She murmured, "So this is what my demon likes." Sabine found herself secretly flattered by this. Of all the fantasies a male could have-multiple women and men, fetishes, or even deviancies-his dreams were centered only on her. Only her.
She was also surprised by how erotic she found these scenes. The idea of being tied up by an enemy should infuriate her-not arouse her. In her past liaisons, the males had always been Sorceri, which meant they'd been potential enemies, out to steal her precious power. Showing weakness with them was dangerous, letting go was out of the question. If they'd feared her-and many of them had-she'd done nothing to dissuade them.
In Rydstrom's fantasies, he didn't fear her. He acted as if he owned her, which was strangely exciting to her. With him like this, there simply wouldn't be a choice of whether to let go or not. He'd demand it.
Still lazily thrusting his finger with one hand, with his other he pressed her head down, gathering her hair forward off her nape so he could brush his lips there. He murmured how much he wanted her, rubbing his face against her as he rasped how beautiful she was.. ..
Her breath hitched. "Have you ever tied a woman up?" When he didn't answer, she let the illusion waver, threatening to take it away.
He grated, "I haven't."
"But you want to tie one up, you need to."
He stretched against his manacles to rub his horns along her arm. As if he couldn't stop himself, he bit out, "You, tassia."
The lust in his voice ... She swallowed, easing down to lie beside him.
In his vision, he turned her so she faced him, then knelt in front of her. After tearing away her panties, he pull her leg over his shoulder to spread her to his mouth.
"In your fantasies, you go down on me?"
He turned to rumble at her ear, "Until your thighs quiver, and you drench my tongue."
She just stifled a gasp as the scene changed once more to show him greedily licking and sucking between her legs. When he drew back to blow on her, she cried out and shamelessly undulated her hips.
But in the fantasy, he still wouldn't let her come.
Unable to stand it any longer, Sabine took control of the scene and changed it. In her vision, she'd managed to loop the binding off the wall peg so she could grab his horns. She used them to writhe and grind her sex to his tongue until she could climax with a scream.
In the bed, he yelled out, bucking hard into her fist, thrusting for relief. Whatever she'd just done had hit the bull's-eye with this male's desires.
"Make me come, tassia!"
"Make me yours, demon. As your wife, I'll do any­thing you want me to. I'll give you anything you need to be pleasured beyond your wildest imaginings."
When the sorceress dipped her other hand to cup him, hefting the weight of his ballocks, he groaned in fresh agony.
A kingdom's at stake. And still he struggled to remem­ber exactly why he couldn't have this creature. Mine. Just a taste of her. "If you can make me hunger to come like this, how do I know you haven't given me some potion to make me feel drawn to you? You could deceive me into thinking you're mine."
She released him, going up on her knees, then leaned forward until their faces were inches apart. "Look into my eyes, Rydstrom. See me clearly. You know it's me."
Gods, her kohled eyes were stunning, her red mouth glistening.
"Do you still deny I'm yours?"
"I can't know ... not without attempting you."
"That answer was a perfect way for you to get out of saying that you don't deny it." As her gaze focused on his lips, she licked her own. "I'm going to kiss you now. And if you bite me, demon, I'll cut off your cock and feed it to the ravens."
No simpering female here. She'd never say, "'Tis fine for you to do so, my liege." Never.
But then, just to throw him once more, she kissed his lips tenderly, licking and coaxing until his head swam from sensation.
Ah, gods, mine.
When she drew back, her eyes were glowing metallic blue. "I heard your thought loud and clear. You know it's me. You've accepted that I'm the one you've waited so long for."
She'd read his mind yet again. "And you?" he snapped. "Have you 'waited' for me?"
Her tone grew cold. "Do you expect me to be a virgin when you were out furiously attempting every skirt in your kingdom?"
"How many males have come before me?"
"I'm five hundred years old. Use your imagination. Does it bother you? The idea of other men petting my
body, tasting it, penetrating it?" He felt a muscle tic in his scarred cheek, and she saw it. "Oh, it does!"
"Just finish me."
She gripped his shaft, stroking him once more. "Say the words, demon, and I'll do anything you want me to. How many times do you think you'd want me this first night of our marriage? Ten times? So many positions to try."
He gritted his teeth to stifle the vow he was tempted to utter. The pressures battling his resistance were nearly overwhelming. Could he deny the sight of his fantasies? When unsatisfied need had built for weeks even before he'd met her? The air seethed with tension.
"And then there's your bondage fetish to explore-"
"I don't have a fetish!"
"Why do you deny it-or me? What male could be expected to resist this?"
Chin raised, he bit out, "J would be. Others would count on me to deny myself for the greater good."
