The halls were full of much activity and Arianna was glad for her hooded garment that concealed her identity. Twould be most unseemly were anyone to note a Lady of the castle roaming through the soldier’s sleeping quarters just as dawn began to break.
Alaric was already fully dressed and pacing with caged excitement when her gentle knock came. Whipping the door open, he smiled at her breathtakingly beautiful face. “Arianna,” he breathed. “Please, come in.”
A dark thrill ran through her as she did as he asked and found herself inside his overly masculine chamber. To dispel her overwhelming awkwardness, she spoke. “I trust you are in high anticipation of the beginning of the Games. Are you ready to fight and win?” She smiled and turned back to look at him.
Alaric had shut the door and was leaning against it, simply staring at her with a look of raw heat in his eyes. “I am ready. Are you?” He pushed off the wall and came in close to her. “What did you bring for me?”
Her hand shook slightly as she reached into her right pocket and withdrew a long silver chain. “Twas my grandmother’s.” She explained, toying with the intricate purple bauble at its end. “She said it used to bring her luck, and tis done naught but good for me, so I thought…” Her voice trailed off as he leaned in closer to get a better look.
His fingers brushed hers, accidentally she was sure but a tingle shot through her, making her very aware of their seclusion. She hoped fervently that he would kiss her hand. She was dying to know what his lips felt like.
Alaric viewed the sentimental item and got a strange ache in his chest. “Many thanks, Arianna. Tis most beautiful.” His eyes lifted to hers, their somber grey color unusually bright in the morning light. “Would you help me put it on?”
She gave a nervous laugh and nodded eagerly. “Of course. Put your head down.” Her fingers made feather light contact with his thick silky hair as she laid the necklace over his head and let it rest on his strong nape. “May this necklace protect and aid you in your quest for dominance on the field today and all the days of the Tournament. My favor goes with you alone.” She murmured softly, her voice tremulous with nerves.
As her hands began to draw back, Alaric covered them with his own, pulling them to his chest and a wave of heat washed over her
“Often times, in a stronger show of support,” his deep voice rumbled against her fingers. “A lady will bestow a kiss upon her chosen competitor.”
Arianna’s eyes filled with surprised delight. Feeling like she had won some sort of contest herself, she rose up on her tiptoes and reverently pressed her lips to his smooth chiseled jaw. And if he noticed that she held them there for an extra moment, he made no comment.
In fact, as she pulled back, he smiled down wolfishly at her and brought a hand up to cup her cheek lightly. “Twas not quite what I had in mind,” he said lowly.
He saw the realization of his intent dawn in her eyes just as head dipped down and his mouth covered hers.
A fissure of heat exploded in her belly when she felt the firm yielding pressure of his lips press against hers and she shivered. Alaric was kissing her!! His mouth was warm and softly giving as it pushed and sucked at hers, causing a wild ache to pulse through her body. She whimpered in pleasure. Oh twas more glorious, more thrilling than she had ever imagined it would be!
His lips parted over hers and he grunted, raking firm fingers up her back to bury them in her hair. “Open your mouth for me, Arianna,” he cajoled, sighing deeply when she acquiesced readily. She must have more experience than he had first assumed. The thought sent a thrill through him. He need not be shy or gentle with his passions then. His arm snaked around her waist to draw her body tightly against his.
Arianna’s blood was rushing in her ears and her knees all but gave out under her when she felt the moist heat of his tongue slowly slide along her bottom lip and then push confidently into her mouth. Twas so wanton and wicked to feel him tasting her with such interest! She flicked her tongue against his, craving the flavor of mint and flesh that greeted her. She inhaled, loving the tangy scent of clean soap, leather and smoke that was uniquely Alaric.
Alaric groaned loudly at her boldness and his hands dropped to cover her shapely backside, squeezing the firm flesh as he pressed her toward his hardening loins. He wanted to bury himself inside of her…
If there had not been a knock on his door, Alaric was not sure he would have been able to stop what they had started. His mouth tore from hers with a strangled growl and he barked at the offending intruder. “Who is it?!” his eyes ate up her flushed face and passion-glazed eyes with relish. She was going to be his!
“Tis Stefan, brother. The Games are about to begin,” the muffled reply came through the door.
Alaric cursed under his breath. “Go ahead of me. I will be there soon.”
He pulled back from her, his chest rising and falling with his obvious excitement as he drew a finger along her downy cheek. “You are delicious,” he announced, his libido spiking when her little pink tongue snuck out to lick her lips.
“So are you,” she admitted, her usually mellow voice thick and slightly husky.
He inhaled on a shaky breath and then helpless to stop himself, pulled her back into his arms to take her mouth once again. Twas a desperate need to meld with her sweetness racing through him and he was a slave to it.
Arianna simply melted in his rock hard arms, her hands rising to entwine around his neck and hold him tightly as he continued to ravish her. She could stay there, kissing him for the rest of her days and be content. She would require nothing else—no food, no water… just Alaric.
After a long minute, he made a noise that sounded almost painful and then stepped back suddenly, running a hand through his hair, “You are addictive, little dove.”
His compliment made her cheeks heat and a shy smile bloomed on her face. Her body was buzzing with rapture and a strange hunger she had no idea how to satisfy.
“I must go,” he spoke unsteadily, his eyes rapt on her bee stung lips. How he wished he had started this the previous eve!
She shook her head, trying to clear her thoughts. She felt as though she had drunk an entire pitcher of sweet wine. “Of course,” she rasped out and then unsuccessfully attempted to clear her throat. “Good luck, Alaric. Please be safe.”
“Arianna?” His voice stopped her as she headed toward the door. “I will seek you out after the day’s Games.”
A giddy thrill rushed her again and she smiled stupidly. “Conquer and Win, Alaric. I will be watching you.” She pulled the hood back over her moon spun hair and left the way she came.
Alaric leaned against the doorframe and took a much needed calming breath. Twas unprecedented—his voracious hunger for her. He felt like the most wild of beasts… And he was ready to release all his pent up frustrations on the other competitors. A dark smile twisted his lips. He felt almost sorry for anyone he met this day.
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