Her Twisted Sinners by Ginna Moran

Chapter 2

RAVEN

Soul Searching

AS QUICKLY AS the pain slices through me, it vanishes.

“Raven, please trust me. Hell is not where you should be right now.” Cassius’s voice comes everywhere and nowhere as his heavenly light fades.

“I’m going to cut your wings off and slap you in the dick with them, you fucking bastard. You don’t know what is right for me. I felt whole there. You better take me back.” I smack my hands, hitting nothing but air. My body tingles everywhere, and I can’t tell exactly where I am. I think Cassius holds me from behind.

The fucking coward.

“You don’t understand what I saw. Your body was turning into a void. The darkness of the souls was trying to fill you up as a vessel. I was afraid that they would hurt you. The devils can’t see the darkness like I can. They are too close to it. They probably felt the same thing you did by being home. They should’ve never taken you there,” Cassius murmurs in my ear, and I can finally grasp that he holds me by my hips, resting his chin on the crook of my shoulder.

“You only ever see things as bad. The darkness is not your enemy. It’s all a part of the balance. You should know this, Cass-hole. Take me home. If you’re not going to return me there, then I just want to go home. I want to go lie on my ass and watch another month’s worth of trash TV.” I reach behind me and manage to lock my fingers around his soft hair, yanking the strands.

He jerks his head back, trying to escape my grip, but I only yank his hair tighter. Growling under his breath, Cassius swears in my ear. “Stop being such a pain and just let me handle this right now. You need some grace. You need my light.”

I shift my fingers and manage to pinch his ear. “I need you to fucking—”

Spinning me around, Cassius lets me freefall a couple of feet before he catches me in his arms and cradles me against him. I don’t get a chance to prepare myself as he plants his lips to mine and kisses me, silencing me and any argument I might have. I suck his bottom lip into my mouth and bite him hard, but he doesn’t yank away. I think he likes it, because he growls deep in his throat and shifts his hand to squeeze my hip.

Easing his head back, he tries to break away from my mouth, but I don’t let him. If he wants to try to silence me with the fucking kiss, he’s going to give me a kiss that lingers for the rest of time. My anger toward him pushes me, and I finally release his bottom lip only to slide my tongue into his mouth. He tastes of citrus and something sweeter as if the light he carries embodies everything I love tasting on the mortal plane. I hate him. I hate how he tries to shift my emotions and distract me from the fact that he pulled a dick move. I want to be in Hell. I don’t want to be close to anything involving Heaven’s grace. Heaven’s light has only fucked everything up for me. The angelic army has nearly ruined the universe. Cassius needs to get his shit together and realize that he’s doing no one any favors by clinging so desperately to his broken path as an angel. It’s as if he can’t see the cracks and debris in his way. He can’t see anything because the light shines too brightly. He doesn’t allow any of us close enough to balance it out.

Things have to change.

“You need to turn your fucking back on Heaven already, Cassius. I’m tired of waiting for you. You need to drag Elias with you. I don’t know why he resists so much. You’ve been hanging out with us for months now. Just let the fuck go.” I nip him again, not letting him speak as I crash my mouth to his once more, trying my best to cling onto him with my pregnant belly between us. I want him to fill me in a way that he has never allowed. I want him to know what it’s like to be close. I want to know what it’s like to be with him in a way that he resists. It’s infuriating. It’s as if it’s gotten easier for him because I no longer have the light that drew angels to me like a moth to a flame.

“I can’t. Please don’t demand such things again. I know you’re scared so you just want Hell to have its kingdoms, but you need to accept that it will not happen unless things change. Someone needs access to Heaven, and even though Elias has his wings, the angelic army has part of his soul through you. He is less likely to do what needs to be done, because no matter what, you guys are bound together. You know that.” Cassius rests his forehead to mine, and the world stops with a jolt as he lands. Haze envelops us, but I don’t look around. I know we’re not on the mortal plane. We’re in his personal sanctuary that he manages to keep separate from Heaven and Hell. The only one able to access it is Lucian because of their bond as brothers.

“I don’t give a fuck right now. You’re just pissing me off. Take me home. I don’t want to be here. I need to be with the others. They understand me.” I try to keep my voice strong. “This is too much.”

Cassius furrows his brows, his amethyst eyes sparkling from the light radiating from his very being. Reaching up, he strokes his fingers across my cheek, smearing a tear away. And damn it. I didn’t want him to see this. I don’t want him to know that the babies are shifting something in my being.

“You’re crying.” He shifts his jaw.

“No fucking shit,” I snap, flicking his hand away to scrub my own cheeks until they dry. “Why do you think I wanted to stay in Hell? It was as if I felt like me again. I felt almost whole.”

