Page 143 of Court of Nightmares

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“This has always been yours. Take it, my queen, because without you, it would cease to beat anyway. Take my heart and know I love you,” he begs, his body swaying from blood loss and the lack of his heart.

He’s dying.

I get to my feet and walk towards him. He tilts his head back, and even in death, I feel his love, his obsession, and his awe for me.

“I love you, my queen. Take it and make it yours once more.”

I drop to my knees before him, knowing every eye is on me.

Leaning down, I lick the beating organ, holding his gaze as he gasps and dies, and in the blood, I see the truth. I see the woman grabbing him from behind and sinking her fangs into his neck before he could react. She tried to lay claim and gain power in our court to be a spy. I feel his revulsion, his hatred, as he thrashed and tried to escape.

“I will die before I hurt you,” he whispers.

Lifting my head, my lips stained with his blood, I meet his eyes as they lose their brightness.

My queen, please. I hear the others in my head, begging me to save him . . . to forgive him.

Osis’s lips move as his life drains from him. “My fate is in your hands. I’m sorry, my love. Forgive me, in this life or the next.”

I gently accept his heart, holding it in my hand, and he starts to sag. I catch him and press my lips to his as I plunge his heart back into his body. He screams against me, thrashing as I kiss him.

I taste death on his lips, his soul ready to depart. “You are mine. I command you to live and be tied to me forever. I do not want your heart unless it is in this body,” I state loudly, letting everyone hear. “You are mine, Osis, and so is this heart. Now breathe,” I demand. “Live.”

He shudders, his eyes filling with life once more. “My queen,” he murmurs. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I reply against his lips, and then I sink my fangs into his neck, replacing the stain of the other’s touch. Despite the blood loss, he tugs me closer with a moan.

“Yes, make me yours. Please, my queen,” he begs, his back arching as I throw my pleasure at him, and with a scream, he comes before everyone at the ball. When I pull back, I kiss him softly, lowering him to the ground, and quickly slice my wrist then press it to his lips to let him feed. Lifting my head, I scan the room, noting the horror, desire, and longing on people’s faces.

Come be with him, I demand of my other mates. They appear, and I pull my wrist back and stand, leaving Osis in their protection as I zero in on the woman who dared to touch my mate.

The crowd parts as I saunter through their masses, creating an open circle around the woman. She might have done it on orders, or she might just have taken an opportunity, greedy for power and advancement, but it does not matter. Her court and friends betray her, leaving her standing alone with my mate’s blood on her lips. She looks frightened as she watches me move closer, but then she tilts her chin up in defiance.

She’s beautiful, with short hair and a tall, willowy frame, but I will destroy her for daring to touch what is mine.

“He tasted good. I could feel how much he wanted it,” she taunts.


Smiling cruelly, I stop before her, noting her flinch at my expression as she struggles to meet my gaze and stay on her feet against my power, and that is without me even trying, so I let it free for once.

My power fills me, causing my skin to glow from within, and with a cry, she drops to her knees—as does every single person in this ball. I let it grow, and she screams.

“Please, I’m sorry!” she cries, cowering on all fours to avoid my wrath.

It will not work. She touched what is mine.

She tasted what is mine.

“Your apology means nothing here,” I say, my booming voice filled with power and anger. “You touched what is mine. You dared to taste my mate. My mate!” I roar, and she screams, blood pouring from her eyes and ears. It calls to me, waiting for me to use it, but I don’t. I don’t waste my power on her yet.

Instead, I grip her chin and drag her to her feet. She struggles, but she’s weak, so very weak.

“Mine,” I hiss in her face. “And you will pay for it.”

“Too late, his blood is inside me,” she spits, blood dribbling over her lips.

“You are right,” I muse, but then I smile and focus on her blood, and I let my powers run free, calling to what is mine—my mate’s blood. She howls, and it shatters windows and mirrors as I rip each drop from her and call it to me. It floats across the distance between us and absorbs into my skin. I feel the horror and confusion of the crowd as they witness my power, which has not been seen in centuries. “But not anymore.” Not a single trace remains in her. She has no power over him. I make sure of it.

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