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Zodiac Academy: Heartless Sky by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti


Zodiac Academy: Heartless Sky

by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti

Self Published

Book 7 in the Supernatural Bullies and Beasts series


The winds of fate are shifting, and it finally seems like they’ve been twisted in our favour.


On the run and cast out from society, we’ve been forced to hide from the mad man who stole our throne. But as more secrets come to light and my sister and I work harder than ever before to reach our potential and claim our birth right, the end is finally drawing closer.


There is no turning from this path now. The curse chases on our heels as time rushes by and the blood drenched destiny of the man I love looms ever closer just like the monster who stole our throne.


We must prepare for the final battle, but three things are clear now.


The cards have already been dealt.


Blood will spill for a new future to rise.


And the stars themselves can’t help us.


The fight for the throne is upon us. All hail the heartless sky.

Age Recommendation:

18+


Genre:

Urban Fantasy

Romance

 

Zodiac Academy: Heartless Sky is the the seventh book in the Supernatural Bullies and Beasts series, and starts off immediately where we left off in book six, with our crew escaping the battle with Lionel and his followers, and arriving at The Burrows, the hiding place for the Royalist Rebels. While hiding amongst the growing army against Lionel, Tory and Darcy learn more about their powers, and train to dethrone the false King. Their bonds with the Heirs are closer than ever, they are happy and head over heels for their mates, and their army is strong. But war is bloody, and the stars seem against them. There is no turning back or hiding from fate.


I was afraid to read this one. If you have read Caroline and Susanne's work previously, you will know they LOVE to end their books with the reader in the midst of an emotional breakdown. I also saw many readers state on their readers group on facebook that they were devastated after that ending. So, while I was prepared to be wrecked, it didn't matter in the end, because I bawled my eyes out. It's been a week since I finished it, and I still don't feel okay. Aside from that, my thoughts are largely positive. So, according to Caroline and Susanne, they banged this book out in 6 weeks. I gotta say - almost 1000 pages long, they did a superb job. Seriously. I mean, I found a few typos, but this is a girthy fucking book, and they did it in 6 weeks. That's nutty. And they did a good job writing a book that is centered on almost a year with the rebels, training for war, and it not feeling like a training montage. They definitely focused on the relationships between the Heirs and the Vega's, while implying they are all getting stronger in the ways they need to. I was at least satisfied that Tory and Darcy were getting stronger, while thrilled that we got to see Darcy and Orion and Tory and Darius truly be together. You know what ... so much happened this book, and I need to list it out below to keep my thoughts straight. Remember, if you are okay with spoilers, or have already read the book, highlight between the arrows below to read on.


Darcy and Orion --------------------> I am SO SO SOOOOOO happy we get these two back together in this book. I continued with this series BECAUSE of Darcy and Orion, and I shit you not, I mentally SQUEALED when we FINALLY get them officially mated. Because fuck do they deserve it. But of course, fucking Lavinia had to fuck their lives up again. I know they will get through the consequences of Orion making that star deal that makes him Lavinia's slave, and Darcy will work through the guilt of what she has done under the curse. Speaking of curse, who else called that? I mean, nice try throwing us off with Darcy being under the covers in bed right after another murder, and it almost threw me off. <-------------------------


Darius and Tory ---------------------> Honestly, I was afraid he would never tell her about the deal he made with the stars, and I am so glad he did. It made his death by the hands of his father that much more brutal and unexpected. My hope is that the stars will ultimately bring him back because he died before his allotted time. But who knows? And Tory .... she has grown SO MUCH, and for this to happen ... ugh. I hope she channels that anger towards the right people and gets her justice. It's hard to say with Tory, because she tends to react in a way that I don't expect her to. <-----------------


Seth and Caleb --------------------> OMG!! The tension between these two is so consuming. And that blowjob scene? Delicious. I need these two to get past this misunderstanding and get together ASAP. Because is Rosalie is saying they are destined for each other, and with one more book to go, they must be mates. MUST BE! And I love that they each have their own friendship thing with Orion <3 <-----------------


Xavier/Sophia/Tyler ------------> Why was I NOT expecting a throuple? I should have figured that out, but noooooo. But can I just say, I am fucking FOR THIS. Xavier doming Tyler was insanely hot. Also ... the Jacob's Ladder dijazzling, and the fact that Ryder is the one that did it? Amazing. I'm worried about Xavier. I believe he will live, but I can't remember if wings grow back or not. I know hands and head doesn't. <-----------------


Lionel --------------------> while I groaned when I saw we got chapters from his POV, they ended up being delightful if you like seeing a bit of karma dumped on someone. I can imagine Caroline and Susanne thinking up ways to torture Lionel, and cackling as they wrote that scene. What he does to Xavier, and killing Darius .... he better get a brutal fucking death. <-----------------------



  1. Darcy and Orion. Sigh. And Seth interrupting, because it was funny.

  2. Darius and Tory reuniting

  3. Darius trying to make breakfast

  4. Seth showing Darcy his penis in his excitement to show his bite mark, and Orion losing his mind over it

  5. Orion and Darius still cuddle <3

  6. Darcy finding out about Seth fucking with Orion

  7. Darius trying to claim the treasure lol

  8. Xavier and Darius saving Xavier's herd

  9. The wedding, and Tory and Darcy's dresses

  10. Seth telling Orion his secret

  11. Seth's drinking game that totally backfired

  12. Orion in all the A.S.S gear

  13. Darcy and Orion at the library

  14. LEON AND SETH IN THE SAME ROOM OHMYGAWD

  15. Geraldine in charge

  16. Caleb and Seth .... CALEB AND SETH!

  17. Xavier's prank on Gabriel. Amazing!

  18. THROUPLE!

  19. Orion announcing to the rebels that he loves Darcy

  20. MATES MATES MATESSSSSS and no longer being power shamed

  21. Caleb catching Seth, Orion and Darcy in a weird situation lol

  22. DARIUS AND TORY MARRY!

  23. Darius telling Lionel he married Tory, and when he is finished killing him, he will bow to her.


Geraldine: “And yes, he may be an Acrux, raised by the vagrant vagabond who has stolen the throne from the true queens, and yes, we may look at him and accuse him of being a cowardly creature with a spine as slippery as a sallion slug. But hear me this day, and hear me ever more, for Xavier Acrux has proved he will fight in the name+ of my lady Tory and my lady Darcy. He has shown that every glittering speck of his essence is devoted to the true cause, the rightful cause-”

Seth: “Can we hurry it along? I’m freezing my cock off here,” Orion: “What are you gonna do, throw me in prison?”

Orion asked her tauntingly.

Tory: “Nah, the punishment for that crime is hourly dick kicks,” Tory: “Are we seriously going to join the C.O.C.Ks?” Darcy: “You look a little lonely over there in the shadows,"

Orion: “I’ve always enjoyed the company of the shadows. Besides, I’m a Vampire. I don’t get lonely. Alone is what I do best.”

Darcy: “Well I guess I’ll just walk by myself then,”

I said lightly and he shot to my side so fast it made my head spin, a smirk twisting up the corners of his mouth as he took hold of my arm.

Orion: “Turns out, I enjoy the company of your shadow more than any other,”

he said in a low voice that set my pulse racing.

Orion: “So go ahead and walk away from me, Blue, but I’ll be right behind you.” Darcy: “This isn’t a classroom, Professor. If you want to teach me a lesson, you’d better do it with your hands.”

Orion: Fine by me.” Seth: “Woah, sorry. Didn’t realize things were getting Fifty Shades of Blue in here,” Darcy: “Shut it, Seth. If you stay here, you can’t be an asshole.”

Seth: “But being an asshole is what I do,” Orion: “No. You think I’m gonna share breathing space with the guy who’s been cozying up to my girl while I was gone?”

