Kat made an exaggerated happy shake. "Oh, this just gives you the warm and fuzzies, doesn’t it?" She sobered. "I vote we unleash my grandmother and let her eat the whole lot of them."
"Your grandmother?" Zakar asked.
Sin laughed in a low tone. "Apollymi."
Zakar paled. "How well imprisoned is she?"
"Well enough we’re basically safe from her wrath."
Kat’s eyes lightened. "But I can invoke her powers if I need to."
The men gaped at her.
"You can do what?" Sin asked. This was the first time he’d heard this part of her powers.
"Invoke her powers," she repeated. "Sweet sixteen birthday present. Anyone who messes with me gets a taste of Atlantean destruction. It’s why I said Deimos is no problem for me. I can take his ass out, blindfolded, and beat him."
Sin was glad to have that knowledge. However there was one drawback to it. "But we have to keep you charged."
She nodded. "It helps."
"Good," Zakar said. "We have at least one surprise they don’t know about. But both of you have to remember that in dreams nothing is what it seems. They may attack you as demons, but they may not. They could come at you as your best friend." He looked at Kat. "Your mother. Your brother. Anyone or anything that you’re close to. They are masters at this and they’ve had a lot of practice. They can’t really hurt you, but they can disturb your sleep enough to impair you while you’re awake."
Sin rubbed his hand over his face as he considered that. Damn.
"Kytara?" Kat shouted out suddenly. Her voice echoed around them.
Sin scowled at her. "What are you doing?"
She folded her arms over her chest. "I want to sleep in peace at night. Be damned if I’m going to let some two-bit piece of demon like Kessar keep me from resting. He thinks he’s a badass? Well I know a few myself." She paused before she shouted again. "Kytara!"
"Stop yelling at me." A woman almost as tall as Kat appeared behind her. She had wavy black hair, porcelain skin, and large eyes so blue they didn’t look real. She was dressed in a black leather pantsuit with a silver loop belt and four-inch-heeled boots.
Kat smiled as she turned to face her. "There you are, my evil friend."
Sin was wary over Kat’s greeting. "Evil?"
"To the core of her rotten soul."
"It’s true," Kytara agreed. "There’s nothing like a bitch in heels, of which I’m the biggest." She turned back to Kat. "I know there has to be a point to this, since you’re in a dream with gorgeous twins and nobody’s nak*d. I could have sworn I taught you better, Katra."
Sin crossed his arms over his chest as he narrowed his gaze on Kat.
Kat held her hands up in mock surrender. "She didn’t mean it like that. I never did such a thing."
"Umm-hmmm," he said, not believing her for a minute. No wonder she’d been so skilled.
"It’s true. Kytara, tell him."
"Tell him what?" she asked innocently. "Kat’s a raging nymphomaniac."
"Oh, all right," Kytara finally conceded. "She’s so bland she makes plain toast look spicy."
Kat’s look of agitation only increased. "Thanks a lot."
Kytara laughed. "Well, you are. You’re too much of a goody two-shoes. I’ve been nagging at you for years to loosen up. Now why am I here if not to help you strip these two nak*d and have some adult fun?"
Zakar stepped forward. "I think I like her suggestion."
Sin stared him down.
At least to a degree. "Look, I’ve been trapped in that cave with those bastards gnawing on me for centuries. It’d be a really nice change to have a goddess nibble on me."
Feeling sorry for him, Sin ignored his outburst. "We have demons who are going to try and attack us in our sleep."
"Skoti?" Kytara asked.
"No," Kat said. "Gallu demons."
"Ooo." Kytara looked like the mere thought gave her an orgasm. "They’re a bloody lot. I like it."
Sin was confused by her eagerness. "I thought the Greek Oneroi were devoid of emotions."
"They are," Kat explained. "Kytara is a Skotos. She sucks emotions from dreamers and uses them for her own."
Kytara smiled. "It’s the only way to live. Really. The Oneroi are just too stodgy for words."
Sin had no comment to that.
