From now on, you are a slave

Cecilia had gone to Ylianor, held on a side by the servant. “From now on, you are a slave, therefore forbidden to speak or wear clothes.” Gripping two separate ends of her top, she ripped it off. “You will act only under your master’s instructions and obey his every command and wish.” Then clamping Ylianor’s right arm, she fingered the blue-gray rose-shaped stone of her bracelet before gesturing to the servant. “Take it off. She must be completely naked—”

“Don’t you dare touch that.” It was a growl. So nasty, it made Chris sound very threatening.

“Lord Templeton, the rules—”

“Fuck your goddamn rules!” Walking over to Ylianor, he snatched her arm off Cecilia’s grasp. “That’s a token of her master, the leader himself, so no one can take it off except him.” He revealed the same bracelet on his left arm, only the rose-shaped stone was misty green.

“He’s right, Ceci.” Trying to be as accommodating as possible, Duncan lowered his voice, “I gave it to her to make it clear she belongs to me.”

“And to her mate, evidently.” So Lady Hurst had noticed the coincidence of the stones’ colors. “All right, I’ll allow it.” Having made her generous concession, she nodded to the man next to the princess. “Take her down to the slave’s underground chamber. I want her…”

The voice trailed off in Duncan’s mind. Something was terribly wrong. He just was not sure what. But when he saw her caving in on herself, he lurched forward, beaten by the angel, who managed to catch her before she collapsed to the ground.

“Is she ill?” Concerned, Cecilia swung her gaze from the still form Chris now cradled to his chest to the prince.

“I told you she’s tired and hungry.” I hope it’s nothing more, Angel.

Her energy is very low. The husky whisper seemed to come from somewhere far away, as if Chris were not quite physically there. And her pregnancy isn’t helping, considering how much effort coming here was for her.

“No problem, Leader.” She gestured to her servant who went toward the angel. “We’ll take care of her. Don’t worry.”

The man extended his arms, probably expecting Chris to hand him the precious charge. Something Chris simply refused to do, clasping her fiercely against him and moving back, just to be on the safe side.

“Lord Templeton, please give the slave to my servant.”

No way! Thanks the gods, he kept it as a thought. “I’m not sure you can take proper care of her.”

“Then she’s really ill.” Lady Hurst’s conclusion seemed inevitable.

“Well…” Chris looked to him for support. “Let’s say she’d be better off with us.”

Demon, I’m not that bad off, really. Ylianor’s soft voice testified she was already recovering part of her strength. I can handle it—

Shut up, sleeping beauty. There was so much tenderness in his rebuff that the prince’s heart skipped several beats. I’m the healer here, remember?

“I’m sorry, Lord Templeton.” Getting upset, Cecilia’s tone became stern, “I can’t allow it. I said it before you entered the Game. Now, if she’s not dying or anything—”

“Ceci, it’s not a matter of dying.” Prince Caldwell raised his voice to cool off everyone’s temper, “Simply a matter of her energy fluttering.” Would you accept a compromise, Angel?

What sort of compromise?

“Then you’ll have no objection if we take care of her.” Her lips curved in an ironic snarl. “Or don’t you trust me, Lord Templeton? Perhaps you think I’m in the habit of killing off the slaves that I admit to the Game, under my personal protection—”

“Forgive me, Lady Hurst, but you haven’t been exactly one of my mate’s champions at the Hall,” Chris retorted.

“Here it’s different.”

The fuck it is! The blue-gray eyes flashed dangerously. Lover, don’t let her have sleeping beauty. You know how Cecilia hates her. How she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about her—

But David does. “There’s no need to get flared up over this.” Would you feel better if we entrusted her to him, leaving Ceci out of it?

At first, the angel tightened his hold on Ylianor. Then, as though realizing he could not fight it much longer, he nodded in agreement.

“I apologize that we’re placing you in such difficult position, Ceci.” Duncan bowed. “Believe me it wasn’t my intention.”

“Darling, it’s really nothing—”

“Please, let me finish.” Holding up a hand, he blocked her protests. “I’m also aware that you can’t possibly look after my slave with all the many things I’m sure your duties as hostess and Game Master require. And since I don’t want to break any rules, I ask you that David look after her until such time as she’s fully recovered.”

“David?” Shocked, Cecilia took a step back. “But he isn’t even part of the Game—”

“I’m sure he won’t mind.” He made it sound very persuasive.

“Plus, he has a million things to do already—”

“I’m sure he’ll find time for my slave.”


“Either he takes care of her, or I’ll take her to my room now.” He had been patient enough. “And disregard your rules.” At this point, it had become a non-negotiable condition, especially since the angel heated up at every one of Ceci’s silly objections.

“All right, all right.” Defeated, Cecilia whirled to her servant. “Take her to David’s room immediately, then go find him wherever he is and tell him about this new…complication.”

“And see that she gets to eat on the double,” Duncan added.

“Yes, please do.” Wearily, Cecilia nodded.

“Yes, Mistress.” Again, the man extended his arms to Chris.

For all response, the angel crushed Ylianor against him, his mouth pressing on her lips in a slow, sweet kiss that moved Duncan beyond words.

If you need anything, anything at all, just call. Managing to break off the exchange, Chris caressed her very pale face. Then reluctantly, he handed her over.

“Is there anything else I can do for you, Leader?”
leeping beauty?"