the minute u use real life experiences where black people face racism and compare it to acotar trash i won’t take anything u say seriously like are u kidding me?!
the minute u use real life experiences where black people face racism and compare it to acotar trash i won’t take anything u say seriously like are u kidding me?!
feel like i should start writing lil fan fics on here, yay or nay? 🤷♀️
Something sparked in Azriel’s chest, but he only nodded his thanks and left. He could picture it, though, as he ascended the stairs back to the House proper. How Gwyn’s teal eyes might light upon seeing the necklace. For whatever reason … he could see it. But Azriel tucked away the thought, consciously erasing the slight smile it brought to his face. Buried the image down deep, where it glowed quietly. A thing of secret, lovely beauty.
So I saw someone joke on Twitter that Feyre would paint the whole description that she made when Azriel gave Elain his Truth-Teller as some anniversary gift for Elriel.
I saw the painting in my mind: the lovely fawn, blooming spring vibrant behind her. Standing before Death, shadows and terrors lurking over his shoulder. Light and dark, the space between their bodies a blend of the two. The only bridge of connection...that knife.
But, can we please go back to look at what Elriel gave Feyre individually as Solstice gifts in ACOFAS?
"From Azriel: rare, vibrant paint from the continent."
"From Elain: fine brushes monogrammed with my initials and the Night Court insignia on the handle."
What if SJM did this on purpose so that Feyre will actually create the painting using the gifts from Elain & Azriel?
This needs to happen🙏
Azriel and Gwyn roasting marshmallows over a fire together.
That’s it. That’s the post.
A Sarah J Maas tá com um baita de um problema nas mãos.
Vamos analisar os possíveis casais que o Azriel pode formar agora (que a gente conhece as possíveis parceiras até o presente momento): Azriel e Gwyn ou Azriel e Elain.
O que elas têm em comum? Nenhuma delas tem anatomia illyriana.
O que significa que se a Sarah J. Maas quiser dar um final feliz de novela pro Azriel ela tem que primeiro resolver essa questão que ela começou com a Feyre, de que uma mulher sem anatomia illyriana vai morrer no parto.
Ou ela resolve ou vamos ter toda a questão que já foi abordada em ACOSF de novo.
- ela vai colocar um novo interesse amoroso pro Azriel (e fazer todo o fandom ficar com cara de palhaço, o que é bem a cara da Sarah de fazer).
- ela vai falar que o Azriel ou a garota escolhida pra ficar com ele são estéreis e não podem ter filhos.
- a Nestha ainda tem poder o suficiente para mudar o corpo de mais pessoas.
- vai passar batida essa questão e o livro vai terminar sem final de novela.
my concepts as to how illyrian wings would work
Another blurb night! I’m wanting to expand into more fandoms and I thought that the best way to approach this would be with another blurb night where I can test the waters so to say.
Send in an ask with the character and at most 3 of the below prompts and I’ll create you a blurb! Depending on how many I get in, this may run into Monday as well. For the first time, I have included a section with some steamy prompts. This will run from tonight (25/7) to Tuesday evening (27/7).
*all prompts have either been found on Tumblr or from myself.
Harry Potter (HP, RW, HG, FW, GW, DM, NL, OW, LL, CD, RL, JP, SB)
Bridgerton (AB, BB, CB, SB)
Marvel (SR, PP, BB)
The Originals (EM, KM, Kol M, RM, FM)
Stranger Things (SH, JB, NW)
ACOTAR (Azriel, Cassian, Rhysand)
Peaky Blinders (TS, JS, MG)
New Amsterdam (MG)
Prodigal Son (MB)
Shadow and Bone (KB, GK)
*hint: if the fandom is in bold, I would really like to write for that fandom - cheeky, I know.
“I think I'm in love with you.”
“Can I kiss you?”
“It’s you. It’s always been you.”
“It reminded me of you.”
“For all that you are, and all that you will be.”
“I’m happiest when I’m with you.”
“You’re my home.”
“I like it when you smile.”
“Are you wearing my clothes?”
“I like falling asleep with you, and waking up next to you.”
“I’d do anything for you.”
“Stop smiling at me. I can’t think straight when you smile at me.”
“Dance with me?” “But what if I step on your toes?”
“You always look beautiful.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“I need more time.”
“I wish we had more time.”
“Where were you when I needed you?”
“I can’t lose you.”
“Why does everyone always leave?”
“I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.”
“Can we talk?”
“Don’t you dare...”
“Look me in the eye and tell me the truth.”
“We can’t keep doing this.”
“I miss you.”
“I have to let you go.”
“Talk to me, please.”
“That was the prettiest sound I’ve ever heard. Do it again.”
“Bite your lip once more, I dare you.”
“Keep quiet or someone will hear.”
“Were you checking me out?”
“Louder. I want them to hear you.”
“Yes - right there.”
“That feels so good.”
“I need you.”
“We’re in public!”
“Take off your clothes.”
“Tell me what you want.”
“You’re so hot.”
“I need to feel you.”
breakfast in bed
only one bed AU
childhood friends to lovers
kisses on cheeks
Tagging those that showed interest on the initial post! (Please don’t feel pressured to take part!): @heloisedaphnebrightmore @gryffindors-weasley
Emerie: Kiss the hottest person in this room.
Cassian: I thought you would say Azriel but i am relieved.
Nesta: Move so I can get to Gwyn
Azriel: That's MY hottest person!
Hear me out.
Elain and Azriel are mates
but don’t know it
and Azriel eats something Elain made
and they both feel the mating bond because technically Elain has “accepted” the bond without realizing it
How many votes for I should write this?
Cassian: Nesta has an opinion on everything.
Azriel: She does?
Cassian: Yeah, watch.
Cassian: NESTA! What’s the worst multiple of 3?!
Nesta: FUCKING 12
Well, I got my first rando hating on Gwyn comment
Have I officially made the big time?
Tarquin x reader
Scenario : Tarquin is extremely paranoid after what the night court did
Credit to the artist for profile pics
Notes: Well, over a year you've had to wait for these two to seal the deal... BUT NO LONGER. And because I'm thankful to you all for sticking with this story, I've granted you with over 16k of sinful naughtiness. I think it's safe to say this is NSFW but you guys have read my smut before, you know the drill.
Embers & Light has always very much been the alternative story to Habits, but I couldn’t help but write in some crossover moments here to highlight the differences in events--timeline is a fascinating thing! Lemme know if you spot the moments :)
Please let me know what you think :) Comment and kudos will make my day!
I won't be able to write much of August (wedding & mini-moon) but I'll be doing my best to get you guys something as soon as possible. Hopefully by the end of the month, anyways <3
Oh! And I got a bookstagram. Find me at bookships.and.fandoms (and bear with me, I cba to take pretty pics atm)
Chapter 39 Cassian POV
Cassian stared at the doorway and the staircase beyond it, his gaze fixed and unwavering. Nesta had slipped out of the living room to follow Feyre up the stairs over ten minutes ago and he was already consumed with the biting sort of worry that gnawed at your insides.
He wasn’t concerned about what Nesta might be discussing with Feyre—that was her business—but because he couldn’t help but fret when it came to Nesta’s wellbeing.
It was a myriad of concerns that trampled through his mind like a herd of cattle. Had she slept enough? Had she recovered from being caught in the crowds the day before? Was her conversation with Feyre going to have her take three steps back rather than one forward? Cassian had spied the book of fairytales she’d slipped into her bag. Had guessed what she’d intended to do with it.
And then there was the fact that Nesta had left the bed before he’d woken again. Cassian couldn’t help but feel disappointed that she’d not been there when he’d opened his eyes, especially after the night before.
But that was how it was with he and Nesta. When the sun dipped below the horizon, Cassian often felt as if they were on the right path; as if once the world shut its eyes, the pressure was off and their play could continue. But as soon as light bled back into the sky, things weren’t the same. They weren’t cold… but Cassian felt suspended in a limbo of flirtatious banter and respectful distance. Which was hard, when all Cassian wanted to do was be as close to her as possible: to hold her hand and wind a hand through her hair. To kiss her brow and mouth and sink his teeth into her neck—
Cassian’s jaw tightened. He wanted to do wicked things. He wanted to make her moan and shatter. Wanted to know how she felt wrapped around him. Wanted to see if she’d gasp awake as he pushed inside of her.
Their trip home was going to be a turning point. Or at the very least it would be a milestone—a hammered notch as they progressed towards something. Yet, Cassian wasn’t naive: he wasn’t expecting Nesta to fall into his arms and never leave. But he hoped that it might make Nesta see their connection—not the tie between them, but the chemistry that Cassian knew would forever exist even if the mating bond was severed.
From the very first moment his gaze had settled on the haughty, vicious sister Cassian had known. Had nearly been brought to his knees—the heart-stopping moment so powerful, it suspended time as he felt something turn inside of him, as if something that had lain dormant had finally snapped open an eye.
And because of that Cassian would willingly allow Nesta to forge the reigns when it came to whatever it was between them. He could go slow. He would take the chance that Nesta might grow to accept him, even as he was seized by the terror that she might grow bored and draw a line under things before he had the chance to prove that he was worthy.
Cassian took a deep, steadying breath that made his ribcage heave. Thought of the lullaby that sat in his room at the House. Used that to ground himself and banish the painful thoughts.
Nesta had cared enough to gift him a piece of his past that nobody else had ever gone to the effort to find for him. And that was… everything. It was everything to him.
“I can hear the worry grinding gears in your brain.”
Rhys was standing where Mor had been a few moments earlier, his hands tucked into the pockets of his trousers, his eyebrows raised. Cassian hadn’t noticed Mor slip away. Couldn’t even recall what she'd been saying to him. Had he ignored her? He didn’t know. Didn’t really care. They all knew he was head over heels when it came to Nesta anyway.
Cassian blinked. It took him a moment to process Rhys’s words, but his body finally caught up. An instinctive grin tugged at the corners of his mouth and he commanded his eyes to sparkle, even though it was all fake. “I was under the impression you didn’t think I had one.”
Rhys didn’t chuckle or retort with something dry. Sometimes his brother allowed him to indulge in his self-deprecating behaviour, but it didn’t seem like today was one of those days. Instead, he cut to the chase. “They’re fine.”
Cassian bristled. Didn’t bother to pretend his mind wasn't solely on what was happening upstairs. “Feyre’s speaking with you now?”
Nesta would hate that. Would know if her sister was communicating to her mate whilst they were talking.
His brother’s laugh was as smooth as velvet. “No, she locked me out. It’s a habit she’s started recently and it’s usually coupled with the mental finger.”
This time, Cassian’s smile was genuine, as was the chuckle that chased it. “Feisty.”
“You have no idea,” Rhys responded with a wink.
Mor, who had breezed back to Cassian’s side with a new cup of coffee, rolled her eyes. “We do actually, you two are like rabbits.”
“We’re mated,” Rhys replied with a wave of his hand. “It’s to be expected.”
