“What did you do to me? I was meant to die. I was meant to become a god for what I did, to live beside Osiris and Ra.” He ripped the bandage off his side, displaying a honey-coated wound that was swiftly sealing itself and leaving no trace behind. Not even a scar.
“Death isn’t what you think it is,” Belah tried to say, but he suddenly gripped her throat, his fingers digging into the flesh beneath her ears. The size of his large hands had never been so apparent. She couldn’t even swallow the way he clutched her neck. Breathing was problematic. Her entire body tingled at the sudden contact and her cunt screamed for more.
“What did you do to me?” His eyes stared into hers, wild. She tried to ignore the surge of arousal that his violent outburst had incited, but the thrill of being so near such a volatile creature made her tremble with excitement. His face caught the glint of sunlight from outside, casting the other side in shadow. He shifted, and the sunbeam hit his face fully, illuminating his dark eyes so they seemed alight with inner fire.
Unlike her docile collection of human pets, this man was untamed. He may do her will on the battlefield, but he was made for violence and wild as a result. She wouldn’t have him any other way.
In a strangled voice, she whispered, “I did nothing more than the sun does every day. I illuminated something great. Something meant to stay in this world and make it great, too. Let me help you, Nikhil. You can be better with me than you would be with Osiris, living in his shadow.”
His fingers loosened, becoming a caress, then shifted to the back of her neck. He pulled her down and she relented, aching for a taste of his lips.
The connection destroyed her. Sharing her Nirvana with him was one thing, but a simple kiss was too much. It was a taste of a fire she knew could burn her like no other fire could. Now that they were bonded, that contact – that simple touch of skin on skin – sent her energy skyrocketing again.
It didn’t matter that she wanted it. She wanted all of him. All of the hot, hard body that now lay beneath her, fully healed. She had lived so long already, and could never die, but to be pushed against the edge of that abyss made her feel more alive than she had in eons.
His arms wrapped tighter around her and he moaned. “Did you mean what you said? You want to break for me?” He seemed so hesitant, so reverent, Belah sat back.
“Do you think you aren’t worthy of the job?”
She found herself flattened to the mattress a second later, Nikhil hovering over her with his hand still at her throat.
“Is this what it means to be worthy? To overpower you?”
“If that’s what it means to you.”
His gaze held hers as his fingers idly caressed her skin. Slowly, he began to shake his head, as though the situation wasn’t ideal.
“No,” he said, trailing his fingertips down her chest and tugging the sides of her gown apart to bare her breasts to him again. “I can’t be worthy if there is no challenge for me to meet.”
“Conquering my enemy wasn’t enough of a challenge to earn me as a reward?”
He bent his head and hovered his lips over her breast, hot breath gusting over one nipple. As he did, he moved to kneel between her thighs, pushing her legs apart and shoving her gown up. He gripped her roughly by the hips and yanked her hard against him.
“You’re no better than any other woman who comes crawling to my bed and begs me to fuck her,” he said roughly.
Belah gasped in surprise at the hot, hard flesh that pressed bruisingly against her pubic bone, the base of his cock rubbing at her orgasm-slickened clit. Pleasure burst through her, but not before she caught his meaning. She had decided she wanted him, and as was her habit, had gone about having him as though she were entitled. It didn’t matter that she considered her attention a reward for his performance in battle and the near sacrifice of his life. True, he deserved everything she wanted to offer, and more, but to suggest a man like him couldn’t also earn the final prize belittled his abilities and his importance to her empire all these years.
She had to make him work for it, now that the offer was on the table.
Belah bent and nipped at his nipple, then grabbed it tightly between her teeth and pulled. At the same time, she squeezed his cock hard.
Nikhil hissed, tilting his hips into her hand.
She released him abruptly and walked away, leaving him panting and tugging at his bindings.
“This is just the start,” she said. “By the end of the night you’ll have a better idea how things will work with me. What my expectations are. I will give you the most immense pleasure you’ve ever experienced, but I expect you to reciprocate.”
Nikhil grinned and licked his lips. “I can give.”
“You don’t understand,” she said, stopping at a table near the doorway and opening a large, carved wooden box that rested there. From inside she pulled out two implements, along with small bottle of scented oil. “What you will be giving isn’t what you think. My pleasure comes secondary to what I want from you.”
