“I’m not giving up, psychí mou.” Pain shone in his eyes, pain for me and not him. “I’m telling you that I know this must be done.”

“No!” I screamed it even as it slowly started to sink it. There was no way out of this, not when he saw this as a way to ensure the future for me and our child. “Seth, please. Don’t you want to see your child?”

He grabbed me, pulling me into his arms. “I saw…I saw our child’s heartbeat.” His voice thickened. “That’s going to be… It has to be enough and it is. It’s more than I ever could’ve hoped for.”

The finality of this slammed into me. This was happening. There was no way out of this. He was going to do it, and I broke. Deep, soul-crushing sobs racked my body as Seth held me. I buried my face into his chest, gripping his shirt once again.

“Shh, psychí mou, it’s okay. It’s going to be okay.” He rocked me gently soothing me as each sob tore me apart from the inside out. “I’m here. It’s okay.”

But it wasn’t okay. It would never be okay. Never again.

He placed his lips against my temple. “We still have right now, psychí mou. And we’ll have forever in our memories.”

I pulled back, unable to catch my breath against the pressure clamping down on my chest. “Right now,” I whispered.

He smiled, running his fingers along my bottom lip. “We have right now. By the time the sun sets, it…it needs to be done.”

I started to protest, because I needed more time, but I listened to him. I heard him even though it felt like I was dying.

Right now—the beginning of what would be the end.

I captured his hand and closed my eyes, placing a kiss against his fingertip. Right now was all we had. Grief exploded, tearing me apart again. I had never known such pain that wasn’t psychical, not even after I learned that my grandparents or my mom had died. No. This was so much more. Like dying inside, piece by piece until there was nothing left of me.

I drew in a shuddering breath and released his hand. Reaching down, I grabbed the bottom of his shirt. Quickly, I pulled the material up over his shoulders, letting it slip to the floor. Then without words, I moved to the button on his pants. They too fell to the floor.

Starting with his chin, I kissed every square inch of his flesh until I was on my knees before him. If all we had was right now, then I would give him everything I had in me. Everything.

“Josie,” Seth breathed unsteadily, threading his fingers through my hair as I took him in my hands first, holding him tight as I moved my hand wickedly slow.

When his breath sucked in sharply, I took him into my mouth as I drew my hand back. His hips thrust up, but I didn’t hurry and I didn’t worry for one second about how inexperienced I was at this. That didn’t matter. Between warm breaths, I teased him with my tongue before taking him in once more, as far as I could. I flattened my tongue to draw him out, working him slowly until the sounds of his rough groans overshadowed my pounding heart.

With a near-feral sound, he gripped my shoulders and pulled me away, lifting me up to claim my mouth. He walked me back, removing my dress and bra with amazing quickness. Guiding me onto my back, I lifted my hips as he tugged my panties off with one sweep.

Molten lava shot through my veins as his heated gaze met mine. Need pulsed through me, dizzying as heat pooled between my thighs. There was a roaring in my ears as he knelt on the bed, his large hands on either side of my thighs. He lowered his head, his mouth blazing a path from my thigh to the most intimate part of me, and my back arched clear off the bed.

Seth captured my hands, holding them down as his tongue delved deep, teasing me until I moved unashamedly against his mouth, tipping my hips up and spreading my thighs. His name leaked out from my lips, over and over again like a whispered prayer.

Finally, after what felt like forever, he let go of my wrists, and I took control. Rolling him onto his back, I climbed up his hard body, kissing him with everything I had. Then, only after I had tasted every crevice of his mouth did I move down his body, slowly inching down on his thick length.

I placed my hands on his chest, grinding down. I gave him everything I was feeling, every part of my being. Words, for me, were not enough to describe how much I loved him. Not enough to tell him how much losing him was going to kill me. I used my body to show him how deep my love ran, and I prayed that it was enough. That he could feel it. That he knew it.

Seth sat up in one fluid motion, cupped the back of my head as he thrusted. “You’ve always been the best of me, Josie. I love you.”

The tears fell again. There was no stopping them as I wrapped my arms around him. Our bodies moved as one, hearts pounded in sync. He kissed me, devoured me as if he hoped to take my taste with him.

He quickened his strokes. Our breathing turned ragged as we clutched at one another desperately. In a searing burst of pleasure, we came together. Minutes passed as he held me tenderly, our bodies still joined together, and then I felt him hardening. I lifted my head from his chest and looked at him questioningly.

Without saying a word, he rolled me onto my back. He smoothed his thumb over my parted lips as he started to move with slow, unhurried strokes that burned my body. Lifting my hips, I crossed my legs over his hips and took him in deeper.

His pace picked up, surging over and over, going deeper and deeper until I didn’t know where he ended and I began. This seemed so right. So perfect. And it wasn’t fair what had to be done. It wasn’t right.

The release shattered through my body and heart. I cried out as his body jerked against mine. And when we both came back down to earth, we started all over again. I was desperate to remember the feel of his skin against mine, the way it tasted and felt and smelled. Using my hands, my tongue, I worshipped every inch of him, and still it wasn’t enough.

It would never be enough.

He pulled me into his lap, sliding in with one stroke. I moaned. “You’re so beautiful and you’re so strong. Don’t ever forget that. No matter what. Never forget that.”

Tears pricked my eyes until they blinded me. “Seth…”

“Promise me.” He cupped the back of my head, exposing my throat so that he could rain kisses down the length of my neck. Again and again, we made love to each other until the first shadows started to bleed through the windows.

And then it was time.

Wrapping myself around Seth, I sobbed against his skin. My insides were twisted, cold. “I can’t. I can’t do this.”

He cradled me to his chest. “You don’t have to. I’m not going to do it here. I’ll leave. It’ll be easier that way.”

I leaned back, placing my hands on his shoulders. “How can you be okay with this?”

“Easy.” He kissed the tip of my nose and brushed my tears away with the back of his hand. “I love you. And love is selfless.”

That only made me cry all the harder, because I had never been selfless in my love. Never. “You don’t deserve this.”

A faint smile curved his lips. “Some would say this was a long time coming.” Seth gently placed me on the bed and sat up. He gazed at the dagger for several seconds. “I’m going to leave. You don’t have to—”

Panic erupted as I scrambled onto my knees. “No—no! Don’t leave. Please. I can be here.” I pulled it together, brushing the tears off my cheek. “I can be here.”

He looked at me. “I don’t want you to see this.”

“And I don’t want you to be alone.” Sliding off the bed, I picked up my dress and tugged it on, my heart pounding and my stomach churning. I faced him. “Please. Please don’t leave. I need to be here. I need—” I drew in a slow breath. “I need to be here for you. I need to be a part of this.”


“I’ll never forgive myself if I don’t.” And that was the truth. I squared my shoulders. “I will help you.”

Seth closed his eyes briefly, and for a moment I thought he was going to tell me no, but then he nodded. He stood and picked the dagger up. “Then it’s time.”

Slowly, numbly, I stood as he knelt on the floor beside the bed. I followed him down, pressing my body against his. “I don’t want you to… I don’t want you to…go,” I said, because I couldn’t force myself to say the correct word.

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