Aiden has done his best to stay away from Lewis since that day fifteen years before when he foolishly kissed him. Lewis is Aiden’s brother’s best friend, almost another brother, so it hasn’t been easy for Aiden, but it’s for the best. Aiden’s secret half-demon status isn’t something Lewis can accept, and Aiden never wants to see disgust or fear in his eyes.
Lewis never understood why Aiden kissed him and ran away when they were teenagers, but he accepted they would never be more than acquaintances years before. That’s why he’s surprised when he opens his door one night and finds Aiden on the other side of it. Something has happened to him, and he ends up spending the night at Lewis’ place, disappearing before Lewis wakes up the next morning.
Circumstances keep throwing Aiden and Lewis together, though. Someone is stalking Lewis, and his life is in danger. Can Aiden risk sharing who he really is and keep Lewis safe at the same time? And if he does tell Lewis what he’s hiding, will their new relationship fall apart when they most need it?
When Aiden woke up, he wasn’t sure where he was and what the fuck had happened to him. His head hurt, his chest hurt even more, and his back was pressed against a cold, smooth surface that was hard enough to make him want to get away from it.
He groaned and opened his eyes. He’d half expected to be in his bed, maybe hungover—even though his bed was anything but cold and hard—but he knew there was more there, something he couldn’t quite remember.
“Aiden?” Chase asked from Aiden’s side.
“The fuck happened?” Aiden asked as he tried to sit up. The pain in his chest flared, and he hissed, reaching for it only to find his torso bandaged. Chase attempted to push him back down, but there was no way Aiden was lying on the metal table again. Chase seemed to realize that, because he gave up trying to get Aiden to do it and helped him sit up instead, stabilizing him with both hands.
“The harvester took you,” Chase said, and Aiden could see the fear lingering in his eyes.
Aiden frowned and tried to remember. He knew the harvester, had heard about the guy enough from Chase, but what did it have to do with him?
Aiden didn’t remember everything that had happened, but he remembered a guy he didn’t know attacking him, then Edwin, Chase’s friend and mentor. He’d been the one who’d taken Aiden’s shirt off, who’d tied him to the metal table. Aiden had tried to fight back, but he’d been groggy, as if he’d been drugged, even though he couldn’t remember that happening.
He didn’t want to have to tell Chase about Edwin, not when Edwin was so important to him, but he couldn’t risk Chase going back to him. “It was Edwin. Chase—”
Chase nodded, his eyes dull and his chin slightly trembling. “I know. He’s dead.”
Aiden rubbed his forehead, relief warring with the pain and wariness he felt. “Tell me what happened.” He needed to know. He needed to be sure Edwin was really dead, that he wasn’t going to come after Chase, or after him again.
“Let’s get you to the hospital first.”
Aiden almost smiled. Of course that was what Chase would think of first. He had no intention of going anywhere, though, especially not Hell’s Gate. The hospital was aptly named, and Aiden never went there. Having a doctor for a brother came in handy.
He looked down at his chest, half-expecting to see blood seeping through the bandages, but he should have known better. The only thing he saw was white gauze and bandages covering most of his chest. Chase had done a good job. “You already checked my wound?”
“And?” If Chase wasn’t insisting on him going to the hospital, then he wasn’t in danger of dying.
“From what I saw, you have a deep cut on your chest and a more superficial one on your arm.”
“Already took care of them. The cut on the arm didn’t need them.”
Of course he had. Aiden relaxed. He’d be okay. Chase had taken care of him. “Take me home, Chase.” He wanted his bed. He wanted to sleep in a place where he knew he wouldn’t wake up on a metal table with pain burning his flesh and drugs running through his veins. He still felt sluggish, and he wanted to sleep it off.
“You really should—”
Aiden shook his head, and it felt like his brain was rattling in his skull. Whatever that other guy had done before taking him to Edwin, whatever drug he’d been given, it still hadn’t faded. “If there’s one thing you know how to do, it’s your job. I trust you. You should trust yourself.”
“I do, but the wound could get infected, or—”
“Take me home. Please.”
Chase finally gave in. He nodded and helped Aiden push his legs off the metal table. Aiden was glad for the support, because they felt like jelly, and he was pretty sure he would have ended up flat on his face if he’d been left alone. Chase wrapped his arm around Aiden’s waist and held him up, moving slowly, steering him toward what Aiden hoped was the exit.
There were people walking around, talking and examining stuff, but Aiden ignored them. It was taking all he had to not break down and let his knees buckle under him, to keep the tears in and not allow them to roll freely down his cheeks.
It was easier to focus on the place they were in. It looked like a huge warehouse, and it was clearly abandoned. Colorful graffiti covered almost every inch of the walls, and the glass and rubbish on the floor crunched under Aiden and Chase’s feet as they moved.
They shuffled along, especially once they stepped outside and the cold wrapped around Aiden. He almost asked for a blanket, something to cover himself, but the cold helped him not think of the pain and the fear that still tinged his mind.
Someone else was there, and Aiden realized it was the human cop Chase had befriended. Why he was there to rescue Aiden, who was a demon, was beyond Aiden, but he cared about very little right then. His world had shrunk to pain and fear and the need to sleep, and he was glad when Chase helped him into his car and closed the door after making sure his seatbelt was on and positioned in a way that didn’t hurt him too much.
He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the headrest. The pain wasn’t really a fire anymore, more like a dull throbbing, and he couldn’t help but wonder what the wound looked like. Chase had said it was a cut, but it had to be damn deep for Aiden to feel it like he did.