"To what end? How does denying yourself help any­one else?"
"The sooner I do this, the sooner I die."
"What if I told you I wouldn't kill you-I'd keep you as my pet?"
"I'd opt for death."
"Then I need to make it so that you want me so much, you don't even care."
"It's good, Sabine," he rasped, trying to catch his breath as she expertly stroked him. "It's really fucking good: But it's not that good."
Her eyes narrowed. The chamber seemed to rock once more, and wind from nowhere blew her hair. "Then you won't miss it, stubborn demon. When it goes away."
She removed her hand and rose from the bed. "I'll keep doing this every night. I'll do it until you lose your mind from lust. You might have an indomitable will, but mine was forged in fire! You'll find it's more than enough to break yours."
"You're not going to leave me like this!" He swore once more for the vilest, crudest revenge on her. Each second that passed, he hated her more and more. She was going to leave him throbbing in pain, his shaft thick with semen, his claws biting into his palms. "Come back here and finish me!"
"I can play these games over and over, demon. As a matter of fact, I think I enjoy them."
Gods help him, he might, too.
Once I turn the tables.
" You still look unsullied," Lanthe said when she and Sabine met upstairs, Sabine hated that word. She hated that it was never used to describe males and that she couldn't get herself sullied quickly enough. "Yes, Lanthe, I'm still pure"
"Round two went that well?"
For the first time since she was a young woman, Sabine experienced total bewilderment. "I've waited all this time to have a purpose, to gain power, my life on hold for centuries." She remembered wanting nothing, aspiring to nothing. I care about nothing very much . . . Now was the time to act, yet she couldn't. "I never thought he would resist me."
She shivered to recall the way his green eyes flick­ered black when he'd looked at her with utter lust. And still he'd denied her. He'd resisted not only the call of a female to a male but the call of his mate.
"What if I'm not his? What if the prophecy was wrong?" Oracles didn't usually make mistakes, but those
interpreting their words did. "I don't get it. I'm sexually attractive to a remarkable degree-"
"It's not bragging if it's true. And I'm his-which means, this is in the bag. Or should be." Though most of his kind searched their entire lives for their other half, Rydstrom hadn't. Once he'd lost Tornin, he'd been obsessed in his quest to reclaim his crown.
Now that the worst of her pique had passed, she reflected on all she'd learned. To please him as he truly needed, she would have to surrender the reins-or appear to.
Sabine was so strong on the outside, always having to be on her game, never revealing any vulnerability. There'd been times that she'd actually wondered what it would be like to lie back and just surrender to a man.
If she trusted him. I/he was worthy. The demon would never seek to steal my powers....
"I knew he was complicated." But she'd never guessed to what degree. "The levelheaded, upstanding king has a wicked side." And one he'd obviously long denied.
Lanthe's eyes went wide. "Do tell!"
"He craves total control, but he doesn't want me to give it to him. He wants to win it."
"That sounds kind of exciting."
It was. Gods, that demon's masculine heat was addic­tive ...
"When you were with him, did you feel more drawn to him? " When Sabine frowned, Lanthe said, "Just tell me-if this was another place and time, and you were just two ordinary beings, would you see him again?"
He wants to kiss my neck and tell me that I'm beauti­ful. .. . "Our kind considers demons hardly better than animals."
"That's not what I asked."
"I... maybe," she muttered.
Lanthe's face brightened. "Oh, Sabine! This is won­derful. You could fall in love-"
"Always with your talk of love! Do you know what I love? Life. And romantic love is a distraction that makes staying alive more difficult. Besides, we're not in another time or place."
And still Sabine glanced over her shoulder toward the dungeon and felt a tinge of... something.
When she turned back, she found Lanthe preoccu­pied, gazing up at the sky.
"A karat for your thoughts," she said. "It's Thronos, isn't it?"
"What?" Lanthe cried.
"You're worried he will find a way to this plane. But, Lanthe, he can't. And even if he could, we're not the same scared girls we used to be. We'd hang him by his own entrails."
"Yes, by his entrails," Lanthe repeated in a weird tone.
"How about we go watch some of your DVDs?"
Lanthe had quite the collection of films. Every month, she opened a portal from her room directly to a Best Buy, and then they ordered their Inferi to make like an ant line to the movie section. "We'll watch a horror movie and drink wine every time a blonde trips on her own feet."
"Sounds good," she said without enthusiasm.
"It'll he great. We'll get merry and raise hell."
Suddenly Sabine felt the tiny hairs on her nape rise. Great, Lanthe had gotten her spooked. She glanced up, but found no Vrekener.