Mor lifted her eyes to the ceiling. “Cauldron, I need to bed someone rather than hearing about my cousin’s exploits with my best friend.”
“Head to Rita’s and find yourself a pretty fae,” Cassian drawled, tugging Mor into a one armed hug.
“Mmm,” Mor hummed, but she chewed on her lip again. Glanced nervously at Azriel, who was in deep conversation with Elain. His shadows were tucked in neatly to his frame rather than trailing, ever-moving and loose around his body, but Cassian knew he could hear them.
Cassian dropped a friendly kiss to Mor’s head before he let her go. Tussled her hair, grinning mischievously when she squawked in disapproval.
As if sensing that his cousin wanted a change of subject, Rhys looked square at Cassian. “Azriel will come over later to update you on the latest movements.”
Cassian sobered as if someone had poured icy water down his back. “Not later,” Cassian corrected firmly.
Tomorrow. No the day after that. Cassian couldn’t guarantee that he’d be able to stop once he’d had his first proper taste of Nesta.
But of course they couldn’t do that—wouldn’t. The situation in Illyria was too dire for them to be so selfish as to lock themselves away for days.
It didn’t mean Cassian didn’t want to, though.
“You’ve got plans?” Rhys asked lightly and Mor froze.
You’ve got no idea, Cassian thought. But then realised his brother knew. Of course he did. Surely everyone in this room knew how desperate he was to get back to Illyria. To have Nesta in his bed again, writhing and moaning, their bodies slick with sweat as they moved in unison.
Clenching his jaw, Cassian grounded that desire between his teeth, until it was nothing but broken, delicious shards that scraped down his throat. His blood coiled. “Yes. Maybe.”
If she doesn’t change her mind.
“It has to be tomorrow, Cass.”
Biting back a sigh, Cassian nodded. “I know. Come at noon. I suppose I’ll be camped out in Illyria for the foreseeable future.” He cast a stern look at Mor. “Send me letters.”
“You have a housemate,” Rhys reminded him. “You’re not going to be entirely alone.”
Mor grinned slyly. “A very beautiful housemate.”
Cassian was more than aware of that.
He grunted and unable to stop himself, he voiced the fear that always niggled away at the back of his mind. “For now.”
But Rhys just loosed another manicured shrug, that was at odds with the ground-breaking revelation that followed it. “For a long while. Nesta has expressed her desire to remain in Illyria long-term despite the discontent. Assuming you don’t mind sharing your bungalow.”
It felt as if an iron band of hope was clamped around Cassian’s chest. He stared at his brother. Tried not to blink. Crossed his arms firmly over his chest, protecting his heart. “And you know this how?”
“Nesta spoke with me. We have arrived at a truce, of sorts.”
That must have been what they’d spoken about yesterday on the balcony. He wanted to know more—everything—but Cassian would not press Rhys. If Nesta wanted to tell him, she would. He had to respect that.
So, he bit back his curiosity and grumbled, “About time.”
Rhys clapped his hand on Cassian’s back, but there was something wary in his expression, as if there was something he wanted to say but wouldn’t. Finally, he said, “Patience is a virtue, brother.”
“I’m not the patient sort.”
“You are when it counts,” Rhys countered, and Cassian didn’t say anything because they both knew what he was referring to. Rhys had been the first to know. Had witnessed Cassian in a tangled web of despair and longing and unwanted visions. His brother had immediately put two and two together. Because he’d been there, too. Knew what it was to want someone you thought you couldn’t have. To hope that someone might finally grow to see you in colour rather than in black and white.
Cassian cast another look towards the empty doorway and the quiet hallway beyond it.
A shiver of anticipation ran through him. It was time for them to go home.
In the end, Cassian folded to his worry and had Elain fetch Nesta from upstairs. It was time to go, he’d insisted, even though there was no true reason as to why they needed to leave quite so quickly.
“No guesses required to identify why you want to head back to Illyria,” Mor muttered out the side of her mouth, as the creak of the stairs a few flights above heralded the sisters return. Cassian jabbed his elbow into his friend’s ribs and Mor yelped through her grin, even as she had to sidestep, the nudge throwing her off balance. “What? It’s all over your face. You think I can’t read you after five hundred years?”
“Don’t announce it to the room,” Cassian muttered darkly under his breath, “and you won’t find yourself torn to pieces.”
Mor briefly bumped against his arm, the jostle affectionate. Unfazed by his threat, she glanced sideways at him with rich chocolate eyes. “I won’t. We just want you to be happy, you know.”
Cassian’s mouth flattened into a thin line. “Now isn’t the time for a lecture about finding a more suitable mate.”
The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them. He hadn’t meant for it to happen, hadn’t meant to voice what he’d kept inside for so long.
Mor’s eyes widened, but she wound her arms around his waist. Cassian allowed her to tuck herself under his arm. His friend scented of citrus and cinnamon. When she craned her neck to look up at him, her expression was glowing with sincerity and Cassian realised that she hadn’t been insinuating that Nesta wasn’t right for him at all. “We’re all cheering you on from the sidelines, Cass, I promise.”
The muscle in Cassian’s jaw flexed. He looked away from her, towards the doorway again, unable to help himself. “Don’t say anything.”
She tightened her grip on his waist. “I won’t. I promise.”
“She doesn’t want it.”
Mor untangled herself from him. Shook her head in disagreement. “She does. She just isn’t ready to admit it yet.”
They both fell quiet as Nesta walked through the door with Elain and Feyre. The first thing Cassian noticed was that she scented of water and salt—tears.
Heart pattering with concern, Cassian quickly scanned Nesta’s expression and body language, searching for clues. But Nesta remained close to her sisters rather than apart, her fingers snagged in Feyre’s, her expression not in tatters but smooth and calm, like still waters.
“Ready to go?” Mor chirped from beside him. “I can winnow you back when Sala arrives.”
Nesta’s grey-blue eyes slid to Mor. “I called her on my way down.”
“Then you have time to see the snowdrops you gave me before you leave,” Elain responded eagerly, tugging at Nesta’s arm. “The cuttings took well to the soil. I planted them beneath the shade of the birch trees near the river.”
Cassian watched Nesta disappear into the garden. Surveyed the way a strand of golden brown hair that had escaped her loose braid floated on the breeze, as if it was part of the element rather than separate, as Elain bent to show her the snowdrops.
Yet despite the clear ease to Nesta’s movements, Cassian couldn’t help but ask Feyre whether everything was okay when she came over to hug him goodbye.
“We’re fine,” Feyre assured him, as together they watched Mor tentatively sit beside Azriel on the couch. For once the Shadowsinger’s shadows didn’t lighten, but Azriel still turned to her, drawn by some magnetism as she began to speak with him.
Slim fingers closed around his. Squeezed. “Thank you for fetching the book of fairytales for Nesta.”
The strand of ebony hair that had wrangled free of Cassian’s hair tie tickled the side of his forehead as he inclined his head. That had been a long time ago, when Nesta was a viper that he dared to poke with a stick, just so he could get a reaction. “Of course.”
“You travelled all that way on barely healed wings just to fetch a book.”
It wasn’t just a book, but Cassian knew Feyre understood that, so he only grunted, “Az took me most of the way. He waited to winnow me back.”
But Feyre’s eyes were burnished, as she asked, “Is there anything you won’t do for my sister?”
“It depends,” Cassian replied honestly. Because although he’d rather die than see Nesta hurt, Cassian wouldn’t hesitate to stand up to her when her fire was ill-wrought. And that’s what he liked about the both of them: if he was an ass Nesta told him straight, and he did the same for her. A grin slashed across his face. “Your sister has claws and teeth when she’s angry.”
It wasn’t long before Sala landed on her four large paws in the garden, prompting goodbyes. Mor winnowed Nesta and Sala, whilst Az’s scarred hand closed around Cassian’s arm.
Together, Cassian and his brother passed through realms of shadows and light and raging wings. Then Illyria was taking shape before Cassian bit by bit: there was the sting of winter on his cheeks, the crunch of snow beneath his feet, the scent of pine and untamed air. It felt like that wonderful first heave of your lungs after being starved from air. It alerted Cassian senses—woke him up.
Not bothering to say goodbye for the second time, Azriel bled straight back into shadow, but Mor raised a hand in a parting wave from where she stood beside Nesta and Sala. Her long golden hair caught on the breeze. It tussled behind her like its own puff of wind, before she vanished into nothing.
When Cassian’s eyes snapped to Nesta, he found her standing with her eyes closed, breathing in the wilderness of their surroundings. After a few beats, Sala jumped onto her hind legs, climbing up Nesta’s body with her snow-crusted paws to knock her head impatiently against Nesta’s.
A breath of laughter clouded in front of her as Nesta ruffled Sala’s ears. She murmured something Cassian couldn't identify in the manticore’s ear, before Sala dropped onto all fours and padded through the snow in the direction of the main camp.
Cassian watched the manticore go. He suspected Sala was going to seek out the widows camp and check everything was in order. It was the kind of thing Nesta would fret about—that whilst she was warm and fed, others might not be extended the same courtesy.
Or, the dark part of his mind whispered, she wants Sala out of the house.
You can fuck me wherever you like in the bungalow, Cassian.
The many needles of thrill pierced through him just as Nesta met his stare from across the snow. Suddenly, Cassian didn’t know what to say. His tongue felt swollen and thick in his mouth, words suddenly as viscous as tar. The atmosphere had altered—the aura surrounding them despite the distance suddenly heavy with promise: a change that pointed to something new.
The siphons on the back of Cassian’s hands glowed in anticipation. Nesta merely raised an eyebrow at him. Turned. Walked towards the house just as he caught the thick scent of jasmine and vanilla on the wind.
Cassian’s nostrils flared as it wound around him; invisible ropes of arousal. And then he was moving, following Nesta’s footprints.
His friends had winnowed them to the back of the house, halfway between the small stone outhouse and the backdoor. They weren’t far from the bungalow, but it felt like miles as Cassian stomped noisily after Nesta, his boots compacting the snow as if they were grinding shards of glass into powder.
When Cassian drew up behind Nesta, she already had a hand half-raised towards the door. Even though he wasn’t touching her, she was a whirlpool of warmth. It sucked him in, begging him to line his torso against her back, so when she cursed, realising she hadn’t taken her gloves off, Cassian didn’t hesitate to reach over her shoulder and rest his palm against the wood, encasing her.
The touch of his bare skin—or Nesta’s—was the key to the magical lock. A thunk sounded as the bolt released but Cassian didn’t push open the door—was too preoccupied with the female before him—who had twisted to stare up at him.
