Born of Fury (Page 66)

Born of Fury (The League #7)(66)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

He slid a furious glare to Maris, who was now every bit as pissed off. “When he returned years later, he wasn’t the same child I had sent away. No longer obedient or respectful, he was angry and bitter. Filled with hatred for us all. And I was forced to lose him again, because of the choices he made against our culture and his family. There is no greater sadness than to say good-bye to a child, no matter the age. It is our honor to return your daughter to you before she was infected or corrupted by those who imprisoned her. It is our hope that she brings the same honor and pride to you that my Safir has brought to us. While all of my remaining sons are the best of our species, Safir has always shone above them. I would have been inconsolable had I lost him to such needless dishonor. And while you believe that the return of your daughter is equal to the sparing of my son, I respectfully disagree. All of Phrixus is in your debt for your service to my crown and our family.” And with that, he rose and led his sons from the room.

Except for Safir, who remained. He drew Maris into a tight hug and said something in Phrixian to him.

Closing his eyes, Maris patted him on the back. “You were always your father’s favorite.”

“And you were always mine. I love you, big brother.” Releasing Maris, Saf stepped back and turned to Ture. “I can’t leave without seeing my favorite little nephew. How’s it hanging, Big T?” He knelt down by Ture’s side and peeked at the baby in Ture’s lap. “And baby T… aren’t you walking yet?”

Ture laughed. “He’s still a few months away from that.”

Saf tickled his nephew, who laughed in response. “Just wait, Terek, I’ll have you cruising babes in no time.”

Hauk snorted. “From what I hear, you need to cruise a few less.”

Safir kissed Terek’s head before he stood. “Just making up for lost time.” He placed his uninjured arm over his chest and bowed to Sumi. “Thank you for what you did. Kyr would have killed me had you not called my father.”

Sumi swallowed hard at the swell of emotions she felt for Safir. He was a good man and she was glad to have helped him. “I just wish I could have called sooner.”

Saf winked at her. “It’s all good.” He placed a hand on Kalea’s head. “And you, little princess… returning you to your parents is my greatest accomplishment so far. I can’t think of anything that will ever top this.”

Frowning, Kalea reached out and touched his sling. “You have a boo-boo?”

“I do.”

She leaned forward and kissed his arm. “Did I make it better?”

Saf laughed at her. “Yes, you did, princess.” He bowed to her. “Thank you.”

“Safir!”

He winced at his father’s angry call before he glanced back to Maris.

Maris kissed his cheek. “You better go before he decides he likes Dray better.”

Saf snorted. “I defy him to do that… especially after the way I kicked Dray’s rank ass for what he did to you. Bastard’s still limping from it. Trust me, he won’t ever be after you again. I made sure of it.” He hugged Maris. “Love you, Mare-Bear.”

“Love you, too.”

Saf inclined his head to them then left.

Hauk frowned at Maris. “I thought only Darling called you Mare-Bear.”

Maris laughed. “What can I say? He taught Saf all kinds of bad habits.”

Sumi set Kalea down so that she could return to playing. “In spite of what your father said, I can’t imagine you angry and disrespectful, never mind bitter.”

Maris passed a knowing look to Hauk. “You didn’t meet me until better days. I’m not the same person I was when I was a commissioned officer in the Phrixian armada.” He moved to take Ture’s hand. “I like this Mari a lot better than that one. This model actually has a sense of humor and a most smashing wardrobe.”

Ture cleared his throat.

Maris swung Ture’s hand between them. “And the best hubby ever.”

Sumi laughed. “Not that Ture isn’t wonderful, but I think you’ll find a room full of us who would argue for that title.”

Desideria snorted. “You know what my mother always said? The first two years of marriage, you’ll want to eat him up. After that, you’ll wish you had.”

They laughed.

Sumi looked at Shahara. “You agree?”

“At times, yes. Remember, I’m the one who lives with a mad scientist, who loves to experiment on things.”

Zarya snorted. “Yes, but yours never wrapped himself up in explosives and threatened to blow up an entire city and his royal guard corps.”

Hauk let out a low, teasing whistle. “And on that, I’m out. But before I go, I will say this. Yes, my brothers are extreme, but I like them that way. Besides, there aren’t that many men in the universe who would kick down a League prison door, raid an assassin base camp, or start an intergalactic war to protect their spouses. Bat-shit crazy works for us.”

Sumi wrinkled her nose at him. “And crazy looks good on you, baby.”

“This is one of them times where they usually smooch and make noises,” Lillya whispered loudly to Kalea.

Hauk groaned as he looked to Desideria, who was blushing profusely. “FYI, you and Cai really need to move your daughter’s room farther down the hall.”

“Apparently so. Gah, I’m going to kill my husband.”

Zarya shifted Cezar in her lap. “Am I the only one who lives in stark-raving terror of the stories our children will one day tell about their parents?”

Hauk snorted. “Honestly? My fears are the stories about them that they won’t dare allow us to know.”

Hours later, Hauk lay nak*d in bed with Sumi in his arms. She’d fallen asleep on his chest. Her breath tickled his skin while he listened to her heart beating and fingered the small bruise on her arm from the shot Syn had given her. He’d tried to sleep, too, but that was an elusive bitch who had no use for him tonight.

In truth, he was afraid to close his eyes and lose his vigil. He had a bad feeling in his gut that nothing would shake. He had too much to lose now, and it was slowly making him crazy.

“El,” he whispered. “Show me Kalea.”

His monitor came on instantly to show her asleep in her bed in the next room. There were two Andarion guards stationed at the foot of her bed. They sat quietly playing a game of squerin. Meanwhile, two more were stationed outside her door, and another dozen patrolled his yard.