Darcy: “Firstly, I wasn’t your girl while you were gone. Because you were gone, duh.”

I prodded Orion in the side.

Darcy: “And secondly, if you suggest one more time that I hooked up with Seth, I’ll unleash Tory’s fist on your dick again.” Darcy: “Goodnight, Lance,”

I said breathlessly and he pressed his lips to the soft place behind my ear as his fingers ran over the bite to heal it.

Orion: “Goodnight, Blue.”

Seth: “Goodnight, roomies,”


Tory: “If you kiss me now, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to let you go again. So if this isn’t it for you, if you can’t handle my stubborn, selfish ass then please just walk away. Because I can’t have you for this moment if I don’t have you for every moment after it-”

Darius: “I’m yours, Roxy. For every single second I have in this world, I’m all yours. And after that I’ll still be yours, wherever I end up after I’m gone, I’ll belong right here with you.” Darius: “You’re more than I deserve, Roxy, but I’m not selfless enough to give you up. So I’m going to take my time with you tonight. I’m going to mark each and every inch of your flesh with my touch so that you can’t even wash the feeling of me from your body.”


Tory: “You are better than him, Darius. And you might be a monster, but you’re my monster now and I want you just the way you are.” Seth: “It was cold over there.”

Seth pointed at his own bed.

Seth: “And there was a chilly breeze blowing in under the door.”

Orion: “You’re an air Elemental,”

I spat, stalking back and forth in front of his shield as I heaved breaths in and out, hungry for a fight.

Seth: “Yeah and I’m a Werewolf!”

He got to his feet, wiping away the blood from his now healed nose on the back of his hand.

Seth: “I need snuggles. Without snuggles, I get cold and lonely. And Darcy went to get breakfast, so your bear arms were going to waste, and I snuck in for a little hug time. I don’t see what the big deal is.”

He grabbed some sweatpants from the floor, yanking them on.

Orion: “I don’t snuggle,”

I snapped.

Seth: “Liar. You snuggle with Darcy and Darius all the time. But where’s my snuggles, Lance? Where’s. My. Snuggles?” Gabriel: “He’s been with Tory all night,”

Orion: “All night? Why didn’t you come to me sooner?”

Gabriel: “Trust me, you did not want to go and interrupt them. I had to keep myself busy all night just so I wasn’t plagued by visions of my sister being railed by a fucking Acrux.”

Orion: “By the moon, why would the stars show you that?”

I grimaced.

Gabriel: “Because they’re assholes who have a sick sense of humour, Orio. Darcy: “How many times do I have to tell you I don’t need protecting?”

Orion: “And how many times do I have to tell you, that I will protect you regardless?”

he tossed back in his stern professor tone which just angered me even more.

Darcy: “You’re infuriating,”

I huffed.

Orion: “And you’re cute when you’re angry. Shall we air more facts about each other, Blue, or go and kill some Nymphs?” Darcy: “I’m angry because I’m scared,”

I admitted in a rush of words.

Darcy: “Because if you keep trying to save me, maybe one day you’ll put yourself between me and death and it will claim you from me.”

Terror coated the admission of my worst fear.

Darcy: “Or maybe you’ll end up in Darkmore again because you make choices for us without consulting me and I’ll lose you all over again.”

Orion: “That’s love, Blue,” Caleb: “Hey,”

I barked at him, shooting forward and gripping his hair in my fist, jerking on it to make him look up at me.

Caleb: “No pouting. We can figure this out.”

Seth’s eyes widened and he nodded slowly, his tongue wetting his lips and drawing my attention for a moment.

Seth: “Alright,”

he agreed, a smirk lifting the corner of his mouth.

Seth: “But you didn’t have to go all Dom on me.”

Caleb: “Oh please, you’d love it if I went all Dom on you,” Seth: “Oh so all we have to do to earn our way onto the tasty table is give a Vega a bunch of orgasms then, is it?”

Seth demanded, like that was some kind of challenge.

Caleb: “Well technically I have given a Vega a load of-”

I began but Darius cut me off with a snarl.

Darius: “Do not finish that sentence, Caleb. Or I swear to fuck, I’ll cut your dick off and toss it in the tray with those chipolatas over there.”

Seth: “Oooh, there’s chipolatas?” Orion: “Wait here,”

Orion growled before shooting off out of the bathhouse and barely a few seconds passed before he returned with everyone’s Phoenix weapons in hand, handing them out as well as slapping a pair of sweatpants into Seth’s chest for him to cover up with.

Seth: “Oh wow, thanks friend,”

he said before pulling them on.

Orion: “I’m doing everyone else a favor, not you,”


Seth: “So I’ve had a really good idea of how to make my next move. I’m gonna play gay chicken with him.” Darcy: “Gay chicken?”

I frowned.

Seth: “Yeah, because Cal is competitive, see? He can’t ever bear to lose. So I’ll just dare him to go gay for me and he won’t be able to back down on the dare because he’d have to admit defeat by doing so. Then he’ll go full gay and we’ll get gayer and gayer together until one day we’re married and it’s ten years down the line and he’s still so committed to the dare with our fourteen children who often ask why Daddy C always goes to those strip bars at the weekends with the booby ladies and-”

Darcy: “That’s a terrible idea,”

I cut over him and he looked crestfallen, like he’d really thought he’d cracked it this time. I took pity on him, resting a hand on his shoulder with a sigh.

Darcy: “Just tell him the truth, Seth.” The cold sensation of a bucket of ice being dumped on my libido fell over me and I cut Max a glare as he shrugged innocently.

Max: “You need to stay calm for a bit. No eye fucking the Dragon.” Darcy: “I think your boyfriend needs reminding of his place on your favourite person list,”

Tory: “Oh he knows. A couple more orgasms and he might even make the top ten.”

Geraldine banged her fist on the table.

Geraldine: “We have a murderer in our midst, and the game is afoot. We must solve this mystery before one of our own is found butchered in the night. Or would you rather we have this discussion while picking up the pieces of our beloved Xavier, because let us be unduly honest, he is quite the target with his sweet innocence and gentle soul.”

Xavier: “Hey,”

Xavier protested around a mouthful of lasagna.

Xavier: “I’m not innocent.”

Orion: “On a completely unrelated side note, I need the blood of a virgin for the Zodiac Guild elixir, do you mind if I grab some from you after dinner?”

Xavier spluttered his way through swallowing, his cheeks turning bright red.

Xavier: “I’m not a virgin.”

Darius boomed a laugh and Tory smacked him while the rest of the Heirs cracked up and Geraldine doubled over, wheezing as she held her side.

Geraldine: “Oh my great aunt Gwyneth on a merry-go-round, I needed that laugh during this somber eve, dear Xavier. Thank you,”

Geraldine said, wiping tears from under her eyes.

Xavier: “I’m not joking,”

Xavier balked.

Xavier: “I’ve had plenty of…sex.”

Darius: “With who?”

Darius demanded, leaning back in his seat and folding his arms.

Xavier: “Girls. Lots of girls. I’ve had girls on their knees while I rut my…horn on their swollen…parts.”

Caleb: “Oh dude, please go fuck someone, it’s painful to hear you talk about something you’ve never done.” Tory was gazing up at me, sucking her lip as she clapped to try and get the crowd started, but they didn’t follow her lead even when she elbowed Darius and he gave a couple of pitying slow claps too.

Tory: “Not a fucking slow clap, asshole,”

Darius: “Either kind of clap is awkward as fuck,” Geraldine: “I see you Lance Azriel Orion. My eyes are wide open and there you are like a crisp apple balancing upon the bosoms of the stars.”

Orion: “Thanks. I mean, not about me being a tit apple, but the other part.”


Orion: “So you played me, huh?”

I elbowed Darius as he rolled onto his side to look at me.