As soon as their gazes snagged, history began to knit together in a rush of thread, until it was a tangible, living thing. Because this moment had been written in the stars as soon as Cassian had seen Nesta in her amethyst dress in the human realm; her hair wielded into a mighty crown, her expression haughty and defiant, yet burning with the potential of a life not yet lived. They’d denied that history, even as it waited patiently in the wings. It had watched as they danced around each other, fumbling and snarling their way to this very moment—
They moved in unison. Cassian’s head bowing just as Nesta reached upwards; her body bowing to his, her palms sliding across his jaw until they were around his neck. Their lips met with a force that rattled Cassian’s bones. This wasn't a brush of a kiss. This was immediate and awakening: Nesta tasted like life and breath, like destiny. And yet again, Cassian knew with startling clarity that they were meant for this, he and Nesta. They were meant for each other and nobody could tell him otherwise, including her.
A soft breath whooshed out of Nesta as her back hit the door, but then Cassian was pushing it open, guiding her inside in a whirlwind of noise and wreckage.
The scrape of wood on the flagstone tiles sounded as Nesta’s back knocked against the table before Cassian turned them, his wings grazing against cupboards and the cool walls. Items clattered and shattered, but Cassian used his wings to keep a check on his surroundings, the touch guiding him to the left-hand wall where he could press her against the wall and devour.
Because Cassian could not tear his mouth from Nesta’s. Couldn’t stop tasting her. Couldn’t stop craving the roll of her tongue and the sound of her guttural moans. It fuelled a fireball inside of him; it roared into life in the centre of his heart, before spreading throughout his limbs, rushing through his body until it settled deep in his groin, aching and burning—screaming for relief.
When they finally hit the wall, the thud of their bodies shook the cabinets and the porcelain within it. Without thinking, Cassian took the brunt of it, his hand flying to cup Nesta's lower back and head to purposefully shield her from the hurt.
Because he was coarse and rippling, galloping towards a primal sort of wilderness that Cassian wasn’t sure he could control.
If Nesta was ignorant to the fact or wholly aware Cassian didn’t know. All he knew was that her hands were scrabbling at his leather like dancing flames, tugging him closer.
When he pressed his body over hers, aligning every inch of her to every inch of him, she whined.
Cassian swallowed it. Slanted his mouth across hers. Tucked his wings in tight as every muscle in him tensed in anticipation.
Nesta tasted of chai and vanilla and embers with a destiny to roar.
Another strangled noise came from her throat as Cassian sank his hands deep into the hair at her scalp, coaxing strands free from her braid as his fingers threading through her hair, just as he had done the night prior when he’d coaxed her to sleep. But this wasn’t a soothing touch. This was a touch to startle every nerve ending to life.
Time began to bleed around them, but Cassian only registered the fluidity of the frantic dance they had not learnt. The way Nesta arched into him as his palm slid back to span her waist. The pant of her breath against his skin. His heaving chest. The way his wings began to spread again of their own volition, like a fan unfolding to reveal a secret pattern—as if they were controlled by nothing but the ache of his cock as it strained against the leather of his pants.
As if in acknowledgement that his body was no longer ruled by him, his hips slanted upwards of their own accord. It was a desperate bid to relieve the ache, and his throat vibrated with a thunderous growl as Nesta dug her nails deeper into the leather of his jacket, using it for leverage as she arched into him.
Something turned further inside of Cassian, like a lock beginning to grind as a key turned. And then it felt as if he were plunging beneath water; ducking into the depths and travelling beneath an invisible barrier before emerging on the other side buoyant and surging with power.
Ruby crashed through his veins, like the walls of a dam broken free and… singing light. Magic roared so loudly in Cassian’s ears that he no longer heard the galloping beat of his heart or the sawing of their breath.
Reeling, he tore his mouth from Nesta’s. Her eyes were just as wide, puddles of startled moonlight—endless mercury—and Cassian didn’t need to look down to know that her hands were wreathed in silver.
For a moment they stared at one another. Time slowed until it was sluggish around them and then the feeling receded, as if Cassian was being carried by a wave as it was dragged unwillingly from the shore on thundering feet.
Sound bled back into Cassian’s ears, like raindrops slowly blotting paper. A moan whispered on a wind carried through him, the words fleeting—her name three times, like always—before they dispersed into nothing and ragged breathing filled the hole.
Fuck, they needed to be careful. He needed to be careful if just kissing her led to some transcendental experience. Cassian knew Nesta became open during sex—had seen tumbled images of tangled limbs and heard her moans—and he couldn’t afford to lose her when she had finally let him in. Couldn’t let her down, even though he wanted nothing more than to finally be found worthy by someone.
That twisted rope between them couldn’t widen and strengthen. Couldn’t finally open and click into place with a consensual snap.
Because Cassian had heard stories of mates who had gone to bed. Who had fleetingly accepted what they wanted in their hearts but not in their minds. And after they had both finished and life had been breathed into that bond, only death could sever their Cauldron-blessed connection.
Cassian would not have a mate with regrets, but he didn’t have the will-power to deny himself of her any longer. Not when he could scent how much Nests wanted him. When he could feel it like an unquenchable ache in his bones—an ache which made him tremble and shake. His rocky warrior exterior ground to nothing but sand.
As if Nesta could read his thoughts she tipped her head back, baring the column of her neck.
A resounding guttural sound dragged from his throat. The noise was animalistic and unchained. A booming crack ricocheted around the walls, the muscles in Cassian’s back burning as his wings snapped outward.
Something toppled from somewhere and crashed to the floor, but Cassian didn’t bother to raise his head to look at what it was.
And then time seemed to both slow and drive into a frenzy. Cassian launched at Nesta’s neck at the same time he tugged at her hair, urging her head to fall back even farther.
His lips were against the column of her throat in the blink of an eye; his teeth scraping, his mouth sucking until her blood pounded in his ears. Nesta’s knees buckled but Cassian quickly pinned her body to the wall, holding her up, his knee sliding firmly between her legs…
And… nothing. There was no panic or sensation of being trapped—no sudden fire launching him back thirty feet—but Cassian still tore his mouth from Nesta’s neck. Had to know she wasn’t panicking. “Ok?” he rasped.
A frown burrowed Nesta’s brows. Her swollen lips parted in confusion. Somehow it made her look more beautiful.
Cassian raised a shaking hand to trace it away. “Nesta. Are you ok?”
Understanding dawned like millions of unfurling petals.
When Nesta spoke she was short of breath, the words an exhale. “Don’t hold back.”
Cassian practically arched into her at the words but he made himself remain still, even as his body vibrated with tension. His bones creaked but he held fast.
That stubborn, beautiful chin lifted and Nesta’s eyes glinted wicked yet pure. Always an oxymoron, his Nesta.
“Don’t hold back,” she repeated, her voice stronger this time. She pushed her hips against his thigh and the friction had her lips parting, a shaky breath tumbling from her lungs. “I can take it.”
The words were like slashing knives of pleasure, severing the leash on any control Cassian thought he had.
The subsequent rush of air Cassian loosed was akin to a snorting horse.
Then he was moving and their mouths were fused together again, their tongues a delicious push and pull of control and pleasure before he yanked away.
“Thank fuck,” he gasped. His hands flew to her hips, guiding her to ride his thigh. “Thank fuck, Nesta.”
The friction had Nesta moaning, her fingernails digging so hard into the leather of his jacket Cassian was sure she had dented the material. But he didn’t care. Didn’t care about anything but the living fervour that clawed at them.
His hands were everywhere at once. Tangled in her hair. Sliding over her cheek. Cupping her ass. Attacking the buttons at the back of her dress, until they popped and scattered. Until he could pull the material down her arms, exposing tantalising creamy skin.
At the first sight of her breasts, Cassian growled. He bowed his head to capture a nipple sharply between his teeth before he laved over it with his tongue, smoothing over the wound. He relished the way Nesta cried out. Arched into him. She began to tear at his jacket. It snagged on his wings but Cassian shrugged it off until it hit the floor with a thud.
The first slide of Nesta’s palms beneath his tunic was like oil sizzling in a pan. Cassian hissed as the callouses of her palms scraped deliciously over his skin and scars and ink. Snarled as she made quick work of the stays and fastenings. Tried to focus on her other breast as she inched her hand beneath the tight leather fabric and eased him free.
Fingers wrapped sinfully around him, causing Cassian to snarl around a peaked nipple—to buck sharply—pressing them more firmly against the wall.
“Don’t bother,” Nesta moaned as Cassian wrenched desperately at the fabric of her dress, trying to coax it further down her body. She ground down onto his thigh as it to emphasise her point—her need—and the heat of her burned.
It was all Cassian needed to hear. He fumbled desperately with her skirts until a hand was under the material and sliding up her thigh. Until fabric ripped and her underwear fell away in what Cassian imagined to be a ripple of lace.
In one swift movement, Cassian lifted Nesta’s body upwards, until her legs were gripped tightly around his hips and her back was flush against the wall. Her hands flew to find purchase, grappling at the back of his neck, and when she was steady she raked her hand purposefully through the hair which had come loose from his tie. Tugged at the leather until his hair fell over his face. Whined. Tangled her fingers through the ebony strands as if they were her reigns.
Cassian splayed the hand that wasn’t supporting her body against the cold wall. Tried to catch his breath, but the position evened out the height between them. Just a slight movement would allow him to capture her lips with his, and Cassian couldn’t deny that demanding tug that drove him to devour. Nesta seemed to feel the same way. Moaned in relief as Cassian tasted her as if he couldn’t get enough, gave back as good as she got. Over and over they moved, until they were nothing but an undulating wave of tongue and teeth and groans. The pleasure was a surging, roiling entity. It was all consuming. It overtook Cassian’s body, demanding that his hand drag from her ass straight to her core.
When his fingers slid through wetness, Cassian’s groan sounded like thunderous defeat. He dropped his head to Nesta’s collarbone. Gently pressed his lips to her clavicle. To her shoulder. Tried to ground himself as he slid straight to the spot that made her keen—as pleasure ignited down the bond like a crashing wave. Brushed over it again and again and again. Relishing in the noises he coaxed from her. At the curling fists of desire that clenched agonisingly inside of him.
Cassian had to see Nesta fall. Had to look into her eyes as she broke.
But he wanted to be inside of her when it happened.
Cassian was reaching for his cock at the same time that Nesta let out a broken moan. “Do it,” she breathed. There was no bite of authority in her voice, as if all of the energy she had directed in the pursuit of pleasure had smoothed over the serrated edge of her personality he loved so much, leaving a softer version in its wake. “Please. Just—”
A satisfied snarl ripped from Cassian as he felt her want. And in that moment, Cassian knew there would be nothing gentle about how this was going to play out. It was going to be rough and frantic, riding a wave of pleasure that had been building for too long. Knew afterwards that they would sink to the cold floor in a mass of tangled limbs and mingled breath.
And Cassian wanted that. Had never wanted release so badly in his life.
Something clambered in the back of his mind. Something he needed to remember, but his limbs were moving of their own volition. He didn’t even bother to pump his cock or squeeze it to relieve the tension. Only cared about finally being inside of her.
The heat and slickness of her was sinful and divine when he lined himself up at her entrance. The hand he had braced against the wall came to span her cheek. It relied on Nesta clamping on tightly to his waist with her legs and the press of his torso against hers, but they managed it.
