When he entered their room, his eyes landed upon her instantly. She was lying on her stomach, something he had only seen her do a few times when she wasn't feeling well. Walking around the bed, he removed his sword and laid it down quietly against his bed table. Pulling his shirt over his head, he sighed softly and rolled his shoulders. He had been riding most of the day and his body felt the worst of it. Kicking off his boots, he eased himself beneath the blankets, inching in until he was able to wrap his arm around her.

Turning her head toward him, she smiled. "Hi."

Richard grinned widely. "Hi. Don't worry," he said softly as she looked back to the door. "I made sure I wasn't seen. No one knows I'm here."

Beaming, she pushed her hands against his chest and moved over him. Their kiss started slowly, both taking the time to savor the others taste before letting themselves go. While she rubbed herself against him, he began pulling at her thin, pink nightgown. The soft sound of the silks rip made her sit up above him with a quiet laugh. This was not the first time that he had ripped it and she was beginning to enjoy the suspicious looks of her hand maiden when she was asked to repair it. Pushing her hair out of her face, she looked down at him with dark and hungry eyes.

Sliding his hands beneath the fabric, he watched her eyes flutter closed. Her back arched into his touch, her hips shifting above him for another wave of wild pleasure. Grabbing his hands, she held them to her breasts and released a low humming moan. Releasing his hands, she pulled her nightgown over her head and motioned to the bed table. He didn't waste a moment. Reaching over, he pulled open the top of three drawers and pulled out the cold metal he had held so many times before.

Locking the Rada'Han in place, she sucked in a breath as her body readjusted to the lack of magic. Dropping her hands to his pants, she began pulling at the laces until they were loose enough for her hand to slide inside. His eyes fell closed as a long moan escaped him. She had long past her shyness and when they were alone, he was never disappointed. He often wondered if she used the time with her mate to learn new ways to drive him wild. Her hold on his manhood tightened as she pulled, his body fighting the urge to thrust up with each motion.

Leaning down, she pressed her lips against his and slowly continued her actions. Growling, he pulled her hand back and rolled over her. He couldn't wait another moment and the warmth of her against him drove him mad. Sliding his hands over her, he reconnected their lips and shifted above her until she brought her hands to his hips and pulled. She pulled him roughly against her, hooking her legs around his to keep him close as she bucked up to meet each thrust. Digging her fingers into his skin, she pushed her head back into her pillow and bit down on her lower lip to keep from crying out and announcing their activities to the rest of the palace.

If they were caught, life as they both knew would be over. She had taken a mate and he had married months ago, but after the Rada'Han was found, they found it nearly impossible to stay away from each other. It had happened unexpectedly the first time, he had come to see her a week after his wedding and before either realized it, they were entangled in sweat covered sheets. That was only the beginning. He moved himself and his wife closer to the city, making sure he was never too far away from his mistress. They knew it was wrong, but when they were together, they didn't care.

Covering her chest with his lips, he rested his body against hers. He was exhausted, but he couldn't stop kissing her and the way she pulled at his hair told him that she didn't want him to. Sliding his tongue between her breasts, he ran his hands up her sides until he could take them in his hands. This was one of his favorite moments with her; the time when they could barely move, but couldn't keep from touching each other. Her soft moans filled his ears, pushing his desire forward with no thought. He could spend all night, every night, laying above her while his lips, tongue and hands discovered her body.

Lifting her back slightly, she held his hands to her, tightening his hold as she bucked against him. The short break of their bodies union already had her aching for more. Groaning, he pulled away for a moment, unable to give he what she needed just yet.

Her soft laugh made him smile as she pushed him off of her to avoid the temptation. Rolling onto her side, she propped her head up on her right hand and laid the left on his chest. "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," he whispered as he closed his eyes. "I just need a moment."

Inching closer, she brought her chin to rest on his chest. "We're going to get caught some day."

Richard opened his eyes and met hers. "And if we are? Kahlan, I won't apologize for what we've been doing."

"Maybe you should."

"Why?" he asked softly.

