The third ritual awaits. But are twin lovers double the pleasure, or double the trouble?
After losing his twin brother, Dimitri has felt adrift in the world. Joining this expedition to find an elusive dragon temple seemed a far-fetched fantasy, but a much-needed distraction nonetheless. Little did he know that the real fantasy was waiting for him inside. Now, doused in dragon magic, his passions have been stoked, and the naughty details of the ritual he keeps hearing about lure him into a chamber where he’s faced with an impossible choice.
Two golden idols stand ready for his attention, each embodying half of Dimitri’s most intimate desires. Together, they form a whole—one he has been searching for even more desperately than he has this ancient locale.
The terms of the ritual dictate he can only choose one. Breaking the rules might lead to his downfall … or to an ascension into pleasure beyond his wildest dreams.
Hallie woke up in the middle of the night, disconcerted. Kol’s voice reached her ears from another room in their house, yet she was certain he was still lying in bed beside her. His large, strong arms still held her close, his breath soft against her skin. When she stirred, the impression faltered, then grew more solid, warmer.
His shadow. She smiled to herself and settled again, comforted by the muted sounds of his voice—the one-sided tones of a phone call from the direction of his study. Comforted even more by the half-solid presence he’d left behind with her. She liked this part of him because it reminded her of the night they’d met, when his shadow was all he could give her at first. His shadow had awakened her need for him.
While Hallie loved the hot, hard solidity of his body in all its physical forms, his shadow form was always a tantalizing presence when he used it. He could make love to her with it in a much more subtle way than with his body, and it had become his favorite method of foreplay once he learned how she loved it.
She shifted slightly back against the warm presence and it responded. An invisible hand slid softly over her naked skin, down her side, grazing delicately back up her stomach as soft as a summer breeze, the touch more deliberate when it cupped her breast. The fingertips grew more solid when it teased, the hand spanning her breasts to caress both nipples into hard peaks.
Hallie strained to hear Kol’s voice, but his words had dipped to a low murmur she couldn’t make out beyond the understanding that he was still physically in the other room. She longed to touch him in return, but the shadow hadn’t been entirely solid since the ritual—if she tried to grasp it, her fingers would sink through it like it wasn’t even there. So she always contented herself to enjoy it instead.
She enjoyed this gift he loved to give her. Lips brushed across her neck, beneath her ear, and along her earlobe to whisper, “You feel so good in my arms.”
“Come back to me,” she whispered. “I need you.”
His erection pressed against her from behind, almost as hot and hard as the true version of it. Fingertips teased between her thighs, followed by a low murmur of appreciation when he drifted a feather-light touch along her moist folds. Her core heated and tingled even more, knowing he was standing down the hall enduring this while doing business over the phone. Or perhaps enjoying it. He was a true master at multi-tasking.
The shadowy hand cupped her breast a little harder, squeezed her nipple until she gasped. The fingertips teased deeper between her thighs. She parted her legs and turned onto her back. The dark caress of him moved down her body, hands parting her thighs wider and urging her to bend her knees. The shadow that was Kol’s breath brushed along her sensitive flesh. She sighed when the invisible tongue dipped into the wetness between her swollen lips.
Her mind went blank with the pleasure and she raised her hands above her head to grip the whorled carvings of their headboard. A pair of fingers pressed into her, as thick as if they were real, his other hand slid back up her torso to tease at her nipples again.
She would come like this if he wasn’t careful, and her Nirvana would be wasted. He had to be physically with her to soak it up. Oh, God she was close.
“Kol! Oh fuck!” She tried to hold it back. The rising well of energy that he’d taught her to feel spread through her, nearly overwhelming her. She would lose it if he didn’t join her now.
He was there like he’d materialized out of thin air. His pale, naked heat above her, dark eyes glowing with need. His lips descended on hers, tongue sweeping between her lips as his glorious thickness penetrated her, slamming in deep and hard where his shadow’s tongue had been only a second before.
Hallie’s orgasm ripped through her, her body convulsing with the pleasure of being filled with him, stretched nearly to the point of discomfort. In spite of the nearly overwhelming possession, it was all delicious sensation. Her climax persisted, its ebb and flow rising and falling in time with the undulating thrust of his cock. He’d opened her floodgate so wide there was no stopping until he let it close again.
He released her lips and cried her name, the word coming out on a gust of his magic breath and lingering in the air like an echo as his hot semen pulsed into her. She let it overtake her, let the energy inundate them both, just hoping that this time his seed would take root.
God, she wanted that to happen so much she ached for it daily. She dreamed nightly of being filled with his essence to the point of bursting, her belly ripe and round with the evidence of her love for him. She felt it now, her mark pulsing hotly on her skin, signaling her readiness to conceive.
She suppressed a whimper, a small sound of frustration over wanting something so much and being unable to attain it. She knew it was still a remote possibility they would conceive, Kol had told her the odds. Slim though they were, it was possible, though unlikely. It took most dragons nearly a decade of trying before they conceived their first, and dragons didn’t want for opportunities to try once they found their chosen mates. It was one of the reasons they took several. Only Kol had insisted she was the only woman he ever intended to mate.
“Did I hurt you?” Kol asked, his worry causing his voice to quaver.
Hallie reached a hand to his cheek where he poised above her still. “No. You could never hurt me. I was just wishing extra hard—I think I pulled a muscle.”
He smiled and shifted to the side, rolling her with him as he liked to do, letting her rest on her belly on top of him. He engulfed her in his embrace, burying his nose in her hair. The sheer size of him surprised her regularly, but when they were together like this, everything seemed to fit.
