His silver eyes were telling her he was about to claim her, that nothing could stop him.

When he’d raised himself up on both arms, she kneaded his shoulders. “Can you feel how slick I am? How wet for you?”

“When we were in the glade, I imagined what your shaft would feel like plunging inside me.” Her words were throaty. “Tonight you’ll show me.”

A shudder strangled whatever he’d been about to say.

His unpracticed reactions, the honesty of his responses, ratcheted up her arousal to a shocking degree.

Subtly rocking to his pulsing rod, she murmured, “You couldn’t be sexier, Thronos.”

He canted his head, as if he didn’t believe her. But whatever he saw in her eyes convinced him otherwise. Whatever he saw made his shuddering grow worse.

By the time he’d planted the crown inside, he was sweating. His voice broke lower as he said, “You’re so tight around me. Never knew you’d be so hot.” The wonder in his tone made her toes curl.

The sheet rose and fell with her shallow breaths. She arched her back so that her nipples strained against the material, which seemed to bespell him more than the nymphs had. “Don’t you want to bare my breasts at least?”

The dilemma was clear on his face. He finally tugged down the sheet just past her breasts. “Too lovely to cover.”

And she lost a little bit more of her heart to him.

Eyes rapt on the pebbled tips, he licked his sensual lips. He’d expressed a particular pleasure in suckling her. If he did now, this might truly be over before it started. To distract him, she rolled her hips—

Which impaled his shaft even deeper.

She gasped at the sudden fullness; he grunted, “Tight.”

His gradual pace was the only reason she hadn’t cried out. “Slow is good, Thronos.”

With a solemn nod, he fed her sheath more of his throbbing length. Already he waged an obvious battle not to come. His wings were furling and unfurling like a fist opening and closing. Sweat slicked the breathtaking swells of his brawny chest, the rippling muscles of his rock-hard torso.

As he sank ever deeper, a drop of his clean sweat splatted over one of her swollen breasts, making her shiver—and undermining her own control.

“For driving me crazy?” She cupped his nape, arching up to graze her breasts across his chest—sending the sheet to her waist, sending him deeper inside her.

“I feel your nipples . . . so stiff . . . ah, gods—” His hips bucked forward in an uncontrollable rush, till he was seated deep within her, a growl wrenched from his lungs.

Her own lungs were squeezed for breath. His body was inside her, surrounding her, seeming to vibrate from his struggle to regain the control he’d lost.

She wriggled beneath him, adjusting to his length. “Just give me a second.” Deep within her, she could perceive his cock pulsating to the beat of his heart. His invincible heart. “I’m good, Thronos. All good.”

He clasped her face in his big hands, touching her with reverence. “I just wed you,” he rasped, making her melt.

I’ve waited my entire life to see that look. “Since I’m also engaged in the act”—she shimmied beneath him, eliciting a groan—“I’d say we just wed each other.”

She couldn’t stop grinning back at him. As if they’d pulled off a stupendous achievement. Which, she supposed, they had.

But their amusement receded when he began to withdraw. The friction of his cock and that flared crown wrested a plaintive cry from her.

Before he gave his first thrust, he said, “Ready?”

When he tilted his hips forward, he threw his head back, the muscles of his neck bulging. “My Lanthe!” Then he faced her once more, to gaze at her—with awe.

He was still swelling inside her, much more than she’d expected. Apparently, he was a show-er and a grower. She did her best to stifle a wince. Brave little soldier, and all that.

Lanthe had always thought the term joined was hyperbole in a sexual sense. Now, so much of his body was within hers, she did feel joined to him. If she could just get herself accustomed . . . “Stir yourself in me.”

“Stir?” He circled his hips, grinding against her sensitive clitoris.

“Oh, yes.” Pleasure seared her with the intensity of flames.

A sharp exhalation escaped him. Puh. His expression was thunderstruck.

In the quiet of the night, his heart pounded like a drum. His wings were stretched wide, the pulselines glowing like shooting stars from the diadem above.

His starry eyes, gazing down at her, outshone them all.

He stirred himself again, stretching her, filling her thoroughly. Bliss suffused her, warmth coursing throughout every inch of her. She felt brimming with him, with emotions.

But her emotions confused her. Amid the tenderness she felt for him, she also experienced gratitude, relief—and even joy.

With her hands meeting around his nape, she murmured, “Thronos . . .” I’m yours. You’re mine. You confuse me. This confuses me. She hadn’t even orgasmed, and it was the best sex she’d ever had. Never had sex felt like coming home to someone.

Like she was being showered with fate’s gold coins.

He laid his big palm on the side of her face. “I don’t recognize . . . what your expression’s telling me,” he admitted in a gravelly voice. “But I think I like it.”

“I’m trying to tell you a thousand things at once. I’m telling you I’m ready—to be taken by you.” Not only was she accustomed to him; his cock now felt so critical that she wondered how she’d survived without it. “I’ll give you anything you need.” Her hands moved to his ass, digging into the flexing muscles. “Do you need to thrust?”

“By all the gods, yes.” He drew his hips back, sinking himself more slowly.

Ecstasy surged inside her. Her lids fluttered as she moaned.

Another painstaking thrust. “Is it always like this, Lanthe?”

“Emphatically no.” She couldn’t stop writhing on his hardness, wanting ever more of it. “More, Thronos!”

“The way you move . . . maddening.” He clamped her restless hips, his body driving forward. Then again. Each time he hit the end of her sheath, her clitoris got a shot of delicious stimulation. Her orgasm mounted.

“You’re squeezing me so tight.” His pace quickened. “I can’t hold out!”

