Ruling Sikthand: Chapter 27

Sophia stared at the text in front of her, trying again and again to read it but losing focus. Sikthand had been woken up yesterday morning and yet nothing at all had happened.

The stress of waiting for the shoe to drop was starting to get to her.

Things were too quiet. Too calm. She hadn’t seen the king at all, and as far as she could tell, no one else had either.

Was he planning something awful? No longer able to pace in her room, she’d hidden in the archives and planted herself in front of a familiar reference book.

A listing about Roborh laid in front of her. It seemed as wonderful as Heleax had described, but her chest constricted just looking at the page.

She jumped when someone on the second floor snapped a scroll closed. She breathed deeply to slow her pulse. Any second now, she expected guards to barge in and drag her away. She’d been waiting for it for over a day. Every time she passed a soldier, her insides cramped up and her shoulders affixed themselves to her ears.

Her own entourage of guards waited outside, thankfully. It was the reason she’d fled to the archives. This was one of the only places where she could force them to wait by the entrance.

The archives were quiet at this time of night. Calm. But she grew more jittery with each peaceful moment that passed.

Where was he? What was he doing?

Sophia didn’t believe the king would hurt her. Even if he believed she’d played some part in this assassination attempt, she didn’t for one second think he’d set out to cause her pain.

But she had a horrible feeling that he’d hate her, and somehow she dreaded that more.

Focusing on the words before her, she tried to take them in. If the worst came to pass, she’d decided she should probably give Roborh serious consideration. Sikthand’s effect on her was just too all-encompassing.

She’d been frantic when she’d thought he’d died. She hadn’t realized she cared so much until he’d almost been taken from her.

And the way he’d held her… Could she live without that while knowing how it felt?

Damn it. She’d zoned out again. Groaning, she slumped back in her seat.

Her lungs seized and her joints locked.

Sikthand stood a dozen feet away, watching her.

She scrambled out of her seat, tipping her chair over in the process. She spared it a look, wondering for a split second if she should pick it up before refocusing on the king, who’d gotten closer.

“You’re awake,” she breathed.

“Were you expecting different?” His tone was odd. His stare too. She couldn’t decipher his mood.

She took a step back. “No.” She couldn’t think what else to say.

Her initial shock at seeing him wore off, and she noticed he wasn’t wearing any armor. Not even any metal. He was clothed in a soft, rumpled shirt and clutched a nearly empty jug of renwaeder. The same one from his study.

She took another look at his odd expression and gasped. “Are you drunk?” she hissed.

He tilted his head to the side like a predator. “I was drunk yesterday. Now?” He lifted the jar to his eyes and swirled the white liquid. “I’m currently on my way to drunk again. I think I’ve more than earned it.”

Sudden concern for him spiked, overwhelming any concern for herself. “You shouldn’t be wandering around the tower drunk and alone, without any armor or weapons. Not after someone just tried…” Her throat went dry at the flash of emotion in his silver eyes. But what emotion?

He took another step toward her. “I was sober, wearing armor, and had a weapon the last time I almost died.”

She clicked her tongue, eyes speeding over his rigid muscles and slowly moving feet. “So what? You’ve decided not to even try protecting yourself anymore? Come on, my soldiers will walk us back to our wing, and you can be as drunk and defenseless as you want there.”

A dark laugh bubbled up from his chest and sent shivers skittering over her skin. “I’m far from defenseless, little human.” He rounded the table separating them, dragging the bottom of his glass jug over the wood as he prowled toward her. The scrape made her hair stand on end. “Besides, I sent them away.”

“You what? Someone wants you dead.” Her gaze flashed to the closed doors of the archives. “Did anyone see you come in here? If the wrong person—”

“I wanted to speak to you. Alone.”

She continued to back away from him as he closed in. His eyes trailed over her open book, and her insides shriveled. She tried to keep the guilty expression off her face. He had no way of knowing why she was reading about Roborh.

He took a slow drink from his jug, keeping his gaze trained on her, then finally rasped, “Was it you?”

Movement from above had her attention lifting. A man leaned against the railing, watching them. Her steps halted. “Do you really want to talk about this here? What if you aren’t safe?”

“I’m never safe.” He followed the direction of her gaze and growled.

Steps faster, he moved toward her until she was forced to back up to keep from colliding with him. After a few clumsy steps through a row of scrolls, she realized he was herding her deeper into the dustiest section of the archives.

“Was. It. You?” he asked again.

