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The Wicked In Me: Chapter 26

“Dyou have any intention of freeing Esther from the netherworld at any point?”

Humming as Cain drifted his fingers through her hair, Wynter replied, “At present, no. I’d like her to suffer some, and I feel no need to go traipsing through the place in search of her. But I might later change my mind, you never know.” They’d been talking for a while as they lay in bed, exchanging stories of their personal battles during the war. “Are you sure you don’t want me to free Annette and Bowen?”

“There’s no real point. Both will be killed for committing what was effectively treason, so neither avenue involves mercy.” He stroked over her arm, where she’d earlier been wounded. Anabel’s healing brews had worked wonders, as usual, so there wasn’t a single scratch on Wynter now.

“Was it difficult to hold back your monster during the battle?” he asked.

“No, because it won’t disobey Kali—She has a great deal of influence over it. Thankfully. But it certainly wasn’t pleased that it couldn’t ‘play.’ I couldn’t have let it out, though. It would have killed anything in its path, including my own coven.”

“So you’re finally admitting it’s a coven.”

Wynter narrowed her eyes at his teasing smile. “Anyway … how long do you think it will take to repair all the damage to the town?”

“We have a lot of people here to work on it, so hopefully not long.”

“But there’ll later be more damage, won’t there? When other Aeons come, I mean. You do think they will, right?”

“Some will come, yes. Saul will certainly be one of them as he’ll wish to avenge his sister. Considering she was Abel’s consort, he should technically want to do the same. I’m not sure if they had a tight relationship, though. People claim consorts for all sorts of reasons. It doesn’t always mean that they value that person.”

“Lailah and Abel never seemed close to me. And I heard that their relationship was an on-and-off thing that involved a lot of conflict and drama. They weren’t faithful to each other either, or maybe they simply weren’t exclusive—I don’t really know. But if he kept reinstating her as his consort, she had to have meant something to him, right? Then again, if that was the case, he would have either been at her side tonight or he would have sent someone else to lead the army in her place. I wouldn’t have wanted you to partake in a battle without me, even if I thought said battle would be easy to win.”

Cain’s face softened slightly. “Yeah?”


He squeezed the side of her neck. “Same goes. So, I’d say we can conclude that Abel didn’t feel as strongly for Lailah as another person would for their consort. He might still wish to get even with us. However, he wouldn’t wish to be part of a battle that would mean fighting against Seth—they were once very close. But I suppose it is worth considering that Seth fought against Abel’s consort tonight, so perhaps that will be enough for Abel to turn on him. We shall have to wait and see.”

“Would it bother you to go to war with Abel?”

“No. He was never really a brother to me.”

Wynter worried her lower lip. “Did you really once try to kill him?”

“Yes. But that’s a story for another time.”

So mysterious. “I’ll want to hear it,” she cautioned.

“You will eventually.”

“If you didn’t kill him all those years ago, why are you known as the originator of murder?”

“Oh, people had killed others before I was born. I was by no means the first person to attempt to, or successfully commit, murder. But I was the first to target a brother. And that’s the end of that story for tonight.” He combed his fingers through her hair again. “Right now, you need to sleep. We both do.”

Cain held her close, something he’d gotten so used to that he wasn’t sure he’d be able to sleep without her right there next to him. He hadn’t known her long, no, but he’d walked the Earth long enough to be certain that what he felt for her was no temporary attraction; that what they had was worth keeping. Protecting. Nurturing.

He’d never had someone like Wynter in his life before. It was almost like she’d been designed to intrigue, attract, and enchant him. He’d be a fool to let her go … but if he meant to keep her permanently, he’d need to one day be honest with her.

There were so many things she didn’t know about him. So many things he would like to think she could accept, but he simply couldn’t be sure. He did know one thing. He would only tell her when he felt sure she wasn’t going anywhere; that she’d feel too attached to Cain to leave him; that she’d feel he was worth the trouble his creature would give her.

It would likely take time for her to get to that point. Cynical as he was, a part of him doubted that she really ever would. But he had to hope that part of him was wrong, because he had absolutely no idea how he’d give her up. And he didn’t believe that his monster would let him anyway.

Closing his eyes, Cain forced his mind to rest. Sleep took him fairly fast, but his creature later woke him abruptly. And, sure enough, Wynter was gone again. Cain called out her name, softly cursing when he received no response. He jumped out of bed and dragged on a pair of sweatpants, making a mental note that locking the door to his chamber wouldn’t be enough to keep her from wandering out of it in her sleep.

Just as he’d expected, he found her stiffly walking toward the gates to his garden. He sighed. He really had no idea what it was about the garden that—

He stopped breathing and stumbled to a halt. Because the padlock dropped to the fucking ground, and the iron gates creaked open in welcome. She hadn’t even touched them.