Shaking, Cassian raked back the hair that had fallen free from her braid back from Nesta’s face, just as she tugged him in for a bruising kiss.
There was a moment when everything paused and trembled. As Nesta pulled away and stared at him, her eyes swimming silver—glowing with it—her pupils obscured.
His magic surged at the sight of it. Crashed against his skin as if it was trying to escape. His siphons burned bloody.
“Cassian,” Nesta panted. Despite the keen desperation, there was cushion to his name. Gently, Nesta bowed her head until her forehead rested against his. The gesture was surprisingly tender. It tugged at his heartstrings, triggered his hips into movement as they finally pushed forward.
The tight heat that wrapped around him like velvet was so immediate that Cassian swore. Sweat trickled down his back and seeped into the tunic Nesta hadn’t gotten round to discarding. He trembled as Nesta’s breath stuttered and he felt the burning pain mixed with pleasure as he sunk in an inch. Felt the stretch of Nesta’s body as it strained to fit around him.
Claws dug into his back—Nesta’s nails—biting into his skin, until the metallic tang of blood infused the air.
Cassian’s body stilled before he even had a second to register that he needed to stop. That instinct buried deep to make sure she never hurt.
And then a knock rapped at the front door.
“No,” Nesta moaned. She shifted her hips and Cassian sank a little deeper. That pain flared again through the pleasure and Cassian grip on her turned vice like.
Sense stumbled into his desire addled brain, like a fawn on gangly legs.
But then it righted itself.
Another sharp rap at the door cleared his head completely.
He bowed to bury his face in the crook of her neck but Nesta whined. Tilted her hips again, urging him deeper. “Nesta, stop.”
“No.” Her whimper was doused in frustration, but all Cassian could feel was that sharp needle of pain.
He tried to pull back, but Nesta clamped down around him with that incredible strength of hers. The strength that only seemed to appear at times of desperation or anger.
Cassian’s jaw flexed, his features hardening. “I’m hurting you.”
“You’re not,” Nesta countered, defiance colouring her expression.
“I am,” Cassian retorted, not allowing for a passing beat of their hearts to pass before he replied. “I’m hurting you. Don’t pretend that I’m not.”
I can feel it, Cassian wanted to explain, but didn’t. Knew somehow that if he did they might not end up joining at all.
Desire fogged Nesta’s mind and it fuelled the punch to her next words. “I don’t care.”
Ire punched through Cassian’s desire enough for him to see red. “Well, I do,” he snapped.
Nesta’s nostrils flared at his tone and her eyes burned silver. Cassian wondered how everything had gone southward so quickly—they were on a sinking ship and he needed to patch it up. Knew she felt rejected. So, he kissed her and pushed back that unquenchable ache he felt for her. Knew it hit home because she gasped softly into his mouth, her surprise tart on his tongue.
He pulled out. As soon as his cock fell free that pain throbbed and ebbed. But Nesta moaned all the same.
Moaned again as he drew his head back to stare at her.
She surprised him when her eyes remained open rather than closed off. There was no hard shield. Nothing but want and a vulnerability that made his heart squeeze.
It gave him the courage to do the right thing.
He kissed her again. Trailed a thumb across her swollen lips, ignoring the desire that roared as Nesta sucked it into her mouth, her tongue darting across the top before the bit down lightly.
“This is how things are going to go,” Cassian murmured lowly, pulling his thumb out of her mouth and across her jawline, trailing the wetness all the way to the sensitive spot behind her ear. Nesta shuddered.
“I’m going to get the door and send whoever it is away,” Cassian continued. He paused to let the words sink in. Lowered his head to trace a path with his nose, up the slope of her shoulder, all the way up her neck until his lips were grazing the shell of her ear. “You will go to your bedroom. When they’re gone, I’ll find you.”
Another shiver coursed through Nesta’s body. Her fingers tightened around his neck.
When Nesta next spoke, Cassian knew he’d piqued her interest. “What then?” she demanded.
“Then I’m going to make you come until you see stars.”
Nesta’s entire body froze. For a long moment, she didn’t so much as breathe, but Cassian felt the throb of her blood and magic as it pounded against her skin.
Then, Nesta’s hands worked between them, until her small palms were splayed across his chest. She pushed firmly, indicating that she wanted to get her down. Her body slithered to the floor, her lean legs falling away from his body.
The sudden distance between them felt like miles.
Nesta lifted her chin. “Hurry or I’ll start without you.”
A breath heaved at Cassian’s lungs and he felt his pupils contract, pushing out his irises until they were swallowed by black. The image of Nesta sprawled on the bed wearing nothing but skin, her legs open, a hand moving between her legs had that coil within him tightening to the point of pain.
A growl spiked through the air as another knock sounded at the door.
Nesta must have known she’d wrangled back control, because she arched a cool eyebrow at him. “I thought you were going to answer the door?”
A dark chuckle forced its way out of his chest, but it was mechanical rather than true. Because there was nothing funny about resisting Nesta right now and his body seemed to know that.
Cassian reached for her before he knew what was happening. Rested his forehead against hers. Breathed once. Twice. “I need to calm down,” he confessed.
Nesta snickered, but the sound fell flat as her breath hitched upwards at the end. It betrayed the effect he had on her, even as she said silkily, “Did the image of me pleasuring myself get you hard?”
“I was already hard,” he growled. He pressed a lingering kiss to her mouth. “As you well know.”
A hand reached between them. Stroked over him—the touch feather light but tantalising enough that Cassian bucked into her touch.
And then cunning words, “Maybe I’ll let you watch.”
A string of swear words left Cassian’s mouth. He yanked back from Nesta, as if someone had tugged firmly on a leash. Tugged up his pants and jerked ruthlessly at the ties until they fastened, trapping his cock back into the leather.
With a growl, Cassian waved a hand towards the living room—to Nesta’s room to the right of it. “Leave before I fuck you against the wall, Nesta,” he barked.
Nesta’s sly laugh skittered over his skin, and without pulling her dress back up to cover herself, Nesta sashayed through the nearest arch and disappeared.
*** It had been Mas and Roksana at the door, laden with bags full of groceries and supplies from the market. With full access to the house, there was no reason why they shouldn’t have just come right in. Which meant Mas had suspected somehow, enough so that she had left the bags on the front step and remained standing with Roksana a few feet back.
“I am sorry Sinta, but the meat might spoil,” the housekeeper had apologised as soon as he’d opened the door, his hair a tangled mess from where Nesta had yanked it free of its tie. He hadn’t had the sense to recover it from the floor, but he had righted his tunic and fastened his pants.
And thank the Cauldron for that, because Roksana peeked up at Cassian with wide eyes from her position of safety behind Mas’s legs. He didn’t know when Lorrian had brought the youngling back to the camp, but Cassian guessed it hadn’t been easy on the two of them to take a little girl out of the warmth and back into the snow.
Cassian tried to soften the eyes that he knew were a little wild. He raked his hands through his hair and sent them his most disarming smile, but there was fuck all he could do about his scent. So he thanked her, trying to keep his voice light and conversational. Ordered her to take the rest of the day off.
To the housekeeper’s credit, she did not linger. Had merely nodded and rushed Roksana back into the snow, towards the main vein of the camp.
Yet, whilst the housekeeper’s interruption had been unwanted, it did grant Cassian some breathing space as he rammed perishables into the cool box. Because even though Cassian would allow Nesta to decide how this all played out, he needed to lay down a rule of his own: he could give her the space to decide what she wanted—for him to prove that he could be what she needed—but there was one thing he could not suffer through.
And if they had stormed ahead in a hurricane of lust; with Nesta’s back against the wall as Cassian pounded into her… Well, it would be too late for Cassian to lay down his one condition once they were sweaty and sated. Nesta was more likely to get up and walk away. To not look back.
Cassian found Nesta sitting at the dresser in her room re-braiding back her hair.
Leaning against the doorjamb, Cassian opened his mouth to explain who had been at the door, but an iron band closed fast around his chest, robbing him of breath.
“What are you wearing?” The words came out of him eventually, entirely uneven to the point of being choked.
Because Nesta was wearing his shirt. It was the same steel blue shirt she’d worn that first day in Illyria. The shirt that was an identical match to her eyes, purchased before Cassian had realising what his subconscious had done. A shirt he’d had to hide away in the spare room because Cassian hadn’t been able to bare seeing it in his closet—of being reminded that his mate was a ghost who had banished him away.
Go home, Cassian.
Nesta met Cassian's eyes in the mirror. Announced with cool simplicity, “You ripped my dress.”
“And this is your way of torturing me?”
An indifferent shrug. “Why wear my own clothing when I know what fate it will suffer?”
Cassian knew his nostrils billowed, but he remained propped up against the doorframe. Pretended he was stuck to it like glue because his body was trembling for him to launch across the distance and claim her mouth. Her neck. Her.
The silence seemed to unnerve Nesta. Cassian knew that from months of living with her. From months of studying her slight tells when her masks slipped.
Right on cue, Nesta reset her posture—a gesture that most people read as defiant. But Cassian knew it was also a sign of nerves. She shrugged with feigned indifference, even as her throat tightened and that damned pulse fluttered temptingly against her throat. “You liked it the last time I wore it.”
Cassian huffed a breath. He had liked it the last time she wore it, even if she’d been so gaunt that he’d worried she might wither away. But the shirt… it had put images in his mind that Cassian had long tried to store away, imprisoned in rock and flame: her in his clothing, not fucking other males but him, her lithe legs wrapping around his waist as he sank deep—
Which brought Cassian neatly to the point he needed to discuss with her…
Nesta’s eyes tracked Cassian in the mirror as he peeled himself out of the doorway and came to stand behind her. When their eyes locked into place, it felt as if someone had punched him in the chest. There was something deep in Nesta’s gaze that made it feel as if he was tumbling down a rabbit hole, that magnetism between them drawing him in like gravity.
When Cassian’s fingers brushed Nesta’s neck—ran down the braid she had draped over her shoulder—Nesta shivered. “You had your hair down then,” he rasped. Didn’t wait for her to protest, as he slowly coaxed the tie free from the end of her hair.
Nesta turned preternaturally still, watched him gently part her hair in the mirror until it fell free from her plait, his calloused fingers brushing over her skin as he coaxed her hair to fall down her back.
The pulse hammering at her throat and the warmth radiating from her skin were the only indications that Nesta was alive rather than stone.
Only when Cassian had finished and lifted his hands from her neck, did Nesta come back to life.
Her throat bobbed as she swallowed. But she cocked her head slightly to dissect him. “It’s a nuisance like this. It gets in the way.”
“It’s beautiful,” Cassian corrected, his voice rasping, like sand scraping against skin. He ran a hand through her hair as if to emphasise his point, his fingers running down, down, down until her waist.
When Nesta stood and turned into the warmth of him, Cassian scented what she wanted. But there was something else simmering in her expression—surprise. As if she’d caught the truth in his words and hadn’t expected someone to truly think her beautiful.
