Night Pleasures (Page 41)

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter #2)(41)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

She took his hand and led him from the room.

Kyrian stopped dead in his tracks as he saw the early morning light in the living room. From habit, he stepped back as he stared at it.

The bright sunlight didn’t hurt his eyes. There was no burning of his skin.

Tightening his hand on Amanda’s, he forced himself to walk forward, through the door.

And for the first time in over two thousand years, he walked out into daylight. The feel of the sunshine on his skin was incredible. The warmth, the tingly early breeze. His heart pounding, he looked up into the light blue sky and saw the white clouds.

It was a glorious day.

One he owed to Amanda.

Scooping her up in his arms, he held her close. "All hail Apollo," he whispered.

Amanda smiled as she hugged him dearly. "No. All hail Aphrodite."

CHAPTER 18

Kyrian stared in amazement at the wedding band on his left hand. He still couldn’t believe the good fortune that had brought Amanda into his life.

Seven months had passed since the day Amanda had returned him to the light. Seven wonderful months of being with her night and day. Of helping her to accept, develop, and harness her powers, which were now stronger than his own.

Not that it mattered to him. He still had more than enough of his Dark-Hunter powers left to keep her safe. And her safety was the most important thing to him.

That and waking every morning to see the smile on her beautiful face.

And now they were married.

Amanda grabbed him from behind and squeezed him tight. "What are you doing out here alone?" she asked.

He turned to see her in her wedding dress. The milky-white color set off her skin to perfection. Her cheeks were flushed with excitement, and the moonlight glowed in her eyes.

"I was getting some fresh air."

She smiled a smile that made him weak and strong at the same time. "Want to ditch the party and run for it?"

He laughed. "Only eight out of that gargantuan crowd are mine, the rest are your guests."

"Oh," she said, wrinkling her nose. "Never mind. It could get really ugly. Besides, my Aunt Xenobia might curse us."

He draped his arm over her shoulders as she led him back into the ballroom of his house.

The orchestra played while a hundred and fifty members of the Devereaux-Flora clan danced, ate, and talked. Miguel, Rosa, and Liza sat with Amanda’s sister Selena at a table where they were laughing with Grace and her infant son.

Amanda left him to visit with her mother and father.

Talon, Nick, Julian, and Acheron closed in around him.

Julian congratulated him. "This one’s a keeper," he said.

Kyrian nodded. "Yes, she is."

"Man," Talon said wistfully. "I’m going to miss our three a.m. bullshit sessions. Wulf’s already climbing the walls because he’s lost his Doom opponent."

Kyrian smiled as he recalled the lonely nights he had spent with his Dark-Hunter brothers and sisters online. "Tell the Viking not to worry. I’ll sneak up every now and again and challenge him."

Acheron took a drink of his champagne. "So, what are you going to do with your short life?"

Kyrian watched Amanda grab three-year-old Niklos up and dance with him. She was going to make a wonderful mother someday. "I’m going to live it. Happily."

Nick had his hands in his pants pockets. "Guess I have to start looking for another Dark-Hunter to serve…" He looked meaningfully at Talon.

"Like hell, Gator bait, don’t cast those eyes at me. I don’t have Kyrian’s patience. Besides, there’s only enough room in my cabin for me and my computer."

"Don’t worry," Ash assured Nick. "I’ll find you someone to serve."

Nick looked horrified. "Please don’t do me any favors. I have visions of you sending me up to Alaska to serve Zarek’s psycho ass."

Kyrian laughed until Amanda rejoined them with a severe frown on her face.

"What is it, baby?" he asked.

"There’s, um… a, um…"

The men looked at her expectantly.

"Yes?" Kyrian prompted.

"There’s a fleet of UPS trucks in the driveway."

The men exchanged puzzled looks before they all headed out to the front of the house where seven UPS trucks were lined up.

One of the drivers approached Kyrian. "Hi," he said in greeting. "I’m looking for a Mr. K. Hunter."

"That would be me," Kyrian said.

"Good. Any idea where you want this stuff?"

"What is all this stuff?"

The driver handed him a clipboard with the names of the people who had sent the items. "Wulf Tryggvason, Zoe, Blade Fitzwalter, Diana Porter, Cael, Brax, Samia, Alien, Kyros, Rogue, Kell, Dragon, Simon, Xander St. James, Alexei Nikolov, Badon Fitzgilbert…" On and on the Dark-Hunter names went.

"You know, Kyrian," Acheron said with a laugh, "you’re going to have to buy a bigger house."

"Yeah," Talon said, "but just wait until you have kids. I’ll bet you get twice as much as this."

They all burst out laughing.

Amanda stepped into Kyrian’s embrace and looked up at him. "I think your Dark-Hunter cohorts are going to miss you. You sure you have no regrets?"

Kyrian kissed her lightly on the cheek. "None whatsoever. You?"

"Never."

