“OUT! You don’t want me to remove you myself!” She was gone in a blurred flash, door slamming hard behind her. She cursed colorfully on the other side of it as she stormed away.
I drank in the sight of him. He was enraged, but I felt no fear. Perhaps it was my other form’s hold still on me, or maybe I had just never been afraid of his rage.
He studied me closely, visibly shaking. His voice was calmer than I would have expected when he spoke. “I didn’t think you were coming back.” Abruptly he turned and sat. I sat to his right. He had his head in his hands, rubbing his temples wearily. His hair had grown since I left. He obviously hadn’t cut it. It hung nearly to his shoulders now. Druids grew things back quickly; hair, nails, limbs. He looked wonderful. I drank in the sight of him, starved to the point of pain.
“Me neither.” My voice was getting stronger. “I thought I was flying north to perish, to tell you the truth.”
“But you didn’t perish.”
“No.” I surprised myself by laughing.
He looked up, startled and angry. “Something funny?” he asked coldly.
I shook my head, but a little smile still lingered on my lips. “No, it just feels good to know that I’m not going comatose or crazy for the foreseeable future.”
“So what have you been up to for the last seven months?”
“I thought it was closer to six,” I mused out loud, though I was sure he had tracked it more closely than I had.
“Trust me, it was seven. You know, we raided that place they were holding you in. I even let the slayer and the mimic in on the action. We got there just one hour after you had escaped. We were so close to rescuing you. But you never were one to wait around long enough to be rescued.”
My eyes widened in surprise This was all news to me, of course. “Did you see the other captives? Where they okay? Was Lynn in there somewhere?” I still felt bad about that, about leaving them, even though I’d had no control over it at the time..
“No signs of Lynn. The slayer believes a different group of dragons took her. But we found the other captives, and they are fine. The dragons left in too big of a hurry to take them. They were both orphans, so they’re in druid custody now. They are acclimating as well as can be expected, considering all that they’ve been through.”
I shut my eyes, laying my head back against the large, comfortable headrest of my chair. The elaborate chairs at the banquet table were closer to thrones.
It was a relief to hear that those girls were okay, and hardly a surprise that they hadn’t found Lynn in that place.
It felt like at least one huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I hadn’t realized what a burden of guilt I had been carrying for that. My desertion of those girls hadn’t been deliberate on my part, but that was little reassurance when I knew first-hand what the monsters who held them were capable of.
“The dragons were in such a hurry, in fact, that we captured one of them mid-flight.”
My eyes snapped open, and I leaned forward to look at him more closely. I had been trying to avoid looking into his eyes up to that point. Those mercurial, mis-matched eyes had such power over me. “Who was it? What did you do with him?”
He smiled at me enigmatically. “At last, I have the answers and you are the one asking the questions. Perhaps we can bargain, then. Let us trade information. I ask you again. What have you been up to for the last seven months? We’ve been looking for you. I’m sure that’s not surprising to you. I feel like I’ve spent most of my life chasing your trail. So I must admit to some curiosity as to your whereabouts these past seven months.”
I licked my lips nervously. Where to start… “That’s why I’m here actually. I have a favor to ask you. I have something very important that I need you to protect for me.”
He raised a brow at me. “Let me guess. You’ll ask me for a favor, I’ll agree, and then you’ll leave in a rush, giving me no information, as usual. Whatever you were up to, it didn’t change you much.” Bitterness dripped from every word.
“Actually, I plan to tell you everything. I’m just trying to figure out where to start.” I could tell I’d surprised him, but he was still wary. “I went north because of something that happened years ago, back when we were together.”
He removed his jacket suddenly, throwing it at me. “Put on some clothes, for god’s sake. Why the f**k are you naked?”
“Sorry, that wasn’t intentional. I forgot about clothes. I’ve been my other form almost since I left. My mind doesn’t work the same when I’m changed.” Still, I let his jacket fall to the floor.
Suddenly, his nostrils flared, as if picking up a scent. Before I could blink, he had me on my back, on the table, his weight pushing me down. “You provoke me, as always.”
“Wait.” My voice made him freeze. His body started to shake as he straightened up.
I ran my burden to the corner, turning to smile radiantly at him. “Sorry, it’s delicate.” I was back to him in a flash. Just the smell of his neck made me shake with need. “I missed you,” I whispered in his ear, and felt him tremble.
He splayed me on the table, more carefully this time. He set to work on my body slowly with his lips, tongue, and teeth. I gripped his hair in both fists, it’s silken texture a wonder to me.
I tried to guide his head lower, but he just ignored me, chuckling softly against my skin. The sound was sinister, and it drove me crazy. He always took control in this fashion when we made love. He would take no orders, and I could refuse none of his. He was dominant to his very core. I doubted there were any truly powerful druids that weren’t. They melded their souls with the beasts. It was the nature of their power. And I had never seen a druid more powerful than Dom. Or more controlled. He could tamp down his dominance when needed, but when we were like this, letting go completely, he didn’t even try. I would have hated it if he had. His power spread over me like a mist, and every part of me loved it.
He buried his face in my neck, biting down hard. I whimpered, but not in pain. He kissed the bite marks he’d made, soothing me, then kissed his way from my throat to my br**sts. He kneaded one in his hand while his mouth set to work on the other. He sucked my flesh into his mouth so hard that it would have left a lasting mark, if I was human. He gave the other one the same attention, then moved south, kissing across my ribs, and into my naval. “Stroke your br**sts,” he ordered roughly into my skin. I obeyed, but made a sound of protest in my throat. I didn’t want to stop touching him, didn’t ever want to let go of him again.