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Blood Crown: Chapter 20

Ashera

I was struggling to wrap my head around the idea that it wasn’t just me anymore. Mal and I had been a team for as long as I could remember, since that fateful day he nearly ran me over in Cresta like the dick he was back then. We’d had each other’s backs, celebrated wins, and mourned losses together. But this was different. My skin was marked with the love and respect of these strong men, and theirs marked with mine. A crown, something I had thought honored my rule. But I was beginning to realize that it meant something more. That crown was our legacy, something that we would build together on the blood and bones of lesser men.

I looked at myself in the mirror as I wove my long hair into a tight braid. I didn’t look different, besides the markings of my mates on my body. But I felt different. More solid. Centered. Tethered to the earth. I had always been confident in my own strength, determined, and stubborn. If I worked hard enough, I could achieve whatever I put my mind to – whether that was winning a game or taking a throne.

After I lost Visa, I distanced myself from any kind of relationship that would be more than purely sexual. I’d assumed another mate would make me weak and would put a target on my back. It was easier to keep my blinders up and focus on the task at hand. Killing the enemy. Taking the throne. Winning over the other territories. But then, one by one, these men had weaseled their way into my life. Into my heart. The mate bond demanded to be noticed. I rubbed at my wrists, even though no trace remained of the time we had spent in bed last night. All of us, together. For the first time, it felt like we had all belonged to one another. It felt right.

Like hell was I going to let anyone — even another king — take any of that happiness away from me. Satisfied with my braid, I donned the fighting leathers that hung in the corner of my room. I hated the leathers as much as I loved them. They had always felt like a second skin and armor against anything but wearing them meant war was near. There would be no dresses right now, no frothy chiffons and heavy silks. Not until we found Ambrose’s father and put a rest to this resistance. Not until my people — all my people — were safe. I sighed, strapping the soft leather onto my body.

Jacobi’s blond head poked in the doorway. “Are you alright, my love?”

I needed to be more careful about the energy I was putting out into the world, especially when Jacobi was around. The empath picked up on the slightest nuances of my emotions. I shouldn’t complain — it was wonderful to be noticed, but I didn’t want to cause my mates any concern over my constant worries. I was a queen for fuck’s sake, and I was going to act like one. I tossed my shoulders back as I stood, pressing a quick kiss to Jacobi’s cheek. “I’ll be fine. Where are the others?”

Jacobi pressed his lips together, and I knew he wanted to push the subject, but he wouldn’t. Some things were better left unspoken. “They’re in your study, waiting for us.”

I nodded. “Then let’s not keep them waiting any longer, shall we?”

I grabbed Jacobi’s hand, and we walked in a comfortable silence down the hall. Our relationship had been like this since the first moment I laid eyes on him — easy. Simple. I honestly couldn’t have asked for more than this gentle angel king.

And yet somehow, I wound up with three others — each one just as perfectly suited to me as my empathetic angel. The gods knew what they were doing when they selected our mates, filling gaps in our souls and our hearts with what we needed most. For whatever reason, the five of us needed each other. Though the reason didn’t truly matter

I entered my study without knocking, my three other mates huddled around a large map spread out on my desk. Faces were tight, and it was obvious that Jacobi and I had walked into an argument. They looked up at us, and I tapped my finger on my lips. “Don’t tell me. Mal had a dream about Caspian last night, and Ambrose is jealous that it wasn’t about him.”

Mal and Caspian gave me sour looks, but Ambrose just laughed. He was sitting in my chair and had the audacity to pat his lap. “Come sit, little queen. Some female energy might sway these two pricks to my side.”

“I think I’d like to know what the sides are before I decide.” Regardless, I went and sat on Ambrose’s lap, leaning back against his hard chest.

Malachi looked down at me and licked his lips. “Gods, Sher, I love it when you wear your fighting leathers.”

I sighed, not wanting to get into my mixed emotions about what the outfit meant for me. Instead, I turned my attention to the large map in front of me. It was a map of Dunya. “What are we deciding on?”

Caspian groaned. “Well, dick slayer. Bat Fuck here wants to start the search for Ambrose’s father in Shaytan. I told him that was a stupid idea. Runner up for stupid ideas is Ambrose’s idea to search the hinterlands of Masas, where apparently his father has strong allies.” Caspian acknowledged each of these ideas with a forceful jab at their respective locations on the map.

I nodded, Jacobi still quiet in the doorway. He would go along with whatever we decided, I knew that, so it was deciphering which of these strong opinions would be the best. “And you, Caspian?” I carefully kept my tone neutral. “Where do you think we should begin the hunt? Juniya?”

