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Authors: Kenya Wright

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BOOK: Freed (Vampire King Book 3)
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“Can
we talk, Ian?” Brie repeated.

“Yes.”
My voice sounded hoarse.
I’d like to do
more than talk.
My groin heated.
Why
does she do this to me with just a few words?

“Is
there a private place we can talk?” Brie asked Saykoy.

“Go
inside and up the stairs to the third level. No one is in there right now,”
Saykoy said. “That area is designated for you and your kings to sleep during
the day.”

Could I be trusted in the same room
with her during the daylight sleeping? Even with Samuel there, I’ll try to
touch her.

 

 

 

Chapter Eleven

 

~Brie

Silence
flowed between us while Ian and I climbed the steps.

How am I going to help Ian with
this?

The
staircase swirled around and around as it rose to the top of the stone hut. Ian
led the way as if to protect me from a possible attack, but I was sure no one
else existed in the hut but us. It possessed that sort of quiet one gets when
no one’s around. Smooth gray stone served as the walls. I slid my hands against
them with each step and relished the cool surface under my fingertips. An herbal
fragrance hung in the air and lingered near the long green candles at each
level’s entrance way.

“This
must be where she wants us to stay.” Ian took my hand and guided me into a
spacious room coated in rug formed of knotted soft fabrics dyed in many colors.
The weave pattern appeared to have no set design. The pale blue fabrics merged
with avocado greens and sunshine yellows. Knots of deep pink and midnight-black
decorated the center. I walked on the rug, the soles of my feet sinking into
the spongy fabric.

There
was no furniture, just a large vase full of water with cloths, a stack of
folded blankets and pillows in the corner, and a small fireplace within the
grove of a stone wall. I walked over to the fire. Ian followed in silence. Only
the crackling of wood could be heard in the room.

I
lifted up the ends of my dress and turned his way. “What did you think when the
Ground Mover talked about your brother and how he gave the blood to Phinova’s…body?”

“Just
say it.” Shadows painted half of his face. “Corpse. How do I feel about Nai
feeding blood to Phinova’s corpse?”

“Fine.”
I shrugged. “Tell me how you feel.”

“Why?”

“Because
I want to be there.”

“You’re
not my queen. If you need to go back and forth about feelings, then call Samuel
in here.” Ian put his back to me and headed to the door.

“You’re
mad.”

“Of
course.” He paused.

“Did
I—”

“This
was a bad idea.”

“What
was?”

He
rushed to me in a line of motion. At one second he was near the doorway. In the
next instance he stood barely a few inches in front of me. His breath tickled
my forehead. His gaze seared into my skin. Heat vibrated between us and
something else. Another feeling. The other emotion tugged at my heart and other
regions.

“It’s
not a good idea for you to be in a room alone with another king, especially one
that no longer has a queen.” He kissed my forehead. Warmth unfolded where it
shouldn’t have. “I knew better of course, but I never get alone time with you.”

I
backed up until I hit the wall. “Ian, I just need you to talk to me about
Phinova.”

“Take
off your robe and I’ll say or do anything you desire.”

“I
have a king.”

“You
said I belonged to you.”

“You
do.” I almost bit my lip from the determination in my tone. “I mean…”

“You
said it right. I belong to you.”

“Because
of your promise and our blood exchange.”

“That’s
it?” He placed his hands on my waist. “There’s no other reason?”

I
moved his hands away. “Ian, stop.”

He
did and took a step back, yet a smirk spread over his face. “Are you my queen
then?”

“Yes…damn
it. I mean
no
.”

His
cheeks vibrated as though he were holding in a laugh. “But I belong to you?”

“We
should discuss Phinova.”

“Let’s
make a deal.”

I
twisted my lips in confusion. “Deal?”

“Let
me drink from your neck and I’ll talk to you about anything.” He seized my
waist, pulled me in, and placed his lips at the curve of my neck. I shuddered
in his arms. The tips of his fangs gently dragged against my skin. “Can I drink
from you?”

