I don't want to pledge

“I don’t want to pledge.”

“Then don’t.”

“But my father insists on it.”

“Then do.” Sitting naked on the floor in front of the sizzling fire, Duncan stared at the flames warming his bedroom, rather than at Chris’s pale and drawn face.

“With her?”

“Hey, you’re in luck.” Sarcastic, the prince turned to confront his angel. “The Hall is full of unpledged women right at the moment, and most of them would jump at the chance to have you.”

“I don’t want another woman.” Stomping his foot, Chris came closer. “It’s not fair, lover.”

“That’s life.”

“I’m not fucking ready for it. I need more time to decide.”

“Tough choice.”

“And you’re not helping any.” With a challenging blaze, Chris dared him to prove otherwise.

“What would you want me to do?”

“Call the whole thing off!”

“The pledge or just your pledge?”

“Both.” Exasperated, Chris flashed angry eyes at him. “What’s the difference anyway? You’re the leader. You can do anything you want.”

“Not everything.” Returning the look, Duncan held his point. “I can’t go against traditions.”

“Then tell me what to do.” Sliding down to the floor, the angel crumpled beside him. “Since it’s your fucking fault I’m stuck in this mess.”

“Mine? You did it all—”

“All I did was erase her from your head, but no!” Shoving against him, Chris crunched him to the couch on which he leaned. “You had to bring her back.”

“I don’t see your cock complaining about it.” With a sudden lurch, Duncan toppled him, pinning Chris down to the carpet with his full weight. “And you’re a damn fool for making it so difficult on yourself when it’s plain obvious you can’t get enough of her—”

“It’s not her. It’s always you—”

“Liar!” Thrusting down, Prince Caldwell crushed him to the ground. “At Brickstone Crossroads you were so hard you were about to spill it before you made it to her ass. And your bloody game, isn’t it the way to have her all to yourself?” His hand pressed on the crotch to confirm what he already knew. “It makes you hot just thinking about it.”

“Damn you and her!” Despite his furious thrashing, Chris could not manage to break free from Duncan’s iron hold. “All right, what would you do if you were in my shoes?”

“Sorry, Angel.” Releasing him all of a sudden, the leader straightened up. “It’s your decision not mine.”

“Decision my ass!” He sat up, too. “My father seems to have already decided everything, he and his impeccable logic. Fuck me and my big mouth for ever mentioning a woman to him.”

“Angel, you’re a free man.” Softening his tone, Duncan rolled on a side to look him in the face. “I’m not going to pledge you unless I feel you’re one hundred percent convinced you’re ready to take on this commitment, and I’ve said so to your father, too.” He ruffled the blond hair. “Besides, aren’t you going too fast? You haven’t asked her yet.”

“What’s the use? To make a fool of myself one more time while she throws me off the saddle again?”

“Not if you give her valid reasons to accept. And no, I can’t be one of them.”

“I’m not going to tell her a lie, like I love her, just to get her to say yes.”

A lie? “She wouldn’t believe you anyway.” It’s the damn truth! “She knows better.” For her as much as for you and the sooner you both embrace it, the faster we can move on with our lives.

“The truth is there’s no real connection between us—”

“That’s a lie, and you know it.” Duncan took Chris’s face in his palms. “You feel something for her—call it hate, jealousy, competition, rage, maybe love.” Chris winced at the word. “Whatever it is, it’s growing, and all your efforts to deny it only make it stronger, like it did that night at the Turner’s, when you wanted her so bad you’d have done anything except admit it outright.”

“Well…” No, he did not dare contradict a self-evident truth. “You never warned me women could be so cunning.”

“It’s simply your bad luck I picked the most intelligent one of the lot.”

“Don’t remind me it’s your fault.” Glancing at Duncan sideway, he smiled seductively. “Hey, lover, do you still think pledges are mere formalities?”

“Not anymore.” Prince Caldwell shifted position. “The truth is pledges create a powerful connection between two people.”

“How powerful?”

“Enough to create life.” He leveled his gaze with Chris. “You and I can love each other to death, but we still would not be able to create life.”

“So our individual bonds will finally be equal—you with your mind connection, me with my pledge.”

“Would be about time. The three being one, remember?”

“How can I forget?” He brushed a loose strand off the leader’s face. “If only she weren’t so damn…elusive.”

“She’s like her element—water.”

“That’s why we’re at such odds.” Amused, Chris shook his head. “Fire and water don’t mix too well.”

“Actually, you attract and repel each other, like you can’t make up your minds.” A few images flashed in his head about the two of them in the heat of passion. “And it’s the most exciting thing to watch.”

“And to do.” Evidently catching the same images, Chris edged closer. “Isn’t that why you wanted two masters for the same slave?”

“I couldn’t share this exquisite pleasure with just anyone.” He rolled on top of him, and Chris spread his legs to accommodate him better. “It had to be someone at my level.” Sensually, the prince rubbed his crotch against Chris, focusing on the ass hole. “And who’d make it all the more exciting with his uncontrollable mood swings.” The seduction more effective than he anticipated, he had to attack the angel’s lips, unable to resist the throb in his growing erection.

Chris opened wide to Duncan’s tongue plunging inside to sweep what belonged to it, going as deep as the throat if only he allowed it, drawn further by his avid sucks. It seemed never ending, drowning in his angel’s mouth with the hip sway driving him crazy, only he had to stop before it became too late.

“No.” Chris detained him to avoid his pulling away. “Take me now.”

“And leave nothing for her?” His lips twisting in a snarl, Prince Caldwell rolled off him. “Can’t do it, Angel, not when you still have to pop the question.”

“Then let’s go ask her.” Enflamed, Chris scrambled to an upright position.

“Us? Angel, you’re the one who needs to ask. It’s something between the two of you.”

“All right.” Reluctantly, Chris took a step in the direction of the door. “But first, wish me luck.”

With one swift move, Duncan pinned him back down again, mouth on Chris’s, hand on the sizable bulge. “Good luck, my beautiful angel,” he breathed hoarsely. “I hope you come back a winner.”

“Given this encouragement, how can I not?” Rising to his feet, Chris went to the door.

“Oh, and Angel…”

Chris turned before stepping outside.

“One last piece of advice.”

“I’m all ears, lover.”

“If you can’t think of a good reason, screw her until she says yes.”

“Hey, it might actually work.” With one last dazzling smile, Chris was gone, his exit marked by a flashing thunderbolt and a ponderous boom from the angry night sky.