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The Ever Queen: CHAPTER 28

THE SERPENT

Poisonous blood, with numerous gashes and wounds, was hardly convenient when all I wanted was my songbird naked and pressed against me.

My hands worked quickly but carefully, wiping away the grime from our bodies. Convinced I’d tended to my wounds without spilling any blood over her skin, I still kept a low hum in the back of my throat, when bits of crimson scrubbed off on linens, when drops fell in the water.

I was not risking a moment.

Livia frowned once more at the bandages over my middle, ready to protest my choice to slit my own body; I stole away any remarks by kissing her until she softened in my arms again.

“Erik,” Livia breathed out. “More.”

“You want more?” I kissed her jaw, her slender neck. “You want to taste me, Songbird? Want to choke on me? Want me to devour you?”

Livia let out a soft sob and nodded. Her neck arched back, as though she were offering herself to my desires.

“Get up.” I took hold of her arm, losing myself in the way fragrant water sluiced over her curves.

Without hesitation, Livia complied and gripped my waist as I backed us into our bedchamber. She drew in a sharp breath when her legs hit the moss filled mattress of the enormous bed. New crimson coverlets shielded the linens, threads of gold carved through the center in a design of ivy and waves of the sea.

I’d thank Alistair for commissioning furnishings that united both our worlds later. The old fool did it all in our absence, as though he knew there would be no reality in which I did not return with my songbird.

Livia’s fingernails scraped over my hips. Good. I hoped she left her mark. Too damn long had my skin been free of my mate’s touch.

I spun us around so my back was to the bed and cupped her face. “Trust me?”

“Always.”

Slowly, I leveraged over the bed until my head reached the satin pillows. “Come here.”

Livia, cheeks flushed, crept over the bed, straddling my hips. The corner of my mouth tugged up. “Wrong place, Songbird.”

Her brow furrowed. “What do you—”

Words cut off when I cupped the globes of her ass and pulled her up my chest. Her knees settled beside my shoulders.

“Erik, what are you doing?”

“Almost there, love.” I gripped her hips again until I had her knees next to my ears. “Hands on the posts, hips down.”

“I can’t . . . Erik, I can’t sit on you.”

“You can.” I dragged my nose through her heat, drawing in a breath of her scent. “You will.”

With trembling fingers, Livia took hold of the posts making up the head of the bed. She sucked in a sharp gasp of air when my tongue swiped over her core, back to front. Gods, to taste her again . . .

“Erik.” Her voice was hardly there, a rough whisper, almost an instinct, exactly where my damn name belonged.

Little by little, Livia’s body rocked and arched the deeper I dragged my tongue, the more I used my fingers. The points of my teeth dragged over her sensitive flesh, to her inner thighs.

“So perfect,” I rasped. From my angle, her body was in full view—flushed, glistening with water and sweat. I nudged her thighs. “Open more for me.”

She let out a strangled gasp when I swirled my tongue around her sensitive core. Livia moaned, then bent a bit at the waist, her brow falling to the post of the bed as she sank lower over my mouth.

A queen on her knees, moaning from my kiss, my cock throbbed with the need for release from the sight of it all. Mangled sobs and curses bounced off the walls of our room. After a moment, it was hard to tell who made which sound.

Livia’s head snapped back when I sucked harder and dug my fingers into her skin, holding her in place. Another breath, another taste, and her body went rigid.

I refused to let the moment fade away, and rolled her beneath me, fitting my hips between her thighs. She still writhed, seeking out pressure through her release.

“Please.” She hooked her ankles around my legs, urging me closer.

In one thrust, I slid inside. The pleasure of it was a bright shock to my brain, my heart. Livia moaned at the intrusion, then buried her face against my neck, nipping at my pulse point.

I tilted her hips, only enough to sink deeper. For a breath, I went still. The sensation of her body wrapped around me again was almost too much. I drew back, then thrust back inside. She let out a soft gasp. The beautiful curves and soft edges of her body collided with my chest.

“Gods, all gods,” she whispered, clawing at my back.

I picked up the rhythm. A give and take between us. My blood tingled. I reached between us and pinched her nipple until it was hard in my fingers. My lips covered hers. Livia sucked on my tongue and devoured my mouth like she would never have me again.

My body trembled when the coil of tension gathered low in my gut. I lost control and bucked wildly. Livia met the new frenzy, grinding against me, until she whispered my name over and over, her body shuddering as a new release built.

“I love you.” My voice was soft. Even still, it cracked.

Her brow furrowed, and she kissed me harder. The slap of our skin, the heat of our breath, the rock of the bed against the wall. It was a moment so perfect, I wanted to battle for it to never end.

Livia’s neck strained when her core pulsed. In the next breath, tension snapped, and my cock twitched. I froze for a few breaths when my release spilled into her in long, heated rushes. I bit down on her shoulder, rotating my hips to draw out the pleasure.

One arm around her waist, I held her against me, breathing heavily. I kissed her pulse point, then slowly pulled out.

We collapsed on the bed, eyes on the rafters. After a moment, Livia rolled into me, one leg draped over mine. She kissed me, slow and sweet, eyes wet with tears.

“I love you, too, Erik Bloodsinger. I’ll never be able to express how wondrous it is to be in your arms again.”

I traced the curve of her bottom lip with my thumb, kissed her brow, then curled my body behind hers. My arm draped possessively over her waist until we drifted to sleep—safe, at long last.


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