“Grant me strength.”
Iris lurched to her feet, wings heavy with sea water, exhaustion taking its toll. She’d wounded him, but not enough.
As if summoned, the demon climbed from the water, powerful and beautiful, dark wings stretching behind him. Iris’s heart pounded as he strode to her side. That strong body had lain with hers that morning. Those lush lips had burned fire across her skin before fate set them in opposition. She was a Guardian now and he mustn’t win.
“You can’t save him from me.”
Iris raised her chin. “I will.”
The demon’s reply came sharp as sin. “I have many years. What of the pettiness of childhood, the passions of youth?” He stepped closer, whispered. “What if he loves wrongly, kisses a boy?”
Iris threw her head back, her laughter a tinkle of bells. “Love, whatever form is chooses, only strengthens our side. Find another weapon, demon.”
“The vices of adulthood, then? Greed, lust, power…”
She met his dark gaze. “Don’t.”
Agony fleeted across his face. “I must. My master is…unforgiving of failure.” Despair laced his voice. “Run from me, angel, though you take my heart. My attacks will come as whispers in the lonely night, alluring temptations. Protect him from me if you can.”
She kissed him, lived a moment in the sweet fire of his passion. “I will teach him kindness and love. You can’t win.”
He touched her mouth. “I can be persuasive.”
She inclined her head, acknowledging the challenge.