It felt divine.

Hearing a twig snap, my eyes flew open, fixing on a tanned bare chest, thick tattooed arms bunching in strain, fists clenched at the sides.


Styx only feet away.

Styx with blazing hazel eyes, licking his bottom lip ring, completely focused on me.

As I sucked in a deep, shuddering breath, I let my hair drop as he began to approach—no, not approach, stalk. I stumbled back, trying to escape his too-strong intensity, only for my back to smack straight into the trunk of a tree. No place left to run.

The closer he got, the heavier his breath blew from slightly parted lips. The tips of his feet met mine and his arms arched over my head, the smell of his addictive smoky, leather musk coming off him in waves.

It made my head spin.

My eyes stayed low, focusing on the slash mark scars on his chest. As his hot breath blew against my cheek, my heart beat ever harder in my chest.

A hand ghosted down my hair, and Styx’s fingers ran softly against my cheek, the callused pads skirting over my lips. With a step closer, Styx’s chest pressed flat against mine. With instinct trumping logic, my hand gently touched the hot skin of his back. A low groan slipped through his lips, my eyes shifting to meet his.

That was all it took.

Styx’s lips crashed against mine, his strong hand gripped the back of my head, and his tongue probed and slipped between my lips, immediately stroking against mine. I jumped at the sudden intrusion. I had never been kissed since Styx, as a child, and that kiss was nothing like this. Afraid of losing my footing, both hands gripped onto his arms as I submitted to his onslaught. His lips were soft and his taste addictive. I worried I was doing it wrong. I worried that he would be displeased with my lack of skill.

But then I felt it. His hard crotch against my stomach.

He was aroused.

He wanted me… carnally.

And at that moment, I moaned—I wanted to give myself to him too. And Lord forgive me, but instinct drove my actions and I dug my nails into his arms, lost in his touch.

With every passing second, his kiss grew more frenzied, like this was it, like this kiss was all we would ever have. This time everything was different. The boy River had grown into Styx the man and, despite his flaws and his harshness, he was all I wanted. All I had ever wanted.

I was completely consumed by his every touch, his taste and smell, and at that moment, I gave my soul whole-heartedly, to a sinner.

His right hand began tracing down the front of my tank, my stomach clenching under his touch. His hand dipped lower, plunged past my waistband, his fingers cupping between my legs—flesh against flesh. My legs braced in shock, but when a low grunt vibrated in my mouth, I gave in and his hand began to move along my folds. A whimper slipped up my throat, and I began to rock. I felt strange. Too hot, but not hot enough. Styx’s fingers moved too fast, yet not fast enough. Tingles spread up my thighs and arms. I could feel I was teetering on the precipice of something great… something huge… like nothing else.

My hands ran up the strong planes of Styx’s muscled back, to his ribs, counting each one as I passed, then finally stroked down the front of his stomach, his muscles contracting and his head snapping back on a hiss, breaking from the kiss. As I watched the cords of muscle strain in his neck, the sound of the brothers leaving the water broke me from my gaze.

This was not right.

Lord, what am I doing?

Reality gradually seeped back into my body like a pail of iced water being thrown over my head. Pressing both palms on Styx’s chest, I pushed him back, his fingers slipping from my leathers. Styx, caught off guard, stumbled backward, surprise in his hazel eyes until they narrowed. His body tensed and he marched back over and his hands cupped my face in a vise-like grip.

“Wh-why… wh-why did you st-stop?” His nostrils flared as he fought for control of his words.

“Please… It is too fast. I… I do not know what I am feeling. It is too much, too soon. And… You came here with Lois. This… us, like this, is not right.”

He let out a single, humorless laugh. “Sh-she’s not my w-woman. She’s j-just a f-fuck. She d-don’t matter.”

“Styx. She matters. How can you be so unfeeling?” I scolded. “To you she may mean nothing, but Lois; Lois loves you. I cannot—I will not—be with you like this. It is not right.”

Dropping his hands, he drew back two steps before hissing, “Y-you like him?”

I frowned in confusion. “Who?”

“R-Rider!” He began pacing. “I-I saw y-you. Y-you like him.”


“I-I came to s-see you f-first thing this m-morning, wh-when I g-got back. D-door was open. Y-you were with him. L-laughing. Y-you were t-too close. I-I d-don’t f-fuckin’ like it.”

I sucked in a sharp breath. “Styx, how can you say that to me when you are here with Lois?”

He stilled. “Th-that’s your p-problem? L-Lois? Fuck, M-Mae. D-done.”

I did not get a chance to say anything in response. Instead, Styx stomped off, leaving me alone in the woods, breathless and wet between my legs. I tipped my head to the sky, catching my breath. Why was I so wet between my legs? Why did I ache… there? Why was everything on the outside world so hard to understand, these new feelings impossible to decipher? A lump clogged my throat, but I fought back my tears. I chose to leave The Order. I simply had to learn to adjust to all of… this.

I immediately made my way back to the waterfall in a daze. When I broke through the cover of trees, Styx was already back at his bike, shirt and cut back on, and Lois stood beside him, tears in her eyes as she watched him sign. Her arms were wrapped over her chest as though to shield herself from his words.