- The Darkest Craving
His tongue stroked over her collarbone, before delving lower and playing at her breasts. All the while, his hands expertly shucked the rest of her clothing, leaving her completely bare. And then, his hands were free to dabble elsewhere...everywhere.
Every silken touch and wanton caress, soft here, harder there, reminded her of his inexorable power over her. He could take her to heights she’d never dreamed possible.
“I won’t show you any mercy,” he vowed.
“I don’t want your mercy.”
“What do you want?”
“You. Only you.”
He was in the process of kissing her inner thigh. At her words, he looked up at her. Heat filled his eyes. “You have me.” He swooped back up, meshing his mouth into hers, his tongue sweeping inside, claiming, dominating. “I’m yours.”
After that, he lost his leisurely pace. He lost his gentleness, too.
He fumbled with the waist of his pants; the very second the material gaped open, he was inside her, her back arching as pleasure speared her.
“Tell me,” he commanded as he moved, lines of tension branching from his eyes.
She knew what he wanted. “I love you.”
Her words were like fuel to an already raging fire. He became a man possessed by need, only need, rough and wonderful, driving her higher and higher, until all she could do was scream her pleasure.
He roared with his.
But even after he’d collapsed on top of her, he still wasn’t done with her. He rose up on his elbows and peered down at her. Need still blazed in his eyes. Panting, she watched as sweat trickled from his temples.
“More,” he said, and stoked her desire all over again.
* * *
“I FOUND YOU a dress,” Kane said a long while later. He tugged on his pants. “Will you wear it for me?”
Josephina watched him, her sated body still humming with pleasure. “Of course.”
“Good. Meet me in the throne room in an hour.” He blew her a kiss before leaving her alone.
Only then did she realize he’d never offered his own declaration of love. He loved her, though. She knew he did.
But she wanted his admission. I’ll have to step up my game.
Draped over the corner chair, she found a beautiful ball gown made of the most delicate blue fabric. Not even Synda had ever worn anything so fine. Josephina showered and brushed her teeth, then trembled as she dressed. She took special care with her hair, pinning the sides at the crown of her head.
The only flaw to her appearance was the gash in her cheek. Kane had knocked her out and sewn it up himself, and though he’d placed a flesh-colored bandage over it, it was noticeable.
Down the stairs she went, no guards or servants in sight. Only the leaders had been imprisoned in the dungeon with the royal family. The rest of the army and staff had sworn allegiance to Josephina last night.
She reached the throne room and found Kane waiting for her just outside the doors. He’d changed his clothes, and now wore a clean, pressed white shirt and black slacks. His hair was brushed, the wounds he’d received during battle already healing.
He smiled when he spotted her. A real smile, full of light and heat. “You look beautiful.”
“Thank you. But why—”
He pushed open the doors. “Your coronation. And wedding. It’s two-for-one day at Chez Fae.”
The remaining members of the high and low court had been gathered together and bound at the wrists and ankles. Though many looked as if they wanted to shout at her, all remained silent. Had they been threatened by Kane?
Her gaze skidded back to him. “Wait. Did you say wedding? Because we’re already married.”
“It wasn’t a ceremony you remember or even liked. So, I’m giving you another.” He offered her the hook of his elbow. “Ready?”
This man had to love her. Trembling, she accepted, and he led her forward.
That’s when she saw...oh, my, but I married a darling man. There was Maddox, with the beautiful Ashlyn. The babies were...nowhere that she could see. There was Lucien, with the vivacious Anya. Reyes, with the talented Danika. The young Gilly was at Danika’s side. Sabin, with the pint-size Gwen. Aeron, with the angelic Olivia and bombshell Legion. There was Gideon, with the fierce Scarlet. Amun, with the glowing Haidee. Strider, with the fiery Kaia. Paris, though he was minus the powerful Sienna.
Each warrior nodded at her encouragingly. Each female smiled at her. Joy broke through a dam erected in her childhood, flooding her.
“Don’t worry about the Opulens,” Kane said. “Their knowledge of my past is actually quite handy. They fear what will happen if I’m upset.”
“Well, they hate me.”
“They’ll grow to adore you. They won’t be able to help themselves.”
