Home > Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(3)

Midnight Soul (Fantasyland #5)(3)
Author: Kristen Ashley

They were all women I admired—intelligent, powerful, shrewd. In Aurora’s case, cold and strategic, in Valentine’s case, smug and calculating and in Lavinia’s case, nurturing and gracious.

I would never tell them I thought any of that.

This was not because they wouldn’t give me the opportunity, not seeking or desiring my company.

I just wouldn’t.

I was a Drakkar. Even a compliment earned was withheld, regardless if that compliment had to do with saving the world.

I finished my descent down the stairs to the first floor and caught a scurrying servant as I did.

As was habit, I lifted my chin slightly, kept it aloft and looked down my nose at her.

“I shall be in the morning room. Have two bottles of wine delivered to me, some bread and cheese. Des Champs du Sauvage, if the queen has that in her cellar.”

“Right away, Lady Drakkar.”

I didn’t even nod. I moved sedately to the morning room as the servant, who had also endured the attack that day, not to mention they had a house full of visitors to see to due to the cancelled Bitter Gales that was to happen that night, if the world had not been threatened.

I worried the morning room would have some of these visitors occupying it and was relieved to find it didn’t.


What I needed.

Loneliness, my mind whispered.

What no one needed.

I drew in breath as I entered the room, seeing it was lit. The sun had long since set, as it was late evening, but regardless, the windows had to be boarded. I was equally relieved to see that the debris from the blast that shattered them had been neatly cleaned away.

Yes, the servants were all likely dead on their feet.

That was the last I thought of that as I pulled the cord and found my seat.

To my fortune, a male servant came in swiftly. I wasted no time with pleasantries (as was my wont) and ordered a fire laid and lit.

He did this as another servant hurried in with my wine, bread and cheese.

Perhaps due to the amount of wine I’d ordered they’d brought two glasses.

Uncharacteristically of me, after the girl poured, I did not bid her to take the extra wineglass away. I didn’t need a reminder I would be drinking alone.

She more didn’t need an extra errand this day.

You’ve made me soft, I told Antoine. Too soft.

I waited, taking the filled glass and bringing it to my lips for a sip, my body held tense, expectant, hoping to hear his beautiful voice in my head again.

It did not come.

The servants left me with all I’d asked and a roaring fire that was quickly warming the space. However, when the male made to close the door behind him, thus closing me in and keeping the draught from the hall from cooling the room, I lifted my hand lazily his way.

“No, leave it open,” I bid.

He bobbed his head, did a slight bow and disappeared out the door.

I ordered the door left open for I had no company and it’d be quite dire to sit in a closed room all by myself, brooding.

With the door open and the comings and goings of a busy palace, at least there would be something that could take my attention.

I sipped. I allowed the soft cheese to soften further in the warming room. I sipped more. And more. I replenished my glass. I spread the cheese on the bread and nibbled.

And through this, I found myself alone in a room, staring at the fire, brooding.

“Hay.” I heard and started at the strange word that pertained to barns and horses being uttered in a deep voice that was not suave, even on that short word, but rough, as if hewn through granite.

I turned my head to see Noctorno of the other world (and his appealing faded-blue trousers), moving into the room with immense masculine grace, his gaze on me.

But as he walked toward me, I took in his expression, which, like Circe’s, was sated.

There was, however, no relief or gratitude.

Instead, even if some time had passed, he seemed invigorated most assuredly by his recent activities inside Circe’s bedchamber, and at the sight of it I felt my breath catch in my throat.

I remembered that look.

I relished that look.

Not only on my Antoine but any lover I’d had (but, obviously, getting it from Antoine was far more rewarding).

It was a look I worked toward, putting great energy and imagination into it, losing myself in these endeavors, feeling free of my name, my history, my secrets, my responsibilities, and reveling in my success as if I’d scaled mountains.

It was my greatest talent: bringing a man to climax and making utterly certain it was one he wouldn’t forget.

This was my greatest talent outside, of course (as any good Drakkar would excel), honing in on any vulnerability and manipulating it for the greatest possible gain—coin, jewels, furs, favors, silence, information, or simply for amusement.

Seeing the look on Noctorno in that moment, I knew Circe too had performed well (admirably well, I might add, considering her dismal past).

I also recognized—focusing on it keenly—what Circe might have missed, or perhaps what Noctorno hid from her understanding, or simply just sensing, how she came to him.

He was not done.

Oh no.

If she had not given indication she wished him out of her bedchamber, he’d still be in it.

Indeed, he might be in it all night, and not to sleep.

He might have been in it, perhaps, for days.

As these thoughts flitted in my mind, I became aware he’d fully entered the room, was stopped not far from my chair, and was standing, chin tipped down, eyes regarding me with a scrutiny that I found so uncomfortable I actually shifted in my seat.

I ceased this reaction the instant I became aware of it, appalled at myself.

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