A tale of two brothers, about to discover that love against the odds isn't easy, and love alone might never be enough.
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When the vampire Fenton discovers the hideout of the witches who kidnapped Skye’s brother, the fae prince knows that he has to go with him to confront them. It will mean travelling into the unknown corners of the world, but with Fenton by his side, Skye knows that he’ll be safe.
Ash and his vampire lover Azrael have been safely returned to the Realm, but Ash quickly discovers that fae law forbids their relationship. Changing the law becomes an obsession, but even the king claims that it’s unbreakable.
The two brothers set off on separate journeys, both trying to do what they think is best for the Realm, but what they discover along the way will profoundly change them, and make them doubt everything that they thought they knew.
Old alliances will falter, new enemies will emerge, and they will discover that there is good and bad on both sides. Ash learns that love against the odds isn't easy, and Skye fears that love alone might never be enough.
Skye had no idea what time it was when he awoke: the windowless room gave him no clue as to the hour. He could only assume that outside the sun still shone because Fenton lay unconscious beside him. He nestled closer to him, kissing his forehead softly as he tucked a stray strand of hair behind the vampire’s ear. A surge of desire flooded through him and he fought it back guiltily. Wasn’t this what he had been afraid of: that if he let himself love the vampire it would be he, and not Fenton, who craved more? But it was so difficult to separate love and sex: once he had admitted one, the other followed naturally.
He pulled Fenton closer, snaking his arms around his body, entwining their legs. He kissed him on the mouth, nestled his head into the crook of his neck, inhaled his scent. Just the feel of their bodies pressed together sent an illicit thrill through him: he was like an addict, and Fenton was the drug. When they were apart he felt so confused, his mind swam dizzyingly until he felt sick. Only with Fenton did he know certainty.
Skye recalled the look on Fenton’s face as the vampire had confessed that he loved him, how scared he had been that Skye wouldn’t understand what he needed, the limitations of his love. And those fears were justified, Fenton had been right. Skye did want more from him, he had tried to fight it, but he couldn’t. It had been Skye alone who had instigated the gradual increase in familiarity, the slow build-up of physical contact that had reached a crescendo in the car the previous evening. Why had he done that; why had he made Fenton feel obligated to touch him, when he had said from the start that sex wasn’t what he wanted? Had he really been so selfish?
A stab of guilt told him that he had, and that he would do it again. He hated himself for it, but he couldn’t stop himself from running his hand down Fenton’s back, cupping his firm buttocks, pushing his hips forward, squeezing Fenton’s leg between his own, feeling the delicious pressure against his groin, nudging his knee higher until he rubbed against Fenton’s crotch. He smothered the vampire’s sleeping face with kisses, struggling desperately to control the urges that were consuming him. He collapsed into himself, feeling nothing but cold despair and a terrible, incessant longing, an aching in the pit of his stomach that radiated outward through his limbs, making him want to mark Fenton as his own, claw into him and maim him, make him, too, feel this agony, share this pain, mesh their bodies together until they were one.
Hot tears slid down Skye’s cheeks and he moaned unhappily, stifling the sound in Fenton’s chest as his fingernails raked long lines down the vampire’s back. He had thought that this relationship would salve his loneliness, bring him some comfort, but all he felt was a terrible emptiness that told him that he still didn’t have what he wanted: that he was lonelier than ever.
Fenton stirred in his arms, his eyes wide open and alert, his whole face tense with concern as he looked at Skye.
“What’s wrong?” He asked, wrapping his arms around him.
Skye burst into tears, sobs racking his body as he clung to him. Fenton held him tightly, stroking his hair, making quiet soothing noises. He rocked him gently until he was calm: lying in his arms, snuffling quietly.
“What’s wrong?” He repeated, his eyes searching Skye’s anxiously.
“You must hate me,” Skye stammered.
“What! How can you think that? I love you: I could never hate you.”
