“Hey, Patrick, are you awake?”
At the raised male voice, but more at the loud knock, Chris stirred.
“Come on,” the man insisted. “We know you’re in there.”
Oh, fuck! Why can’t they just leave?
The boom at the door proved the guy would not be going anywhere soon.
“Anthon and Fabian are also here.” Nor would his friends. “So get your ass here and open the damn door.”
Goddamn it!
Chris had been in the middle of the most erotic dream of all, sucking his lover’s unrivaled cock that was about to unload all over him—
“I’m coming. I’m coming.” Scrambling to his feet, a groggy Patrick left Chris’s side and moved to the opposite end of the room. “No need to make such a commotion about it.”
Alone in the spacious bed that had been his refuge for the night, Chris grabbed Patrick’s pillow. Rolling on his side, he pressed it to his ear.
“And wake the whole damn place.” Tossing open the door, Patrick motioned the threesome inside. “Which will get Cecilia mad enough to throw us out—”
“She’s already way madder than you or I will ever know.” A brittle laugh underlined the words.
With a bleary eye half-open, Chris saw the three men marching in.
“And we had nothing to do with it.” The man shouting at the door grinned.
“I know, Darcy,” Patrick sniggered as he closed the door behind the last of the three. “It’s all Prince Caldwell’s fault.”
“Him but mostly his slave.” A cute dark-haired sat on one of the two couches.
He knew it!
Knew they would jump at the chance to gossip about the hottest duo of the entire blasted Game! As if it were not enough that Chris had caught sight of them during the most passionate kiss ever. Not just for the Game’s standards. For any place Chris could think of, including the Hall’s attic and its never-ending sexual plays with the Arthur boys.
And to think he had done his damned best to keep away from the main chamber and avoid watching them even by mistake.
So why did his luck have to run out at the precise moment his lover was devouring the detestable witch?
“‘Cause he practically didn’t look at any other woman besides her.” A gurgling chortle almost choked Patrick.
“Look isn’t the right word,” Anton contradicted. “Fuck is the right word, ‘cause that was all he wanted to do with her even when he was screwing other people.”
“Yeah, it was kind of amazing.” Fabian, another dark-haired dressed in a guest’s attire, plopped down next to Anton. “The way he craved her in spite of all the men and women who’d have given their right arms just to have sex with him.”
“It was like he couldn’t tear himself away.” Darcy settled on the free couch. “Like he was bewitched or something.”
Chris would have totally agreed with this, had he any inclination to do so.
“Like he wanted nobody else but her,” Anton could not wait to make matters worse. “Like no one was good enough for him except for her.”
“Do you suppose it had anything to do with that extremely bare pussy of hers?” Sitting next to Darcy, Patrick just had to do it.
Had to remind everyone of that characteristic that drove Chris crazy, though he would never, ever, admit it!
“That was impressive, if I say so myself,” Anton threw in his own worthless opinion. “I mean I never saw a cunt quite like hers—”
“Oh, come off it, Anton!” Darcy elbowed him on a side. “When did you ever see a cunt in your life?”
Or rather, when had any of those idiots ever seen a cunt?
For they were all as ignorant as Anton. And Chris would have loved nothing better than to be equally in the dark about such a useless organ, had not his lover taken a fancy for it.
“I did, too.” Offended, Anton threw back his shoulders. “I’m no expert, of course, but I’ve seen a few of them—”
“Save it,” Fabian blocked his protests. “The way you love cocks I doubt you saw more than two in your whole life.”
“Yeah, whatever.” From Anton’s shrug, it was clear that Fabian had centered the exact number. “Still, hers was exceptional. And if you won’t take my word, think back at how all the women stared at it enviously.”
“Cecilia and her phase mate included,” Patrick snickered contemptuously. “I caught them gawking at it more than once, so I guess you’re right.”
“Of course, I am,” Anton insisted. “It was extraordinary.”
“That it was.” The dreamy undertone in Fabian’s voice made Chris wonder whether he had gotten a hard-on just by glancing at that incredible cunt of his lover’s slave.
“All right, it wasn’t bad.” At Darcy’s begrudged admission, it became clear that all their cocks had suffered from a definite reaction.
Just like Chris’s every time he was just remotely near that shaved pussy of hers.
“It looked so smooth and silky I wouldn’t have minded if my fingers got lost in it for a few minutes,” Darcy conceded. “And you all should’ve seen how the women gawked at it.” His dry cackle irked the fuck out of Chris. “They were so pea-green with envy you wouldn’t have believed it.”
