Hatred for Men
The next evening dragged on. A breeze coasted through Elsabet’s room. Rejuvenating the gold flakes pouring horizontally across the walls.
Too weak to do much, she turned her head to trace their movements. Even that small action made her groan, putting a hand to her forehead. Blinking heavily, she fought off unconsciousness. Levelling her gaze on Lord Bodane who appeared in the doorway. Wearing a teal tunic, the same color as the penetrating gaze searing through her.
“What do you want now?” Head heavy, she slumped further into the pillows. Eyeing him passively.
It’s the first time she’s looked at me without distaste twisting her face.
She’s too tired. She won’t last long if she doesn’t eat.
Seeing how deathly pale she was, he suffered a pang of remorse. She was surrounded by dead curling feathers. Molting.
He’d thought being a creature rather than a mortal she’d have more endurance, but he was finding her surprisingly fragile.
Chavias said food was important. But I didn’t realize…
He’d not counted on the bird part of her needing to metabolize sustenance at a substantial rate to keep her alive.
“Admit it or nay Harpie, you’ve been bested.” He sighed. “It’s time you eat.”
“You think starving me makes you a conqueror?” Scoffing she shook her head and looked away.
Bast was duly shamed. “Is it more infuriating that it is a man that keeps you?” He moved to sit on the edge of her bed. His face absent any mocking. There was genuine sensitivity in his gaze.
He didn’t miss the blood red flash of her eyes. But her face was impossible to read.
Her study extended.
He was reluctant to peer into her mind for fear of seeing the pain she was suffering.
She was pale and ill while his tawny skin glowed with life. His gold mane catching meager light slivering in between the curtains. He wore a shirt ruffled at the neck and cuffs. The fabric laced together over his collarbone and well-toned chest. Hanging loosely around his torso. The Dragon Eye pendant winking at her from beneath the strings.
He saw her eyes light on it.
“I retrieved it from the pond.” He explained.
He caught her wetting her lips and his brows lifted. “Thinking about making me your next meal, are you Little Harpie?”
“Absolutely.” Her tone was sinister.
“Funny.” He tapped his lips. “I thought valkyrie only eat small animals?”
Startled she reared back into the pillow.
“How do I know?” He read her thoughts. “I’ve been reading.”
“Not everything you read about us is true.” Her tone was dry.
“So, I’m incorrect?”
Lips tightening, she looked to the side table.
“As I thought.” He commented. “Tell me, do your fingertips ever itch to know what my skin feels like? To fist in my hair? Because mine certainly urges to feel yours.”
Her eyes widened before she glowered darkly. “You’ve no place rummaging in my thoughts.”
“I was merely asking. I thought a valkyrie would be immune from such thoughts?”
She gnashed her teeth. Eyes flashing from red to blue to red again.
“If you wish to touch me. Do so.” He offered her his chest. “I beg of you.” But there was no pleading in his voice. The challenging lift of his brows combined with his seductive half smile as he offered her his skin. Unlacing his shirt, he opened it, exposing his collar and well-muscled chest.
Her eyes fell to the sparkling chain dangling from his neck. To rest along his defined sternum.
Face dissolving into a frown he drew back from her. “Ah. Your greed overwhelms even your womanly urges.”
“I’ve no woman’s wants.”
“We’ll see.” He murmured thoughtfully as he rose from the edge of her bed.
“You’re my enemy.”
“Keep your woman-beast shrieking inside of you, if it gives you comfort. But ask yourself, what is it really protecting you from?” He turned to leave but her fury radiated in an explosion that blew off the bedcovers. Sending them flying over the floor. And caused the walls of WaterRose to shiver.
A glance over his shoulder revealed she was oblivious in her weakened state. Too weak to even care about anything more than her personal frustration.
He heard her thoughts. Saw what she felt. The sense that she’d failed a man called Iceron was ever-present.
And bothers me. Why does she care what this man thinks?
This man she thought of as the Prince of Air and Darkness. And the Realms of Night and Day…Someone whose praise she sought.
A man. That thought was an unwelcome annoyance.
Before he walked away, he leaned over and pressed his fingertips against her bottom lip. Sending a surge of energy into her that pinkened her cheeks. Colored her hair with life and brightened her eyes as she blinked faster.
He injected sustenance into her with a mere thought.
She sighed contentedly and fell into a sated slumber.
Straightening, Bast studied her beautiful face. She looked so innocent in sleep. Dark lashes dense against the pale perfection of her cheeks. She’s stunning.
There’d probably been a time when men fell at her feet. Was that how she destroyed them? Using herself as bait?
He grunted and turned to leave the chamber.
To his surprise her hand shot out and caught his wrist. “Thank you.” She murmured.
His brows lifted but before he could respond her breathing had deepened again and her hand dropped from his.
But that small touch sent shockwaves through him. Making his magic heighten and his vision blur slightly. As he breathed. Power coursing through him in billowing currents.