Ruling Sikthand: Chapter 32


If someone barged into his room at this exact moment and placed a blade to his spine, Sikthand didn’t think he’d be able to lift a finger to defend himself. How could he when he needed all ten to hold down Sophia’s bucking hips?

Together, he and Sophia had developed a glorious routine. She came to his office, he gave her some gift or another, and she thanked him with access to her sensitive little body. Currently, he had his face smothered between her thighs, his tongue working hard to teach her what techniques were normally implemented with Clecanian females so she could ensure the information she gathered for her human database was accurate.

Though the bundle of nerves that made her come was not located nearly as deep as a Clecanian’s, the deep thrust of his tongue inside her channel had her orgasm shuddering through her all the same. He’d found that his purr made making her come dangerously easy.

Normally, he did everything in his power to hold his purr back. It was a show of weakness, and every time he let it out, she knew just how intensely she affected him. But the flavor of her cunt on his tongue never lingered long enough, and knowing his purr could keep her wet and wanting was the only motivation he needed.

Yet he still held back. He hadn’t allowed himself to fuck her. It was a line he had enough control not to cross yet. Something about their looming marriage unnerved him. Though he often thought of her as his wife, she wasn’t. Not yet.

Burying himself inside her would be the sweetest oblivion, one he knew he wouldn’t come back from. If he fucked her, he’d bite her, and if he bit her…

His life would be changed. He didn’t know how, but it would alter him. Fear was a difficult thing to break, and it had buried its claws in deep a long time ago.

Her soft moans echoed through the study from the top of the desk where she was perched. Her body continued to twitch in his hold as he lapped at her core, purring and flicking his vibrating tail over her nipples in the way he’d discovered made her eyes roll back.

He hadn’t revealed to her what brought his purr to the surface so strongly. Sikthand let her go on believing it built when he was aroused. That was partially true. The scent of heat coating her sex did make him purr, but the thoughts that powered the deepest purrs, the ones that reverberated through his whole body were not sexual.

They came not when she palmed his cock, but when she rested her palm on his cheek. When he needed to call it forward, he imagined holding her in his arms in sleep. He thought of the moment days ago when they’d been sitting in front of their people in the dining hall, and she’d reached for his hand, holding it while they ate as if it had been a simple thing.

Or the moment when he’d been training her with the retractable spear he’d collected for her. She’d nicked his elbow. She hadn’t even been trying to fight—she’d simply lost her grip on the weapon while they’d been discussing strategy, and it had grazed his arm.

She’d raced toward him with a horrified gasp to examine the sliced skin. Recalling the worry in her eyes and the gentle way she’d pressed a cloth to the cut while wincing…that made his purr roar to life.

The ways in which he called his purr forward haunted him.

He’d dodged sex so far by ensuring he thoroughly pleased her into a stupor each night, but he knew she was aware of his avoidance. Even now, still sprawled on his desk, she pulled him close, kissing him in a way that made him dizzy. His hips were wedged between hers, and though he remained unmoving, she rocked herself against him.

He could scent her arousal rising in the air once more, and he tried to decide how he wanted to sate her this time. Fingers? Mouth? Tail?

The heat of her seeped into the seam of his pants. He groaned against her mouth. A few tugs at his laces and he could be pressing himself into her needy cunt. His tail thrashed at the prospect.

A bell echoed through the room, a signal that someone without access was waiting to speak to him at the royal wing entrance.

Sikthand pulled back and stared down into her dilated pupils. He gripped her chin, running a thumb over her swollen bottom lip. He growled as the bell sounded again.

Her lips twitched. “Go.” She pressed a quick kiss to his mouth, then pulled her dress down and patted her hands over her hair. He readjusted his throbbing cock and took in a deep breath before opening the door and stomping toward the exit.

***

 

Sophia tried to put Sikthand’s desk back to normal, but he’d broken a few things as he’d swept it clear. Carefully, she picked up the largest pieces of glass from the ground and dumped them in the trash. She’d need to ask Alno to get the cleaning staff to sweep this area.

