Authors: Lauren Dane
Someone was clapping.
He and Elena disentangled themselves to find the queen standing over them. She smiled widely. “Congratulations, you both passed.”
Damian collapsed back to the grass.
“Elena, I am so proud of you for standing up to your father. I’ve wanted to see you do that your whole life.”
“Thank you, Mother.”
The queen fixed her gaze on Damian. “You have proven your heart is worthy of our daughter. Her hand is yours if you still desire it.”
The queen’s smile widened. “The king will be so…pleased.”
Damian propped himself up on his elbows. “That wasn’t real, was it? It was just illusion…faery magic. I didn’t really go back into my past and right a wrong, did I?”
“No, Damian,” answered the queen. “We don’t have the power to change the past. You stil jilted your fiancée at the altar. Believe me, try something like that with Elena and you’ll find yourself in an illusory hell you’ll never break from.”
Damian swallowed hard.
“But,” continued the queen, “you showed that if you were given a second chance, you would do the right thing. Also, you knowingly sacrificed your life for Elena’s, proving you value her more than yourself. Reynolds would have failed that test.” The queen smiled warmly. “That’s enough for me to welcome you to our family, Damian. It should be enough for the king, as well.”
Elena’s gaze had snapped to him and held as soon as the words sacrificed your life for Elena’s had been uttered.
“What would have happened if I’d failed the test?” Damian asked.
The queen’s smile faded. “Somehow the bus would have hit you and you never would have regained consciousness here on the hill. You’d have died.”
“You sacrificed your life for me?” asked Elena, stunned pleasure on her face.
“Painfully, yes.” He paused, thinking. “Hey, you didn’t have to sacrifice your life for me during your test?”
“What?” Damian looked at the queen. “How come she didn’t have to be hit by a bus for me?”
The queen just laughed, snapped her fingers and disappeared.
Elena laughed and tackled him, covering his face with kisses. “I would throw—” smack
“—myself—” smack, smack “—in front of a bus—” smack “—any day for you.”
Damian rolled her over and kissed her, his tongue sliding between her lush lips to find hot, sweet heaven.
Damian pulled Elena back against him and kissed her bare shoulder and neck as his hands played over her body. Her breath came fast and heavy. Around them the rain slowed to a light drizzle.
She wasn’t cold, not at all, not with Damian’s strong arms around her. In that moment, she fully gave herself over to the wonderfulness of it. He made her feel so cherished and protected. She knew that—unlike so much in the world of the fae—what they shared was no illusion. Damian loved her; he would die for her.
“I’m so happy right now, I feel like I could burst,” she murmured.
“Mmm…” He nuzzled the nape of her neck. “Don’t do that, it would be messy.”
She chuckled and turned to face him.
He stared at her with intense love in his eyes, then kissed her slowly. “I know what you mean,” he whispered against her lips. “During the test I lost my memory of Darkness, the fae…even you. In contrast, I can’t believe how unhappy I was before I met you, Elena.”
He paused and closed his eyes. “You are everything to me.” His voice shook with emotion.
She smiled and tears pricked her eyes. “Ditto.”
“Wil you marry me, fae-style? With the removable floating church and the demons and all that?”
Elena laughed. “I’ll marry you any style.”
He kissed her again. “Okay, now let’s go home. I’m getting pruny out here in the rain.”
Damian stood, helped her up and they dressed.
Elena pulled her shirt over her head. “Hey, that begs the question, where are we going to live? Your place or mine?”
He shot her a look of incredulity. “Mine, of course.”
“Yours?” She hopped on one foot while she slipped on a boot. “Mine is a million times nicer. Your magic isn’t strong enough to create adequate housing.”
He gaped for a moment in mock offense. “I resent that implication, even if it’s true.
The female always goes to live in the male’s home.”
She swatted him with her other boot. “That’s totally ridiculous and chauvinistic.”
They argued all the way to the door. Right before they opened it, Damian pulled Elena to him and kissed the top of her head. “I was just yanking your chain. I’m coming to live at your place, my love. I already came home a long time ago. That happened the day I met you.”
WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS…AFTER DARK
Copyright © 2009 by Spice Books.
The publisher acknowledges the copyright holders of the individual works as follows: HOT FOR REVENGE
Copyright © 2009 by Jodi Lynn Copeland.
Copyright © 2009 by Lauren Dane.
Copyright © 2009 by Kit Tunstall.
Copyright © 2009 by Anya Bast.
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