What. The. Fuck?

Wynter walked into the garden, slow and mechanical.

“Wynter!” He hurried toward her, but instinct made him slow to a stop. This clearly wasn’t a simple case of her being subconsciously drawn here in her sleep. Not if the gates had opened for her like that. Something else was at work. Something had to be leading her here somehow. He wouldn’t find out what was going on if he woke her and took her back inside the Keep.

So, instead, he trailed behind her, remaining close to ensure that the snakes did her no harm. But, like the last time she came sleepwalking here, they didn’t even try. They simply followed her, rustling the long grass either side of the path. Protecting her? Drawn by her? He didn’t know.

The cool artificial breeze ruffled her hair and the long tee that he’d earlier slipped on her simply because he liked the look of her in his clothes. She didn’t shiver or otherwise react. Didn’t jump or jerk at the sounds of crickets or the frogs croaking. She just kept moving forward.

Soon, they neared the temple. Fuck, he couldn’t let her go in there. He was about to reach forward and cuff her arm with his hand, but then she stopped right at the base of the stone steps.

He sidled up to her and studied her face. She was staring up at the temple, unseeing.

“I know what you hide here.”

The hairs on his arms stood on end. The words had come from her mouth, but it wasn’t Wynter’s voice. It was thicker. Rang with power. Deity.

“Kali,” he greeted through gritted teeth, not bothering to bow or any such shit. Should he have showed some respect? Yes. But this being was inside his witch, and he didn’t fucking like it. His creature was furious. “So it’s you who keeps leading her out here.”

“No. Something else draws her to this place.”

He wasn’t buying that. “Hmm.”

Kali laughed, meeting his eyes. “I sense you do not like that I am using her body. She is more mine than she is yours, darkling.”

The latter word startled him so much he could only blink. He hadn’t heard it in a long time. It was an affectionate term often used to describe the children of his kind. Not that it had ever been used on him before—affection hadn’t been a big part of his upbringing.

Since he hadn’t been a child in a very long time, he didn’t appreciate Her using it, but he wasn’t about to rise to the deity’s attempt to provoke him for fun.

“You need not worry for Wynter,” said Kali. “I mean her no harm. I also mean you no harm. We have similar goals, you and I.”

“Goals,” he echoed. “Are you planning to use Wynter to reach those goals? Is that why you didn’t make her an average revenant? Is that why you keep sending her back to this realm?”

“You will have answers to your many questions in due course, when the time is right. Now is not that time.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Why are we having this conversation?”

“As I said, we have similar goals. So I will caution you to be prepared for betrayal. It may happen, it may not, but be on the lookout for it all the same—that is all I can say on the matter.” She paused. “I will tolerate your presence in my witch’s life, but that will change if you attempt to interfere in my plans. Is that understood?”

Tolerate his presence? Like She had some fucking say in the matter?

“One more thing, darkling. If you prove unworthy of Wynter, if you betray or hurt her … you will bring sheer hell upon yourself. And by that, I do not mean I will avenge the slight. I will not need to. Wynter will do that herself, and she will not be merciful. So heed my warning. There will not be another.”

The deity seemed to burst out of Wynter, because her eyes closed and her body fell forward. He caught Wynter’s limp form and lifted her easily. For a long moment, he stared down at her, struggling to sort through what he’d just learned from Kali, unsure if he could truly believe all She’d said—deities lied when it suited them. They only ever interfered in matters on this realm when they had their own agenda. And Kali … she’d never been one to have productive agendas. Fuck.


Sitting across from Cain the next morning at the small table in his chamber, Wynter felt a frown tug at her brow. “Why are you looking at me weird? You’ve been doing it all morning.”

“You were sleepwalking again last night.” He lifted his cup of coffee. “You went back to the garden.”

Wynter inwardly groaned and tossed the last of her bagel into her mouth. “Was I banging my forehead on the gates again like a weirdo?”

“No,” he replied, his face blank. “They opened for you. The padlock fell right off. And then I had a little chat with Kali.”

Wynter could only gawk at him. “What?”

“She spoke to me through you.”

Well, fuck me sideways. Wynter leaned forward in her seat. “What exactly did She say?” Instead of replying, he patted his lap in invitation. In a hurry to hear more, she quickly accepted said invitation.

Cain adjusted her position so that she straddled him. “On top of cautioning me to be on my best behavior where you’re concerned, Kali wanted to warn me that I may soon be betrayed.”

“Betrayed? By who?”

“She didn’t say.” He paused, smoothing his hand up Wynter’s thigh. “She was very vague in pretty much everything She said. It was very frustrating.”