Darius: “Seth played you. I just let him. So are you gonna thank his ass or spank it?”

Orion: “I’ll ram a fucking pineapple up it,” Darcy: “Ohmagod,”

Darcy’s voice carried to me, but I couldn’t quite stir out of sleep to find her.

Darcy: “This is too cute.”

Tory: “Shh, you’ll wake them and I need to get a photo so that I can mock them tirelessly with it,”

Tory whispered.

Darcy: “They’re cuddling,”

Darcy whisper-squealed and Tory shushed her again but started suppressing a laugh.

Orion: “It’s called a man hug,” Tory: “Do you need another dick punch, Lance?”

Tory asked and I opened my eyes again, scuffing her hair and messing it up royally as Darius held her down so she couldn’t escape.

Darcy: “Nooo, don’t dick punch him. You’ll break it and I need it,”

Darcy complained, making me chuckle darkly.

Tory: “How about if I break it, you can break Darius’s in return,”

Tory offered conversationally and I swear my cock tried to run and take shelter from this heartless dick hunter.

Darius: “Hey,”

Darius barked as the two of them hooked their little fingers together to make the deal. I grabbed Blue’s arm as Darius grabbed Tory’s, yanking their hands apart before they could doom our dicks for all the stars to see. Orion: “Nice?”

I laughed, showing enough teeth that she knew I was nothing but an animal right now.

Orion: “Am I nice to you, Blue? Do I kiss you nicely? Do I fuck you nicely? Do I spank you nicely?”

I slowed to a halt behind her, clasping a handful of her ass in my hand and leaning down to speak in her ear.

Orion: “Or do I kiss you like our tongues are made of fire and ice? Do I fuck you like the world is ending and you’re the goddess of my salvation? Do I spank you hard enough for you to feel it everywhere? So you know exactly who owns you.” Orion: “I can be owned and shackled and made into a slave for you, beautiful. But I’m not the kind who does as he’s told. I’m the kind who seeks out the secret desires in your eyes and feeds them to you piece by piece. I’m your most corrupt wants brought to life and it’s my fucking calling to sate you, Blue.” Seth: “I know how protective assholes work. Lance was getting all gives-upsy because he thought it was the right thing to do. He’s a noble assbag, you see? So I had to give him a nudge by making him think I’d spread you out in my bed and fucked you raw like a good little Beta.” Seth: “You’re so dramatic, Lance.”

Orion: “Oh I’m dramatic? Everything about your ridiculous plan was dramatic.”

Seth: “Which is why we’ll make such good friends when you stop holding onto these silly grudges. You know what people say about grudges? It’s like taking killblaze and expecting your enemy to get high and kill themselves. But I’m never going to get high and kill myself, Lance. I’m going to be here always, as your friend. Just give into it, bro. It’s inevitable. Like you and Darcy were inevitable.”

Darcy: “That’s kinda cute,” Seth: "She’s your moon flower. Rare, with muscular petals and curly golden hair you just wanna grip in your fist while you make him - her smile-”

Orion: “What are you talking about?”

Seth: “The point is, she’s special.”

He looked at Darcy with a doggish grin.

Seth: “She and Tory are something else. And all the shit we did to them? Well, call me an asshole, but I think it made them bloom.”

Darcy: “I mean, I’m never gonna thank you for that, but I think you fucked yourselves over.”

Darcy shrugged.

Darcy: “We told you we never wanted the throne, but then you pushed and pushed us and made us want it more than you can even imagine.”

Seth: “You would’ve wanted it anyway eventually,”

he said, a challenge in his eyes now.

Seth: “But I like a little competition, babe, I’ll be more than happy to beat your ass when it comes to it.”

Darcy: “We’ll see,”


Darius: “Give them to me,”

he commanded, but the Heirs caught hold of his shoulders to keep him back, his fist still locked tight around the diamond.

Tory; “These aren’t yours, they belong to the Guild,”

Tory said with a grin.

Tory: “So unless you wanna sign up, you can’t play with them.” Tory: “Bad Dragon,” Darcy: “I will kneel for you as you would kneel for me. You’re my king and I’ll rub my knees raw for you until you’re sated,” Darcy: “You are meant for the sunlight, Lance Orion. So you’ll stand with me in it or else we’ll stay in the dark together.” Orion: “Right, that’s enough!”

I barked and they all stilled. I hadn’t wanted to do this. I’d been trying to teach them without going full professor, that part of my life well and truly in the past. But this was getting ridiculous.

Orion: “Miss Vega, get your ass in your own seat.”

I sent a blast of air at Tory, sending her flying down into the chair beside Darius, making her lips pop open in surprise.

Orion: “Rigel, Acrux and Altair, if you throw one more fucking ice ball in my classroom, I will blast you through the wall and you can forget about coming back here to learn a single thing.” I caught their ice ball with a whip of air, sending it flying into the door so it smashed into a thousand pieces, and the three of them slowly sank down into their seats in shock.

Seth: “What would happen if a Fae with a big Order form swallowed three people then shifted back into their Fae form? Do you think they’d die? I think they might die,”

Seth mused aloud.

(unknown) : “Actually, I know some annoying people we could send as bait to Lionel, then when he eats them, we could shoot an Order Suppressant dart up his ass and bang. Dead Dragon. Annoying people eaten. Win – win.”

Orion: “Capella, if you ask another pointless question this lesson, I will force feed you three people in your Werewolf form and we’ll put your theory to the test,”

I snarled, stealing the air from his lungs as he opened his mouth to respond.

Darcy: “So hot,”

Darcy said under her breath as she watched me, shifting in her seat as desire filled her eyes.

Orion: “Miss Vega, if you keep looking at me like that, I will bring you up here, bend you over my desk and spank you in front of everyone. Is that what you want?”

I demanded, trying to ignore the way my cock was twitching for her. She considered that for a second then glanced at her sister and shook her head, her cheeks pinking as she sat back in her seat and withdrew the pencil from her lips. Silence fell and I looked around the quiet classroom with my eyebrows arching. Well holy fucking shit, I guess that did it. Darius: “Dragons are all about treasure,”

I explained and she tilted her head to the side as she looked at me, her dark hair falling to brush against my arm and revealing the teeth marks I’d left on her shoulder when I’d gone full animal and bitten her.

Tory: “Yeah, I noticed the huge chest of it taking up half of our room. Not to mention the fact that I wake up with gold coins stuck to my ass every other day.”

She reached over and plucked a coin from the mattress behind me to prove my point and I smirked at her.

Darius: “The most important thing to my kind is finding the most valuable treasure you can imagine and then hoarding it away to protect and keep safe away from any and every threat to it. And you, Roxanya Vega, are more important to me than all the gold and jewels in the entire world combined. I’d go without them for the rest of my days if it meant I got to steal a moment in your arms with you looking at me the way you are right now. There is nothing I wouldn’t do to keep you safe and to make sure you stay mine. I want to possess you with all the greed and wrath of the monster in me and I want to own you with the desire of a thousand Dragons guarding a priceless treasure, but more than all of that, I just want to love you like this. Endlessly and brutally and possessively. Now that you’re mine, I won’t give you up for anything.”

Tory: “Not even the throne?”

she teased, the one remaining point of tension between us raising its head while I shook mine.

Darius: “You’ll make a stunning Councilor's wife,”

I teased and she punched me in the pec hard enough to bruise.

Darius: “Ow,”

I complained as she gave me a look that warned the next one would be harder.

Tory: “You’ll make a gorgeous king consort. You know, pretty, good in the sack…silent.”


Xavier: “I’m afraid Highspell had some of your other ones burned,”

I said with a frown and I immediately regretted saying that as Orion looked like I’d just told him I’d murdered his puppy.

