Find out in Chapter 27 of The One That Feels!
Not caught up? Oh, man... that's 26 chapters of catching up to do... better start at the beginning!
I smiled. Nem’s hand was on my shoulder as he gently shook me.
“Mmm,” I said, grabbing hold of his arm and wrapping it around me. “Good.”
He kissed my back softly, sliding closer. “You were mumbling.”
I brought his hand to my lips and kissed it, then let it fall back against my chest. Nem kissed me again, squeezing us together until his chest was flush against my back. “Was worried.”
“I’m fine,” I said. “Get some sleep. Tomorrow we have to be diplomatic.”
Nem chuckled. “I’m a prince of the Realm. I’m more worried about you.”
His body trembled the way it had just after we’d first made love—a sort of disbelieving ecstasy. My Nem was happy. And I wanted to keep him that way forever. “I love you,” I whispered, kissing his temple and then settling close enough to warm his neck with my breath. He kept trembling, but his leg twisted to lock our legs together, and he leaned his head closer, until our heads touched.
Our breath grew slow, and we dozed. When I woke again it was to the weight of my mate on my chest, and to lips that demanded satisfaction. I gave it, joyfully. He pulled away and smiled at me, his hands planted on either side of my shoulders. He gave me a mischievous grin, his long hair tangled and framing his face. He looked wild, like the Puck of legend, and his mercurial eyes swirled with fiery lust.
Touching his chest, I was met with a thin sheen of sweat from our bodies pressing hot together through the night. It was slick and beautiful and the rise and fall of his chest as he breathed made me ache for him. There was a question in his eyes, a nervousness overcome barely by want. But the want was enough. I gave my assent, a tiny movement, but my mate knew me enough to recognize it. How could I deny him? I was sure I would do anything he ever asked to see that smile again.
He slid down my body seeking across my stomach and chest, fingers spread wide as though to touch as much of me as he possibly could. And then wet heat kissed my cock, slid against it, enveloped and swallowed it until Nem’s lips touched the base. He’d taken all of me. Now his hands moved, rubbing and touching and caressing as he coaxed screams of passion from my lips. Screams I gave, words of worship to my mate.
It was over quickly. Days without Nem’s touch had left me little resistance against the luscious heat of his body. I managed to make my final cries a gasp of his name as sensation overwhelmed me and I came. The taste of my seed on his lips was bitter and salty, and yet the passion with which he met my kiss made me hungry for it, my tongue searching his mouth for any trace left behind.
I grasped him desperately as we kissed, one hand against his back, pressing us close, the other grasping the globe of one asscheek. It fit into my hand perfectly, like it belonged there. He moaned into the kiss as my hand caressed his ass, squeezing it. He pulled his lips away and set his forehead against mine. His breath was hot against my face, coming in great gasps. I let go of his back and cupped his face in my hands, wrapping my legs against his waist.
“Oh!” he gasped. I felt the sharp twinge of his cock as my legs tightened, pulling us together. He trembled. “Thom?”
There was so much in that one word. Desire. Want. Desperation. Uncertainty. My fingers tickled against his forehead, brushing against his antlers and I trembled. “Once Jordan is safe, back home in the Real with Brian and we’re alone together. I want it, Nem. For us. To be yours. For you to take ecstasy inside me. To share that... what you give me so freely. I want you to feel it too. What that’s like.”
His eyes were unreadable, but the answering lust driven kiss—surely affirmative. It was passionate and wet and desperate. I met it gladly. Let him speak his answer with his lips and tongue and the desperate pull of arms pulling us close, so close. He didn’t need words. I knew what he meant. I could taste the words. I could read them in the movements of our lips together. I could feel them in the way he pulled us together. This was forever. And I would fight to keep it that way.
Nem kept me in bed, rubbing our bodies against each other, kissing, touching, caressing. For another hour he touched me and loved me and kissed every inch of my flesh. And then he sought the place on my neck, the one where he’d marked me as his mate, and kissed it, and sucked it, and he marked me again as I wailed in the ecstasy of being made his.
We rose, finally, from the bed, washed ourselves in massive tubs of steaming water, and then we were dressed by liveried servants. I rankled at the clothes, though they were finely made in luxurious silk and smooth, soft velvet. A glance told me Nem did not share my disdain for the finery. The glance softened my grumbling. Not only was his far more elaborate and cumbersome but looking at our clothes together I realized what they were. He’d been busy while I was held in the dungeons of Garuth. The servants were dressing him in the proper regalia of a crown prince of Zaharoth. Once I recognized that it was impossible not to see the signs that marked what I was wearing, showing that I was prince consort.
