“Come here.” Kellan funneled every trace of his magic into the order. Desire gnawed the base of his spine and made him shake. He channeled as much of his power as he could. “Come to me.”
Rather than racing to Kellan, Becket halted. A shudder worked through his delectable body, enticing Ke
llan almost more than he could bear.
“You stopped. Why?” Kellan asked. “You must sense how I want you and how good we’ll be together.”
“I wasn’t expecting—you startled me,” Becket said in a low and endearingly nervous hush.
“You see I spoke true: I can’t force you.” Kellan smiled his satisfaction. “Your desire drew me from my bed and lured you from yours. This is your power at work, not mine. Yours.”
Becket shook his head. “I don’t have any magic.”
“Lacking magic doesn’t mean you lack power. You have that by the plenty,” Kellan said, though he didn’t expect Becket to understand. His understanding wasn’t required, though, or preferable. Not until Becket had learned to wield his weapon with care. Still, Kellan knew enough of sentinels and bibelots to flash the heart stone he’d charged at Becket, taunting him with it. Whether or not Becket understood his hunger for Kellan’s stone was irrelevant, because his bibelot’s instincts would lead him true.
Becket did not disappoint him. He stepped closer, near enough that Kellan could see the dark circles of his pupils swallowing the brown of his eyes as Kellan’s scent swamped him.
Fate—or the gods, to whomever one ascribed one’s destiny—hadn’t left Kellan helpless at the hands of his mate. Bibelots possessed not a stingy sniff of magic, but nature had made up for this lack in the wealth of sensory receptors in Becket’s nose. Becket’s pupils dilated wider at the first deep whiff of Kellan’s body, which had obediently intensified its production of lust-laden sweat upon meeting Becket. Were Becket’s delicious tremble—and the answering, though no less eager, leap in the pit of Kellan’s stomach—a matter of physical processes as the heretics said? Even in Melaeum, Kellan had heard them speak of mating as an evolutionary adaptation of skin, viscera, and the nervous system to hasten couplings that increased the odds of survival. Kellan hadn’t reported the troublemakers for spreading their blasphemies, but he had listened. Now, he believed none of it.
Because this? The attraction staggered his mind and bewildered his senses. His need for Becket and the corresponding desires of his bibelot could not be ascribed to mechanical processes or biological urges.
It was magic.
The jittery buzz of arousal arcing between him and Becket wasn’t a magic Kellan could scry in a pool of water or mix inside a witch’s bottle. It couldn’t be conjured with herbs or focused with stones, candles, or heartfelt pleas to the four powers. The attraction that drew Becket a stumbling step closer was more primal. Elemental.
“Toreth suggested I seduce you,” Becket finally said, voice husky as he drew nearer. Almost within Kellan’s reach. Almost. “You don’t strike me as a man who can be led by his dick,” Becket said, “and sex is bound to make circumstances more complicated.” He moved closer still. Grinning, he shrugged. “Maybe fucking would help work this maddening… whatever it is… out of my system.”
Relishing the thrill of victory, Kellan struggled to keep his body loose. The temptation to grab Becket and pull him down to Kellan’s nest of blankets ate at Kellan, but aggressive maneuvers wouldn’t win Kellan his bibelot. Becket must come to him. Slinking to Kellan with every hesitant footstep, Becket was coming to him. Instead of leaping on his mate, Kellan relaxed his muscles and enjoyed the whirl of lust escalating higher. Unable to smother the flash of predatory teeth he knew must signal his longing, he smiled instead. “Would you like to seduce me?” he asked on a warm purr. “You could, easily.” He widened his thighs. His blanket gapped farther, and the silhouette of his hard dick jutted more prominently in the feeble light. “I would enjoy the attempt. I’m eager to place myself in your hands.”
Becket’s chest rose and fell in uneven gasps. “Toreth swore sex would wrap you around my finger.”
A bubble of laughter worked up Kellan’s throat, his endless fascination with and joy at his bibelot consuming him as readily as his arousal. “You can try to use our lust to manipulate me. We both can try.” He spread his arms and shrugged his blanket off his shoulders. It pooled at his hips and revealed the full expanse of his chest. “I imagine we will both fail. We are each too strong and proud to be coerced.”
Kellan wasn’t even sure Becket heard him anymore. His eyes glazed as he sank to his knees on the floor next to where Kellan lay. Becket parted pink lips Kellan couldn’t wait to taste again and pushed out a shaky breath. He lifted a trembling hand. He reached for Kellan and for the black rock of Kellan’s heart stone. Kellan’s pulse quickened, but Becket’s finger did not touch the sorcerer’s stone at Kellan’s throat. Becket’s hand hovered, achingly.
“You may have it if you want,” Kellan somehow mustered the steadiness of mind to say, though his desire rapidly swamped him. “After.” He shifted closer to the beautiful man who would be his.
* ~ * ~ *