Orion: “Burned them?”

he rasped and I nodded, offering him an apologetic look as he hugged the bag of books to his chest like he didn’t want them to hear what had happened to their friends.

Darius: “Sorry, man.”

Darius rested a hand to Orion’s shoulder and he growled.

Orion: “I’ll murder that fake-faced witch,”

he snarled, his fangs on show as he held onto his books even tighter and I was pretty sure he was making that promise to them. Dude would definitely kill in revenge for those books. Tory: “I just want him dead at my feet. Is that too much to ask? For my boyfriend’s father to just bleed out painfully at my goddamn feet?”

Darcy: “Wow, you get really bloodthirsty when you’re worried,”


Darius: “I wish we could just stay here like this forever,”

he murmured, his voice low and rough like he was trying not to tarnish the silence with his words.

Darius: “Make time stand still beyond that door and live in this moment eternally.”

Tory: “That’s not living,”

I replied, the corner of my lips lifting as I shifted over his hips, feeling the hard length of his cock pressing against me in a demand.

Darius: “So what is?”

he asked, like a starving man begging for scraps and my heart hurt as I looked down at him, hating the scars which Lionel had placed upon him inside and out.

Tory: “Taking hold of every moment and making it count. A life well lived should be full of adventure and danger and passion.”


Tory: “You like?”

Tory asked, giving her devilish Dragon a smile worthy of launching a thousand vessels as he looked her up and down.

Darius: “Fuck me, Roxy, I know I really am in love if I can see you in that gown and still want you just as fiercely as ever,”

Darius muttered as he helped her into her seat, and I practically glowed at seeing him swoon over her in her finery.

Tory: “Well try to control yourself. It would be a crying shame if it was burnt to cinders by your fire magic while you were trying to get me out of it.” Seth: “Everyone’s having fun,”

Orion: “Great,”

Seth: “But you’re here all alone like a lonely llama.”

I moved to the bed, crawling onto it as I kept the bourbon behind me and his eyes narrowed.

Orion: “I was, but now a dog has come to annoy me,” Seth: “I’m in love with my best friend,”

I breathed my most terrifying secret.

Orion: “Darius?”

Seth: “No.”

I swatted him.

Orion: “Max?”

Seth: “No!”

Orion: “Darcy?”

he growled dangerously.

Seth: “No,”

I snarled through my teeth.

Seth: “Forget it.”

I shoved off of the bed, but I paused as he said the name that unraveled me like he was pulling on a thread of my soul.

Orion: “Caleb?”

he asked, his voice softening ever so slightly.

Seth: “Yeah,”

I rasped, wheeling around again with a whimper in my throat.

Seth: “I love him and he’ll never love me back because he’s not – because he doesn’t like – because I have a massive – and he has an equally big – and – oh.” Seth: “Wait - you have fangs! So you must have the answer I’ve been looking for. Does drinking blood turn you on? Like, say you drank from an ugly leprechaun but he tasted like a rainbow, would you get a hard on? Or do you have to find your blood bags hot to get hard? You have to tell me, Lance, how do you get hard?!”

A movement in my periphery made my head snap sideways and I spotted Justin Masters looking in at us with wide eyes through the open door with his lips parted in shock.

Seth: “How much did you hear?!”

I bellowed, ready to slice his ears off and make threats to every single member of his family so he never spoke a word of this. He backed up several steps, fear crossing his features.

Justin: “J-just you asking Professor Orion how he gets hard,”

he spluttered and I breathed a sigh of relief, hurrying to the door and slamming it in his face.

Seth: “Thank the stars,”

I said heavily.

Orion: “Oh yes,”

Orion said sarcastically as he glowered at me.

Orion: “Thank the stars.” Orion: “Yes, I’ve gotten hard from powerful blood before.”

Seth: “Before Darcy?”

I asked and he nodded, not meeting my eye as he clearly didn’t want to discuss this. But discuss this he would.

Seth: “Whose blood was it? Did you fuck them? Or was it an uggo? Or did you fuck an uggo?”

Orion: “It was Darius, alright?”

he snapped and my lips parted.

Seth: “Oh my stars…you fucked Darius. That explains everything.”

Orion: “No I didn’t! His blood turned me on, that’s all.”

Seth: “Right.”

I winked.

Seth: “It’s okay, Lance. We’re in a sharing circle here. You can tell me the truth. Did you do the downward Werewolf with him? Or did you let him ride your Milky Way?”

Orion: “We did not fuck,”

he snarled and I sighed.

Seth: “So why are you telling me you did?” Orion: “I didn’t,” Seth: “Alright, I dare everyone to sink a bottle of beer. The last one to finish has to kiss me.”

I grinned widely, looking Caleb right in the eye as his lips parted for a second then he shrugged like it meant nothing. And maybe it did, but also, maybe it didn’t.

Darius: “Roxy isn’t playing,”

Darius announced with a growl in the back of his Dragony throat.

Orion: “Or Darcy,”

Orion chimed in and I looked over at them with a chuckle.

Seth: “You guys just want me all to yourselves, huh?” Xavier: “I can’t believe you bit me, man. Is that how you always kiss people?”

Xavier dabbed at his swollen bottom lip.

Seth: “Ah shit, did I just steal your rough kiss V-card? Or was it your first kiss V-card?”

I gasped in horror.

Darius: “Dude,”

Darius growled at me and I shrugged innocently.

Seth: “What? He shouldn’t have cheated if he didn’t wanna be mouth fucked. I can’t help it if it was his first time.”

Darius: “Seth, I’ve already had to watch you kiss my fucking brother like he was one of your little Wolf pack Betas, can we stop talking about it now?”


Tory: “Are we telling secrets? Do you have a secret, Lance?”

He considered that then nodded.

Orion: “Actually, I do. I have a secret about Gabriel, but I can’t ever tell anyone. It’s so fucking funny though.”

He started laughing to himself about it and the twins immediately pounced on him.

Darcy: “What is it?”

Darcy demanded as Tory brandished her beer bottle at him.

Tory: “Tell us. “It’s a girl’s right to have dirt on her brother.”

Darcy: “Come on, Lance,”

Darcy begged, giving him the big eyes.

Darcy: “Gabriel let me fall in a puddle the other day even though he totally saw it coming, and he laughed like a dick so now I want revenge.” Caleb: “What are you lot talking about?”

he asked and I dropped the silencing bubble as my heart thundered up into my throat.

Seth: “Lance has got a mysterious ball rash,”

I blurted the first thing that came into my head and Orion shot me a death glare, his lips parting to contradict me and his fist rising like he was going to punch me. Darcy caught hold of his wrist, giving him a subtly imploring look as she pushed it back down to his side and - whipped asshole that he was - he gave in. Tory snort laughed as Caleb’s eyebrows arched.

Caleb: “Oh…shit, sorry bro,”

he said awkwardly and if looks could kill, Orion’s gaze would have incinerated my brains by now.

Seth: “We were just discussing his best options, but if he doesn’t get it treated soon, I think they’re gonna fall off,”

I said sadly, patting Orion’s arm and Darcy shook her head slightly at him in a clear warning not to murder me.

Caleb: “Have you seen them?”

Caleb whispered to me in alarm and I nodded seriously.

Seth: “Yeah, it’s not good. They’re like two purple pears just hanging there, ready to fall from a doomed dick tree,” Elise: "All hail the king of the turds!”


Max: “I’m taking this break in the rampant lust to mean you’ve stopped fucking and are just doing the cuddling shit – so stop making us all wait for you and get your asses in here so we can figure out how to do this.”

I breathed a laugh, unable to even feel bad about making them wait as the man in my arms tightened his grip on me and I looked back to him. We’d had to wait a long damn time for this taste of happiness so I was going to savor it as often as I could.