Hallie sighed contentedly, forcing the fervent, futile wish to the back of her mind. What they had was already beyond her wildest dreams. Though one piece was missing, they would have that in time, too. She was happy to enjoy this part as much as she could in the meantime.
“Who was on the phone?” she asked tentatively. She knew he couldn’t always tell her, given his business, but he hated keeping secrets from her.
Kol’s expression darkened and he groaned. “The Twins. They’ve found it.”
“Found what?” She read a combination of displeasure and excitement in his features that confused her.
“The missing fragment of the Verdanith.”
A rush of elation made Hallie’s eyes grow wide and her heartbeat speed up. She shot up, pressing her palms against his chest. “Get out! You’re fucking kidding me. When?”
Kol chuckled and shook his head, his lips quirked in an ironic smirk. “Yesterday. I guess Dimitri’s historian friend tracked down a family name.”
“Well, this is good, right? Why do you look so pissed?”
“Two reasons, love. First, that the Twins know of its location first doesn’t bode well for Rafe. Second, the family name is Rosencrans.”
“Rosencrans… as in Erika?”
Kol’s single raised eyebrow was all the confirmation she needed.
She sat up abruptly, shifting when Kol grunted at the unexpected pressure of her backside against his spent nethers.
“No shit,” she said. “All this time it’s been right under our noses. There’s no fucking way she knew about it or she’d have told us. You know that, right?”
His lips pressed together in a tight line. “I know you two are close. It isn’t her I mistrust. It’s him. He’s never been a team player. I mean, the crazy Red got himself chained to a bed for five hundred years in a fit of pique over having to hibernate in the first place.”
Hallie rolled her eyes at him. “I’ve heard the stories of the orgies Geva was responsible for. Not the best way to earn the respect of your elders, but you have to realize he wants the same thing you do. Why would he jeopardize that?”
“He may not do it intentionally, but he’s developed a reputation for being a reckless fool who doesn’t respect our hierarchy. I already talked to Erika. She says they’re on their way to her estate in Massachusetts to finally locate the missing fragment. She swears she never knew about it.”
Hallie felt a pang of sympathy for her friend. They had become close during the course of their expedition to find the Dragon Temple. Hallie knew enough about the young archaeologist to imagine how she must feel right now. Confused and betrayed most likely, and by her own father, if he’d been the one to keep this from her for her entire life.
“I’d give them the benefit of the doubt,” Hallie said. “I’m just happy this is almost over.” Her realization of what this meant hit her and her mirth bubbled over. She laughed out loud. “Baby, we’re so close now. When can we leave?”
Kol closed his eyes briefly, as though bracing himself. “I need to leave soon. Tonight or tomorrow to get to Boston in time to meet them.”
“Oh no you don’t. We’re going together.”
“But you would be miserable flying.” The excuse was weak for him. She looked into his eyes for a second, sure there was some other thing he wasn’t saying. It couldn’t have been the thing she was trying to avoid thinking about—Boston was the last place she thought she’d ever want to visit again after her abrupt departure when she’d joined the expedition. Even the idea of being in the same city as her ex caused her belly to writhe a little in anxiety, but she’d never told Kol all the details.
She shoved the anxiety deep and leaned closer, affecting a teasing tone. “Not if we flew like normal people fly. Your company has a jet for Christ’s sake! Use it for once!”
Kol’s grimace at the suggestion knocked Hallie back a step. The expression he gave her was definitely not faked. She found it exceedingly endearing. “Do you really hate that idea so much? Humans do it all the time, every day. Don’t tell me you are actually afraid of flying. You—a dragon?”
He gave her a slight shrug. “Not afraid. The thought of being carried in a tube when I could carry myself just…”
“Scares you.” Hallie suppressed a giggle that threatened to burst from her throat.
“No! It just makes me itch. Makes me feel like a weakling to be carried when I can fly.”
“Come on. I’ll be with you. Just the two of us and a pilot and one or two crew. Maybe he’ll let you into the cockpit so you don’t get so agitated. Or…I can let you into my cockpit.” She smirked and shifted her hips back down, brushing her flesh against the sleeping beast between his legs. “We need to warm up for all the baby making we’ll be doing after.”
Kol gripped her hips and sat up. He slid his hands up her back, spanning the entire width of her body easily as he held her against his chest and pressed his lips to hers. The softness of his mouth contrasted with the steel-hard pressure growing between his thighs, nudging up against her tender pussy.
“Do you promise?” he breathed. He slid his hands down to grip her ass and raise her up. The kneading pressure of his fingertips spread her apart enough for the heat of his shaft to rub against her clit.
“Absolutely,” she murmured with a shudder of pleasure. “I’d let you fuck me all the way to Boston if that’s what I need to do. Hell, I’d let you fuck me around the entire world. I wonder how much mileage I’ve got on this beauty already.” She reached between them and gave his cock a long, slow stroke, enjoying the pleased sigh he emitted.
“Yes,” he said. The word drifted out in a slow gasp when Hallie pressed his tip at her entrance and sank down.
“Yes?” she pressed the question against his ear, raising up along his length and pausing with just his tip poised inside her, throbbing hotly in time with her own slick flesh.
“Yes, I’ll fly in the fucking jet with you.”
Hallie cried out in surprise when he pushed her back down hard onto his cock and took control of her movements. All she could do was hang on and enjoy the ride.