This is just a special snippet I wrote for readers of the Trilogy as a Valentine present. I thought I’d put it on a separate page so its easy to find for those visiting the blog. Enjoy!
Reading by the fire proved more relaxing than Alek had intended. He’d thought Cat would have appeared by now, and the book, while interesting, wasn’t as intriguing as the plush fur rug he’d sprawled across was comfortable. With a yawn he let the book fall to the side and rolled onto his back, hands resting on his stomach. I’ll just rest my eyes, he thought with another yawn.
I snuck down the corridor, wincing at the sharp cracks my boots made against the hard wood floors; funny how I never noticed the sound during the day. I’d finally finished training with Leseach only to be cornered by Yakov, wanting to go over more protocol details. Honestly, how he expected me to remember all the varying nuances of society felt beyond me. After a brief shower and change, I hurried to where I’d promised Alek I’d meet him hours ago. Reaching the library, I pushed one the doors, catching the edge when the clever hinges went to swing it wide. I paused in the doorway, staring into the eerily beautiful library; such a different sight by moonlight. The white stone that the bookcases were set into gleamed against the darkness and the shadowy coil of staircase looked like something from a ghost story. My heart beat faster. Turning, I silently closed the door and tiptoed across to the far bookcase, feeling weird about making any sound in the voluminous dark.
The soft sound made him blink awake and then chuckle at the muffled curses. Cat sounded to be having trouble finding the catch to release the door into the study. Alek contemplated getting up but then he heard the ‘click’. Without a second thought he dropped his head back and pretended to sleep.
With effort Alek forced the instant smile her presence brought from his face. Perhaps it was the memory of the times he’d done this to his father that inspired him, but he felt the anticipation rise as he thought of surprising her. She’ll shriek for sure, he thought, fighting to keep his face calm at the mental image that rose. Probably thump me too.
Soft footsteps came his way, then a sharp clang of metal followed by a sharper clang when whatever she’d walked into fell.
‘Fuck!’ Cat hissed, and he heard her scrabble on the floor to pick up the item. Alek made a huffing, grumble of a sound and shifted, turning his head away from her; the only way to conceal his grin at her breathless silence. Minutes ticked by and by now he could sense her energy, feeling the running anxiety while she listened to the sound of him ‘sleeping’.
The light from the fireplace flickered across his sleeping face. Thankfully my knocking a cup off the desk hadn’t woken him and I just watched for a few moments. It looked as if he’d just leaned back, book tossed aside. I certainly hadn’t meant to be this late. The dying embers of the fire created soft shadows, making him appear young and old all at once and I smiled, leaning against the desk. He looked almost vulnerable, a fallen Greek statue; strong cheekbones, full lips and the firm jaw I loved to kiss along. Should I wake him? I pondered that, casting an eye around the study. It is the eve to our rest day; it wouldn’t really matter if we slept here. I nodded to myself then turned, trying to remember where I’d seen a wool throw stashed.
What is she doing? Alek peeked when he heard her pivot and move away, then pushed up onto his elbows, watching while Cat rummaged around the place. She lifted the lid on the low trunk that doubled as a seat, searching through it. The sight of her poised beneath the lid gave him an almost irresistible urge to shout, but he held back. As if she sensed him, Cat’s head jerked around and he caught a flash of shocked green eyes as she jumped, cracking her head on the lid.
With an exclamation Alek stood and quickly strode to where she now sat in a tight ball beside the trunk, both hands griping her head, face pressed to her knees.
‘Kitten,’ a hint of laughter slipped out. ‘I’m sorry, love!’ He knelt, folding his arms around her and drew her close. To his surprise and dismay, he felt her shudder, like when she cried. ‘Cat?’
‘That hurt,’ came the muffled, teary voice, her face still pressed to her knees. ‘How long were you watching me?’ She lifted her head, green eyes reddened and a hurt expression on her face. ‘Why didn’t you say something?’