Tory: “Give us ten minutes,”

Max: “No. Darius will be good to go again in five. Then it’ll be a whole other round of us watching the damn walls rattle while Gerry tells us tales about the gardeners who have watered her fucking lawn, and I swear to the moon I will go on a killing spree if she brings up a single fucker other than me.”

Darius: “It’s super weird that you know how long it will take me to get hard again, asshole,”

Darius called back, a laugh colouring his voice.

Max: “It’s super awkward for me to be feeling so much lust all of the time too, but you two literally never stop, so here we are.” Hamish: “You don’t want me to tell Santa’s elves you got too exuberant again now, do you?”

Geraldine: “No Papa,”

she agreed, slapping a hand to her mouth and sagging back in the water.

Ohmagod, she still believes in Santa. Orion: “This is an account of prophecies which were foretold in the last few hundred years which may or may not have come to pass – basically any prophecy that a Seer of note was gifted from the stars which wasn’t about events in their lifetime. I went through a stage of being obsessed with finding old prophecies and figuring out what they’d been referring to and whether or not it came to pass as a boy, so-”

Tory: “We get it, you had books for friends as a kid. But why does that equal you looking like you might make a mess of your pants at any moment?” Darius: “Aren’t you gonna come running over to heal me, baby?”

Tory: “Fat chance of that. Don’t get into fights with your friends if you can’t handle the fallout,”

I scoffed.

Tory: “Besides, I wanna hear what you guys found out from the Nymph.” The corner of my lips twitched in amusement as he frowned at me though, because I might have fucking hated him once and it might have been a whole lot easier on the two of us if we’d just been upfront over our feelings and attraction to one another to begin with, or even if he’d gone against his father’s wishes when it came to me, but that wasn’t our story. And I wasn’t certain I would love him this desperately if it had been. The way we came together might not have been a pretty little fairy tale filled with sonnets and roses, but it was raw, brutal, real. Ours. And I’d felt every damn moment of it along the way. Seth: “We’re the Phoen Dream, Bitchy Flame Eyes, Wolfman, Bitey C, Fish Fury, Dragzilla, Professor Shame and Batty Betty.”

Darius: “Don’t start with that shit again,”

Darius groaned as Geraldine chuckled loudly at the name he’d gifted her and my smile widened at mine. I still kept getting caught off guard by seeing him acting so damn normal around his friends, that utter asshole façade slipping just enough to let the light in when he was surrounded by people he trusted.

Orion: “Oh fuck off. If I have to have a shit nickname, at least don’t bring my damn shame into it.”

Darcy: “Aw, look at you wanting a cute nickname from Seth,”

Darcy teased him and Orion sighed as Seth immediately dove on the opportunity to play with him.

Seth: “It’s hard not to bring your shame into when it’s looking me right in the eye, Lance. You should just own it, make a shame club with shamed friends who go on shameful adventures.”

Orion: “Or I could cut your hair off and strangle you with it, how about that?”

Orion tossed back.

Seth: “Wow, Professor Shame is grumpy today,” Tory: “Oh, there he is,”

I said, leaning down and placing my hands on the arms of Darius’s chair as I looked at the darkness in him and prepared to stoke it with flames.

Tory: “The asshole who still thinks he’s more deserving of our throne than the Heirs who were born to sit on it.”

Darius: “And there she is,”

he replied in a low voice, our unending argument making the air crackle between us as we poked it awake once more.

Darius: “The little girl who thinks placing a crown upon her head will make her capable of running a kingdom she knows nothing about.”

Seth: “Shall we do rock, paper, scissors to decide who will lead the charge?”

Seth stage whispered.

Seth: “It just seems like that stare off will go on all day if not and we have Nymphs to kill…” Darius: “Don’t call me dude,”

he growled and dammit if I didn’t like it when he growled.

Tory: “Why not?”

Darius: “Because I’m not your fucking dude. I’m the guy who makes you come so hard you can hardly breathe, let alone see straight. I’m the one who makes your heart race every damn time you look at me because you know I’ll never stop hungering for you the way I do, and I’ll never get enough of you or be able to love you with any more passion than I possess right now. And I’m the guy who you’ll have to answer to if you do anything against my orders tonight - which believe me will hurt at least as much as you’ll enjoy it. Got it?”

Tory: “Got it. Not my fucking dude,” He shrugged, showing me exactly where his loyalty lay and I punched him in the arm.

Darius: “You and your sister are violent women,” Tory: “You find an answer, Lance Orion, or I’ll make you regret it. Do your nerd thing and find a way to fix this,” Darcy: “You are the most valuable man in the world to me, Lance, I wish that you’d see it the same way. Now come here, I’m going to hand you a book. Please don’t get a hard on.” Darcy: “Which book would you go into?”

I asked Orion, brushing my fingers over the thick stubble on his jaw.

Orion: “There is no story I would choose to live in but ours,” Orion: “I’d burn every one of these books for you,”

he said against my mouth and I pushed my fingers into his hair, sinking my tongue between his lips.

Darcy: “When I’m queen, I’m going to buy you this library,”

I decided and he lifted his head, his eyes sparkling with surprise.

Darcy: “Then you can do whatever you like with these books, because they’ll be all yours.” Darius: “You’re determined to make me work as hard as I possibly can, aren’t you?”

he teased and I smiled at him.

Tory: “Well I can’t go easy on you just because we’re fucking,”

Darius: “Oh, is that what we’re doing?”

he asked, his eyes flashing with that dangerous kind of heat that was probably meant as a warning but always seemed more like a red flag to the Tory bull within me.

Tory: “Did you or did you not spend the better part of last night buried between my thighs, Darius Acrux? Because if you don’t call that fucking then I don’t know what it was.”

Darius straightened and stalked towards me, his gaze dark and promising me I’d pay for that dismissive remark, but I was happy to stand my ground.

Darius: “No, Roxanya Vega, I don’t call that fucking. I call that worshipping my goddess. I call it making love to the most beautiful woman in all of Solaria, I call it penance for all the bad things I’ve done to you and the least I can offer in retribution for the harm I caused you. But most of all, I call it loving you with the intensity of the sun and the devotion of the moon because you are my end, baby. The only dream I never dared to have for myself. Yet here you are, within reach at all times. And you’d better believe I can’t resist you now that I have you. I plan on marking every inch of your flesh so thoroughly with the memory of my touch that you’ll never be able to forget it.” Tory: “Stop talking like that or I’m gonna have to smack you,”

I warned and he breathed a laugh.

Darius: “Of course you would resort to violence to prove how much you don’t like the idea of me getting hurt,”

Tory: “Yeah well, death can’t have you because I already staked my claim.” Darius: "I just know what I want and it’s you. In any way I can have you and every way you’ll offer. So if I can get you to be my bride then I’ll fucking take it. If you never want to get married, then I’ll take that too. If you didn’t want me this close and all I was left with was the option to watch you and hunger for you from afar the way I had to when we were Star Crossed, then I’d take that as well. It’s you, Roxy. Only you. So here I am and I’m yours. The rest of it is up to you.” Darius: “Stay close and stay behind me,”

Tory: “That’ll be a fuck no, dude,” Gabriel: "In fire, blood and bone. The Phoenix will always rise.” Gabriel: “You’ll be the best queens Solaria has ever had,”

he said fiercely, keeping us in the cage of his arms a moment longer as I breathed a laugh.

Darcy: “Have you seen that?”

Darcy asked curiously and he grinned as he stepped back.

Gabriel: “No. But I feel it in my soul.” Seth: “Guess it’s just me and you then, shamesy.”

Orion: “Shamesy?”

I growled.

Seth: “Yeah, like Power Shamesy. I thought I’d make a cute nickname out of it, so it didn’t seem so, you know…devastating.” Leon: “So I wanna thieve from my thief father and give you his treasure for your rock collection.”

