"Could try. Of course we have no idea how Asag’s venom might affect them since they’re born to another pantheon. Could be very interesting. Either it’ll work or they’ll become a new type of demon we’d have to learn to kill. Who should we pick as a guinea pig?"
Kat screwed her face up at his sarcasm. He was right, though. There was no telling how such a thing could adversely affect one of her cousins. "Looks like Zakar is our best bet."
"Unless you can talk your bitch mother into releasing my powers, yeah."
She narrowed her gaze at him. "Well, that’s just a little hard, since I can’t even talk her into sparing your life, huh? You haven’t exactly endeared yourself to her."
"Oh, excuse my utter lack of manners there. Should we call Mommy dearest and invite her over for tea? I promise to be on my best manners when I choke the life out of her."
"Whoa," Kish said with a laugh as he entered the room to their right, "what is this? Battle of the Sarcastic and Pissed? Should I make popcorn? Forget American Idol, man. This is much more entertaining."
Sin cast a murderous glare toward his servant. "Is there a point to your latest irritation, Kish?"
"Had a sudden death wish. Felt the deep need to come up here and have you freeze me again. I like being a statue… just so long as you don’t stick me in a park somewhere and let pigeons shit all over me."
Kat had to stifle a laugh. Oh, if looks could mutilate, Kish would be a kish kebab.
"Okay," Kish said, stretching the word out, "so the point of my visit is there’s a man downstairs wanting to speak to you. He says it’s urgent."
"I’m a little busy."
"I told him that."
"Then why are you disturbing me?"
Kish held his closed fist out. "He wanted me to give this to you."
Sin had to struggle not to roll his eyes at his servant. "I don’t take bribes." But as Kish let fall a small medallion into Sin’s hand, his agitation evaporated. It was an ancient Babylonian coin. "Did he happen to mention his name?"
Kat frowned at the name she’d never heard before. "Kessar?" she repeated.
Sin didn’t speak as cold dread and anger shrank his stomach. "He is to the gallu what Stryker is to the Daimons," he explained.
Without another word, he snatched a cane from the wall and headed for the elevator to take him down to the casino.
Kat exchanged a frown with Kish before she followed after Sin to the hallway where his elevator was located. Sin gave them an agitated glare as they shuffled him aside to get into the ornate paneled elevator with him.
"What?" Kat asked irritably, looking up at him.
His response was a low growl.
"I take it you know this guy, boss?" Kish asked.
Sin still didn’t speak.
Kat didn’t need her powers to feel the feral rage inside him to sense the killer he’d become at the mere mention of Kessar’s name. She didn’t know what past they had with each other, but it was obviously not a happy one. Apparently Kessar rated right up there with her mother in Sin’s estimation.
Sin was ramrod stiff beside her and clutched the cane with a white-knuckled grip. His features were even sharper now. His eyes brittle. How he managed to look attractive like that she didn’t know, but there was something about him and his anger that set her hormones panting.
Suddenly the Hinder song "Get Stoned" started going through her head. Totally inappropriate, especially at this moment in time. Still, she couldn’t help wondering if anger really did make sex better.
Then again, she had no real idea of what sex felt like even calm.
They really need to let me out more.
Sin glanced down at her as if he could read her thoughts. Oh, that’s good. Just what she needed-him inside her head, hearing the fact that she felt compelled by his angry looks. Groovy. Just groovy.
She might as well squeal like a thirteen-year-old while she was at it and tell him how hot he looked when ticked off. Her luck, he’d stay that way.
Diverting her gaze to the doors, she didn’t speak or make any movements that might betray the line of her thoughts. How embarrassing would that be? Especially given the fact that the man hated her entire maternal lineage.
There were just some degradations a person didn’t need. This was definitely one of them. So she tried to ignore him. Something that would have been a lot easier if his image weren’t reflected in the steel of the doors. Damn, the man was good-looking, especially when he had that hard, determined look about him. He was all predator and all man.
It was a dangerous combination to her sanity.
As soon as the elevator doors opened, Sin stepped out and walked in front of them-something amazing given the fact that he didn’t like people at his back. I guess he trusts Kish to warn him if I move to the attack.
What a pleasant thought…
The casino was dark, with lights glowing from the slot machines and tables. Bells and electronic tones fought each other for supremacy while winners laughed and others shouted over low-playing music. The casino looked like total anarchy, and at the same time it was inviting and fun. She didn’t know what it was about places like this, but they were hypnotic.
Oblivious to it all, Sin walked through the area with purpose, heading toward the gaming tables as if he knew instinctively where to find his enemy.
Kat looked left and right, trying to locale anyone who might be against them or anyone who might be one of those things that had attacked her in New York. She saw numerous humans who were incognizant of the fact that they were in the center of a war zone. Several tall, blond waitresses in short black dresses paused to look at her with malice. They were Apollites, but the one circulating with change was a Daimon female. That one actually curled her lip at Kat, baring a hint of fang.
She ignored the Daimon as she continued to search for the gallu demon.
All of a sudden, something went through her. It was like ice gliding down her spine. A sixth sense that warned her of evil. She paused as movement to her left caught her attention.
There were five men there-all in black suits and all devastatingly handsome. Their skin was dark and tanned, which given their Persian ancestry made sense. Three had black, curly hair cut in a shaggy style. One had straight black hair pulled back into a short ponytail. Their eyes were every bit as black as their hair. Like glimmering obsidian.
But the one leading them…
He stood out even more than they did. His hair was a dark caramel-colored blond with lighter blond streaks. His features were sharp and fine. Aristocratic. And even though it was dark inside the casino, he wore a pair of dark brown sunglasses that hid his eyes. It wasn’t until he moved closer that she realized why.
