Home > Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(9)

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(9)
Author: Kresley Cole

He immediately clamped his hands on the bars, straining to break them, his arm and shoulder muscles rippling.

"You can't budge them, MacRieve. They've been reinforced by the witches."

He released them at once, with his lip curled in disgust. She'd always heard the Lykae had an aversion to witches. Evidently, that rumor was true.

"Why've you done this to me? You help them trap me after I saved your life from those vampires? You're bluidy welcome!"

And there went her plan to express gratitude to him. She averted her gaze, letting her hair fall over her face.

"In thanks you cage me in this shite hole."

She glanced around. Inside the cage were facilities and a nice cot. "It isn't that bad down here," she said, inwardly conceding that it might be a bit dank - the half-basement had been built before people realized cellars didn't really work in soggy southern Louisiana. "It's got a window," she muttered defensively.

"Lousha, you can free me."

"Bring that up again, and I'll leave."

"Then tell me what I'm doing here!"

"Would you believe me if I told you that Lachlain lived? And that he kidnapped my niece Emmaline, claiming she was his mate?"

He froze. "Nay, I would no'. You've made a mistake."

"There's no mistake." She frowned. "How is it that you wouldn't know this?"

"Have no' been back to the compound in a while. And now, conveniently, I canna to verify your tale. How long will I be down here?"

"Until we get Emma back," she answered.

"And you'd do this after I saved you - and your sisters?"

"I don't owe you an explanation. We're enemies."

"No, we're no'! We're..."

"We're what?"

"Compatible," he answered so smoothly.

"Why did you come to Val Hall that night, anyway?"

He hiked those broad shoulders. "I was in the neighborhood."

"And you were last night as well? You've obviously been following me. You told me I wasn't your mate. Did you lie?"

"You're going to accuse me of dishonesty when you've just used yourself as bait to trap me, and then lied to my face?" When she was clearly unconvinced, he said, "Think about it - if you'd been my mate, then how would I have stayed away the night of the full moon?"

"A cage like this."

"Lykae do no' ally with witches." He seemed to stifle a shudder at the thought.

So I'm not his. "MacRieve, your brother is alive."

"You're saying he's come back from the dead after one hundred and fifty years, and his queen, this Emma, is a Valkyrie?"

"Not exactly." She's a halfling vampire. How would Garreth react to the fact that his brother's mate - though bashful and kind - was a blood drinker?

"Tell me what, exactly," Garreth demanded.

"Just forget it."

"Then I'll have to see Lachlain's return to believe it," he said, even as hope welled inside him. Though it was a fantastical tale, Garreth himself had never accepted Lachlain's death. For decades, he had searched to find the mystically hidden Horde capital. After the first thirty years of wondering and investigating, he'd admitted to himself that it might be better if Lachlain had been killed.

Demestriu was known to torture in unimaginable ways.

Now, if Garreth allowed himself to truly believe his brother had returned and then learned it was a mistake... he didn't think he could lose Lachlain twice.

"You weary my patience with this, Lousha." She did, and would have even more if his "capture" hadn't been somewhat voluntary - he'd woken briefly as they'd transported him here. Checking his bindings, about to rip free of them, he'd asked, "Where are you taking me?"

She'd been wan, her eyes glassy with lingering pain. "To Val Hall."

Garreth had stopped struggling. After all, he was a Lykae - no cage could hold him and she was taking him into her home. He'd thought this would prove to be a fortuitous turn. He'd be closer to her, better able to protect her. Now he was trapped. Bluidy witches!

Taking a seat on the floor, he leaned back against the wall, drawing a knee up. "Sit," he commanded, adding in a softer tone, "It's the least you can do."

With a glare, she drew a chair in front of the cage and gingerly sat. She's hurting still. He hardened himself against the concern he felt. "Why were you in agony the night of the vampire attack? I scented no blood on you, saw no injury."

"It's not your concern."

"So you do feel pain when you miss a shot?"

She looked startled, distinctly on edge, letting her hair fall over her face again. She was wearing thick braids over her pointed ears, but the rest of her shining mane flowed freely, locks tumbling over her forehead. "What could you possibly know about me?"

"More than you think. Made you my subject of study. Dinna find out all I'd aimed to, though. Most folks just know you're the Archer."

Seeming relieved, she said, "That's me. All there is to know."

"What about your family, your birth mother? Who were her people?"

She glanced over her shoulder at the stairs before facing him again. "I don't know who she was. I don't even know what she was."

"She could've been a Lykae?"

Lucia shrugged her slim shoulders. "For all I know."

"Ah, so that's why you're more reasonable with other factions. You could be related to them," he observed. "In any case, if your intent was to be mysterious, you've succeeded."

"Oh, I'm mysterious? You showed up out of nowhere to decapitate two vampires in my living room."

"Ask me anything, and I'll answer."

She raised her brows in challenge. "Really, Dark Prince?"

"Aye. That's what I was called." Garreth had never thought he'd be king, not with an immortal older brother, and he'd behaved accordingly, saying and doing things Lachlain never could have. Garreth had been a wild one, dubbed the Dark Prince before he'd reached twenty. And yes, the association with Lucifer was on purpose. Responsible Lachlain used to bail him out of scrape after scrape. "You've been digging for background on me?"

"Digging? Your background's pretty notorious."

"Maybe. I've doubtless made mistakes." Big ones. If he'd been more involved with the clan, and less involved with himself, perhaps his brother wouldn't have set off alone that fateful night. "But at least I own my actions when I bollix things up." Unlike you, little mate.

Ignoring his pointed comment, she asked, "Why have you brought your people here? To Louisiana?"