“No.” Her voice was breathy.

“You had access,” he pressed.

She jerked her head around as he forced her around a corner. Panic rose in her throat, and she threw up her hands. “Just s-stop.” Sucking in a short breath when he paused his steps, she steadied herself. “I have no reason to want you dead. Why would I try to kill you before we’re married? It does me no good.” Every time she’d put forth this argument, she cringed, knowing it didn’t make her sound all that great, but it was the most convincing reasoning she had. Why would she try to kill him now and not later?

His eyes roamed over her face. “Perhaps you changed your mind about becoming queen. Maybe you realized how thankless and dangerous it is to be a ruler and wanted a way out.”

“I didn’t—” Sound from down the hall had her slamming her mouth shut.

A familiar voice floated into their dark corner, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. She pricked her ears up. “Is that Besith?” she whispered.

Sikthand looked unconcerned but turned his head infinitesimally. Besith’s voice grew louder, as did footsteps from more than one pair of feet.

“Wha—”

Growling in annoyance, Sikthand swooped behind her, slapped a hand over her mouth, and began pulling her into the corner. He stepped back. And back. And back.

Her mind couldn’t process it. They should have hit the wall already. Was he somehow stepping through the shelves?

The space around them turned black, and a wall slid into place in front of her nose. Somehow they’d slipped behind the bookshelf lining the back wall and were now standing in a dark, cramped alcove.

She tried to speak through his hand still covering her mouth, but he pulled her flush against his back and breathed a deep “Shh” into her ear. His mouth brushing over the shell of her ear had all thought soaring away.

The air shifted, and she was abruptly very aware of each spot their bodies touched. Voices sounded from the other side of the bookshelf, but suddenly she didn’t give a rat’s ass about them. Her heartbeat pounded so hard she worried he’d be able to feel it through her spine.

His fingers loosened and retightened in a wave over her mouth. Could he feel her unsteady breath puffing from her nose on his hand?

Her shoulders twitched back without her permission, brushing against his firm chest. Using his hold on her mouth, he angled her head back a little so their eyes could meet. There was something challenging in his gaze, like he was waiting to see if she’d try to squirm away.

The voices still droned on from somewhere nearby, and his attention flicked out through the gap in the shelves in the direction of the sound.

He dipped his mouth back to her ear, whispering, “Roldroth said you slept in my arms.”

She gulped, trying to think how to answer, but her mind went fuzzy when he swept her hair over her shoulder, exposing her neck. His upper body curled against her back as he forced her head to dip to the side further and ran his nose up the length of her throat.

Biting her lips together to keep her whimper in, she squirmed in his hold. Should she be trying to wriggle free? Or should she do what she really wanted and rub against him like a cat?

“Do you know how cruel that was?” he growled, brushing his free hand over her ribs and down her waist till it molded over her hip.

Her heart rate was soaring now. Heat pulsed through her belly, and her lashes fluttered. This wasn’t the time or place, but she couldn’t seem to make an argument rise in her throat. His hand drifted up her stomach higher and higher until finally, his fingers brushed over the swell of her breast. The deep rumbling groan he exhaled against her neck at the contact made her tremble all over.

Liquid heat flooded her sex, her pulse now thrumming steadily in her clit.

“Your smell is everywhere,” he continued. “Do you know what it’s been like for me to smell you in my sheets?” The front of her dress lifted slowly, and she realized his tail was dragging her skirt up, skimming her thigh as it climbed higher. “I can’t wash you away.”

Should she try to pull it back down?

Hot and firm, his tongue slipped over her pulse, and she moaned. His fingers tightened over her mouth, and he nipped her ear. “Quiet, little human.”

Her dress was bunched around her belly now, his tail wrapped around the fabric, holding both it and her tight to his chest.

His hips rocked against her back. The unmistakable solid bar of his cock pressing into her spine had her eyes sliding shut and her panties growing damp. Her hips arched as he traced his fingers over her exposed inner thigh, teasing her.

“How am I supposed to stay away from you when you react like this to my touch?” His words were somewhere between a groan and a defeated sigh.

Sophia hooked her fingers around his wrist near her mouth. She rested her other palm on the top of his teasing hand. The pad of his thumb traced over the curve of her inner thigh, coming torturously close to brushing against the hem of her underwear.

She had just enough pride left not to drag his palm where she needed it to go, but her fingers twitched on his hand as she kept herself under control.

