Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked, #2) (9)

I was no longer in the mortal world, though. No longer bound to play by their rules.

A frisson of surprise shot through me. I couldn’t decide if it was from excitement or fear of letting myself remove those shackles here. Maybe I did know, and maybe that was the part that scared me. I wanted something I’d been warned against. And now all I had to do was reach out and welcome it. It was time to be brave, bold.

Instead of being ruled by fear, I could become fearless. Beginning now. I nestled against Wrath again, my choice made. He slowly trailed a hand down the front of my shirt, toying with the buttons. I bit my lip to keep from gasping.

“Your heart is beating very fast.”

His mouth grazed the lobe of my ear and—goddess curse me—I arched into the touch, feeling just how much he liked our current position.

His arousal sent a thrill all the way to my toes. I should not want this. I shouldn’t want him. But I couldn’t erase the phantom image of him bedding someone else from my mind, or the way it made me feel. I wanted to be the one he took to his bed. I wanted him to desire me in that way. And only me. It was a primal, ancient feeling.

One my future husband might not approve of, but I didn’t care. Perhaps the only approval I would seek from now on was my own. To Hell, quite literally, with all else. If I was to be queen of this realm, I would embrace each part of it—and my true self—fully.

“Tell me,” he whispered, his voice sliding like silk over my flushed skin.

“What?” My own voice came out breathless.

“I am your favorite sin.”

At the moment, I wasn’t sure I could manage to speak in full sentences. Wrath had teased me before, kissed me furiously and passionately, even, but he’d never tried seducing me.

He undid the first button on my shirt—his shirt—taking both infinite care and time meandering down to the next. All rational thoughts fled; his touch reduced me to possessing only one primitive need: desire. Raw, untamed, and endless. I felt no shame or worry or trepidation.

My chest rose and fell with each quickening beat of my pulse. Another button came undone. Followed by another. The grip on my emotions soon followed. A sizzling fire slowly consumed me from my toes upward. It was a wonder the snow beneath us hadn’t melted.

If he didn’t touch me, skin to skin, I’d combust. The fifth button popped open, leaving only a few more. I was about to rip the cursed shirt off. Sensing my urge, or perhaps finally giving in to his own, he swiftly undid the remaining buttons and pulled it open, exposing me.

From over my shoulder, he stared down at my body, his gaze darkening as his calloused hand slid across my smooth skin.

He was so tender, so attentive while he stroked my collarbone. When he pressed his palm to my heart, feeling its beat as if it was the most magical source in his world, I thought I might toss him down and bed him right then and there. His light touch was at odds with the mighty, terrifying power that emanated from him.

“Are you nervous?”

Hardly. I was enraptured. Completely at his mercy. Although one look at his raw expression indicated the opposite might be true. I managed to shake my head.

His fingers trailed lower, learning the curve beneath my breast, exploring my stomach and pausing to toy with the serpent belt I forgot I was wearing. If I turned slightly, angled myself up more, he could easily unbuckle it. Which was why he’d stopped. He was waiting for my decision. I thought it was obvious what I wanted.

“Tell me.”

I’d rather show him. Emboldened, I twisted around, winding one arm around his neck, and sunk my fingers into his raven hair. We might be in Hell, but he felt like Heaven.

His obstinate hands traveled upward to skim my breasts again. He gently squeezed them, the roughness of his skin creating pleasant friction.

He felt as good as I remembered. Better, even. I couldn’t help but gasp as his other hand finally obeyed my unspoken desires and slid in the opposite direction. It drifted across my ribs, past my stomach, and lingered right above where I wanted him to explore.

A honeyed heat pooled low in my belly.

Wrath finally slipped his fingers beneath the band of my skirt, brushing the soft skin between my hips, his touch featherlight. Goddess curse me. At the moment I didn’t care about his lies or betrayal. Nothing mattered except the feeling of his hands on my body.

“Please.” I tugged him close. Soft lips brushed against mine. “Kiss me.”

“Say it once.” He gently pulled my backside to him, offering a wicked taste of what was to come. His throbbing arousal fanned the flames of my own passions. I wished he’d do that without our clothes on. I rubbed against the hard length of him, and whatever control he’d had vanished. He captured my mouth with his, kissing me possessively, hungrily.

One of his hands remained locked on my hip and the other went under my skirts, sliding up my ankle, past my calf, then traveled between my thighs as his kiss deepened and his tongue claimed mine. His fingers were almost to the slick, aching center.

I needed him there. I groaned his name as he finally—

“While your current illusion sounds wildly interesting,” Wrath’s silky voice came from across the small enclosure, “you might want to put your clothes on. The temperature is well below freezing now.”

I jerked upright, blinking in the darkness. What in the seven hells…

It took a moment to steady my breaths and another to get my bearings. The shirt he’d let me borrow was discarded along with the cloak, and my bare skin puckered in the icy air. My skirts were wrested up around my waist as if I’d been tugging them off and failed.

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