What happens after the battle is done? Do you think everyone lives happily ever after?
Lumernia has been left divided, leaderless. The ensuing power struggle cost the city more than just the knightly order, leaving the land and its people unguarded. Is the conquering army content with their prize, or do they have their sights set on more?
Celeste, Tarnelius, Arcus and Siobhan are back. After saving the land of Altierra from the threat of the ultimate evil, they expected life to return to normal and made plans to pay respects to a fallen friend. No good deed ever goes unpunished, though, and their actions have many consequences. Kuunkierto was defeated, but an ancient pact was broken and the first calls of war have sounded. Will they be able to right the wrongs of the world once more? Will they be strong enough to face what is coming?
Through the flames of war, new destinies arise.
Victoria awoke with a start. She stared up at the ceiling, trying to figure out where she was. Turning slowly toward the center of the room, she was shocked to find herself face-to-face with Joseph, who was sitting on the floor with his back against the wall. He had apparently moved the end table to the side at some point during the night.
“Good morning, beautiful.”
She sat up and stretched. “Morning. Have you been waiting for me to wake up?”
“More or less. I don’t sleep well. Night before last in Kayalost was the most rest I’ve had in a long time.”
“So instead of sleeping, you decided to watch me sleep?”
A ghost of a smile flickered over his face. “You looked just like an angel.”
“I don’t understand you at all. You are full of mixed signals. You kiss me with such passion and you watch me sleep, tell me I look like an angel … but you also push me away when I try to take our relationship further.”
“Give me time.”
“Since when do you need time?”
Joseph turned away. “See? That’s why I need time. I don’t want to make a mess of things. There is no rush. Right now, when you think of me, you only think of the women that came before you. You think of how I didn’t wait. You aren’t thinking of us at all. You aren’t thinking that maybe I don’t want a mere night of passion, that maybe I want something deeper. I guess the question is, what do you want?”
“Joseph, the only thing that I’m thinking of is that I don’t want to wait. You said it yourself: ‘nothing in this life is guaranteed.’ Can’t we enjoy however long we have together?”
Joseph closed his eyes, seemingly lost in thought. For a moment, she was sure she’d won him over, but then he shook his head. “Just give me a little time, all right? I want everything to be special. You’re special. Being with you is special.”
“You’re infuriatingly charming, do you know that?”
He smiled a crooked smile at her. “One more thing for you to love about me.”
She patted the bed next to her. He rose to his feet and sat down. She climbed onto his lap and kissed him gently on the lips.
Joseph deepened the kiss, his hand rising up to cup her face, while his other hand held her in place on his lap. She tangled her fingers in his hair, shifting slightly. He groaned.
Pulling away, she murmured, “I do, you know.”
“What’s that, Vicki?”
“I do love you. You were right, and it is too fast, but something about you calls to me, to my very soul. I–I’ve never felt anything like this before. It frightens me.”
Joseph stared at her, a look of stunned happiness on his face. He didn’t speak a word, and after a few awkward moments, she pressed herself into him once more, kissing him with all the passion she wished she could verbalize. She gave him a little shove and he fell backward, landing on his back on the bed, with her atop him.
“Do you love me, too, Joseph?” she breathed.
Joseph rolled over, sliding her beneath him in the process. He kissed her chastely once, his weight resting on his elbows. “I do, Vicki. I tried to tell you last night. You know what else?”
“I think I’ve had enough time now.” He kissed her again, this time with an urgency that made her blood run hot.
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