Sparks flared in his hot gaze. “Which do you prefer?”

“I haven’t decided yet.” Pivoting under the surface of the water, she faced him on his lap and wrapped her legs around his waist. The thick jut of his cock rose tall between them, the crisp hair at its root tickling her sex. She looped her arms over his shoulders and drifted close for a teasing kiss. “Fortunately, we’ve got all day to figure it out.”

His hands gripped her ass and he smirked against her mouth. “All day, and another five nights after that.”

“You think it’s long enough?” she murmured, her lips still brushing his.

His answering chuckle was purely male and totally wicked. As was the meaningful shift of his hips that positioned his erection at the hot and ready entrance of her body. “Why don’t you tell me if it’s long enough?”

He lifted her onto him, and her laugh melted into a pleasured sigh as he sheathed every last inch.


When he’d first arrived at the villa, Jehan had imagined what Seraphina might look like unclothed and wreathed in the steam of the bathing room as he made love to her. Now he knew. And none of his fantasies were any match for the true thing.

She met his rhythm stroke for stroke. Arousal arced through him with each rotation of her hips, making his vision bleed red as fire filled his gaze. This woman had ruined him for any other. She destroyed him with a smile, with every moan and gasp, and he hadn’t even begun to show her what true pleasure was.

He rocked inside her, balanced on the edge of madness for how incredible they felt together.

Eight nights wasn’t enough.

The part of him that was more beast than man snapped at that tether. Eight nights was nothing. And they had already lost three of them.

The part of him that was nearly immortal demanded much more than that. It wanted forever.

Something he couldn’t give Seraphina.

Not when forever meant one of them would have to give up the life that waited for them on the other side of the handfast.

Real life—the one that she had devoted herself to, and the opposite one he was equally committed to. Real life, where her selflessness had nearly gotten her killed a few hours ago, and where he was the Order warrior whose work revolved around violence and death. Where cowardly men like Karsten Hemmings served diabolical groups like Opus Nostrum.

He couldn’t turn his back on the things that mattered to him any more than he could ask Seraphina to turn her back on hers.

But it was damned tempting to think about forever when they were enveloped within the fantasy of the handfast.

With his arms around her and her legs circling his waist as they moved together, joined beneath the fragrant, steaming water, forever was the only thing on his mind.

Eternity with Seraphina at his side.

As his Breedmate.

Bonded by blood.

The thought sent his gaze to the smooth column of her throat. Her pulse fluttered, beating with a rhythm he could feel echoing in his own veins. His fangs, already elongated from passion, now throbbed with an equally primal need.

A dangerous, selfish need.

One bite and there would be no other woman for him as long as he lived. All it would take was a single taste. Everything Breed in him pounded with the urge to sink his fangs into her flesh and take that binding sip.

Equally strong was his need to bind Seraphina to him by blood as well. If she drank from him, she would belong to no other male. His forever.

He couldn’t do that to her.

He wouldn’t.

Instead he guided her toward a fevered climax, driving into her body with all the hunger that rode him in his blood. He gave her pleasure, moving relentlessly until she broke apart in his arms on a scream.

Then he pivoted her around and moved in behind her to follow her over the edge.

As he came inside her on a shout, he couldn’t dismiss the cold knowledge that the clock on their time together was ticking—so fast he could feel it in his bones.

Eight nights with Seraphina wasn’t enough.

But somehow, at the end of it, he was going to have to find the strength to let her go.


Sera woke from a long sleep later that morning feeling drowsy and sated. Sore in all the right places. She couldn’t curb the smile that crept over her face as she recalled the hours she’d spent in the bathing room making love with Jehan. Their sex had been exhausting and incredible—which, she was beginning to realize, was the norm where he was concerned.

He was a tireless, wickedly creative lover. When she’d lost count of her orgasms and was sure she couldn’t take any more pleasure, he had lifted her from the steaming pool and carried her to one of several nests of plump cushions and silk pillows on the floor for another bone-melting round.

If she’d thought watching their bodies move together in the darkness of her camp tent had been erotic, it had been nothing compared to seeing every carnal nuance of their passion in the candlelit reflection in the bathing room mirrors.

Just the thought of their tangled limbs and questing mouths had her pulse thrumming all over again as she wandered into the villa’s kitchen for a light breakfast. Jehan was awake too—if he’d slept at all. His deep voice carried in a low, indistinct murmur from the main living area in the heart of the retreat. He was on her phone apparently. She hoped he had gotten back to Marcel after his brother’s repeated messages for them to report in.

Sera made some tea and grabbed a peach from a bowl of fruit on the counter. Her long curls poured loose around her shoulders and over her bare breasts as she padded quietly out of the kitchen in just her panties to join him.

Biting into the ripe peach as she walked, she considered how much sweeter the juice would be if she were licking it off Jehan’s muscled body. Or sucking it off the hard length of his cock.

Oh God...she had it bad for this male.

He made her feel more alive than anything in her life ever had. Yes, she lived for her work. It had fulfilled her for a long time, given her purpose. But Jehan gave her pleasure. He gave her yearning and contentment, excitement and peace. He had opened a part of her she hadn’t even realized had been closed before.

Most unsettling of all, he made her long for the one thing she’d never imagined she might need. A mate by blood. A bond that could never be broken, not even by time.

As he’d made love to her hours ago, there had been a moment when she almost believed Jehan might want that too.

She wouldn’t have refused him.

They’d been drunk with passion, and in the heat of that limitless pleasure, he could have taken all of her—body, heart, soul, and blood. She would have surrendered everything she was. Without even knowing what a future together might look like once the handfast was over and they left the cocoon of the villa.

She would give it all to him now too, clear-headed and sober.

Not at the end of their eight nights, but now.

And as much as it scared her, she had to let him know what he meant to her. Even more terrifying, she had to know if what she’d read in his tormented eyes a few hours ago was anything close to the depth of emotion she felt for him.

If he loved her too, then nothing else mattered. They would find a way to blend their lives and form their future together.

But as she rounded the corner of the corridor and overheard some of his conversation, all of her hopes faltered, then fell away. He wasn’t talking to Marcel. She hung back, out of Jehan’s sight as he spoke with one of his fellow warriors.