Aurum waited as still as possible, debating whether to leave and fly solo, or make herself known and go sit beside her sister. She itched for some kind of physical activity to alleviate the ever-growing craving for sexual energy, and a good, long fly would do wonders.
Nicholas’s masculine musk reached her, and her mouth watered at the scent. He smelled fertile, his aroma promising an abundance of energy if she had any inclination to take him to bed.
She didn’t, of course. The heat pulsing between her thighs was just evidence of her waning power, which she was sure would last long enough for her to reach the male who still regularly haunted her dreams even after finally seeing him in the flesh.
Males, she reminded herself. There was a second male in her dreams besides Calder, but she had begun to doubt Fate’s message, because that second dark-haired man had yet to appear. Still, that he continued to be a regular presence in those nighttime visions gave her some hope. She’d first believed that he was an ursa male, though she was more inclined to think he might be another satyr with the way he kept appearing at the river’s edge in her dreams, and was more convinced than ever that getting into the Haven was how she would find him. Maybe Calder had a brother or friend who was fated to be her second mate? And if he was indeed an ursa, then passing through the Sanctuary would give her more opportunities to meet him click this link here now.
Closing her eyes, she could remember the scent of that second male, as wet and fertile as Nicholas, but the difference was that the stranger from her dream was hers as much as Calder was, and he was most certainly dark-haired and green-eyed with golden, sun-drenched skin and an aura that drew her own energy to it like a seedling reaching for the sun.
The thoughts made her cravings even stronger and she shifted on her seat, squeezing her thighs together to ease a bit of the pressure in her core.
Through the branches, she saw Nicholas rake his fingers through his hair and turn his head slightly, lifting his chin and inhaling as though savoring his freedom.
In a low, deep voice, he said, “I know you’re there, Goldilocks. And I’m guessing it isn’t watching your brothers that has you so worked up. Do you know you smell like sunshine when you’re excited? It’s the oddest thing, because I only pick that up from you. Your sister’s not shy, but she’s also nowhere near as worked up whenever I’m around her. Not at all, in fact.”
Aurum tensed, irritated by the fact that he’d sensed her presence. She shouldn’t have been surprised—he was an ursa prince, after all, being the firstborn son of Maia Stonetree. She’d just rather not have to have a conversation with him again after their failed first interaction.
“It isn’t you, I assure you,” she said. “My sister and I simply have different thresholds …”
His booming laugh stopped her and her eyes widened as he turned. His pale silver gaze bored into her as he stalked over, ignoring the scratch of branches against his bare chest. He was uncomfortably close when he bent over, his nose millimeters from hers. She leaned back, scooting as far as she could, her heart pounding. He inhaled again and grinned.
“Sunshine, Goldilocks. I bet if I spread your thighs, light would pour out from between them the same way water gushes from Gaia’s Source. Yet you seem intent on locking it up for a man who abandoned you.”
“Us …” Aurum whispered, barely able to get the word out past the tightness in her throat. Nicholas inundated her senses, heat pouring off him in waves along with that unbearably delicious aroma. He leaned closer to her, hands braced on either side of her thighs.
“What was that? I couldn’t quite hear you over the sound of that rushing river between your legs.”
“He abandoned us, Nicholas. You said so yourself.”
His jaw clenched and his irreverent, playful look vanished. “No … for him to have abandoned me, I’d have had to belong to him. But I don’t. You’re the one who does. Unlike you, I am free, for the first time in my life. Free to choose …”
He trailed off, and the flecks of green in his eyes seemed to burn with inner light, like his irises were a pair of opals filled with verdant fire. He swallowed thickly and swept his gaze over her again before shaking his head as if to clear it. He stepped back so abruptly, Aurum blinked in surprise. His eyes widened for a second, then he turned and crashed away through the brush, not even caring that there was an easy path not two steps away.
