Dark Skye Read online

Page 18

Chapter 17

  Please take me back there, love. ” Melanthe’s eyes were shimmering blue, her cheeks sparkling with gold. Never in Thronos’s imaginings had he thought, She might lick my neck. The decision to wed this creature is very sound. She kept touching him—with her hands, with her mouth—and each contact made pleasure explode through him. She might not like his appearance, but she’d liked his taste. All his earlier plans seemed to evaporate, his mind shuttling to fantasies best left buried. I could coax her to taste other parts of me. Feeding his shaft between her red lips . . . Or he could taste her, wringing a climax from her with his tongue. At the thought of licking between her thighs, he was seized by the urge to toss her to the ground and feast. His claws dug into his palms, the bite of pain helping him focus. Somewhat. “Why should I take you back there? Why should I make any concession for you?” “Because your mate needs to see it. ” “Ah, so now you say you’re my mate. ” When she slinked even closer, her scent—a mix of home, sky, and woman—boggled his mind. “If that entitles me to fifty percent of your gold, then yes, I’m your mate. ” Where was her hostility? He could handle himself when she was a typical hateful sorceress, but this was throwing him. “If you see it, you’ll desire it. Then what? It’s not as if we can take it with us. ” “It would be enough just to touch it, to answer its call. ” Like touching a talisman. “What can I say to convince you? Thronos, you can’t understand what the element is to me. ” He spoke before he considered his words: “It’s life to you. ” Her eyes widened, and she nodded. “Yes! Gold is life. It’s as beautiful as love, as divine as laughter. ” She took his hand, raising it. When she made him trail the backs of his fingers over the soft skin above her breastplate, he just stifled a growl. “Gold is this”—she pressed his palm flat over her chest—“next”—he dipped a thumb into her cleavage—“heartbeat. ” Her heart was racing; his must have stopped. Don’t squeeze her plump flesh, don’t squeeze. . . . She laid her own hands on his thighs, shifting her weight to her straightened arms, which pushed his thumb deeper between her creamy breasts. “You want to show me your gold. You want my fingers wrapped around your gold, stroking it. ” Trying to command him? With a scowl, he dragged his hand away. “Your power isn’t working. ” “I wasn’t persuading you. ” She inched her hands higher, nearly to his groin. “I was seeing if I could get you to substitute a certain noun for the word gold. ” She pressed her thumbs in, indicating what she meant. You want to show me your shaft. You want my fingers wrapped around your shaft, stroking it. When she gazed down at his erection, he almost rocked his hips. Yes, he did want to show it to her. So she could touch him, suck him. . . . He hissed in a breath between his teeth. How much more of this could he be expected to resist? He needed to get space between them. “I have conditions before I agree. ” “Name them. ” “Tell me something that will ease my wrath a degree. ” “Very well. ” She gazed up at the ceiling for a moment before facing him again. “I had sensual dreams about you earlier. ” If true, this was at once encouraging and infuriating to him. “Once? I’ve had them of you every time I’ve slept!” “I didn’t say it was the first time we’ve been wicked together. In my dreams. ” His lips parted. What wicked things did she dream of him doing to her? “Clearly that eased your wrath a jot. Now, what’s your next condition?” “If I’m to show you my treasures—you’re to show me yours,” he said, shocked by his own words. He’d planned to get answers out of her; all of a sudden, he’d begun angling to see her unclothed! Nudity in his culture was taboo. Even husbands and wives were expected to be clothed around each other at all times. When he took Melanthe in a Bed of Troth, there’d be a claiming sheet between them. “You want me to strip for you?” she asked in a demure tone. He’d started down this road. . . . Voice gone hoarse, he said, “Yes, if you enter that temple, you’ll bare yourself inside it. ” “Okay!” In a blur, she’d risen and was already at the door. She’d acquiesced? Despite her Sorceri blood, he’d thought she would put up at least a show of resistance, and that they would negotiate: perhaps she’d only agree to revealing her breasts, et cetera. Instead, the shameless sorceress had agreed to all. He felt like he was in a battle that had just gone sideways, like he should be jerking his head back and forth to understand his new position. As he rose to join her, he wondered, What else will she agree to? And his mouth went dry. She smiled up at him, her lips curling proudly. She was aware of her power over males, had lorded it over so many. She took his arm between both of hers, standing unaccountably close to him. So the temptress was using her wiles on him? The thought should fill him with anger. Not excitement. He must remember that this creature was descended from the greatest enchantresses ever to live. He had to be mindful of all her conquests, the ones who’d fallen before him. “Is there a hidden lever, then? A combination to open it?” “Yes. A combination. ” As per the instructions, he’d pressed in one hieroglyph, spun another, then ratcheted down a third. “Turn around while I open it. ” Again, she went against his expectations by complying. “How did you figure it out?” “Wasn’t difficult,” he said, unwilling to tell her, knowing she would attribute his comprehension to his alleged demon blood. Press, spin, ratchet. The door opened once more. She barreled past him, as if she feared he’d change his mind. Just inside, she drew up short. As her slim shoulders began to tremble, he tried to see the area through her eyes. The temple was round, constructed of solid gold slabs and bricks that seemed to catch and magnify the weak light filtering in. A dais stood in the center, with gold benches fanning out from it, like arena seating. The golden ceiling was divided into five wedges, each with different glyphs, like those in the cave. More had been carved into the floor-to-ceiling gold walls. Still reeling from her assault on his senses, he decided to put space between him and temptation. Twenty feet above them was a shining shelf. He leapt up to it, crouching on one knee to watch his mate’s love affair begin. Slowly, she reached out her hand to one of the walls. . . . Contact. She visibly shuddered, as if she’d touched a live wire. Would she react so sensually during intercourse? With a look of wonder, she ran her fingers over a row of gold bricks, her eyes glimmering. She was experiencing joy. The last time he’d experienced that for himself had been on their final day in the meadow. Rain had fallen, and he’d taken her under his wings. . . . Now she hastened to the dais, spinning in place atop it, laughing with delight. When they’d been young, the sound of her laughter had made his heart swell. Now that sound affected a different part of his anatomy. Perhaps he would approach joy once more when he saw his mate’s body for the first time. Lanthe hadn’t caught her breath since she’d entered, her captivated gaze taking in every detail. Happiness coursed through her veins. How had clever Thronos found this place? Though she was in a room full of gold, her attention veered to him, crouched on that shelf. The muscles of his torso flexed with his movements. His stern, intense expression and that gargoyle-like position made him look very demonic. She’d never bedded a demon before. Huh. Yet as she strolled the temple, his constant scowl eased. Without that scowl, he was . . . gorgeous. There was no more denying it—or her attraction to him. Some females might consider his scars unsightly. Lanthe thought they made him look tough and warlord-y. Besides, who could care about them when those silver eyes were so compelling? When his warrior’s body seemed to have been sculpted from granite? He’d once believed that she was “everything missing” from his life. Could he still feel that way? And why was she contemplating these things—instead of how to transpo this gold to Rothkalina or calculating karats? Why did she have the urge to peer up at him with equal captivation? She surrendered to her impulse, turning to him. He seemed surprised by her perusal but held her gaze. They were—dare she say it?—having a moment. “You face me when surrounded by gold? Perhaps I rate after all?” The scowl returned, as if he was hardening himself. She wanted to cry, No, no, no, just a few more minutes! “We had a