“Yeah, I know how that feels,” she muttered. “She’s drip-fed me information ever since She marked me and sent me back to this realm.”

“How has that not driven you crazy?”

“I got used to it, I guess. And what can I really do about it? She’s a deity, Cain. They do what they want when they want.” Wynter clasped her hands behind his nape. “I’d rather not make Her mad by griping about it, since She could probably drag my soul back to the netherworld whenever She felt like it.”

And that bothered him far too much. He simply wasn’t sure what he could do about it yet. Cain dipped his head and pressed a suckling kiss to her throat. “I didn’t like seeing Her in your body. And I really don’t like that She feels you’re more Hers than you are mine—yeah, that was what She said.” He bit down hard enough to leave a mark on her throat. “She couldn’t be more mistaken.”

“And you couldn’t be more possessive. Which brings me neatly to a matter that I’m not good with. The barrier is still there. You said it would go by itself, but it hasn’t.”

His mouth curved. “You tried finger-fucking yourself again?”

She pointed at him. “Don’t try to wander off the subject. Why is the barrier still there? Don’t you trust me not to betray you?”

Hearing the note of hurt in her voice, Cain might have felt shitty … if he hadn’t also sensed that she was playing him. He shot her a narrow-eyed look that made her snort. “It isn’t a sign of distrust.” He whipped the shirt off her body. “You know that. I’ve already explained why I did it.” Though he hadn’t been entirely truthful, since he couldn’t yet tell her about his creature.

“So you’re not going to remove it?”

He had no way to remove it without provoking his creature to personally replace it, but she didn’t need to know that. Holding her against him, he stood and crossed to the bed. “No.” Laying her down gently on the mattress, he bent over her to lick and nip at her neck. “It does you no harm, does it?”

“That’s not the point.”

“Then what is?”

“It shouldn’t be there!”

“You can bitch about it all you want, I’ve told you before, I know it doesn’t bother you as much as you’d like me to believe it does.”

She huffed. “Fine.” She delved her hand into his sweatpants, pulled his cock free, and fisted it tight. “Let’s make this even, though, shall we?”

He raised his head as an odd vibration ran up his hardening shaft followed quickly by a strange sensation … as if cold mesh encased his cock. “What are you doing, little witch?”

She gave him a smug grin and folded her arms just as the sensation faded away. “I cursed you.”

“You did, what?”

“I cursed you so that if you trying sleeping with another woman while we’re together, your dick will wither and rot. Why the fuck are you smiling?”

A number of reasons. One, no one else would ever have dared do such a thing. Two, he would never have seen it coming. Three, that she was so possessive of him made things more balanced. Four … “Your vengeful streak really does run as deep as mine.” That he really liked. “But then, it’s what revenants are built for, isn’t it? To avenge.”

She frowned. “This isn’t me being vengeful.”

“Ah, I see. You’re trying to turn me on.”

“What? No, you weirdo. It’s supposed to bother you enough that you’ll remove the barrier in exchange for me removing the curse.”

“There’s no need for you to do that.” Lifting her hips toward him, he went back to teasing her neck with his tongue and teeth. “I would never be so much as tempted to betray you, so the fact that you’ve cursed me … well, it’s moot.”

“Moot? Are you kidding me?” She gasped when he ground his cock against her clit. “You really are unbelievably fucking twisted if this is revving your engines.”

He hummed. “I like that you’re so possessive.”

“This isn’t about possessiveness.”

Cain sent a surge of pain/pleasure sweeping over her soul that had her arching right off the bed. “Admit it, you don’t want to remove the curse. You’re just as fucking insane as I am.” He lashed her soul yet again. “Definitely made for me,” he added, watching her nipples tighten, her skin flush, and little bumps sweep across her flesh.

He put his mouth to her ear and let out a low growl. “I’m going to wreck you again. I’m going to make you break for me.” He pressed a kiss to the pulse now beating frantically in her neck. “Love it when you break.”

Exploring her body with his hands, he repeatedly whipped her soul with pleasure/pain—sometimes he kept his lashings firm, sometimes he made them featherlight, constantly switching things up so she wouldn’t know what to expect.

She scratched at his shoulders, her pupils blown. He knew her nerve-endings would feel raw and supersensitized. Knew her breasts would be aching, her pussy would be damp, and her body would be crying out for release.

He knelt between her thighs and hooked her legs over the crooks of his elbows. “I think it’s time I put my cock where it belongs,” he said, lining the broad head up with her opening. “Inside you.”

He thrust hard, driving his dick deep as he lashed her soul yet again. She came apart with a scream, her inner muscles clenching and spasming. He slowly fucked her through her orgasm, sinking in and out too lazily for another release to build inside her just yet.