I can’t let him touch me this way.
No matter how good this feels. It’s wrong.

I
cleared my throat. “No.”

“Please,”
he begged.

“Ian,
I love Samuel.”

“But
you’re enjoying my hold on you?”

I
remained silent, not willing to tell him how true he was.

“You
don’t have to say anything, little queen.” He left a trail of kisses from the
curve of my neck to my shoulder and then stepped away. “I can hear how fast
your heart is beating. Your blood is singing to me too and not a soft humming
song. It’s throbbing hot in your veins, demanding I taste you.”

“But
you won’t.”

“No.”
I set more space between us. “I’m not sure two kings can share one queen. I
doubt it’s in our make-up. And even if it was, one of the kings will always be left
alone, wondering if the queen ever truly loved him.”

“Is
that how you felt?”

“At
times.” He lowered down to the ground and gestured for me to come with him. “I
must admit that Phinova and I spent a lot of time away from Nai. Surely they
must’ve did the same while I rested or was busy.”

I
got down on my knees. Surprisingly the carpet was as comfortable as a mattress.
“Do you regret Nai and your sharing of Phinova?”

“Yes
and no.” He wrenched his shirt off, scooted over to me, and lay down on his
back. “We had a lot of fun. A strong love formed around us in the beginning.
Great passion occurred. We were one at times, one moving body of pleasure and
delight.”

“In
the beginning?”

He
laughed. “You caught that. Yes. In the beginning it was all great, but then
Phinova’s tribe was getting ready to leave as planned. All three of us became
worried that we’d be separated. We did things that we shouldn’t have. Things
that changed us on the inside forever.”

“Things?”

“They
killed their parents.” Samuel entered. He directed his gaze to Ian’s shirt on
the floor and then to Ian’s bare chest. “Last time when we were in the wagon
leaving Octavia’s party, you told us that Phinova made a potion and poured it
in the soup at the goodbye feast. Then your father died the next morning and
you and your brother became kings. You never said what happened to everybody
else.”

Ian
closed his eyes. “They all died after the feast. Everyone who drunk the soup
died in their sleep.”

“What?”
My mouth went dry. I put my hand on my chest. “You never said that. You told me
Phinova’s tribe left and—”

Ian
sighed. “There were tribal members still alive—guards, a few of her protectors,
and one or two members that didn’t drink the soup. The surviving tribe fled
with their dead and never looked back. They knew Phinova did it, but now that
she had become our queen, they couldn’t challenge her on the murders.”

I
rubbed my face with shivering hands. “Your mother, aunts, cousins, they all
died?”

“Correct,
queen.” Samuel sat down behind me and rested his huge hands on my thighs. “They
were murdered.”

I
centered all of my attention on Ian. “Is that true?”

He
nodded. His eyes remained shut tight. “At the end of the week, we did the mass
funeral and then held the coronation directly after. Nai thought it was best to
do it all fast. I wasn’t so sure. You see. I still didn’t know that everybody
dying was Phinova and Nai’s intentions from the very start. I thought it was a
magical accident that maybe we added too many herbs or ground gems—”

“When
did you find out?” Samuel dragged me to him, lifted me up, and set me on his
lap. I almost hit his chest and yelled at him until his big dick pressed hard
into my behind. My anger evaporated into lust in seconds.

Ian
snapped his eyes open and directed his gaze to us. “I’d been crying throughout
the funeral and even the coronation. There’s a famous painting called the
Somber Prince.

“I
know that painting,” I said.

I’d
seen the painting at the Capitol City historical gallery. A prince stood on a
platform wearing a long black robe that was too big for his body. Tears painted
his face. He stared down at the ground while someone placed a crown on his
head. I remember the most interesting part of the image was that the artist had
done it all in black, white, and gray, except for the crown. It was the only
thing in the painting that held color.

