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Her Elemental Dragons: Shake the Earth: Chapter 24


We stopped beside a small lake to camp for the evening, and I immediately missed the comforts of Clayridge, including a hot meal and a real bed. On the other hand, it eased my mind to be on the road again, knowing we were less of a threat to the villagers’ safety now that we were gone.

After eating some of the food Wrin had packed for us, I retreated to the edge of the lake by myself and sat on the banks. Although I told myself I wanted time alone, I secretly hoped Enva would appear to me again, as she often did when I was troubled. The old woman could be infuriating and confusing, but she was also my grandmother and I wanted to get to know her better. But after a few minutes of staring at the smooth water she never arrived, and I gave up on that hope.

This time, it didn’t surprise me when Reven emerged and sat beside me. No matter how much he tried to keep his distance and pretend he didn’t care, it hadn’t escaped my notice that when I was upset and ran off to be alone with my thoughts, it was usually Reven who sought me out first to comfort me. His form of comfort might be more unconventional than the other men’s, but I appreciated his presence nonetheless.

“Are you ready for tomorrow?” he asked, as he stretched out his long legs beside me.

“As ready as I can be,” I replied. “I’m mostly worried about Jasin and Auric, along with the others fighting beside them at Salt Creek Tower. Our role seems easier in comparison.”

“They’ll be fine. They’re both strong fighters and quick thinkers.”

I nodded, but I wouldn’t feel completely at ease until the battle was over and all the people I cared about were out of danger. Except as soon as this battle was over, we were sure to face another one soon.

“What of you?” I asked. “If we get through this, we’ll be visiting the Water Temple next. Are you ready for that?”

“I’m not going to run away, if that’s what you’re asking.” His hand rested on my knee, then slid upward in a tantalizing way that made me hold my breath.

I turned toward him, pressing softly against his hard chest. “Does that mean you’ve accepted your role as the next Azure Dragon?”

“I have.” His strong hands wrapped around my waist, and he pulled me onto his lap and against his chest. “I want to defeat the Dragons as much as you do. And I’ll admit, the perks of the position are pretty appealing.”

“What perks would those be?” I asked, suddenly breathless now that we were so close and his hands were on me. I let my fingers slide up to his neck, thrilled at being able to touch him in return.

“You.” He crushed his lips against mine, kissing me hard. Weeks of pent-up desire between us was suddenly unleashed, and I tangled my fingers in his thick black hair as I kissed him back with the same passion. His tongue danced with mine, and his teeth nibbled along my lower lip. We’d kissed before, and done a lot more that one night, but this was different—because now he’d agreed to be my mate.

He pressed me down onto the grass, his body hovering over mine, and took the kiss deeper. He kissed me with his entire body and I clung to him, worried he’d back away, but he didn’t this time. His hands drifted up to cup my breasts through my dress, and I let out a low moan. My legs spread to let him position himself between them, and I felt his hard bulge nudge against me. Our hips grinded together, creating a delicious friction that made me crave more.

When his hands moved down to my knees and began to slide up my bare legs, I was practically begging for him to continue. He found the slick wetness between my thighs and I looked up at him with hunger, longing to become one with him, but a part of me was surprised he wasn’t stopping either.

“You don’t want to wait until the Water Temple?” I asked.

“Why wait?” His mouth descended on mine again while he continued the slow grind of his hips against mine, except now he slipped a finger inside me too. “We both want this right now. Or should I stop?”

Unease mixed with my desire at his words, even though his touch made it hard for me to think. “The others all wanted to wait to bond at the temples because it would be more special that way.”

“I hate to break it to you, but if you’re waiting for this to be special between us, you’ll be waiting forever.” He lowered his head to kiss my neck as his fingers continued their delicious torment inside me. “This is just sex, that’s all. But trust me, you’ll enjoy it.”

“Just sex?” I lightly pushed him off me and sat up. “But I thought you wanted to be my mate.”

He dragged a hand through his black hair. “I agreed to sleep with you and become one of your Dragons. I’m here, I’m not leaving, and I’m committed to our cause. Isn’t that enough?”

“No, it’s not.” I yanked my dress down to cover my legs, even though my body silently pleaded for him to continue what he’d been doing. “I want more.”

“I don’t have anything more to give.” His eyes darkened, his mouth turning into a scowl. “I’m not capable of love, not like you want.”

“I don’t believe that.”

“Believe it,” he growled. “Long ago I watched everyone I loved die, and I’ll never let myself feel that way again. Like I told you before, love makes you weak, and I won’t be weak ever again.”

“You’re wrong. I’ve lost everyone too, but I haven’t closed myself off because of it. Loving the others has made me stronger—and not just with magic. The other men give me confidence and courage, wisdom and empathy, and the support I need to get through all of this. The only way we’ll survive the upcoming battles is with love.” I reached for him again. “I’d like to love you too, Reven. Just let me in.”

“It’s never going to happen. You need to get that into your head already.” He got up and walked away, leaving me alone and cold beside the lake with only the stars overhead for company.

A deep sadness settled over me at the thought that Reven would never love me as much as I loved him, but there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn’t force his heart to let me in, and I didn’t want any other man as my mate. We were stuck together, and I’d have to accept that things between us would never be exactly as I wanted. Whatever Reven offered would have to be enough…even if I would want more for the rest of my days.


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