A Court of Mist and Fury Page 5

It was an effort not to tuck my hand beneath the table.

The tattoo on her brow was of midnight-blue ink—but somehow still fit, still accented the feminine dresses, the bright silver jewelry. Unlike the elegant brutality of mine.

“We could get you gloves,” she offered casually.

And that would send another message—perhaps to the person I so desperately hoped had forgotten I existed.

“I’ll consider it,” I said with a bland smile.

It was all I could do to keep from bolting before the hour was up and Ianthe floated to her own personal prayer room—a gift from Tamlin upon her return—to offer midday thanks to the Cauldron for our land’s liberation, my triumph, and Tamlin’s ensured dominance over this land.

I sometimes debated asking her to pray for me as well.

To pray that I’d one day learn to love the dresses, and the parties, and my role as a blushing, pretty bride.

I was already in bed when Tamlin entered my room, silent as a stag through a wood. I lifted my head, going for the dagger I kept on the nightstand, but relaxed at the broad shoulders, at the hallway candlelight gilding his tan skin and veiling his face in shadow.

“You’re awake?” he murmured. I could hear the frown in his voice. He’d been in his study since dinner, sorting through the pile of paperwork Lucien had dumped on his desk.

“I couldn’t sleep,” I said, watching his muscles shift as he moved to the bathing room to wash up. I’d been trying to sleep for an hour now—but each time I closed my eyes, my body locked up, the walls of the room pushed in. I’d gone so far as to throw open the windows, but … It was going to be a long night.

I lay back on the pillows, listening to the steady, efficient sounds of him preparing for bed. He kept his own quarters, deeming it vital for me to have my own space.

But he slept in here every night. I’d yet to visit his bed, though I wondered if our wedding night would change that. I prayed I wouldn’t thrash awake and vomit on the sheets when I didn’t recognize where I was, when I didn’t know if the darkness was permanent.

Maybe that was why he hadn’t pushed the issue yet.

He emerged from the bathing room, slinging off his tunic and shirt, and I propped myself on my elbows to watch as he paused at the edge of the bed.

My attention went right to the strong, clever fingers that unfastened his pants.

Tamlin let out a low snarl of approval, and I bit my bottom lip as he removed his pants, along with his undergarments, revealing the proud, thick length of him. My mouth went dry, and I dragged my gaze up his muscled torso, over the panes of his chest, and then—

“Come here,” he growled, so roughly the words were barely discernable.

I pushed back the blankets, revealing my already naked body, and he hissed.

His features turned ravenous while I crawled across the bed and rose up on my knees. I took his face in my hands, the golden skin framed on either side by fingers of ivory and of swirling black, and kissed him.

He held my gaze through the kiss, even as I pushed myself closer, biting back a small noise when he brushed against my stomach.

His callused hands grazed my hips, my waist, then held me there as he lowered his head, seizing the kiss. A brush of his tongue against the seam of my lips had me opening fully for him, and he swept in, claiming me, branding me.

I moaned then, tilting my head back to give him better access. His hands clamped on my waist, then moved—one going to cup my rear, the other sliding between us.

This—this moment, when it was him and me and nothing between our bodies …

His tongue scraped the roof of my mouth as he dragged a finger down the center of me, and I gasped, my back arching. “Feyre,” he said against my lips, my name like a prayer more devout than any Ianthe had offered up to the Cauldron on that dark solstice morning.

His tongue swept my mouth again, in time to the finger that he slipped inside of me. My hips undulated, demanding more, craving the fullness of him, and his growl reverberated in my chest as he added another finger.

I moved on him. Lightning lashed through my veins, and my focus narrowed to his fingers, his mouth, his body on mine. His palm pushed against the bundle of nerves at the apex of my thighs, and I groaned his name as I shattered.

My head thrown back, I gulped down night-cool air, and then I was being lowered to the bed, gently, delicately, lovingly.

He stretched out above me, his head lowering to my breast, and all it took was one press of his teeth against my nipple before I was clawing at his back, before I hooked my legs around him and he settled between them. This—I needed this.

He paused, arms trembling as he held himself over me.

“Please,” I gasped out.

He just brushed his lips against my jaw, my neck, my mouth.

“Tamlin,” I begged. He palmed my breast, his thumb flicking over my nipple. I cried out, and he buried himself in me with a mighty stroke.

For a moment, I was nothing, no one.

Then we were fused, two hearts beating as one, and I promised myself it always would be that way as he pulled out a few inches, the muscles of his back flexing beneath my hands, and then slammed back into me. Again and again.

I broke and broke against him as he moved, as he murmured my name and told me he loved me. And when that lightning once more filled my veins, my head, when I gasped out his name, his own release found him. I gripped him through each shuddering wave, savoring the weight of him, the feel of his skin, his strength.

For a while, only the rasp of our breathing filled the room.

I frowned as he withdrew at last—but he didn’t go far. He stretched out on his side, head propped on a fist, and traced idle circles on my stomach, along my breasts.

“I’m sorry about earlier,” he murmured.

“It’s fine,” I breathed. “I understand.”

Not a lie, but not quite true.

His fingers grazed lower, circling my belly button. “You are—you’re everything to me,” he said thickly. “I need … I need you to be all right. To know they can’t get to you—can’t hurt you anymore.”

“I know.” Those fingers drifted lower. I swallowed hard and said again, “I know.” I brushed his hair back from his face. “But what about you? Who gets to keep you safe?”

His mouth tightened. With his powers returned, he didn’t need anyone to protect him, shield him. I could almost see invisible hackles raising—not at me, but at the thought of what he’d been mere months ago: prone to Amarantha’s whims, his power barely a trickle compared to the cascade now coursing through him. He took a steadying breath, and leaned to kiss my heart, right between my breasts. It was answer enough.

“Soon,” he murmured, and those fingers traveled back to my waist. I almost groaned. “Soon you’ll be my wife, and it’ll be fine. We’ll leave all this behind us.”

I arched my back, urging his hand lower, and he chuckled roughly. I didn’t quite hear myself speak as I focused on the fingers that obeyed my silent command. “What will everyone call me, then?” He grazed my belly button as he leaned down, sucking the tip of my breast into his mouth.

“Hmm?” he said, and the rumble against my nipple made me writhe.

“Is everyone just going to call me ‘Tamlin’s wife’? Do I get a … title?”

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