Chapter Eleven

Ares

Ugh. My side and my chest hurt, and it’s fucking hot here.

I lift my head that weighs a ton. A fireplace crackling in the corner is the source of both the heat and the soft light illuminating the room.

I kick at the covers and fold one arm under my head. Ouch. Wrong arm. Fuck. The new position pulls at the wound and makes it throb. When I drop my arm to my side, it lands on coarse fur, but that’s not what has my eyes popping open.

I turn just my head to the left, because rolling on my wounded side isn’t the best idea, and something tickles my nose. A yellow fuzz fills my line of sight. I carefully prop myself up on one elbow and paw at what turns out to be a blond braid. Attached to a sleeping Valkyrie.

Tilje is in my bed, and I’m too fucking incapacitated to do something about it. Though my dick seems to be up for it.

No. I’m not molesting a sleeping woman. I love fucking, and I’m not that eclectic when it comes to bed partners, but I have boundaries. I won’t take someone who’s not in full possession of their mental faculties. 

Plus, she can’t beg if she’s asleep.

She rolls toward me, the movement tugging her hair free. She splays her palm on my stomach, and my heart skips a beat. Is she awake? Is she hitting on me? I’ve already risen to the occasion. Can probably perform if she’s on top and we take it slow.

Her eyes are still closed. She’s not awake, and the way she scrunches her nose says she’s not enjoying what she’s dreaming of. Her breastplate is gone, and peaked nipples are visible through the thick material of her dress.

I reach for her braid again. Since I first saw her, I’ve wanted to see her hair loose. Will she draw a sword on a wounded man if I undo her braids?

“I want to see you with your hair down,” I whisper. I’m shaken by how I want this more than to have her breasts bared to my hungry gaze.

The end of her braid slips from between my fingers, as long curls the color of hay frame her face. My wish came true. Did I do this?

The table Loki brought—it manifested what we asked for. Guess its magic can do more than that.

I don’t care. I want to bury my face in Tilje’s hair and inhale her scent, but even half-sitting the way I am hurts like a bitch.

I lower myself on my back and cover her hand with mine. It’s just to make sure she doesn’t leave before I have the chance to ravish her, not because her touch offers me any sort of comfort. Not because her hand fits into mine like they were created to be clasped together.

When I open my eyes again, it’s to a too-bright light. I squint. It’s not pouring in through the windows; it’s at the foot of the bed, and from within it, Odin’s voice booms. “I see you are recovering nicely.” If light can glower, this does. Odin obviously does not approve of my being in bed with one of his Valkyries. I doubt he’d hurt an Olympian, but—

Mindless of the pain in my side, I sit upright and throw my body in front of Tilje.

The light fades, until Odin’s figure is clearly visible. “Do not worry, old friend. If one of us poses a threat to Tilgivelse, it is not I. If anything, I am glad to see she is taking care of your needs.”

The Valkyrie in question lets out a light snore, apparently undisturbed by the new presence in the room.

Carefully, I straighten and scoot back till I can lean against the wooden headrest. My unnecessary heroics hurt like a bitch, but when I gingerly trace the bandage with my fingers, it’s dry. Good. Didn’t reopen the wound.

“Tilje?” I whisper. “Your… boss is here.”

“She cannot see me or hear this conversation,” Odin says. “I came to check on your recovery. Everything to your liking?” He looks pointedly at Tilje, who rolls onto her back and throws an arm over her face.

He said he’s no danger to her, but will he punish her if he thinks we had sex? Even if he doesn’t, I can’t let him think more happened here than actually did.

“She fell asleep beside me. Nothing happened,” I say.

Fuck. When did I become a paragon of truth?

I can’t tell for sure, but his expression seems to falter. “I see,” he says. “And have you given my suggestion any thought?”

His suggestion? Oh, about letting him view the outside world through my eyes. “Not yet. Been too busy, healing from this sword I took to the chest.”

He steeples his fingers and nods gravely. “I understand. Get better, and we will talk again. In the meantime, keep in mind that Valkyries are only immortal for as long as they remain maidens.”

