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Sypha wakes up slowly, sucking in a breath as light floods her vision. She turns away from it involuntarily, squinting as her arm reaches out automatically, searching for warm skin, silky hair, the rough scratch of stubble against the pads of her fingertips.

When she doesn’t find it she opens her eyes fully, frowning as she beholds the empty bed on one side, not even the scent of him, of Trevor, lingering on the sheets. She turns, and this time she’s met with the sight of a fast-asleep Adrian, lips slightly parted to show the tips of baby fangs and that rosy flush on his cheeks that rises in his skin once his body temperature rises to mimic theirs. It’s usually most apparent when he wakes in the morning, having spent all night wrapped in both their warmth.

She stretches with a sigh, settling back under the covers and gazing out the window. Adrian’s bedroom in the castle looks out over the forest, and she can see the rustling emerald sea of it even from the bed, and a swatch of cornflower-blue sky. It must be several hours after dawn, maybe even more. And if so, then her getting out of bed is long overdue.

She makes to roll out of bed, but something strong and warm wraps around her waist, stopping her. She makes a surprised little sound and turns to see Adrian blinking sleepy liquid gold eyes at her, tugging her closer. She leans forward and drops the tiniest of kisses on his nose, smiling at his fuzzy, disheveled appearance. “Good morning, Adrian.”

“Mmm,” is all he says in reply, pulling her towards him for a kiss. She obliges, relishing in the drowsy messiness of it, the slide of his tongue against hers and the warmth of his breath, the frictionless slide of their skin. She pulls away a few seconds later and his eyes are closed still, a small smile curving his lips. “Where’s Trevor?” she asks, reaching up to tuck a wayward lock of flaxen hair behind his ear. He sighs, opening his eyes. “Out,” he says. “He went hunting early this morning.”

“Ever the breadwinner, isn’t he?” she asks, amused.

“The worst,” he agrees.

They share a soft laugh, and Sypha gives Adrian one last kiss before making to get out of bed again. He holds fast, his arm wrapping tighter around her waist when she tries to leave. “Adrian,” she says, unable to stop the grin that’s tugging at her lips. “I need to get up.”

“No,” he says. “I’m not letting you go, it’s too early to get out of bed.”

“It’s nearly noon,” she laughs. “Come on, you lazy thing, it’s time to get up.”

He shakes his head like a petulant child, leaning forward to chase her lips with his own. She gives in, sighing when he deepens the kiss, his tongue stroking into her mouth, searching for the taste of her. Her hands reach for him, fingers digging into the hard, unyielding muscle of his biceps as she matches his boldness, her own tongue sliding between his lips and claiming his mouth. He shudders against her, long lashes brushing against her cheeks as he tilts his head to beckon her in further.

She pulls away, breathless and with that familiar heat coiling in her gut, setting her veins ablaze. He’s looking at her, lips swollen and cheeks flushed, his eyes darkening slowly, black eclipsing gold. They both lean in at the same time and then they’re kissing again, but this is wilder, with a thinly controlled hunger evident in the roughness of it, the way his fingers clench in her hair, the way her legs wrap around his hips to bring him closer.

A muscled thigh nudges her legs open and she moans into his mouth, the friction of it against her unbearable. His hand slides down her body, cupping her breast, catching her gasp between his lips as he pinches the tight bud of her nipple between his fingers. Heat floods the pit of her belly and she shudders, her heart fluttering in her chest. He draws away slightly, pressing hot, wet kisses to her neck as he moves on to her other breast, carefully applying just enough pressure to make hot pleasure scorch through her.

She gasps his name and his teeth close gently over the side of her throat, making her squirm against him. “You like that?” he murmurs against her skin, kissing her jaw. “Does that feel good?”

