The ​Crown of Gilded Bones

Page 139

I raised an eyebrow as I gripped the edge of the desk, and he tapped my booted calf, motioning for me to lift my leg. “What are you up to?” I asked.

“Distracting you.” He tugged off the boot, letting it fall with a thump to the floor.

I watched him remove my other boot and then my thick socks. “I think I know what you’re up to, but not even that will distract me from the fact that everything feels like it’s swaying, and we could capsize at any second.”

His brows lifted as he looked up at me. “First off, you should have way more faith in my skills when it comes to distracting you,” he said, and I immediately thought of the night in the Blood Forest. My skin flushed. “And the boat capsizing is not what is going to happen next.”

“What is?” I asked as his palms slid up my legs.

“I’m going to do what I wanted to last evening and fuck you on this desk,” he told me, and muscles low in my stomach clenched.

“This isn’t a table.”

“It’ll work.” He gripped the waist of my breeches. “But first, I’m hungry.”

The breath I took caught. “Then you should retrieve something to eat.”

“I have.”

My face caught fire.

Blazing, golden eyes locked with mine. “Lift your ass, my Queen.”

A giggle crept free. “That is a sentence that sounds wholly inappropriate.”

He grinned, and a hint of a dimple appeared. “I’m sorry. Let me rephrase that. Please lift your ass, my Queen.”

The ship rocked, jostling me. My ass did lift, and Casteel seized the opportunity. He pulled off my breeches, letting them join the boots on the floor. Cool air swirled around my legs, stirring the edges of my slip.

“You’re going to have to let go of the desk.” He curled his fingers around the hem of the long-sleeved shirt.

I forced my fingers to ease, and my stomach lurched as the ship rocked again. I started to grab the desk, but he was faster, pulling the shirt up and over my head. The moment my arms were free, I grabbed hold of the desk once more.

“Pretty,” he murmured, toying with the tiny strap on the slip and then the lace of the cinched bodice. His deft fingers loosened the buttons with shocking and impressive ease. The material parted, exposing my skin to the salty night air seeping in through the cabin window. He dragged his thumb over the rosy tip of one breast, causing me to gasp. “Not as pretty as these, though.”

My heart thudded, and I wasn’t sure if it was due to the ship’s motions or the intent in his words.

He eased the straps down my arms, stopping when they fell against my wrists. Then he stretched up, reaching around to pick up my braid. He pulled the leather thong from the end and slowly began to unwind the hair.

“I’m going to make you re-braid my hair,” I told him.

“I can do that.” He spread the lengths over my shoulders, then he caught the edge of the slip, pushing it up my hips to where the material gathered at my waist. Those callused palms swept down my legs once more as he leaned back. Gripping my ankles, he spread my legs and placed my feet so they dangled off the arms of the chair. I’d never been more exposed in my life.

He dragged a finger along his lower lip as his gaze swept over me. “I’ve never seen a more tantalizing dinner. It makes me want to rush to the main course.” His gaze lingered on the shadowy area between my thighs. “But I do love a good appetizer.”


Casteel looked up at me, a secretive little grin playing across his lips as his arousal washed over me, mixing with mine. “I almost forgot. The next best thing to a good conversation while enjoying dinner is reading a good book.”

My eyes widened as he bent, reaching into the bag. “You did not—”

“Don’t move.” Casteel shot me a heated look, and I froze. He withdrew the all-too-familiar leather-bound book. Straightening, he cracked it open. “Pick a page, my Queen.”

Was he going to read to me? “I…I don’t know. 238.”

“238, it is.” He found the page and then turned the book over to me. “Read to me. Please?”

I stared at him.

“It would be so very difficult for me to enjoy my dinner and read at the same time,” he coaxed, eyes glimmering. “Or is reading this out loud too scandalous for you?”

It was, but the challenge in his tone provoked me. Letting go of the desk, I snatched the damnable book from his hand. “You really want me to read this to you?”

“You have no idea how badly I want to hear you say words like cock.” His hands settled on my knees.

I glanced at the page, quickly searching for the word and found it. Damn it. Damn him, and—I gasped as his lips skated over the scar on my inner thigh.

“You’re not reading.” He kissed the rough skin. “Or are you that distracted already?”

I sort of was, but I forced myself to focus on the first line and immediately regretted it. “‘His…his manhood was thick and proud as he stroked it, enjoying the feeling of his own hand, but not as much as—’” I jerked as his lips danced over my very center.

“Keep reading,” he ordered, his words sending a dark and hot shiver through my core.

My gaze darted back to the page. “‘But not as much as I enjoyed watching him pleasure himself. He worked himself until the tip of his…’” My entire body trembled as his hot, wet tongue slipped over me. “‘Until the tip of his proud, his… his proud cock glistened.’”

A deep sound rumbled from him, causing my toes to curl. “I’m sure there’s more.” His tongue danced over my flesh. “What does he do with that proud, glistening cock of his, Poppy?”

Pulse pounding, I scanned the page. “He…” A breathy moan left me as he pierced the flesh there. “He eventually stops stroking himself.”


The words didn’t make any sense for a moment. “And he pleasures her with it.”

“Don’t tell me.” He nipped at the skin, dragging a ragged sound from me. “Read it to me.”

“You are…wicked,” I told him.

“And also very curious to discover how he pleasures her,” he replied. “I may learn something.”

My laugh ended in another moan as he returned to his dinner. “‘He grasped my hips with those large hands of his and held me there, between him and the wall, as he slid into me. I tried to keep quiet, but no—’” I cried out as his mouth closed on the bundle of nerves, and he suckled deeply.

The scrape of his fang sent an intense bolt of pleasure through me. My legs attempted to close reflexively, but he caught an ankle, preventing it as he tugged on the skin there. Tension tightened and curled and throbbed—

His mouth left me. “Keep reading, Poppy.”

Struggling to breathe, I wasn’t sure if I could read, but I managed to find where I’d stopped. “‘But no one…fucked as passionately as a soldier on the eve of battle.’”

The chuckle that left Casteel was sensual and dark. “Keep going.” He flicked his tongue over the pulsing pinnacle. “And I’ll keep enjoying my appetizer.”

I blinked several times. “‘He took me…hard and furiously, and I knew I would bear the marks of such on the morrow, but I…’” My hips lifted as he worked a finger into me. He wasn’t slow. He didn’t need to be. I was as primed as I imagined Miss Willa had been. “‘I will wear those marks with more than fond memories. I will think of how his hips pounded against mine, how his…his cock stretched and filled me…’” As I read from the indecent diary, Casteel enjoyed his appetizer with his fingers and his mouth, until I no longer knew what I read. Until I couldn’t make sense of the words, and the journal slipped from my grip, falling closed on the desk, and I shamelessly writhed against his mouth and hand. The release came all at once, rushing over me in stunning, crashing waves.

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