It was a challenge to his father. A challenge made without any knowledge of the negotiations I’d conducted in my dreams. For a child of abuse, it was, I had no doubt, a difficult step. He was risking for me, and I would honor that risk.
When the servants were done dressing him, he stepped away—not to examine himself in the mirrors as I had, but to look at me. His smile was dazzling. He set a hand on either shoulder and looked at me and his tears clinked silver and metallic against the floor.
“My mate,” he said, “so handsome.”
I wanted to say something. I hated being called handsome. But I couldn’t deny him. His pride was so evident and I would let him feel that. He set a hand against my cheek. “Are you ready?”
I took a deep breath. “This isn’t about you, or me, or the Duchess. It’s about Jordan. He needs his mate,” I said. I skirted my hands across the soft fabrics over Nem’s heart. “It’s about what we get to feel and helping him to get to that.”
Nem shook his head. “That’s what it’s about for you.” He smiled. “You love Brian. For me this is about you setting that aside, finishing that old business so you can be with me.”
“I am here with you now,” I said.
Nem trembled a little as he looked at me, his hand against my cheek. “Yes, but you are also out there. With Jordan. Frightened for him. Worried for Brian. Afraid you won’t be able to negotiate release from the Realm. I know. We’ll get him home to Brian. We will.”
I leaned into the hand against my cheek and closed my eyes, holding Nem’s hand there with my own. “I promised him, Nem.”
Nem leaned his head against my chest. “Don’t worry, Thommas. We’ll get him home.”
I lifted the hand at my cheek and kissed it. “It’s Yarath of Om.”
Nem nodded. “And you are The One That Feels. I know you can help him do this. They’re waiting for us.” He held out his arm. I smiled and took hold of it.
“You know that wait was totally your fault.”
He arched an eyebrow. “I heard no protests.”
I leaned against him for a moment. I’m sure it looked comical, me leaning down to rest my head on his shoulder. “I wasn’t making any.”
This part of the palace was richly appointed. The guards were quiet and unobtrusive, the courtiers few and far between. Though I held Nem’s arm, acting the part of consort that I knew was making him feel so proud, I guided him with whispers between motionless lips, giving him directions to the great hall.
The hall was quiet. I’d expected that. There must be no chance of a careless courtier bringing down the fury of Yarath of Om. His temper was legendary, and neither the Lady, nor her new Guardian would risk him getting angry. The throne still sat upon its dais at the far end of the hall, but almost everything else had been cleared from the room.
The marble floor had been polished, the crushed and cratered marks of my footsteps from the door fixed or hidden by glamours too strong for me to easily detect. Only the marks of my fury where I stood with Nem, and the stain of Rakibak’s demise remained. In the center of the room an oaken table had been set up, with chairs on either side. Save for the throne, this was the only furniture that remained.
A clearly nervous Jordan squatted in the corner, hugging his knees. The antlers rising from his head made this rather comical, really, save for the worried expression on his face. I looked for the others. The Lady was resplendent, as I expected. Polished and beautiful, her perfect poise gave her an air of authority, a palpable presence. The captain was uncomfortable. As Guardian, his uniform was no longer sufficient, and the regalia of an advisor sat on shoulders ill at ease. Neither paid Jordan any attention, quietly talking in hushed whispers near the throne.
I patted the arm I held and gave Nem a swift kiss against his shoulder, then left him to wander over and join the Lady’s conversation while I moved quietly to the corner and held out my hand. Jordan looked nervously up at me. “I’m not ready.”
“Brian is waiting for you,” I said. “He asked me to tell you that. That he misses you. That he loves you. Time has wandered in the Real. For him it has been months. And he’s still afraid you won’t come back.”
“You talked to him? How?”
I laughed. “I am no idle visitor to the Realm.” I looked pointedly at my hand, still outstretched, waiting. “Are you sure you’re not ready?”
Jordan gulped. “He said that, for real?”
“It was in a dream. But it was real for him.”
Jordan closed his eyes, biting at his lip as he grabbed for my hand and got to his feet. “Please tell me Brian knows—”
“I told him you would fight to be able to go back to him. Will you?”
Jordan’s eyes became intense. “Yes!”
“Then you’re ready. Because that’s the only thing that’s important. That you love him enough to fight for him.”