Orion: “It’s not a rock coll-”

Leon: “It’ll be the most prized rock in your rock collection,”


Seth: “So where are we going?”

Leon: “To my hometown. Alestria.”

He tossed the stardust over us and we were dragged away, transported through the stars and deposited in a dark alley where the scent of piss hung thickly in the air.

Caleb: “Ergh, are we in hell?”

Caleb muttered, stepping closer to me like I might be able to ward off the stench.

Caleb: “Oh my stars, is that a shit? Like a Fae fucking turd, right there by that dumpster?”

He pulled his shirt up over his nose and I couldn’t really blame him.

Leon: “It’s the magic of Alestria,” Seth: “We can tick it off our bucket list, Cal,”

Caleb: “I don’t have ‘crawl into a shit pit on my bucket list,”

Caleb said, shaking his head but he let me guide him over there all the same. Seth: “You asshole!”

he shouted as Cal and I cracked up. Leon got to his feet, racing after Seth and hauling him out of the water, drying him off with the heat of his fire Element, cracking up too.

Seth: “I’m gonna be diseased. I’ll get Faeitis. Faeiphylis. Fucking pink eye,” Leon: “You owe me something for this,”

Orion: “What?”

Leon: “The truth about what happened between you and Gabriel the night he visited you at Zodiac Academy five years ago and he developed a mysterious aversion to proballs. I know something happened, Lance Orion. So help me, I want that secret.”

I jerked my hand away in horror.

Orion: “No,” I hissed.

Orion: “I’m taking that to the grave. I swore it to him.”

Seth and Caleb looked to me curiously, but I folded my arms and shook my head.

Leon: “No secret, no stone,” Leon said airily, shrugging his shoulders and I growled.

Orion: “We need that stone. I’ll just tell Gabriel to take it from you,”

I said and Leon gasped, holding his hand to his chest in offence.

Leon: “You wouldn’t,”

Orion: “I would. It’s either that or you hand it over.”

I held out my palm and Leon looked conflicted, still holding onto it tight.

Leon: “I want your Ryan Luxian Pitball League card,”

Orion: “That’s a collectible,”

I said in frustration, not to mention the guy had been my favourite player growing up.

Leon: “It’s that or I’m gonna swallow it and you can dig it out of my poop.”

Leon held the stone to his open mouth in a threat and I cursed.

Orion: “Fine. You can have the card, just give me the stone.”

Leon: “Sure.”

Leon slipped it into his pocket.

Leon: “We can make the trade later.”

I growled and he grinned at me. Leon: “Oh wow, you can really taste the shame on you.”

He licked me again.

Leon: “It’s like cinnamon and failed dreams.”

Orion: “Alright, back it up, Lion,”

I warned, bitter over the shamesy comment and not thrilled about the saliva either.

Leon: “Sorry, didn’t mean to shame you, shamesy,”

he murmured like he really was sorry, though calling me shamesy wasn’t exactly helping his case.

Leon: “I think you could bottle it as a scent actually, it’s kind of alluring. You could call it eau de toi-regret.”

Orion: “Thanks. I’ll do that once I’ve finished setting up my own failed dreams clothing line.”

Leon: “I think you’re really onto something here, Lance. You could sell it to all the other losers. There’s not many as shameful as you, but you could expand into washouts, has-beens and even junkie deadbeats.”

Orion: “I can’t wait,”

I said hollowly. Seth: “Oh my stars, this is so comfy. Isn’t this the best?”

He tugged the covers up around us and nuzzled into Darius’s head before trying to do the same to me. Which I certainly did not allow. He tucked his hands under the blankets and started wriggling, bringing up his hand again.

Gabriel: I’ve had my family testing the holes in his capabilities with non-lethal attacks and I can confirm that he never sees them coming. He’s not fucking fit to put his ass on the Royal Seer’s chair and I’m looking forward to proving it when you pluck that fuck ugly eye from its socket.”

Seth: “So that’s why your little gang of hooligans have been slapping Lionel with shit pies to the face, making him trip and fall into questionable puddles and throwing Dragon dick dildos at his head during his public appearances?”

Seth asked, his eyes filling with understanding.

Seth: “You were figuring out the limits to Vard’s abilities.”

Gabriel: “Exactly. And when I sat watching the slow-motion replay of that big, glittering, plastic pegasex doll dick slapping him around the face at the official coronation for his shadow queen last night, I knew it was time.” Orion: “You heard the lady. Yonder.” And though the ache of grief over everything I’d never had weighed heavily in my chest, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I truly did manage to destroy my father and tear him from this world before I was forced to follow him beyond the Veil. Because just maybe, once I was gone, the age of the Dragons would fall, and it would be time for the Phoenixes to rise once more. Seth: “I love you guys. Even you, Lance. I know that your snappy snaps are only ever meant with love.”

Orion: “They’re not,” Seth: “Ooh, hotdogs!”

Seth cried as he noticed the huge platter of food that Geraldine must have brought with her.

Geraldine: “Well, I thought we all deserved a victory feast after our delightful dalliances tonight,”

Geraldine purred, her eyes sparking.

Geraldine: “I am all of a fluster recounting the way I popped that shadowy eyeball right out of that dastardly scullion’s face and I want to rejoice in celebration.”

Max: “The second you got naked it became a celebration for two. So the rest of you assholes can take your food to go and fuck off.” Orion: "Darcy would ask me to if she could.”

Seth: “What?”

I breathed.

Orion: “You may come to my room and have one small, short-lasting hug,”

he offered and I gasped, throwing myself at him in excitement as I bounced up and down, knowing my tail would be wagging a mile a minute if I was in my shifted form. He shoved me off of him with a growl.

Orion: “What did I just say?”

he snapped.

Seth: “One hug. Got it.” Seth: “Oh Lance, I’ve done something so fucking stupid.”

Orion: “What?”

he grunted and I took a shaky breath.

Seth: “I gave Cal a Tiberian tip swirler,”

Orion: “A what?”

Seth: “A Likranian lip dipping dong dancer,”

Orion: “In a language I can fucking understand?”

he demanded and I huffed heavily.

Seth: “A blowjob, Lance. A fucking blowjob.”

Orion: “Right, okay. And why has that left you devastated beyond all reason?”

he asked in confusion and I howled long and low right in his ear, making him wince away, but I held on tight.

Seth: “Because he didn’t want my blowjob. The look he gave me, Lance, it was like -like – the apocalypse had befallen his cock. Oh my stars, I’m the acockalypse,”


Seth: I’ve already ruined one friendship, I’m not dragging everyone else into this and ruining things with them too. But how can I fix things with Cal? What can I do-awoooo.”

I broke into a sad howl.

Orion: “Stars give me strength,” Darius: “No. I’m not losing a single second more with you, Roxanya. You just earned yourself a Dragon sized stalker and I won’t be going anywhere until death rips me from your arms. Even then I’ll try to stay, I’ll be the air on your cheeks and the light on your skin, never leaving you no matter where you go.”


Caleb: “Ah – run! The pubes are coming for us!” I leapt out into the passage, placing my hands on my hips.

Xavier: “Ha-ha! You can’t use my blood anymore for your elixir, Orion. I had loads of sex. Loads and loads of sex. With a guy and a girl. I double dicked and double dipped and all the doubles and had my dick in all the holes, Orion. All of them.”

Orion looked to me in shock as did the rest of our group who were standing around him, but none of them smiled and Darius carved a hand down his face, shaking his head.

Max: “Someone just died, Xavier,”

Max hissed and Orion stepped aside, revealing a bloody body behind him on the floor, also unveiling my mother and Hamish standing beyond the corpse. Mom was pale as she looked to me.

