how he used his fingers made my head spin. Using my other hand, I ran it over my breast. Swallowing a moan, I rolled my hips. The tension coiled. I was so—

“You just can’t stop thinking about me, can you?”

Shrieking, my eyes shot open and I pulled my hand away.

Seth stood just outside the shower stall; his golden hair fell around his chiseled cheeks, brushing the tops of his shoulders. There was a certain mischievous quirk to his full lips, but his gaze was like liquid fire, centered far below my eyes.

“You have got to stop doing that,” I gasped, finding my voice. “Or I will put a bell on you.”

“That was possibly the hottest thing I’ve seen in all my years.” Seth pulled my hand away and climbed fully clothed into the shower. “You have no idea how badly I needed to see that.”

I jolted at what he said and my heart dropped as my gaze coasted over his face. Was there blood along his temple? “Was it that bad?”

“Worse than that bad,” he murmured.

My heart was racing, desire mixed with embarrassment and the returning concern, but then his gaze lifted to mine. I needed to know what had happened; however, instinct told me he needed something else entirely in that moment. I let the shame go and I pushed the concern to the back of my mind.

“Beautiful,” he whispered. Water pelted him, but he didn’t seem to notice. All of his attention was focused on me. “But this?” He brought my hand to his mouth, sucking a finger into his mouth.

“Oh, my…” My knees felt weak. Heat boiled my blood.

“I’m jealous.” He dropped my hand and snaked an arm around my waist, lifting me off my feet. “Would’ve given just about anything to see how all of this started out.”

I could barely breathe, let alone think. My senses were firing all at once and the feeling of being pressed against his soaked clothing set me on fire. “It really wasn’t that exciting.”

“Are you out of your mind? It was probably exciting on a heart-attack level.” He dipped his head, brushing his lips over mine.

I opened my mouth, inviting him in as I slid my hands up his hard chest, clasping them loosely behind his neck. The taste of him was something I’d never grow tired of.

With that, his kiss turned urgent, deepening. Nothing could’ve prepared me for the raw intensity of his kiss, his embrace. And it scared me a little. Not of him or what I was feeling, but for what could’ve happened when he went to Chicago. He was kissing me like he’d been deprived of doing so, and that caused my senses to overload as his tongue slipped over mine. When he finally did lift his head, I felt dizzy.

Seth’s smile was wolfish as his eyes connected with mine. Then, with one impressive surge, he had me backed against the shower stall. Using his knee, he pushed my thighs apart. The wet, smooth material of his pants made me groan.

“I missed you,” I admitted, blushing as I threaded my fingers through the wet, silky strands of his hair.

He pressed a kiss under my chin. “I wasn’t gone that long.”

“I know.”

His lips were against the hollow of my neck, hot and firm. “What did you do while I was gone?”

“I practiced with the elements.” I tipped my head back and let my eyes drift shut. “I got covered in dirt.”

He didn’t move for a moment and then his lips were on mine, kissing me softly. Then he was back to trailing hot kisses down my neck, over my collarbone. His lips were so close to the tip of my breast, drifting over the swell. My breath became shallow and quicker as his tongue flicked over the beaded skin. My entire body shuddered.

“Were you thinking of me?” He teased. “Wait. Of course you were.”

I was about to tell him that it was an incredibly dumb question, but then he drew my nipple into his hot mouth, and I didn’t care. I gasped as pleasure rolled through me. His free hand slipped between my thighs, fingers brushing over damp skin. My gasp quickly turned to a moan.

He lifted his head, nuzzling my neck, under my ear. “You’re so beautiful. Damn it, you’re so fucking beautiful.”

My entire body clenched. Hot, tight shudders racked my body. His fingers were barely touching me and I felt close to tipping over the edge. This wasn’t nice—oh no, this was raw, full of painful need.

My hips surged forward, grinding against his thigh and his hand. Pleasure spiked, making me dizzy and breathless.

Seth growled low in his throat as he grabbed my hip, stilling my movements. His hand stopped moving. “Do you want more than this?”

Frustration caused my eyes to snap open. Was he being serious? Yes. He was. I pushed against his shoulders, but he stared down at me, the look on his face telling me without words what he wanted me to do. Part of me wanted to smack him. And the other…well, it wanted to drown in him.

He wore a wicked grin as his thumb smoothed over a very sensitive part, causing my body to jerk. “I’m waiting, babe.”

“Yes,” I whispered, glaring at him. “Okay. Yes.”

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