But he slowly, so slowly, pushed into me.
So I felt every inch of him, every place where we were joined. I tipped my head back again, a moan slipping out of me.
“Every time,” he gritted out. “Every time, you feel exquisite.”
I clenched my teeth, panting through my nose. He worked his way in, thrusting in small movements, letting me adjust to each thick inch of him.
And when he was seated inside me, when his hand tightened on my hip, he just … stopped.
I moved my hips, desperate for any friction. He shifted with me, denying it.
Rhys licked his way up my throat. “I think about you, about this, every damn hour,” he purred against my skin. “About the way you taste.”
Another slight withdrawal—then a plunge in. I panted and panted, leaning my head into the hard wall behind me.
Rhys let out an approving sound, and withdrew slightly. Then pushed back in. Hard.
A low rattle sounded down the wall to my left.
I stopped caring. Stopped caring if we did indeed make the pictures fall off the wall as Rhys halted once more.
“But mostly I think about this. How you feel around me, Feyre.” He drove into me, exquisite and relentless. “How you taste on my tongue.” My nails cut into his broad shoulders. “How even if we have a thousand years together, I will never tire of this.”
Release began to gather along my spine, shutting out all sound and sense beyond where he met me, touched me.
Another thrust, longer and harder. The wood groaned beneath his hand.
He lowered his mouth to my breast and nipped—nipped, and then licked away the hurt that sent pleasure zinging through my blood. “How you let me do such naughty, terrible things to you.”
His voice was a caress that had my hips moving, begging him to go faster.
Rhys only chuckled softly, cruelly, as he withheld that all-out, unhinged joining I craved.
I opened my eyes long enough to peer down, to where I could see him joined with me, moving so achingly slowly in and out of me. “Do you like watching?” he breathed. “Watching me move in you?”
In answer, beyond words, I shot my mind down the bridge between us, brushing against his adamant shields.
He let me in instantly, mind-to-mind and soul-to-soul, and then I was looking through his eyes—looking down at me as he gripped my hip and thrust.
He purred, Look at how I fuck you, Feyre.
Gods, was my only answer.
Mental hands ran along my mind, my soul. Look at how perfectly we fit.
My flushed body was arched against the wall—perfect indeed for receiving him, for taking every inch of him.
Do you see why I can’t stop thinking of this—of you?
Again, he withdrew and drove in, and released the damper on his power.
Stars flickered around us, sweet darkness sweeping in. As if we were the only souls in a galaxy. And still Rhys remained before me, my legs wrapped around his waist.
I brushed my own mental hands down him and breathed, Can you fuck me in here, too?
That wicked delight faltered. Went silent.
The stars and darkness paused, too.
Then undiluted, utter predator answered, It would be my pleasure.
And then I didn’t have the words for what happened.
He gave me everything I wanted: the unleashed pounding of him inside my body—the unrelenting thrust and filling and slap of skin on skin, the slam of our bodies against wood. Night singing all around us, stars sweeping by like snow.
And then there was us. Mind-to-mind, lain out on that bridge between our souls.
We had no bodies here, but I felt him as he seduced me, his dark power wrapping around mine, licking at my flames, sucking on my ice, scraping claws against my own.
I felt him as his power blended with mine, ebbing and flowing, in and out, until my magic lashed out, latching onto him, both of us raging and burning together.
All while he moved in me, relentless and driving as the sea. Over and over, power and flesh and soul, until I think I was screaming, until I think he was roaring, and my mortal body clenched around him, shattering.
Then I shattered, everything I was rupturing into stars and galaxies and comets, nothing but pure, shining joy. Rhys held me, enveloped me, his darkness absorbing the light that sparkled and blasted, keeping me whole, keeping me together.
And when my mind could form words, when I could again feel his essence around me, his body still moving in my own, I sent him that image one last time, into the dark and stars—my gift.
Perhaps our gift, one day.
Rhys spilled into me with a roar, his wings splaying wide.
And in our minds, down that bond, his magic erupted, his soul washing over mine, filling every crack and pit so that there was not one part of me that was not full of him, brimming with his dark, glorious essence and undimming love.
He remained buried in me, leaning heavily against the wall as he panted against my neck, “FeyreFeyreFeyre.”
He was shaking. We both were.
