Here’s the second bonus scene from Bright of the Moon! This would best slot into Chapter 26, after the first scene of Dhuro and his brother Zoran chatting. 🙂 Fair warning, this scene is steamy and contains adult content not suitable for “clean” readers.
If you missed the first bonus scene, “Forest for the Trees,” you can read it here.
If you don’t yet have your copy of the book, you can pick it up on Amazon or read free with Kindle Unlimited. (Audiobook coming soon!)
Although Bella had retired to their tent, sleep proved elusive even as the night wore on. Outside, Dhuro’s and Zoran’s voices rose and fell in peaks of excitement and valleys of whispers, and she couldn’t help but smile to herself, tucking the wool blanket closer around her body as she teased a silk scarf between her fingers. As grumpy as Dhuro seemed, he really did enjoy his brother’s company, and she was glad to help give him this evening, especially considering his banishment from Nozva Rozkveta.
Queen Zara was angry about Dhuro’s disobedience, but he’d accomplished the tasks she’d set before him, just in his own way. He was his own person, with his own values, and his mother’s anger would fade with time. Surely she wouldn’t keep her own son in exile for wanting to save his best friend, especially when he’d prevented unthinkable loss of life.
But if she did, that wouldn’t be the end of it. Bella clutched a small sachet tightly in her other fist. She and Dhuro had overcome the janas, the maceddas, Dakkar, and the ghosts of their own pasts. They would overcome this, too, or else she’d never stop trying to heal the rift between him and his mother. Even if it took something so massive as finalizing peace in Silen.
Gwydion, who’d claimed to have been a dragon, had done great things before her very eyes. If, as his heir, she was capable of even a fraction of that greatness, then she would do all in her power to achieve that peace.
The tent flap rustled open, letting in playful firelight and the autumn chill. Dhuro poked his head in, slicking back his pale hair from his face. His eyes widened, and he blinked over their warm gold. “You’re still awake.”
Setting aside her scarf, she sat up, propped on her elbows, and nodded as he entered, securing the flap shut behind him. “How was it?”
Although their voices had carried some, she wanted to hear him talk about it. She loved hearing him talk. Shimmying, she shuffled over as he sat down next to her and began pulling off his boots.
“He’s fallen out of favor with Nendra. Her other consorts have her ear and her attention, and he thinks she’ll limit his time with his daughter,” he said quietly.
It was a dark-elf tradition for queens to take multiple consorts to build alliances, and although they were marriages, which should be loving and strong, they didn’t avoid falling victim to politics.
“Is there anything we can do to help?” She rested a hand on his arm, and he covered it with his.
“He wants to find a way back into her good graces.” Dhuro set his boots in a corner of the tent. “He plans to track Dakkar, and I let him know that if he needs me, I’ll be waiting at Roccalano.”
“We.” She sidled closer as he leaned back onto the bedroll.
“That’s right,” he said, and she could hear the smile in his voice. “My sheihan is a force to be reckoned with.”
“Thanks to you”—she kissed his cheek—“I can control my abilities. I’ll keep learning, too, and I won’t stop working toward peace. But, Dhuro…”
She’d seen what great things Gwydion could do. She’d also seen the frightening power he was capable of.
Dhuro rolled onto his side, facing her, and brushed her cheek with the backs of his fingers. “What troubles you?”
She raised her hand, the one clutching the small sachet, and opened her palm. Within was the arcanir earring they’d risked so much to find. She had control over her powers now, and she’d never felt stronger. And that was why she needed this arcanir now more than ever. Why she needed to give it to Dhuro. “Power tends to corrupt—”
He laughed under his breath. “Not you, Bella.”
She shook her head.
“Listen,” she said, and waited until the faint smile faded from his lips in the dimness. “When we lifebonded, you trusted me with your life. I trust you to give me this if I’m ever not myself.”
“Bella—” he tried to argue, but she placed the sachet in his hand and closed his fingers around it.