Steps sounded in Sikthand’s bedroom. She spun and found…Difila?

Her gaze shot between Sikthand and Difila, who was covered in beautiful armor. Heat rose on Sophia’s neck when the subtle wrinkle of Difila’s perfect silver nose told her that this room must stink of sex.

“I need to have a private word with Difila,” Sikthand announced.

Hurt swelled in her chest like an overfilled balloon. Sikthand never took meetings in his rooms. In fact, he very rarely, if ever, met with anyone one-on-one at all unless they were guildmembers. What private word could he need with a low-level cloud chaser like Difila?

“About what?”

Sophia should just leave. Sikthand was a king, and he was allowed to have whatever meetings he wanted, but not knowing what this was about had irrational possessiveness rising like acid in her throat. She tried to remind herself that the woman spent a staggering amount of time with Alno.

Perhaps the dread seeping in was because he and Difila had flirted at that party as if they were familiar with one another. The cloud chaser’s eyes didn’t move around the room curiously. Had she been here before?

“Doesn’t she report to Commander Roldroth?” Sophia added, trying desperately to keep her voice casual.

Difila didn’t appear affected by the exchange. She silently waited, watching the king as he eyed Sophia. Jaw tensed, he stepped toward Sophia slowly until he stood just before her. If she didn’t have implanted birth control, she’d think she was about to start her period. What else would make her irrationally emotional enough to have tears rising to her eyes for no good reason?

Please don’t scold me in front of her. Please don’t make me leave.

He didn’t appear angry, though. He tipped her chin up with the tip of his tail, staring down into her pinched expression as she tried to get ahold of her emotions. Cogs moved behind his eyes as though he were deciding something important. Sophia had no idea how to decipher his long sigh.

“Difila is one of my spies. She’s discovered something about the attempt on my life.” He spun to face Difila again but leaned back against his desk next to Sophia and pulled her into his side. Her chest expanded with warmth, fireworks erupting in her belly before the meaning of his words took hold.

“News?” Her gaze shot to Difila, who appeared uncaring of the fact that the king was allowing Sophia to stay.

She nodded. “I found the boy, the apprentice.” Sophia tried to hold back her gasp. Difila’s gaze flicked over her before she stoically continued. “He was hiding in the dump on the Xuu levels, surviving off scraps of food others had thrown away.” The first flicker of emotion Sophia had witnessed from the woman passed over her face in the form of a wince. “He’s badly injured. Someone ran him through with a blade, then threw him down the trash chute. Luckily, they’d emptied malginash-pup bedding a few days before, and he only broke a few bones when he landed. I’ve dressed his wounds the best I can, but I need permission to take him to the infirmary if he’s to survive for further questioning.”

“Yes,” Sophia burst. “Yes, obviously, take him there.” Sikthand was stiff at her side, and she paused. “What’s the problem?”

Difila and Sikthand exchanged knowing glances. “He lost consciousness a few minutes ago. There’s no way to get him to a launch bay unseen. The Xuu levels are near lowcity.”

“I can get him as far as the shops in midcity without coming out into the open,” Sikthand added, peering at Difila. Did he have more secret tunnels than just the one he’d taken her through? “But after that, we’d need to carry him through the busy streets to get him up to the royal launch bay. Can he hang on until the streets are empty late tonight?”

“He won’t last that long.” Difila’s throat bobbed.

Understanding crashed through Sophia. Whoever wanted the king dead was still out there. If anyone at all caught sight of that boy and learned he was still alive, whoever had tried to kill him would be desperate to finish the job.

Not only would the boy be in even more danger, but they might never learn who wanted Sikthand dead.

The king nodded. Voice tight, he said, “Take him. We don’t have another option.”

“No, wait.” Sophia’s mind whirred.

“The boy will die,” Difila argued, the faintest anger lingering in her voice.

Sophia frowned. “I realize that, but there’s a smart way to do this. Just let me think.” A plan formed in her mind. She glanced between Difila and Sikthand. “Where can a person find some fake blood around here?”

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