Page 142 of Court of Nightmares

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“You can address me as king. This is my court.” We haven’t discussed if that’s correct, since there is only ever one king or queen when ruling a court, but we are all equal here no matter how much the council will disagree with that, and something about this woman makes me uncomfortable, so I don’t want her to have my name.

Plus, names have power, and only my mate gets to have it.

I turn away, but she keeps up, trying to touch me. I dodge her attempts and glare at her, making her laugh. “I’m Freda from Elemental Court.” She flicks her hair like I should be impressed, but I simply carry on walking, heading back inside to be near my mate. It’s been a long time since I was thrust into small talk and the spotlight.

I hate it.

“You are very handsome. I can taste your power too. If you wanted to slip away to feed—”

I turn, focusing all my power on her. “I feed from my mate, no other. The mere suggestion is an insult, and you know that. Do not let it happen again.” With an outraged glare, I turn away from her, ready to be at my mate’s side, when pain suddenly explodes in my neck.



Isit upon my throne, watching and waiting, when I feel it. There is a sense of wrongness as something messes with the bonds I share with my mates. A sharp stab of agony, followed by regret, floats to me, and I lift my head, searching for the source. When I find it, a wave of anguish tears through me, stronger than when my first mate rejected me. My breath stops, and everything fades but the scene before me.

A woman’s fangs are in Osis’s neck.

She is feeding from him, my mate, and tasting what is mine.

He rips away, panting, and covers his neck with his hand, but I can barely see through the anguished tears welling in my eyes. The mate bond drives my intense instincts, and I couldn’t stop if I tried.

“Did you let another taste you?” I roar, jealousy coursing through me alongside pain and possessiveness. The music cuts out, and our guests turn to look at me and then follow my gaze. I feel my other mates, my kings, surging forward in my mind, but I zone them out and focus on Osis.

On my tiger.

His face is pale, and his eyes are shadowed with so much pain, it makes my heart ache.

“Did you?” I demand, my tone lethal.

I can barely breathe through my fury and pain.

The wordbetrayedchants in my brain once more.

Dropping to his knees, Osis begins to crawl to me on the red carpet, his eyes filled with apology and pain. I feel my power slam through the room, pushing everyone back. Osis lowers his head, gritting his teeth, and continues to crawl through the bombardment.

I hear Nathair calling for me in my head, but I ignore him. I ignore everything but the man on his knees as he stops before me, tears swimming in his gaze and trailing down his face. A knife appears in his hand, and I glance at it and then back to him.

“Answer me!” I order, the words filled with agony, and the others in the room cry out with my pain.

I have been betrayed once more by someone who was meant to love me.

“You betrayed me,” I whisper, but I know he hears it. “Just like the mate before you.”

He staggers like I have physically wounded him, his face twisting in pain.

“My queen,” he rasps, and I feel his own pain, his own self-hatred racing through him as he lowers closer to the floor. “I am sorry I let her touch me. I’m sorry I couldn’t stop her. She tasted my blood. I did not want her to, I do not want anyone to touch me except you, my mate, my queen, but it happened. I offer myself to you for punishment. I offer myself in apology. Every inch of me is yours. I will prove it.”

My heart stutters in pain and possessiveness. I know he would never betray me, but it doesn’t stop old wounds from reopening and the instinct of matehood.

He rips his shirt open, tosses it away, and presses the knife to his chest. I gape as he plunges it into his sternum, sawing through his skin and bone. There are gasps and cries from the crowd, but I don’t take my eyes from him.

My mate.

He tears a hole in his chest, the bloodied knife dropping to the floor, and shoves his hand into the wound with a cry. Blinking rapidly, I watch as he searches around in his own chest cavity and, with a scream, yanks his heart free.

The beating, bloody organ lies in his palm.