My body goes placid as a giant male with long silver hair steals the moisture from my mouth. His frame takes up the entire doorway as his solid black eyes meet mine. I fight the shudder threatening to take my spine at that look. These males and that intimidating gazes of theirs.
We’ve been watching each other, holding a bloody staring contest at best. And all for dominance. With a snarl not at all kind, I stand up and roll my eyes at the demon slayer. His beautiful full lips quiver for a quick second but thins out once more. His gaze finally falls from my face to my slim curves. I let him have an indecent glance at my breasts as I lean forward, bracing my palms against the wooden desk of my office.
“You had an eventful night, last night. I’m sure you enjoyed it.”
“Is that a problem. I liked the sound of her moans and the change in her delicious scent.”
My body tenses at the thought of Asteris— no, I will not finish that thought. As I turn my head, my gaze zeros in on the blue and white vase, now holding wilting flowers. I could have sworn they were in full bloom when I walked in here. They must have wilted from the sudden amount of lethal power pulsing through the air. With a deep breath, I finish off the dead flowers with my dark magic.
“She’s under my care. That’s all,” I murmur, gesturing for Ambrose to have a seat on the couch placed between us. With one swift movement, the slayer heaves himself over the back of the sofa and lounges with his arms spread out across the top. My gaze wanders down his toned chest, lingering between his legs as I purse my lips.
“Well, you had no plans of finishing what you had aroused in me.”
Such particular words. “You could have asked. I’m sure we—”
“Aszurya, I will not ask permission to lay a male’s woman. I’m well aware of layered bonding between you two. From you being matigmas to the eternal bond to that obnoxious mark her left on your kitten. He would have felt every moment of pleasure you had and known it was me.”
“Well, things have changed, Ambrose.”
“I always knew that, Aszurya. From the time you left three years ago, I received a message that things will change. I just wish it had been better.”
Using my incredible speed, I rush over to the chair and straddle the demon slayer. His face consorts for a moment but he masks it again with that lazy gaze. I stare into his eyes, noticing the swirling darkness. My claws dig into the cushion by his shoulders, shredding the fabric as I scent something uncanny from his body. What is this coming from him?
“What are you talking about? The change made things better. Everything is—”
“No, Aszurya! Things are only better for you. You’re the only one that is happy with it.”
Ambrose rests his hands on my hips, distracting me as he flips me, so his body rests over mine. This time, I recognise the lust lurking in his eyes made of onyx. But, Ambrose stands up and retreats to the other end of the sofa. My breath becomes laboured as he opens his sensual mouth, his tongue flicking over a sharp tooth. Slowly, I rise from off the couch, crossing my arms over my chest.
“He’s inherited the lost gene of the feralis demons who mated with Siethens from time to time, just as I have. I’m not going to fight him over something that belongs to him.”
“So, you’re not even going to put up a fight?”
“Why would I do that when I’d just lost the battle—”
“Oh, I don’t know, maybe to show you cared! But, no— you’re pride is too great to risk it—”
Ambrose startles me as his body pushes mine against the wall. He eases off me, barely, as he places his arms on the wall at either side of my head. My breath catches, and I know he notices it too.
“No, Aszurya. It’s not my pride that matters. Your head is too far up your ass to realise that maybe— just maybe, I’m the one in pain!”
My eyes widen as I process his words. Was it pain, I sensed leaking from his body? Fuck…
“What are you saying?” I gulp as he closes his eyes, shaking his head.
“Did I ever mean something to you?
Shadows lurk, enveloping our bodies, honed to host that darkness. Against my better judgement, my hand rises to brush my fingers against Ambrose’s keen face. A muscle begins to feather in his cheek, the only hint at how he’s feeling. That’s always been the struggle with us when we’re upset. We were taught to hide all emotions as they can be our downfall.
“Of course, you did—do. You’ve always been my friend— the one who could truly relate to all my problems. And, you’ll always be my best opponent, Ambrose.”
Ambrose leans in, lips hovering over mine. Our breaths mix and intoxicate me. But, my inebriation doesn’t last too long as Ambrose backs away. I watch his full body as he stalks over to the door. He turns, leaning against the door with his arms crossed in restraint. I could almost groan from the sudden distance and the needles jabbing into my skin, squeezing my lungs until I’m barely breathing.
“If that’s all you’ve called me here for, I’m leaving.”
“Wait! I don’t want things to change between us.”
“They’ll have to for us to survive.”
“Ambrose… Ambrose, what was I to you?”
“You’re a brilliant young woman— figure it out. I’ll seek you out when I’m hungry again.”
The door to my office slams shut, the force rattling anything not nailed to the ground— including me. My throat feels as though it’s going to close in, and my eyes are burning like acid in them. I sink to the floor with my head in my hands, sobs shooting my body. Hours go by as I slip into numbing darkness.
I sit on the floor, leaning my head against my bed. I’m not sure how I managed to warp myself back into the manor. My existence numbed by the conversation—no the argument— Ambrose and I had, even hours later. I pull my legs closer to my body as I wrap my arms around them, trying to hold in everything. Still, I manage to cool off my thoughts enough to reach deep inside and disturb one of my demons.
“Why did you tell them what you did?”
Does your matigma not deserve to know?
I shrug my shoulders and take a deep breath. My eyes flutter close for a moment before opening enough for me to see my hands before me. It’s still hard for me to accept that a man completely opposite of me could be my matigma, my magical counterpart who strengthens what lies within my soul. Our centres aren’t even compatible, yet, somehow, our types of magic bonded. This could be the realm’s way of ensuring we are stronger together.
