On the day of his marriage, Amara had been timid, a fearful being who ducked her head and stole glances at him. He had decided he liked her then, her red eyes wary yet curious, her lips pressed as her hands fiddled with nervous energy. An arrangement though it was, Damien knew in that moment that he was the one with the upper hand here. He had known then that he had caught a phoenix in the skin of a mortal, a rarity that was a benediction he appreciated even after her death.
Behind Amara's wariness he had sensed her fierce nature, a handful woman she had been, but she was his to bear and he loved looking after her.
As she had slipped the ring on his finger, he had noticed how fairer she was than him, and when he had lifted the veil to kiss her, with a surprising strength she had met him in the eye. Only to drop her stare when she was unable to be unmoved by his dominance. He did not kiss her until she raised her eyes again, and when she did, he gave her a hint of a smile and gently pecked her lips with his fingers tilting her chin up.
The same night, after the dance and the reception, when he had taken her to his chambers, she had noticed everything about his room with awe sparkling her eyes and her lips parted at all the wealth displayed. Amara had never seen anything like the royal palace before and all was justified since he loved the expression on her face.
"What's caught your attention, Your Majesty?" she turned around at him, her lips parted a little as she shook her eyes.
With the stupid smile still stuck on his face, his eyes roamed on her sharp features, her arched eyebrows that framed her red eyes that were a shade or two lighter than him, indicating her breeding.
"Nothing, Your Highness."
He stalked to her with his hands in the pockets of his finely tailored pants, with calm and sure strides he went to his wife, his wife- he reveled in calling her his own. When he was near her, she did not meet his eyes, but though he sensed her nervousness he felt no fear coming off her.
His hand went into her hair, fingers weaving through her long strands as he tilted her head up and lowered his lips on her mouth. The kiss shared behind the closed doors was intimate, unlike their first one shared at the wedding. With his other hand going around her waist, he had taken a step closer to her instead of pulling her to him. She had kissed him back hesitantly, but he had spent the night robbing her of that wariness and discomfort, and had spent the following days in turning her shameless in his presence.
A few weeks later, his Amara had belonged to him in the true sense of the word, the way partners were meant to be, sharing hidden smiles and lustful gazes. He had given her a taste of sexual intimacy, and once those boundaries had been crossed, the hunger to be together always remained unsated.
And he had been right, beneath the outer layer of unease was a bold woman who was fierce and open about her desires and a woman strong of will who never backed down.
Looking across from where he sat, he berated himself for feeling what he did for her. She was the complete opposite of Amara, a moon to the sun that his wife had been, and yet, the pull that he felt to her was undeniable.
Amara had straight hair, Elle had a nest of curls for hair. His wife had been mature and tolerant, the woman before him was clumsy and impulsive. Amara's body fit against him perfectly, a small waist shaped by a corset and breasts that got easily covered by his palm, her ass too. Elle? He knew how soft she was even though he hadn't touched her yet. Corset was something she had clearly not bothered with and her bosom was more than generous as it strained against her gown. A body to lust after, a body that men had written about in their stories as a product of foul imagination.
Probably that was what fueled his attraction? Maybe indeed his brain had receded and he was thinking from his cock than his rationality?
Whatever be the reason, his Amara had been his sunlight, everything that had lit his world and life. Since she had gone, not a speck of brightness had warmed his cold heart. Until Elle had come in the day following her interview, and made him genuinely smile for the very first time since Amara's departure with her klutzy behavior.
So was it entertainment that he sought? That which she provided unconsciously with her childish nature?
His thought process was broken when the carriage came to a halt. Naturally, when the door was opened, he was the first to step out. Followed by Orion who gave Elle his hand.
Elle lost her breath as she watched the decorated mansion, she had lived for a few years in Milford's mansion but being a guest at a party as opposed to being a maid busied in preparations gave her a different perspective. Orion offered her his elbow and she took it with a smile on her face.
That smile left her face as her eyes darted to Damien, and found him glaring at them. Had she again managed to offend him in some way?
She gulped and looked back at the carved wooden doors with the gilded symbols of their aristocratic bloodline. And as she proceeded with Orion behind Damien, for some reason her eyes went to his broad shoulders that moved as he walked, the ones that were now covered in his suit coat. She gulped at the wave of heat that made her core bloom and tingle, her stomach warm and electrified, and then the heat spread throughout her. She blinked and shook her head.
The sight of even his shoulders called forth the womanly instincts and desires that ley dormant within her. Why was it happening?
Once inside the doors, a butler was standing to collect the outer coats of those who were sporting them, and for a moment Orion excused his hand from her to remove his coat.
Even when they had crossed through the vestibule and into the huge hall with paintings of warriors and beautiful women, the walls and pillars that had designs at the top and the bottom. The windows that looked out were an easy indication to the nightly creature's choices. The eight pane stained glass windows were something that she had read in horror books. And yet the circles and arches of the windows at the tops still caught her eye, the windows were set into walls of stone bricks that gave an impression of power and strength.
The pillars were likewise carved with vertically growing vines and floral patterns what made her want to touch them, feel the ridges and patterns. The Aubusson carpet that looked so smooth and soft she wondered whether her feet would be engulfed if she stepped on it.
The sofas and the seats were covered in plush red cushions and covers, they too looked as though of the softest of the silk. The wooden frames of all the furniture was likewise sculpted and carved, her minute examination was stalled by a hand on her back, urging her ahead. She looked up at the hand and to Orion, he still had a smile on his face, but his eyes were going over a woman who was busy talking to a man who was covered in gold. His lust radiated off him and she rolled her eyes at that.
"I see you fancy the architectural traits?" he asked her, his eyes still on the woman, and when the woman threw a gander at him, he winked at her. She blushed and turned to the person who was entertaining her.
"I do, but I just like to notice. But I believe you'll be having a taste of what you are fancying at the moment." He looked down at her with a smirk on his handsome face.
"Indeed. But you'd like to look up now."
And she did, to lose all her conscience at the sight of the high ceiling with the crystal chandelier that was lit by candles, it was set in a ceiling rose that spread outwards in delicate swirls, arches and petals.
Indeed, she did like the architecture.