Instead, she spied Lothaire atop the rampart, his trench blowing in the sea breeze, his thick white-blond hair stirring. The general of the Fallen Vampires within the Pravus army was watching them.
Lothaire was one of the most complicated males Sabine had ever encountered. His eyes were pink-not clear of blood, but not red with it either. He was consid­ered fallen, and yet he prevented himself from making those last few kills that would send him over the brink.
Whenever Sabine made herself invisible and moved about the castle, she would catch Lothaire spying on others, an analytical, cunning look on his face.
His interest in her and Lanthe boded ill.
Without breaking his watchful gaze, Lothaire disap-peared.
Thoughts growing darker. . . .
Rydstrom twisted in the chains, chafing against the heavy metal collar around his neck. Darker with each hour.
At the end of this night, he'd still resisted the sorcer­ess, even with his fantasies projected in a vision. But the pain was becoming too much to withstand. His cock throbbed to be inside her, aching so much that Rydstrom was unable to reason. Unable to just think clearly.
He had to escape. Play along. Let her think she's seduced you to do what she wants. A dangerous ploy, because he feared she could. He was greedy for her, would give almost anything to have her.
But he wouldn't give up his kingdom.
Before, he'd burned to get free so that he could bring Cadeon in line and trade the Vessel to claim Groot's sword. Now he burned to get revenge against Sabine.
He imagined all the ways he'd make her pay once he was free. He'd make her beg for him between her thighs. He'd make her plead as she writhed in the chains he bound her with.
The visions she'd shown him tonight had shocked him in more ways than one. Until Rydstrom had seen them, plain and hare, he never would have admitted that was exactly what he would like sexually.
Knowing that was true meant recognizing that he had spent his entire existence since his thirteenth birthday, merely attempting. He'd been careful choosing each woman he'd been with. Every sexual encounter had been an investigation to find his mate-or rather, to rule out that the demoness of that encounter was not his mate.
Again and again, he'd experienced meaningless, noncommittal nights, where he expected disappoint­ment and was glad to be done with it.
With Sabine-he wanted to keep her beneath him for days.
Deny it all I want. He'd never hungered for another female a fraction as much as he did her. Though these encounters with her ran contrary to his desires-she
should be chained in his bed-they were still hotter than any reality he'd ever experienced.
And soon she would be in his power. She'd given her vow that he was to be left free the next time she came to him. Now that he was more familiar with her ability, he could predict it, could withstand it, and capture her.
Once free of the castle, he could take Sabine into the forests surrounding Tornin and remain hidden there for some time. But to get back to his brother, Rydstrom would have to escape this plane.
The fact that Omort monitored all teleportation off Rothkalina was well known. Yet so long as beings didn't enter the plane, Omort hadn't cared overly much about them leaving.
Rydstrom had long heard rumors of secret smuggling portals in Grave Realm, the most perilous area in the entire kingdom. If they reached a portal, they could escape completely. Omort was rumored to be weak away from the well, and he wouldn't likely give chase him­self. Rydstrom could easily handle anyone else he sent after them.
But whenever Rydstrom planned how the night of his escape would unfold, he feared his own will, was disturbed by his fantasies. Because he didn't see himself capturing her and escaping.
He saw himself throwing her to the bed and covering her, fucking her with all the strength in his body.
"My demon is cross with me," Sabine told him the next night. "I figured you would be fuming when I didn't keep my promise to free you." Instead, she'd ordered him chained to the bed again with his wrists above his head.
She could tell he was already on the razor's edge toward rage-his eyes were no longer green, just con­stantly black-but that hadn't stopped him from grow­ing erect beneath the sheet.
He should be hard for her, since merely descending the steps up to his cell had made her primed for him, her body tingling in anticipation.
As he lay bare-chested, straining against the mana­cles, her appreciative gaze flickered over his brawny arms and broad shoulders. Her eyes followed each rigid sinew of muscle along his torso and across his stomach. She forgot to breath as she stared at the dusky trail of hair descending from his navel to the edge of the sheet-the sheet that continued to rise and pulse from his shaft.
The demon king truly was magnificent.
"You made a vow to me, sorceress."
She gave herself an inward shake. "Did I?" she asked blithely. "But really, you should know better than to trust someone like me. So it's your own fault for being gullible."
His eyes went dark with menace. His fangs length­ened in warning. In their situation, how could he appear so dangerous? As if he were the one in control?
"I was naughty to break my word. I think you should punish me." Her lips curled. "Doesn't your type of male like that sort of thing?"
