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The Never King: Chapter 23


I don’t know what to expect with Bash and Kas’s sister. Will she have wings like her brothers did?

And if they’re princes, then what is she?

I’m beginning to learn that nothing is as it seems here.

After the fish cleaning, I spend the rest of the day exploring the loft. There’s the living room, the hallway to the bedrooms, with mine at the end and the twins’ across the hall.

There’s a second hall off the living room that leads to the other side of the house.

Here I find another bathroom, another spare bedroom, and a library. There is a giant circular window that overlooks the ocean and rain patters softly against the glass.

And sitting in a leather chair beneath it, boots propped up on a coffee table, is Vane.

I’m already over the threshold before I spot him, so I come to a halt, turn away, then decide, no, I’m not going to run away. Didn’t he tell me not to run away?

There’s a book in his hands with a black cloth cover and a title stamped in gold. I’m too far away to make out what it says.

When I come in, for a split second, his good eye zeroes in on me then narrows, before turning back to the page.

He resumes reading, pretending I’m not there at all.

“What are you reading?” I ask.

“None of your business,” he answers easily.

I come closer so I can read the title. “Frankenstein. How fitting.”

He lays the open book on his chest. “Did you want something?”

I shrug and clasp my hands behind my back suddenly feeling like a kid that’s been let out in a zoo. I want to press my face against the glass and peer in at all the wild beasts.

“Why are you such a jerk?” I ask and drop into the chair across from him.

“It comes naturally.” He smiles tightly at me with white teeth and sharp incisors.

It’s hard to look directly at him without immediately gaping at the scar and the black eye. It’s like a monster is trying to claw its way out of his face.

“Is it because you possess the shadow of death?”

He goes still, eyes glinting in the gloomy light.

“And what does the little girl know of the shadow of death?”

I get the first creeping sense of dread and try to act casual as I consider his question. “Not much. Just that it makes you a raving lunatic.”

He snaps the book shut and sets it on the table. “And what does that make you, entering a room alone with me? A glutton for punishment?”

Fuck. Just the mere suggestion that he might do something to me, bend me over his knee, fuck me against the wall, has me clenching. I squeeze my thighs together trying to ward off the tingle spreading between my legs.

Of course he notices me squirming. His tongue pokes at the inside of his cheek.

I am out of my depth here.

“Maybe it does,” I admit because I suspect I can’t keep anything from Vane. If only I could read him as easily as he can read me.

“You should get up out of that chair and walk right back out that door.”


He inhales, slow and deep.

Last night when he spit in my mouth, I wanted to tear him apart. Out of all the idiots I’ve slept with, none have ever treated me like a slut even though I sorta was. I’m not ashamed of my life choices. For the last decade, I was expecting my life to end on my 18th birthday. Maybe not literally, but figuratively. A slow descent into madness.

So I took what I wanted, how I wanted it, because none of it felt like it mattered anyway.

Even though my 18th birthday has come and gone, and now that I’m in Neverland and the myth of Peter Pan has proven itself to be real, I still can’t shake the feeling like I’m running on borrowed time.

And if I am, I want to continue to take.

I want to do whatever the fuck I want even if it kills me.

So I get up out of that chair, but instead of walking out the door, I cross the distance between me and Vane and climb on his lap.

He growls, but his hips shift, lining himself up at my center. I don’t know if it’s on purpose or base instinct.

He keeps his arms on the chair as he turns up to me.

“Now that you’re here,” he says, “what do you plan to do about it?”

He’s tempting me, teasing me. He shifts again, this time pressing forward with his hips. He’s not hard yet though, and it pisses me off.

All of those needy, inexperienced football players were hard on a dime.

But…he’s got a good point.

What do I plan to do? My plan had no end point. Just a beginning.

I can’t turn back now. I’ll look like a coward and he’ll be gratified with the fact that I couldn’t follow through with my recklessness.

So I do the only thing a girl can do in this scenario—I pull off my sweater and my t-shirt.

I’m not wearing a bra so my breasts hit the air and my nipples immediately shrink to dark beads.

Vane growls again and now, now he’s hard.

I am full of so much pride I might float off into the rain cloud.

Just as long as he doesn’t see my back, just as long as he doesn’t see my scars.

I don’t want him to think me weak.

His hands come to my hips and he grinds me down on him.

The air gets stuck in my throat.

“Pretty little Darling whore,” he says. “Trying to pretend she’s bigger than she is.”

“Vicious shadow of death,” I say, “trying to pretend like this is all beneath him.”

“I made no such claim.” His hand trails from my hip, up my waist, and a shiver rocks over my shoulders. My nipples are so tight now, they’re painful and desperate for warmth.

Vane sits forward and brings his mouth to my peak.

I inhale in a hiss as he slides his tongue over me, then bites at me.

He wraps his arm around my waist, rocking me against him.

This is happening.

I’ll have them all when this is over.

I rub my pussy against his shaft, wishing there was no clothing between us. Do I make the first move or does he?

Take, that voice says in the back of my mind.

Take what you want.

I reach down between us and start to unbutton his pants. I’m trembling from anticipation and fear.

At any moment, he could turn that dark power on me, the terror.

His mouth still on my nipple, he turns up to me.

“Look at me,” he orders.

His dark hair hangs over his forehead and his violet eye is bright.

The air gets lodged in my throat as the terror slithers in and his face turns sharp.

Before I know what’s happening, he has me pinned on the floor, his entire body vibrating with barely restrained rage.

“Listen to me very carefully, Darling.” His teeth grind together. “You do not want to fuck with me.”

I choke down air, trying to keep the terror at bay as my heart pounds a warning in my ears. “I just want to be fucked by you.”

He sits up and slaps my tit.

I jolt, yelping in shock, and he clamps his hand over my mouth and the terror swells to a crescendo in my gut.

Every fiber in my body is telling me to get up and run. It’s a crawling sensation beneath my skin that I can’t shake.

Run far. Run fast.

Run. Run.


Hand still clamped over my mouth, he says, “No.”

One menacing word delivered with enough fire to burn.

My body is writhing for something, anything. Release or defeat or pain or pleasure.

I can’t contain it and I can’t think straight and my clit is throbbing.

“Please,” I say, the word muffled around his hand.

The pressure of his body is gone in a beat and I blink up at the loss of him.

“I’m not going to make you my pretty little broken fuck doll,” he tells me, and then he stalks from the room and I gulp down air.

I lie there on the rug for several long minutes, not entirely sure what just happened and if I actually survived it.

Am I dead?

I feel like I just leapt off of a cliff, but I haven’t hit yet. I’m still falling.

As the dark clouds roll in and the rain falls harder, I finally breathe normally and crawl up to my knees to fetch my sweater.

I get dressed and collapse into Vane’s abandoned chair, feeling spent but unsatisfied too.

Goddamn him.

I hate him. Which just makes me want to make him give in even more. Just so I can gloat about it.

But maybe he’s right—wanting that might make me a glutton for punishment.

And oh how sinister that punishment would be.


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