Reign (Marko Delacroix #5)(7)

By: Alaska Angelini

Lights from the surrounding mansions had me nodding. I hadn’t realized we were already home. The car pulled into the large circular driveway and the moment the door opened, the servant fell to his knees at Aetas’ presence. It didn’t stop our leader from getting out. He pretended he didn’t see the human as he stood outside and waited for us to join him.

“Welcome home, Princess, Master … Your Highness.”

Silence followed all of us as Marko led me in through the mansion first and walked us into the stairwell that descended to the underground city. Music drifted through the darkness and grew louder as we approached the light that came from the bottom of the stairs. When the royal horn blasted, signaling my arrival, the activity below died down. I stepped into the large open room, watching the mass of vampires and slaves fall to the ground at Aetas’ figure stepping in behind us. I didn’t doubt most had never seen him before, but they wouldn’t have had to know who he was. The crown and his powerful energy said everything.

“Thank you for the warm welcome. You may rise.”

His voice was like silk, caressing and enticing the minds of the residents. Women gazed over enamored, while even most of the men took notice to his good looks. It was shocking how their eyes followed us adoringly through the large room. They worshipped him immediately. It showed me just how deep his gift ran on those of lower status.

“Are you hungry, Master? I’m afraid the city has already fed, but I can provide you a supplier if you’d like.”

Marko kept us moving to our tunnel. The guest member’s room was a few doors down from ours and I had no doubt he wanted to get rid of Aetas as soon as possible.

“I don’t drink from suppliers.”

I turned to look at him just as the pitch black from the entrance swallowed us whole.

“Who do you feed from, then, if not suppliers?”

We came to a stop and Marko swung the bedroom door open, flipping on the light. Aetas’ eyes raked over my body and I couldn’t stop myself from stepping back, right into Marko.

“That’s right, Princess. I only feed from the best. Since no one of my circle is here, that would be you.”

“I fucking knew he was up to something.”

Marko’s angry words rushed through my head and the ruler in me battled the bonded. Technically, strongest or not, I didn’t have to let him feed. I was someone’s concubine. That took me out of the equation. But I led this city. And I did so because Aetas hadn’t forced me out. I owed him, in a sense, and I couldn’t ignore that.

“You may feed from my wrist. Marko stays.”

“I don’t do the wrist. Neck, and he stays.”

“Inside of the elbow,” Marko said between clenched teeth. “That’s it.” His fangs were already down and there was a wildness in his eyes I knew all too well. Aetas was pushing him and he was probably doing it intentionally.

“Fine. For now.”

He walked past us, unbuttoning the top of his black shirt. When he sat down on the edge of the bed, I had to force myself forward. Marko didn’t leave the door. He held to the wooden barrier like a lifeline. As if it would keep him chained into place through the protectiveness and rage he was feeling.

I looked down at the black lace sleeve knowing I couldn’t pull it up. I sat next to him, gripping the thin material and ripping it free just above the bend of my elbow. I kept my eyes on Marko as I lifted. Aetas’ firm grip latched onto my forearm and I tried to control my quick breaths as he brought it up. The slice of his fangs breaking through my skin had my lids lowering the smallest amount. Deep draws on my veins had his hold tightening. A minute passed, and then two. When he broke away, a moan followed.

“Definitely stronger since the last time.” He let go and I stood, meeting Marko’s stare for only a moment before my attention went back to him.

“I’m glad to hear it. We will be retiring now. Marie will be of assistance to you if you need anything. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

My steps were quick as I headed for the door.

“Princess Tessalyn.”

I looked over my shoulder. “Yes, Your Highness?”

“I suspect Hunter will come here. It’s the real reason behind my visit. This is the closest city and he’ll be pulled to the power of this place. He’ll come.”

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