The ​Crown of Gilded Bones

Page 64

“Cas,” I breathed.

He made that sound again, that sensual, rough sound, and then he moved, pressing my back against the wall, the hard line of his thigh between my legs. I gasped at the contact of the cold tile against my bare skin and the feel of his breeches-clad thigh against my core. He dropped a hand to my hip, and as he pulled harder on my breast, he tugged my hip down and forward, rocking me against his leg. Tense, tight waves of pleasure rippled out from between my thighs and from my breasts as I stood on tiptoe, my weight mostly supported by him. The drag and pull of his mouth on my breast seemed to be connected to the intense throb at my core. My hips moved against his thigh. There was nothing slow about it. I rocked hard against him, driven by the dual sensations of him feeding from my breast and the soft friction of his leg against my swollen, tightened flesh. Tension curled and whirled, spinning tighter and faster. He feasted, and I became frenzied, tugging at his hair, sinking my nails into his skin. My legs clamped down on his thigh, and all the tension inside me erupted, lashing through me in the most delicious and stunning way. I shook, calling out his name as my release rolled through me.

I was still trembling, twitching when his tongue soothed over his bite, and he straightened, holding me tightly against his chest. His mouth closed over mine in a slow, languid, iron-rich, and musky kiss. The taste of my blood on his lips sent another wave of pleasure through me.

“You,” he drawled, his voice thick. “You really liked that reward.”

My forehead rested against his as I struggled to gain control of my breathing. “A little.”

“A little?” His laugh was like smoke. “You came so hard, I could feel you through my pants.”

“Oh, my gods.” I choked on a laugh. “That is so…”

“What?” His lips dragged across mine. “Inappropriate?”


“But it’s true.” He kissed me as he eased me to my feet. “You can stand? Or have I blown your mind and your muscles?”

“Your ego is ridiculous. I can stand.” Barely. “And in case you’re wondering, I would like more of those rewards, please and thank you.”

A devastating smile appeared, and those two dimples winked to life. “Although I love hearing the word please spill from your lips, you never have to say it.”

I grinned as he pulled away. While he turned to grab the robe, I glanced down. My cheeks heated at the sight of the two reddish-pink puncture wounds and the swollen skin around them. Goodness. The mark he left behind was indecent.

I loved it.

He held the robe for me, and I turned, slipping my arms through the sleeves. The material was unbelievably soft and yet lightweight enough that I didn’t think I’d grow heated. The length was a little long, completely hiding my toes, but it smelled like him—like pine and spice.

He stepped in front of me, quickly buttoning the two sides and then tightening the sash. “This looks far better on you than it ever did on me.”

“I can’t even picture you wearing this.” I looked at the long, flowing sleeves and flapped my arms.

“I’d rather be naked.” He winked when I raised a brow. “I’d rather you were naked, too.”

“Shocker,” I murmured.

While Casteel went to the wardrobe to pull out fresh clothing, I quickly wrangled my hair into a braid. The pleasant haze of his wicked reward sadly faded by the time I sat on the couch in the living area and Kieran returned, a large book in his hands and his father with him.

Jasper’s piercing gaze found mine, and he started to lower. I stiffened, but he seemed to stop himself before bowing. The curse he muttered garnered a small grin from me. “You are well?” he asked.

I nodded. “I am. You?”

“Peachy,” he muttered, dropping into one of the chairs. “Where is—?”

“Right here.” Casteel sauntered into the room as he dragged a hand over his head, brushing the still-damp strands off his face. He went to a credenza against the wall. “Drink?” he offered. Only Jasper nodded. Casteel poured two glasses as Kieran sat beside me. “So, the Unseen…?”

“Yeah,” Jasper growled. “That was the first I’d heard there might be a chance they were involved, which irritates the piss out of me. No offense to your father,” he tacked on halfheartedly. “But that is something he should have clued me in on, even if it had nothing to do with her.”

“Agreed,” Casteel muttered as he glanced over at Kieran. “Does this book you brought with you hold the answers to why my father kept that so quiet?”

“Unfortunately, no.” Kieran cracked the thick book open. “Those things that were outside? I figured you had a lot of questions about them.”

“Who wouldn’t?” Casteel responded, handing Jasper a glass. “If that was the first time they saw one of them?”

“Exactly.” I watched Kieran flip through the pages.

“Well, I figured it was best that I grab this,” Kieran said. “It’s an old textbook, centering around the history of Atlantia—the gods and their children.”

“Oh.” I leaned over, my interest more than piqued, but the moment I saw one of the pages, I sighed. “It’s in a different language.”

“It’s in old Atlantian—the Primal language of the gods.” Casteel sat on the arm of the settee. “I can barely read that now.”

Jasper snorted. “Not surprised to hear that.”

One side of Casteel’s lips tipped up as he took a drink. “I’m hoping this book you kept for some reason tells us exactly how the Gyrms were here, in our realm, and why they were after Poppy.”

Our realm? Why did that sound familiar to me?

“He kept all of his old schoolbooks,” Jasper explained. “Well, his mother did. They’re in one of the rooms in the back.”

I had yet to meet Kirha and really hoped I got to soon. I wanted to thank her for the clothing. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine.” Jasper smiled, and the rough lines of his face softened. “Slept through the whole damn thing.”

My brows rose. “Really?”

He nodded. “She’s always been a heavy sleeper, but with the babe on the way, she could sleep through the gods waking.”

“Here it is,” Kieran announced, lowering the book to his knees as he looked over at Casteel. “Did you see them without the mask?”

“That I did,” he drawled. “At first, I thought my vision had gone out on me, and then I heard my father say something like, ‘What the fuck?’ and I knew it wasn’t just me.”

I got momentarily distracted by picturing the tall and ominous figure that was his father saying that. Kieran tapped on the page, and I looked down, my stomach hollowing as I saw an ink sketch of one of the creatures we’d seen outside. It was extremely realistic—the head, the thin slits for eyes, and then nothing but smooth skin. Then again, there wasn’t much for this artist to capture beyond a male body’s general, well-muscled shape.

“How do they breathe?” I asked again because that seemed like a fairly important question.

Casteel’s lips twitched as Kieran’s eyes closed. “If it was a Gyrm?” Jasper spoke, rising from the chair to look down at the drawing. “They don’t need to breathe because they are not alive.”

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