The unfriendly vamp that had joined them broke out into laughter. “I like him already.” The man’s words were friendly but his tone had an iron thread indicating danger. Steerl knew this was a man you didn’t turn your back to.
“We’ll meet you later.” The prince said. “Tell the family we’ll see them in two hours. Anyone who disturbs us before then will have to face the consequences.”
The chill in the prince’s voice let everyone know that whatever the reason for interruption it wouldn’t be worth the cost.
Undaunted Steerl let the prince drag him through a thick wooden door and into a darkened chamber. If they were true mates then he was the safest person the kingdom.
It was too dark for Steerl to make out anything other than indistinct shapes in the dim lighting.
When the prince flipped a switch, and flooded the room with lamplight Steerl blinked for several minutes trying to clear his vision.
For the first time he was alone with the vampire prince.
Knots of tension ate at him. What the hell was he going to do with a royal mate? Mother wasn’t going to be happy she was expecting him back in time for dinner.
Father would be thrilled.
“My mother isn’t going to be happy either she expected me to mate with a woman.” The prince grumbled reading Steerl’s mind.
“Then go out there and bloody well get one.” Steerl snapped heading for the door. Or where he hoped it would be in the dark.
“Don’t you walk away from me.” The prince shouted. “You’re my mate and as the laws of our planet demand you will stay and be my husband. There is no divorce, no separation. You will live in my palace and in my bed until the end of our days.”
Fury filled Steerl. “Keep it up and your days are going to end just a little sooner than you thought.”
* * * *
Graven looked at the cloaked figure and burst out laughing. What the hell was he doing? He was starting a fight on his wedding day and he hadn’t even properly met his husband.
Sighing he tried another approach. Unlike other people in his kingdom, his new mate wasn’t intimidated by his anger. Whether because he knew Graven couldn’t harm him without harm to himself or just because the man was stubborn the prince didn’t know.
“Let’s start with something simple. What’s your name?”
Fuck. “Like the emperor’s youngest son Steerl Raisal?”
The plus side was his mother would be a lot happier that he married royalty. The negative was rumor had it that the only person the emperor loved more than himself was his youngest son. The fallout from this union could be immense.
Swallowing hard the prince said the four fateful words that would change his life forever. “Take off your robes.”
“Is there some procedure I should follow?” Steerl’s voice was amused adding to the irritation Graven felt at never having seen his mate and already fighting.
“The quicker, the better.” He tried for a reassuring smile but passion made his fangs drop down so it was probably more frightening than calming.
He heard Steerl take a deep breath before pulling off the robe and scarf in one sweeping movement.
Graven’s heart stopped in his chest as a sleek slightly muscled form was exposed. Gleaming gold hair fell in silky layers as his mate dipped his head hiding his face.
“No look up at me I want to see your eyes.”
Bracing himself Graven looked into the face of the man fated to be his mate and forgot how to breathe. Gold eyes with flecks of blue looked out of a perfectly symmetrical face. High cheekbones sculpted into perfection framed an aristocratic nose. Lush lips briefly drew his attention from the goddess kiss on the man’s firm chin. If an artist wanted to draw a picture of perfection, he could use this man as the model.
The beauty’s body was covered in a sleek black shirt that slid across a set of obvious pebbled abs and the thin silk pants that clung in all the best places.
“Strip.” The prince demanded in a hoarse voice he barely recognized as his own.
Steerl took off his shirt revealing a chest even more beautiful than the shirt implied.
“By the gods and goddesses you’re a beautiful man.” The words were soft and worshipful as if ripped from Graven’s soul.
“Take off the pants.”
Graven was surprised when his mate crossed his arms across his chest, gold eyes flashing defiantly.
“What are you taking off?”
How had he lost control of this situation?
“Yes you. If we’re going to be mates I want to see what I’m getting.”
A growl rolled out from deep in the prince’s chest. “We are going to be mates.” The thought of this golden beauty touched by someone else made his stomach churn. He felt physically sick.