Tempting Auzed: Chapter 26


For over a week, Alex had been adrift. She’d met a dozen other humans, all excited to befriend her. Lily had been inundating her with requests to visit as well. But the buzz of activity around the Temple held little appeal. She didn’t want to see Lily, happy and settled with her fucking soul mate.

The progress toward returning to Earth was now more important than ever, and she put every ounce of strength she had into learning all she could about intergalactic law. As if trying to prove that the choice to be apart from Auzed was justifiable.

She’d even petitioned a meeting with the Queen in order to volunteer her services in whatever way she could. Maybe the Queen would send her away somewhere to be a human representative. Off to an Alliance meeting in the sky to plead on behalf of humans, perhaps. Anywhere would be better than here.

The seat under the large front window of her house had a permanent divot in it from hours spent kneeling and looking through the glass, hoping to spot a glimpse of Auzed. He didn’t work here anymore, but she’d heard whispers from the other women that he’d been taking care of a few unhandled duties around the Temple until a new head guard could be assigned.

It also smelled strongly of pineapple in this section of the house, since Wilson tended to occupy the seat whenever Alex wasn’t. The abundant sunshine that blazed across the sky when she actually left her house only worked to sour her moods. She found herself indoors whenever possible, curled up with Wilson in a dark corner.

No matter how many times she went over their crash-and-burn ending, she couldn’t get rid of her guilt. It wasn’t entirely her fault that he’d lost his job. Sauven had pushed for it, but she still felt bad that after all they’d been through, she was left with some hope of returning home and he was left with nothing. Would he find another job somewhere? Would she ever see him again?

There’d been so many times when she’d almost gone searching for him. Almost asked Daunet to send him a message. Almost caved and considered lying about wanting to go home. But she loved him too much to hurt him like that.

She gazed out the window and stroked Wilson’s soft, illuminated fur that had dulled a shade each day they’d been in Tremanta. With a depressed toot of her trunk, Wilson got off her lap and rolled toward the open patio door. She often went out at this time, the dim sky of twilight the most similar to the light in the forests of Sauven. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, painting the sky a gorgeous deep lavender, the same color it’d been their night on the lounger. Alex’s chest tightened. Unable to look, she started to turn away.

A large man in normal Clecanian attire standing motionless a few houses away caught her eye. Odd, she’d rarely seen men who weren’t guards walking around the Temple. Pressing her face to the window, she squinted. Were the broad shoulders on this man the ones she’d dreamed about nearly every night? The build was right and the hair was a light color, but he was too far away. The man remained motionless except for his hands, which he balled into fists. Was he staring at her house? Was it him?

Alex’s blood pounded in her ears. The wall between them felt like the bars of a cell. She wanted to run outside but knew she shouldn’t. Please come here. Please.

The sky darkened as she watched him, praying he’d move closer of his own accord. She wouldn’t go outside. If he changed his mind, she’d let him walk away. He spun, retreating, and a short wail burst from her lips as her heart sank into her belly.

He took a few steps away but then abruptly paused and turned back, moving toward her home with deliberate stomps. As his face came into focus, butterflies erupted in her stomach. Auzed. He was even more handsome than she’d remembered.

He stopped a few feet from her house and stared at her door. All the windows were tinted, so while she could look out, he luckily couldn’t see her pressing her face to the glass like a lunatic.

Hungry for the sight of him, her gaze roved over his body. Cold seeped down her spine when she noticed the dark circles around his eyes. Had he lost weight as well? It killed her to know he was in pain. He pulled something out of his pocket and examined it. It looked like a card. Black and thin. A bit larger than a credit card.

His eyes were hyper-focused on the card in his hand, but she suspected he wasn’t really looking at it. Rather, he was using it as his locus as he worked through something else in his mind.

Finally, he let out a long exhale, his shoulders slumping. She angled her head to the side, pressing roughly against the glass to follow his movement, and saw him place the card down at her door, then step back. No. No. No. He wasn’t going to knock. He was just going to leave whatever it was and walk away.

When he spun to leave, just as she’d expected, all sense fled. She couldn’t have stopped her sprinting feet if she’d tried. Before she realized what’d happened, she’d burst through the door. “Auzed!”

He turned to stone a yard away with his back to her. Long moments passed. She almost thought he’d keep walking. But then he spun. When his gaze landed on her, his green eyes flared and his chest heaved a singular deep breath.

Alex’s whole body responded to that eye contact. Her heart thrashed inside her chest, and her skin tingled all over. He stepped toward her and bent to retrieve the card. His scent hit her like a bag of bricks. Spicy and warm. It took all her concentration to keep herself from throwing her arms around him.

“I…” He peered at the card, a muscle twitching in his jaw. “I thought you might want this.” He handed it to her and made sure their fingers didn’t touch when she took it from him.

