The Queen in Shadows

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Chapter 27

The next week passes with painfully tense, uneventful days. We’re all walking on eggshells, like we’re waiting for a bomb that isn’t going off.

Mercer is slowly, carefully trying to get a feel for which vampires from the now, disbanded counsel would be on our side if it comes to a physical fight for the throne.

Phoenix and I are using this time, however uncomfortable, to soak up every minute together.

“Do you want to go for a walk?” He asks as we lay, wrapped around each other, in bed.

“I would love that,” I smile up at his disheveled bedhead.

“I want to take you somewhere,” he grins at me before standing and pulling me out of bed with him. “Get dressed, I’m going to go pack some food to bring along.”

I pull on the black clothes he had Celine make for me. He explained that he wears black because he hates the color coded uniform system. I’ll admit that I rather like wearing black with him.

As I reach the bottom steps he comes from the kitchen. “You look beautiful, Ellie.”

“So do you,” I smile up at him. A light shade of pink tints his cheeks. “Phoenix are you blushing?”

He turns his face away from me quietly whispering “no!”

“Yes! You are! I can’t believe this. You’re the most handsome man in the world. Surely, you’ve heard that a time or two.”

“It’s different when you say it,” he nudges my shoulder as we walk down the stairs to the courtyard, “leave me alone.”

“Phoenix !” I stop two steps above him so that I’m eye level with him and grab him by the shoulders, “you’re absolutely without a doubt the most beautifully handsome man I’ve ever seen. Everything about you is physically perfect. What’s even better is that you have the kindest heart of anyone I know. You’re inside exceeds your outside, however impossible that seems. That’s the honest truth.”

He leans forward, kissing me, softly but intensely. When we pull apart to catch our breath he smiles his perfect smile.

“Thank you.”

“I meant every word, I swear it. So handsome and completely mine,” I wink as I bounce past him, down the steps.

He takes me by the hand and leads me down the trail to the courtyard where the trolley is waiting.

“No Sloane today,” he explains “we’re staying on the grounds and I want you all to myself.”

I recognize that he is driving me toward the forest we walked in the day I met his mother. Instead of stopping he continues until the road becomes a dirt path. Branches brush up against the sides of the trolley on the small path. He reaches over, protectively, and slides me closer to him on the trolley seat, pulling me further from the open side.

I lay my head on his shoulder, completely content to be in the forest with him.

We pull up to a small clearing and he stops the trolley.

“We have to walk from here.”

I slide out of the trolley and we walk hand-in-hand down an even smaller path. After several minutes we come to a large lake.

“Phoenix ! this is beautiful!” I say unable to contain my smile.

He points to a small dock, “Let’s go sit there and eat breakfast.”

I skip next to him like a happy child.

We sit in comfortable silence eating the eclairs that he packed, our feet dangle over the side of the dock above the clear blue water.

“When it gets warmer out we’ll come here to swim,” he says quietly, “it was one of my favorite things to do as a child.”

“I can’t wait,” I whisper.

Making plans for the future feels overly confident. It seems bold to assume that I will be in a position to come and swim leisurely in a lake in a few months time.

Despite myself, I’m still cautiously optimistic. Something inside of me feels like everything will be ok, that we can weather the storm together and come out on the other side mostly unscathed.

We spend the next several hours walking around the lake, talking about the different plants and flowers, skipping stones. We savor the quiet together. I know where we are, in the middle of the castle grounds, but it feels like we’re miles away from anyone. Almost like we’re the only two people left in the world. I can’t wait to bring him to my lake one day. The thought overjoys my wolf.

We walk back to the trolley slowly, dragging our feet, fully aware that our bubble is about to burst.

He pulls me off the path, gently pressing me against a tree, trapping me there with his body.

He places hot, wet kisses over my neck. I squirm beneath him, anxious for what is coming. Whatever the connection is between us it allows him to know my body. He can sense everything that I want and need.

He shifts his hips forward and I feel him against my stomach. Something about him being hard and ready makes me excited. I relish the effect I have on him.

His lips are everywhere, licking and sucking on my skin. I whimper softly and it spurs him on, his movements becoming faster and more desperate. He pushes himself against me, sending waves of pleasure through my core.

“Fuck, I want you so bad, baby,” he groans as he pushes himself against me.

I slide my hand down his hard chest and rub him. He twitches in my hand as I work it over his pants, up and down.

“I want you too,” I moan into his mouth.

He steps back, desperately ripping at our clothes. I feel the same intense need, I pull at our clothes, helping him remove all the barriers between us. He lifts me up, holding me against his chest.

I move his swollen tip through my wetness and stop at my entrance, holding him there.

He groans and sinks into me, pushing himself all the way in with one fast stroke.

The sun beats down on my face, warming my skin.

He moves slowly at first, thrusting his hips deliberately, massaging me so deeply I moan loudly into the air.

"Fuck,” he groans loudly as he begins to pick up the pace.

I claw at his back, scratching his skin. If it caused him any pain he seemed to enjoy it.

He starts to piston his hips quickly, slamming into me roughly, my body pressed painfully into the tree.

If he cares at all about anyone seeing or hearing us he doesn’t show it. He groans loudly into the air, moaning my name against my skin.

The tightness in my abdomen is unbearable, I rock my hips up to meet his, trying to release the pressure.

“Phoenix, please,” I beg.

He sucks on my neck and sparks shoot through my body. I feel the tension release finally, the ache disappearing into pleasure. My body writhes beneath his as he chokes out a shaky moan, emptying himself with several long spurts.

He pulls away from my neck and kisses me softly, “Fuck, I love you,” he whispers hoarsely into the kiss.

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