CASPIUS WASN’T SURe how he managed to keep himself together. She was right there. She was within reach. She was his. He could have her if he wanted to. Yet, her sleep was so much more important than his tempered lust.
He sat at the edge of his bed, contemplating every thought that came to his mind. She was all that came to his mind. Every memory was suddenly filled with her, and he couldn’t begin to explain it.
Lily hadn’t even been around for a full day, yet somehow she was engraved in everything he thought about. Caspius looked down at her.
Her ebony curls laid fray against his pillows, blending with the black gossamer pillow covers. She was truly beautiful. The longer he stared at her, the more about her he noticed.
Her lips were lush and full. However, it appeared she had chewed on them for long periods of time. He could see little bite marks healing on the sensitive flesh and the blood that had dried there what seemed an eternity ago.
Lily was far more fragile than he could ever imagine. If she was capable of harming herself—even as minutely as this was—while under stress or out of fear, he wondered how she would handle the stress of ruling their kingdom.
Caspius traced a finger over the slight fullness of her belly. The heat of her body was enough to penetrate his blankets.
Lily’s eyes drifted apart, their hazel depths enough to make a man crazy. “I can sense your stress.” Broken as she was, there was room enough in her heart to care for strangers. “Are you okay?” Lily sat up.
“I’m fine,” he brushed her off. Caspius pulled his hand back to his side. He pressed his lips together.
“That’s the oldest lie in the book,” she giggled. “Come on, tell me what’s wrong. You claim I’m your mate. Well, tell your mate what’s wrong with you.” She was a smart little thing, he had to give her that.
Still, Caspius knew how she handled stress. He wasn’t going to let her go through that. “It’s none of your concern. Sleep.” He laid her down and tucked her back in.
Lily shook her head. “No.” Her features hardened and the spark in her eyes died. She appeared almost hollow.
Lily started fidgeting with her hands. She chewed on her bottom lip again, cutting open an old wound. She licked at the little beads of blood forming.
“Your lips.” He pressed his thumb to her chin, forcing her to look at him. Caspius flattened a palm on the bed. “You’re bleeding.” Slowly, he dipped in. He licked a new bead of blood. By the gods, her blood was just as sweet and floral as her scent.
He watched her swallow, hard. “You,” she softly moaned. Her eyes drifted to half mass.
Caspius lingered. “Forgive me.” He licked at her lips again. She was addictive. “I couldn’t help myself.”
Lily traced a fingertip down his chest. “I..” She seemed to dip a little closer. Lily was trembling. “You’re so close.”
“I can be closer, if you’d like.” Caspius waited for a response from her. He would respect her needs. He would let her have complete control. She needed it.
Caspius could feel his length hardening. Growing. It yearned to be between her legs. It wanted to be home—inside of her. But he couldn’t let it happen.
Lily closed the distance between them. Their lips collided, a white hot intensity consuming them. Her arms wrapped around him, holding him hostage.
She pressed into him, consuming more of him. This woman, she was full of passion. Full of heat—heat that pulsed off of her in waves. She pushed her tongue past his lips.
Caspius met him halfway. Their tongues tangled with one another, demanding dominance over the other. Fuck. He felt her nails sink into his back. It stung wonderfully.
Lily briefly pulled away, locking eyes with him. “Fuck.” She dived back into him. She wrapped her legs around him, and her hot core met his growing steel.
Caspius couldn’t let her know the ache. He nudged her back onto the bed, pulling away from her altogether. “Stop.”
He looked down at her. She was panting, her chest inflating and deflating in rapid rhythm. Her lips were plump and swollen from his kiss. Her pupils were dilated with lust. Fuck. She was a sight to behold.
Claim her. His beast demanded. Mark her pretty flesh. It was growling with untethered anger.
Her eyes went wide, and she scooted away from him as quickly as she could. “Your face.” Lily’s hand covered her mouth. Tears welled in her eyes. She swallowed.
It didn’t occur to him that his beast was making itself known to her. It scared her, and he hated that she was afraid of him.
She reached out to touch him. “What is—.” Lily’s eyes studied him. Her fingertips ran over his skin. “It’s beautiful.” Lily crawled towards him. “Does it hurt?”
Caspius looked at her in amazement. “It did at first. Now, I’m unbothered.” He shrugged his shoulders.
So soft. His beast purred, burying itself back into its cave. It stayed there.
“It’s gone.” Lily rubbed her thumb over his cheek, nibbling on her lip.
“If you keep biting your lip like that, I won’t be able to control myself,” Caspius warned. She stopped, and he was able to settle a little bit more.
“I’m sorry. I don’t normally do things like that.” Her cheeks were flushed red. “I’m not like this.”
“I rather enjoyed it.” Caspius pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Next time will be much slower.” He gave her a chaste kiss on her lips, doing his best not to linger.