She stepped closer, until the lines of her torso ghosted his. Until Cassian’s heart pounded so hard he could hear the frantic tempo of it in his ears. Nesta tilted her head back so she could stare up at him and Cassian’s hand weaved through the mane of her hair before he could stop himself.
He was desperate to touch her again. Desperate.
But Cassian waited. Waited for Nesta to reach up on tiptoes and press her mouth to his.
The kiss was not like their bruised, desperate kisses from earlier. It was coaxing and unsure; the tentative beginning of something that was not merely fuelled by ardour. But it soon blossomed into something more, like a snowball rolling down a mountain blanketed white, gaining speed as it grew and grew—
Dragging his mouth away from hers, Cassian fought for breath. Battled to remember what he needed to do and say. But then Nesta was tugging his head back down again, her fingers tangled in his hair, the gesture indicative of an insistent need that Cassian knew would not go away.
As always, Nesta tasted divine. Addictive. He could taste the curl of her power on his tongue—silver and white, life and death—and he wondered if she could taste his. Knew his siphons were glowing scarlet—
“Nesta,” he murmured hoarsely, her name a caress against her lips. He couldn’t invoke a distance between them, couldn’t stop touching her. His nose brushed hers as her drew back an infinitesimal amount. Closed his eyes. Inhaled deeply, summoning courage. “You can dictate how this goes between us. But if we do this, I can’t—there’s no-one else. Just you and me.”
The subsequent pause was one of the worst of Cassian’s life. It was barely a breath. The blink of an eye. But it felt as if it was malleable and elastic, drawn out by the hands of fate as everything suspended in time.
He didn’t want to open his eyes, but in the end he managed it. Caught Nesta’s eyelashes flutter downwards, casting shadows on her skin. Her fists tightened in the fabric of his tunic, anchoring him to the moment.
She swallowed. Shook her head. Agreed with a conviction he had not been expecting, “No-one else.”
The relief that swooped through Cassian was so fierce it was painful. But he still didn’t dare to believe it.
He caught her chin between his thumb and forefinger so Nesta could not look away. So he could look into the deep waters of her irises and know she was telling him the truth.
But her gaze was steady and unwavering, as he demanded, “Say it again.”
His voice cracked but Nesta didn’t appear to notice. Her grip on him tightened. “No-one else,” she repeated on an outward breath.
A low, ravaged moan sounded from Cassian’s throat. “Diyosa,” he murmured, slipping into Illyrian. Goddess.
“Bruha,” Nesta corrected. She fumbled over the pronunciation but Cassian felt as if he had been an ember that had burst into flame. Witch.
He let out a rough bark of laughter. Then he swore in a long, drawn out moan. “No Illyrian,” he ordered roughly. Pressed his mouth firmly against hers, the kiss searing. “Otherwise this will be over far too quickly.” Another kiss. “And I want to take my time.”
The smile Nesta painted against Cassian’s lips was feline. “You’ve made a lot of promises, General. I hope you don’t disappoint.”
Cassian snarled. Spun her body until her back was cradled against his chest. “I have, haven’t I?” he mused lightly, even though the hammering of his heart must have beat a betraying rhythm against her shoulder blade.
In the mirror, Nesta’s expression grew less poised and controlled. Delight mixed with anticipation clung to her features at this game they played; this tussle for control. She did not try to wrangle free from his hold or shift uncomfortably in his arms at having her back enclosed against his.
It thrilled him—that trust. Enough so that when he met her eyes in the mirror, Cassian found that his irises had been swallowed by his pupils until they were only a ring of chocolate gold.
Slowly, Cassian brushed Nesta’s hair over to one shoulder with his left hand. Traced his fingers down the arc of her neck to her collarbone. Continued a path down the centre of her chest, to the pyrite which glittered between her breasts.
When his fingers met the first button of his shirt, Cassian toyed with it. Purposefully grazed his nose against the shell of her ear. “Shall I start here?” he murmured. “Undress you in front of the mirror whilst you watch?”
Nesta suppressed a shudder, but Cassian caught it. Could swear he felt her blood boiling beneath her skin as he slipped the button free of its hole. Then another. And another. Until there were no more buttons and the material hung free.
Leaning back into his body, Nesta rested her head against his chest. Curved her back slightly so her chest thrust upwards, silently instructing him where she wanted his hands.
And Cassian couldn’t deny her. He turned his palm so it was face up and curled into a loose fist. Brushed his knuckles down her sternum all the way to her bared naval, before bringing it back up. His fingers ran up the side of the material free of buttons, until he was at her collarbone—her shoulder—leaving a litter of goosebumps in his wake.
This time, Cassian snickered when she shivered. Dropped a slow and deliberate kiss to her bare shoulder as he slowly, slowly inched the material down, down, down over her arm. Repeated the motion on the other, until the shirt pooled onto the floor, exposing her bare body to the mirror: endless creamy skin, divine curves, the luscious full weight of her bare breasts, and… lower.
Nesta’s eyes, which had been tracking the fabric as it fell away, snapped to his as a feral growl ripped from him. And she moaned at the expression on his face. Grabbed at his hands, pulling them to her body.
“Touch me,” Nesta hissed, but it came out strangled. Almost pleading. Another crack in her armour as it broke and fell away.
The sight was enough to threaten Cassian to his knees. He guided her body backwards, his hands splaying firmly across her stomach despite her whine, until his legs hit the edge of the mattress
Neither of them broke eye contact in the mirror. Not when Cassian coaxed Nesta down to sit on the bed with him. Not when he pulled her between his legs, her back firmly against his chest. Not when he bowed his head to kiss the slope between her neck and shoulder.
When Cassian finally brushed a thumb over her nipple, Nesta back bowed so fiercely Cassian was thankful he had an arm strapped across her stomach.
The small noise she loosed fuelled his fire and Cassian held on to her. Stroked over that peaked nipple again as Nesta careened into his touch. Followed it with a firmer roll with his thumb and forefinger. Used the fingertips of his other hand to draw slow, tantalising circles across the silken skin of her lower stomach, before he moved southwards…
The air around them hushed when Cassian’s fingers stilled. Anticipation built and only when it vibrated with tension did Cassian slide his hands to cradle Nesta’s hips.
A snarl of frustration, but Cassian paid the sound no heed. Only grazed his thumbs over Nesta’s hipbones. Watched her expression in the mirror—the way her face contorted as she squirmed into his touch as if she was a puppet on strings. Ground back onto him, pressing into that building ache that was bordering on painful.
Cassian wasn’t sure if he had spoken out loud or in his head, all he knew was the blessed, fleeting relief he felt as he bucked into the small of Nesta’s back on instinct. He was rock hard and thirsting to be touched, but the thickening scent of Nesta’s arousal pulled his focus.
A groan rumbled from Cassian’s throat as Nesta’s hand darted between her legs. He caught her wrist just in the nick of time. Kissed the heart of her palm. Rumbled into her ear, “Not yet, sweetheart.”
His voice was coarse enough that Nesta shivered, the goosebumps travelling down her skin like a cresting wave. She didn’t struggle against him, nor did she move to disobey him as he dropped her wrist. Instead, she waited, trembling and shaking at every pass of his thumbs over her skin.
Cassian buried his nose behind the shell of her ear. Breathed Nesta in, steadying the drum of his pulse.
Not once did he take his eyes off of hers in the mirror, especially as he murmured, “Shall we find out if you’re wet for me?”
Nesta squeezed her eyes tightly shut, as if the movement would steady her. Swallowed hard. It was so unlike her to take stock, to show any signs that she was rattled, that Cassian softened. He nuzzled at her neck, trailed a line of kisses instilled with promises. A hand flew up to tangle in Cassian’s hair, keeping him there.
The word stuttered out of Nesta on several staccatos, but she forced her eyes open and met his gaze in the mirror. Watched as he pulled her tighter against him and hooked her legs over his thighs so she was spread wide. Slipped his hand across and down…
The first ghost of a touch had Nesta panting through her nose. The second had her gritting her teeth. The third had her moaning, her back bowing so sharply as he skimmed straight over the place she wanted him the most.
Her head hit the centre of his chest with a resounding thud that had his bones creaking, but she did not look away from him. Seemed to know the game they were playing without him having to express it.
When Cassian brought his fingers lower and discovered just how wet Nesta was, he had to force his wings in tight to his back to hide his surprise. Growled, “You’re soaked.”
Pleasure and embarrassment twisted in Cassian’s stomach, and Cassian wanted to tell her that it was not something to be ashamed of, that he wanted her just as much as she clearly wanted his fingers between her legs.
Her eyes glinted steel, her stare commanding. “Make me come—“ she ordered, but Cassian chose that moment to roll his finger over that spot at the apex of her thighs.
The command bottomed out of Nesta as she inhaled sharply. Satisfaction bloomed inside of Cassian; because he may have done this countless times before but barely enough with her. And nothing seemed to matter apart from him seeking out her satisfaction. Of learning about what made her body freeze with pleasure and what made her come undone. “There?” he murmured into her ear, repeating the movement, before he passed his fingers down further. Until they were at her entrance, playing gently before he drew upwards and circled.
This time, Nesta groaned. Her hips jerked sharply beneath him, tilting, guiding him to just the right place.
Picking up on the cue, Cassian increased the tempo and friction until Nesta’s hips were rolling in a punishing rhythm against the hard length of him.
And Cassian snarled in satisfaction, his fingers tightening around her hip in a plea for her to keep moving—to not stop pushing back on him—because it was blissfully good. The rapid tightening in his groin was almost painful, the cord so tight that Cassian thought it might snap. But he couldn’t stop Nesta, not when she looked so bewitching, the arousal so stark on her face as he stroked and circled and pressed.
Burning pleasure clambered to its peak and Nesta’s eyes grew so heavy they fluttered closed. Something unintelligible left her lips, her head tipping back into the heart of his chest.
When Nesta’s arms wound around his neck, her knuckles accidentally grazing the leather of his wings, Cassian part-snarled, part-roared. Swore. Held her even tighter as his wings snapped out high and mighty behind him. They wrapped around Nesta’s body before Cassian’s pleasure-fogged mind could stop them curling towards her, starved for her touch.
Fuck, he was unhinged. So desperate for relief—in the scent and feel of his mate—that his control was barely there. Enough so that he didn’t react when Nesta reached out her hand—
Sense knocked Cassian for six only when Nesta’s fingers were millimetres from touching the membrane. He drew back his wings so fast the air around them stormed, but he swooped in before surprise could register on Nesta’s face. Dipped his chin and coaxed her head even further back so he could claim her mouth.
The taste of her lips was as vital as breathing, the scrape of her nails on his scalp grounding. He moaned into her mouth at the same time as she whimpered. His hand was still moving between her legs, interchanging the same three patterns over and over again, mixing things up as soon as Nesta’s moans grew too untamed: he wanted to draw out her pleasure, not sate it with a few choice strokes.