When she sat on the side of the bed, he leaned up, stretching the chains taut. "I will punish you, Sabine." At her ear, he rasped, "When I get free, the first thing I'm going to do is turn you over my knee. I'm going to whip that exquisite ass of yours until your pale skin is heated and throbbing from my palm. I'll chain you down in my bed, and I swear to you, I will make you beg."
"Then I'll be sure not to free you."
"It won't do you any good. Eventually, I'll get loose. You've drugged me. Tormented my body over and over. Held me against my will. You'll be punished for these things. And you'll pay in kind."
"I cant free you, Rydstrom. I know you plan to use me to escape. I don't intend to lose you this eve-and I don't intend to be captured." When he was still bar­ing his fangs, she said, "Tell me you hadn't planned to escape, and I'll free you."
He did that steady eye-challenge thing, but he didn't
deny it. Though she wanted to view his unwavering honesty as a weakness, he didn't look weak... he looked in control. Masculine and fierce.
"Rydstrom, do you think I like chaining you up and using you?" At his scowl, she said, "Very well, I like it a little bit. But I'd prefer to make love to you normally. Or at least as much as your fetish would allow."
"I don't have fetish!"
With a flick of her hand, she made the dungeon appear to be her room, with breezes rushing in, the red and black banners whipping.
He frowned in confusion. "This is my room."
"Now ours. I've been sleeping in your chambers, awaiting you."
When he took his eyes off the room, he raked his gaze over her body.
Sabine had dressed much as she had yesterday, except the clothes were even more intricate. Her top was made of gold and silver, twisted and knotted to circle over her breasts, then climbing up around her neck. Her eyes were kohled with a purple so dark it was nearly black.
"You're doing that eye-fucking thing again-would you like to see all of me?" she asked. "I could strip for you."
At length, he gave a curt nod as if he couldn't stop himself.
She slipped her full-length gloves from her arms, then tossed them negligently onto the floor behind her. The pop took long moments for her to unlace, and his eyes were riveted on her fingers unknotting the ties. Each second seemed to excite him more.
"Did you choose that top because you thought I'd like it?" He was breathing harder.
"Yes, to please you."
When she began stripping her skirt, he ordered in a husky voice, "Slower, female." His eyes were burning, his expression so hungry. He seemed unaware that he was subtly rocking his hips.
She eased the skirt to her ankles, kicking it away, leaving her black lace thong and thigh-highs.
"Now those," he bit out, jerking his chin at her panties. She inched them down, teasing him to a fever pitch.
Once she'd gracefully stepped from the thong, he grated, "Stop there." Only her headdress, choker, and hose remained. "Now turn around."
As she did, she said, "Is this the body of a queen, or what, Rydstrom? Come on, demon. Admit that you like me." She faced him again. Hungry eyes, dangerous expression. Shivers danced over her.
How could a look be so arousing to her?
She held his gaze as she sauntered up to him. "If you cooperate with me, I intend to kiss your body from your strangely erotic horns to your toes." She climbed over his waist, and when he bucked, she grabbed his horns, stilling him. "That's not cooperating, my darling." She leaned forward and rubbed her face over the smooth surface of one.
With a groan, he turned his own face to reach for one of her nipples, nuzzling it. But once he tugged the swollen tip between his teeth, she had a moment of alarm. He could bite her . ..
Instead, he sucked her nipple into his mouth, his tongue swirling, making her moan. To reward him, she ran her lips over his horn. His massive body shuddered beneath her, rattling the chains.
When he groaned against her breast, her eyes went heavy-lidded. Fires began to light the perimeter of the chamber, stoked with each of his feverish licks around her nipple.
With the faintest smile, she let the flames burn.
Sabine pulled back, then brushed her mouth against one of his ears. "Demon, I would be a good lover to you." One of her delicate hands was smoothing over his chest. "I'd give you everything."
Right now he had no doubt of that. "I don't understand you. The last time you came in here, you were hard-bitten, like you were going to battle. Now this .. ."
No longer was her touch impersonal. It was tender, desiring . . . like he'd imagined his own female would touch him.
"Do you still deny I'm yours?" There was an edge to her voice.
"I deny it no longer." He blinked, shaking his head to clear his vision. "Sabine, there's a fire-"
"It's only illusion, demon." In his ear, she whispered, "It's unconscious. The flames come from me when I get extremely aroused."
Extremely aroused? And the fire was growing. When he comprehended that she was in desperate need like him, the driving instinct to sate her raged inside him.
This seduction was too powerful, like she was using magick. The fire, the sweetness of her touch . . . "You're weaving some kind of spell."
"There's no spell. I just desire you."
Even as she soothed and whispered her words, he grew more frenzied, turning more demonic.