“What is it?” Her voice was breathless. Normally she’d be embarrassed by how desperate she sounded.

“I happened to see there was a new play coming to Tremanta. We…ah…we’d talked about it, so I figured—” He gestured to the card flippantly, as if the incredibly thoughtful gesture was no big deal. “There are two passes on there, so you can take someone else.” He caught her gaze. “Meg or Lily maybe.”

She just managed to contain her frown. The words behind the suggestion were clear. She could take Meg or Lily. Not him. She couldn’t find the right thing to say. She stared at him dumbfounded, looking him up and down with greedy sweeps of her eyes.

“It’s pretty dark in there,” he said, gesturing into her almost pitch-black house.

I can’t be in bright light without thinking about you. “Wilson is still getting used to it being so bright here,” she said instead. Not a complete lie.

He rumbled a low, noncommittal sound.

“How are you doing?” she blurted.

His tight lips turned down in a frown. ¡Idiota! she berated herself. Of course he wasn’t doing okay. “I have to go.” He spun on his heel.

Not knowing what she would say or how she’d explain herself, she caught his arm.

Angling to the side, his gaze slid down to her hand on his bicep. A muted growl reverberated through him. It didn’t sound threatening. The tone was something else entirely.

Liquid heat flooded her core. She snatched her hand back as though burned. His heated gaze landed on her, and his nostrils flared. Shit. He knew what the touch had done to her.

Quicker than lightning, his arm flashed out and wrapped around her. He slammed her tight against his body, his lips crashing over hers in a frenzied kiss.

After a moment of stunned paralysis, she moaned and threw her arms behind his neck. He backed them into the house and slammed the door behind him. As soon as it closed, he pushed her down to the ground.

His firm hands flashed over her body, squeezing and rubbing more roughly than they ever had before. Her tongue slid over his, and he groaned, taking her mouth in a punishing kiss. This wasn’t like before. There was no slow build, no whispered words or tender caresses. This was desperation incarnate.

Two people who’d been starved of each other for far too long. Alex clawed at his shirt, pulling him on top of her with her legs locked around his waist. The walls of her sex clenched the empty space where he needed to be. Now. He lifted off her body only long enough to hike up the short, flowy, pale-green dress she liked to sleep in.

He pulled it up to her chin and delved his fingers between her thighs. She cried out and pressed her forehead into his shoulder, whole body going tight as a brutal orgasm rapidly built. With his free hand, he gripped a handful of her hair and tugged her head back and to the side, baring her neck. When he ran his tongue over her pulse, inhaling deeply and groaning, she came apart, the shockwaves of her violent orgasm dotting her vision.

At some point, while the pulses of her orgasm burned through her, he’d freed himself from his pants. The broad head of his shaft probed her opening, and she spread her knees farther apart, needing him inside her. Needing to feel that connection with him again.

In one harsh thrust he buried himself, stretching her wide, almost to the point of pain. His forearms slipped beneath her skull, pillowing her head. His height put her face at chest level, so she buried her nose into the valley between his solid pecs and breathed in his sweet, spicy scent.

One hand fisting her hair, he thrust into her again, pressing his mouth to her forehead and growling with pleasure. With her arms clutching his waist and her legs wrapped around his hips, she basked in the knowledge that he was in her arms, loving her in his own wild way.

His pounding hips reverberated through her, building her orgasm at a furious pace. Thrusts growing frantic, his arms encircling her head tightened. He’d made love to her before, but now, he was claiming her. No matter where she went, she’d always be his.

She stretched her face up to kiss the cords of his sweat-coated neck. He moaned and rocked his hips in exactly the right spot. Her orgasm crashed through her, inner muscles convulsing around his cock, still deep inside. He pressed her face into the crook of his neck and bellowed, pulsing inside her and coating her core in hot liquid.

They stayed wrapped up together as they caught their breath. Unexpected tears burst to her eyes from fear. Fear he’d leave. Fear he’d stay.

He lifted his head and gazed down at her, his expression masked. Maybe if it were a bit lighter in here, she’d be able to search his eyes. Catch the signs of emotion she’d learned to pick up on.

Shifting his forearm from under her head, he cupped her face and used a thumb to brush away a tear from her cheek. Words didn’t feel right. What was there to say anyway? She placed her hand over his on her cheek, and his eyes locked onto it.

Slipping his hand away, he gripped her fingers. He kept his eyes locked to hers as if asking for something. Slowly, he tugged the gold band she wore from her finger and wrapped his fist around it.

Throat clogging, she nodded, knowing what he wanted. She loved that ring, but it would bring her so much warmth knowing he had it. Maybe he’d stare at it on occasion and remember her.

He placed a soft kiss to her lips, then pulled away from her. After dressing in silence, he was gone. The soundless tears that streamed down her cheeks didn’t stop until finally, she curled into a ball and fell asleep right there on the floor.

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