One kiss could be the last.
Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.
Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.
Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.
But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.
I searched for a normal question to ask as I munched on my sandwich. “How old are you?”
Roth’s gaze flicked up from where he was strategically breaking his muffin into several bite-sized pieces. “You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
“Probably not.” I grinned. “But try me.”
He popped a chunk of muffin in his mouth, chewing slowly. “Eighteen.”
“Eighteen...what?” I finished off my sandwich while he stared back, brows raised. “Wait. Are you trying to tell me you’re only eighteen years old?”
My mouth gaped. “You mean eighteen in dog years, right?”
Roth laughed. “No. I mean eighteen as in I was born eighteen years ago. I’m a baby demon, basically.”
“A baby demon,” I repeated slowly. When I thought about babies, the image of something soft and cuddly came to mind. Nothing about Roth was babyish. “You’re being serious.”
He nodded, brushing the crumbs off his hands. “You look so shocked.”
“I don’t understand.” I picked up one of the cookies.
“Well, technically, we’re not really alive. I don’t have a soul.”
I frowned. “Were you hatched from brimstone or something?”
Roth threw his head back, laughing. “No. I was conceived just like you, but our growth is vastly different.”
He smirked. “I think it’s a brilliant idea.”
Disentangling myself, I sat up and straightened my shirt. A split second later, Roth’s hand was curved around my cheek. I hadn’t even seen him move. “You’re beautiful like this—your cheeks flushed and eyes wide.”
My heart did a dumb little dance. “Sweet-talking me into a meet and greet with Zayne isn’t going to work.”
He dropped his hand and pulled back. “Damn. I need a new plan.”
I pushed off the bed and backed up. “We really do need to head back.”
Roth gave a deep, heaving sigh and then stood, stretching his arms above his head. His pants hung low, revealing more of the dragon’s tail and the finger-width indentations beside his hips.
He caught me staring. “See something you like?”
I shot him a bland look, and then we, well, we stared at each other awkwardly. Everything had changed between us, even though I couldn’t pinpoint the exact moment when or be sure what it really meant. But later on, when I was pretending to come out of school and was heading toward Zayne’s Impala, I realized two things.
The weird spasming in my chest that happened whenever I thought of Roth was probably not going to go away anytime soon. And the whole reason for going to Roth’s loft had been lost to me the moment his lips had so carefully touched mine. If we continued this way, we were so screwed.