“That’s because they were seething in pure spite, while the men couldn’t tear their eyes off it.” Patrick had also taken due note of what Chris had tried to forget the whole damn night long. “Like it was an irresistible beacon or something.”
“Yeah, I noticed it, too…” Darcy sounded perplexed. “But what I couldn’t figure out was why it affected Prince Caldwell so much.” This really seemed to escape him. “He must’ve fucked her before entering the Game, so he should’ve gotten used to it.” He made eye contact with all the others as if asking for their support. “Shouldn’t he?”
“He obviously didn’t.” Patrick provided. “‘Cause his tongue was hanging out worse than any of the men in that chamber. So, you must be right, and she has bewitched him.”
Chris’s stomach clenched. The situation was far worse than he had originally assessed. And if things did not change fast, nothing and no one would be able to prevent Prince Duncan Caldwell from falling into the witch’s web.
“Whatever it was, it made for a heck of a show between them!” Fabian licked his lips. “No one is going to forget it that easily.”
“I’d say no one is going to forget it ever!” Darcy exclaimed.
And Chris’s blood boiled with the compressed fury that had almost choked him on seeing Duncan and Ylianor so deep into each other.
“Which is what got Cecilia flying off her horses,” Patrick roared.
“No, what really pissed her off was that it was the second such kiss of the night,” Fabian retorted. “And she couldn’t stand it.”
“What she couldn’t stand was not knowing who that fucking slave was,” Patrick rebuffed. “She spent half the night asking everybody if they knew her.” He made a dramatic pause. “Without getting any answers,” he seemed happy to report.
Chris pressed the pillow on his ear, hoping to silence the maddening chatter.
“That’s because she didn’t ask the right person,” Anton spurned. “Right, Chris?”
Chris ignored him.
“And don’t pretend you’re asleep,” Darcy raised his voice just to be on the safe side.
“Maybe he still hasn’t recovered from last night’s excitement,” Anton derided with a mocking note of concern slurring his words.
“Yeah, I wouldn’t have either if two gigantic cocks had cracked my ass.” Fabian laughed out loud.
“Both together and at the same time.” Patrick joined in the hilarity. “Must say it was quite a feat!”
“Worthy of the sluttiest of them all,” Darcy wrapped it up nicely. “And we all know who that is.”
“Yeah, ‘cause he’s unbeatable at the Hall.” This was Fabian adding his two bits worth.
“Out of it, too,” Anton was quick to set the record straight once and for all. “Since we’re miles away from it here.”
However flattering their comments, Chris did not fall for their baits. Simply continued to ignore them, until a pillow hit him on the backside.
“Hey, what’s the matter with you guys?” Now angry, Chris lifted himself on an elbow to glare at the group assembled near the fireplace.
“Quit sulking and get your ass over here.” Retrieving the pillow, Darcy seemed ready to throw it again had Chris not complied.
“And what’s the idea of showing up here with your gorgeous phase mate without telling us?” Fabian pushed back his shoulders as though getting ready for a fight. “It isn’t like we didn’t talk about it before the season ended at the Hall.”
“Yeah, with all those who had received an invitation bragging their mouths off.” Anton’s scornful look was all for Patrick.
“Not my fault I got one,” Patrick retorted. “And you didn’t.”
“We told you we’d be here one way or another.” Darcy shrugged indifferent. “And being guests was the best offer we got.”
If he made it sound like it had been a piece of cake, Chris knew for a fact it had not, since their wheeling and dealing to weasel into the Game had been the one single topic at the Hall for months on end.
“While Chris, here, had said it over and over that he wouldn’t have come.” Fabian’s gaze narrowed on him. “Not even if he received an invitation.”
Which, lucky for him, he had not. For he was way too young for Cecilia’s age requirements.
Or maybe luck had nothing to do with it. And given how much the woman loathed him, he would never get one.
Not even if he lived to be a hundred.
“It was a last-minute decision.” For how the fuck was I to know that Arthur was going to order us to retrieve a damn pyramid that Cecilia and David had the bad idea of stealing? And that our only option would be to enter her ludicrous Game since my lover had received an invitation?
No, make several of them.
“Nothing I knew about when we were all talking about it.” And how convenient for his lover and for his growing attachment to the pesky nuisance he had been dragging along since he had set foot out of Black Rose.
“Just for the record, did you get the invitation?” Anton smirked. “Or did your mouthwatering phase mate?”
“Come on, Anton!” Patrick scowled at him. “The way Cecilia hates Chris, how can you possibly think she’d invite him?” He snickered, “Besides, Chris isn’t even old enough to receive any damn invitation.”
