The last twenty-four hours have been the best of my life. I’ve found my home.

But as Ike carries me back to the cave and I remember the reason I was brought here in the first place. And I know there’s something I have to do before we can settle into our life together.


Ike probably isn’t going to like it.

CHAPTER SEVEN

Ike

Night has fallen. Diana sits on my lap eating a meal of fish and rice.

After we made love on the other side of the waterfall, Diana wanted to try her hand at fishing again and I was more than willing to watch her. She is extraordinary, my tiny person. My love. I waded nearby her in the stream, in case she slipped or got scared and thankfully she made my job easy by remaining very still, only moving at the last second to grab the unsuspecting fish beneath the surface.

My Diana is like lightning.

She fills my chest with pride.

I thought she was being quiet tonight because she was exhausted from fishing and sex, but now that she’s wrapped in my arms and full from her meal, I notice her pensive expression. It makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. If she thinks to leave me, I will tear down every tree in these woods in my misery—and I still won’t let her go. It is merely the possibility that she might want to leave that creates the giant hole in my chest. Has she changed her mind about loving me?

Was I too rough with her body today?

“Ike—”

“Yes?” I respond too quickly.

She turns in my lap and plays lazily with my chest hair, the action hardening my cock. When she feels it pressing to her backside, she bites her lip and smiles at me from beneath her eyelashes. If I didn’t know better, I would say she’s trying to soften me before saying something I won’t like.

“I have to go back to the village.”

“NO!” I roar, my spine snapping straight. “You will stay with Ike.”

“Let me finish!” she shouts back. “And please refer to yourself in first person.”

I have no idea what first person means, but that is irrelevant right now when she is ripping the heart from my chest. “I don’t want to hear the rest.”

“Too bad.” She leaves my arms and stands, stomping a foot on the floor. “I said I wanted to be with you forever and I meant it. You have to trust me, Ike.”

“You just said you wanted to leave.”

“I want you to come with me,” she says, her pretty face screwed up in a cute frown that—for some reason—makes my cock even heavier with need.

Wait. What did she say? “Come with you?”

“Yes.” Diana begins to pace and I follow her, so when she turns, she runs into my chest and almost falls. I catch her first, but she jerks out of my grip and raises her chin. “We have to tell the villagers who is really killing and stealing the animals. Those brothers have to be stopped.”

“The villagers left you for dead, Diana! Why should we aid them now?”

“Because it’s not fair to the animals.” Her eyes begin to shine, gutting me. “You want those clowns to pay for what they said to me, don’t you?”

“Don’t worry, I’m planning on meting out their punishment,” I seethe.

“Why don’t we hand them over to the villagers, instead? We’ll kill two birds with one stone. They get their comeuppance and the animals will be safe.” Diana bites her lower lip and saunters closer to me, trailing a single finger down my chest and circling my belly. “Won’t it be nice to have the hills to ourselves?”

I’m torn between wanting to give her anything she could possibly want—and insecurity. I still can’t believe this perfect woman wants me. I still feel like I’m dreaming. “How do I know you won’t want to stay in the village? How do I know you won’t scream for them to save you from the beast once we are in their midst?”

She sucks in a breath and is no longer touching me.

I fear my words were a terrible mistake.

“I guess you don’t know.” A tear slips free of her eye and she swipes it away. Ignoring my low keen of agony, she marches away and lies down on our pallet, all the way on the edge, with her back turned from me. “We are having our first fight, in case you didn’t know, Ike.”

“No, Diana,” I shuffle toward the bed. “I don’t want to fight. I love you.”

“Love means trust.”

God, her sweet backside looks so inviting among the sheets. Will she let me hold her through the night? I will be miserable without my arms around her now that I’ve been allowed to visit heaven. The answer is no. When I try to roll Diana into the crook of my arm, she freezes up and curls herself into a ball.

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