“That
was of me.” Ian rose to a sitting position. “Gloom had overtaken me. The last place
I desired to be was a damn coronation when I’d just lowered my parents into the
ground. After the ceremony ended, I went straight to my bedroom and lay under
the covers, weeping like a child. I would’ve stayed there all night if not from
the laughing and celebrating coming from the top room in the castle.”

“The
room where Samuel killed everybody nights ago?” I asked.

“Yes.
I arrived there, bumping into maids with trays of chocolates and wine. Their
faces showed fear as they scurried down the hallway.” Ian brushed hair away
from his eyes. “Phinova and Nai lounged in the center of the room, laughing and
smoking Zumayan mushrooms. When they spotted me, they paused in shock. Phinova
offered me some wine and said, ‘Did we wake you?’ They didn’t even have the
courage to admit the truth.”

“So
you don’t know for sure if they united together and killed everyone?” I leaned
back on Samuel.

“Brie,
you’re so good. You hear all of this and still inside your heart you think
there’s a chance they didn’t conspire to murder so many, but the truth is they
did. Nai and Phinova shed no tears for the dead. By the next dusk, all of my
family’s items were burned, destroyed, or given to the poor. Our custom
requires thirty days of mourning—we must wear all black, ring a bell in their
memory each dawn, hold a feast for the city in their name, and give gifts to
Ambi in order to gain his favor over their spirits.” Ian switched his view to
Samuel’s hands as they squeezed my thighs. “On the third dusk, Nai took the
custom from our law books and forbid anyone in the city to do the thirty-day
mourning. We fought about it all night. Our claws emerged and for the first
time I came close to killing him.”

I
shoved Samuel’s hands away. Samuel growled. I ignored him. Ian’s story was too
sad. He needed our undivided attention. Old hurt swam in his eyes and I yearned
to hug him.

“That
night was the first time I saw Phinova cry. She didn’t like our fighting.”

“But
did she ever cry over her parents?” I asked.

“No.
Remember, she was a blood mage.” He shook his head. “Although her tribe didn’t
kill her and raised her like she was a princess, she was still treated as evil
even from her birth. They drained her like cattle weekly to make medicines. Her
parents gave her the title of princess, but any stranger could see that they
preferred her siblings over her. Even her guards’ duties were not only to keep
Phinova away from vampires, but away from her family as well. She lived a lot
in seclusion.”

Poor Phinova. At least I knew love
from my parents. How hard was life around the mages? How would I have ended up?
Would I still be me or something bad and unrecognizable?

“After
we fought, I didn’t sleep with Phinova and Nai. I moved my things into another
room.”

“Did
Phinova come to you?” Samuel asked. “She was your queen. It seems she would
have checked to make sure you were okay.”

“She
did come, bearing chocolates and whining with me to eat one. I got pissed, but
I complied. She was my queen, after all. I fell asleep immediately and when I
woke up I no longer was sad over my parents or mad at my brother. In fact, a
kind of cheerful mood washed over me.”

“She
drugged you,” I said.

“Definitely.
I returned back to them with a foggy head and a glassy view. She led me around
and anything she demanded, I obeyed. We snuck off many times to be alone and
make love. And in those sessions…” Ian paused as though he didn’t want to
confess anything else.

“Tell
us.” Samuel tensed under me.

“She
whispered about killing Nai while I moved inside her.”

“She
was always evil,” Samuel concluded.

I
elbowed him in his gut. “Don’t say that.”

“Samuel’s
correct.” Ian waved my comment away. “Evil moved within her, but I chose to
ignore it and every dusk when I woke up I ate those drugged chocolates and kept
my mouth close. But then Nai discovered us having sex one day. He tried to kill
me right there. Phinova stopped him and begged with him to just let her spell
me to the sewers. He didn’t know that she added an immortality spell to it.”

BOOK: Freed (Vampire King Book 3)
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