Dark skye, p.22
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       Dark Skye, p.22

         Part #15 of Immortals After Dark series by Kresley Cole
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Chapter 21

  Lanthe actually did feel the seeds of guilt. Seeing that memory of his had softened her toward him. And now that she’d acquitted him of all the things she’d once blamed him for, she found it difficult to hold on to the worst of her hatred. In fact, she could almost see herself and Thronos coming to an understanding, except for four things. He now hated her for his injuries. He hated her for the loss of “years and children. ” He treated her like a war prize. And he had a pathological level of jealousy and distrust. She would never convince him that his own brother had tried to kill her as a girl. She’d never convince him that she was more than a light-skirt, and she had zero tolerance for his slut-shaming. Yes, she understood his jealousy and anger better; didn’t mean she could accept his disgust. So why was she feeling an intense attraction to Thronos? Like right now, with his face set with determination, his wings enclosing her, and his scarred skin sheening with sweat. Those scars made him look hardened, as dangerous as he’d become. Which she found . . . sexy. And when she’d explored the marks, she’d noticed things about his body she hadn’t before. How smooth the unmarked areas of his tanned skin were. How sensitive his flesh was to her touch. How his muscles leapt to her fingers. His breeches had ridden low on his hips, and she’d realized he didn’t have a tan line. She’d always heard that Vrekeners frowned on nudity in any circumstances. Yet sometime when he’d been transitioning to immortality, he must have lazed naked in the sun. How intriguing. He’d said he’d had dreams about her every night. Had he thought of her as the sun kissed his rugged body? Her breaths shallowed as she imagined Thronos touching himself to fantasies of her. When she adjusted her position on his legs, he grated, “Melanthe, we need to make haste to find a portal. ” He looked like he was struggling not to stare at her damp cleavage—and failing. She glanced down, saw him stiffening. If she scooched a couple of inches closer, she’d be able to feel his swelling erection against her hip. “I’m on board with the idea now. ” Because the only thing she feared more than dragons and demonic hordes was getting pregnant by a Vrekener. Thronos was clever and unexpectedly sexy. If he ever managed to cut the insults . . . She couldn’t give this male several days to figure out her weaknesses. So she attempted to concentrate, to sense a portal amidst all this confusion on the mountain. Hunger and thirst made it even more difficult to focus. Plus her gold senses were pinging like crazy. She swiped her palm over her cheeks, but the gold dust was gone. Could she still be sensing that temple? “Anything?” She did feel the tiniest vibration of portal power, like an echo. “Maybe. I don’t know. ” “Try—harder. ” She glared at him. “Back—off,” she snapped, then regretted it immediately. Why was she being so adversarial with him? She wasn’t the type of female who always kept her cool, but she also didn’t go around provoking male anger, not with her history with men. So what if Thronos continued being a dick? It wasn’t like she was going to keep him; they didn’t need to hash out their problems and come to a grand understanding. She just needed to beguile him so she could get back to Rothkalina. If she beguiled him hard enough, he’d take her directly there! Back to enchanting. She leaned into him, inching closer to his erection. “Tell me a secret. ” “What?” “Whenever you’ve enclosed me like this, I’ve received a secret from you. ” “I don’t . . . why are you acting differently?” he asked, voice hoarse. Uncomfortable, Thronos? “You haven’t been around many females, have you?” He would have no clue how to find his footing with her—making her plan all the easier. It wasn’t even fair. Which was okay, since Sorceri only cared about fair play when it benefited them. Otherwise, they were not fans. “Females don’t belong on a battlefront, and I spend most of my time there, so no. ” Don’t belong? She and Sabine had been in the Pravus front line against an army of rebel vampires. Bite your new tongue, Lanthe, bite it! “But you’re with a female now, and she’s instituting a new rule. Under these wings, you have to tell me your secrets,” she said softly. “Consider this our confessional, the wing sauna of truth. ” A raised brow. “Wing sauna of truth? Peculiar sorceress. You always did have a fertile imagination. ” “I know something