When Darkness Ends(Guardians of Eternity,book 12)(31) by Alexandra Ivy
“Exploring, princess?” he at last demanded, meeting her wary gaze.
Fallon stiffened, instantly assuming he was angry. “Is that against the rules?”
“There are no rules,” he instantly hastened to assure her. “You’re welcome to go wherever you want in my lair.”
He stepped close enough for her to feel the cool rush of his power wrap around her. Her skin prickled with awareness, her mouth dry as she resisted the urge to close the small space between them and press against his broad chest.
Crap. What was it about this vampire that set her senses on fire?
And why the hell couldn’t she feel this same blistering exhilaration with Prince Magnus?
It might not bring her complete happiness, but it certainly would make the marriage less of a burden.
“As you have pointed out, you are my guest,” he said, pretending that he couldn’t catch the scent of her stirring arousal.
“And only a few hours ago you were trying to get me to leave.” Her lips flattened. “In fact, you’ve been trying to get me to leave since we woke in the caves.”
He shrugged. “Clearly that’s not going to happen. At least not in the foreseeable future. So in the meantime I want you to feel at home here.”
Fallon frowned. Okay, something was wrong.
Cyn had been bossy, irritating, and insanely sexy since he first intruded into her father’s palace. But he’d never played the role of gentleman.
“Did you take a fall down the stairs?” she demanded.
He arched a brow. “Excuse me?”
“You are behaving almost civilized,” she said, not bothering to hide her suspicion. “I assume you must have taken a severe blow to the head.”
His lips twisted with a hint of regret. “This has been . . . difficult for both of us.”
She grimaced. “We can agree on that.”
“We can also agree that it’s not helping for the two of us to be sniping at each other,” he said.
Fallon hesitated. She might be a complete innocent, but she sensed that she’d instinctively nurtured the nagging antagonism for a reason. Still, it seemed childish to toss his tentative olive branch back in his face.
“I did suggest we try to avoid one another,” she reminded him.
His gaze lowered to the vulnerable curve of her mouth. “I have a better solution.”
He had a hold of her hand and was tugging her toward a side door before she could guess his intentions.
“Come with me.”
Fallon told herself to pull away from his light grasp. Hadn’t she been determined to enjoy her short time in this world? And that meant relishing a few hours of choosing what she wanted to do rather than being told where she had to be and what she had to wear and how she had to behave.
But curiosity overcame any annoyance at being tugged around like an untrained puppy. Why spend the night roaming the ancient castle alone when she could have Cyn as a guide?
Her capitulation had nothing to do with the white-hot flames of anticipation licking through her.
Trying to pretend her heart wasn’t racing and her stomach wasn’t fluttering, Fallon allowed herself to be led down a flight of stairs that had been hidden behind a marble statue.
“Where are we going?” she asked as they traveled deep beneath the castle. “I don’t need another tour of your caves.”
His pace slowed as they reached a narrow tunnel. “Patience.”
Fallon grimaced. Patience was the one quality that she’d been forced to develop just to survive in her world.
Now she didn’t want . . .
Her spurt of irritation was forgotten as he shoved open a heavy door and allowed a flood of sunlight to fill the tunnel. Horror raced through her as she tried to drag him away from the killing rays.
“Trust me,” he murmured, resisting her frantic tugs and instead urging her forward.
Accepting that the sunlight posed no danger to her companion, Fallon cautiously stepped through the doorway and into . . . paradise.
With a gasp she took in the large meadow that was spread before her.
A cloudless blue sky seemed to spread above them, stretching toward the horizon with no beginning and no end. Below her feet was a carpet of crisp spring grass and tiny daisies where butterflies danced and floated on the cool breeze. In the distance she could see a babbling brook that was shaded by large weeping willows. And in the very center of the field was a marble grotto with fluted columns that might have been plucked from a Greek villa.
An illusion. It had to be.
And yet it was so perfectly created that she could feel the heat of the sun, smell the rich earth, and hear the distant chirp of birds.
“Oh,” she breathed, turning her head to discover Cyn watching her with an unreadable expression. “How?”
“My foster mother,” he said, his brow flicking upward as her lips twitched. “What’s so amusing?”
She wrinkled her nose, allowing her toes to curl into the soft grass. Spell or not, it felt good to have the sun warming her chilled body.
“The thought of two fairies being your parents.”
“It was an odd situation.” A fond smile softened his features. “Still, I never forget that I owe them my life.”
She watched as he angled his face toward the sky, intrigued by the fey who’d obviously loved this vampire enough to bring him the sun.
“Why do you owe them your life?”
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