They are here. They ride. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
His name is Ares, and the fate of mankind rests on his powerful shoulders. If he falls to the forces of evil, the world falls too. As one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, he is far stronger than any mortal, but even he cannot fight his destiny forever. Not when his own brother plots against him.
Yet there is one last hope. Gifted in a way other humans can’t-or won’t-understand, Cara Thornhart is the key to both this Horseman’s safety and his doom. But involving Cara will prove treacherous, even beyond the maddening, dangerous desire that seizes them the moment they meet. For staving off eternal darkness could have a staggering cost: Cara’s life.
Ares spun the woman around so her back was to the sea, her bare feet close to the cliff edge. “Who are you?” He gripped her shoulders firmly, his fingers digging into the blue flannel pajama top dotted with penguins. She wore penguin pajamas.
“P-please…” The wind whipped her sandy-blonde hair into her face, and some weird impulse made him want to brush it away.
He resisted. “Who are you?”
“I’m not…not a demon.” Her breath sawed in and out of her so violently that he half-expected her to pass out.
“What is your name?”
She blinked as if she didn’t understand the question, and when he repeated it, she finally murmured, “Cara. It’s Cara. I’m not a demon. I swear, I’m not a demon.”
“You keep saying that.” He inhaled, once again catching the bitter scent of her terror, but also, the faint, smoky tint of hellhound. She’d been in direct contact with one. “Why were you handling a hellhound? Were you attacked?”
A tiny squeak came from her, as if fear had closed up her throat. Hellhounds could do that to a person. But he didn’t have time to coddle a delicate female through her trauma. He needed intel, and he needed it now.
He snapped his fingers in front of her face, startling her out of her freaked-out trance. “Did The Aegis save you?”
“The men? They…they tried to kill the pup.”
Ares couldn’t decide if she was a little…slow…or just scared out of her gourd. Maybe both. Even so, she should be a little more agitated in his presence, and he wondered what was up with that. He took a deep breath and spoke slowly, even though he didn’t have the time or patience for this shit. “Yes, I’m sure they tried to kill it. It’s their job.”
“To kill dogs?”
“Demon dogs. You know, hellhounds?”
“This isn’t real,” she whispered. “I want to go home…” She shook her head, backpeddling wildly. “No, not home! Those men are there. This isn’t real…”
Shit. He was losing her. Before she could go into a complete meltdown, he gripped her by the shoulders and bent to peer directly into her eyes. Which were the exact color of the sea below when the sun hit it just right. Crystal blue with flecks of green and gold. Stunning.
“Listen to me. I need to know if you saw another man in that room. Long blond hair. Angelic.”
She nodded, her wide-eyed gaze locked onto his as if she were afraid to look away. As if he was a lifeline and if she let go, she’d plunge into an abyss of insanity. “Where is Hal?”
She’d named the hellhound? The things were mean as fuck, ravenous, horny…suddenly a sinking suspicion made his gut plummet. Had the hound given her a Hell’s Kiss? Nah. They never, ever did that to humans.
And yet…he leaned in, and as he got closer, the odor of fear and beast gave way to a more feminine scent. She smelled clean, like a spring meadow, with soft floral undertones. His cock jerked, the stupid bastard. The woman was terrified, human, and possibly shackled to one of the most vile creatures to have ever been spawned in Sheoul.
“W-what are you doing?”
He didn’t reply. He touched his lips to hers. A shocked gasp escaped her, and damn, she tasted sweet. There was a faint mint tang of toothpaste on her breath, and as he stroked his tongue across her satin lips, he got the telltale numbing tingle of the hellhound’s kiss. Which explained why she wasn’t combative with him — by bonding with Cara, the hound had brought her over into the supernatural world. She was still human, but with…enhancements.
He should have retreated, right then and there, but her mouth was soft, her body ripe with curves, and he hadn’t kissed a woman — a real human woman — in thousands of years. Head swimming, he tugged her against him. This was unexpected, amazing—
Sudden, stabbing pain lanced his groin. He grunted out a curse, doubled over and clutched his balls, which she’d cracked with her knee.