And still he was unsettled.

Sighing, he wrapped a strand of Sumi’s pale hair around his finger and prayed for everything to work out tomorrow. For Syn’s medicine to cure her, and for her to beat Dariana into the ground.

Actually, that wasn’t true. He bore no ill will toward Dariana. Not really. He just wanted to be free of her treachery and schemes. Why she’d refused to move on and find another husband, he’d never understand.

But then, she hated him.

Shaking his head, he pushed Dariana out of his thoughts. He didn’t want to dwell on that when he had such a beautiful woman on top of him. He lifted her hand to his lips and nibbled the soft skin on her palm. Nyk was right. She’d tamed the fury inside him that had driven him the whole of his life.

He had no desire to ever leave her arms. She and Kalea were an integral part of him now. The best part. Their smiles and love filled the ache that had been there for so long, he hadn’t even paid attention to it anymore.

Sumi sighed in her sleep and rubbed her face against him. His body hardened instantly, causing him to smile. He should be well sated for at least a month or more, given how long they’d made love after dinner. But there was something about her that always left him hungry for her.

Closing his eyes, he tightened his arms around her and let the warmth of her silken body soothe him. Tomorrow would decide their fate.

Forever.

In that moment, he wanted to run with her. To leave behind everything and everyone. But that would put them in even more danger. They were at war with The League and Kyr. On Andaria, Sumi and Kalea were royalty. No one would dare touch them.

On any other planet, Sumi was a League fugitive with a death sentence, and Kalea was a weakness to be used against her. And while he’d fight to his last breath for them both, he knew he couldn’t always be with them.

It has to be done.

He wanted to believe it would be fine. But deep in his gut that feeling of dread persisted.

Something was coming for them, and it would be lethal.

“How dare you!”

Darice didn’t speak as his mother glared at him. He merely continued playing his game as if she wasn’t there.

Until she snatched it from his hands and threw it on the ground. “I want you in the transport. Now!”

“No.”

She backhanded him. “You will do as you’re told!”

Darice wiped the blood from his lips before he stood to glare at her. “I want no part of your schemes. You’ve lied to me, and you’ve hurt Dancer for too long. I will never again sleep under the same roof as you. Not until you make this right.”

“You would side with a human-loving giakon?”

He slid his gaze to his mother’s best friend, who stood silently, watching them. “Funny you should use that word to insult him.”

His mother slapped him hard and shoved him back. “Careful what accusations fall from your lips, boy.”

Curling his lip, Darice stiffened. “I’m not a boy anymore. I’m an adult. I can legally make my own choices.”

“And I can disown you.”

“Go ahead,” he challenged her defiantly. “You might as well, since you can’t use me to tie my uncle to you anymore. That is the only reason I was born, isn’t it? And it’s the only reason you’re pregnant now.”

Before she could answer, the door opened to admit his gre yaya.

She drew up short at the sight of her unexpected visitors. Her gaze went to Pera first and then to him and his mother. “Dariana… to what do I owe this honor?”

His mother turned her head to peer at his great-grandmother over her shoulder. “I came for my son. His place is with me and my family, not here with you.”

She frowned at the sight of Darice’s face. “You hit him?”

“He is my son. I’m allowed to discipline him when he needs it.”

“And what has he done to warrant your wrath?”

Darice answered before his mother had the chance. “I’ve refused to leave with her.”

“He chooses that deformed, hideous —”

Darice cut her off with a growl. “Dancer is a formidable warrior who has bled for me, and I will not have you dishonor him. Ever again.”

“Agreed,” his great-grandmother said. “He is my beloved grandson and when you speak of him, it will be with respect in your voice.”

Dariana glared at them both. Then she turned back to Darice. “Fine. Stay here. But know that you will never again be welcomed into my home.”

“I shall endeavor not to cry over that tragedy,” he said sarcastically. “And I hope tomorrow that Sumi avenges Dancer, and you receive the full balance of the payback you’ve earned… Matarra.”

By the look on her face, he knew she wanted to strike him again, but didn’t dare do it in front of his father’s grandmother. “You will regret this decision.”

Darice scoffed. “The only thing I regret are all the times I let you use me to hurt my uncles.”

She reached for his shoulder.

“Scar him in my home, Dariana, and Princess Sumi will be the least of your fears.”

She turned on her heel and glared at his great-grandmother. “Tomorrow, after I beat that human whore into the ground, and remove her head from her shoulders, I assure you that all of you will regret this night. And this time, I won’t simply reject Dancer’s pledge. I will demand Restitution for what he’s done, and turn your precious grandson into a granddaughter.” She glared at Darice. “And you will spend the rest of your putrid life wishing you could take back your actions here.”

CHAPTER 35

Hauk sat in Kalea’s room, with his daughter in his lap, reading to her. He felt a sudden presence in the doorway. Looking up, his breath caught as he saw Sumi. He’d been banned from their room while his grandmother and Fadima had prepared her for the fight.

They had plaited her hair in true Andarion fashion and then coiled the pale, thin braids into an intricate style that wouldn’t interfere with her peripheral vision. His grandmother had also commissioned for her a true Andarion fighting suit in the deep burgundy color of their family crest. The leather pants clung to her body and were tucked into a pair of buckled boots. Her cutaway suede coat fell to her ankles and exposed her holster. It was fastened diagonally with six buttons. Three burgundy leather stripes decorated the sleeves and matched the gloves that covered her hands. His family’s Warsword was strapped across her back.