Didn’t prevent her from sending one to my lover for the past three years or so.
Chris would have liked to shout this, had it only improved his situation any.
“And if that weren’t enough, just seeing how she looks at your phase mate is enough to know she’d much rather invite him than you.” Darcy seemed to have it all figured out.
Which boosted Chris’s rage to a new breaking point.
“She was practically eating him up with her eyes alone.” Patrick smacked his lips.
“We all were.” Anton sighed wistfully.
Enough for Chris to guess the man wished Duncan had fucked him all night long.
“Too bad Prince Caldwell seems to prefer women over men.” The angles of Darcy’s lips curved downward.
“So that’s why he left the chamber with her and Rowena.” Dots connecting, Fabian’s eyes widened.
Another unfortunate episode of this odious Game Chris had no wish to remember.
“And that’s also why he mostly played with women.” Malicious on purpose, Patrick’s words were trying to make fun of Chris.
“So, he’s partial to that detestable gender.” Quick to take fire, Chris slid down the bed until he sat at the edge closest to Patrick. “It happens to most men after the end of the phase, so what’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing.” Patrick raised his hands. “It’s just that we’d have never guessed his primary interest was for women. Not after the way we all saw him the only time he came at the Hall.”
That would have been on the night of their reunion. When Arthur himself had invited Duncan to the party Chris had organized. Same night that had ended the agonizing two-year separation. Which his lover had enforced in the absurd notion it would cure him of his insane attraction for Chris.
Which of course, was sheer delusion, for the facts had made it abundantly clear that it was a material impossibility.
“Just for the record, I am his sole interest.” Chris made it sound unarguable. “And that night, you were all gaping at him so hard that your mouths had fallen to the floor.” Oh, yeah, he remembered their avid stares in the five minutes before he had whisked away Duncan for the rest of the night. “So how the fuck could you have possibly wondered what his interest was?”
“Trent said it.” Darcy straightened the matter for all of them. “He was the first to guess that striking man was your phase mate, but that it wouldn’t last between you ‘cause—”
“Trent Hamilton is just a jealous bastard,” Chris spat angrily.
“And he couldn’t be more mistaken.” The mere mention of his hated rival fueled his fire to near explosion. “‘Cause I’m here with him—”
“While he plays lovebird with a woman,” Anton pointed out.
“She’s a goddamn slave.” Chris stared menacingly at all of them to drive the concept into their heads once and for all. “Or do you suppose I should’ve played the part?” He glanced at each in turn. “Me, Lord Christopher Templeton, the vice-leader’s son and the leader’s favorite?”
Preposterous the mere idea and not just for him, considering how they all lowered their gazes.
“No, of course not.” The first to recover, Darcy raised an apologetic gaze. “We were just kidding.”
“Right,” Patrick confirmed. “No need to get huffed up.”
“We know you could never play slave.” Fabian squeezed his arm, clearly wanting to appease him. “We just couldn’t figure out why he’d want to bring a member of his family to this Game.”
“Nor could Cecilia,” Patrick sniggered. “Which is why she kept asking everyone if they knew who she was.” He grinned in satisfaction, glad once more that she had gotten no answers. “Mostly what her name is.”
“Yeah, Chris, what’s her fucking name?” Fabian raised his eyebrows.
Princess or witch, depending on whom you’re asking. “How the fuck should I know?” He’d be damned if he gave them the slightest bit of information.
“You mean to tell us that you’ve never heard her name?” Evidently skeptical, Anton frowned.
“You know me.” Chris shrugged unconcerned. “Never bothered with names, particularly those of people I don’t give a damn about.”
Which was hardly her case since he had engraved everything about Ylianor Meyer the same way and the same moment he had carved Duncan Caldwell inside his very spirit. And that had happened way back, when he had first laid eyes on both, standing as they were side by side the moment he had ridden through Black Rose’s front gate on that fateful summer day.
Then again, this was as irrelevant as everything else concerning the blasted witch!
“And your phase mate never called her?” Anton insisted. “Not even once?”
“He just called her slut,” Chris lied. So what if it was not exactly true?
It was close enough.
She was such a slut through and through, which made him so fucking hot for her he could not stand it.
“So, I saw no reason to ask for any other name.” ‘Cause slut suits her so damn well anyway!
“Didn’t you guys travel together?” That something was not adding up for Anton seemed kind of obvious from his refusal to let it go.
“Not enough that I had to know her name.” Stubborn, Chris stuck to his lie.