“But last night, in the car,” his cheeks burnt with shame, “I know you didn’t want to do that, and I did – so much.” He buried his face in Fenton’s chest to avoid meeting his eyes.
Fenton placed a hand under his chin, forcing him to look at him, stroking his cheek with his thumb. “You didn’t make me do anything that I didn’t want to do,” he reassured him.
“I know that’s not true. You said - ”
“I said I wasn’t interested in sex. I’m not. I don’t feel what everyone else does – I never have – but I can see how it affects you; I can see what you need, and I’m not going to deny you that. I love you: I want to make you happy.”
“But I want you to be happy too. I don’t want you to feel obligated - ”
“Obligated?” Fenton recoiled, his tone hard. “You think I would make love to you because I feel obligated? You think that’s why we did what we did in the car?” He shook his head incredulously.
“Isn’t it?” Skye asked tentatively.
“Of course not. I admit, I have no sexual desire of my own, I will never feel any need for you to touch me carnally, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to make you happy.”
Skye frowned and eyed Fenton doubtfully. The vampire met his eyes, trying to make him understand.
“Tell me what you want,” Skye asked.
“I want you,” Fenton answered simply.
“But what do you want from me?”
“Nothing. I would be happy just being with you. When we started getting closer, sleeping in the same bed; kissing, I thought I would die with happiness. I crave those things, too. I want to be close to you. I understand the demands your body is making – my body makes its own - ”
“For my blood?”
“Yes, for your blood. Sometimes I want it so badly that I can’t even think, it’s all I can do to stop myself from gathering you up in my arms and tasting you.”
“Then why don’t you?”
“I didn’t know if that would be welcome,” Fenton admitted.
“But you know now, surely?”
“I do.” He smiled. “But I also have to think about you: if I drink from you whenever I want I’ll weaken you, and right now you need to be strong.”
“I like it when you bite me,” Skye admitted, blushing.
“And you like it when I touch you, don’t you?”
“Yes,” Skye whispered, his eyes haunted. “I can’t help myself, it’s so hard to fight it.”
“It’s okay,” Fenton soothed him, “I understand. I’ve seen the way you look at me, I know what you want.”
“But I made a promise to you that I wouldn’t!” Skye cried.
“It’s not one I should ever have made you make. It would be cruel to expect you to keep it.”
“So what do we do now?” Skye asked forlornly.
“We carry on, of course.” Fenton looked surprised. “I love you – all of you. I want to make you happy: that will be my happiness. I can’t promise to be the most attentive lover, but I will try.”
“I don’t want you to,” Skye sighed unhappily. “I want you to want me, but you don’t, do you?”
“Not like that, no.” Fenton’s eyes met his, deep pools of sorrow.
“I don’t know if I can stand it,” Skye admitted.
“Then let’s stop this now.” Fenton started to untangle himself from Skye’s embrace.
“No.” Skye clung to him, holding him close. “I don’t want to lose you, either.”
“I don’t want to make you unhappy. I’ve been here before, I’ve seen how bad it gets.”
“It won’t,” Skye told him fiercely. “I love you, I’m not letting you go. We’ll make this work, somehow.” He kissed him. His limbs trembled as he gripped Fenton’s strong arms, his nails digging in, anchoring his hands to stop them from running down the vampire’s body. He felt Fenton’s tongue caress his own and he whimpered quietly. “Bite me,” he pleaded, his eyes wide.
He closed his eyes as Fenton rolled on top of him, their bodies pressed together, feeling every inch of flesh and muscle through his clothes. He raked a hand through Fenton’s hair, clasping the back of the vampire’s head as he bared his neck to his teeth. He cried out as he felt him pierce his skin, the surge of his blood to the two small pinpricks in his neck. The intensity of Fenton’s bite drowned out all other thoughts, took away all the conflict and anguish within him. This, it all came down to this, this moment, this closeness, this rush. This would have to suffice, would have to be enough – he would make it be enough. It was the only thing they had to offer each other.