“Adrian—” She arches up against him as his thumbs arc over her aching breasts, careful and precise almost. He’s familiar with her body now, after so many months and so many nights together, and he’s learned every inch of her, explored every inch of her, worshiped and loved every inch of her. “Please,” she gasps, her hands wrapping around his arms; she needs something to anchor her, keep her from losing her grip on reality too early. “Adrian, please—”

“Shh,” he says softly, and it’s almost a command, firm and authoritative. She falls silent immediately, her chest hitching up and down as his hand slowly moves down her body, a single finger coming to rest at the heat gathered between her legs. She shuts her eyes, her breath catching as he stills for a moment, then slowly drags that finger down her aching sex, steady and careful. She bites her lip hard to stop the sounds that threaten to escape her, her fingers digging into his skin.

He carefully rubs the pad of his fingertip against her clit, and this time a choked moan catches in her throat, breathless and sudden. Her eyes are clenched shut as he teases the sensitive bud of nerves at her core, pressing with just enough pressure to bring molten heat to his finger. His other arm unwraps from her waist, sliding down her thigh and up the inside of her knee, hiking her leg over his hip. The motion brings their bodies even closer, and she feels her breasts flatten against his lean, muscled chest as she swallows hard, her head falling back.

“Eyes open,” he orders, and she obeys, her blurry gaze finding the harsh gold of his eyes, the ridge of his jaw and the harsh breaths escaping his lips just as he slips his finger inside her.

She cries out, back arching helplessly as she feels herself clench around the sudden, slight intrusion. He swallows, eyes never leaving hers as he curls that finger inside her, pressing and teasing and exploring her. Pleasure whips through her whole body, making it hard to breathe. Just as the unbearable friction of it starts to come down, he slides another finger into her, his other hand pulling her leg higher over his waist to accommodate the faint stretch of it. Sypha gasps, and she thinks she says his name, because that’s the only thing ringing in her mind, over and over again in an infinite, boundless circle. All she can think and feel is him, his arms caging her and his fingers inside her and his eyes on her, devouring the look on her face as he slowly undoes her.

His fingers scissor and she moans, something inside her twisting with the pleasure of it. It’s heat, heady and scorching and perfect, heat and skin and Adrian. But it’s not enough—she wants more—she needs more, she needs him

“Adrian,” she says, and she can hardly recognize her own voice, thick and breathless with lust and want. She can see it in the way the hunger in his eyes triples in intensity that he knows what she wants, that he can see it in her face, hear it in her voice, feel it against his fingers. He pulls her closer, his fingers sliding out of her, and she lets out a ragged gasp at the feeling of it.

“What do you want?” he whispers, and it’s wild, the look in his eyes, the hectic flush across his cheekbones, the undercurrent in his voice. “Tell me what you want, Sypha.”

“You,” she gasps. “Adrian, I want—I need you inside me—”

She hears him swear, soft and growling, and a second later she finds herself lying flat on her back on the bed with Adrian rolling atop her lithe as a panther, fingers lacing with hers and pulling her arms above her head. He grips her wrists with a single-handed grip, his other hand reaching behind him, knees on either side of her hips. She freezes, stilling when she feels the head of his cock nudge at her opening, her head falling back as her eyes find Adrian’s. Their gazes lock just as his hips thrust forward, filling her in one smooth movement.

All the breath rushes from her lungs, her back arching as he stills, breathing hard, forearms pressing to the mattress on either side of her head to keep his weight off her. She feels the faint pain of the stretch, dulling and curdling into agonizing pleasure and desperate fullness, every nerve in her body firing at once at the feeling of him filling her to tightness, her body welcoming even that. They fit together, like lock and key, their intimacy well-worn and seamless and perfect.

He draws back carefully, then fills her again, hips stuttering as he drags in ragged breaths. She reaches up, fingers sliding into his hair as she draws him down for a kiss, his lips hot against hers. He says her name, his voice shaking, and she sighs against his lips when he thrusts into her again. Carefully, evenly, he sets a pace, his lips moving over hers in thorough, patient circles as he presses her into the mattress with each thrust of his hips, pleasure filling her each time their hips meet.