Pulling away, Cassian pressed a kiss to her forehead. Coaxed her to dip her chin until she was looking back at their reflection in the mirror: ebony and golden brown, tan and cream.
Nesta’s irises were wisps of silver, but when he traversed past that bundle of nerves so he could slip two fingers inside of her, they flickered into living flame.
That was indication enough that she liked what he was doing. Cassian had quickly learnt that Nesta became completely readable between the sheets, that mask slowly crumbling away until she broke completely.
Curving his fingers as much as he could, Cassian pressed upwards hard—again and again— revelling in the strangled sounds Nesta made. The way she writhed but tried her best to hold his gaze.
Cassian dropped a lingering kiss to the crown of Nesta’s head. Murmured into her hair, “Is that good, sweetheart?”
The only response Cassian received was a long moan which extended into a whine as he withdrew his fingers. Then a sharp cry as he swept them upwards, swirling them in a well-practiced motion that had Nesta’s lower half seizing in pleasure.
Cassian circled again. Again. Firmer. Faster. Nesta’s cries grew louder, her breathing became more laboured. A silver wreathed hand flew to his forearm—not to stop him, but to keep him there.
Don’t stop. Don’t stop. Don’t stop.
The bond between them creaked and cracked as it expanded.
Nesta panted his name.
“Are you going to come for me, sweetheart?” Cassian scratched out.
In vain, Nesta attempted to burrow her head into his shoulder, but Cassian’s voice dropped out of soft and into the role of general within the fraction of a heartbeat. “Eyes on the mirror, Nesta, or I’ll stop.”
It seemed to take all of Nesta’s energy to fight her leaded eyelids and meet his dark eyes in their reflection. When she did, Cassian’s magic roared and pounded beneath his skin, as if it was trying to break free and join Nesta’s. There was a pressure and power fuelling the sensation that was separate to him. It was like the magnetic force which rules the relentless ebb and flow of the tide—that desperate crash followed by a scrabbling, thundering retreat.
That twisted rope between them grew corporeal, tugging at their ribcages as if it was clambering to remind them both of its existence. Of the cost of this exchange.
Something deepened in both of their gazes, but if Nesta had felt what Cassian had, she gave no indication. She only arched her hips back into his, grinding backwards.
Cassian loosed a rough groan that skittered across the shell of her ear. Her gaze was purposeful but hooded, as if she was in a continual battle with the pleasure weighting her eyelids.
“Good girl,” he praised as Nesta’s eyelashes fluttered from the strain of maintaining eye contact. And then his fingers were everywhere at once and Nesta’s moans fell away to short gasps that rose in volume.
Nesta tightened her fingers around his neck, scrabbling for purchase, for some sort of tether as her pleasure launched high into the air. The hand that had been at her hip, steadying her, encouraging her to roll back on him moved to her breast; cupping and pinching and rolling as she stuttered pants and words that Cassian couldn’t make out.
When Cassian slid two fingers inside of her again and pressed down firmly on her clit with his palm, Nesta’s cry was wild.
“Look at me,” Cassian ordered as Nesta’s eyes flew shut. His voice was resonant—startling—even to him. It punched through the bubble that had encased them—their entwined scent—and Nesta’s eyes snapped open.
For a beat, time seemed to stand still around them. Their gaze fastened back into place and for a moment, Cassian could see a conflict of thoughts swirl in the magic of Nesta’s irises.
He froze just as anguish crashed down that bond, right into the heart of his chest.
It knocked the breath from him. Confusion rattled inside of his head but he came up empty of answers. Had he gone too far? Had he hurt her somehow?
“Sweetheart—“ he started, but stopped. Unsure of what to say because he could still smell how much she wanted this. Could feel how soaked she was. But perhaps that was what the mating bond did. Fooled reason with an overwhelming drive to pleasure and claim.
Cassian went to draw his hand away but Nesta’s hand whipped out, her fingers curling around his wrist. Desperation flooded her next words—the plea in them stark. “Don’t stop.”
As if to punctuate her point, she rolled her hips. His fingers slid over her of her own accord and she stumbled a moan. Light barrelled down the bond and Cassian’s blood spiked, thrilled as he felt the truth of her words, as she ground back into him again.
“Fuck that feels good,” Cassian grunted into her ear. His hips pushed into the small of her back, accentuating his point. It chased the delicious reprieve from the ache in his cock, even as he knew this moment wasn’t about him. As he pulled her back into the solid muscle of his chest, steadying her movements so he could pick up where he left off: so he could watch the pleasure whip away her conflicted expression until her eyes were once again blazing with the promise of flame.
Silver mist climbed from Nesta’s fingertips into the air. It crawled over the glowing ruby siphons across the backs of his hands, past the corded muscle of his forearm and the rolled up sleeves of his tunic, to his chest, his neck…
A sheen of metal shone in Cassian’s eyes, flickering across his irises so they appeared to turn a metallic gold. The lick of Nesta’s magic didn’t burn. It was a rush of heat—the tender caress of a lover’s kiss instilled into his skin over and over again, ascending Cassian to another realm of pleasure, as if he’d climbed a staircase to an entirely new place.
It felt like an extended method of foreplay Cassian had never been privy to before, lighting up every nerve ending until he was so hard he could cut stone.
Gritting his teeth through the pain-cloaked pleasure, Cassian focussed instead on Nesta’s bare skin.
The tempting fullness of her breasts. The way desire had completely rewritten her countenance. The way she whimpered and then cried out.
Cassian sped up his movements. Until his fingers were no longer teasing, but dancing over her with sure, quick movements designed to thrust her towards a crescendo.
Nesta’s magic swirled into flame, the heat of it a licking promise down Cassian’s limbs. He groaned, swore at the exquisite pain on her face as she hung at the precipice, ready to plummet into rapture.
Her climax became a tangible, living thing and Cassian wanted to see it play out for as long as he possible could. Wanted to see her break for him again and again and again.
So, he waited until she reached the summit and when she was there he slowed down his movements. Ordered through her whimpering, “Look at me Nesta.”
Metallic irises met his, and then Nesta was trembling and shaking in fits and bursts as her release ripped out of her like a taut cord cut loose. Cassian drew her orgasm out as best he could, suspending that pleasure until finally Nesta slumped against him, spineless.
She turned her head to bury it in his shoulder and Cassian let her. Stroked her hair. Pressed a kiss to her sweaty head. Murmured, “Good?”
Slowly, Nesta nodded, but for a long while, that was the only communication he received. But Cassian let her recover. Watched the way her ribcage moved as she heaved for breath. Relished the way her body was splayed out over him, her legs held wide open from where they were hooked over his thighs.
Unable to help himself, Cassian brushed over her sex. Delighted in the way Nesta shuddered rather than batted him away. Fresh desire reignited across her expression and Cassian played gently for a few minutes, revelling in the wetness that had gathered from her release.
Finally, Nesta lifted her head to meet his gaze again. “Did I burn you?”
“No,” Cassian replied hoarsely, his heart squeezing at the genuine fear in her words. He let out a rough laugh, passed his fingers lightly over the knot at the apex of her legs for the last time before he withdrew them.
Nesta moaned softly, even as her brow twisted into a small frown.
“It felt good,” Cassian elaborated. He kissed her shoulder at the same time that he pushed his hips into hers as if to demonstrate just how much he’d liked her magic. “I’m being strangled to death in these pants,” he confessed.
When Nesta cocked her head, her hair moved in a golden tangle. Then she smirked. Unravelled her limbs from him and turned.
Nesta slung her legs over his waist so she was straddling him just as Cassian’s hands caught in her hair. A booming sounded as his wings snapped out and fanned behind him, settling like falling fabric.
“We can’t have that,” Nesta remarked, her breath a whisper against his skin.
“No,” Cassian agreed roughly. “It’s your favourite part.”
Nesta snorted a laugh, but it was not derisive. “Egotistical bat,” she muttered.
A slow, smug smile was Cassian’s only reply. Because he was more focussed on her mouth. With the feel of her silken skin beneath his palms as he ran them up her legs and over her rounded ass. His touch was a promise as he tugged her into his body and ground up into her core, the seam of his trousers doing nothing to relieve the damning ache in his cock.
Together they gasped, and then, as always, they moved at the same time, their mouths slanting one another within a fraction of a second.
The heat of Nesta was liquid, the touch of her smoke—feverish and everywhere all at once. It was the same heat that had roared into existence when Cassian had pinned her against the wall earlier, yet… better somehow. Passionate and awake rather than fogged with lust. Life-giving.
A shuddered groan was pulled from Cassian’s chest as Nesta’s hands slid beneath his tunic and met his burning skin. And then the tunic was on the floor—the rest of his clothing was torn from him soon after. It all happened at such speed Cassian could barely keep up, but when Nesta reached for his bare, burning skin—the tattoos on his arms and the faint scar on his stomach—her fingers were gentle.
“Battle scar,” Cassian panted in explanation, as Nesta’s fingers lingered on the silvery tissue that wound over his lower abdomen: a permanent reminder of what had happened to him during the final battle with Hybern. “The trauma was too great for Madja to heal completely.”
“I remember,” Nesta replied shortly and she looked so fierce that Cassian reached for her. Cupped her cheek with his palm.
“Still breathing, Nes.”
Nesta nodded, but when she kissed him this time there was something fierce and desperate about it, her fingers burying deeper into the mane of his hair.
And then a hand was trailing down his skin and closing around his cock. The touch was sinful and a glimpse of the heavens. When he hissed into her mouth, Nesta gripped tighter—until pain laced the pleasure—just how he liked it.
His groan was that of rumbling thunder as she began to move her hand. It was everything Cassian needed, but it was too much, too good. He scrambled to hold on to some sense of control, because he’d never been this close to losing it from just a few touches.
Then Nesta stopped. Glanced downwards—
The realisation thumped through Cassian so loudly his heartbeat punched like a fist against his ribcage.
“Don’t you dare,” Cassian choked out.
Nesta’s eyes shot to his, but rather than looking startled she arched a challenging eyebrow.
“If you so much as try to put my cock in your mouth I’ll explode,” Cassian rasped.
Before she could protest, he was gathering her to him and had slipped a hand down between her legs.
Just the touch of his fingers had Cassian seizing back control. Nesta stilled at the sudden pleasure, as if she was trying to coax time into suspending the sensation.
“Still so wet,” Cassian purred against the tip of her ear.
Gliding his fingers over the centre of her, Cassian paused briefly at the apex of her legs, toying with her clit, before he ran them back down. When he drew his fingers back, rubbing them together and raising them to the faelight, they glittered.
Nesta’s nostrils flared as if she was an animal in heat. And Cassian knew before he spoke that his voice? would be what pushed them over the edge. But he said it anyway, his voice dropping impossibly low, “Is this all for me?”
Nesta launched at him until their mouths collided, until they were nothing but a clash of teeth and tongues, their skin so flush they may as well have been fused together.