He pulled out from under her touch, and she almost let out a cry against his palm. But then he slung his forearm across her front, trapping her arm at her side beneath his.

No longer teasing, his hot palm cupped her sex over her panties.

She sucked in a ragged, surprised breath and rose to her tiptoes. His forefinger and pinky firmed against the edges of her pussy lips, gently massaging in a heavenly rolling motion.

When she rocked her hips in time with his touch, his purr vibrated through his chest, rumbling into her spine.

She let her head fall back against his shoulder and whimpered into his palm. “That’s right. Melt into me.” His hand slid upward, before delving beneath her panties.

Her belly trembled in anticipation, her core squeezing around nothing. She arched her back against his shaft, loving the way the steel bar of his cock dug into her spine and sent electricity sparking down the backs of her thighs.

He slid his middle finger down the seam of her pussy, slipping between her lips and tracing a devastating circle around her opening before sliding upward again. In the back of her mind, she knew there were people moving about on the other side of their dark hiding spot, but her eyes were unseeing. Each cell in her body hung on Sikthand’s every movement.

He circled the pad of his finger around her clit, and she jolted, her moan against his hand loud and high. A flash of pain made her shiver when he nipped her ear again, this time using a bit more fang.

She squirmed, rising higher up onto her toes, wanting to feel his teeth on her neck. The king hissed out a curse and obliged, scraping his fangs down the column of her throat.

His fingers dragged over her skin up to her hip, leaving a wet trail of her own arousal on her belly. He balled the strap of her panties in his fist and gave them a vicious tug. When he released the fabric, it fell to the side, hanging limply on her right leg.

All at once, his tail coiled around her right leg just above her knee. Using his tail’s grip, he hoisted her thigh up so she was balancing on one leg. Gently but firmly, his tail pulled her lifted thigh back until she was spread wide for him.

He gazed down her front at her exposed lower body and released a rumbling sound of satisfaction. “You said it made no sense for you to kill me now.”

His fingers began slipping over her sex again. The muscles in the leg she balanced on tensed as she tried to keep her knee from going weak.

“Tell me, human,” he growled into her ear. “How soon after we’re married will you try to kill me?”

His thumb brushed over her clit, sending hot arousal flooding through her core. His middle finger returned to her entrance, and she shook as he forced the thick digit into her sex deeper and deeper until his palm pressed flush against her skin.

He pumped his finger inside of her, curling it in firm sweeping motions and making her breath stall out. “Will you let me have you once before I go? Will you take my cock before you take my throne?”

The embarrassing sounds coming out of her throat were muffled, but her quivering body showed him exactly how he was affecting her. Her bent right leg kept jerking forward when his fingers moved to slip in dizzying circles around her clit. The muscles of her left leg trembled as she rocked within his hold, sinking and rising in time with his delicious movements.

He plunged two fingers inside her, forcing a ragged moan out of her at the stretching sensation. “Do you want me, Sophia?” His growl held a twinge of desperation. She nodded as hard as she could with his hand on her mouth still holding her head in place.

She knew she must be soaking his fingers from the vulgar wet sounds filling the dark space. Her orgasm coiled tightly, her muscles tensing. Her breasts ached to be touched, but she didn’t dare move as he rubbed against the perfect spot.

She went still, shaking as she held her body in place.

“Are you going to come on my hand already?” His purr vibrated through her body, and her orgasm broke. She cried out into his palm, shivering as waves of pleasure barreled through her. “What a sensitive cunt you have,” he groaned while slipping his tongue over the shell of her ear.

His fingers continued to lazily explore, making her squeak and shudder whenever they hit a sensitive spot. His hand finally left her mouth and swept down to lock across her torso. “What am I going to do with you now?” he rumbled.

She was lax against his chest, letting him support her weight with his strong arm and tail. Her lids went heavy as he ran his hands boldly over her body. He rumbled an approving hum when he possessively squeezed her breast in his large palm and she arched into his touch.

“I really will have to fight for my life if I drag you through the halls.” He sucked his fingers covered in her come between his lips and released a rumbling purr. “Every male who passes will want a taste of that nectar leaking from between your legs.”

Heat bloomed in her sex once more, but Sophia was too stunned to speak for a moment.

He peered out through the shelves before them, scanning for any signs of movement. “Perhaps we’ll go the back way.”

“Back way?” she whispered in a cracked voice.

The corner of his mouth lifted. “Close your eyes, Sophia.”

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