Alex straightened up, eyes wide.
“You can’t do that,” Aaron said, stepping forward. “Ava, do you know the price for what you’ve asked?”
“It’s the only way,” she said, looking at him. “I don’t know what else to do.”
“You fight,” Elise said, moving away from her mother’s bed. “You fight and win against the darkness that threatens you.”
Ian’s lip curled into a smile. “You know, she’s right. You can fight me, but I doubt you’ll win.”
“You’re not as strong as you think you are,” Ava snapped. “At least not anymore. You’re not going to control me again.”
“Now that I know you won’t harm any of these people, you’re useless to me.” He grinned at her, his teeth normal again. His blue eyes held her green ones with an intense gaze. “I should dispose of you, but that’s no fun. I think letting you watch your friends die will be a better idea.”
“Why?” Her voice was small, her eyes hard. “Why are you doing this?”
“There used to be a reason for it,” Ian said, gripping her chin. He pulled her face close, his lips inches from hers. “But now it’s just because I know I can destroy everything around you, and it gives me pleasure.”
Ava’s eyes flickered and her mouth twisted slightly as she leaned in. Her will was breaking just because of his touch and she didn’t want to resist it anymore, even if it meant losing herself and becoming like him.
Ian wrapped a fistful of hair around his hand and yanked her mouth to his, sealing her lips with his. Something in him unfurled and he realized quite horrifically that this kiss was different; it wasn’t about obtaining her life, or giving her his. It was about want.
“No!” His voice came out in a snarling hiss as he pushed her back. He glared at her and shook his head. “Get away from me!”
Ava stared at him, her breaths coming out in tiny gasps. She tried to replay the last few minutes in her mind but came up with only one conclusion.
She whispered, “You don’t have a soul.”
A small smile appeared on Ian’s face. “I’m not supposed to feel either.” He reached out and touched her face. “But I can.”