“No, don’t come,” she said, feeling her sorcery rising. “I won’t let you.” The air blurred near her lips.

Had she just used her power on him?

He thrust hard, groaning as if in pain. “Lanthe . . .” His skin sheened with sweat, his muscles corded. Just looking at him like this—her steady Vrekener in the throes, a massive warrior about to unleash centuries of need—brought her right to the edge.

She was going to come for this male, and she could almost fear the intensity of the escalating pleasure.

“Don’t. Take me as you need to.”

With a groan, he shoved into her body. Again. And again, until he was railing between her legs, to her delight. His hands dipped beneath her, his remaining claws biting into the curves of her ass—a primal sign of possession that sent her spiraling.

He gave a frustrated yell, confusion flashing in his eyes. “Lanthe, I can’t come.”

“I might have . . . commanded you.” Though she’d been tripping headlong toward her climax, she sucked in a breath and resisted it, wanting to torment them both.

“Undo it!” His tendons stood out with strain, his mighty body toiling to free its seed.

“Hmm. We’re going to have such fun tonight. . . .”

This was anything but fun! Thronos could feel a knot of semen trapped right beneath the crown, and he couldn’t release it.

His body knew exactly who he was claiming, knew it was to spill seed for her womb. The pressure of it made his erection throb like a hammered thumb—worse than it ever had before because he had semen welling for her.

Her hot channel clutched him so tightly, seeming to demand it. He wanted to savor his first time, to savor her, but he could hardly think past that damned violent throbbing.

He gazed down to where their bodies joined. Mistake. Through the slit in the sheet, he could see her rosy flesh gloving his engorged length.

When he saw his mate was wetting the material with her arousal, his shaft jerked within her, as if panting for her. “About to lose my mind!” She’d told him that if he was ever inside her, there would be no doubt; he would be broken down at a molecular level, altered irretrievably.

Their crackling electricity now scorched him, as if lightning bolts detonated between them. The feeling of connection overpowered him, awed him. Physically, his body was wracked—he labored to ease the pressure and claim his pleasure—but he also needed to give his fated mate his seed, to leave something of himself inside her.

He gazed down at her face; her eyes were luminous, speaking to him in a language he didn’t yet understand. “Release me, Melanthe!” His voice was strangled, the pain unbearable.

Even as it felt so damned good.

In answer, she leaned up to kiss his neck. With her ethereal, blue sorcery coiling all around them, she licked his pulse point, the same way she’d taken gold dust from him. It drove him just as crazy. When she started sucking on his neck, he wondered if she sought to unhinge him.

“I’ll release you,” she murmured against his skin, “once you release me.”

Comprehension hit his lust-addled brain. He had to bring her to orgasm before she’d let him come.

He ran his arms behind her back, scooping her up, arching her breasts to him. His mouth grazed one nipple, then the other. He took them with his tongue, then his lips, rocking between her legs as he sucked.

Against one plump breast, he yelled, “Release me!” Rocking, suckling, rocking her. Losing my mind.

“Hold back?” This was all deliberate?

“Tell me what you need . . . to get you there.”

Their heads shot forward, teeth clicking before he slanted his mouth over hers. Their tongues tangled, flicking licks. They traded breaths, her moans and his groans. She was thrashing against him as wildly as he plunged into her.

Just as he reached a crisis point—when he couldn’t think past pressure, and wetness, and heat—she broke away to whisper at his ear, “When you feel me coming around you . . . give me your seed.” Sorcery swirled with her command.

“And you might want to cover my mouth, because you’re about to make me scream.” She held his gaze. “Thronos, now!”

He used his palm to muffle her abandoned scream. Her back bowed beneath him, her little body surprising him with its strength.

His own body stilled, stunned when her sheath clenched him like a fist. To milk him of the seed he could finally provide? With that first contraction around him, his shaft gave an answering pulse, primed to ejaculate. His seal about to break.

His wings snapped wide as he began pounding between her legs with all his might.

Like an animal. Like a demon.

In a scalding rush, semen erupted. His hot essence for his mate alone.

Before his bellow shook the night, he sank his fangs into her neck, roaring against her skin.

Just before he’d latched onto her neck, Thronos’s starry eyes had turned black as night.

Then had come his fangs, claiming her flesh. When Lanthe had felt him marking her—as a demon would—sorcery exploded from her like a bomb blast.

Her orgasm ramped up all over again, until she was screaming into his palm, thrashing beneath him as he fucked like a piston. His cock forced its way even deeper inside her as he pumped his sizzling come into her.

As jet after jet of his seed filled her, his muscles tightened all around her, his claws digging into her skin, his wings shuddering.

He thrust till he’d emptied himself dry, till she’d grown lax and dazed beneath him. . . .

He removed his hand from her mouth and collapsed atop her, releasing his bite with clear reluctance. As he licked his mark with his pointed tongue, he loosed a long groan of utter satisfaction.

Then he seemed to wake up. He rose on his arms above her. “Did I hurt you?”

“Hmm. Your bite might have hurt, but I was too busy coming to feel it.” She nipped at his chest. “You were tender for as long as you could be.”

He relaxed, lowering himself to his elbows. “More evidence that I’m a demon, then? Lanthe, nothing could’ve kept me from marking you as mine.” He brushed her hair from her forehead. “But no other Vrekener males do it.”

“That you know of. My skin will be healed by morning. Who’s to know what we’ve done?”

He still looked uncertain, so she said, “Maybe Pandemonia liberated the demon in you, but I don’t care. Whatever you are—it doesn’t matter to me. What just happened was mind-blowing and shattering and perfect. I wouldn’t change an instant of it.”