What the—

And of course he disappears before I can once again assure him that I didn’t touch Tilje. Which would be a lie, but there wasn’t enough touching to jeopardize her immortality.

But if her immortality is intact, it means she’s… a virgin? That’s why she didn’t give in to my advances, not because she doesn’t desire me. Because, really, what female wouldn’t? I’m as hot as they come.

Anyway, this doesn’t affect us. The bond grants Olympians’ soulmates immortality.

“You know that. She doesn’t.” The voice in my head sounds eerily like C’s, and he’s the last person I want around when I’m about to wake up my Valkyrie.

I slam my mental defenses into place and trail a finger along Tilje’s forearm.

Don’t know if Odin’s visit has something to do with this, but I feel better than I did ten minutes ago, and she’s already in my bed. No reason not to enjoy ourselves.

She hums and lowers her arm from her face. She’s so fucking stunning—the sort of beauty poets immortalize in their works and men fall on their swords for.

And look at me, sounding like that romantic asshole, Hermes.

Tilje’s hot. Scorching hot. I mean, look at these breasts, perky even when she’s on her back, their tips pushing at the scruffy fabric of her dress. I want to tweak those nipples. Roll them between my fingers. Rip the dress off her and taste them. But she must be awake.

“Touch me,” she whispers.

She doesn’t have to say it a second time. I hover my hand over the tented fabric, teasing her. This gentleness isn’t me, but she’s a virgin. I won’t scare her away.

When she arches her back, pressing one breast into my palm, I cup the perfect mound and knead it softly. A tiny moan escapes her rosy lips and travels straight to my straining dick, making it twitch. 

I close my mouth over her other breast and tug at the nipple with my teeth. Tilje’s breath hitches, and she squirms. The scratchy linen doesn’t taste good. I want it out of the way, and I’d bet she does too. 

Sucking on her nipple, I skate my hand down her side and to the top of her thigh, and start bunching her skirt upward. She stops wriggling, the sudden tension in her body so vivid, I taste it on the back of my tongue. I let go of her breast and bury my face in her hair, to kiss a path up her neck. “Let me make you feel good,” I purr. “I won’t enter you unless you tell me to.”

That relaxes her. She turns to me and nuzzles my chin. My Valkyrie wants a kiss and doesn’t know how to ask for it.

“What do you want?” I let my lips brush her cheek, before raising my head to look down at her. 

Her eyelids flutter, but remain shut. “Kiss me,” she says. Her lips don’t move, though. They remain parted, her sweet breath slipping through them in quick, short puffs.

She spoke in my head. Our bond is forming, and I haven’t yet dipped my tongue in her honey. I swoop in for a kiss, and as she devours my lips and tongue, my fingers finally meet bare flesh. The silken skin of her thigh breaks out in goose bumps when I slide my fingers to cup one naked asscheek.

Still, there’s too much between us, and I mean that in the most tangible of ways. I toss the furs to the floor and glare at the ton of fabric bunched over her hip.

Her giggle makes me glance at her face. Blue eyes are wide and sparkling with mirth. Her blush gives me more indecent thoughts than the proximity of my fingertips to her ass and pussy does. I want to do things to her that will make her cheeks glow this deep shade of red for centuries to come.

“Let me see you naked,” I say.

Tilje shakes her head.

“It’s only fair. You’ve seen me.” She’s more than seen me. I test our mental link by sending her the memory of how her hand felt on my cock.

Tilje groans and bites her lip. When I make to lift her dress higher, she pushes my hand away and gets out of bed.

Fuck. She can’t leave now. I need… her. “Come back to bed.” I sit up and hold out a hand, but she steps out of reach.

Holding my gaze, she clasps the skirt of her dress and pulls it off in one liquid motion. Electrified by the friction, her curls fall down her shoulders and cover her breasts in a frizzy golden cloud. She tilts her chin up, defiantly, and tosses the hair back, to reveal the rosy peaks that I’ve been drooling over.

I don’t know whether to focus on them or on the golden strip of hair between her legs. My cock is hard enough to fuck a hole into the mattress, but it’ll have to wait. 

This time, when I hold out my hand, she closes the distance between us and takes it.

 

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