The corners of his lips curled with pride. Such a guy.

“I felt you coming.” He didn’t bother trying to keep the amazement out of his voice.

With a grin, she clenched her sheath around him; his eyes went wide.

“I felt you, too.” She supposed she should be worried about him spilling inside her, but she was still high from their sex. She was addicted to this male. Not just physically, but . . . emotionally.

His honesty had affected her, coaxing her to lower all her guards. Tonight she’d learned that, for her, trust was the strongest aphrodisiac.

His eyes gleamed with excitement. “I always thought my seed would, I don’t know, flow from me. I had no idea the pressure would be so intense. When it releases, it’s almost . . . violent—but in the best way.”

Already his shaft stirred for more. She grinned, realizing her Vrekener was only getting warmed up for the night. “So, was I worth the wait? I talked a big game.”

“You’d every right to, sorceress. Just as you said”—he dipped a kiss to her lips—“you broke me down at a molecular level.”

Thronos was a male transformed, with too many thoughts for his mind to handle, too many emotions to be contained.

He remained inside her, still hard. He could feel the dampness of his semen in her—and that satisfied him so deeply. “I never want to leave,” he told her. Like him, she seemed in no hurry for their bodies to part. “Can we sleep like this?”

She nodded. “I could lie over you. Though I think sleep would be the last thing we’d be interested in. Speaking of which, when can you do it again?”

“I’m pretty sure I can do it as much as you like,” he said with a thrust.

“That’s the best news I’ve heard all night.” Her eyes were merry.

He reached out, stroking his thumb over her silken cheek. She turned her head into his palm, drawing his thumb between her lips to suckle.

“Uhn.” How could that enflame his entire body so fiercely? The jolt of sensation was startling—not to mention the memories she conjured, of when she’d sucked his shaft thus . . .

Now that he had seed to give her, would she take it between her lips? Spending semen like that was an offendment, but if Lanthe would drink, he’d give and give till she’d had her fill.

Just like that, he was desperate for her, his hips beginning to pump into her hot glove. When she released him with a last lick, he cupped her nape, drawing her closer—

“Wait!” she cried. “Let me up, let me up.”

With a frown, he did, reversing their positions.

Once she was on top, she gracefully dismounted, leaving the sheet’s opening to ring the base of his shaft.

She’d turned the claiming sheet around on him.

His eyes widened at his rampant erection protruding from the sacred sheet. “Lanthe, this . . . this might be blasphemy.”

“You did it to me, and I’ll do it to you. That’s what our marriage will be like—equal and a little subversive to both of our factions. But it’ll work for us.”

His heart pounded. Though he was convinced, her certainty surprised him. “Will it work for us?”

“That depends on how much grief you give me about the freaking sheet.”

Realization struck him with the force of an anvil. If they continued to make concessions for each other, they would not only be wed forever, but wed well. She’d traveled here for him—no other reason—and she’d surrendered much; he would meet her halfway. “No grief, wife.”

“Good man,” she said softly. “So are we done with the sheet now?”

“Yes. But only because we’re married.” He enjoyed saying that. “It’s served its purpose.”

She tugged the material off him, tossing it to a far corner of the bed. “Back to business, then.” With a smile, she straddled him, kneeling up above his shaft. “So, this is what I like to call Thronos and Lanthe’s Pandemonian position.”

His grin faded when she began to slip down his length. He could only stare as her sex swallowed him inch by torturous inch. . . .

Once she’d taken him as deep as he could go, he gazed up at his exquisite wife. Her hair was a glossy tangle all around her heartbreakingly lovely face, her sorcery shimmering. He dimly noted that her swollen nipples were the same shade as her curving lips.

While he beheld her, she’d been gazing at him. “Look how big and hard your body is. And it’s all for me. The greedy sorceress in me is well pleased.”

Gods, she made his chest bow with pride.

She rasped one of his nipples with a nail, and the jolt of pleasure was as unexpected as when she’d suckled his thumb!

Then she pressed her hands on his shoulders to rise up. . . .

The night air cooled his heated testicles, the base of his wetted shaft. When his hips bucked, chasing her tight heat, she dropped down at the same time.

His eyes rolled back in his head.

He roused when she began to slowly ride him, her breasts bouncing for his enthralled gaze. Mesmerized by the way they moved, he fought the urge to knead them. “So damned lovely—”

His words were cut off. As she slipped up and down his length, she squeezed it—from the inside.

“Do you like that?” she asked in a siren’s voice.

“Never want this to end!” Part of him still disbelieved he was inside her. He realized it would take him a while to accept this turnaround.

To accept that his dream woman was in their bed sating her lusts with his body, as he did the same.

She bent her arms over her head, crossing her wrists as she snapped her hips. The way she writhed atop him robbed him of breath. Hypnotic female.

Her hands glided down, one to cup a breast, one to masturbate her sex. In the future, he would watch her self-pleasure; for now, he brushed that hand away. When he stroked the swollen bud with his forefinger, she threw back her head.

The ends of her hair tickled his thighs; added sensation for a male awash in it. The more he rubbed her sex, the harder she writhed. Rubbing her, petting . . . “I grow nigh again!”

She faced him. “I won’t do anything to stop you this time.”

He grated, “Good to know.” He had another urge to contend with. The need to wrap his protective wings around her was overwhelming.

He’d marked her with his horns—and his fangs. She’d accepted his most primal drives. So he leaned up to take her in his arms. As his wings closed around her, she grew even slicker, her tempo increasing.

“I think you like my wings.”

