BOOK OF IMMORTALS

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SEBASTIAN - Persuasion and Strawberries

WaterRose, Mane Country

SEBASTIAN

“Elsabet.” Sebastian called.

“No.” She shouted back from upstairs.

“Come down here.”

“No!”

Damn her.

She’d been dodging him ever since that confrontation in the hall. In which he’d refused to let her prod him into forcing her.

There’s no telling me no, when I really want something.

You’ll learn.

“Little Harpie.” He turned his voice coaxing. Echoing through the corridors with a husky lilt. Mardichi called it the Voice of Persuasion. Bast turned it up. “Come to me…”

He heard vases hitting the wall and a stomping footstep above him as he waited in the foyer.

She materialized atop the stairs. The firelight from the torches catching her hair in a halo of orange. Her red dress was sleeveless, trimmed in long wisping red feathers which clung to her pale skin. Revealing a tasteful expanse. Her eyes were vivid blue in her rage. Cheeks flushed to nearly the same shade as her dress in her ire.

“Come to me.” He crooked a finger.

“You, Unholy bastard, rogue, jackass, womanizing…Wretch!” She swore every step she took.

“Good Woman. Come down here.”

Her trembling hand reached for the railing of its own volition. With the castle as quiet as it was, his ability to seduce with merely his voice was amplified. Back ramrod straight she fought his magic. But he was pleased to see that at least this, she was susceptible to.

She still had a bit of pottery in her hand and threw it down at him. Her other palm was glued to the railing as she glided down the stairs toward him.

“I’ve gifts for you. You want to join me.” It wasn’t a question. He turned and held his forearm to her, which she automatically draped a hand over, despite all her efforts to will herself to stop obeying his commands.

“I most certainly do not.”

“But you will.”

“I will.” She breathed huskily before kicking him in the shin.

Ouch!

“Stop doing that!” She commanded. Blinking quickly now that he’d dropped his magic to reach and cup his aching shin.

“If you go upstairs, I’ll use it all night.”

“Fine.” She said tight lipped. One eyelid actually twitched; she had her eyes narrowed so tightly. Her hands worked in small fists. “What. Is it. You. Want.” She enunciated. Teeth gritted.

“I want you to try something.”

He took her hand, tentatively to see if she’d pull away. He coaxed his fingers under hers and unfolded one fist to lead her into the Dining Hall where he’d laid out a spread of fruits and sweets.

“What is this?”

“I want to know what you like.”

Her eyes scanned the table and he saw her little tongue dart out to lick her lips.

Good. She saw something she likes. His chest swelled.

“You’ve enjoyed nothing I’ve brought you thus far,” Though she had patiently tried all the delicacies he’d brought her. She’d shown nothing more than passing interest. “So, I’ve found some treats that are even more scarce to come by.”

“How?”

“My ship, the FireStar, drew port today.”

“You have a ship?” She gasped before her eyes narrowed and tone hardened. “Of course, you have a ship.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” He frowned.

“You have everything.”

“I don’t have you-yet.”

“Which is why you want me.”

“One of many, many reasons.” His eyes hungrily roved over her in the red silk. The shade selected by his careful eye to compliment her light complexion. “What’s wrong with a man desiring a woman.”

“You hold this woman prisoner.”

“We discussed terms for your freedom.”

“Terms I’ll never meet…”

Tell yourself what you must.

Keep your woman’s anger close. His chin hitched. You’ll need it.


“What would you like to try first?”

Her eyes slid from him to the table and to his delight, she began rounding it. Thoughtfully eyeing the food as she strolled along. Hand trailing over the wood surface and the rounded rims of the platters.

“Much of it I’ve tried afore.” She murmured.

“Really?” He frowned. “Most comes from the islands.”

“I came from an island.”

“You said you’d only been there awhile.”

“This is true…”

She picked up a softly furred peach. “What’s this one?”

“So, sweet.” He murmured. Nodding for her to take a bite.

She sunk in her even teeth and the sweet meat moistened her lips.

Bast felt a growl rumbling up his throat.

She noticed some tankards on the table. She peered in one and saw the rich, dark color of the wine. Tipping some into a wooden cup she lifted it for a sip.

“And what is this?”

“Strawberry wine.”

“Strawberry?” She murmured around a mouthful of the liquid. Her eyes went huge and she spat what was left of her third gulp back in the cup. Setting it down as though it burned her.

“What?” He frowned.

“Are you allergic?”

“In a sense.” She gave him a panicked look and her eyes skid to the door.

“No, don’t go.” He urged. “I did all this for you. Please stay and try some. You assured me you would.”

She gnawed her lip. Breath hitching, as she looked back at the glass of wine anxiously.

“What’s wrong with it?”

She frowned and her brow furrowed fearfully.

“What is it?” He rushed to her side. Taking her hands. To his surprise she let him grip her fingers, lightly stroking the knuckles with his thumb. “What can I do?”

She worried her lip and eyes roved his face as she tossed over what to do. Then abruptly her expression melted. Her head lolled back and when it dropped forward, her eyes were liquid. She licked away what remained of the wine on her lips and her head lowered. Eyes intent on him.

I know that look. He was startled. But I’ve never seen it on her.

Her lips parted breathlessly, damp and red from the drink. She slid one of her hands free to flatten against his chest. In less than a second it molded over his body trailing up. She stood on her toes to reach the back of his neck.

He noted faintly her smell had changed. Lending a more poignant sweetness to the air. Some hormone she released. A scent he liked.

What’s happening? He frowned at her. Feeling his pupils dilating as he stared at her. He shook his head trying to dispense that scent filling his nostrils like an aphrodisiac.

What is she doing to me?

How does she suddenly smell so good? Far better than wildflowers.

Standing on her toes she pulled his head down to her to brush his lips with hers.

He growled into her mouth and didn’t miss a beat, wrapping his arms around her waist to jerk her against him. Head sinking to her as her tongue darted to tease his lips. He took her mouth hungrily. Tasting the strawberry still on her.

Strawberry…He barely registered.

The kiss was wild, passionate and filled with abandon. Her hands roamed his chest and back as freely as his caressed over her. She was matching him touch for touch and his body was heatedly responding. Growing hot to the touch.

“You’re so warm.” She murmured against his mouth.

“Yea. You’re making me that way.”

“I want more…” She said greedily. Catching his bottom lip between her teeth and tugging lightly.

He reached up and caught the neckline of her dress. A heartbeat before wrenching it apart her hands landed on the back of his fists.

Eyes stormy and a panicked look written over her face she stood paralyzed. With a cry she fled the room, clutching her skirts to run up the stairs.

Staring after awestruck he numbly turned back to the table. He tilted the glass and peered in it, awestruck. She’d not drank enough to be intoxicated by the drink itself.

Strawberries. Somewhere in the back of his mind he was making a mental note to find more.

Wine. Berries. Pastries. Cakes. Jam. Anything I can get my hands on.

I’m going to need more. He turned and stared at the shadow of the stairs beyond the doorway. A slow methodical smile spreading across his face. Much more.

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