Mom: “That’s wonderful news, sweetie, well done you, you look like you did a great job too, but we’ll have to discuss it later, okay?” I nodded quickly as I read the FaeBook post Tyler had put up online, the video of Gabriel playing beneath it, his pubes knocking Geraldine to the ground as she ran for her life, wailing about dying the way she’d always feared she would. She crawled towards the door in desperation, her hand outstretched as she began to disappear into the dark hair before Max dragged her free, promising she wouldn’t die this way and they made it out of the room. Geraldine: “Who am I if I am not a lady of my word?”

I asked, feeling the heat of his breath on my neck like a dawn crested feather spinning through the air.

Max: “You’re Geraldine Grus. And you’re fucking everything to me.”

My fluttering heart free fell to my nether regions at those words and I broke for him, opening up like an egg cracking apart and offering him a view of my yolky insides.

Geraldine: “But you are a cad and I am a lady. We are as unlikely as a fish and a dandelion finding truest love.”

Max: “Well this fish would grow legs and crawl from the water to sit with you, dandelion.”

My throat bobbed and my fingers stilling in the dough.

Geraldine: “And what if the wind blows and my seeds take flight?”

Max: “Then I would grow wings and follow you to the moon. Because nothing in this world means more to me than you do, Gerry. And there are no differences we can’t overcome to be together.”

I turned my head, my eyes cracking open and swimming with tears that revealed a watery view of his handsome face.

Geraldine: “Then meet me on the moon,” Darcy: "I want to claim you as mine in front of everyone in Solaria, but you won’t let me.”

Orion: “Because it would destroy you,”

Darcy: “Let me be destroyed then,” Orion: “Don’t belittle what I feel for you. I would tear down mountains for you. The stars look my way in contempt, resenting me for getting to love you while they’re way up there never feeling anything real, never touching anything as beautiful as you. I am the object of their envy because they can’t have you while you’re down on Earth in the cage of my arms, but if they’re waiting to claim you in death, they will find me right beside you, guarding you even then. Because no one will take you from me, and no one will love you as fiercely as I love you. Where you go, I will follow. There is no force powerful enough in this life or the next to tear you away from me. So don’t you dare question my love for you.” Darcy: “Let me choose my fate. If I’m to be ruined, then so be it, but let me be happy in my fucking destruction,” Geraldine took out the spyglass with the shadow eye in it, slamming it down on Darius’s plate.

Darius: “Oh for the love of fuck, Geraldine. Why?” Max: “You okay there, little Vega? You’re giving off murderous death vibes, it’s kinda ruining my appetite.”

Darcy: “Sorry,” Orion: “I can’t sing, or dance, or write poetry so I’m just gonna shout this really, really fucking loud,”

Orion announced, looking right at me with a smirk on his lips. He raised a hand to his throat, casting an amplifying spell before tipping his head back and hollering so loud that the roof of the cavern rattled.

Orion: “I am in love with Darcy Vega, heir to the throne of Solaria, daughter of the Savage King – who by the way was tricked by Lionel Acrux into being an evil sonuvabitch. And I know you all think I’m a complete waste of oxygen.”

He kicked a bread roll into Justin Masters’ face and it bounced off his forehead as he tried not to react.

Orion: “That my shame is infectious and you don’t want it anywhere near you, let alone your precious princess.”

He leapt from one table to another, making his way towards us and I got up, a smile nearly splitting my cheeks open.

Orion: “But it turns out she wants me anyway. And I’m done making decisions for a girl who has always made better ones than I do. So if this is what she wants, then she can have it. Because she owns me right down to my black heart.”


Darcy: “Are you sure about this?”

I whispered as the crowd muttered and cursed him.

Orion: “No. I’m so terrified of what this will mean for you, Blue, but I’m so much more terrified of hurting you. So if you want this, then it’s yours. Besides, now the decision is made, I get to do what I’ve wanted to do since I first laid eyes on you.”

Darcy: “And what’s that?”

I asked, my hands sliding over his broad shoulders and looping around his neck as I zoned out the cries of disgust around me, focusing on him and nothing else. He was all that mattered anyway.

Orion: “Kiss you in front of the world, and show them that you’re mine.” Darcy: “What if we break it off for you? Like a princess declaration thingy?”

Geraldine: “You would do that for me?”

Geraldine breathed in awe.

Geraldine: “You would stand between me and a loveless marriage to a hapless worm and decree it as disbanded? You would banish the worm to a faraway land so that I may never have to fret over the loss living in his beady snail eyes?”

Darcy: “Err, the banishing part seems a bit overkill, but we can do the decree thing,”

I said with a shrug.

Tory: “Holy shit, have we had the power to decree stuff this whole time? I wanna decree that no fucking decaf coffee is allowed to be served next to the caffeinated goodness.” Orion: “You must be freezing.”

Darcy: “I can’t feel anything but this moment,” Orion: “I’ll love you ‘til the world is dust,”

Orion breathed and those words sent a delicious tremor down to the centre of my being.

Darcy; “I’ll love you even beyond then,” Francesca: “Lance! This is serious. Do you understand what’s happening right now?”

Orion: “Perfectly. I’m being arrested while I’m trying to fuck my mate,”


Orion: “Wasn’t that enough for you, mate?”

Darcy: “Not even close,”

I panted, feeling him getting hard again for me already and I leaned forward so all I could see were those shining, star-gifted rings in his eyes.

Orion: “When I’m done with you, Blue, you’ll never get the feel of me off of your skin.” Caleb: “I’d be a Lion Shifter. I could use their Charisma powers to form an army of servants and I’ve already got the best hair, so I’d easily fit in.”

Seth looked over at him with a small smile, but when Caleb looked back, he glanced away again and awkwardness filled the air. I was pretty sure only Darcy and I noticed it as Seth looked our way, and I had to admit I felt a bit shit for the guy.

Tory: “I’d be one of them too. They sleep in the sun all day to recharge their power, right? That’s right up my street.”

Darius: “Lionesses tend to serve Lions though, baby,”

Darius pointed out and Tory wrinkled her nose.

Tory: “Ew, I take it back,”


Tory’s smile turned wicked and she leaned in close to whisper in my ear.

Tory: “It’s a trap,”

Caleb: “For who?”

She glanced around before answering, keeping her voice low once more.

Tory: “Seth. He keeps stealing all of my goddamn snacks. And I’ve just been introduced to Orion’s lawyers – Darius has already got them working on the paperwork to declare their Elysian Mate status and have the Power Shame thingy wiped from his records.”

Caleb: “You’re losing me,”

I admitted, glancing at the squashed cake once more.

Tory: “Well, one of them has a cake fetish. As in, he doesn’t get hard for anything without a fondant topping. He was finished with that one.”

She inclined her head towards the cake and I wrinkled my nose as the hole in the middle of it suddenly made a whole lot of gross sense.

Caleb: “No way.”

Tory: “Yes way. And I still haven’t gotten revenge on Seth for pissing on me that time. So he has this coming.”

Caleb: “By the stars,”

I muttered, wondering if I should warn him, but Tory’s eyes narrowed dangerously as she realised I might.

Tory: “This is Fae on Fae, Caleb. Don’t go selling me out.”

Caleb: “Fine,”

I agreed, though as I eyed the cake, I had to wonder if I could keep my word on that one. Before I could make that decision, Seth appeared from the crowd, a grin on his face as he spied the cake and I had to fight not to show the relief I felt at realizing he hadn’t gone off with that blonde dude after all.

Tory: “That is my cake. You can’t have any.”

Seth: “Oh yeah?”

he asked, the challenge in his eyes saying he was gonna dive right into that thing headfirst at any moment.

Caleb: “Seth,. Don’t-”

Seth: “So now you’re on her side? After I shared that mega bar of chocolate I found in her room with you?”

Tory gasped, pressing a hand to her chest as she glared at me in accusation. I mouthed an apology to her and Seth took the opportunity to lunge for the cake.