Aurum sat staring after him, her mouth agape and her pulse racing in her throat. She stood on wobbly legs, her vision swimming for a moment before she made her way out onto the sparring platform where her brothers and sister had stopped what they were doing to stare off in the direction of the ruckus of the huge ursa’s retreat.
“What the fuck is up with him?” Gavra asked. “Thought he still had a few rounds left in him. He has more energy than Kris on a good day.”
“I don’t know and don’t care,” Aurum said. “I need to fly. Are you three with me?” She spread her arms out and called on her powers to shift. Without waiting for the others, she launched herself into the air, aiming directly for the giant, glowing orb in the sky.
She closed her eyes and let the winds buoy her as she soared into the light. Nicholas’s voice reverberated in her ear, sending a shiver through her entire body, though her core heated even more. She inhaled the cold wind, seeking to flush the scent of him out of her head and the lust out of her body.
He wasn’t the one. So why couldn’t she stop thinking about him?
“Almost finished,” Aurum said, dipping a spoon into a bowl, scooping out a huge dollop of creamy chocolate, and spreading it on top of a large, brick-shaped cake she’d just finished building, layering each tier with an assortment of fillings.
Nicholas swallowed a fresh mouthful of saliva to keep from drooling.
“I can’t wait.” He really couldn’t, and finally gave into the urge to interfere. The multitude of platters and trays that were now arranged around her counters, piled with delicious-looking confections, looked so good. He stood and wandered over to her, inspecting each item, wondering where she’d let him begin. He stopped behind her, peering over her shoulder into the bowl.
Her hands were streaked with the different substances she’d cooked with, and when his nose hovered near her neck, he smelled her familiar citrusy scent beneath all the other aromas that clung to her now.
“Only a few more minutes,” she said.
“I might need a bite of something to tide me over.” He dipped his head lower and inhaled, not even trying to disguise his hunger. His stomach rumbled just as he brushed his lips down the side of her neck, darting his tongue out for a taste.
Aurum twisted away from him, turning, but he gripped the edges of the counter, caging her in his arms and bending his head to chase her movement. Before he could reach her neck again, she shoved a spoon into his face.
“Here,” she said, laughing. “Have a bite of this, you hungry bear.”
She turned fully in his arms and he leaned back slightly, looking down at the proffered utensil, the sweet, chocolaty scent filling his nostrils. He opened his mouth and she inserted it, the flavor exploding on his tongue like an orgasm.
Nicholas growled low in his chest. Pleasure had never in his life originated from his mouth to such a degree, except for the moments when he had Calder’s cock between his lips, or just recently tasting his own juices mixed with Aurum’s between her thighs. But even then, the tangy taste of sex didn’t compare to the sensations of ecstasy he experienced now.
He sucked the spoon clean and opened his eyes. Aurum beamed at him, her cheeks flushed pink.
“You like?” she asked.
“Mmm,” he murmured, taking the spoon from her hand and dipping it into the bowl again over her shoulder. He scooped as much as the spoon could hold, bringing it to his mouth. On the way up, a dollop of the delicious concoction fell, landing with a little plop on the swell of Aurum’s breast.
“Hey, you’re making a mess, and spoiling your lunch. Save room for the meal before you fill up on dessert.”
The spoon was already in his mouth, being sucked clean for the second time when he saw her grab a cloth and move to wipe the fallen chocolate from her skin. He dropped the spoon into the bowl and grabbed her hand.
“Mine,” he said, swiftly bending to lick the chocolate off her breast. It had begun to run, a trail of it arcing over the curve toward her sternum. Aurum gasped when he darted out his tongue, trailing it over her bare skin and in between her breasts to make sure he caught every last drop. The chocolate tasted even better licked off her than it had coming straight from the bowl.
Hungry for more, he looked into the bowl, then down at her. Aurum was still smiling, but had a bewildered look of amazement on her face, her mouth open and the breath of a laugh escaping her.
“What are you thinking?”
“That I want to do a cooking experiment. See how good the rest of you tastes with chocolate.”