It was his eyes—those beautiful, mesmerizing, mercury eyes. They’d done something to me that I didn’t want to recover from. Then his lips grazed mine, and it was about them, too. The music was gone. The ratty couches and stale beer smell was gone. There was cherry and sugar and something Damian, and that was all.
I wanted to melt into the couch, taking him with me. I buried my hand in his hair instead. He sighed against my mouth, and it set off an echoing sigh inside me. Heat bloomed in my chest at the feel of his shirt sliding against mine.
I tightened my grip on his hair to pull him down, but it was over before I could, a shrill “Oh hell, no!” breaking the spell and making us jump apart.
Julia. My eyes fought for focus, split between tracking the bitch queen above me and Damian’s mouth.
“What the fuck, Damian? Since when do you have no taste?” Julia was slurring her words so badly they were barely English.
Damian scooted back to his end of the couch, a scowl pulling the corners of his mouth down. “Jules. Your timing is shit, as always.”
Julia punched me in the arm. “You! Keep away from my brother.”
Brother? Oh, crap. I really did have lousy taste in guys. But maybe not “I kissed a monster and liked it” lousy. Julia was normal, if annoying. I’d bet my blog money on it. “You were babysitting her?”
“Unfortunately.” His eyes narrowed as he inspected her. “You’re wasted.”
She flopped down on the couch between us and gave him a scowl. It was identical to the scowl on his face. Actually, almost everything about them was identical, feature-wise. Hair and attitude-wise they were black and white negatives of each other. “I’m not letting you hook up with this piece of trash. I already have to deal with her at school.”
I wiped my mouth, but it didn’t get rid of the lingering zing from Damian’s kiss. “I’d be perfectly happy if you ignored me at school, you know.”
She rolled her eyes and turned back to her brother. “What is this? Are you trying to piss off Dad by slumming with normies or something?”
The fallen angel came back into his face, but this time there was nothing playful about it. “Shut up.”
“Oooh. I hit a nerve.” She stood up, swaying enough that I expected her to hit the floor with her face. Unfortunately, she didn’t. She turned her pot and beer-fuzzed eyes on me instead. “Something you should know about my brother, Ta-lu-lah,” she said, drawing my name out like a taunt. “He’s a slut. And he’s lazy. He never does anything unless it will drive our father nuts.”
Damian’s face went to a place so dark I wasn’t sure how I’d seen an angel. But as quick as the look came, it smoothed away, his focus on something behind me. “S’up, Scott.”
Scott walked over to Julia, his loose slouch at odds with the tension on his face. “Slumming tonight, D?”
Damian shrugged. “Just getting to know Tizzy a little. Apparently there’s this meeting about her tonight. Funny how we weren’t invited.”
Scott’s face spotted red. “If Vincent didn’t invite you, then you should know better than to show up.”
I dragged my eyes over to Damian. He wasn’t part of the welcoming committee. But he knew about me. So who, and what, was he, other than the bitch queen’s brother? Why were they acting like he was a Shark to their Jets? And why—oh, God, why the hell—did my family like Broadway musicals so much that I thought of West Side Story at a time like this?
Damian settled back into the couch, his arms crossed over his chest. “It’s bad manners. There’s a treaty. We should have been invited.”
Julia stumbled, belching a cloud of pickled-beer funk, and Scott grabbed her arm to keep her upright. “So you invited yourself?”
Damian sent a look my way that had my face flushing. “My father decided we should be here. You have a problem with that, take it up with him.”
“I will.” Vincent’s voice made me jump. It was like I remembered, dark and a little rough, but it came out of nowhere. Well, from behind the couch, but how long had he been there? “Get lost, Damian. This has nothing to do with the vamps.”
Vamps? Oh no. Oh no no no no no. He didn’t have fangs. “You don’t have fangs!”
Damian gave me a lazy laugh which matched his lazy pose. He even threw in a yawn. “I also have a pulse. Relax. I told you I was like you.”
Vincent snorted, and it wasn’t a very attractive sound.
Damian stood up, the picture of boredom. “I’m sure my father will be thrilled that you blocked me from the meeting. An official representative?” He grabbed Julia from Scott, wrinkling his nose at her obviously trashed state. “If I were you, Vincent, I’d tell your employers quickly. That way they’ll have a head’s up that he’s going to burn the treaty to ash.”
Vincent’s face filled with storm clouds, but before he could respond a short, green-haired barista elbowed his way in front of him. “For the love of Christ, we’re trying to keep the fairies away, not drag ‘em into a fight. You annoy his holiness’s father, here, and that’s exactly what you’ll get.”
Vincent’s face scrunched. “You want him here?”
Fir stomped around the couch, stopping when he was between Julia and me. For a short guy, he was pretty intimidating with his hands fisted on his hips. “I want to figure out what this one is. Preferably without starting a fecking war.”
Julia chose that moment to remind us all she was there. And drunk. “I don’t feel good.” Damian yanked at her as she stumbled into Fir, trying to stop the inevitable, but it was too late. A jet of beer-fueled puke the color of Fir’s hair was already headed my way.