He tears his lips away from hers, his mouth finding the delicate skin of her throat, breaths hot against her skin. He’s beginning to lose control; it’s evident in the way his thrusts are starting to turn erratic, the way his voice jumps when he groans her name, the way his fingers free her wrists, clenching on the sheets on either side of her, nearly hard enough to rip the fabric—and the way his fangs extend fully, curved and deadly, between his lips, slicing into his skin hard enough to draw blood.

She reaches up, palms sliding over his chest, over his shoulders, his flawless pale skin slicked with sweat and his muscles jumping beneath her hands. She draws him down, lips poised at his ear, her heart hammering so loudly she wonders if he can hear it, hear her pulse and feel her desire. “Adrian, bite me,” she whispers, tilting her head to expose the pulse in her throat.

He groans out her name, catching her up against him as his fangs sink into her neck, breaking the skin. There’s pain, but it’s so inconsequential, drowning in the feeling of him inside her and all around her, drowning in the pleasure that’s filling her body. It doubles, then triples as he drinks from her, each pull of blood and each swallow of it in tandem with each thrust of his hips against hers. She closes her eyes, allowing herself to give in to the overwhelming feeling of it, of him, of everything.

His fangs sink even deeper and she hisses, fingers tightening in his hair as he stills for a moment—and his next thrust has her crying out, pleasure and pain mixing deliciously in her body as he fucks her hard, a low growl scraping past his throat. He pulls away from her throat, licking the wounds clean to seal them, fingers once again wrapping around her wrists, pinning her beneath him. She’s helpless, trapped underneath his inhuman strength, unable to do anything but moan every time his hips slam against hers, his cock filling her, hitting that one spot inside her that smashes all the air from her lungs.

His hands tilt her hips up and he hits it again, and again and again, making a cry tear past her throat at the overwhelming feeling of it. She can barely breathe, ecstasy overflowing inside her and blotting everything else out as Adrian fucks her into the mattress, her back pressing to the bed with him bearing down her front. His breaths are harsh on her neck, his chest hitching up and down, entirely void of control. Even like this he’s beautiful, glassy-eyed and that flush that goes all the way down his throat, the blood—her blood—on his fangs, which insinuate between his panting, parted lips.

Her spine curves off the bed as he thrusts into her hard, and she breaks at last, a scream ripping past her lips as her climax tears through her, crackling through her body like electricity. The force of it makes her vision go white and gold, stars exploding in her eyes and filling her with heat and pleasure. Through it all she can feel Adrian, thrusting into her once, twice more before he too comes apart, buried inside her as he moans her name, liquid heat exploding inside her as he comes.

She comes to, lying on the bed with Adrian sprawled atop her, his chest rising and falling against hers. He carefully rolls off her just as she begins to feel his weight against her, stretching himself out beside her, an arm loosely wrapped around her waist. She turns her face into his shoulder, breathing him in, closing her eyes with a sigh. She feels him stir, a hand tipping her chin up so she meets his concerned golden gaze.

“Sypha,” he says, and his voice is heavy and still a little slurred. “Are you all right?”

“Never better,” she says, smiling up at him, and he smiles back, leaning down to press a chaste kiss to her lips. She settles against his chest with a contented sigh when he pulls away, tucking her against him. They stay like that for a while, saying nothing, merely soaking in each other’s presences. It’s drowsy and warm and still, like the space between heartbeats, and she finds herself nodding off, exhaustion dragging her under.

“You know what,” she murmurs, without opening her eyes. “You were right; it’s too early to get out of bed.”

He laughs, pulling the blanket over both of them, arms wrapping around her as it settles over them. “Trevor will be back soon,” he says. “Go to sleep, Sypha.”

She smiles a little as she sinks into him, allowing sleep to carry her away, knowing that both he and Trevor will be there when she wakes. She sleeps, knowing that she’s loved and cared for and watched over and safe, and that she would never, ever have it any other way.