But Kat gestured to the three of them. "We don’t want the gallu attacking us at night. Can you watch our backs while we sleep?"
Kytara bit her lip and wiggled her h*ps as if she enjoyed the thought way too much. "Voyeurism… kinky. I like it even better."
Kat shook her head. "You are the worst."
"Of course I am. Isn’t that why you called me?"
Suddenly the idea of having her here didn’t seem so bright to Sin. Having a Greek Oneroi in his dreams just seemed like asking for trouble. "Curious… Can you wander over to the gallu and spy on them while they sleep?"
She brushed a finger along the edge of his chin and gave him a sexy smile. "In a dream, baby, I can do anything I want."
Kat pushed her back, away from Sin. "And keep your hands off that one, Kytara, or lose them to some big mean hand-eating dream monster."
She gave Kat a knowing look. "Yes, ma’am."
Sin found Kat’s jealousy amusing and flattering. But right now they had more important things to focus on. He cleared his throat to get their attention back on the matter at hand. "Will you watch them then?"
"Depends." Kytara paused for effect before asking, "Is he a good-looking demon?"
Kat nodded. "Very."
"Ooo, gotta go check it. Later." Kytara vanished instantly.
Sin crossed his arms over his chest, grateful to have some space away from the Skotos. "You have interesting friends, Kat."
"True, and sometimes they’re very helpful."
Zakar sucked his breath in sharply as if something had just struck him in the chest.
Concerned for him, Sin put a hand on his brother’s back. "Zakar?"
"They’re trying to find me." He shoved Sin away from him and staggered to his left. "Run."
"I won’t leave you here to face them."
Zakar gave him a furious glare. "It’s only a dream. Go."
"Then what’s the harm in my staying if it’s only a dream?"
Zakar shook his head. "You don’t know what you’re doing."
"Yes, I do," Sin said emphatically. "I’m protecting my brother."
"One quick question?" Kat asked, distracting the two of them. "Can you kill the gallu in this realm?"
"No," Zakar said. "Why?"
Kat pointed behind the men. " ‘Cause they’re here."
Sin braced himself for the coming fight, but strangely, Kessar didn’t make any moves toward him.
Instead, he stared at Zakar with a twisted half smile. "I see you found my pet, Nana." He returned his gaze to Sin and his face turned to stone. "And my brother."
Sin shrugged in feigned sympathy. "He attacked us," he said sarcastically. "What was I supposed to do? Invite him to dinner?"
"You were supposed to die." Kessar narrowed his eyes on him. "It would have been a good start."
Sin shook his head. "I don’t know. I die, you get bored. World ends. Doesn’t really fit, does it? Besides, I can’t make things too easy on you. What’s life without pain?"
Kessar’s gaze went back to Zakar. "That’s a question best answered by the pet, isn’t it?"
Fury darkened Sin’s gaze as he saw the shame on Zakar’s face, but before he could move to retaliate, Zakar blasted the demon.
Kessar turned it away with a wave of his hand. "Don’t you ever learn, dog?"
Zakar glared at him. "I will fight you till I die."
Kessar laughed. "Oh, you’re going to die all right. All of you. And for what you’ve done to my brother you will suffer unimaginably."
"Yada yada yada." Kat slowly enunciated each word before she looked at Sin as if bored by their exchange. "Am I the only one who gets sick of the bad-guy monologue?" She held her arms out like a zombie and mocked Kessar’s accent. " ‘Ooo, I’m the big evil. I’m going to kill you all. Just wait while I bore you to tears with my egomaniacal bullshit. I’m just a demon windbag who likes to hear himself speak and I’m trying to intimidate you.’ "
She looked back at Kessar and put her arms down. "Really, if that’s the case, you need to stop letting your mother dress you funny. It’s hard to take anyone serious as a killer when he looks likes an investment banker. The only part of me that’s nervous is my checkbook."
Kessar ran his tongue over his fangs as he eyed her as if she were a tender niblet. "Your girlfriend has quite a mouth, Nana. I’m going to enjoy shoving her words down her throat."