He has taken an oath to prevent him from hurting you.
“Do you think I ran him off? Ambrose, I mean.”
Only time will tell.
I frown and let my head fall back against my bed. I groan as I think of the lovers I had for months at a time. We all broke apart without talking about it. And I never bothered to speak to any of them or even check in on them. Some of them could have died or moved on, and I wouldn’t know. I wouldn’t have cared until maybe now.
Ambrose and I were very close. Closer than any other of mine. He’s roughly two centuries older than me. I know there have been others, but he never once said he’d felt any particular way about them. But what he said earlier— he implied he felt things for me.
He told me I was the only one he had, once. It was right before I left him three years ago. He had pulled me back down in bed with him, his body still hot from the constant contact with mine. He pressed a kiss to my temple and my lips; that’s when he told me. You are the only one, he said. And then he slid the necklace over my head.
My fingers find the chain where my family rings hang. Two charms warm at my touch. The twin silver long swords cross each other; our initials engraved in a fractured heart. King has seen them but never once asked a question about them. Thank the first.
Now that everything has changed, I can’t help but be jealous. He went right to Asteris. No time. No mourning. Swift recovery. I don’t care if that was our little motto.
Realising my faults, I choke out a sob. I’m just selfish— I have King. And both Ambrose and Asteris deserve someone good.
You’re becoming weak.
“I think I was always weak. It was just hard to show it.”
This weakness isn’t okay, Aszurya.
I manage to stand up and dry my tear-stained face. With a deep breath, I paint on a glamour. I think I’m ready to face the world again. Or, at least, my family. With that, I open the door and step into the hallway.
“I’ll take your word for it.”
The boys were still training through dinner. I don’t think they knew what time it was. But Stephanie pulled me away to the gardens to play with her. I warned her already that she’s getting older and that I don’t like to play with big kids. She pointed out the fact that I still bug Jordan, but I tell her that’s different.
I sit on the grass in the middle of the open field, using my life-magic to create creatures to chase my youngest sister. She screams and chases the letivah, a grown cat-like animal with spots and stripes. I let the sweet girl capture the cute animal before running over and collapsing on my lap, exhausted. Mother will be happy when Steph falls asleep quickly.
“Bornyaz, can you sing me a song? Please!”
I roll my eyes and give the little one what she wants. She’s always been so young and innocent. Honestly, when our mother was pregnant with her, she had some problems. I didn’t pay much attention, but I knew she was on bed-rest and in constant pain. I was 15 when Steph was born two months earlier than expected. Doctors were in and out of the manor all the time. She’s lucky to be able to function so well.
“Fine. But Steph—”
“I know, Zurya. I’m getting older. And, I’m going to make you proud when I become as badass as you.”
I laugh at the little girl as she hugs me tightly. Once my laughter dies down, I open my mouth to sing softly, the lullaby mother sang to me as a small child. Allegedly, King’s mother taught it to my mom when she was pregnant with me.
“Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high
And the dreams that you dream of
Once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow
And the dreams that you dream of
Dreams really do come true.”
A deep timbre joins me in the second verse—our voices merging and creating a perfect harmony. Steph’s eyes widen with awe as she looks between my handsome man singing together and me. He warms my side as he takes a seat next to me. I stop singing and let him finish the song with his low baritone notes. Azazel! His voice turns me on.
“The colours of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
And also on the faces of people passing by
I see friends shaking hands saying, ‘How do you do?’
They’re really saying I—I love you.
I hear babies cry, and I watch them grow.
They’ll learn much more than we’ll know,
And I think to myself what a wonderful world—World.”
“Wow… you two are beautiful singers! Another one!”
“No. I told you once he gets here you have to go back inside.”
My little sister pouts, her face turning a shade of red. Just as quickly, her emotion changes and she hugs him. He laughs and nods his head, sending her squealing back to the manor entrance where her handmaiden awaits her. I wait until she’s reached the woman before turning back to King. He smirks before kissing me full on the lips.
“Seeing you with children gets my hormones roaring, baby. It just makes me want to fuck you, relentlessly.”
“Your voice is a turn on, but you don’t see me trying to procreate.”
“Remind me why you don’t wanna have kids, again.”
I shrug my shoulders, lying to another person who cares so much for me. With our bonds, we shouldn’t have barriers, yet I can’t express to him my biggest fear. It’s my history that stops me. One of the reasons I can’t have kids.
“This family breeds like rabbits.”
“Diamond’s still young. Her husband just left her. Trust me. She’ll be wifed- up and pregnant within the next three years. And your father’s still heartbroken. Maybe in about 50 years, he’ll find someone new.”
“Still, I need a descendant.”
“I’d be willing to let you inseminate someone else.”
I receive a glare from my King, but I just shrug my shoulders and stand. He joins me, taking my hand in his as we walk around my family’s grounds. We talk about his training, his comical retelling of it making me crack up. I force a smile as King kisses me harder than before.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah… I’m fine.”
I don’t respond. Instead, I lean up and lick his delicious lips. He growls in response, the sound of it makes my skin crawl. King’s hand caresses my backside, my spine arching in return. Ignoring every instinct to pull away and run, I kiss the man harder, hoping to distract myself. It works for a few minutes before King pulls away and flicks my nose with a glare.
“You’re not allowed to use me like that.”
“And you are?”
My lips quirk upward but drop back down as soon as my boyfriend turns away. We walk for a few hours, my secrets pounding against my skull. Finally, I stop walking and look at my boyfriend. He turns to me, one eyebrow raised, and I just blurt out my sorrows without preamble.
“King, I had a child.”