Dark Skye Read online
At least one of us can sleep. After about half an hour, the sorceress had passed out—while he sat back against a wall of hieroglyphs, watching her. She seemed to have blocked him out, ignoring him so totally that he might as well not be here. In a way, ignoring him was precisely what she’d been doing for the last several centuries. Because he didn’t rate. To her, he mattered not at all. Positioned as she was, her ridiculous excuse for a skirt was riding up. Any higher and he’d be able to see the cleft of her ass. Recalling the feel of those shapely curves in his palms made his shaft stiffen with a swift heat. Though he hadn’t slept in weeks, he wouldn’t with Melanthe near, for fear of what he might do to her. Over his adult life, every single one of his dreams had featured her—him doing things to her. Sometimes he’d wake to find himself thrusting against the sheets, the pillow, his fist—anything to ease the pressure his body continued to struggle with. Culminating like that was considered a disgrace for a mated male. Releasing anywhere outside his mate’s sex was taboo, a waste of a precious resource. Soon he wouldn’t have to worry about such things. Once he wed her, he’d wake to find himself thrusting between her thighs. In mere days, they’d be back in the Skye. Within his home, he’d take her to his bed—a Bed of Troth. Craftsmen had begun carving it for him on the day of his birth, a practice that wasn’t unusual among the more stable Lorean species. For Vrekeners, this lifelong bed was considered hallowed. By law, it was the one place he could claim her. Just that act would marry him and Melanthe. They’d be officially bound, and—with the gods’ favor—expecting. But now he had another urgent reason to return to his home. If what she said was true and his knights had acted outside his specific orders not to hurt either sister, Thronos was going to rain down punishment. Melanthe had once sent Thronos crashing to his doom. Years later, had they done the same to Sabine? Not for justice. But for vengeance. The master I now serve. Sabine had killed the sovereign of their species, his own father; Thronos could almost accept the idea of assassinating her, their vow notwithstanding. But to target Melanthe? It made no sense. In one thing she was correct: if he accepted Melanthe’s version of events, then his beliefs would be turned inside out. He would investigate thoroughly, keeping her under close guard. For her safety. And ours. How was he going to control her powers without that collar . . . ? Thronos rolled his head on his neck to loosen the knotted muscles there. Though he should be exhausted, he was wired. Yes, he was alert to danger, feeling less than secure in this place, but it was more. That weird feeling of expectancy hit him then, along with an easing within him. Even as constant desire for Melanthe racked him, he was feeling more nonchalant about consequences. He found himself less concerned about missteps and offendments. Which could prove ruinous with the temptation sleeping not ten feet from him. Were these changes because of her or this place? Both? So what would happen to him after six more days here with Melanthe? Perhaps he should head out tomorrow and scout for an alternative portal. He heard her sigh in sleep. Without waking, she turned on her side to face him, displaying ample cleavage. When he could drag his gaze from her breasts, his eyes followed the seam of her lithe thighs all the way up to the shadow beneath her skirt. He shifted uncomfortably as his length grew even harder. Conclusion: the decision to wed her is sound. He recalled that Feveris comment she’d made earlier. Thronos had been startled by his reaction. He’d imagined them bespelled with lust, and he’d longed for it. In Feveris, he would be incapable of denying her, unable to follow the Vrekener law of marriage before touching, kissing, or claiming. They’d have no urge to leave that place, content just to mate . . . and mate . . . and mate . . . He barely stopped himself from stroking his aching member. He knew better than to entertain these imaginings—because Vrekener law left him no recourse for his condition. Not yet allowed to touch her body, or ever to pleasure his own. Despite this, he wondered what would happen if he woke her with another forbidden kiss. At the thought of her opening up to him—her red lips and smooth thighs parting—his shaft began to throb for relief. Though inexperienced, he believed he could move her past any hesitations—because so many males had done so before him. And more, she’d admitted to a year of celibacy. For the duration of her imprisonment, he doubted she’d enjoyed any release whatsoever, just as he hadn’t. She’d likely melt for him. Plus, if he wasn’t mistaken, his mate was in season. At his earlier mention of children, he thought her eyes had briefly softened. Might his mate truly yearn for her own brood? And thus his seed? The idea of planting himself deep inside her sheath and breaking his seal put him into a lather. Especially now when she was fertile and needing. He had to bite back a groan. Must get her to a Bed of Troth. He turned from her to ram his horns against the wall. He grunted in pain; when had they become so sensitive? His vision briefly blurred, and he could swear he’d read words among the incomprehensible glyphs: SACRIFICE THE PURE, WORSHIP THE MIGHTY, BEHOLD A TEMPLE UNEQUALED. He jerked back. No, that wasn’t possible. Though Thronos knew several languages, Demonish—especially primitive Demonish—was not among them. There must be something in the air, making his vision play tricks on him. This place is getting to me. Even now the reasons he couldn’t touch his mate grew dimmer. He shook his head hard, attention easily returning to her. Her eyes darted behind her lids, her shoulders twitching. Was she always this fitful a sleeper? His first impulse was to take her into his wings. His second impulse was to take her into his arms, into his hands. But he wouldn’t. Though he now believed she was innocent of the worst of the crimes at Castle Tornin, she was still a liar and a thief who’d bedded scores of men. Already she had him doubting his own knights, who were epitomes of honor and forthrightness. How could Thronos desire someone he’d long detested? He’d be damned if he valued her when she didn’t value herself. He knew one thing that would cool his need like an ice storm, a memory that made his hatred seethe. He’d been eighteen, closer to finding her than he’d been since the fall. Accompanied by his brother, Aristo, the new king of the Territories, Thronos had followed her sorcery to a hamlet, one sitting low between mountains, nearly hidden from the skies. Though that night was centuries distant, he remembered each detail as if they’d been branded into his mind.