you could tell me. ” She trailed her finger down the slickened skin of his chest, dipping it just inside the waist of his breeches. He released a sharp breath. Puh. “Why does an angel like you have no tan line?” He coughed into a fist. “We don’t have roofs in the Air Territories, have no need of them because we’re above the clouds. As I told you, in the months of my transition, I was searching for you. Often I’d come home, shower, then pass out in bed before dressing again. ” “I would have liked to see that,” she said in all honesty. “What is this, Melanthe?” “This is me realizing we could die at any moment. It’s my responsibility as a sorceress to play out my best hand all the way up to the end. ” “Is that what I am to you? Another hand of cards you’ve been dealt?” Well, yes. “You know what I think? I think you’re surly because you didn’t get your peek earlier. Get me to safety, and I’ll show you anything you want to see. ” She eased her thighs open a touch. He sounded like he’d bitten back a groan. He shifted his position again, probably because his breeches were cutting off his circulation down there. “Don’t you have a private question for me?” she asked. “You told me you had sensual dreams about me when you slept. ” He narrowed his eyes. “Tell me, sorceress, was I scarred in those dreams?” He was reaching for his anger because it was familiar to him. Hating me is what he knows best. She’d chip away at that as well. “Yes, you were scarred. And I was kissing every one of them from top to bottom. You were so sensitive, but you craved more, your big body shuddering. ” He frowned at her. “You’re not . . . you’re not lying. ” “No. ” In a gruff tone, he said, “I would’ve thought a fickle Sorceri would find the marks distasteful. ” “Thronos, we have problems between us—gods, I know that—but lack of physical attraction is not one of them. ” A regrettable truth. The hope in his eyes almost made Lanthe lose her nerve with her plan. “You must have noticed our crackling sexual chemistry?” she asked. “I thought that was just the way one felt around a mate,” he admitted. “Yet you feel it for me as well. ” His brows drew together. “So why did you tell me I left you cold?” “I said I felt physical attraction. But I find it difficult to desire a male who insults and hurts me. ” Instead of addressing this, he said, “How many have you felt this chemistry with?” And here we go. “How many males have there been, Melanthe?” he asked in a quiet voice, as if he were bracing for her answer. “You’ll never get a number out of me. ” “Then it must be huge. ” “I’m more than just a number,” she pointed out. “Besides, it’s not only the number that’s bothering you; it’s the fact that I was with others after we’d met, and you couldn’t bed just as many. ” Bite your tongue! “Why couldn’t you have settled down with one? I know that some Sorceri wed for life. ” “Would you have preferred to find me in love with another male, happy, with ten children? Why, that would make me a virtuous woman! Would you kidnap a virtuous female for your own selfish needs? Would you separate her from her beloved husband and children?” He bit out a sound of frustration. “If our sexes were reversed, everyone would’ve expected me to take lovers. I would have been applauded for it. You would have been revered for your purity. And if I were a demon male like you, I would have bedded thousands, searching for my mate. You know”—she made air quotes—“attempting. ” That’s what demons called it when they had sex just to see if a female would break their demon seal. Though a demon could usually scent a female and know she was his mate, the only way to be a hundred percent sure was through intercourse. Baring his fangs, Thronos grated, “Have you been attempted by many demons, then?” “I’ve never been with one. ” He parted his lips, no doubt to call “untruth,” so she explained, “Like Vrekeners, the Sorceri stupidly think demons are savage. I didn’t know better until Sabine fell for Rydstrom. By the time I realized demons could be wildly attractive, I was l
ocked into celibacy for a year. ” “You find demons wildly attractive? I thought you were drawn to the more polished, slick liar sort. ” Right now she was drawn to seven-foot-tall males who simmered with pent-up lust and untapped carnality. “Hmm. Physically, I like—” “Straddle me,” he bit out. Her brows shot up. “I’m about to need my hands. ” Without question, she wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck yet again. He’d just latched onto the side of the mountain when the path disintegrated beneath them, rousing the dragons once more.
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