“But you weren’t. It was all in your head. It was probably the familiarity of it. The unruly souls of Hell were getting to you, making you think that was where you belong. Let me prove it.” Cassius rubs his lips together as if he tastes me on his mouth still. I wonder if he wants to kiss me again as much as I want to kiss him. I know it’s not going to solve anything, but I like the distraction. He is such a stubborn dickhead that he won’t take me anywhere until he’s good and ready, no matter how much I beg him. So I just need to get to him another way.

“If I let you prove it and do that angelic asshole bullshit that you swear by, will you take me home then?” I purse my lips, narrowing my eyes on him.

“If you still want to go after.” His eyes lock on mine as his sharp features soften the longer I capture him with my stare. “There is a chance you might not want to.”

I roll my eyes. I can’t help it. He’s so full of himself to assume that anything he does will get me to want to stay in this blah, goody, shithole of a sanctuary full of light and bland nothingness. I know we don’t see the same thing, and I know we don’t feel the same thing either, which I’m pretty sure he is aware of, but it’s as if he thinks he can just convince me otherwise. He can’t. He’s stubborn, but I’m worse.

“That won’t happen unless you decide you’re going to allow my devils in. For one, I doubt you can cook anything that I ask for. You don’t know how to take care of me like they do.” I whack him in his chest, his hard pec flexing under my touch.

“But you can take care of yourself,” he says, smirking at me. “Isn’t that what humanity wants? Independence? To do everything themselves?”

“Fuck that. I’ve been spoiled, you angelic bastard. I’ll let the devils worship me as much as I worship them. And if you haven’t realized, I have a damn watermelon attached to me that makes things harder to do.” It was weird at first to give in and allow the devils to basically do everything for me, but I enjoy it more than I realized. Dante helps me do things I can’t like paint my toes and shave my legs. He finally gets to do whatever the fuck he wants without me putting up a fight. He loves it as much as I do.

“You never fail to surprise me, Raven. I hate it.” Cassius ruffles his feathers and finally sets me on my feet, but he laces his fingers through mine as if he’s worried about letting me go. I purposefully squeeze his fingers, testing him, but he’s a master of not reacting.

“I hate everything you do, so we’re even.” I lift a brow as something strange crosses his face. I struck one of his nerves.

“You’re a terrible liar.” This asshole. He calls me out just like Lucian does.

“I’m not lying. I can’t stand to be around you and your light.” I glower, hoping I look like a bitch. I don’t want him to know that he gets to me. But I do tolerate him. Maybe even more. I like kissing him when he’s not such a dick. I’ve already accepted the idea that he will fall from grace, and he will be one of my kings. But he’s going to have to work hard to make up for everything he’s done. If he had just cooperated to begin with, I would never be in this situation. The angelic army would be doing whatever the fuck they did before, watching over humanity instead of growing psychotic about Hell.

“You love my light. Especially now. You can’t deny it. You are practically devouring it this moment. You know it can cleanse you from the darkness of those rotten souls.” Cassius bows closer, his mouth only an inch from mine again. All it would take is for me to stretch just a little, and we’ll be kissing. Fuck. Now that’s all I can think about. I shouldn’t want him this much. I shouldn’t want to push the boundaries, considering he keeps rejecting me. I know it’s not because he’s not attracted to me. I don’t think it’s my giant belly either. He’s just too full of himself to really let his guard down. He wants me to let him in, but he won’t let me in.

At least, not yet.

“I’m just starving. It’s been an hour since I’ve eaten.” I smirk with my words. “I’m horny too. It’s gotten worse.”

“Don’t you dare start asking for orgasms, Raven.” His lips stretch into a smile. Before he started hanging around us, realizing what the angelic army was doing, he would’ve been shocked. He wouldn’t have teased me about orgasms or sex or anything like that. That’s how I know he’s changing.

If only it wasn’t too late.

“You would be the last one for me to ask that from. I have to be extremely desperate and also unable to touch myself.” Damn. My words ignite something dark in his eyes, and if I didn’t know any better, I would think he was now Hell-bound. But a little teasing won’t accomplish that. I don’t even know what will anymore.

I bite my lip between my teeth, knowing that he’s thinking about me masturbating. Slowly unlinking one of my hands from his, I reach out and pat his cheek, grinning wider at the lust weighing his eyelids, turning them heavy. He doesn’t react or says anything, so I continue my way down, and I touch his muscles through his shirt, traveling my fingers lower until I reach the ridges of his hard abs. His jaw flexes as he swallows, and I keep my eyes locked on his. He doesn’t stop me or put up a fight. He remains hypnotized and lost in his emotions. I don’t know exactly what he’s thinking about me, but I know it’s something dirty. Something probably filthy as fuck.

I continue exploring his body until I reach his hard-on. Cupping it with my hand, I inhale a slow breath. “But you are free to ask me,” I add, drawing my fingers lower until I caress them over his balls through his pants.

He finally breaks, grabbing my ass and lifting me back up into his arms. Light explodes from him, the shock of heavenly power sizzling over my skin but not burning me. It feels as if it eats away at the negative emotions whirling through me in a wave of darkness.

