Chapter One

“Lucky hunch, indeed. If you’d been wrong—”

“I’m never wrong.” 

Eden shuddered before draining the dregs of his drink. Micah watched his throat as he swallowed, imagining how it would feel beneath his lips. “You’ve finished. Let’s go.” 

He rose to his feet while Eden watched, blinking. He was uneasy. Micah could feel those emotions, the other man’s anxiety and trepidation coursing like a potent poison through his veins. It was now or never. Without hesitating, Micah turned and headed to the back of the bar. 

Soft, deliberate footsteps sounded behind him. Micah turned to see that Eden had gathered his jacket and was treading cautiously in his wake. He looked like a wary animal amid a sea of predators. But in Tartarus, no questions would be asked; it was an unspoken agreement of the outcasts and the pariahs, the dregs of Elysian society. In Sister Anna’s, you protected yourself by remaining silent to the comings and goings of others. If you stayed quiet, others would do the same. 

A set of stairs off to the side of the room led to a second-story balcony from which Micah would be able to access the room Booker kept on reserve for his men to meet with their more private clients and customers. Since Micah often acted as the errand boy, he kept a key on his person at all times. As Micah wove around the tavern’s winding second-story and retreated down the long hallway, he found his hands were shaking, and his heart was racing. Was it his own anxiety he was feeling? Or was it Eden’s? He couldn’t be sure. 

“We don’t have to do this,” came Eden’s soft yet masculine voice. They had stopped in front of a singular door at the end of the hallway, and Micah’s hand trembled as he placed the key in the lock. A hand fell on Micah’s shoulder, drawing his eyes. “You’re not bound to this. I don’t want you to do anything you don’t want to do.”

Since when did he need this man’s reassurances? Had their roles really reversed so quickly? 

Micah swallowed and turned the key in the lock. The door slid silently open into darkness. Micah’s eyes were fire as they met Eden’s. “I want to,” he said, and then stepped inside. 

Copyright © 2020 – All rights reserved by Hellie Heat

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