“What happened?” Sam kept her voice low. She didn’t want to disturb Damien, but she was dying to find out how they’d rescued Rafe and whether or not Damien needed anything other than a shoulder to lean on.
“I followed the…” He scowled. “I’m not sure how to explain this.”
“I’ll wait while you figure it out.” She started stroking his forehead. The poor man looked exhausted. There were dark circles under his curiously glowing eyes, and his shoulders were slumped. Damien leaned heavily against her, snuggling close.
His power must take a lot out of him, because he’d napped before he left and now he looked like he hadn’t slept in at least three days.
He sighed, the scowl slowly disappearing. “You have forever to stop doing that.”
Sam continued to rub his forehead, patiently waiting for him to speak again. This close to him, the scent of his skin, his hair, and feel his breath on her breasts made her want to hold him even closer, preferably naked. She tried desperately not to react when his hand landed on her thigh, an intimate touch that went nowhere. He didn’t move his hand, just let it sit there, warming her. It was a brand, as if he was setting his claim on her, and she couldn’t find it in her to ask him to move. She didn’t want him to. She wanted to be claimed by him, but she wasn’t sure how to tell him so.
“Shem give off a certain aura, a scent and a fog that’s…” He grunted. “It’s this thick green miasma only other angel-born can see and smell.” Damien grimaced. “We call it their stench, because there’s this odor that accompanies them, like rotten food or spoiled eggs.”
“Ew.” Sam wrinkled her nose.
“The place was saturated with it, so much so I couldn’t see into the building. We had to go in to see who was there. While Gio and Sasha took care of the first floor, I went to the second and found the kids.”
“Are they Shem, too?” She couldn’t imagine such innocent-looking children being hungry little Shem.
“Yes and no. They’re too young to hunt and feed, so they can be saved. But they were born to Shem parents and lived in the stench for so long the little boy’s belly hurt from Shem hunger. I think Gabriel is their best hope for not turning fully Shem. They have the chance to become true Nephilim now.”
“So you not only saved Rafe, you saved two kids.” She’d known he was a superhero, even if he didn’t believe it himself.
He grunted. “There was no hope for their parents. They were lost years ago.”
“But there’s hope for them, and that’s all you could do.” She started as Micah came thundering down the stairs, racing toward where Gabriel had disappeared with Rafe. “Does Gabriel need our help?”
Damien shook his head wearily. “That’s what Micah’s doing. He’ll help Gabriel, maybe even take on some of the healing himself.”
She bit her lip. “You seem really tired. Are you ready to go to bed?”
He smiled. “Are you propositioning me, Ms. Brody?”
Sam smacked his forehead. They’d only gone on one non-date he insisted was a date. No way she’d ask him to her room so soon.
“Ow.” He sat up, rubbing the faint red mark she’d left behind. “No, not yet. It’s going to take a little bit longer for my vision to return to normal.”
“Okay. Want me to keep you company?”
He leaned his head wearily against the back of the sofa. “Yes, please.” He took hold of her hand. “Anything happen while we were gone?”
“Nothing major, unless you count some foxes playing in the backyard important.” She eyed him sideways. “Zeke only flirted with me twice.”
His grip on her hand tightened. “Oh?”
She blushed furiously. She was going to go to hell with the lies she was telling. “Yup.”
“Did you tell him I’d kick his ass if he kept it up?”
She stared at him in shock. “No. Why would I?”
He started to laugh. “Why would you?” His tone was self-mocking, bittersweet almost. He turned to face her, the pale blue now a deep cornflower blue. He’d said it would be a while before he saw correctly again. His eyes were darkening back to his natural sapphire. “You want to find out why you should?”
She nodded, unable to look away from his strange, hypnotic eyes.
“This.” He leaned forward, taking her mouth in a ruthless, possessive kiss that left her senses reeling. The taste of him overwhelmed her, his scent filling her. His hands cupped her face, his fingers slowly threading through her hair. She whimpered when he started to pull away, throwing her arms around his neck. She pulled him closer, kissing him back, practically begging him to keep going.
He moved his hands from her face to her waist, taking charge once again. The kiss changed from possessive to sensual, drugging her with desire.
The kiss went on and on. She couldn’t tell if it had been hours or minutes since his lips met hers, and she didn’t care. When his lips left hers she could barely catch her breath.
His hands clenched, gathering the back of her shirt in his fists. “I don’t want to go any further than this. I don’t want to scare you off.”
Damien’s eyes were finally back to normal, the beautiful sapphire so dark it was almost navy blue. “There you are.” She smiled and touched just beside his eye. “Can you see again?”
He nodded. “You’re not afraid of what I am?”