Darcy smirked in incredulity. “I find it hard to believe Prince Caldwell would call a member of his family—”
“She’s not a member of his family.” She’s a goddamn servant!
If it was a goddamn fact, Chris was reluctant to spit it out like he should have. Something in the connection that was building between him, Duncan and Ylianor made him strangely wary of exposing more details than strictly necessary.
“Oh, come off it!” Darcy almost jumped on his seat. “She looks so much like him she could be his sister.”
“His twin sister,” Patrick specified maliciously.
“It’s just a passing resemblance.” Annoyed, Chris waved a dismissive hand in the air.
“Sure.” Obviously unconvinced, Anton leaned in Chris’s direction. “But family or no family, your phase mate seemed so taken with her—”
“And the fact she looked like him made it all the more intriguing,” Darcy cut in.
“I said it’s just a passing resemblance, nothing more.” Chris took a deep breath to steady himself. “She’s just someone he knew and brought along so that we could enter the Game together.”
“Could be.” Kind of obvious Patrick was not fooled, either. “But whatever it was between them, they were hot together.”
“That’s an understatement.” Darcy’s eyeballs almost popped out, as though he still could not get over the scorching scenes he must have witnessed. “It was like he just wanted to fuck her, and no amount of the other women could satisfy him.”
“And the way she responded to him…” Fabian’s expression clouded. “It was like she could talk to him.”
Which she fucking can!
“Or something.” Knowing it would have been impossible to break Cecilia’s number one rule, Fabian was quick to take it back.
“Yeah, they were so deep into each other that it was like they were talking all the time,” Anton confirmed Fabian’s impression. “And cared nothing of the world outside of them.”
“Which is why people couldn’t stop staring at them.” There was a regretful note in Darcy’s voice. “They monopolized everyone’s attention in that chamber the whole night long.”
“That’s because everyone wanted to fuck with them.” Anton adjusted into a more comfortable position. “The women couldn’t take their eyes off that gorgeous body of his, and the men all wanted to have a go at that scrumptious slave of his.”
“How to blame them?” Patrick chuckled. “That exceedingly bare cunt of hers must make for much better fucking, not having all that annoying hair everywhere.” He obviously would not have minded tasting it firsthand. “All soft and naked, right, Chris?”
“How would I know?” Chris hissed, feeling the pressure getting to him. “I never touched her.”
If his cock begged to differ, he ignored it, suppressing the jerk of excitement swelling it at the mere mention of that exciting cunt of hers.
“Right.” Not falling for it, Darcy patted his back. “But not to worry, there were plenty who couldn’t wait their turn to have a go at that bare slit of hers.”
“And those that did screw her didn’t want to let go that easily,” Fabian jeered. “Did you all see what happened with Jeff Macy?”
“Jeff was here?” That was news to Chris.
And not a pleasant one.
As one of Duncan’s childhood friends from Harbor Town, Chris had the misfortune of knowing him. A real prick if he ever saw one, he could never stand the man. And this new bit of information would not improve his disposition any.
“Yeah, he got to her first.” Patrick’s smugness was a sure sign he had kept up to date with what had gone on in the main chamber, in spite of having been in the underground area for most of the night. “When Prince Caldwell went with Cecilia and Rowena, he left Jeff in charge of her. And when he got back, Jeff pleaded to have her stay with him the whole night long.”
I bet he did!
No, Chris had never stood Jeff, not in his younger days, certainly not now that he had fucked with Ylianor and found her irresistible.
Which was the same way Chris himself felt every time he had sex with her. But he would be damned before he admitted it to her face.
“He was kind of pitiful,” Fabian sneered superciliously.
“You’d have done the same after fucking with her,” Darcy scoffed. “I watched them after he returned to the chamber—”
“Wasn’t he there the whole time?” The question slipped out before Chris could block it.
“No.” Anton shifted on his seat. “He took her away, probably to his room, for the first hour or so.”
Goddamn it!
Everyone had noticed and could not keep their traps shut about it.
“And when they returned, he kept screwing her under your phase mate’s very nose.” Darcy stretched out his legs. “And he watched them for a good while, for the man came twice before he reclaimed his slave.” His brow furrowed. “Like he was ordering her at a distance, but without talking.”
Probably getting a kick out of it. Chris could just imagine the sensation of power Duncan must have felt to have such complete control over her.
And that grated on his nerves like crazy.
“With everyone else, it was much the same thing,” Patrick had to underline. “Always watching her, even if he was fucking with someone else.”
“Always craving her,” Fabian summed it up once and for all. “That’s what made them so explosive that no one could do much of anything if not stare at them in fascination and lust.”