He pumped into her hard, one thick forearm snaking around her chest and squeezing one breast. His hot breath gusted into her ear.
“This is what you want, isn’t it? You want to be the beast that gets tamed, to be collared and whipped into submission. To have all control ripped from your hands so you can let go of your burdens.”
As his voice rumbled rough in her ear, his cock steadily rammed into her. He had one hand braced on the bed beside her, and slid the other up from her breast to grip her around the throat. He squeezed just hard enough to emphasize how much control he believed he had over her. Belah reveled in it, pushing back against his hips with each punishing thrust.
“Yes,” she whispered, smiling to herself. He understood.
Setup: The hero has been gravely wounded in battle, and the heroine – who serves as his Priestess, Empress, and his Goddess is attending him.
The strong chest beneath the damp cloth she held rose more sharply than before, a shaky breath escaping Nikhil’s throat.
Belah glanced toward his face, raising an eyebrow when she saw his dark eyes flutter open. He blinked a few times, struggling to focus.
“‘Iilahatan,” he said, struggling to rise up on his elbows and immediately gasping when his abdomen rippled with the pain of his injury.
She smiled at the name he’d given her and wrung out the cloth again, raising it up to wipe across his sweat-drenched brow.
“Not goddess, just Belah. You earned the right to my true name today. You called for me and I came.”
Nikhil groaned and lay back, his eyes wide and staring. “Are you real?”
Belah reached out and gripped his hand where it lay on the blanket beside him. She squeezed and leaned closer, letting a bit of her breath and the calming magic that accompanied it seep out when she spoke. “I am very real, Nikhil. You’ve spoken to me at the temple when you and the other commanders reported in.”
“You should lead the armies yourself,” he said. “You are smarter than all of us combined.”
Belah smiled. “A good Empress knows how to command from the throne. If I displayed too much power of my own to my enemies, they would all be trying to kill me. I give you the power, and you execute the orders. You were the one who showed your greatness today, Nikhil. I had nothing to do with it.”
“You gave me the idea. My injury was calculated to make the enemy think our army lost their commander. I fell, but stayed conscious as long as I could to command them to victory. The enemy was too cocky, and our armies too skilled. We routed them.”
Belah picked up the pot of honey and began dabbing the sweet, sticky ointment gently on his wound. Nikhil winced once but bore the pain. “You risked your life for the cause,” she admonished.
“I risked my life for you,” he said gruffly, reaching out and gripping her wrist tightly. “I live my life at your pleasure, ‘Iilahatan. Every lie I tell is for you.”
She’d believed all along that she was immune to the touch of a Blessed human, but when his hand wrapped around her wrist, the shocking pleasure of that simple touch made her entire body grow still.
It wasn’t a simple touch, though. His fingers had tightened until the tips dug painfully into the tender flesh on the inside of her wrist, while the warmth of his palm sunk into the back. Lightning seemed to charge through his fingertips and up her arm.
All she could do was stare down at his hand, dumbfounded. As quickly as he’d grabbed her, his grip released abruptly and his hand fell to the bed.
Belah forced herself to regain her composure. Never in her life had another person ever made a threatening move toward her. Yet Nikhil’s adoration was plain, and his touch… while rough, it had been exhilarating to feel her power seep away from that simple contact.
More than exhilarating, it had been a relief to feel, if even for a split second, that he might overpower her. Not that he could have in his state.
“I am sorry,” he said. “I’ve displeased you.”
“No, you didn’t,” she said. Her mind reeled at the tilting sensation she felt. Power was her element and had always been. That a single, desperate touch could make her feel something wholly new and amazing left her confused and scrambling to regain her senses.
His own innate power was what she’d felt in his touch, even as desperate as he’d been to make his point. He had power over so many. So much power that they’d die under his command. That they loved him enough to carry out his orders even while he lay near death after inviting a fatal wound himself.
Belah fumbled with the damp cloth and was grateful when Meri returned with more hot water. She returned the basin to her physician. “Make arrangements for him to be brought to the temple tonight. He’s well enough to travel. You should stay to see to the other wounded. I can take care of Nikhil when he is with me.”