Sin glared at him. "Not nearly as much as I’m going to enjoy killing you."
Kat rolled her eyes. "What is this? A hen party? For a couple of guys, you’re talking more than an episode of Oprah. If we’re going to fight, let’s fight."
Zakar frowned at her. "So eager to die are you?"
Kat shrugged. "Not particularly, but I’d rather go down clubbing Kessar than from boredom."
Suddenly there were four dozen Kessars all around them.
Kat cursed as she realized she might have spoken too soon. This could get ugly-and given the number of Kessars present, that was putting it mildly-fast.
"Yo, Toto," she said to Sin, "I’m having a bad Matrix II flashback and hearing Mr. Anderson in my head from that guy who was the elf in Lord of the Rings."
Sin arched a brow. "Orlando Bloom?"
"No, the other one."
Without warning, Kessar started for her. Kat moved to attack him, but before he reached her, she was jerked out of the way.
All of a sudden, someone was shaking her. Hard.
"Ow!" Kat blinked open her eyes to find Kytara standing over her while she lay in bed beside Sin. "What the…?"
"Wake up your boyfriend. I’m going to get the one in the other room before Kessar tears him apart." Kytara vanished.
Yawning, Kat rolled over and did what Kytara had told her. Sin came awake, ready to fight.
"Whoa," Kat said, ducking his grip. "It’s me. Kat."
It took him a second to focus on her face and to realize he was awake. "Where’s Kessar?"
"Not here. He’s only in our dreams." She scooted toward the edge of the bed. "Kytara just woke me, then headed out toward your brother. Let’s go see if she can explain all this."
They left the bedroom to find Kytara in the main room, which was so dark, they could barely see. Sin turned on a small lamp on the bar that cast a dull yellow glow around them.
The Dream-Huntress was kneeling on the floor beside Zakar, staring at him while he continued to sleep.
Sin went to wake him, but Kytara grabbed his arm to stop him. Her eyes were vibrant and blue in the low light. "He’s not what you think."
"He’s my brother."
"Yes," she breathed as she met his gaze, "but ask yourself why they let him live."
"To torture him."
Kytara shook her head. "To ruin him, Sin. He’s no longer a god of dreams. He’s become one of them."
Sin shook his head in denial. "He fought against them. I saw it for myself."
Kat stepped forward, agreeing completely with Sin. There was no way Zakar could be on the side of the gallu after all he’d gone through. Not after all Kessar and his minions had done to him. It wasn’t possible.
But her friend knew something… had seen something that had her panicked. Kytara was hiding a truth she didn’t think Sin could handle.
Kat knelt on the floor next to Kytara. "He told us he’d been fractured. What did he mean?"
Kytara sat back on her feet before she rose to tower over Kat.
"They have infected him and he can’t control it. He’s as likely to kill you as he is them."
Kat rose immediately as those words haunted her. Surely not…
By Sin’s face, she could tell he refused to believe it. "Kat fixed his injuries."
"On the outside. It’s what’s inside him that’s deadly. He now has the same blood hunger they have."
"No. He battled Asag and survived. It gave him immunity to the gallu."
"It gave him resistance, not immunity. They have been feeding on him for centuries with no letup. The gallu is inside him and it’s trying to gnaw its way out even as we speak. He is a danger to all of us. Why do you think they had him tied down? He has their strength, the powers of a god, and the demon inside him that will kill anything without remorse."
Kat was sick at the news. It wasn’t fair for Zakar to have suffered so much only to die now that he was free. "There has to be something we can do."
"Kill him," Kytara said simply.
"I can’t." Sin’s voice broke with the weight of his emotions. "He’s my brother." His eyes betrayed the agony inside him. "My twin."
Kytara was merciless as she approached him. "Then he will kill you when he awakens." She met Kat’s gaze. "You have no idea what you’re up against. I’ve been in the dreams of every kind of evil. But these…" She visibly shivered. "They make Stryker look like a pu**ycat. And now they’re in your dreams. You’re going to need an army to guard your rest."