Falling In Love With The King Of Beasts

Chapter 680 - Christmas Special 2021 - Part 9


Chapter 680 – Christmas Special 2021 – Part 9

ELIA

An hour later they walked through the Tree City holding hands, Reth keeping her close, his eyes watchful of their surroundings. He was always protective, but even dressing back at the clearing, he’d been overly attentive, holding her arm when she had to lean down to put a leg in her leathers, and coaching her about the shift before they left.

She smiled wearily. He was going to be insufferable for the next three or four months, she knew. But she also knew he needed to be protective, to feel as if he was doing something.

He literally pushed himself between her and danger—whether actual danger existed, or not. And she admired him for it. If that meant putting up with an over-protective mate for a few months until this little one arrived, well… she could do that.

So as they approached the Market she smiled and stroked his arm. “I am madly in love with you, Reth. Exactly as you are.”

“Well, good,” he said with a lopsided grin. “Because if you weren’t, my devotion to you could get awkward.”

She giggled and was about to tease him when the strains of music floating through the air registered in her head and she stopped for a moment, turning her ear otwards the market to listen.

“Music?” she asked hopefully.

Reth’s grin became another beaming smile. “Music,” he confirmed.

She looked up at him, hardly daring to hope. “Reth… did you…”

“It’s a feast night,” he said. “There will be dancing and wine—that you can’t drink, but we’ll pretend—and then I have a surprise for you at home.”

“Oh, Reth!” she clapped her hands and hugged his arm. “What is the feast for?”

“For you.”

“For me? What? How? Why?”

Then, as they took the final turn towards the entrance to the market, Reth smiled down on her gently. “Merry Christmas, Elia.”

She very nearly cried again.

*****

RETH

Elreth greeted them with a scream of joy and babbled her story which was translated by Aymora. A day of sweets, naps, and a trip to the training grounds where Elreth had watched the warriors sparring—something she had loved ever since Elia brought her to see Reth training with the guards once.

She was exhausted and happy and overjoyed to see them. But Reth caught Aymora’s eye when she spoke about Elreth needing to get to bed, and she nodded.

“We’ve had so much fun,” she said as Elia cuddled their daughter, “Why don’t you let me take her back to the cave and settle her down? You two can relax here a while, then I’ll go home when you get back to the cave?”

Elia frowned. “I can’t ask you to do that after such a long day.”

“Don’t be silly, daughter. It’s been a joy. And you two have barely gotten here. You need a chance to enjoy the feast—and the music.”

Elia looked longingly into the center of the market where the tables had been pushed back and couples were already turning and twisting. Then she looked at Reth and he saw the guilt in her.

“I insist,” he said. “Who knows when we’ll be able to take the time to dance together again?”

Elia’s frown became a quiet smile, and she looked down at Elreth. “Can you go with Mama Aymora to sleep at home? Mommy will be there later, when you wake up?”

Elreth squealed and immediately leaned out of Elia’s arms, her own thick little limbs stretched towards Aymora.

“I guess that’s a yes,” Elia muttered.

Reth chuckled.

“She’s only excited because I told her we would have dessert before bed,” Aymora said, taking Elreth and nuzzling her chubby cheek. Elreth held Aymora’s face and giggled as her grandmother blew a raspberry on her neck.

Then Aymora farewelled them both, urged them to take their time and carried Elreth out. She caught Reth’s eye again over her shoulder, winking before she disappeared into the crowds below.

Elia turned to him then, eyes bright, though pinched with tiredness, and he reminded himself this wouldn’t be the evening of drinking and dancing into the night that he’d envisioned. But maybe that was better. Maybe a few dances, then returning to the cave with Elreth already asleep and spending an hour or two in front of the fire, or in the mineral pool… yes. Reth smiled at the thought.

Then he turned to his mate and offered his hand. “May I have this dance?”

She pretended to be coy, but she was bouncing on her feet to follow him to the center of the market where he wrapped her in his arms and began to turn her around the floor.

*****

ELIA

It was a feeling second only to sex, Elia had decided. Being in Reth’s arms, having his eyes on her, his chest brushing hers, their bodies moving in time—but in the rhythm of the music, instead of their joining. Every time he pressed at the hollow of her back to pull her close, raking a gaze down her face, every powerful turn… it all conspired to make her heart beat faster, to fuel the heat in her belly, and to remind her just how bloody beautiful her mate was with his broad shoulders and massive chest.

She had no idea how long they danced—it seemed to pass in a blink, but it had to have been at least an hour. But by the end, they swayed, her hand curled in his and held against his chest, his hips pulled tight against her stomach. And their eyes locked.

He hadn’t tied his hair back and it fell in his eyes as he stared down at her, reminding her of that first night she’d seen him as an adult, how intimidating and powerful he’d seemed—and how true it all was… and yet there was so much more to him.

“Are you ready to go home?” he asked her quietly, his voice rough.

She smiled. Home after dancing usually meant only one thing. “I think so,” she said coyly. “If you are.”

He waggled his eyebrows suggestively and she giggled like a schoolgirl. Then he danced her off the floor and down the main aisle through the market, both of them greeting others absentmindedly, waving and not slowing their walk as they passed through the crowds.

Then they stepped out of the market and onto the trails. Reth settled in to walk, but Elia pulled out of his grip and took a few steps away, staring at him, her face serious.

He looked around. “What is it?” he asked, confused.

She swallowed, the forced a smile. “Catch me if you can,” she whispered, then she shifted and with a flash of her tail, was off down the trail towards the Royal cave.

With a laugh, Reth sprinted after her, leaping into his beast and chasing her all the way home. Never quite passing her, because what was the fun in that?


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