“For me.” She pulled aside the blanket and sat up, then slowly swung a leg over his hips to perch on top of him. Her fingers busied themselves unfastening his shirt.
“For you,” he agreed seductively, with a nod and a grin. “But I know what you’re doing.”
She shrugged a shoulder in mock innocence. “What am I doing?”
“Distracting me from the subject.”
Once his shirt was open, she pulled her nightgown over her head, fighting a smile. “Should I stop?”
“No.” His gaze fixed on her chest, he slowly swept his palms up from her hips, over her ribs, to her breasts. His touch, just the sensation of his skin against hers, made something tighten in her lower body.
“Good, because there’s something else I want to ask you for.” She moved on to unfastening his trousers, finding him ready.
“Yes,” he answered.
“I haven’t even asked you yet,” she teased.
He grabbed ahold of her and rolled her onto her back, a hand bracing her head as he laid her down. He leaned in, his lips an inch away from hers as he fixed her with his intense gaze, and then kissed her.
“Tell me,” he said, his voice deep, sultry.
Asking for what she wanted had almost never been an issue for her. Although she and Dhuro hadn’t been wed in front of his family, and the wedding at Roccalano would probably be a year from now, they had married in the Eternal Grove with their Offering. She’d wanted a night of baring their souls to each other, but instead, they’d had a battle. Somehow, asking for that, even from her husband, heated her face.
Ignoring her racing heart, she rested a hand against his cheek, meeting his wanting eyes in the dark. “We never did get our wedding night.”
He raised an eyebrow and flashed a sly grin. “Is that what you want?”
Gods above, he only made her face burn hotter. She nodded hastily. “Quietly.”
The last thing she wanted was Zoran, Noc, and Shrelia subjected to it. She preferred not to cut short her immortal life by dying of embarrassment.
“No promises.” He pulled his open shirt off, then his trousers, undressing until he was as bare as she was. All of him was firm planes and hard lines, as if he’d been made in the image of Forza, god of war, and sculpted from the stone of the dark-elf queendoms. She stroked a hand up his strong body and brought her palm to the black sun tattooed over his heart. She’d seen him naked, taken in his form for hours at a time, but it would never be enough. She’d never tire of looking at him, of being with him, of loving him, her husband.
I love you, sheihan. His thought, powerful and true, filtered into her head. Warmth spread through her chest, and she took his hand, intertwining her fingers with his.
I love you, too, she replied, and a glimmer shone in his eyes as he lowered his face to hers, covering her mouth with his. Locks of his hair brushed her forehead, her nose, her chin as he traced a path down her body with kisses.
She squirmed beneath him as his lips awakened her flesh, trembling as he parted her thighs and touched her tenderly, caressed her with ardent strokes that made her throb with need for him. She reached for him. “Dhuro—”
Soon, sheihan, I promise. And with that thought, he descended to her, his kiss replacing his tender touch, his mischievous gaze fixed on hers. She bit back a moan, and he raised a hand to her face to rest a clawed finger gently against her lips.
You did say “quietly,” his amused thought spoke.
Her spine arched off the bedroll, as his wet, hot pressure coaxed her to the edge, everything in her lower half tensing to a fine point. She pushed against that tension, forcing it out to him, and her need grew and grew as he made love to her with his mouth, until her entire body seized with pulsing pleasure. He didn’t stop, didn’t let up, taking her over that edge.
The cries she stifled in her throat escaped as tears from her eyes, and she threw her head back against the pillow, reaching for him. He took her hand and pinned it to the bedroll, rising to meet her with a cocky smile as she whimpered.
He held a finger up to his lips, but no, she would be hopeless. She glanced at the scarf she’d set aside, and he followed her gaze, raising an eyebrow mischievously.
Yes, she thought to him. Maybe it would muffle her and spare their traveling companions from hearing all of this. But more than that, the prospect was exciting.