Caspian’s beautiful hazel gaze met my own as he shook his head. “No. I think we should start here.” He pressed a finger into the bottom of the map. Qamar. I sucked in a quiet breath. I had met the King of Qamar once before, a very long time ago. It was a meeting I didn’t want to ever remember, and why I had been grateful that the king seemed to have not shown up when I invited delegates from each of the kingdoms. It was one thing to invite him into my lands but showing up at his doorstep was definitely asking for trouble. Caspian continued. “King Tomas had long time allies in Qamar, and it’s no secret that King Vaughn disapproved of you taking the throne. Vocally. If I had to guess where he was, I’d say he was recouping his resistance losses there. They lost a lot of men in Cresta City, and Juniya doesn’t have a large army, but Qamar does.”

I rested my head on Ambrose’s shoulder, weighing up the options. Qamar made sense. But if it wasn’t 100% certain, I didn’t want to go barging into their capital and demanding another royal’s head. I doubted Tomas was in Shaytan, our humble land was beneath his presence. But the hinterlands… that idea had merit. “We go back to Masas and search the hinterlands. Ambrose is right. His father wouldn’t want to go that far, especially if he still has allies on the inside.”

Caspian glared at me. “I really think Qamar is the more realistic option.”

“And I said we were going to search the hinterlands.” Gods, he was stubborn.

“Ashera, I just think you should –”

“Caspian,” Jacobi warned from the door, always the peacekeeper. I offered him a grateful smile.

Caspian turned his annoyed gaze onto Jacobi. “You know, you could throw your own vote into the mix, instead of just playing Ashera’s guard dog.”

“Caspian!” My voice was loud and sharp, and I could see the fae was taken aback. “If you must know, King Vaughn is the worst kind of slave owner. I met him once, a long time ago when I traveled with Lord Pyper to Zvezda. He treats his dogs better than his field slaves. And even those are treated better than the young females in his care.”

I felt sick to my stomach, remembering accidentally running into a slave clawing through the garbage after our dinner, while Vaughn’s dogs had eaten beside him, feasting on the finest cuts of meat. As a servant, King Vaughn wouldn’t remember me, and for that I was grateful. But I certainly remembered him. I hadn’t seen King Vaughn’s daughter during my time there, so I could only hope she was cared for appropriately. But I couldn’t be sure. “Anyways, Caspian, you’re right too. Zvezda has a large army, and I’d rather not provoke their wrath unless absolutely necessary. Are we clear?”

Caspian glowered back at me, obviously pissed.

“Are we fucking clear?” I repeated.

“Crystal,” Caspian spat out before turning on his heels and leaving the room.

* * *

Caspian

I was pissed, but what else was new? I had stormed the corridors for some time after leaving Ashera’s study, glaring at any of the guards or servants who had dared to look my way. Everything I saw irritated me further. The soft golden walls reminded me of my mate’s brilliant wings that fluttered so angrily as she was arguing against me. So I walked the halls, unable to force myself to go back into the study and face Ashera and the other men, until Jacobi found me and told me we were making preparations to leave for the hinterlands. I wanted to push back more about checking out Zvezda for Tomas, but Ashera had her reasons for not wanting to go there without due cause, and I had to respect that. Even if I was fairly certain that hiding another king who wanted to see her dead was due enough cause. But who was I to talk? I was just her mate, after all. What did my opinion fucking matter?

Mal turned around to glare at me, and I realized I must have spoken aloud. No matter. It wasn’t like I had done a good job of hiding my feelings up until this point. So here we were again, getting ready to travel back to Masas on a wild goose chase because there was no way Ambrose’s father was sticking around there, especially since I was certain word of our visit and swift departure had probably reached his ears.

This time, Ashera wouldn’t put on her dark dresses — so subtly rebellious. Today, she wore the leathers of a warrior, and they fit her like a second skin. I thought back to the first time I had thought we were putting her in danger, and how concerned I had been for her safety. I still feared for my little mate, but I was more confident in her ability to handle herself. The woman had pulled fucking lava out of the ground, for fuck’s sake — all while keeping damage to the city minimal. I don’t remember even seeing my father having control over the elements like that, and my family was renowned for our magic.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there was royalty in her blood, somewhere down the line. To have that kind of strength, and control… it was practically unheard of. And she is mine.

Unfortunately, it meant my control over my stubborn mate was also slim. Unless…

Ashera had her back to me, talking to Jacobi — the feathered prick who had stood by and not chosen a team when push came to shove. I had to admit, her fighting clothes were a turn-on, something I wasn’t expecting after years of the excessively dressed women of the Juniya court. Being attracted to Ashera was easy. Seducing her to get my way without being seduced myself was a different story altogether.

I stepped closer so that my chest was pressed against Ashera’s back. I felt her relax into my touch, her ass grinding into my already hard cock. Fuck.

“I’m still mad at you, Caspian,” she said, not turning around. But her body spoke otherwise.

I bit the soft skin under her ear, licking away the sting of my bite. “Let me make it up to you,” I murmured, making eye contact with the angel king over her shoulder. He gave me a dubious look, probably knowing exactly what my plan was. I shrugged, turning back to kissing Ashera’s perfectly golden skin. I pulled the top part of her leathers down her shoulders, leaving her breasts bare to the room. I could hear the low growls of her other mates, but this was my moment. “I’ll even give you a choice. Do you want me to fuck your tight little ass or your perfect pussy?” At this point, I didn’t care which part of her I got to fuck, as long as I was inside of her.