"Accept me as yours. Claim me." She cupped his face, giving him a tender, coaxing kiss like she had the last time she'd come to him. When she kissed him like this, his resistance melted away.
Once she broke the kiss, she leaned down to trail her lips across his chest, her shining hair sweeping over his skin. Her breasts swayed, her hard nipples glancing over him. She'd been working him into a lather with her seeking kisses and her silken hands grazing all over his body. And now she dipped down his torso, her destina-tion unmistakable.
When she rubbed her soft face against his shaft, his head fell back. He raised it a second later.
"Typical male," she murmured, "wanting to watch. Well, watch this ..." She teased the crown, licking the slit until he yelled out.
"Demon, you taste so good ..."
He gazed at her in disbelief. "Tassia, suck it between your lips."
Her hand clasped the base, her lips closing tight over the swollen head. "Ummm," she moaned around it, sending vibrations along his shaft.
"Take it deep for me!"
She did, pumping her fist and sucking him without mercy, working in concert to pleasure him. A helpless
groan broke from his chest when he saw her fingering her sex. Not a selfless woman but a greedy one expect­ing her pleasure. Good.
"You ... like this? Are you wet?"
In answer, she raised the hand she'd been using to pet herself toward his mouth. When he realized she expected him to taste her, his cock jerked in her mouth, and he quickly leaned down. He sucked her slick fin­gers, snarling in bliss, his seed palpably climbing.
The night began to grow hazy. He was going more demonic with a female than ever before. The need to have her lashed at him.
He released her fingers only when his back bowed. So close.
She dug her nails into his torso, marking his body in her abandon, whipping him to a frenzy. "I have ... to take you!" With his wrists chained behind him, his arms straight back, he gave a furious thrust between her lips.
She stopped and pulled back.
"No!" he bellowed.
Gazing up at him with her deeply kohled eyes flash­ing metallic, she clutched his shaft, still wet from her tongue. Between panting breaths, she said, "Give me the vow, demon. I'll make your eyes roll back in your head."
The throbbing pain was too much ... goading him to give in to her.
"Rydstrom, I want this. Did you never think that I need you, too?"
Need me? "Sabine . . ." He trailed off when he heard a yell coming from the main tower. "What was that?"
"Nothing, absolutely nothing-"
Someone pounded on the cell door.
"Ignore that, demon," Sabine said. "What were you going to say to me?"
"Abie!" a female called from just outside. "Quickly!"
Sabine made a sharp sound of frustration, then leaned her forehead against his shaft, pressing it against his stomach.
Rydstrom bit out, "Finish this, Sabine. I need you to finish this!"
She eased up over him, lying atop him with her head on his chest. As they fought to catch their breath, she was shaking-he was shuddering.
But even as he was in agony, she felt so damned right against him.
Mine. He needed to have his arms around her, to clutch her tighter, to keep her by him.
"Let me in!" the woman called. "I'm not leaving until you open up."
Sabine sighed, then pressed a kiss to his chest. "Your heart is so strong," she murmured, sounding impressed. When she lifted her head, she met his gaze. "I wonder if it could beat for both of us."
He rasped, "If I thought I could have more of you like this, it'd be yours."
Her lips parted. Another shout sounded from the main part of the castle.
"Abie, I will create a portal into that cell if you don't come out!"
Sabine glanced away, and when she turned back, he briefly saw something in her eyes that wasn't there
before. For a heartbeat's time, she'd appeared ... fearful. The fires dissipated in a rush.
Rydstrom knew how deadly the beings here were. His alarm for her cooled the worst of his lust. My female. His instinct was to protect her. But she was one of the deadly beings here-he had to remember that.
Instinct had never warred with his reason this much. He was torn inside, the conflict taking its toll. "Are you in danger?"
"What would you do if I said yes?" She smiled, but it didn't reach her eyes. "Would you keep me safe?"
"Yes," he answered without hesitation. "Free me, Sabine, and I'll protect you with my life."
"Why? Only because I'm your female?"
"Protecting you is what I was born to do."
"I have to go."
"Then kiss me," he said, the words leaving his tongue before he'd even thought.
She cupped his face in her small hands and leaned down. She kissed him-differently. He cracked open his eyes to find hers squeezed shut, her brows drawn. As if she were desperate to lose herself in the kiss.
He soon did, his lids sliding shut. Lost in the way her lips trembled against his, lost in the Tightness of his female needing him.
"He'd been just about to say the vow, Lanthe!" Sabine had barely been able to redress she'd been so affected by Rydstrom. "So help me, this had better be the coming of the apocalypse-"
"Yep, fairly much. We're kind of under attack."
"Acutely or chronically?"