He snatched up the scarf and tied a big knot at its center. Leaning over her, he feathered the silk between her breasts and upward, awakening and pebbling her sensitive skin, and trailed the fabric slowly over neck and chin before guiding the knot into her mouth. She took it between her lips, gazing up at him as he visibly contracted, all of him going rigid.
Darkness, you do things to me, sheihan, he thought to her with a hard shudder, a fang pinning his lower lip as he tied the scarf around her head.
She looked up at him, blinking innocently, hoping to provoke him. He pulled away, but before she could pout, he grabbed her hips and dragged her to him, flush against her core. She moaned at the contact, muffled through the knotted silk, but the sound broke when he pushed into her, became one with her, and all the sound she could manage became a sharp inhalation.
His hand stole under her head, where he grabbed ahold of her hair, keeping her in place, her eyes locked with his, as he took her. Every thrust felt divine, and she clamped down on the scarf, squeezing her eyes shut. He tugged her hair back, and she opened her eyes to face him.
I waited thousands of years for you, sheihan, he thought into her mind, during the Sundering, petrified to stone. I didn’t think I’d be grateful for those millennia, but I am. They led me to my mate. To you.
She wrapped her arms around him, urging him closer. All that had happened in her life had brought her here, and although there had been pain and anguish and loss, it was the gods’ own blessing that it had led to Dhuro. They’d seen each other whole—not just what they’d chosen to present, but their innermost thoughts—and he’d not only accepted her but embraced her, loved her, and she him. They’d seen one another in perfect clarity, and she wanted him, all of him, and would hold on to him with both hands for the rest of their lives.
Longer than that, sheihan. He pulled the knot out of her mouth and down, then brushed her lips with his before returning with a firmer, deeper kiss. She welcomed him, taking his mouth with hers as he claimed her with slow, powerful strokes. Need rose within her, bit by painstaking bit, leaving her eager for more, aching for a faster rhythm. Her hips bucked against him, but he pressed her down into the bedroll, keeping his steady pace, holding her gaze locked with his.
She wanted him, more of him, all of him right this moment. The anticipation made her writhe, but his grip on her hair kept her in place, and each thrust fed her anticipation and starved her need until she wanted to weep, gasps tearing out of her. He grabbed the scarf, holding her gaze as he shoved it back into her mouth, two fingers lingering on her lower lip.
He inhaled a sharp breath, and she knew that sound, knew what it meant, drawing him closer, as close as she could, as he thrust deeper, harder, the intensity of his eyes spearing hers. He was close. The throb at her core intensified, and as his body tensed, as his breathing turned ragged, her need pounded stronger, stronger, stronger, until he hissed a breath and she shattered, waves of pleasure breaking with his every movement as he finished, as she bit down hard on the knotted silk, only muffled whimpers of surrender escaping her throat. Arms tight around him, she pulled him to her as much as she could, and he let her, but he watched her face in the throes of pleasure, his eyebrows drawn tight.
When they were both finally spent, he untied the scarf, tossed it aside, and claimed her mouth with a hungry kiss. Gods above, she loved him, and his satisfied expression was a sight she wanted to commit to memory. With that look alone, he could melt her, and he had. He thoroughly had.
That was fun, he thought to her with a wicked grin.
She’d trusted him completely—with her thoughts, with her heart, with her life; trusting him in bed was a given, and gods above, had he rewarded her for it. She’d asked him for a wedding night, and he’d most certainly delivered.
Yes, she thought to him. This was a beautiful night, Dhuro.
Was? He pulled back a little, laughing darkly. No, sheihan. You asked for a wedding night, and it should be unforgettable. You’ll remember tonight for the rest of your immortal life.
With that, he wrapped her thigh around him and took her mouth with his once more. Her eyes widened, but a thrill wove through her. Oh, yes. She’d hold on to him. She’d hold on to him with both hands for the rest of their lives.
Psst… A little secret, though: Bella and Dhuro will be getting a wedding in book three, An Ember in the Dark, Dakkar’s story! Are you excited? Let me know in the comments below!
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