Ashera moaned, grinding against me again. Gods, this woman was something else. I would never get enough of her.

Mal and Ambrose stalked closer to our small group, sensing Ashera’s desire, and none of us ever wanted to miss out on that. We were falling into an easy rhythm in our lovemaking, sharing coming more naturally by the day. And our mate enjoyed all our attention on her.

Malachi pressed up against Ashera’s bare side, tugging her braid back and exposing her throat for the vampire to bite from the other side. Jacobi was already stepping forward, shoving the leathers I was so fond of to the ground. The incubus pulled her braid again. “Your mate asked you a question, Sher. I suggest you don’t make him ask it again,” he said, voice husky with need.

“Or what?” she teased.

Mal brought his fingers right to her nipple, tweaking it hard. “Don’t play this game.”

Her moan went right to my cock, all of us touching her in some way as she writhed. Jacobi knelt in front of her, licking her already drenched core. “My ass,” she gasped finally. “Fuck my ass, Caspian.”

I chuckled, shoving my pants off my hips. A moment later, Ambrose was handing me the lube. “You’re such a dirty girl, dick slayer. But your other mates will be lonely if I’m the only one inside you.”

Jacobi was still eating Ashera out like she was his last meal, and I ran my hand down between her legs, mixing her own wetness with the lube around her ass. She cried out as Jacobi moved faster, and Mal bent to suck her nipple into his mouth. “Don’t let her come,” I commanded. “The only time she’s coming is around my cock.” I could feel her body desperately trying to cave to her release, her legs trembling as they struggled to hold her up.

“Please,” she begged. “Please, Caspian.”

I ran my dick between the cheeks of her ass, toying with her as she arched into me. “I would just feel so guilty if I’m enjoying myself, and they just get to watch.”

“Fuck,” she cried. “Fuck! Mal and Ambrose can fuck each other.”

I laughed, imagining the demon and the vampire wrestling for control, and Jacobi joined in. “Oh, this is gonna be good,” he muttered.

I bent Ashera over at the waist. “While we wait for the entertainment, you can be a good little mate and suck off the angel king.” Jacobi stood, and Ashera eagerly put her lips around the angel king’s dick. I was sure his moan could be heard in the next kingdom over, and I tossed the lube over to Mal who was trapped in a standoff with Ambrose. I could already see how this was going to go.

“Are you watching, dick slayer?” I asked, pulling her braid back to make sure she could see her alpha mates wrestling for dominance. Gods, she was beautiful, her mouth full of another cock, dripping wet for mine. I couldn’t wait another second. I eased my way inside her ass, moaning at the tight fit. Ashera didn’t waste a minute before she was slamming her ass against my hips, forcing me to move at a desperate pace while the angel fucked her mouth. When I looked up, Mal had Ambrose in some kind of weird headlock. Serves the prick right. “Who do you think will fuck who, little mate?”

She loved watching us fuck one another, and the sudden release of pheromones in the air told me that now was no different. I slowed my pace, and Jacobi did the same, wanting her to see who would win the fight for dominance. When I looked back up, Mal was flat on the floor, a naked, grinning Ambrose ready to slide his lubed-up cock into the incubus’s ass. Well… I couldn’t say I had been expecting that. As Ambrose slid home, both men cried out in pleasure, the same feeling reverberating through Ashera. All of us content, we began to move as one. Jacobi and I moved in unison, fucking our perfect queen — our mate — together. Ambrose was fucking the incubus like a professional, Mal moaning underneath him, enthralled by the spell of the room.

“Fuck,” I muttered. “I want you to come with me, dick slayer.” I looked up at Jacobi. “All of you.” By some unspoken agreement we all picked up our pace, a symphony of moans filling the room as one by one we found our release. I finished last, the contentment of watching others in pleasure fueling some kind of primal need within me as I pistoned my hips into Ashera’s ass, trembling as I came down from an exquisite high.

Mal and Ambrose collapsed together on the floor, attempting to catch their breath, and Jacobi had fallen back on the bed, eyes already closed.

I pulled out of Ashera and sat down on the floor with her on top of me. She rested her head against my shoulder, and I ran my fingers through her hair. “So, dick slayer,” I whispered, hoping to catch her in the right moment of post-coital bliss.

She didn’t open her eyes. “So, Caspian.”

“I thought maybe we could reopen the discussion of where we would search first for Ambrose’s father.”

Ashera opened one eye, craning her neck to look at me. “Did you honestly just fuck me in hopes of getting your way?”

I shrugged. “Did you not enjoy it?”

She closed her eyes again, settling in against my chest. “I did.”

“So…?”

“I enjoyed the sex, Caspian. But we’re still going to Masas. I’m a fucking succubus, did you really think you could seduce me like that?”

Fuck. Ashera – 1, Caspian – 0.


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