Cursed By Destiny Page 69

We collapsed on our bed. “I am the king of orgasms.” He breathed against my neck, mimicking Darth Vader’s voice. “Worship me.”

I laughed and pulled him against me. It felt unreal to lie with him in our bed. We continued to kiss while he played with my br**sts. I swore in my head when my cell phone alarm rang reminding me it was time to return to the kitchen. Although I didn’t want to, I ended our kiss. “I’ll be right back, love.”

Aric brushed my hair aside and kissed my neck when I tried to wrap my silky robe around me. “Where are you going?”

“I have to finish dinner.”

He tugged off my robe and ran his tongue down my back. I shuddered. “Stay with me,” he said between licks. “We’ll order in.”

I faced him to give him a short, sweet kiss. “I want to do something special for you.”

“You just did,” he replied in that bedroom voice of his.

The aches from our lovemaking throbbed in the most delicious way. I smiled and stroked back his hair away from his eyes. “It’s important to me that we share a sense of normalcy. Otherwise, our lives seem too chaotic. Let me do this for you, and for us.”

He closed his eyes and breathed deeply before kissing my lips. “Okay.”

I slipped the robe on again and left the room. The smell of the crown roast filled the house, but it wasn’t strong enough to camouflage Aric’s scent or the scent of our intimacy. And I was glad of it.

As I placed the baked brie onto a serving dish, an evil gaze fell upon me. I jumped. Mrs. Mancuso scowled at me from her kitchen window.

My hair was Jersey big and love bites covered my neck, but she didn’t have to look so mad. I glanced down, realizing my left breast was exposed. I covered it quickly, only to have Mrs. Mancuso reward me with a stiff middle finger.

Aric came up behind me and kissed the base of my ear. “You said you’d be right back.” Unlike me, he hadn’t bothered to cover his naked body. He pulled open my robe and cupped my br**sts before I could stop him.

“Aric! Mrs. Mancuso is watching us!”

Mrs. Mancuso’s neck skin brushed against the windowsill when her mouth fell open. Talk about wanting to die. Aric simply smiled and waved. I backed him away from the window before I could catch her reaction. We were both still laughing when we stumbled back into our room.

I told Aric about Liam’s visit during our candlelit dinner. “Yeah, it sucks about him and Emme,” he said. “She’s such a great girl. I can’t picture him with anyone else.”

“Is there any chance she could still be his mate?”

Aric finished filling my wineglass and placed his hand over mine. “No. His wolf would have told him by now if she was.”

I turned my palm to link our fingers. “Why didn’t he tell her sooner? Or break up with her before things grew so serious between them?”

“Because Liam does love her and wants to continue being with her. It’s just not enough. As much as he loves Emme, it will pale in comparison to how he’ll feel toward his mate.”

I didn’t want to be right about them, but I guess I was. I focused on our clasped hands. Aric and I had something so special. Emme needed to have it, too. “If he weren’t a were, do you think they would have made it?”

“Most likely, yes. The majority of humans don’t ever come close to having the kind of relationship Liam and Emme shared, and yet they still marry and do just fine. But he’s a were and weres need their mates.” He released my hand to feed me a bite of roast from my plate. “Sometimes it takes years for mates to find each other. They may not always be on the lookout, but their inner beasts constantly are. Before the war began, most found their mates sometime during their lives.” Aric rubbed his eyes. He seemed so tired then, as if the mere mention of the war exhausted him. “We’ve lost so many weres. I’m afraid most won’t meet their mates until the hereafter.”

“What if Liam’s mate is no longer living? It would be sad if he never marries or has a family.”

Aric regarded me with a flicker of sadness. “It would be worse if Liam’s mate does exist and he and Emme eventually marry. There have been multiple instances of when the human side of a were has tired of searching for his mate and settled into a relationship with another. The results have been disastrous for the weres and their families when they discover their mates after the fact. Most weres leave their spouses heartbroken. Some stay out of obligation, living a life of misery because of their desire to be with their mate.”

I stared down at my plate. “In being forced apart, this almost happened to us. You would think the Elders would care about leaving so much emotional devastation.”

Aric leaned back in his seat. “For years they didn’t have to worry as much. Weres had become plentiful. The war changed everything. Now their focus is on maintaining the race. The Elders aren’t made of stone, Celia. But they won’t allow their emotions to interfere with what they believe must be done.”

I understood the Elders’ reasoning. Hell, in their place I probably would have made the same decisions. The circumstances surrounding my upbringing never allowed me to be selfish. Everyone and everything came before my own needs and happiness. But in choosing to continue my relationship with Aric, I was being selfish. Perhaps that’s why the pangs of guilt made it difficult to finish my meal. “Aric, do you think we shouldn’t—”

Aric’s response was stern. “No, Celia. There’s no doubt that we should be together. I can’t and I won’t be with anyone else. I’ll continue to guard the earth. But I won’t abandon you for it.”

I believed his words. And I desired the same. But sometimes the obstacles we faced made our relationship seem impossible to maintain. He must have sensed my concern, because he quickly changed the subject. By the time we finished our dessert, we were laughing again.

Aric carried me to the couch and placed me on his lap. He rubbed his nose against mine. “I should have told you I loved you long before this. If I’d just listened to my wolf, we would be married now. Nothing could have come between us.”

My hand slid over his chest. “Your wolf told you to marry me?”

He chuckled. “No, but he howled to me you were my mate that day we met on the beach. I didn’t know what the hell had happened. I’d heard stories of mates recognizing each other—crap about gazing at each other across a crowded room. I always dismissed them as bullshit exaggerations.” He shook his head as if trying to clear it. “I never expected that—hell, I never expected you. Everything about you struck me right away—your eyes, your face, your body, your scent—but when you flashed me that sexy smile it was all I could do to hold my wolf back. He wanted to chase you down. I just wanted to not look like a stalker.”

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