When she made it between his legs, where the truth of him stood tall and harder than steel, he sucked in a breath and ordered her away.
But she paid him no mind. Or perhaps he never quite got the command out because her mouth found him.
And in that sweet suction, that velvety heat, Paris Apollo let himself spiral all the way up to that edge, the flames dancing so high that he thought he’d turn to ash here and now—
Yet in the next moment, that beast in him roared—or maybe he roared out loud—and he was flipping her over, hauling her beneath him, and slamming his way into all of her wet, soft heat.
And then everything was golden.
Molten gold, impossible flame, and that maddening, glorious, drugging heat that was only and ever Madelyn.
Each thrust was better than the one before. Each gasp, each touch, a revelation.
There was the fury, the rage. There was the hurt, the need.
But beneath it was a deep kind of recognition.
A truth he was not sure he could name.
They tumbled this way and that. She rolled on top and stayed there for a while, riding him with abandon. Then he could take it no longer and flipped her again, coming over her once more. He took her hands and hauled them up over her head so she arched against him, and both of them sighed out the sweetness of it.
All of it was sublime. None of it was enough.
Maybe he had known all along, back then and in all the years in between, that it never could be. That it never would be.
That there was only this woman for him.
No matter how he’d tried to pretend otherwise.
No matter how he’d failed to forget her.
Paris Apollo levered himself down, getting his face as close to hers as he could. And even though he could feel the way she trembled, right there on the edge, he slowed it down.
So slow that his whole body shook. So slow that he thought it might kill him, and her, too. And when she began to shake in earnest, he didn’t stop. He maintained that same slick pace, throwing her over that edge.
Again and again, and then kept going.
Until she was sobbing out his name.
“We are each other’s prison,” he told her then, like an incantation. His voice dark like the night he moved through, meting out justice. Like the dark between them, slick and rich and studded bright with stars. “There is no key. There is only eternity, Madelyn. There is only this.”
“Us,” she whispered back, because she knew.
Because they both knew.
They always had.
And then, only then, did Paris Apollo let them both burn bright and finally fall, like comets far brighter than any lightning could ever be, through the dark night sky of their own making.
All the way back down to earth.
ITWASDIFFERENTthis time, Madelyn told herself.
Because she knew better. Because she’d been down this same road and knew it for the dead end it was, no matter what Paris Apollo might claim.