Chapter Nine

Kal shut the bedroom door.

We'd left the fallout of my sudden ascension for Wayne to sort.

Kal had said he had a flair for it, said it with a hint of smirk.

Something about his late mother's Captain of the Guard irked him, and since he was now my Captain of the Guard, I wanted to know what it was.

"What is it with you and Wayne?"

Kal began to take off his shirt and my caring about answer to my question began to fade.

I found myself pressed up against the warm, hard muscle of his chest. I licked his collarbone and the salt-sweet taste of his skin had my baser side flaring.

"Wayne?" Kal's fingers slid down the front of my robe, flicking the buttons open. "I have no problem with Wayne."

I snorted. "I can make it a command…"

He pushed the shirt back, his hands cupping my shoulders. He paused and let out a tight breath. Fire sparked in his eyes and my body reacted to his undercurrent of fury, pounding blood through my veins. "Wayne wanted you as his sklava. Offered himself as your master."

A muscle jumped in his jaw. "Almost succeeded in convincing my mother to let him."

I stroked his jaw, wanting to ease the tightness straining under my fingers. "But now, as Empress, you're both available to me."

"Diana…" Anger mixed with humor and he slid his hands down over the robe to my spine, stopping just above my buttocks. "Not funny."

I traced the edge of his mouth, my gaze fixed on his lip. "Come on, wasn't it just a little bit funny?"

"Can we not discuss Wayne right now?"

"Killjoy."

"Really…?"

Kal's fingers inched under my gown, easing up over my spine. I arched at the unexpected rush of sensation, gasping as his lips caressed my jaw, his tongue tip tracing a hot line down my throat. I forgot about talking.

Kal belonged to me.

My escaping moan had him smiling against my damp skin. Open-mouthed kisses chased over my collarbone. The prick of his teeth pulsed little points of pleasure as he pushed me back against the silk-lined wall. Goose bumps ran fast over my skin at the cool contact with the smooth fabric. Kal pressed his hands against my hips, fingers gripping me and holding me still.

His mouth slid lower and brushed all too quickly over my breast. I groaned, my fingers pulling through his thick hair. Tension tightened low in my belly. Breathing became shallow. I crushed my eyes against the rush of need, the ache for him to stop teasing and to find me.

I could feel his smile. He knew exactly what he was doing.

"Kal." I half growled his name.

"I've waited a long time for this, Diana." His warm breath tickled me and I shivered. He looked up. "Let me enjoy myself."

My chest hitched at his words and I couldn't speak. I nodded and surrendered my body to his pleasure.

His soft, muffled words seared my flesh and had my body trembling. "I belong to you, My Empress."

Fire swept through me and I cried out, lost in the sudden surge of bliss, only the strength of his arms holding me up as my body shook, but then he loosened his grip and I slid unceremoniously down until my backside hit the carpet.

I laughed and swatted at him. "You're evil."

Kal grinned. "I couldn't resist…Your Grace."

I tried glaring at him. "You're a very insubordinate subject, Kal."

He smirked at me. "I learned from the best."

I growled at him and the humor in his eyes faded, desire replacing it, as my fingers moved across his body.

I leaned forward, changing the angle of my slide and my hands caressed his abdomen, chest, feeling the solid pounding of his heart.

"Diana…" My name was almost a growl. "You may be my Queen and Empress but there are some things I will not tolerate."

"You can't be teased?" I flicked a nipple and he hissed. "Not even a little bit?"

The ripple of a growl caught me by surprise and I jerked hard against him.

"No, Your Grace, not even a little bit," he muttered. "I'm not teasing," I murmured as my lips slid even lower down, past his abdomen. For endless moments, I knew nothing but the incredible taste of Kal on my tongue, my body shaking as I lapped and sucked at his flesh.

"Diana…"

A slow, satisfied sigh escaped me. "Oh, that was good."

Kal gave a soft laugh and pushed himself up. He looked down me. "I could've made a child with you."

The hesitation, the wonder in his voice tightened my heart, had tears burning at the corners of my eyes.

He lifted a hand and his thumb wiped away a trailing tear. Leaning in, he pulled the softest kiss from my mouth. "We should have at least six. Imagine how much effort must go into producing so many. Fate has been kind to us."

I smiled against his mouth, I couldn't help it. "Amazons are a slave to fate."

Kal pulled me into a tight embrace, his breath warm against my temple. "Happy being here with you…", he murmured.

"Here?" I rubbed at my ass where the carpet had chafed it red. "Fate could have been kinder and let me get to the bed."

Kal's laughter warmed through me. "What me to kiss it better?"

He untangled himself from me and his clothes. I missed the close contact of his skin and heat, but he pulled me to my feet and led me to his large bed. He lifted me onto the high mattress and I fell back into the still-tangled sheets, wriggling farther up the wide bed. Strong hands rolled me. Kal's breath burned against my reddened skin."

"Well, Your Grace?"

I heard the smile in his voice as he leaned over me. The brush of his chest against my thighs already had my blood running hot. Damn, the man was addictive. "Consider it a royal command."

The first stroke of his tongue had me yelping, and then his teeth pierced my skin. I melted as he licked and lapped with slow ease over my buttock. Pain eased and the familiar urge to jump him heated my flesh. "I could get very used to you."

"I'm your mate, your consort, will be the father of your children." He paused and then rolled me onto my back again. He crawled up the bed, pulling me into his arms, with the tightness that made breathing hard. Clear blue eyes held me. "What I didn't expect was to love you too."

I stared at him and swallowed, my throat suddenly constricted. "You…?"

A smile tugged at his mouth. "Surprised?"

I traced a finger over his mouth. My heart squeezed so tight it was almost a physical pain. "Stunned."

"Good stunned?"

I hugged him hard, so hard he groaned. "I never thought that you…" I buried my face in his shoulder and breathed him in. "Lust and duty, yes, but I didn't believe that you could care for me."

Kal's soft, rumbling laughter vibrated against my breasts. "And that is the last doubt you'll ever voice." He pulled back and his eyes gleamed. "You hunted well, Diana. I'll guide you. I'm older than you. I know a thing or two." He grinned before he pulled a kiss from my mouth. "As I may have demonstrated…"

I laughed. "Another reason I love you."

Kal paused and then he kissed me, a soft kiss melting into something deeper that curled all the way down to my toes. He sighed as his mouth left mine. Pride shone from him. "You will be a dazzling Empress."

"Because fate paired me with you?"

He smirked, but affection shone in his eyes. "Of course."

"How long before the coronation ceremony?"

"Tradition has it at sunset." His mouth twitched with a smile and he knew exactly what I was thinking. "Why, Your Grace, what did you have in mind?"

I was hungry. But I could not resist his appeal. I ran my finger along his jaw, enjoying the rough feel of morning bristle. I pulled a little kiss from his mouth. "Breakfast and then you." His scent, his taste was addictive and I pressed my body along the length of his. Kal's hand stroked over my hip and I almost sighed. In spite of everything, we were together as we wanted to be. I would never forget how fate had gifted me with this man. "Or you, then breakfast…"

I matched his grin. Yes, my stomach could wait just that little bit longer to be fed.

In fact, a lot longer.

The End