"After my brother went missing, many of the Lykae wanted to be as far away from the Horde as possible. This was no' the first place we picked, believe me." Once he'd inherited the crown, he'd cleaned his act up, then begun scouring the earth for a new home for them, wanting to do at least that for his people. "But in the end, it made sense."

After another glance over her shoulder, she said, "It made sense to trespass in Valkyrie territory?"

Aye, or I might no' ever have found you. "We're no' so bad as neighbors, lass. And the Valkyrie and Lykae are no' enemies."

"Except at the Accession. When we're all forced to fight."

Every five hundred years, pivotal events in the Lore began to take place, each one forcing conflicts between factions. Some said this concentration of incidents was a mystical mechanism to cull an ever-growing population of immortals.

There was no grand war to decide it all - at least there hadn't been in the past - but the battles and confrontations made for a war of attrition. Once the Accession had swept through, the faction with the most players still alive won. "The Lykae will no' be fighting any Valkyrie this Accession."

"You know what's driving all this. You won't have any control over it," she said with another glance over her shoulder.

"Would your sisters frown on the fact that you're attracted to me?"

She faced him at once. "I'm not!"

"Lie to yourself, Lousha. No' to me. I was there with you that night, remember? You might be trying no' to recall it, but it's seared into my head."

"No, actually I want to recall it - I like to remember my mistakes. So I don't repeat them."

"A mistake then? Is that what Valkyrie call scream-wrenching orgasms?"

Between gritted teeth, she said, "I asked you not to do certain things, and you just ignored me."

"Like what?"

"Like not taking off my underwear. You ripped them from me, then stole them! Why would you ever?"

He cast her a shameless grin. "To do unseemly things with them."

She held up her hand. "I don't want to hear more. Again, MacRieve, why did you come to Val Hall that night?"

"Because you were screaming like a banshee? I saw scattered arrows on the floor. No' a one bloodied. Did you pay for missing? Maybe you did make a deal with the devil to shoot like that."

Her eyes flashed silver. "You know nothing!" She shot to her feet and ran, climbing the stairs without looking back.

"Come back here, Lousha!" The charade was over; he wanted out of the cage. Clenching his jaw, he tried to bend the bars - nothing. "Damn you, Valkyrie."

Once he got loose... all the witches in the world couldn't protect her.


 12

Lucia had told MacRieve that she wasn't bound by his animalistic needs. And in that deep rasp, he'd replied, "After one night with me, Lousha, you will be."

He'd been right. She couldn't stop thinking about him, recalling how he'd touched her.

Now in the dead of night, she lay in her bed - a single bed because she was never supposed to be sharing it - puzzling over the male trapped downstairs. Desperate to determine his power over her, she stared up at the ceiling fan, as if it would have all the answers to the conundrum that was Garreth MacRieve.

Granted, the Lykae had obvious attributes: his golden eyes, his muscular body, his broad shoulders that seemed made for her to hold on to.

His firm lips. Not a minute passed without her remembering how they'd felt on hers. She didn't know how she'd gone so long without kissing. Or how she could ever go back.

Lucia even appreciated the ferocity she'd witnessed when he'd bitten that vampire's throat out. But something more was at work, some connection to him. Even during their exchange earlier tonight, he'd affected her. But he hadn't given her that look - the one that said he was about to do wicked things to her body - which was probably the only reason her mind hadn't gone blank.

She feared he was the type of man women got reckless over, made stupid decisions for. He made her think, Vows of chastity? What vows?

That night in the swamp - when she'd been so close to letting him take her - had been the first time she'd had an orgasm with a man. No wonder she was continually thinking about him - he'd made her cl**ax. Of course. Naturally she'd want to experience it again.

Just recalling how his eyes had been filled with lust made her heart race all over again. She'd witnessed him almost completely na**d, with only his jeans at his knees, and had seen tantalizing glimpses of his thick erection. If she'd had any hesitation about being with a male, or fears from her past, he'd quelled them with his toe-curling kisses against her panties.


 5

Now her ni**les budded against her camisole, her breaths quickening. She was wet for him, aching for more. She turned onto her front - which was worse, so she flipped back over. Glaring at the ceiling, she realized there was no fighting it.

Her hand eased into her panties.

Something woke Garreth, putting him on edge. It was an uncanny feeling, as if the air were crackling with electricity. Shouldn't be surprising - lightning struck constantly in this bizarre place, like ongoing mini-explosions.

Some bolts hit so close, the entire manor quaked, dust raining from the ceiling - ominous signs in a structure built so long ago. And between the lightning strikes, he heard Valkyrie shrieks, the drone of the TV, and jaunty video game music that was like nails on slate.

Adding to his misery, Garreth could scent Lucia at every hour, could hear her voice, hear her whispers to the glowing freak:

"I sense he's getting more powerful than ever before," Lucia had said this afternoon. Who?

"Then I'm glad we have a back-up plan," Regin had replied. Back-up to what?

"Everything depends on finding it. If I have to go inside for this round, then I want to be able to get back out." Find what? Where the bluidy hell is she going?

"How much time do we have?"

"Maybe a year. Before they come..."

Before who - or what - came? What had Lucia meant?

It maddened him, and she wouldn't return no matter how much he bellowed. The most mysterious female he'd ever imagined, and all day and night, the mystery deepened -

Suddenly, he caught the scent... of her desire? He felt the current in the air, sensed it came from her.

Realization hit. No, it canna be. She would no' be....

Lucia's eyes slid shut as her fingers dipped into her panties, seeking - and finding - wet flesh.

With a sigh, she gave a stroke against her swollen clitoris, fantasizing about MacRieve's body. The already continual lightning built. Another stroke as she envisioned his poor battered chest, packed with muscle. She rubbed faster... faster...

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