Burying her fingers deeper into the tangled mane of his hair, Nesta tugged sharply. Met his gaze head on. Demanded, “Fuck me.”
All it took was those two words. Cassian moved, flipping them so Nesta’s back was flush against the mattress. He covered her body with his and Nesta whined at the contact, her body bending and arching towards him as if she were a plant and he was sunlight.
Cassian ran a hand up her bare thigh to her ass, coaxing her leg to bend, but Nesta was too impatient. She broke free from the weight of his body, repositioning herself until legs were wrapped tightly around his hips.
An uneven laugh choked out of him. “So stubborn,” Cassian chided darkly, but he allowed his hips to fall into the cradle of hers. Hissed as he loosed his control and thrust so his cock could glide through her centre. “Fuck,” he grunted. “Nesta, fuck.”
Nesta’s breathy whine fuelled the sparks of pleasure that crackled through him like static energy. He kissed her hard. “There’s a high probability I won’t survive this.”
The snort Nesta loosed tried to sound unaffected, but her voice shook as she accused him, “Liar.”
But he wasn’t lying. And Nesta knew it. She had to know it because his walls were now shattered around them in splintered shards.
Yet, Cassian found himself assuring her. “Not lying," he grunted as he passed over her again. Pressed a lingering kiss to her mouth—a parting goodbye as he moved to kiss the underside of her jaw, down the column of her throat. Down further, to flick his tongue and scrape his teeth over both nipples.
He moaned when she moaned; their sounds a chorus of want until he couldn’t take it anymore. Cassian’s claws clipped around the metal of the bed frame at the same time that he pushed off of the palms that were framing her face, until he was on his knees before her.
Despite the desire coursing through him, Cassian’s head was nothing but clear as he slid his hands under Nesta’s ass and lifted her effortlessly, positioning her so that the undersides of her thighs were flush against his knees.
Nesta’s hair was tousled over the pillow, her lips swollen and parted as she surveyed him. When she tried to wrap her legs back around his hips, Cassian held firm. And despite the fact that Nesta listened to nobody, she allowed him to bend her knees and press his calloused palms to the insides of her thighs in silent instruction.
They fell open and a growl rumbled in Cassian’s throat. His hand was fisting his cock, lining it up to her entrance before he knew what was happening. But then he remembered the pain from before. And even though Nesta was more than ready for him, the thought of hurting her made him feel physically sick.
When he moved away, Nesta let out a strangled noise. A hand shot out, closing around his wrist. “You said you’d fuck me.”
Cassian wanted to explain, but that meant alluding to that tie between them, that instinct that couldn’t allow him to see her hurt. Cassian knew Nesta wasn’t ready for that. Knew that if he so much as breathed a word about it that this precious moment would fall away.
And Cassian was selfish. He had to see how this played out. Had to know if Nesta could grow to accept the bond between them—deem him worthy enough to accept something that was Cauldron blessed.
So, he only drawled, “Patience is a virtue, sweetheart.”
One swift movement had Cassian gathering Nesta into his arms. This time, he allowed Nesta’s legs to wind around him. She gripped him like a vice and Cassian knew it wasn’t from fear of him dropping her. When he sat back against the headboard and guided her onto his lap, Cassian expected her to bite out a comment about doing all of the work, but Nesta only let out a pleased sound. Weaved a hand back into his ebony hair. Wrapped a tight fist around his length, twisting once at the tip, before she guided him to her entrance.
Cassian hissed a curse as she closed around the head. Murmured her name into her mouth. Gripped tightly at her hips when she didn’t stop sinking down on him, as he felt that pain mixed with the sweetest pleasure.
“Nesta.” The way he said her name was firm and commanding, but he still had to dig his fingers hard enough into her skin that he was sure it would leave temporary bruises. The thought made him falter, but then that sharp pain flared again as she resisted against him, and he knew that the bruises were a necessary evil. “Nesta,” he barked, “Go slowly.”
Something creaked and cracked between them. A stretching, growing pain reached its fingers down that bond, the sensation strong rather than constricted as it fought to make its way down their usually thin tie.
Nails dug into Cassian’s neck. A whimper sounded in his ears as Nesta fell forwards, burying her face into his neck. “Please,” she whined in frustration. “Cassian—”
She broke off as she clamped down around him and Cassian felt an ebb of pleasure cut through the pain—that promise of something more.
“Don’t make me hurt you, sweetheart,” Cassian pleaded and the rawness in his voice stopped her resisting against him. He eased a hand between them, touched her right where she wanted him. Allowed her to tug his face upwards so she could kiss him. It was infused with desperation and Cassian eased his hold on her hip. Allowed her to lower herself downwards until she had slid another inch deeper. Continued to stroke her until Nesta began to shake.
“I’m going to—,” Nesta gasped against his mouth. Her body trembled and Cassian’s blood roared at bringing her to the edge again so soon, despite the pain. “Cassian—”
Abruptly, Cassian moved his hand away.
Nesta’s snarl whipped around the room, but Cassian smoothed the sound away by fusing his mouth on hers. She stopped shaking but the sharp bite of Nesta’s glare pierced its teeth through his flesh in a flash of silver.
“It will be better if you wait,” Cassian gritted out in explanation when they parted. Nesta’s breath gusted against his skin. “And I don’t think I can hold on if you come so soon. You feel so good, Nesta. So tight.”
As if on cue, Nesta contracted around him and Cassian ground his teeth together so hard that the muscle in his jaw worked. But he let Nesta slide down on him another inch. Then another. And another. Until their hips were finally flush with one another and that pain had bled away until it was nothing.
The moaned words that fell from Nesta were indistinguishable, but he felt her tremor. Felt that surge inside of him as Nesta repeated herself with a whine that indicated she was toppling over the ledge of control, like a glass teetering before it fell.
And then she was moving and Cassian let her. He was unable to think or breathe. Could only focus on the feel of her.
“Fuck,” Cassian groaned. His head thunked back hard against the headboard as she ground her hips into his, testing the feel of him. “This is better than I’d dreamed.”
No soft snicker, only an untamed whine. Then teeth scraping a sinful path down his neck to his pulse.
Cassian’s hips kicked up hard as her teeth nipped.
“Sorry,” he gasped, because even though Nesta had told him not to hold back, he was still concerned about hurting her. But Nesta’s fingernails bit into his skin and her body moulded to him—a delicious second skin—as she inhaled sharply. “Again,” she demanded with a fierceness that did not allow disobedience. “Do that again—”
It didn’t take a second command for Cassian to thrust up hard. And true to her word, Nesta took him all. Did not change her mind and ask him to hold back. Instead, Cassian knew that this was exactly what she wanted—no, needed. She needed this punishing rhythm just as much as he did.
And it felt… incredible. Beyond anything Cassian had ever felt before. The blood roaring in his ears intermingled with Nesta’s cries and the slap of his hips meeting hers, was the only thing he could hear, his senses narrowed down to the sensation of her wrapped around him, so tight …
It was too good. It threatened to break him, to take everything that he was and reform it entirely, as if he was going to shatter and be pieced back together as someone else entirely. The air around them became taut with pressure, tanning leather stretched too tight over a rack, as if their joining controlled one of the essential elements.
“Cassian.” That one word threatened to break him. Not bat or it or you, only his name falling from her lips as if it was their secret. “More.”
Exhaling a curse, Cassian planted his feet firmly on the mattress and thrust up with as much vigour as he could muster. The movement had them slipping from their upright position and Cassian’s claws absent-mindedly closed around the metal bed frame, strapping them in for the ride as his body coiled and tensed as he slammed into her over and over.
Nesta cried out. Grabbed fistfuls of his hair as they moved together as if they had been made for this moment, their wild gasps melded together until they were one.
Only when release teetered too close to the edge did Cassian drop the rhythm. Cupped the breasts he had dreamed of more times than he could count. The breasts he’d had the privilege of seeing bare and glorious only twice before.
Capturing a nipple between his teeth, Cassian scraped his teeth hard enough that Nesta stopped rocking and angled her hips until he was pressing impossibly deep inside her. She whimpered. Clenched and unclenched. Throbbed in a way that told him she was as close as he was—that if he wasn’t so close himself, he could drive her over the edge with a few well-timed thrusts.
The understanding had him letting out a jagged groan. “Are you close, sweetheart?”
A whine in response, but Cassian didn’t let it go. He raked back the hair from her sweaty forehead. Pressed his lips to her swollen ones in a lingering kiss. Watched the frown that knitted her brow as she was overtaken by the feel of them.
“What do you need, Nesta. Tell me and I’ll give it to you.”
Nesta wound her hands around his head, buried her face into his neck. Began swaying and circling her hips in a rhythm that was dictated purely by the chase of pleasure. “Just… this,” she panted. “I just need this.”
Then it was only the licking fire of her breath against his skin. The magic that curled around them like a heated blanket and the building anticipation of both of their releases, which pulled at him like a strange sort of magnetism, begging him to fall with her in unison.
“Cassian—” Nesta began in warning, but he had already felt her begin to quake, as if the ground was moving beneath their feet—the mountains trembling.
That pull became a driving force—a cresting wave of pleasure so profound that Cassian felt that twist inside of him—that signal that he was about to join her.
He groaned, jerking his head back so it collided with wood, the pain grounding him enough that he could say, “That’s it, sweetheart. Come for me.”
As soon as the words left his lips, Nesta broke, as if she’d been waiting for him to ask it of her. Her cry was muffled and Cassian wanted to tear her mouth from his neck—to hear her break for him—but then she was sinking her teeth into his skin right over his pulse.
Roaring, Cassian kicked his hips up hard on instinct as she marked him, but the shock distracted him. Clouded the desperate clamber of his release so he could hold himself back.
Cassian held tightly onto Nesta as she slumped against him. When she lifted her teeth from him, Nesta whined like an animal. Dragged her tongue over the dent she’d made in his neck—once, twice, three times.
He shuddered. Couldn’t help it. Turned his face into her hair. Breathed her in. The gesture was tender, like an animal tending to the wound of a significant other—its mate.
And wrapped in this moment, Cassian could almost believe that this was something more than sex for Nesta as her forehead came to rest on his collarbone. As she kissed the hollow of his throat. Then the knot. His lips.
“Good?” Cassian asked softly. He lifted a hand to her face, ran a calloused thumb over her cheekbone.
Nesta made a rare, content sound that vibrated through him like a balm. She leant into his hand, her eyelashes swooping down.
When she finally pulled back to survey him, her eyes were still dark. She shifted her hips. Moaned quietly. Rasped, “You’re still hard.”
It was a miracle Cassian hadn’t followed. If it hadn’t been for her teeth in his neck, Cassian would have been wrestling with the embarrassment of finishing too soon.
“I was too preoccupied with your teeth in my neck.”
A flush crept its way up Nesta’s face, like vines reaching their wicked encroaching fingers up a wall. But she raised her chin. “You wanted me to do it.”
It was true, he had wanted her to. And he wanted to do the same to her—to mark her as his so everyone would know that she was off limits for the brief hours before her body healed.