She nodded breathlessly. “You are such a surprise to me. Everything about you . . .”

When he enfolded her against him, she wrapped her arms around his neck, and the satisfaction made him quake. It was just the two of them, cocooned against the world, bodies lit by his pulselines.

Her nipples raked up and down his chest. “So when I scream—soon—do you think anyone could hear me past your wings?”

He rose up on his knees, cupping her ass. Pinned on his length, she tightened her legs around him.

“Maybe that’s how the others keep quiet? One way to find out.”

In an urgent whisper, she told him, “I’m so close, Thronos.” She leaned in to suck on his neck in that maddening way, bearing down on him at the same time. When he realized his mate was grinding her needy little bud against the base of his shaft, he spontaneously . . .

His roar reverberated within his wings as he bucked furiously against her, grinding back as he started pumping his seed.

“It’s so hot!” She rode him faster, sending him into a frenzy. “I’m coming, Thronos! You make me feel so—” She tensed against him, her thighs trembling around his sides. Her head fell back against his wings, her climax wrenching a scream from her.

He experienced something like euphoria when her channel demanded its due once more. He eased his thrusts just to feel her spasms rippling up and down his length, her pleasure wringing his so perfectly.

When her orgasm subsided, he continued to quake—as if his release had generated aftershocks.

With her head tucked against his shoulder, her breaths on his neck, she patted his heaving chest. “There. I claimed you too.”

Late in the night, Lanthe and Thronos lay facing each other, wrapped in his wings. As they’d done when young, they murmured secrets.

All those years ago, he’d told her that he’d be her husband. How right he’d been!

Lanthe had been claimed. She’d lost track of all the times he’d taken her, how many times he’d brought her over the edge.

The sheet separating them had been tossed by the wayside. All the sheets had. His wings kept them plenty warm.

Now, seeing him with his hair ruffled, looking relaxed and drowsy, made her heart ache.

“Was it like you expected?” she asked.

He frowned, as if searching for words. “When we first met, I took your scent into me—sky and home. When I’m inside you, I feel like I’ve found the sky for the first time, or returned home after an eternal absence. It’s as if every want and need I’ve ever had, or ever will have, is fulfilled. I hadn’t expected the . . . totality of it.”

Though his admission was one of the most moving things she’d ever heard, he exhaled and said, “I make little sense. Woman, you’ve addled me.” He turned the question on her. “Was it like you expected?”

How to explain what she’d felt and learned? “I discovered things tonight, Thronos. So many things.” She stroked his hair from his forehead. “I felt safe with you, connected to you. And those feelings heightened everything. It’s addictive.”

He nodded. “I feel the same. I sometimes wonder what I wouldn’t do for more of you.”

“Exactly. Let’s put it this way—I’m so happy I took your hand earlier.”

Even as his lips curled, his lids grew heavier. She’d never seen him sleep. He hadn’t in weeks, but now that he’d released tension and was back in his own bed, she hoped he could. “You should rest.” She motioned for him to go to his back, then draped herself over his chest. His strong arms twined around her. “We have a big day tomorrow.” Words she’d despaired of ever saying to a significant other.

“I’m reluctant to sleep.” He pulled her even closer to him. “Fear you won’t be here when I wake.”

His gruff words made the ache in her heart worse. “We’re married now. I’m not going anywhere.” And she meant it. He was her husband, her lover, her prince.

Thronos was her best friend.

Though she worried what tomorrow would bring, she believed in them.

As he was drifting off, he said, “With all my dreams having come true, what will I dream of now?”

Oh, damn. Lanthe gazed at his face in sleep. I just fell in love with him.

The brightest sunlight Lanthe had ever encountered blazed down on her. The harsh light of day—and she had zero regrets. Still, she grumbled, “I feel like Private Benjamin!”

“Don’t know who that is, Lanthe.”

She could hear the grin in his voice. “Turn off the light!”

She cracked her eyes open to find him sitting at the edge of the bed, looking like a boss. “Well, aren’t you happy with yourself?” His smile was brilliant against his crisp linen shirt. Glorious male.

He nodded. “I woke this morning, disoriented, convinced last night had been a reverie. Then I gazed down and your head was upon my chest. I comprehended that we are wed.” He gazed deeply into her eyes. “There has never been a better morning.”

This was a world away from her typical morning-after scenarios. “How long have you been sitting there?”

With anyone else, Lanthe would have found that creepy, but not with her new husband.

In any case, she couldn’t talk since she’d mooned over his relaxed, sleepy face until she’d dozed off. Then she’d been out like the dead. No nightmares. No restlessness.

“Come, I’m eager to introduce you to our people.”

“We’ll find you a grand breakfast. Apple tartlets, maybe? Or honey bread?”

She was hungry. “Okay, okay. I need a shower first.” When she rose and knotted her hair above her head, his gaze fell on her breasts, his brows drawn tight. As she padded into the bathroom, she knew he was ogling her ass so she put an extra spring in her step.

His growl made her grin. She’d wager she wasn’t leaving this house before he took her again.

She checked her appearance in the mirror. Her eyes were bright, her cheeks pinkened. She felt a tinge of regret to see that his claiming mark had healed.

In the shower, she called, “Hey, can we get the hot water fixed?” She’d turned the single lever all the way right, but the water never approached warm.

“In the Territories, there is no hot water for showers,” he called back.

To herself, she muttered, “You’ve got to be shitting me.” She sucked in a breath and stepped under, screeching, “This isn’t right—I didn’t join the army!”