Grief and guilt-ridden Skylar Ammadon sometimes wonders if she has the strength to go on living. Her life mate Duse has been murdered for over two years and she still finds each day an unbearable trial. She lives and functions in the physical world only, denying her supernatural gifts or any subtle realities, existing only to ensure her precious son’s health and happiness and living far, far away from the shattering memories of Dunleavy Castle.
But as much as she tries to forget, as much as she strives to deny, as much as she tries to punish herself, her immense desire for one man will not be purged from her mind or body.
Jax Ammadon’s suffering has made him stronger than any Watcher alive. For hundreds of years he’s burned alive for the one woman that fate has designated could never be his. He watches helplessly as Skylar’s denial of the truth of what they are to one another slowly kills her. Her grieving period must come to an end.
It’s time for the new king of the Watchers to claim what’s his.
Read an Excerpt
Skylar hit the disconnect button as she slowly lowered her phone. “You’re Cal?” she asked hoarsely.
He nodded once.
An uncomfortable silence followed. At least it was uncomfortable for her. Cal seemed completely at ease as he inspected her from across the room, arms crossed casually across his lean torso and thighs slightly spread.
“This is a little awkward,” she said so quietly it was almost a whisper.
His arms fell and he shifted his hips. “What did you and Ray do to break the ice?”
“He said it would be best if we…you know…just began.”
He gave a small shrug. “Why don’t you go ahead and get undressed, then.”
Her heartbeat hammered loudly in her ears in the silence that followed. Despite the fact that she no longer thought the situation warranted jumping off the balcony, she still inched toward the patio door when he took a few steps toward her. He immediately stopped when he saw. One brow quirked upward, but the rest of his face remained impassive.
“Is something wrong?”
“What do you mean get undressed? Ray just let me raise my skirt.”
His light eyes compelled her not to look away. He reminded of her of someoneâ€”who was it? Was it Duse’s cousin, Che Ammadon? It must be the light brown hair mixed with burnished strands of gold, even though Cal’s was clipped short while Che wore his long. But although Cal easily topped six feet and had a rangy, lean build, he hardly reached the height or proportions of a Watcher.
“I’ll do things differently than Ray, Skylar.”
She paused uncertainly at the sound of him saying her name.
“I refuse to take all of my clothes off!” she finally exploded hotly once she regained her composure.
“I’ll give you want you need. But I call the shots. Understood?”
She crossed her arms beneath her breasts defensively. “I want someone different than you.”
“Why?” he asked, seeming only vaguely interested as he glanced around the apartment.
She just stared at him mutinously. What could she say? That he was too attractive for the job at hand, too young, too calm, too knowing?
“I’ll call Marsha and ask for her to send someone older.”
“She won’t be able to do that, Skylar.”
“Why not?” she demanded.
“Because I said so. And I’m the new owner of CP. Are you going to take off your clothes or not? I haven’t got all night.”
Her eyes rounded at that. The new owner? Skylar couldn’t help but inspect him again, this time with more curiosity than caution. What kind of a person would buy a business like Corporal Pleasures? He certainly didn’t look the type, but then again, she wasn’t precisely sure what the type was.
Most people wouldn’t guess that she looked like the type to pay someone to spank her.
She considered walking out the door then and there, but her need and guilt tore at her insides with what felt like angry, demanding claws. There was only one way to subdue it. She knew from experience.
She kept her eyes cautiously on him as she kicked off her pumps and unzipped her skirt. Her hands shook as she unbuttoned her blouse and tossed it over the back of a chair. She hesitated for a moment before she unfastened her bra. But then she took note of his cool, steady stare. Her chin rose defiantly as she added it along with her panties and thigh highs to the pile of clothes.
“Come over to me,” Cal said quietly when she’d finished.
She experienced a sense of dissociation as she complied, like she was watching the scene calmly from a distance. What she was doing was not only mad, but clearly self-destructive.
Her acknowledgment didn’t faze her in the slightest.
He didn’t move for a few seconds after she stopped a foot away from him. Then he reached up and touched the elaborate design above her left breast. Skylar trembled but she didn’t flinch.
“This is beautiful.”
Her nostrils flared. His tone had sounded both amused and haloed at once. The paradox confused her. She didn’t reply, not trusting her voice.
“What is it?” His hand dropped but his gaze remained, feeling like a palpable touch on her breast.
She shifted restlessly beneath his stare. Of course she would never consider telling a human about the intricacies of Watcher ways or what it meant to be a Watcher mate. No, her hesitation didn’t stem from that. Her temporary muteness came from the wretched reminder that the sigil she wore was no longer Duse’s. That had faded the second Duse died. Bale Ammadon, Duse’s older brother and the leader of the Watchers, had told her that he had magically applied the one she wore currently in order to protect her during the senseless, grief-wracked days following her husband’s death.
The truth of the matter weighed on her like a stone in her chest cavity.
“Haven’t you ever seen a tattoo before?” she asked coldly.
For a fraction of a second, his light gray eyes had resembled pale mirrors. She didn’t care for the reflection she imagined she saw there.
He grasped her naked hips. His touch felt neither gentle nor rough, just sure. He urged her to turn around.
“Bend over and grab your ankles,” he ordered.