I gasp, the sensation lighting me from the inside out. The babies react, moving and shifting inside me, turning my insides into a punching bag, and it startles Cassius. His eyes widen, and he drops his gaze down between us, and he opens and closes his mouth. But no words come out. He doesn’t know how to express exactly what he feels in this moment. I know he’s been caught off guard.

“Raven, make them stop.” Cassius reaches between us and touches my stomach. “Please, stop. You need to settle down.”

I realize his second comment isn’t intended for me. He’s talking to the twins, and I wonder what he sees. Because I don’t see anything except for his light.

“You’re cracking the plane. I can’t stop it. Take a breath, Raven. You’re not going back to the Mortal Realm. Please.” Cassius trembles with his words, his eyes flicking from my belly and back to my face. His hands tighten around me, and he clenches his jaw, his light brightening even more.

I squint, my vision dimming as he continues to glow with heavenly light. My body hums, and pain zaps through me as if I’m being torn apart. But it’s not me or my soul. It’s Cassius trying to hold onto the power within me, keeping us grounded. But he’s not strong enough. Whatever the twins are doing shifts the world around us, and then Cassius’s hold vanishes along with him.

I screech out as I drop a couple of feet and land on the strange cool ground of the foggy plane. It’s the place created by the twins, and I haven’t been here since losing my soul.

I swallow and inhale a deep breath, trying to settle my nerves. Usually Cassius would follow me in, but it’s as if he’s been purposely pushed out. The twins didn’t allow him access as they pulled me from his plane and into theirs.

My stomach bounces as the babies move, and I press my hand to the outside and feel them pushing against my skin as if they’re trying to escape.

“Take me back to the mortal world now. We can’t be here.” I keep my voice low, a bit nervous about being in this foggy world alone.

Closing my eyes, I concentrate on trying to listen for signs of the mortal world in the shift between planes, but nothing happens. The babies keep me chained to this world.

And then I feel it.

Snapping my eyes open, I peer through the haze, watching as a figure spreads golden wings wide, angelic light drawing my attention as it reflects off the mist.

Oh fuck.

I push to my feet, holding onto my belly as if just feeling the babies move from the outside helps keep me calm. Because whatever they’ve done, shifting me into this world, brought me close to Heaven. I can sense it. It’s not just Heaven. I feel as if I’m whole again. I think my soul is nearby, guarded in a place that not every angel can touch. It’s the same place they had kept Elias when they had taken him from me.

Anger rushes through me, and I clench my fingers into fists, gathering my strength and bravery. The twins used Cassius to do this. It’s as if they know that I need my soul to survive giving birth to them, and they’re helping me. I feel more than anger in this moment. Because under my rage lies something warm and inviting. Something pure and balanced. It’s unconditional and unending. It’s love.

And I know what I have to do. I can’t waste this chance. I don’t know when I’ll get it again or if I ever will. How do I rescue my own damn soul? I guess I’ll find out.

Striding forward, I close the space to the angelic figure within the fog. The light grows brighter, and I realize it’s not coming from the angel. It’s coming from a spot in front of them. I don’t know what I was expecting in finding my soul, but it freaks me the fuck out. I see myself standing before the angel, translucent and made of pure light. Except I’m not smiling like I would imagine someone to do in Heaven. Glittering tears splash on my cheeks, and my own soul looks to be silently screaming as if Heaven is the new Hell for me. And it is.

My chest tightens, and I raise my hand, preparing to touch the veil separating me from the one thing that will give me forever with my devils. Tingles course over my skin, and the babies tumble in an acrobatic performance in my belly. Their excitement radiates through me as if they know what this means.

I hold my breath, expecting the world to explode around me, but it’s as if I’m caught in a magnetic pull. I can’t take my eyes away from my soul, and I feel as if I know what the devil saw in me to begin with. It has been hard to understand the significance of an angel-kissed soul. I’ve always just felt like me. Like a mortal. But now? I feel as if I’m staring at a source of power far more significant than anyone’s comprehension. I’m so close to reuniting with something I had no idea how much I love. Is it vain to love myself? Absolutely not. I just want to be whole again. I want to fix the damage caused by the righteous assholes who can’t see past their bigger picture.

And I plan to do so now.

Swinging my arm, I use the strength of the twins and punch the veil as hard as I can. It cracks under the force, but it doesn’t shatter.

The angel whips around, and our eyes meet. Unfurling his wings, the angel gathers light in his palms.

I don’t have a chance to brace myself.

His power collides into me, knocking me away from the veil and my soul. The world shifts, and it feels as if my heart climbs into my throat, trying to escape me.

A void swallows me, stealing away the pure goodness of being near my soul. It’s as if the angel ripped me apart once more, leaving a hole in my being.

The bright light fades, and the horn of a car honks.

I gasp. I’m no longer in the plane created by the twins. I’m back in the Mortal World.

A car barrels right toward me.