Acheron watched as the two newlyweds headed into the house arm in arm.

"Wanna bet where they’re going?" Talon asked.

Ash laughed. "No bet, I already know." He turned to the driver and told him to leave the gifts in the living room. "I think my wedding gift will be to hire an unpacking crew in the morning."

Nick laughed. "Let me go show them where to stack it so Kyrian doesn’t get ticked."

"I’ll help," Talon said.

Ash watched Nick run ahead of the drivers with Talon following at a much more conservative pace. He listened to the darkness and to the sounds of the night that he knew so well. He felt a slight stirring behind him.

It was a presence he knew even more intimately than the night.

He drained the last of his champagne. "What are you doing here, Artie? I wasn’t aware you had an invitation."

A long, gracefully tapered hand touched his shoulder. Even through the tuxedo, he could feel the warmth of her as she caressed him. Unearthly tall and statuesque, she moved like a sleek, sensuous wind. Soft. Elegant.

And capable of total destruction when stirred too vigorously.

"I’m a goddess," she spoke, her Greek accent smooth and cultured. "I don’t need an invitation."

Acheron turned his head to see Artemis standing to his left. Her rich light auburn hair glowed in the moonlight and her iridescent green eyes sparkled.

"I hope you’ve come to wish them well," he said.

She glanced askance at him as she toyed idly with his newly dyed black hair. A sly smile curved her perfect lips. "I do. But the real question is, do you?"

Ash stiffened at the implication. "What kind of question is that? You know I do."

"Just checking to make sure that little green-eyed monster wasn’t making you have second thoughts."

He narrowed his gaze at her. "The only green-eyed monster I know is you."

She sucked her breath in sharply at his words, but her smile never wavered. "Oooo," she crooned in a sexually charged tone. "Acheron is getting nasty in his old age." She leaned her chin to rest on his shoulder as she stroked his jaw with a well-manicured fingernail. "It’s a good thing I like you, otherwise you’d be baked bread."

He sighed. "Yeah, lucky me. By the way, the correct term is ‘toast.’ "

Artemis could never keep track of colloquial slang, yet she seemed to enjoy using it. Or misusing it, anyway. There were times he suspected she did it on purpose just to see if he would dare to correct her.

"Mmmm," she said, playfully wrapping her arms around his waist. "I like it when you get all feisty."

Acheron stepped away from her. "So who are you transferring to New Orleans to take over Kyrian’s spot?"

She licked her lips impishly and mischief glowed in her eyes. But before she could answer, Julian approached them.

"Little Cousin Artemis," he said in greeting.

"Julian of Macedon," she said coldly. "Didn’t know you were here."

"Same."

"Well," Acheron said. "Nice to know no introductions are needed."

Artemis passed a threatening glare to Julian. "Yes, well, I wish I could stay, but I can’t."

Before she vanished, she leaned forward and whispered the answer in Acheron’s ear.

He went cold with the news as she twinkled into mist.

There were times when Artemis could be the biggest bitch on the planet.

Julian cocked a brow at him. "What did she say?"

"Nothing." The last thing Acheron wanted was to drop that bomb on Julian and Kyrian. And he certainly wasn’t going to do it in the middle of a wedding.

He turned to Julian. "So, General, you have your best friend back. I’ll wager the two of you are going to get into some serious trouble."

Julian laughed. "Not likely."

Somehow Acheron had a hard time believing that. Just as he had a hard time believing that Artemis would leave well enough alone.

EPILOGUE

Amanda brushed Kyrian’s hair back from his face as she kissed his lips. Her wedding dress and his tuxedo were piled in a heap on the floor while they were tangled in the silk bedsheets.

"We’re being awfully rude, aren’t we?" she asked.

Kyrian smiled. "Yeah, but I like rudeness."

She laughed. Then he kissed her and she forgot everything else in the world.

"So, tell me," he asked as he nibbled below her ear with his human teeth. "Do you miss being an accountant?"

"Not at all. You?"

"I never was an accountant."

She nipped his nose. "You know what I mean. Do you miss being a Dark-Hunter?"

He licked her ear, sending chills over her. "At times, yes. But I’d rather have you."

"Do you really mean that?"

He pulled back to look into her eyes. "With every piece of my heart and soul."

"Good," she whispered, kissing him. "Because now that you’re mortal again, the baby and I need you to be careful."

Kyrian froze. "What?"

She smiled down at him. "We’re pregnant, Mr. Hunter. About six weeks along."

Kyrian kissed her deeply and held her close in his arms.

"That, Mrs. Hunter, is the best news I’ve ever heard."

Amanda cupped his face in her hands. "I love you, Kyrian of Thrace. And I never want to lose you."

"I love you, Amanda Devereaux-Hunter, and I swear to you, you never will."

Amanda kissed him again, knowing for the first time in her life that there really was such a thing as happily ever after.

Even if it did mean marrying a vampire.