‘I just woke.’ A minor lie, but better than confessing his actual plan. He didn’t think she’d take the joke well at the moment. The brief moment of tears seemed to have passed and she leaned against him.
‘I was trying to find a blanket.’
Alek pressed a kiss to her hair, smiling. ‘Did you want to sleep in here?’
‘Well I didn’t want to wake you. And I can’t carry you,’ she pointed out dryly.
Alek laughed then and helped her to her feet. ‘You were in the wrong trunk. Go sit by the fire, I’ll grab it.’
She nodded tiredly and made her way over, wobbling precariously as she kneeled to the rug, then slumped to sitting.
I felt even more tired now and it made the bump on my head hurt worse than any of the hits I’d taken during training. It took a good amount of effort to focus my energy, letting it smooth the bump away. With the ache now gone, I watched as Alek decisively moved about the room, almost seeming to snatch cushions and soft blankets from mid air in the dark. His brisk movements felt hard to watch, too energetic for me at the moment, and I closed my eyes, listening.
With his arms full, Alek turned back to the fireplace. The last embers cast a slight glow over his now sleeping princess. He sighed and shook his head at the situation, walking over to her. Dropping to his knees he organized the cushions then spread a blanket over it. He turned back to Cat and carefully slipped an arm beneath her neck, and the other beneath her knees. She mumbled when he lifted, a small hand clutching his shirt but didn’t wake, not even as he lay her down on the cushions.
‘You know, he said in a soft, scolding tone, ‘I thought you were meant to be doing this for me.’
In the dark his fingers found the tops of her boots, loosening the ties then easing them off. She jolted in shock. ‘Al!?’
Alek chuckled, not really able to see her face now, but he could hear the surprise. ‘You are so jumpy when you’re sleepy.’
‘Where are we?’
‘Still in the study,’ he replied, working at her other boot. She jolted each time he removed a piece of her clothing and the scent of her clean warm skin smelled irresistible to him. He dragged the long sleeved top she wore, off, gently kissing the plump soft underside of her arms when she slowly leaned back against him, her hands hooking behind his neck.
‘Mmmm,’ she sighed when he moved to her neck, nuzzling, and dropped her head back against his shoulder. His intentions of merely getting her ready to sleep vanished at the delicate sounds she made while he caressed her naked figure.
It felt so very good; sleep pulled me in one direction, and Alek pulled in the other, leaving me floating in a strange, suspended sense of heavy pleasure. The gentle kisses followed by teeth sent delicious shudders echoing through my weary body. He paused, laying me back and I listened as he stripped off, a sigh slipping out when his strong thighs moved between mine, the hair coarse against my bare skin. I felt him lean over me, his lips brushing my forehead before tracing down to my lips. I lifted my hands, catching his face, stroking over the jaw before sliding my fingers into the thick waves of hair. I gave a gasp, unintentionally gripping his hair when he slid inside me, my back arching at the desired, yet unexpected invasion. He chuckled against my throat, taking an easy but strong pace, lips and teeth against my throat making my head swirl while a slow deep pulsing began within my core.
She’d pulled her knees up; he could feel her feet pressing lightly against the back of his thighs as her cries grew urgent. His head sung with her energy and his, the sound ringing until it seemed to echo in his bones. At the final thrust the brilliant gold light flashed out, passing through his eyes, blinding as well as winding him for an instant. They both panted, Alek bracing himself on his elbows over her, nose gently rubbing hers then he rolled to the side. Cat twisted, the cushions yielding to their weight, causing her to roll into him. She giggled, slender fingers tracing over his chest then snuggled closer. She breathed in, sighing deeply, and it felt to him as if she dozed off instantly. He reached across her back and dragged a thick blanket across them, then bent to kiss her, missing her temple in the dark, lips grazing a cheekbone.
‘Love you,’ he whispered, hearing her steady breaths. A moment later and it was his turn to jolt when a hand unexpectedly touched his ear. He heard a breathy giggle before she mumbled, ‘Love you too,’ and snuggled back down.