Cain planted one palm on the mattress beside her head. “Hand,” he said when the aftershocks from her orgasm slipped away. “I want the one I marked.”

She held it out to him, swallowing hard.

He cuffed her wrist and held her palm up to his mouth. Still thrusting slow and easy, he traced the C of his mark with his tongue, smiling when she jolted, knowing it would feel like his tongue had licked at her slit. He traced and flicked and danced his tongue over the C again and again, adding the occasional whip of pleasure/pain to her soul when she least expected it.

He wanted her to feel off-balance. Utterly possessed. Like her body wasn’t her own but his. His to pleasure, rule, ruin, corrupt, play with—whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted.

Upping the pace of his thrusts, he kept licking at his mark while also teasing her soul. “You crave this, don’t you?” he said, a growl edging into his voice. “You crave what I do to you, crave the pleasure and the pain and everything in between.”

She licked her lips. “Which is what you want.”

“Of course it is.” If sex was the only way he could tie her to him for now, then he’d use it. “It’s only fair.” He dropped her hand so he could grip her thigh tight. “I crave you.”

Wynter’s breath stuttered as he began pounding into her body, stuffing her full again and again. More electric waves of bliss swept over her soul. The dark pleasure nipped like teeth, scratched like nails, and burned like sharp but light slaps.

And she wanted more.

He gave it to her, showering her soul with waves and lashes and featherlight flicks all while slamming his cock hard and deep into her pussy. Raw need carved into his face, he glanced down at where their bodies were joined. “Look how well you take me.”

It was hard to keep her eyes open when this insanely good out-of-body pleasure was wracking her very being. There was so much sensation, internal and external, she had no idea how her brain could possibly compute it all. No idea how the organ hadn’t short-circuited for at least a mere moment.

Trembling and panting, she soon ended up in that space where she floated, anchored only by the scent and feel of the man dominating her body, mind, and soul. He’d warned her from the very beginning that he wanted that extent of power over her. Well, he had it. And she wondered if he knew it yet.

A mess of chemicals and tension and so much overwhelming pleasure/plain she could barely breathe with it, she dragged her nails along his back as her release slinked toward her. “Cain …” God, she was so close.

He switched his angle, rubbing against her clit with each pounding thrust. “Now be a good girl and break for me.”

One abrupt lash to her soul was all it took. She choked on a scream as her orgasm snapped through her—intense, blinding, explosive. She shook and arched and cried.

Cain growled and licked at the corner of her eye. “Fuck.” He rode her with hard, feral digs of his thickening cock before finally exploding inside her.

When her thoughts were no longer scattered to the wind and she could finally talk again, she said, “I have to say, I’ve grown rather fond of your cock.”

A low, rumbly chuckle vibrated against her neck. “I gathered that when you possessively cursed it.”

Wynter frowned as the memory rushed back to her. It had been a spur of the moment thing, and she’d thought it would be enough to get him to remove the barrier … because she’d forgotten for a minute that he was a total fucking nutcase. “I still can’t believe you don’t care. I mean, it’s a curse.

He lifted his head, smiling. “You know … humans often talk about the Curse of Cain. In truth, it holds a metaphorical meaning. But now? Now the term really does apply. And if anyone asks, I get to tell them that my woman is so possessive—”

“You don’t get to tell them anything.”

“Are you embarrassed that you cursed my dick? Because it really doesn’t mind.”

God, he was nuts. She was tempted to quite simply undo the curse despite that he wasn’t going to be cooperative, but maybe he was expecting that. Maybe he was calling her bluff. Well, she wasn’t so easily manipulated. “What about the metaphorical Curse of Cain thingy, what is it?”

He hummed, flicking her nose with his. “Add it to the list of things I’ll tell you one day. And when I do, you have to remember that promise you once made me.”

“That I wouldn’t run when I realized why I’m not totally safe with you?”

He gave a slow nod. “That one.”

She couldn’t even complain that he was holding back, since she was doing the same to him. Still, she might have made a snippy comment out of frustration if it wasn’t for the grave look on his face. He truly did believe there was a high chance that she’d not only want to leave him but would literally flee. “I’m not easily spooked.”

“I know, I’m counting on that. Because I get the feeling that chaining you to the bedpost to keep you here won’t be as easy as I originally thought.”

She did a slow blink. “You really weren’t kidding when you first mentioned putting me in chains, were you?”

“Snapping an iron cuff closed around your wrists will just be so much easier than tying complicated knots.”

“I’m struggling to decide what to do with that comment. But then, I think most people would.”

He pursed his lips in thought. “Yeah, they probably would.”

“You know, we always tend to have seriously weird conversations right after sex.”

“You have likely had far stranger conversations with your coven, and probably at far stranger times.”

The thing was … the man wasn’t wrong.


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