Chapter 2

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I sat up in my empty bed and screamed at the top of my lungs. Oh, god. Oh, god. Oh, god. What the hell was that? Where was Eros? Why was I dreaming of Javier?

My heart thumped loudly against my chest, and I hopped out of bed, suddenly feeling beyond hot. The window was cracked slightly, the pink sunlight pouring in through it. I stumbled over to the balcony and pushed the doors open just enough to see my kingdom. The beautiful pink hills, the plush sky, the velvet rose garden. Not that atrocity from my dream.

But that... that wasn't just any normal dream. That was a lust dream, a dream intricately woven and forged by an incubus himself. An incubus who was supposed to be dead.

Dreaming of Javier—like that—was impossible.

After drawing my thumb against my family ring, I took a deep breath. Maybe it was all just a nightmare. Yeah, that's what it was. It had to be. Javier couldn't be back. I was just getting too deep in my own head. All the stress from transitioning to Hell, from ascending as queen in a couple of weeks, from Kasey refusing to talk to me because Eros killed their parents.

Someone knocked on the bedroom door. "Commander, is everything okay? Should I get Eros?" Esha, the guard Eros had assigned to our chambers, asked.

I tied my scarlet silk robe around my waist and tried to think about better days. When Mom would wake me up with a big plate of French toast and a huge grin on Sunday mornings, when we'd visit the ice skating rink and twirl around on the ice for hours, when she smiled at me.

"Commander Asmodeus?"

"I'm fine," I said, gazing out the balcony doors. Demons walked down the white stone walkways from the palace to the nearest town, Chastion, below me. It was only eight in the morning, and some of them were stumbling home from a late night down in the palace's Lust Rooms. The parties raged on until early in the mornings; the demons had been drinking Passion Delights on the front stairs and had been staggering through the castle.

I grasped the curtains. My quiet life had been replaced by boozing and partying in just a few short days. The Kingdom of Lust was nothing like the city back home...

But maybe I needed the change. I couldn't stay with Maria for the rest of my life. Dad liked it here, so I would try to like it too.

"Eros wanted me to inform you that he will be in the Garden of Passion, waiting for you."

After changing into something more modest—not that anyone would care—I opened the bedroom door. Dressed in a tight leather uniform that only the highest-ranked Lust guards wore, Esha nodded at me. "Good morning, Asmodeus."

I brushed my fingers against her wrist. "Please, just Dani," I said. She followed me down the hundreds of spiraling stairs to the ground floor. "Have you heard from Kasey?"




I pressed my lips together. "Mycah?"

"Unfortunately, no."

After sighing through my nose, I nodded my head and walked out of the castle doors. She followed me, because Eros asked her to follow me everywhere, but I stopped her—my mind still buzzing with those dreadful thoughts from this morning. "I will find Eros alone."

I just needed time to breathe.

Once she walked back inside the castle, I hurried along the stone pathway toward the Garden of Passion. The Garden of Passion was a luscious rose garden near Chastion. I pushed around people to get there as quickly as possible, to see Eros—my Eros—and to get Javier out of my mind.

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