“Everyone except Cecilia,” Darcy snarled. “She was literally incensed with rage.”
“I’d say jealousy,” Anton intervened. “At least that’s what it looked like to me.”
That Duncan and Cecilia had a history together was not something Chris would share. Not with those wolves that would rip anyone apart, thanks to one juicy bit of gossip. Not with anyone since he never talked about the real important things except with a very select few.
“To everyone else, too.” Fabian sounded like he had no doubt. “And she couldn’t talk about anything else. Also with her phase mate.”
“Yeah, every time I looked their way, they were looking at Prince Caldwell.” Darcy’s lips twisted in the hint of a smile. “Like they were obsessed or something.”
Cecilia certainly was, and Chris had more than one proof to back it up.
“Especially when he picked up his slave and hurtled her out of the chamber, kissing her like there was no tomorrow.” Why the fuck did Patrick have to bring up that despicable incident again?
It made him burn inside out simply picturing how fiercely and possessively Duncan had clung to her. Like he wanted the whole world to know that she belonged to him. That he owned her way beyond the Game’s limited duration.
“And I heard it say that he had her sleep with him.” Darcy made a face. “Can you imagine that?”
“If he did, he was the only master who requested to keep the slave in his room.” Fabian sounded truly puzzled, as though he could not understand what had driven Duncan to such an incomprehensible decision. “None of the others asked for it, not even you with Troy. And he’s your phase mate.”
“Nobody did ‘cause it would be like acknowledging the slave actually means something to the master.” Patrick beamed evidently proud of his logic. “While the fun of this Game is to use them as objects, then toss them out when you’re done with them.” His focus switched on Chris. “If I had to sleep with Troy, it would’ve been like telling the entire world I care for him, despite a whole night’s worth of treating him like a worthless thing I exploited just for my pleasure.” From his patronizing tone, it was obvious he was referring to Duncan.
And knowing he was absolutely right worsened Chris’s already shitty mood.
“That’s why I couldn’t wait to play the heartless master and send him off to sleep with all the other unwanted slaves,” Patrick snorted contemptuously. “Where’s the fun otherwise?”
“Ask that to Prince Caldwell.” Anton saw it his business to provide an answer that Chris would have never given. “He was so hot for her I doubt he had her sleep any after he left the chamber.”
Just imagining the sex between them flared a fresh wave of anger. Because everyone was absolutely right. The two of them were the hottest thing to see. And Chris knew it better than anyone else did, since he had been fucking with both for far longer than he cared to count.
“Kind of natural everyone should wonder what he felt for this slave of his.” Now Darcy’s gaze bore into his. “And you’re the only one who can shed any light on this.”
“Sorry, guys.” Chris got on his feet. “I can’t help you.”
He’d just about had it!
He could take no more of this aggravating conversation, of this talking about the witch and her influence on his lover.
Which was Chris’s lover, not hers, though maybe she needed a reminder demon-style.
“I don’t know the first thing about her.” Spotting his leather pants entangled with other clothes on the floor, he picked them up. “Like I said, she was just a convenient means to enter this damn Game.” He slipped one leg inside the stiff fabric. “So, I didn’t bother asking any questions.” Just had to put up with her insufferable presence during the whole trip to the Hall and here.
Spoiling his every day with the stunning prince who should have been all for him, not wasting his time with an insignificant slave.
“Come on, Chris.” Trying to soothe him, Patrick’s voice turned mellifluous, “You must’ve seen or heard something useful. I mean they must’ve fucked together while you were traveling to get here—”
“I had her sleep in the stables,” Chris barked, barely holding his fury in check. “Didn’t want her around to ruin my time with my phase mate.” Quickly, he slid in the other leg and pulled the pants upward. “And now that I get back to him, I’ll have him send her down with all the other slaves.”
Which would not happen. The way Duncan had told Cecilia he wanted her, Chris knew he did not intend letting her go anytime soon.
But then, this pack of wolves need not know about it.
“Hey, you don’t have to leave just yet.” Grabbing his arm, Darcy tried to detain him. “There’s still so much to talk about—”
“Seems to me like you’re interested in one topic alone.” Brusquely unhooking Darcy’s paw, Chris got free. “And that’s one topic too boring for my taste.”
Fed up with it was more like it.
And no, he did not need any more fucking reminders.
“So, you all have fun.” While I clear up her head about some unsavory ideas that she might have gotten during last night’s fiery play.
With his stomach growling from lack of food, Chris went to the door and stepped out into the long hallway, eager to confront her and teach her a lesson she would never forget.