Chapter 67 - Surrender
Rowan kissed him again and this time with insistence. Marcus growled deep in his throat and took control of that kiss, and as if this satisfied her intentions, she gentled her onslaught, and he found some control over himself.
"Not here," Rowan determined with her lips still against his, and he kissed her again, possessively but briefly. He couldn't believe how much he wanted to kiss her again, or how deep his longing for her was.
"Not here," Marcus agreed as he ruthlessly reigned in his desire to a simmer. They were silent as they made their journey to land, but Marcus admitted to himself that his awareness of her had changed as if she became some integral part of his soul.
They hurried to reach their destination, but nothing much remained of the massive structure. A few foundation stones jutted from the earth at odd angles, and a single wall reached just above ankle height. Not a single blade of grass grew where the building once stood, and it must have at least been a fort. Both of them found that empty, dead, boulder-less stretch of rock strange.
Marcus stood behind Rowan, and as if staring at nothing bored her, she turned and kissed him. He led her away from that eerie place to where actual grass grew, and she pulled him down with her. Marcus liked the way she took the initiative; it told him she was comfortable with him, and she trusted him.
The moon had risen high in the sky before she nestled against him, spent. His chest couldn't contain the feelings in him, and for the first time in ages, his conscience pricked at him.
"I slept with your sister," the words escaped his mouth like the confession of a guilt-ridden teenager, confessing to his love that he once slept with her best friend.
Marcus expected anger or disappointment, but instead, she traced the lines of his muscled stomach with her finger, and he caught her hand.
"I know," Rowan admitted and stunned him. Something exploded in his head, and his grip must have tightened. She flinched but made no sound or move.
"You planned this?" Marcus asked almost too quietly as he rolled onto his side so he could see her face. "Why?" He demanded, and this time, she gritted her teeth against the pain. He didn't know what to think, and it angered him.
"I planned none of this," Rowan bit out, her incisors showing and her eyes burned with the strength of the truth in her. "I’m in love with you," Rowan admitted as if the words tore from some pain-filled place inside her spirit. If she had kicked him in the face, Marcus couldn't have been more stunned. He dropped her hand without realizing it. He never dreamed she would be in love with him, and it opened an entire world inside his head of possibilities they could never have.
"Are you in love with Alena?’ Rowan asked when the silence between them grew uncomfortable, and when he focused on her, he saw how vulnerable she was. He also realized that if he said he loved Alena, she would accept it. The strength of her love humbled him. His heart slowed, and his thoughts came into focus.
"If I said, I love you both?" Marcus asked to test how deep her love of him was, and she looked at him without speaking for a long time. He saws the pain in her eyes, and it tortured him, but he didn't relent.
"I can share your body with her, I cannot share your love with her," Rowan admitted with crystalline certainty.
"Then what would you have me do?" Marcus asked, and he watched something in her eyes become closed off. He almost relented then.
"Then love her," Rowan answered, and she would have risen, but he caught her arm to pull her into his embrace. Marcus held her gently, forcing her to listen to him.
"I love you both, but I think I'm in love with you," Marcus admitted with passion in his voice and Rowan just stared at him for the longest time. She would have kissed him then, but he put his fingers against her lips.
"Why would you share me with her?" He asked, and she almost emotionally withdrew from him, but he wouldn’t let her.
"You’re not dense Marcus," Rowan challenged, and he nodded as understanding dawned on him. This was what Arthur spoke to them about; his lineage, and bloodline.
Marcus kissed her until she was once again under the spell of their love, and when he finally relented in showing her how much he loved her, she was more than spent. She craved sleep, but it was almost time to go.
"You only think you love me?" Rowan teased, and he laughed.
"I think I’m lost," Marcus admitted as he rested his chin against her bare shoulder. He loved the touch of her skin, the strength of her body, the way she moved, the way he felt with her in his arms, and he appreciated that he would never feel like this with another woman.
"I’m glad you love me," Rowan said with their eyes locked, and for the first time, there were no barriers between them. It was a moment of intimacy almost as intense as the moment their bodies fused in passion.
"Instead of Alena?" He asked, and she didn’t answer. "That would have been a mess. You love me, I love her, and she hasn’t found her heart yet," Marcus teased and yet he was serious. He nuzzled her cheek, and he wished they could stay like this forever, but the sun would soon be rising.
"No games?" Rowan asked, and it hurt Marcus that she asked, but Martin left deep scars in her. It would take a lot of love, and time to heal her. She needed the reassurance that he won’t use the love she had for him and Alena, against them. He needed to show her that he wouldn't take the precious gift of her love and sully it.
He understood what she meant when she told him he wasn't dense. They did this for him, out of love and a misplaced sense of responsibility, but why did it suddenly give him hope? More hope than he ever felt before?
"I will speak to Alena; she deserves more than I can give her. I didn't want to take your love and risk that you may end up alone. I thought I could be noble and leave you whole. Alena and I understood each other, and we knew where we stood. I thought it would be enough, and that I could spare you the pain," Marcus admitted, and her eyes became soft as she looked at him, but he didn't miss the fear in their depths. It would break her if she lost him, and it would kill him if he lost her. Rowan would have spoken, but Marcus kissed her with everything he felt in that kiss.
"No games," Marcus promised, and Rowan realized he meant every word.