His eye color was blood-red.
A sinister half smile curved his lips as Sin stopped in front of him.
There was something insidiously evil about Kessar even though he was beautiful. No doubt he’d been the kind of kid who had pulled wings off… well, most likely Charontes and then laughed while they cried.
"Well, well. Nana," he said in a voice that was almost jovial. "How long has it been?"
Sin ignored his question and quipped with his own. "Who the hell let you out?"
Kessar laughed low and evil, and like Sin, he chose not to answer the question. "The Dimme are stirring. I know you know it." He closed his eyes as if savoring something delectable. "I can hear their wings unfurling even as we speak. Feel the blood beginning to pump through their veins. My sisters will be hungry when they wake up. We shall have to make sure they have a smorgasbord."
Sin scanned the demons behind Kessar before he gave the demon a pointed stare. "And I know just what to feed them."
Kessar asked at him. "We’re not a cannibalistic species, so you’re out of luck there. Just consider this a friendly call to let you know you won’t find what you’re looking for… So don’t waste your time. We found the Moon first and now it lives where you can’t touch it. And when my sisters awaken, you shall join it in utter misery."
Sin’s face went white as his features hardened. Kat could feel the concerned panic inside him swell. "What have you done with Zakar?"
Kessar ignored him as he focused that cold, lethal gaze on Kat. A slight frown darkened his brow before he moved to stand in front of her.
"What have we here?" he asked in a singsongy tone. "An Atlantean. I thought you were all dead."
"Surprise," Kat taunted.
He seemed to savor her rancor. He lifted his hand to trace the angle of her jaw with the back of one knuckle.
Sneering, Kat jerked her head away from his cold touch. She wanted to spit at him, but she was too dignified for such a thing.
Sin separated them with the cane, using it to force Kessar away from her.
Kessar looked down at the cane and his face paled a degree. "You can’t use that in front of the humans. What will they say?"
Sin shrugged. "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. It is, after all, Sin City."
"Hmmm." Kessar raised his hand and snapped his fingers over his shoulder. The demon with the ponytail moved forward. Kessar opened his hand and the demon laid a small box in his palm. Kessar then handed it to Sin. "In that case, here’s a small token to remember me by."
Sin opened it. Kat turned away as she saw a severed finger with a ring attached to it. It was disgusting.
Hissing, Sin moved toward Kessar, but Damien pulled him back. "Not here, Sin, Not now."
"You bastard," Sin snarled from between clenched teeth. "You better watch your ass. I’m coming for it."
"Funny, that’s what Zakar said, too. But he hasn’t spoken in quite some time. All he does now is whimper and cry." He smiled coldly. "Just like you will."
Damien kept his grip on Sin. But Kat had had enough. She might be too dignified to spit, but at the end of the day, she was her father’s daughter. Without warning, she walked up to Kessar and kneed him as hard as she could in the groin.
He doubled over instantly, groaning. Nice to know the demons were as susceptible to that tactic as a human. When the ponytail came forward she punched him so hard, he spun around. The others didn’t so much as blink.
Kat pulled Kessar up by the hair so that she could whisper in his ear. "Never underestimate an Atlantean. We’re not your average pantheon."
His face changed at that. Large veins protruded from his forehead before his eyes glowed. His mouth grew larger as the double-row of fangs appeared. He went to bite her, but Sin caught him by the throat.
Sin shoved him into Damien’s arms. "Take out the trash, Damien. I don’t want it stinking up my casino."
Kessar’s face returned to normal so fast that it stunned Kat. He shoved Damien away from him. "Don’t touch me, Daimon. You’re not worthy."
Damien curled his lip. "Up yours, ass**le. I don’t want the Sumerian slime pit stench on me anyway. Take your girlfriends and get the hell out of our casino."
Kessar straightened his sleeves. "Oh, we’re so going to come back here. In force."
Sin’s features were hard and cold. "Looking forward to it."
"So am I." And with that, they turned and left, literally in a V formation.
"Wow," Kat said under her breath. "They remind me of geese with that action."
"Yeah, and much like geese, they usually shit all over your lawn." Damien pulled a small container of breath freshener from his pocket and started spraying it. "Too bad we don’t have demon be-gone."
"Or do we?" Kat looked at the two of them. "What’s the one thing the gallu hate most?"
"You would be looking at him," Sin said dryly.
"Yeah, but the next would be a Charonte. Right?"
Sin gave her a droll stare. "And in case you haven’t noticed, they’re not exactly in supply in this realm any longer. I believe your grandmother has cornered the market on them."
Kat laughed. "Not entirely. I know one in particular who likes to visit here and who would love to have a chance to go on a feeding frenzy, especially here in Vegas where there are lots of pretty sparklies for her to see."
Damien and Sin exchanged a frown.
"Who is this demon?" Damien asked. "And more important, is she attractive?"
"Oh, she’s attractive all right. But I would advise against making a move on her. The last man who did, sadly, ended up dead." Kat pulled the cell phone off Damien’s belt and dialed the one and only number that would ring a dainty pink Razr cell phone that was covered with white and pink sparkles.
Kat smiled at the light singsongy voice she knew and loved so well. "Simi? You got some free time?"
Simi made a disgusted sound on the other end. "Of course I do. You know akri on Olympus with that heifer-goddess I want to eat, but he won’t let the Simi have no dinner. So why you calling me, little akra-kitty?"
"I’m in Vegas and I find myself in desperate need of a quality demon. Bring your barbecue sauce, hon." Kat smiled in triumph at Sin. "Lots of it."
"Yes, ma’am. As much as you want."
Simi let out an excited squeal. "The Simi is on her way. Lemme pack a few things and I’ll be right there."