Dragonbane(Dark Hunter,book 24)(39) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Shrugging nonchalantly, he refilled their water stores. “I wait.”
She’d arched a brow at that. “And?”
Unsure of why she asked that, he’d set the jug aside. It was what his kind did. They weren’t a creative bunch. Rather, they checked their perimeter, marked their territory, and guarded whatever fell under their protection. Hobbies served no purpose except to distract them from their duties.
“Don’t you get bored waiting?”
She tsked at him. “You know, I could help you with your doldrums.”
Nala had stopped in front of him then. Her eyes hungry, she’d reached out and traced a line down the center of his chest that had headed straight for a part of his anatomy that wasn’t meant for her.
Max caught her hand just as she went south of his belly button. “I’m mated.”
Instead of being daunted, she’d hooked her finger in the waistband of his breeches. “Do you know what I keep thinking about?”
“No idea, my basilinna.”
“The night Seraphina brought you in for our inspection.”
Heat had suffused his cheeks at the bitter reminder of a night he’d rather forget. To appease her queen and her sister tribeswomen, Sera had “presented” him to them so that they could inspect him and be assured that he was tame enough to reside in their village. Completely naked, he’d been forced to endure their bold scrutiny and rude groping of his body as they made sure he was “man” enough to live among them.
No part of him had been left unexamined.
By the end of it, he’d been so furious and hurt that he would have left Sera, but she’d apologized and promised him she wouldn’t let them treat him like that again. That this was a one-time event, and that she would make it up to him.
Even so, the humiliation and pain had stayed in his heart. Especially since he knew they didn’t do that to Arcadian males. The Arcadians were respected and allowed their dignity.
“What of that night?” he’d asked her, stepping back, out of her reach.
She’d closed the distance between them and reached out to touch the feathers braided into his hair. “You’re the most handsome male in our tribe. Did you know that?”
“No, basilinna. I haven’t paid much attention to the other men here.”
She’d laughed at that. “You know, part of your job in this tribe is to please and serve me.”
Those words had sent chills over him. Especially when she reached for the laces on his breeches.
Grabbing her hands, he’d stopped her. “Basilinna, please. I can’t do anything. You know the laws of our people.”
“And what a waste they are. Still… you have other parts that are capable of pleasing me.” She’d led his hand to her breast. “Tell me that you haven’t been as curious about other women as we are about you.”
He’d tried to pull away, but she was relentless.
“Do you know how many times I’ve seen the two of you rutting like animals? I know exactly how capable a lover you are with your mouth and hands.”
Anger and embarrassment made a deadly mix in his heart. “You spied on us?”
“It was human curiosity. Something an animal wouldn’t understand.”
The insult had stung him. He always hated whenever they said that to him.
“Now as your basilinna, I command you to submit to me. Give me what I want!”
He’d grabbed her more forcefully to keep her hands out of his breeches and off his body. “No.”
“No?” Her shocked tone would have been laughable had the situation not been so dire. “You dare deny me?”
He glared at her. “I’m just a dumb animal, incapable of understanding the complexities of how your society works. In my world, the rules are simple. I have a mate and I belong to her, and no one else.”
“And she would be the first to lead you naked to my bed and chain you there if I asked it of her. Are you too stupid to comprehend that?”
Even more furious, he’d started to deny it. But deep down in his heart, he knew Nala was telling the truth. At every turn, Sera had shown him that she would submit to her queen, no matter how ridiculous or mean the command.
Still, he wasn’t going to accept this. Not without a fight. “Then get Sera’s permission. But without it… I won’t do this. She is my dragonswan. My loyalty and heart go first to her.”
Nala had backhanded him. “And hers go to me, you stupid bastard!” She reached for him again.
This time, Max had grabbed her arm and forced her back, toward the opening of the tent. “I will not fuck you, bitch! I don’t care who you are. You are not my Sera and I don’t want your human ass in my bed.” He’d shoved her away so forcefully that she’d stumbled and fallen through the opening, outside the tent.
Knowing if he stayed, he’d probably kill her, Max had immediately gathered his sword and a few supplies, and left the village to head for his cave to wait for Sera’s return. This was the only place he ever felt as if he belonged. Where no one mocked or belittled him.
He’d turned to his dragon form as soon as he could and flew to the safety of his only haven. Sera would be furious over this. He knew it. She never liked it whenever he angered her queen. There would be plenty of screaming to come later.
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