“Next time?” Her brows furrowed together. She looked down, as if thinking about something. “The voices tell me to stay away from you and your friends. That you’re bad people.” Lily swallowed.
“The voices?” If she weren’t a seer, Caspius would have thought she was a little crazy. “Shouldn’t you form your own opinions about your mates?”
“Mates? As in more than one?” She went pale.
Caspius didn’t realize he’d dropped that ball on her. If she wasn’t comfortable with the idea of one mate, she definitely wouldn’t be okay with having three of them. “You met the other two. We are a packaged deal, destined to share one mate.”
She shook her head, wrapping her arms around herself. “N-no. No!” She was shaking. “No!” Suddenly, she seemed to gasp for air. Lily rolled into a ball on the other side of the bed.
The distance between them felt like miles. Caspius didn’t realize that a bond with his mate would be so powerful. He didn’t expect for it to have this type of effect, yet it did. “Are you okay?”
She started shaking even harder, whispering under her breath. Her head shook.
Hold her, tight. His beast whispered. Don’t let her be alone.
Caspius walked to the other side of the bed and crouched beside her. “Lily, come.” He pulled her into his arms. “It’s okay,” he cooed to her. He held her close and tight. “Breathe.”
Caspius didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know how to handle something like this. His interactions with mortal emotions were little to none. This? This was catastrophic.
He could feel a ripple of pain go throughout her. He could sense her misery, her worries, her sorrow all bundled in one. It consumed her. Devoured her.
Still, Caspius held her close, and tight. He stroked her head, and whispered sweet nothings into her ear. He gave her a few kisses on her forehead, waiting for her to settle. She didn’t.
Her pent up emotions seemed to explode all at once. The room shook, fragments of ceiling crumbling to the floor. Cracks formed on the walls. Suddenly, all at once, she screamed.
A pulse of psychic energy erupted for her. He felt it rush through his body, and for the briefest moment he got an image of her darkest torments. It made him wonder how she wasn’t crumbling at her foundations.
“Holy fuck!” The bedroom door slammed open. Donte and Elias stormed into the room. They started towards them, and she screamed again. Another pulse of psychic energy was released.
Donte and Elias fell to their knees at the sheer force of the tremor. They looked sick to their stomachs, and he knew they’d seen what he had.
“Lily,” Caspius whispered into her ear. “You need to calm down, beautiful.” He held her closer. “Relax,” he purred to her. He growled, low and soft, letting the sound vibrate in his chest.
Her cries and screams turned to whimpers. She buried her head into his chest. Gods, he could feel how her tears soaked his shirt. She let out a broken sigh, as she slowly relaxed into him.
“What the hell! This place can’t handle another tremor like that. Keep your pet under control,” Donte snarled. His eyes glowed their unholy red.
“I am your mate,” Lily started. Her words were broken and shaky. “I am your mate, yet you think of me as a pet or as food. I fear what you think of your enemies.” She fisted Caspius’s shirt, trying to get even closer to him.
Donte rose to his knees. “You bring me no status, and no power. I have no desire for you, nor will I ever.” He stepped towards her. “You’re not worthy to be my mate.”
Lily nibbled on her lip, releasing another bead of blood. Caspius saw a minor shift in Donte’s posture. “Or maybe you’re not worthy of me. After all, why would I want to be with a narcissistic, power-hungry, cold-hearted fiend that wouldn’t know strength if it slapped him in the face.”
Before Caspius could react, Donte had Lily dangling in the air by her throat. He squeezed a little tight on her airway. She seemed unphased.
“See.” Lily wrapped her fingers around his wrist. He watched her blue eyes glow, intensifying. It made him wonder if she’d activated her powers intentionally. What does she see?
“You overstep your boundaries,” Donte said, dropping Lilly.
She scrambled backwards. “You used to be so gentle. Did she truly ruin you that badly?” She pushed a curl out of her face.
“Shut-up!” Anger stirred in his eyes.
Caspius looked over to Elias. He knew what was to come. They both knew what was to come.
“Olivia, broke you.” The glow of her eyes died out.
Donte’s fangs were deep into her neck, ripping into tender flesh. Lily screamed in pain. She tried to push him off, tried to get away, but couldn’t. His body engulfed her, and caged her in. He would feast upon her until she was drained.
Elias wrapped his tail around Donte’s throat, and pulled him off. It wasn’t often that he dared to show the limb, but when he did, he meant business. Elias placed his fingers on his temples, whispering to Donte until he succumbed to sleep.
Caspius scooped Lily up into her arms. He applied pressure to her wound, worry enveloping him. “Silly girl. Why would you incite his anger? You had to have known. You touched him.”
“The voices said, the only way out was death,” She choked through blood.
A void consumed him entirely. She chose death over her mates. They would crumble to ruins faster than they could get her to accept them. She would be their eternal ruin.
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