Chapter 1

14 YEARS AGO…

The candle went out. Finally. 

Graeme managed to wait an extra seventeen seconds before he crawled out of the bushes. The guards were back at the gate, nodding off in the middle of their watch. They wouldn’t move again until they made their rounds in two hours. He’d be long gone by then.

The house was an old brick construction, built by well-paid laborers who hadn’t left a single chink in the mortar. Happily, the mistress of the house had a fancy for ivy. He checked to make sure no one could see him before starting his climb. He’d done it enough times already to know where the trellis was loose, where the vines were too slim for a hand hold. But the risk was always there that the old man would wake up and find him in his daughter’s room. 

Good thing Graeme thrived on risk. 

The thrill of potential discovery added a sweet spice to these late night trysts. Isabelle kept saying they should stop; that her father always spoke well of Graeme and it might finally be the right time to approach him with an honest offer for her hand. 

Graeme knew better. The old man was a royal prick to everyone under his command, but especially to Graeme. Almost like he suspected there was something going on between Graeme and his daughter. As if he gave a flying fuck about her. 

His first day in Grayson’s unit, Graeme had learned the only thing he’d ever need to know about the general from his own mouth: “The only thing a woman is good for is to give her man a son.” And if she had a daughter instead? Well, then Graeme supposed she’d better hope her man didn’t have a working knowledge of various methods of undetectable murder and the crown’s protection to allay undue suspicion. 

Mrs. Grayson hadn’t been so lucky. Of course, in her case, they’d called it “cancer.”

Third floor, first window on his left. Graeme flattened himself against the wall and reached out to tap lightly on the window pane. Three taps, then two, then one. Subtle.

Only this time, the window opened before the third tap. Isabelle stuck her head out, her hair braided for sleep, but still neat. She hadn’t gone to bed yet. “Graeme, what are you doing here?” 

Not exactly the welcome he’d been hoping for. Still, he could work with prickly. “Admit it,” he said, grinning from ear to ear like a fucking idiot. “You’re already wet for me.”

Sliver moon and no street lights meant he couldn’t see her blush but, by all the gods above and below, to his dying breath Graeme would swear he felt its heat from three feet away. 

“You shouldn’t be here,” she admonished, pulling on his sleeve to get him into her room. His boots thumped down softly on the faux fur rug she kept under her window for exactly this purpose. Graeme was silence incarnate on the training ground, but put him in Isabelle’s presence and he turned into a stomping elephant parade. 

It was her room. Totally threw him every time he came here. The old man still treated her like a child, and her room reflected that mentality. The walls were covered with frilly pink and white paper, her writing desk was too small, and her bed had pink pillows and lacy things hanging everywhere. Her father still gave her a doll every year for her birthday. She kept them in a dusty wooden box under her bed. Sometimes Graeme pulled them out and arranged them along the footboard so their soulless glass eyes could watch them fuck like rabbits on her frilly pink bed. 

“We have a standing date, beauty. Every Thursday at the stroke of ten. And…” he counted down on his fingers. Three, two, one…

The grandfather clock in the downstairs parlor sounded the hour with military precision. Ten delicate chimes, on the dot. Graeme waggled his eyebrows at Isabelle. “I’m good, aren’t I?”

For some reason, his infallible charm didn’t seem to be working on her tonight. Isabelle huffed and shook her head on her way to the open door. She listened for a moment, then quietly closed it and turned the key in the lock. “This isn’t the day for jokes, Graeme. Father’s below stairs prepping his dress uniform for the funeral.”

“What funeral?”

“The king’s of course. Didn’t your unit get the news? King Edgar is dead.”

“The fuck are you talking about?” No one’s told his unit shit. Unless they came after lights out, which would mean Graeme was royally fucked. 

“Every soldier within five miles of Kesteran is being ordered to report to the castle by six tomorrow morning. Father says the royal secretary will release the news to the public then. They’ll want to rush the proceedings to keep the theatrics to a minimum.”

“Funeral at three and a crowning at six, then, I take it.” And fuck it all to shit. This was going to be bad. King Edgar didn’t have any male heirs, which meant his fourteen-year-old daughter would be the one getting crowned. 

Sweet, naive Princess Snow. 

With her conniving bitch of a stepmother standing over shoulder. If the girl lived out the month, Graeme would take up mining. 

Isabelle wrung her hands in her night shift. The old fashioned garment had buttons all the way up to the chin, but she never buttoned it above her navel when she was in bed. Her smooth, luminescent skin made the silk look drab in comparison. 

He almost let the peekaboo glimpse of her dusky nipple distract him, but that frown furrowing her brow just wouldn’t do. His girl was worried. “Come here.”

It was a mark of just how worried Isabelle was that she came to him without argument, looping her arms around his waist and hugging herself to him. Her cheek fit neatly below his collar bone, allowing him to rest his chin against her silky blond hair. He squeezed her tightly and filled his lungs with her scent. He didn’t care for the sweet, flowery soaps she used. But underneath that, she smelled like warm, womanly heaven. 

Eighteen years old to his fresh twenty-one, but if she asked it of him, Graeme would cut out his own heart with a butter knife and lay it at her feet on a bed of roses. He was sappy like that.

“You should go. They’ll be looking for you in the barracks.”

“Shut up. I’m not going anywhere.” Yet.

