Mine by Royal Decree

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Den of Immortals

Topping the hill, I saw the silvery sign indicating I had reached The Den. The sign creaked above me and yellow candlelight spilled onto the hillside.

A favored hideout of the more lascivious type of characters.

I waved a hand behind me which ordered Tyrant to still. Knowing the mount would obey my command.

His eyes flashed green in answer. Telling me he’d obey as he pawed the ground then lowered his head to graze. Willing to ease for a bit.

And rest for however long, until we needed to ride after her again.

I swung my head sideways and caught my hair over my forearm. Flipping it beneath my cloak. Tipping up my oversized hood and pulling it down low over my face. It was especially designed for my taller frame. Tailored by my royal outfitter. Designed to hang low enough to hide my fine boots, but not trimmed in fox fur as my royal one was.

So, I can be more inconspicuous when I wish.

I entered the tavern and ducked my head. Avoiding undue attention. Refusing to meet anyone’s eye as I walked straight to the tender behind counter. Slapping coin atop it and purchasing a room.

His brown eyes brightened on it.

“For the night, Sir?” He asked. Staring at the amount of coin I’d put atop it. Knowing it was certainly more than one night’s worth.

“For a start.” I drawled leisurely.

“You have it.” He collected the money. “And I’ll reserve it for as long as you need.”

“Someone is waiting for me.” He remarked. “A woman.”

I fished for the answers I was seeking. Certain that if I’d asked outright, he’d surely have avoided answering me.

But if he thinks I’m some ally of hers…

“A woman, Sir?” He queried.

“A breathtaking one.”

“The only one I’ve seen like that, was not awaiting any man. She specified none would be joining her.”

Of course, she did.

“Ah. Must not be mine then.” He shifted to put an elbow on the counter and scan the room.

She’s here.

“How long might this woman you speak of be staying?” I asked casually. “It’d be nice to partake of some beauty until my fairer company arrives.”

“Ah. This girl is no loose skirt, Sir. Of that, I’m sure. But you might see her when she entertains tomorrow.” He leaned across the counter to whisper conspiratorially. “And none is fairer than this one.”

Definitely her.

“Entertains?” That word had caught me off-guard.

“Indeed.” He nodded proudly. “She’s our finest Flight of Dance.”

It was an exotic method of dance that few of the rigid fey even knew of. How could she?

I gave him a quick study. Wondering if I’d been mistaken. What if she’s already gone?

I had the choice of staying and waiting to see if it was her or heading back out into the dark to try and pick up a track.

I rubbed my palm thoughtfully and looked at the back of my long-fingered hand, seeing the ruby in my ring glowing red. Telling me what I already suspected.

She’s still close.

I closed my eyes and breathed and caught the feminine musk of her emanating from upstairs. My head spun to see the barkeep. “Might I pick my chamber?”

Any with a rag on the handle are yet open.

“Ah.” I nodded. “I will let you know in the morning.”

“As you wish, Sir.”

I took the stairs two at a time, and followed my nose on the upper level. Finding the chamber where I could scent her. Putting my forehead and my palm against it. I could sense her movements beyond the door. Where she changed, then tugged at the necklace, violently pulling at it only to discover it wouldn’t break loose before strolling to her bed. Sitting on the edge as she brushed her hair out.

I heard the click of the brush as she set it down before rolling onto the bed and pulling the blanket over her. I closed my eyes and imagined kicking the door in. Tossing up her dress and fitting myself inside her.

Feeling her again.

And taking in that strange peace that came only when I was inside her.

I could hold her there, I could take her and it would feel immensely gratifying. My pride was indeed still hurt that she had fled me the night of our union. Her soft body would meet my harder one and this time I would not stop until I heard the small sounds of pleasure that told me she was finding gratification. I would build her up until I felt the sheen of her sweat and knew the ripple of her climax.

Only then would I truly find her. I didn’t want only my pleasure this time.

I want her to learn hers at my hand.

I leaned away from the door and let my hand fall away. Not tonight. Not yet.

First, I’d need to learn how she thought, how she operated. And how to keep her.

If I wanted to tame the woman to my hand, I’d have to learn what motivated her.

What she shies from.

And what will make her want to stay.

All the women I had known were mild fey girls, servants who bent to my hand because I was royalty, women who hungered to lie next to power. And those to meek to reject the prince.

But she is an entirely different animal.

It was only in this moment that I realized what we were really doing.

She isn’t playing a game with me. This is a hunt.

She’ll not be relinquishing easily.

But I was an optimal hunter.

I needed to stop thinking that I could bend her to my will and start viewing her as prey.

I needed to both study and outwit.

My cunning, fierce, little prey.

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