I worked up the presence of mind to crack open my eyes.
His face was wrecked. Stunned. His mouth remained partially open as he gaped at me, the glow still radiating from my skin, bright against the star-kissed shadows along his.
For long moments, we only stared. Breathed.
And then Rhys glanced sidelong toward the rest of the room.
Toward what we’d done.
A sly smile formed on his lips as we took in the pictures that had indeed come off the wall, their frames cracked on the floor. A vase atop a nearby side table had even been knocked to the ground, shattered into little blue pieces.
Rhys kissed beneath my ear. “That’ll come out of your salary, you know.”
I whipped my head to him and released my grip on his shoulders to flick his nose. He laughed, brushing his lips against my temple.
But I stared at the marks I’d left on his skin, already fading. Stared at the tattoos across his chest, his arms. Even an immortal’s lifetime of painting wouldn’t be enough to capture every facet of him. Of us.
I lifted my eyes to his again and found stars and darkness waiting. Found home waiting.
Never enough. Not to paint him, know him. Eons would never be enough for all I wanted to do, see with him. For all I wanted to love him.
The painting shone before me: Night Triumphant—and the Stars Eternal.
“Do it again,” I breathed, my voice hoarse.
Rhys knew what I meant.
And I’d never been so glad for a Fae mate when he hardened again a heartbeat later, lowered me to the floor and flipped me onto my stomach, then plunged deep into me with a growling purr.
And even when we eventually collapsed on the rug, barely avoiding the broken pictures and vase shards, unable to move for a good long while, that image of my gift remained between us, shimmering as bright as any star.
That beautiful, blue-eyed, dark-haired boy that the Bone Carver had once shown me.
That promise of the future.
Velaris was still sleeping when Rhys and I returned the next morning.
He didn’t bring us to the town house, however. But to an estate along the river, the building in ruins, the gardens a tangle.
Mist hung over much of the city in the hour before dawn.
The words we’d exchanged last night, what we’d done, flowed between us, as invisible and solid as our mating bond. He hadn’t taken his contraceptive tonic with breakfast. Wouldn’t be taking it again anytime soon.
“You never asked about your Solstice present,” Rhys said after a while, our steps crunching in the frosted gravel of the gardens along the Sidra.
I lifted my head from where I’d been leaning it against his s
houlder while we’d ambled along. “I suppose you were waiting to make a dramatic reveal.”
“I suppose I was.” He halted, and I paused beside him as he turned to the house behind us. “This.”
I blinked at him. At the rubble of the estate. “This?”
“Consider it a Solstice and birthday present in one.” He gestured to the house, the gardens, the grounds that flowed to the river’s edge. With a perfect view of the Rainbow at night, thanks to the land’s curve. “It’s yours. Ours. I purchased it on Solstice Eve. Workers are coming in two days to begin clearing the rubble and knock down the rest of the house.”
I blinked again, long and slow. “You bought me an estate.”
“Technically, it will be our estate, but the house is yours. Build it to your heart’s content. Everything you want, everything you need—build it.”
The cost alone, the sheer size of this gift had to be beyond astronomical. “Rhys.”
He paced a few steps, running his hands through his blue-black hair, his wings tucked in tight. “We have no space at the town house. You and I can barely fit everything in the bedroom. And no one wants to be at the House of Wind.” He again gestured to the magnificent estate around us. “So build a house for us, Feyre. Dream as wildly as you want. It’s yours.”
I didn’t have words for it. What cascaded through me. “It—the cost—”
“Don’t worry about the cost.”
“But …” I gaped at the sleeping, tangled land, the ruined house. Pictured what I might want there. My knees wobbled. “Rhys—it’s too much.”
His face became deadly serious. “Not for you. Never for you.” He slid his arms around my waist, kissing my temple. “Build a house with a painting studio.” He kissed my other temple. “Build a house with an office for you, and one for me. Build a house with a bathtub big enough for two—and for wings.” Another kiss, this time to my cheek. “Build a house with rooms for all our family.” He kissed my other cheek. “Build a house with a garden for Elain, a training ring for the Illyrian babies, a library for Amren, and an enormous dressing room for Mor.” I choked on a laugh at that. But Rhys silenced it with a kiss to my mouth, lingering and sweet. “Build a house with a nursery, Feyre.”