And when my mind could form words, when I could again feel his essence around me, his body still moving in my own, I sent him that image one last time, into the dark and stars—my gift.

Perhaps our gift, one day.

Rhys spilled into me with a roar, his wings splaying wide.

And in our minds, down that bond, his magic erupted, his soul washing over mine, filling every crack and pit so that there was not one part of me that was not full of him, brimming with his dark, glorious essence and undimming love.

He remained buried in me, leaning heavily against the wall as he panted against my neck, “FeyreFeyreFeyre.”

He was shaking. We both were.

I worked up the presence of mind to crack open my eyes.

His face was wrecked. Stunned. His mouth remained partially open as he gaped at me, the glow still radiating from my skin, bright against the star-kissed shadows along his.

For long moments, we only stared. Breathed.

And then Rhys glanced sidelong toward the rest of the room.

Toward what we’d done.

A sly smile formed on his lips as we took in the pictures that had indeed come off the wall, their frames cracked on the floor. A vase atop a nearby side table had even been knocked to the ground, shattered into little blue pieces.

Rhys kissed beneath my ear. “That’ll come out of your salary, you know.”

I whipped my head to him and released my grip on his shoulders to flick his nose. He laughed, brushing his lips against my temple.

But I stared at the marks I’d left on his skin, already fading. Stared at the tattoos across his chest, his arms. Even an immortal’s lifetime of painting wouldn’t be enough to capture every facet of him. Of us.

I lifted my eyes to his again and found stars and darkness waiting. Found home waiting.

Never enough. Not to paint him, know him. Eons would never be enough for all I wanted to do, see with him. For all I wanted to love him.

The painting shone before me: Night Triumphant—and the Stars Eternal.

“Do it again,” I breathed, my voice hoarse.

Rhys knew what I meant.

And I’d never been so glad for a Fae mate when he hardened again a heartbeat later, lowered me to the floor and flipped me onto my stomach, then plunged deep into me with a growling purr.

And even when we eventually collapsed on the rug, barely avoiding the broken pictures and vase shards, unable to move for a good long while, that image of my gift remained between us, shimmering as bright as any star.

That beautiful, blue-eyed, dark-haired boy that the Bone Carver had once shown me.

That promise of the future.

Velaris was still sleeping when Rhys and I returned the next morning.

He didn’t bring us to the town house, however. But to an estate along the river, the building in ruins, the gardens a tangle.

Mist hung over much of the city in the hour before dawn.

The words we’d exchanged last night, what we’d done, flowed between us, as invisible and solid as our mating bond. He hadn’t taken his contraceptive tonic with breakfast. Wouldn’t be taking it again anytime soon.

“You never asked about your Solstice present,” Rhys said after a while, our steps crunching in the frosted gravel of the gardens along the Sidra.

I lifted my head from where I’d been leaning it against his shoulder while we’d ambled along. “I suppose you were waiting to make a dramatic reveal.”

“I suppose I was.” He halted, and I paused beside him as he turned to the house behind us. “This.”

I blinked at him. At the rubble of the estate. “This?”

“Consider it a Solstice and birthday present in one.” He gestured to the house, the gardens, the grounds that flowed to the river’s edge. With a perfect view of the Rainbow at night, thanks to the land’s curve. “It’s yours. Ours. I purchased it on Solstice Eve. Workers are coming in two days to begin clearing the rubble and knock down the rest of the house.”

I blinked again, long and slow. “You bought me an estate.”

“Technically, it will be our estate, but the house is yours. Build it to your heart’s content. Everything you want, everything you need—build it.”

The cost alone, the sheer size of this gift had to be beyond astronomical. “Rhys.”

He paced a few steps, running his hands through his blue-black hair, his wings tucked in tight. “We have no space at the town house. You and I can barely fit everything in the bedroom. And no one wants to be at the House of Wind.” He again gestured to the magnificent estate around us. “So build a house for us, Feyre. Dream as wildly as you want. It’s yours.”

I didn’t have words for it. What cascaded through me. “It—the cost—”

“Don’t worry about the cost.”

“But …” I gaped at the sleeping, tangled land, the ruined house. Pictured what I might want there. My knees wobbled. “Rhys—it’s too much.”

His face became deadly serious. “Not for you. Never for you.” He slid his arms around my waist, kissing my temple. “Build a house with a painting studio.” He kissed my other temple. “Build a house with an office for you, and one for me. Build a house with a bathtub big enough for two—and for wings.” Another kiss, this time to my cheek. “Build a house with rooms for all our family.” He kissed my other cheek. “Build a house with a garden for Elain, a training ring for the Illyrian babies, a library for Amren, and an enormous dressing room for Mor.” I choked on a laugh at that. But Rhys silenced it with a kiss to my mouth, lingering and sweet. “Build a house with a nursery, Feyre.”

My heart tightened to the point of pain, and I kissed him back. Kissed him again, and again, the property wide and clear around us. “I will,” I promised.

Chapter 23


The sex had destroyed me.

Utterly ruined me.

Any lingering scrap of my soul that hadn’t already belonged to her had unconditionally surrendered last night.

And seeing Feyre’s expression when I showed her the riverfront estate … I held the memory of her shining, beautiful face close to me as I knocked on the cracked front doors of Tamlin’s manor.

No answer.

I waited a minute. Two.

I unspooled a thread of power through the house, sensing. Half dreading what I might find.

But there—in the kitchens. A level below. Alive.

I saw myself in, my steps echoing on the splintered marble floors. I didn’t bother to veil them. He likely sensed my arrival the moment I’d winnowed onto his front step.

It was a matter of a few minutes to reach the kitchen.

I wasn’t entirely prepared for what I saw.

A great elk lay dead on the long worktable in the center of the dark space, the arrow through its throat illumined by the watery light leaking through the small windows. Blood pooled on the gray stone floor, its drip the only sound.

The only sound as Tamlin sat in a chair before it. Staring at the felled beast.

“Your dinner is leaking,” I told him by way of greeting, nodding toward the mess gathering on the floor.

No reply. The High Lord of Spring didn’t so much as look up at me.

Your mate should have known better than to kick a downed male.

Lucien’s words to Feyre yesterday had lingered. Perhaps it was why I’d left Feyre to explore the new paints Azriel had given her and winnowed here.

I surveyed the mighty elk, its dark eyes open and glazed. A hunting knife lay embedded in the wood beside its shaggy head.