She sighed and looked down to his chest, watching as her index finger traced over his muscles. "Amanda." She whispered the name of his wife in a way that made his muscles tense and the hairs on his body stand.


"You're married to another woman, but you are in my bed."

"And tomorrow, I will be in hers." He had meant to comfort her, but the instant the words left his lips, he knew it had done the opposite.

Sitting up, she folded her knees to her side and pushed her fingers into her hair. "Maybe you should stay there."

"You don't want to do this anymore?"

"Of course I do," she replied without thought.

Confused, he lifted himself up onto his arms. "I don't understand."

Tilting her head, she brought her eyes to his as her hair fell over her shoulder the way he liked. "Maybe we should think about this."

"I don't want to think about it. Kahlan, this is how we were meant to live. We were supposed to be together, always."

"Then why did you get married? Why did I take Joseph as my mate? Richard, this shouldn't be- I hate that this is wrong."

Sitting up completely, he reached to her face and smiled. "Maybe it's not. When I'm with you, it's the only time I'm sure of anything. I don't believe this is wrong."

"If we weren't doing this and you learned that- What if you learned your wife was in another man's bed? What would that do to you?" He remained silent, his answer already known by them both. "Things are expected of us, we're supposed to live by the rules we set and if anyone was to know what we've done..."

"No one will ever find out, I promise. We're careful."

"Are we? Richard, there are too many variables to account for; one wrong move and we've been caught."

"I will not make this harder for you. I was careful; moved only when I was sure it was safe. I know that you face more risk than I and I- I love you too much to risk... When I come to you, I use magic to be sure that I am unseen."

"The cloak?"

Nodding he moved to his knees and lifted her to hers so that he was able to bring her chest to his. Wrapping his arms around her, he pressed his forehead against hers and closed his eyes to focus on the feel of them together. He never felt this good; this clear with his wife and if he never had to return, he wouldn't mind. Rubbing his nose against hers, he smiled, his body now more than ready to continue their night of pleasure.

"This is us, Kahlan. We belong together, naked and happy right here. This is our happiness."

Pulling back slightly, she smiled as he opened his eyes. "I love you, Richard."

"And I love you."

The rest of the night was blurred with heated kisses, skin against skin and pants of their lover's names. This was all they had ever wanted and neither was willing to give it up for anything. Their bond was too strong to keep them apart, if only they truly understood it.

As he opened his eyes, he felt her shift in his arms, the feel of her body against his making him rise. Her breath warmed his chest, bringing his eyes to look over them. Their blanket barely covered their legs, revealing their naked bodies to anyone who might enter her room. The sun was shining brightly through the window across from the bed, informing him that it was late in the day and someone would be coming to check on her any minute. Easing out from under her, he dressed himself as quickly and quietly as he could. As he tightened his sword's scabbard around his hips, he gave one last look at her sleeping form, wishing it was his to keep.

Walking softly to the window, he looked out and into the trees. After their activities began, she had moved her bedroom to the opposite side of the palace, making it easier for him to come and go through her window without being seen. Pushing it open, he leaned out to feel the warm breeze against his face.

"You were going to leave without saying goodbye?"

The soft tease of her voice made his heart pound as he looked back to her. She was leaning back on her elbows, her body completely exposed to his eyes. "Spirits, Kahlan..." he whispered breathlessly as he moved back into her room. The seductive smile on her face drove him insane. Crawling into the bed, he pushed down against her and crashed their lips together. His sword kept her from wrapping her legs around him, holding her nearly still as his hands moved over her body. Breaking their kiss, he cupped for her face and smiled widely. "You're making it very difficult to leave."

Raising an eyebrow, she pushed up her chest to rub against him while she pushed a leg between his. "I am?"

"If you keep doing that, I may not be able leave."

Reaching around him, she ran her hands down his back until she was over his pants. Pulling him down, she bucked up against him with a low moan. Just as their lips were about to connect again, there was a heavy knock at the door. Richard jumped off of her and dropped to the floor, beside the bed as she pulled the blankets over herself.

Rolling over, she faced the door and sucked in a deep breath. "Yes?"