Kane stopped in front of the king’s throne and faced Josephina. He cupped her cheeks. He wasted no time, saying, “I, Kane, promise to take care of you for as long as I live. I promise to put your needs above my own, and compliment you every chance I get. I promise to make you smile at least once a day. And I promise to be yours. Only ever yours.”
This is really happening. Light-headed, she managed to squeak out, “I, Josephina—Tink—Aisling, promise to take care of you. I promise to weather any storms the demon causes, to always value your strength. Anytime I decide to go to war, you’ll be the first person I call.” She stuck her tongue out at his friends, and each of the warriors grinned. “Now and forever, I belong to you.”
Kane leaned down and kissed her, and it wasn’t the sweet kiss she’d been expecting. He gave her tongue and heat and passion, taking and giving, pouring desire into her, drinking desire from her.
The world faded away—until the loud cheers of his friends jolted her back to awareness. Kane lifted his head, and grinned down at her.
“You’re still sure about how you feel?” he asked.
He peered into her eyes. “Good. Because you’re it for me, Tinker Bell, Tink, Tinky Dink. My one. My only. My everything. My mine.” He rubbed the tip of his nose against hers. “And guess what?”
“What?” Any more goodness, and she would burst.
“The magnitude of what I feel for you has drained the fight right out of the demon. He’s gone quiet.”
Her heart soared at the thought—Kane was finally free. They both were. “Oh, Kane. That’s so wonderful.”
“It is,” he said, though he smiled sadly. He stepped to the side before she could question him.
Someone moved in behind her and settled something heavy on her head. She almost looked up. Almost. But realization struck and she managed to remain perfectly still. The royal crown was now upon her head, a symbol of power and position. And now, now she was to be ruler of these people, the driving force of an entire race.
She wasn’t strong enough on her own. She wasn’t wise enough. What if she made the wrong decision? Lives could be lost. Sickness churned in her stomach, and she fought the urge to run away. She hadn’t been made for this kind of responsibility. Wasn’t sure she could carry it...
“Your queen,” Kane announced.
But she had to do it, didn’t she?
* * *
KANE TOOK A moment to look past the negative he’d caused and focus on the positive. He’d fallen in love. He’d married the finest woman in creation. He’d helped her claim her rightful place.
He’d finally defeated Disaster. Soon, the demon would die.
And soon after that, Kane would follow.
Danika had finally gotten something wrong. Her painting wasn’t going to be an issue. White—if White had been the blonde, and he thought now that she had been—was dead.
That meant the Moirai had been wrong, too, just as Tink had predicted. White wasn’t going to end up with the man who would start the apocalypse. She wasn’t going to end up with anyone at all.
All of their choices had changed the course of their lives.
But he wasn’t going to think about any of that right now. Nothing mattered but Tink. Twice he’d taken her without a condom. She could be pregnant, even now.
Longing made him ache—the best kind of ache. He wanted to have children with her. He wanted to be around to raise them.
Another impossible dream.
He had to make sure she was prepared for anything. Everything.
The Opulens had been ushered outside the palace, promised death if they so much as thought to form another revolt. Tink sat on the center throne, her faux smile still frozen in place. He saw the terror in her eyes, and knew the weight of her new responsibilities was only beginning to become clear. She would triumph, however; he had no doubts. She was finally beginning to realize her worth.
Anya and the other women raced up to speak with her. His friends approached him, and formed a circle around him.
“My queen is better than your queen,” Paris said, punching him in the arm good-naturedly.
Kane rolled his eyes. “There’s no queen better than mine.”
“Want to bet?”
“Yeah. I do.” Kane liked and respected Sienna—she’d done good things for the Titans since taking the throne, and she was helping Torin out of a bind as they spoke—but she was no Tink.
“Loser has to wear a dress to Anya’s wedding.”
I’ll most likely be dead. Still he said, “You’ve got a deal.”
Maddox nudged him. “You’re going to stay here, aren’t you?”
The group went quiet.
Kane nodded. “I’m staying. Tink’s needed here, and I’m going to help her settle in.” It would be his last work on this earth.
He hated that he would be leaving her to deal with the war he’d helped ignite. He hated that he would be leaving his friends all over again. He told himself they would all be better off without him—but that didn’t make the goodbyes any easier.
Reyes pushed out a heavy breath. “It’s good that you’re helping her. Family comes first.”