“And what about you?”
The patter of Nesta’s heart broke into a sprint. It was the only thing that betrayed her feelings, her expression devoid of any reaction. “What do you mean?”
Cassian leant forward until their noses brushed. Lifted his eyebrows. “Do you want me to bite you, Nesta?”
Nesta’s nostrils flared. If she had wings, they’d have flung wide by now. Would have collided with furniture and cut through air.
That was answer enough.
In one movement, Cassian lifted himself up and over, until Nesta was on her back and he was pressing her body into the mattress. Breath gushed out of her lungs but it was not from fear, not as Nesta turned herself out bare and tilted her chin for him—for once not in defiance but as an act of vulnerability—of complete and utter trust.
Every instinct in Cassian clambered to the surface, but he closed a fist around it until its life fluttered against the cage of his palms and fingers: his to control, rather than the other way around.
Slowly, Cassian lowered his nose to the exposed skin and breathed her in: her scent and the life that pummelled beneath her skin, the roaring of her blood as it crashed through her veins. It took everything in him not to move inside of her, to thrust up hard and feel the way her breasts would move against his chest.
“I could do it right here,” Cassian murmured, his mouth ghosting over the pale column of her neck until he came across that pulse. He brushed a tongue across it.
The movement was a mirror of what he’d done before in the human realm and Nesta knew it. But this time she did not jerk back from him demanding what he’d done. Instead, her body drew up beneath him, exposing more of her neck, begging for more.
Cassian groaned, raking his teeth over that swell at the same time that he pushed in deep. Nesta’s groan was guttural and everything. His blood turned molten, so hot that he expected his skin to melt away until he was nothing but bones.
“Please,” Nesta panted, her fingers tightening around his back.
Another flick of his tongue over her pulse. “Do you want me to bite you or fuck you?”
That was enough to loosen the fist on Cassian’s control. He sat back on his knees, prying her hands from his neck, coaxing her fingers until they were above her head and clasped around the railings of the headboard. Nesta’s breasts rose with the movement, her peaked nipples so tempting he bent to take one into his mouth. Then the other. Suckled until she mewled and her nipples were no longer rosy but red from his attention.
Cassian lifted his head and surveyed Nesta. Warned her, “Hold on tight.”
And then there was no thinking, no worrying or desperation to hold back. It all came as easy as breathing, their tempo,the snap of his hips and the shift of the mattress as her body shouldered the impact. At some point, Cassian’s body fell over hers, needing to feel every inch of her against him. His wild, punishing rhythm dropped into a rough rocking that was intimate at the same time it was claiming.
Nesta didn’t seem to mind—let out a pleased moan of consent, her legs clamping tighter around his hips until they were flush with hers. When he next moved she whined, and Cassian felt that change inside of her—somehow—that twisting fist of pleasure that glimmered down the bond, pushing against the walls of that thread, pushing it wider and wider, like a heart expanding.
Silver-wreathed fingers tugged his head down until Nesta could claim his mouth, fusing them together so they were complete. Cassian shuddered as her fire cascaded from her fingertips and down his body. His magic, attracted to hers, began to suck out of his pores, but it didn’t leech him of power. Instead, it was like his magic was searching for its mate, desperate to be reunited.
Then that sensation again, as if Cassian had ducked beneath something and had come up for air somewhere else.
Ruby greeted silver like a long-lost lover, blending until their magic was a metallic sheen of scarlet—a fog that misted their bodies, rubbing tantalisingly against their skin as they rocked and moaned their way to release.
“Don’t stop,” Nesta begged desperately through stuttered breaths, and Cassian wondered how many times she’d reached this pinnacle with other males only for it to be taken from her.
Cassian’s hand found its way to her face, his thumb stroking over her cheek as that coiled release twisted across her devastatingly beautiful face. “Can’t,” he panted honestly, his other hand searching for hers across the mattress until he was clasping it—holding on for dear life. “I’m so close, sweetheart. You have no idea how good you feel.”
“Come with me then,” Nesta pleaded. Her eyelashes had fluttered downwards as she took in a sharp breath of pleasure, but now they opened. Stared deep into his soul. “Come with me—”
Then her body turned both loose and taut, clamping yet completely molten as her release ripped out of her.
“Fuck,” Cassian swore. Invisible hands clasped around his ass, tugging him deeper—deeper. Everything in him tightened as Nesta crashed around him, and that siren called to him, singing her name, over and over as pleasure clawed at him, desperate to whip out of him.
Nesta, Nesta, Nesta.
Cassian launched at her neck, his teeth sinking deep enough to claim as Nesta cried out, her body trembling as he continued to thrust into her, wringing out her release at the same time he desperately clambered towards his own.
He managed to pull out just in time, his teeth still deep in her neck, his release spilling hot onto her stomach in bursts of pleasure.
And even though Cassian had vowed to bite her and Nesta had already marked him, he found himself apologising at the red, angry dents in her skin. How was it that he couldn’t bare to hurt her but biting her neck was a completely different story?
“Sorry,” Cassian rasped. His mouth was as dry as a desert as he gingerly touched his fingers to the marks, but Nesta’s fingers clasped around his, halting him. Then she raised her other hand and brushed her knuckles over the identical marking on his. Reminding him that she’d done the same—had been the first to do it.
“I liked it,” Nesta admitted brazenly, but she didn’t stop him from dragging his tongue over the marks. Shivered instead. Held his head to her.
“That was intense,” Cassian rasped eventually against her ear, after the quiet had settled over them like a blanket. He nuzzled at her neck again, unable to help it—just one more precious moment like this until he had to pull away.
When Cassian pulled back to meet Nesta’s eyes, he found that the blue bled back into her irises. “It was always going to be intense,” she replied frankly.
Then Nesta looked down at her body, as if she’d only just remembered how he’d marked her in a different way. “You didn’t have to do that—pull out. I can take a tonic.”
Cassian hadn’t wanted to pull out at all—and neither had that tie which bound them together—but that wasn’t the point. “I’d rather be cautious,” he explained—a little too shortly, because Nesta bristled.
“Neither of us have had a tonic in a while,” Cassian elaborated when Nesta’s expression hardened.
He tried not to think about how his body had been desperate to spill inside of her. For him to press as deep as he possibly could until he was spent.
Climbing off of the bed, Cassian disappeared down the hallway and into the bathroom. When he returned, he was holding a wet towel.
“A while?” Nesta queried, picking up their conversation, as he began to clean her up.
Cassian cocked an eyebrow, but he didn’t dare meet her eyes lest she read him. His shoulders turned rigid at the thought. “Have you been sneaking people in and out of the bungalow that I’m not aware of?” he asked.
They both knew that Cassian would tear any male she brought back to the bungalow to pieces, but neither of them voiced it.
“You go back to Velaris,” Nesta accused. “You visit the other camps.”
For a moment, Cassian stared at her. Did she believe that he’d been fucking other fae? She had taunted him in Velaris the other day, but Cassian had thought that it was just their extended, agonising tussle of foreplay.
Perhaps you should go in search of some female company tonight.
Cassian managed to huff a breath, but it wasn’t one of amusement. He knew that his expression was steely as he said, “I told you that I don’t sleep with Illyrians. And I haven’t been fucking around in Velaris.”
From the way Nesta’s expression darkened, Cassian wasn't sure she believed him.
She opened her mouth to throw back a retort, but Cassian wanted the discussion to end. If she knew he’d barely touched another female since he’d met her, she’d run the other way. It was too intense a confession for someone who didn’t know what they wanted.
“It was self-inflicted,” Cassian supplied, his tone flinty enough to warn her that he wasn’t willing to discuss the subject any further.
Climbing off of the bed to further his point, Cassian extended a hand towards her. Banished any of the rigidity to his posture. “Come stand in the tub with me.”
There was a sinful promise behind the order. Already Cassian could envisage how he’d press Nesta against the tiles, his lips trailing open mouthed kisses as he kneeled before her—
Nesta must have thought similarly, because the pleasure that sparked in his stomach was not his own. But still she studied him, her head cocked as if she was trying to figure him out. Her hair was a muss of golden brown, her skin glistening with sweat that Cassian wanted to lick off.
Nesta parted her lips, taking stock, but Cassian didn’t allow her to speak. “I’ll make it worth your while,” he vowed. Meant it. Because already he was turning hard again, that desire to have her roaring.
He’d known this would happen. Knew that finally being inside of her wouldn’t sate him but stoke the embers into flames. But Cassian didn’t hide it—utterly unashamed of this need for her. From the way Nesta’s nostrils billowed, he knew she'd marked the change in his scent.
Nesta’s eyes flicked to his cock and the she-devil smirked, her lips curving in a way that had Cassian thinking about how they might wrap around him—how her tongue might feel, how warm she’d be…
In one supple movement, Nesta stood. Took his hand, her slim fingers threading around his large ones. Raised her chin and levelled him with a smoky blue gaze that promised wicked, wonderful things. “Then lead the way, general.”
Tags (let me know if you want to be added/removed): @arinbelle @superspiritfestival @sayosdreams @perseusannabeth @mylittlebigplanet @biggestwingspan-az @bellsqueen @ekaterinakostrova @bookstantrash @prophecyerised @rainbowcheetah512 @awesomelena555 @wannawriteyouabook @lovelynesta @melphss @darkshadowqueensrule @laylaameer01 @a-trifling-matter @grouchycritic7794 @thalia-2-rose @champanheandluxxury @swankii-art-teacher @princessconsuela02 @lavendergoomsltd @princessofmerchants-reads @jeakat @sjm-things @imwritingthesewords @nestable @inejbrekkxr @silvernesta @inyourmindeye @amelie775 @helen-the-weirdo @pizzaneverdisappoints @wishfulimaginings @trash-for-nessian @my-fan-side @sophilightwood @valkyriesupremacy @vidalinav @onceupona-chaos @inardour @thesunremembersyourface @teagoddess99 @ellies-iced-coffee @nehemikkele @misswonderflower
*After the necklace disaster*
Gwyn: Start talking!
Azriel: Well, I-
Gwyn: Shut up!
– 𝙖𝙯𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙡 𝙢𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙮 𝙝𝙚𝙖𝙙𝙚𝙧𝙨.
credits to @balfourowan on twitter.
One of my favourite Elriel art. The fact that SJM named this officially licensed piece as 'Lovers Longing' should at least gave solid comfort to us Elriels nation. Have no worries they are definitely happening 🌹🦇
ACOTAR character majors:
1. Feyre: Art
2. Nesta: English/literature
3. Elain: Environmental science
4. Rhys: Business
5. Azriel: Criminal justice with a science minor (astronomy or architecture)
6. Cassian: Scholarship athlete, doesn’t gaf about school
7. Lucien baby: political science 😌
8. Amren: Geology, so she can study rocks💎
9. Mor: Gender studies
Feel free to change or add on🥰
Cassian and Azriel artworks commissioned by @//turningpagesmerch on Instagram!