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“Now and always,” he promised in their ancient tongue.
“Does your wolf accept me as your mate?”
She smiled at his vehemence and then asked the final vow. “Will you accept my care and support, the love my heart will have only for you?”
It was not a necessary promise in the current Chrechte ceremonies, but the ways of the ancients were strong in Una’s treetop home this night.
Anya Gra would bless their mating later, speaking the ancient words over them in benediction, and they would receive their mating marks, tattoos of blue ink that would show any who cared to look that she and Bryant were mated for life. The prince would proclaim them man and wife before the entire tribe, but these vows spoken tonight were irrevocable.
None could undo them or deny their validity, though none but the Creator witnessed them.
Neither spoke or moved for long seconds and then he breached her, the pain instant and great. She cried out in shock, but he stopped moving even before she made a sound, remaining still while her body adjusted to the foreign intrusion.
Miraculously, the pain brought back no bad memories and soon was transforming to a pleasure so intense, the world outside the joining of their two bodies ceased to exist.
She shifted her hips, sending pleasure zinging through her. He reacted with a curse in their ancient tongue and she found reason to smile even as she moved again.
The wolf could not stand for her to be in control for long and within a moment he was directing their movements, his body thrusting so his big erection pushed and pulled in and out of her body.
Each tiny increment forward and back brought with it a million sparkles of delight throughout her body. She was soon mindless with the ecstasy of his claiming, her body moving of its own volition in ways meant to enhance the already overwhelming pleasure.
“You are mine,” he ground out as he bottomed out in her, pressing against something inside that was beyond pleasure and not quite pain.
“You are mine.”
“I am yours,” she agreed then.
His smile was feral.
And then he swiveled his hips on the next downward thrust and she felt the maelstrom inside of her spiral out of control. She screamed as her body exploded with pleasure too great to bear in silence.
“I give you my child,” he promised as his body went rigid and then he cried her name out and spilled his seed inside her.
“You believe we made a child?” she asked in awe, but grave doubt.
Even sacred mates didn’t get with child that quickly, did they?
“I know I did.”
And suddenly, they were no longer in her bedroom in the trees, but lay together, joined as one beside the bubbling brook in the land of the Chrechte spirits.
“We are not asleep,” Bryant said in awe.
“We were never dreaming.”
“You like to be right.”
He smiled down at her, his hardness inside her not deflating as she’d once been told by her mother to expect.
“I will claim you again, here in the place that gave you to me.”
She could do naught but nod.
And they made love again. It was love, too . . . as he had promised. He’d shown her the emotion that defied reason, time and circumstance.
This time she spoke her words of love as she found the ultimate pleasure. “My heart beats for you now.”
His expression held such a wealth of emotion it brought healing tears to her eyes. “I love you this day and forever, my eagle. My sacred mate.”
“And now you do.”
She nodded, her throat too choked for more words.
“You will be a bridge between the races.” The words spoken by the celi di Una had met the first time she’d come to the spirit plane washed over them with a power that sent Una’s pleasure spiking again.
“Your children will bless this generation and the ones to come,” the celi di continued to intone.
And then she was gone.
“That was . . .” For once, Una’s Faol warrior appeared lost for words.
“Surprisingly right.” Having a celi di speak a blessing and prophesy like that over them as they consummated their sacred mating was . . . the ancient way of things.
And really beautiful.
The spirit realm melted around them and they were back in her bedroom, her mate still inside her.
He began moving again and she made a sound, not a protest, but perhaps simply shock.
“We have an entire night of joining to look forward to,” he said as if reading her expression.
“But . . .”
“We are sacred mates.”
“And that makes everything perfect?” she asked, even as her body greedily accepted his.
“We make it perfect, or as near as we can. It is up to us, your eagle, my wolf, our humanity to make this mating all that the celi di said it would be.”
“I don’t want to leave the forest.”
“Then I will live here with you.”
“I will go to meet your family,” she offered, and even as the words left her mouth, she knew that a day would come when she would willingly leave her home in the forest behind.
Not today . . . but the day was coming.
Bryant’s smile was blinding, brighter than a thousand candles lit in a single room. “My mother is going to love you.”
“So long as her son does, I will be content.”
“With all my heart.”
“It is a miracle.”
“Don’t you know, Una? Life is a miracle.”
And for the first time in five years, she believed it.
Her agreement was lost in his kiss.