The old, wise wizard entered the room and closed the door quickly. "Your hiding will not change the situation, Richard." His grandson looked over the top of the bed as the other man brought his eyes to Kahlan. "Get dressed." She moved instantly, unwilling to upset the man any further. Dressing quickly, she kept her eyes on the floor in embarrassment. When she was finished, she turned to face him. "Do you have any idea what you've done?"

"Zedd please, just listen-"

"You have destroyed everything. Had anyone else come through this door- How could you have done this?"

Richard stepped away from her, instantly filling her with a coldness and heavy feeling of abandonment. "It was only one-"

Both Kahlan and Zedd looked at him, but she spoke first. "You should go. Amanda will be worried about you." He started to object, but she turned pushed him away and toward the window. "Please, go." As he moved out of sight, she covered her mouth with her hand and looked to the wizard. "I didn't believe it was a mistake until now."

"Kahlan, you knew better."

"I did," she agreed quietly, moving out of the bed with her blanket covering her. "But I loved being with him. I- Zedd, I was happy with him." Walking to the window, she watched Richard sneak through the trees. "He's married. The man I love is married to another woman and I- You're right; I knew better but I didn't care."

"You cannot lay with him again."

Nodding, she walked to the bed table and pulled out the key to the Rada'Han that still graced her neck. "I know." Making her way to the wizard, she handed him the metal circle. "I'm sorry, Zedd."

"What do you mean?"

"I would have thought it was clear," Richard said quietly as he looked from his grandfather to the Mother Confessor who stood halfway behind him as though seeking protection. "I left Amanda."

"Why?" It was Zedd who spoke, though it was clear the question was on Kahlan's mind as well.

"Because it wasn't fair for her."

"You're lying." Her voice was soft but firm, making his body cringe for a moment.

"You're reading me?"

"Of course," she answered quickly. "How else am I to know what is true?"

Stepping forward, he tried to gain some ground, but she was already moving away. "You're supposed to trust me."

"Why? Because we've spent a few nights together? You stood in my room, ashamed of what we had done and were ready to lie to Zedd and it didn't give you a pause."


"Look what it's turned us into. What we did was wrong, but we did it anyway. You stood not a foot from me and started to tell him that it had happened only once when the night before you told me that it was how we were meant to be. You said it was our happiness and I believed you. We were wrong; everything about us is wrong."

"No, it's not. Kahlan- How can the way we feel about each other be wrong?"

"You're married and I have Joseph. Being with anyone else is wrong. We are wrong."

"My marriage is ending," he said as he walked past his still silent grandfather.

"And you still haven't said why. She found out, didn't she? She knew that you've been with another."

"I told her." Before she could ask why, he continued. "You are the Mother Confessor and can be with anyone you wish. It was I who had done wrong and I made it right."

"You think that you've made it right? Richard you betrayed your wife. Telling her does not make it right; it only takes away a small portion of the aching guilt that has been eating at you. You have destroyed and embarrassed her, how can that have made anything right?"

"We're able to be together now; that makes it right."

"Stop." Richard's word brought the world to a standstill. Turning around, he met the witches eyes. "I don't understand why you are showing me this."

"Your feelings for the Mother Confessor are going to change everything. You are a danger to all she is and who she is to become. The betrayal the two of you will commit must be stopped. There is nothing for you both and you only strengthen the blade that will be pushed through her heart. Is that what you want?"

"Of course not," he answered softly. "How can the love we have for each other- I don't believe what you've shown me. It's not possible for me to ever marry another when she is who I love."

"Even if she had taken a mate?" Shota's voice was ice cold, matching the look in her eyes. "You have seen only a small portion of the pain you will cause her. She will give birth to your twins and will be unable to deal with the boy. She dies trying to protect him."

Shaking his head, he began walking away from the woman, heading back to camp where his friends slept. "I would never allow anything to happen to her. Leave and take you lies with you." He stopped and turned back to her. "I will find a way to be with her. I would never want her to have to wear the Rada'Han, I love her too much to make her hide a part of her away." Brushing his fingers back through his hair, he gave a small smile. "She loves me too; we will be together and I will spend the rest of my life loving her."