His hand slides slowly up my bare arm, eyes following its path with a strange, arresting sort of purpose. The friction of his skin against mine sends a tremor through me that’s all quivering heat. He seems utterly entranced and I can hear the sudden catch in his breath, a low, visible hitch in his throat. Fear leaps in my gut and I can almost taste my own uncertainty, seasoned with a sharp unwanted burst of excitement.
“Y-your highness?” I manage to choke out. My voice seems to rattle faintly, weakly, in the charged air between us.
His eyes flicker, almost dream like, up to mine and I realize we’ve gravitated closer together somehow. There is such a deep, pervasive longing in his gaze that there seems to be less air in every breath I take. I can’t move. I can’t think. I can only feel myself helplessly slipping further and further away under a wave of something I can only barely understand.
“Don’t,” he mummers in a voice I’ve never heard. It’s deep and low, I can feel it vibrating through me like an invisible caress. “Don’t do that.”
He steps toward me and I can’t stop myself from giving ground, faltering backward. I can’t help it, I’m completely overwhelmed. I don’t want to accept what is happening to me; to us. I understand, distantly, its the worst possible thing we can do. The worst possible thing I can do. I want to fight it, to run away from him and everything he is forcing me to feel, but I’m frozen. I’m waiting for something I can’t quite comprehend.
“Don’t…what?” I manage. His hand shifts to my shoulder and the other is suddenly grasping my hip through my thin, plain gown.
A gasp slips, unbidden and traitorous, from between my slightly parted lips. His fingers are hot, so hot, strong and insistent. I want to hate the way they make me feel, instead I find myself hating how much I want them there. How much I’ve always wanted them there and how much I want to feel them on other parts of my body.
“Say it,” he demands and I can feel the delicious humidity of his words across my lips and cheeks. I resist the urge to flick my tongue out to taste him.
The dull moonlight is casting him in silver, lightening charged shadows. He’s beautiful and dark and everything I want though I know he is the very last thing I need. He tugs me forward with a twitch of his fingers against my hip. Caught off guard, my hands fly out to brace against the broad, unforgiving expanse of his chest. The cotton of his shirt is soft and fabulously warm and my fingers close helplessly into the fabric. My body feels out of my control and his hand glides from my shoulder to my neck, his thumb forcing my eyes to meet his. I’m shaking, I think I might be breaking down from the inside out. He’s unraveling everything I need to keep together.
“Say it,” he demands again, and there’s an edge of desperation there that echoes from within me. I breathe in through my mouth and I can taste him, he’s so close. Just the barest, most titillating taste of something dark and forbidden but unmistakeably amazing. I realize, suddenly, that I know what he wants and I hesitate on the precipice only a moment longer before I leap wildly into the unknown.
“Jaren,” I breathe like a prayer, or maybe a curse, just before his lips collide with mine like a summer storm against pliant earth, and his fingers fist into my hair. I’m lost, I’m broken, and I let go.