Caleb: “No!”

I yelled and Tory cried out too.

Tory: “I changed my mind, it’s too gross!”

But Seth already had the cake half way to his mouth, it was too late, or at least I thought it was. Tory shot him in the face with so much water that he tumbled backwards off of his chair and hit the floor with a crash that rattled the tiles beneath our feet and the cake was sent flying away into the mass of dancing bodies.

Tory: “It was a sex cake,”

Tory explained, a laugh falling from her lips as she got to her feet.

Tory: “I couldn’t go through with it.”

Seth: “Why?”

Tory: “You peed on me,” Caleb: “I was looking for Seth,”

Rosalie: “Of course you are, siete destinati l'uno all'altro.”

Caleb: “I don’t know what that means,”

Rosalie: “You will. I can always tell,”


I agreed so fucking easily that it was sad really. Because if Caleb needed to tie me to the ceiling by my ankles and wrists and drain my blood like a sacrifice to a god, then slap my ass and call me Mr Willing. Tory: “If this icicle looks like a dick, I’m going to be pissed,”

I muttered around it before sucking on it again.

Darius: “I could make you one of those if you like?”

Darius offered in a teasing tone. Then I could use it to-”

Darius: “Dude. Do I look like a woman wanting some double penetration with a side of frost bite to the vag in this moment?”

I asked, snatching the icicle from his hand and cracking my eyes open as I continued to suck on it. Darius tilted his head to one side as if he couldn’t decide on that and I slapped his arm, forcing myself to sit up with a groan. Tory: “And what would that make you if you were the one to kill the king?”

I asked in a low voice because there was more to this than just figuring out which of us deserved the killing blow more. Darius exhaled slowly, his gaze staying fixed on mine.

Darius: “A man worthy of you. Or at least I hope it would. If I could claim vengeance for the suffering he’s forced upon you and everyone else. If I could turn the wrath he’s always offered me back on him and end him and his power for good, then I would like to think I might have done enough to make up for everything else.”

I moved towards him, reaching out to cup his cheek in my palm and feeling the intensity of our souls reaching out towards one another as the love between us crackled in the air.

Tory: “Killing him isn’t what makes you worthy of me,”

I said, my thumb tracing over his cheekbone as I drank him in.

Tory: “This love between us is what proves that. You’ve given me something I never dared hope for and I know you’re still not perfect, but I don’t want perfect. I want your flaws, your temper, your power, and your passion. I want you, Darius Acrux. Not a white knight who slayed a Dragon for me.” Geraldine: “Who would like to peruse the downfall of the false king?”

Geraldine offered, holding out the spyglass as she dropped to one knee and I wrinkled my nose in distaste.

Caleb: “Fuck no. You told me that thing will crawl into my face and devour my eye if it gets the chance. My eyes are too pretty to be devoured.”

Geraldine: “Yes, if you give it the chance. But I have utter faith in the spyglass which contains it. I am at least forty percent certain that it cannot escape and crawl into anyone’s faces. Never fear.”

Seth: “Forty percent is not good odds,” Tory: “We’re cool, aren’t we?”

I asked him to make sure and he glanced back at me with a confused look before catching on to what I was really asking.

Caleb: “Yeah, don’t you worry, sweetheart. I have someone else fucking with my feelings these days.”

Tory: “Is that what you think I did to you?” I

Caleb: “A little. But not in any way I didn’t want. And honestly? I think no matter what the stars had intended for you and Darius there never could have been a long term for us. So let’s just keep it as fond memories that we never mention to your boyfriend because I don’t want him to BBQ me, and stay comfortably in the friend zone.”


I didn’t fear death. But I did fear a destiny which meant I never got to kiss her goodbye. Darcy: “She loves you so much that she doesn’t know what to do with it all. Don’t hate her for being angry.”

Darius: “I could never hate her,”

I murmured and she nodded, getting up and backing away.

Darcy: “She could never hate you either. Even before, even when she wanted to with all her heart. She didn’t, Darius.” Darius: “Are you wondering what they would have looked like ringed in silver for you?”

I asked her and her lips lifted a little as she shook her head, her wings flexing at her back.

Tory: “No. I don’t want the stars to choose you for me, Darius. I chose you for myself and that’s exactly how I like it. Fate doesn’t get a say in it. You’re my mate because I picked you, not them. You’re my match because you proved that you were the only one for me, not destiny. Our love burns hot with unmatchable passion and eternal devotion as endless as the entire universe because we fucking fought for it in a way no other Fae have ever done before and none ever will. You’re not some gift from the stars to me, Darius. You’re the spoils of a war no one else ever could have won but us. So I’ll take your eyes as endlessly dark as the day you first set them on me. And if the stars come offering us rings in them again, I’ll give them the same answer as I did before. Because no, I don’t want them to choose you for me or me for you. I don’t want them to do a damn thing for us. We don’t need them. I made you mine without them and I’m yours without them too.” Darius: “Mine,”

I murmured, repeating what I’d said to this girl more times than I could count now, but it had never felt so brutally honest.

Darius: “Even beyond the Veil,” Tory: “Are you going to become a Vega or what?”

she asked irritably and I could tell this whole thing was pushing her out of her comfort zone, but there she was, looking good enough to eat and waiting for me to marry her.

Darius: “You’ll be an Acrux,”

I corrected and she gave me a wicked smile.

Tory: “Oh no. I know how it works here. The couple takes the name of the most powerful Fae in the relationship. And that would be me in this scenario.”

My lips parted in surprise as she said that and I realized she was right. My whole life there had never been a prospect of there being a mate for me who could be the more powerful party, so I had always assumed any wife of mine would take my name. But her claim was true. Then again, she still hadn’t taken me on and won, so I was unlikely to bow to her power any time soon.

Darius: “You’ll have to put me on my ass before I’ll admit that’s true, baby,”

Roxy glanced at the golden clock which sat on the nightstand and sighed.

Tory: “No time. We can figure out the name thing after we kill your father then. His severed head can sit and watch me kick your ass so he gets a front row seat to the moment when his precious Heir is forced to bow at long last and the final shred of hope for his empire dies. It’ll be romantic.”

Darius: “Fuck I love it when you talk like a psychopath,” Sofia: “What are you going to do?”

Darius: “I’m too fucking stubborn to bow to the orders of a Vega, even if I do happen to love her more than the earth we stand on,” Darius: “I married her. And when I return to her with your head hanging from my fist, I’ll bow to her too.” The stars began to blink out in the cruel sky above me one by one, like they were turning their attention from me now, seeing my failure and losing all interest in me. But then a single point of light appeared which burned so much brighter than them that it cast them into the realms of irrelevance, and I saw her soaring across the sky burning hotter than the sun itself. She was so endlessly beautiful, so powerful, so strong. My heart. My love. My queen. And that was the way I wanted to leave this life, because when it came down to it, I knew that she was it for me. The only thing I’d ever truly needed and for the briefest span of time she had belonged to me. And that was enough. There is only her. Hamish: “Into the evermore we go, my love. Don’t let go of my hand,” Justin: “I wish to fight at your side until the bitter end, my lady. I will be your steadfast and galant-”

Tory: “White knights just don’t do it for me, Justin. But thanks and all that jazz. If I die, tell them I went out like a badass.” Tory: “I am the daughter of the Savage King!”

I roared, hefting my sword back and looking into his blood red eyes.

Tory: “And I have come for my pound of flesh!” I wasn’t nothing. I was fury and agony and untold power combined into a soul which they had tried to cleave apart too many fucking times already. When all hope is lost, and the darkest night descends, remember the promises that bind. When the dove bleeds for love, the shadow will meet the warrior. A hound will bay for vengeance where the rift drinks deep. One chance awaits. The king may fall on the day the Hydra bellows in a spiteful palace.

 

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