“But if they find you gone–”

“I’ll take twenty laps around the castle and two months of latrine duty. Not gonna smell very fresh for a while, but I’ll live.” Isabelle might not be so lucky. Pretty young things like her tended to not do so well during drastic shifts of power. Women, gold, and magic were the nobility’s preferred currency. Usually in that order. “Now get into bed.”

“Are you going to make me see magic again?”

Graeme sighed. “Not tonight, beauty. I have to go take care of a few things.”

She pulled back to look at him with those chocolate brown eyes of hers that always seemed to see straight through him. “You’re worried.”

“What am I, an old maid with a nervous condition? No, I’m not worried.” He was concerned. That wasn’t the same thing. 

“Well, now you have me even more worried.”

Graeme scowled at her. “Don’t do this, beauty.”

Isabelle blinked at him, the picture of angelic innocence. “What if something happens to you? What if we go to war tomorrow?” Her delicate fingertips danced over the buttons of his untucked shirt down to his waist. “Oh, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep a wink tonight.”

Graeme shook out his leg. At ease! 

Nope. That didn’t work. He was tenting his pants so hard it hurt. And the little witch knew it. She met his gaze from beneath her lashes and watched him sweat as she lightly grazed the bulging front of his pants with the backs of her fingers. 

“I’ll spend the night tossing…and turning…all tangled up in my sheets…”

“Oh, you’ll sleep,” he told her. “Get under those sheets.” 

She obeyed so fast, said sheets were still billowing up after she laid herself back on the frilly pink monstrosity she called a bed.

Graeme shook his head and joined her there. But when she reached for him, he caught her hands, brought them behind her back and held them there. 

“Graeme? What are you doing?”

He tried his best innocent expression, but couldn’t suppress a wicked grin. “Why, helping you sleep, of course.” Ah, there was that blush, pinkening her cheeks and neck. Her chest heaved with an uncertain gasp and he leaned down to press his mouth to its center. “Your word is periwinkle.”

He threw his leg over hers, wryly noting the contrast between his army boots and the pale pink sheets. With his free hand, he brushed back the sides of her night shift, exposing her pert nipples. His lovely Isabelle had been so generously endowed, he wondered, not for the first time, whether her parents had used some kind of magic to produce so much perfection. 

Her breasts were full, but not overlarge. Just enough to overflow his hand when he cupped one. Her nipples were a common feature in his hottest wet dreams. Graeme started salivating like a fucking dog any time he even thought of them. 

Now that he had her in hand like this, he could afford to indulge himself a little. He put his open mouth over her breast, licking across the little bud as his teeth slowly scraped closed around it. Isabelle gasped, arching up off the bed, but he tightened his hold on her to keep her still. “Shh”, he breathed on the moistened peak, “you don’t want your father to hear.”

“Graeme, please.”

He grinned. “You asked for this, beauty. And you know your wish is my command.” 

With that, he set back in, licking and nibbling, feasting on her flesh to his heart’s delight, and savoring every little squeak of sound she tried so hard to bite back. She’d already bitten her lower lip red to keep silent. He ought to kiss it better. 

But there was her other nipple, cold and neglected. How could he leave it like that? 

Transferring his attention to her other breast, he unbuttoned the rest of her night shift with his free hand. Her belly quivered at his touch so he lingered there to soothe her as he nipped her bud a little harder. Just enough for her to feel the sting. She jerked in his hold, but then arched up to press her breast deeper into his mouth. Good girl. Graeme wasn’t going to disappoint her. 

With his leg holding both of hers together, it was a tight fit getting his hand to her pussy, but his reward was sweeter than honey. She was dripping wet for him. His fingers slid oh so easily back and forth on either side of her clit. He rubbed the seam of her pussy, barely dipping his finger inside and relished the bite of her teeth on his shoulder as she jerked her hips up for more. 

He paid her back in kind, taking her nipple between his teeth and rolling it back and forth as he rubbed her harder, dipped his finger a little deeper on each pass until he was fucking her with it and she was breathing hard to the same rhythm. She wriggled in his grasp, her entire body begging him for more and, gods, how he wanted to give it to her. 

So he relaxed his leg to allow hers to open wider, then pressed the palm of his hand over her clit and rocked it hard back and forth. 

Isabelle gasped, her body tensing, quivering as her bite on him slackened and her head fell back on her pillows. Graeme watched her come, kept her inner muscles clenching down on his finger with a smooth rolling pressure against her entire pussy. 

When the grips of pleasure eased, her body went limp, fully relaxed and open to him. She became putty in his hands while a blissful smile played across her lips. Her dreamy gaze hid nothing and Graeme couldn’t stop staring. 

“Now, beauty,” he said, releasing her hands, “you can do something for me.” 

She caught her lower lip between her teeth and grinned. Not a hint of hesitation in her as she slid down the mattress. Graeme shifted around to lie on his back, braced his booted feet on the footboard and made room for her between his thighs. 

Her nimble fingers made short work of his belt and zipper and his dick sprang free straight into her hands. She eagerly took the head between her lips and sucked herself down the length of his shaft all the way to the base. “Ah, fuck!” He could feel her throat move as she swallowed him down, then let him slip back out, sucking all the way. 

And right back down she went, like she wanted to eat him whole, and up again, and Graeme might have passed out there for a second because the next thing he knew, his balls were pulling up tight and he was squeezing his ass cheeks together to rock up into her mouth.

And that was how her father found them. With Graeme’s army boots braced on the pink bedspread, and his pants around his hips, and Isabelle’s mouth on his dick, sucking him to come. 

title currently in the works

 

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