Dark Skye Read online

Page 21


Chapter 20

  We are trespassers. ” Thronos crouched down, pressing her back against the mountain. He spread his wings, enclosing them completely, and—damn her—blending. When Melanthe shook against him, he muttered, “They haven’t seen us. We’re hidden here. Just think of something else. ” For long moments, the sounds of their heartbeats were loud drums in the insulated hush beneath his wings. “You used to enclose us like this when we were young,” she finally said in a low voice. “I always felt I should whisper, as if we were under a sheet, staying up too late. ” “We told each other secrets. ” “So you do recall our months together?” she asked, looking pleased by this. Some minutes less than others. He shrugged. “How long do you think we’ll have to wait here?” “We can stay for as long as we need to. ” He’d no sooner said the words than he sensed a section of path disintegrating to his left. The dragons above roared in reaction. Then another section to his right collapsed, leaving him and Melanthe on a precarious island of rock. “More heights. ” She bit her bottom lip until he thought she would split it. He wanted to talk to her, distracting her mind from their situation. What to say? She took care of the problem. “If we live through this, I’m going back for the medallion. ” “The hell you are. ” Besides, she wouldn’t find it if she returned. “That wasn’t regular gold. It’s red silisk gold, also known as dragon’s gold, the rarest and most valuable in all the known realms. I must have it, Thronos. ” “Your timing is poor. I can’t believe you’re still thinking about it, considering our current circumstances. ” He was one to talk. He’d just glanced down, glimpsing Lanthe’s thighs spread around his waist, her skirt worked up perilously high—and his thoughts had boomeranged back to the temple, to the treasures he’d almost seen. Even in this situation, his shaft hardened for his mate. As if that weren’t uncomfortable enough, the temperature continued to escalate. Like metal, his wings were still emanating heat from those direct flame hits. The river of lava below didn’t help matters. While Melanthe’s skin grew flushed, he began to sweat. A drop slipped from his forehead onto her leg, high on her inner thigh. His eyes locked on the drop as it clung to her pale flesh, poised . . . before it slid down like a lazy touch. He wanted to follow that trail with his tongue—then tug her little panties aside and discover what made her moan. . . . “Um, Thronos, maybe we should change positions?” When her thighs flexed around his waist, he jerked his gaze up. There was an unexpected metallic gleam in her blue eyes. Was that interest? The urge to investigate this, to test boundaries, was overwhelming. Wrong place, wrong time, Talos. “Good idea. Yes. ” They shifted limbs, until she was seated with her legs together, perched across his own. “Interesting that you can read those glyphs,” she remarked casually. “The language might not be demonic in nature. ” “Uh-huh. ” Her way of saying untruth. No one got his wings up like this sorceress! “You have much invested in convincing me I’m a demon. You want this to be true, solely to make you feel better about yourself. ” “You’re changing, and you know it. You lied earlier when you said you heard nothing, even though a dragon was approaching. You told an untruth to get what you wanted: a look at my body. But a Vrekener never lies, right?” “How would you know if I’ve acted demonic? How many of their kind have fallen prey to your charms?” Instead of answering, she said, “Forget it. If we’re about to die, I don’t want to fight with you. ” She wiped moisture from her own forehead. “This is like a sauna in here. ” Her gaze dipped to his chest, to the scars visible between the sides of what remained of his shirt. Now it was her turn to follow drops trailing along his body. She watched them as they meandered over the rises and falls of his scars. She’d mentioned them more than once yesterday. How foul did she think them? He should be used to his appearance after so long; instead he was often dumbstruck by his reflection, hating each slashing scar, each raised welt. He would absently trace them when lying in bed. Did she feel any guilt for them? Was she even capable of it? “Go on, then. ” He grasped her wrist, forcing her hand to his chest to explore the damage she’d done. “Feel the marks you gave me. ” He peered down at her, assessing her reaction. To his surprise, she slowly ran the pad of her forefinger over one, a line below his collarbone. She continued on to another one, her expression contemplative. Though he’d wanted Melanthe to acknowledge his pain—to comprehend it—he grew uncomfortable with her appraisal. He was about to stop her when she traced the worst one, the one that had nearly taken his life. That shard of glass had pierced him deepest. He had hazy memories of each heartbeat causing him agony. And of his mother, reeling from her mate’s death, sobbing over Thronos’s hand, begging all the gods to spare her youngest son. Wrath. He grasped Melanthe’s wrists. She blinked up at him, as if waking from a trance. “What?” “Do you ever regret what you did to me?” He released her. She leaned away, until her back was against his wing. “Sorceri disdain regret. We consider it the equivalent of an offendment. So no, I don’t. ” Yes, he was learning her tells. Whenever she lied, something in the timbre of her voice made his wings twitch. Plus, she always leaned back from him, as if she wanted to put distance between them, and she blinked for much longer. “Untruth, Melanthe. ” “Is that a Vrekener way of saying bullshit?” “So you do feel guilt. ” She was capable of it. “You must have heard I feel pain when I fly. It seems everyone in the Lore has. I always wondered if you were gladdened. ” She crossed her arms over her chest. “Do Vrekeners not have healers for their young?” “Of course we do! My bones were set true, and healed strong. ” “Then what happened?” “I pushed the torn muscles before they were ready, continually reinjuring my wings and leg. ” As well as my back and my other leg. My neck and shoulders. “I did this up to the point when I froze into my immortality—never stopping. ” “You had to know the pain you were courting. ” “What do you think would make me do that, Melanthe? I was on your trail before I was thirteen. ” “So you overused your wings, and I overused my power because of your knights, and now we’re both screwed. Blame me, and I’ll blame you. Again, I can do this all day, demon. ” His brows drew together. For all these years, he’d never imagined that she might have a legitimate cause to hate him. “Maybe I would feel guilt if you stopped treating me like a slave and insulting me at every turn. ” She leaned forward aggressively. “And for gold’s sake, enough with trying to shame me about my sexual past—just because you’ve never been with anyone. ” As much as he hated that fact, it couldn’t be changed. “So you haven’t been,” she said in a quieter tone. He couldn’t read her expression, and that frustrated the hell out of him. Probably inwardly mocking him! “Unlike your kind, Vrekeners mate for life. So, no, I haven’t enjoyed a horde of other lovers, as you’ve done. ” Another flashing blue glare. “It seemed you were with every male but the one fate intended for you. From me, you ran. ” “What did you expect me to do whenever I saw you? Skip into your arms and hope you weren’t bearing a pitchfork? I didn’t have any reason whatsoever not to run from you. ” He had no answer for that. He wasn’t her mate. She’d told him that she had just lived her life. Without me. As if he’d never existed for her. Maybe that was what angered him the most—how easily she’d forgotten him, when his every waking moment was filled with thoughts of her.