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The Dark One: Chapter 16

WINNIE

I wake to the hard press of Peter Pan’s cock at the small of my back.

The room is dark and quiet and it’s impossible to tell what time it is. I feel muzzy with sleep, but rested, and I suspect that must have something to do with all of the fucking and the excitement and the hot water of the bath and Peter Pan curling his body against mine as we went to bed.

My heart is content and happy and I’m terrified that it will all end soon.

How do I hold on to this?

How do I make it mine?

I don’t want to break this bubble and be forced to return home to a life that never fit and one I never wanted.

If I just hold on…hold on…

I stretch, rousing Pan, and he pushes his hips toward me, rubbing his cock against me.

He inhales and nuzzles his nose into the back of my neck, tightening his hold around my waist.

Pan said he’s unsure of where he came from, but sometimes I wonder if he’s an ancient god because I want to worship him.

Every second I’m with him feels like a goddamn miracle.

“Are you awake, Darling?” he asks, his voice thick with sleep.

“Sorta.”

He stretches with me, tangling his legs with mine. “How did you sleep?”

“Better than I have in a long time. Every night on Neverland is better than the last.”

On another inhale, he drinks in my scent and then places a warm kiss on my bare shoulder and then—

He grumbles a little in the back of his throat.

“What is it?” I ask.

“Vane is coming,” he says.

Cold shoulder. Cold shoulder, I remind myself, even though my entire body is singing and my insides coil up like a spring.

“Tell him to go away,” I say.

“You try telling the Dark One to go away and see what you get.” He chuckles and drags me closer. “He’ll come around one day, Darling,” he assures me. “I think when this is all over, he’ll return to his island and give up his shadow.”

I spin toward him. “He’ll what?”

The tomb door clanks open and murky light filters in. Vane reaches for the light switch and the lamp comes on and I clamp my hand over my eyes as the burn of the light assaults me.

“Why am I not surprised to find a whore in your bed,” Vane says.

I pull my hand away and try to scowl over at him, but it’s impossible when he looks the way he does.

He’s in a black button-up shirt that for some damn reason is mostly unbuttoned and tucked into black trousers. The metal clasp of a belt flares above his groin and I’m parched, just thinking about undoing it and seeing what he has to offer.

There is a cigarette dangling from his mouth, the smoke curling around his face. The light of the stairwell behind him paints him in strokes of gold.

But it’s the black eye and the violet one pinned on me that does me in.

I swallow loudly. I know he notices.

I try to meet his insult with something clever but all I get out is, “Better a whore than none at all.”

“You could join us,” Pan says behind me and I stiffen in his grip.

My neck is still aching from last night, the terror still fresh. I both want and don’t want Vane to give in. It’s like deciding to jump out of a plane. You know it’ll be an adventure to talk about for years, but at the same time, what if your parachute fails? You won’t be telling anyone about it because you’ll be fucking dead.

“You know me, Pan,” Vane says as he leans a shoulder against the open doorway. “I don’t waste my time with easy pussy.”

I bristle. Motherfucking fuck—

I slide from the bed completely naked. Vane’s gaze dips to my tits, then down to the V between my legs before racing back up to meet my eyes as if suddenly remembering he hates me.

“If you hate easy pussy, then why fuck Cherry?”

Not missing a beat, he says, “Because she’s not you.”

That stings more than I want it to and I know it registers on my face like a slap.

For the briefest of seconds, I swear Vane’s expression falls as if he wants to take back his words.

But then I remind myself of Pan’s advice. I’m clearly trying too hard. I need to try less.

“Fair enough,” I say. “I should go up and see if the twins have made coffee.” I put a knee to the bed’s edge, purposefully giving Vane my ass as I bend over to kiss Pan on the lips. I linger there, arching my back, pushing my ass out, spreading my legs a little so Vane can see all of me.

Pan smiles at me, knowing what I’m doing. “Careful, Darling,” he purrs.

“Of course, my king. I’ll be a good girl. Just for you.”

I hear Vane grumble behind me.

Pan kisses me again, long and deep, his tongue meeting mine.

I’m immediately wet. But it’s not just because of the kiss. It’s because of Vane watching us.

Why hasn’t he come over? When will he give in?

And was Pan serious when he said Vane was going to return to his island to give his shadow back? Why does that make me feel full of ice and nettles?

When Pan breaks the kiss, I’m a little dizzy and when I right myself with two feet on the floor, I sway.

Vane is suddenly there catching me. His teeth clench, jaw flexing and then his gaze goes to my neck where I’m sure the skin is still bruised from his touch.

“Tell the twins to put some salve on that,” he orders me. “It’ll help with the bruising.”

Why can I not take a full breath?

My heart is a rapid thump in my ears. Vane’s hands are still on me and he’s so close I can feel the heat of his breath on my skin. I’m covered in goosebumps and tighter than a spring.

How can I give him the cold shoulder when he acts like this?

I am a flower trapped in a slant of shade, desperate for his light.

And maybe that’s the cruelest part of all of this. The fact that he can be that way with me and then hate me immediately after.

“Go on,” he says. “I need to speak to the king.”

I gulp down a breath and give him a quick nod before retrieving my clothing and hurrying up the stairs.


I find the twins in the kitchen and both seem in a mood.

They’re both shirtless. Bash’s hair is wet like he just took a shower. It shines like a slick of oil in the light. He’s at the island mixing together ingredients while Kas leans against the counter behind him, a cup of coffee in hand.

It’s already dark beyond the windows and I can barely make out the stretch of the ocean.

I guess when you’re entangled with a king who can’t see sunlight, there is no such thing as day anymore.

“Hi,” I say.

The twins barely notice me.

Bash upends a cup of flour over a bowl and then stirs it roughly, causing the flour to cloud into the air.

“Everything all right?” I ask.

Kas blinks back to reality and turns toward me. He smiles, but his mouth is tight across his bright white teeth. “Everything is fine.”

I reach past him for the French press and pour myself a cup of coffee.

They seem tense.

I’m tense too after that run-in with Vane and I automatically want to liven the mood and make myself feel better.

I set the coffee down and step in front of Kas. He looks down the sharp slant of his nose at me. “Are you sure you’re all right?” I ask and cup his balls through his shorts.

He lets out a low groan.

Bash’s stirring stalls behind me.

“We have a lot on our mind, Darling,” Kas says.

“Like what?”

The sound of tinkling bells fills the air. I know now that the sound means the twins are talking to one another in their fae language and purposefully leaving me out.

I stroke Kas, feel him start to engorge beneath my hand. His teeth grit when he looks away from his brother and back at me. “You really don’t want to do this right now, Darling.”

“Oh, really?”

“Darling,” Bash says behind me. “We’ve had a rather complicated day.”

Why is everyone suddenly turning me away?

I huff out a breath and go to Bash and shove my hand down his pants. He jolts, growls, and sets the mixing bowl aside. “Fine,” I say and fist him tightly. “I guess I’ll just have to go occupy myself.”

His gaze burns into me as I stroke him, his teeth gritting as I turn him hard in an instant.

“Carry on.” I smile sweetly up at him and then walk away, the sound of tinkling bells following me out of the room.


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