Fated Ties (The Twisted Destiny Saga Book 3)(2)By: Franca Storm
He waved his hand dismissively. “It’s nothing. My body is just trying to reacclimatize to being in the Dark Realm after so many years away.”
Marella shook her head. “It is more than that, Ryan. The Dark Realm is a great distance from the White Realm where Cora is. Your distance from her is causing you pain.”
“I was away from her for centuries, Marella. I don’t think—”
“You hadn’t bonded then,” Marella cut in. “It is unnatural for the two of you to be apart. Once a bonding has occurred, mates are never to be apart.”
Before he could respond, a sudden roar came from Nathanial in the Great Hall. Ryan cocked an eyebrow at Marella. “If he was a wolf, his rage right now would’ve caused him to shift.” He gathered his son in his arms and moved to approach the Great Hall. “He might’ve vamped out on her, though,” he said worriedly.
Marella stepped into his path, blocking his way to the Great Hall. “Oriana has a gift for…getting under his skin. She was never very accommodating, even during happier times in their marriage. And now…with her hatred for him over what he did to Cornelius…she will be at her most antagonistic.”
“I’m not gonna stand by and let my mother get hurt, Marella.”
“He will not harm her. Even if he wanted to…her power is great. They are evenly matched, Ryan.”
He hesitated. And then his son started to cry. He was obviously sensing Ryan’s tension. She watched him draw in a breath and force himself to calm down. “All right,” he conceded.
“They will know you are here,” Nathanial growled as he glowered down at Oriana, the two of them standing so close that they were almost touching. He could feel his rage simmering just below the surface from being so close to her. But she hadn’t moved back when he’d stepped threateningly into her personal space in a bid to intimidate her and force her to heed his words. She was still as stubborn as he remembered.
Her hazel eyes flashed at him with the same hatred that he felt for her. Her once pure white hair was now tainted with black streaks: the marks of black magic. What has she been involving herself in since her exile? It was shorter—barely shoulder length. And, unlike Marella’s gorgeous curls, it was as straight as could be. She was nothing like the woman he had married all those centuries ago. She no longer wore the expensive royal gowns that she had when they’d lived together in his castle. She had never been as sophisticated as her sister. Marella possessed a class and quiet dignity that Oriana never had. Although Marella wasn’t royal born, she carried herself as such. Like him. Perhaps that was what had drawn him to Marella initially, rather than Oriana. Why had I settled? Why hadn’t I pursued what had been just beyond my reach? The one I truly wanted? Marella. So many years wasted. Oriana’s pants clung to her thighs. They were a dark red, the color of dried blood. The material looked familiar. Dragon hide? Is that what it is? So rare. How did she get a hold of that? The cape hanging loosely off her shoulders was made of the same material. A short, black bustier that barely contained her breasts was so tight that it looked like it had melded to her skin. As she stared up at him, her hands on her hips, she made no pretense of the fact that she was thrusting her breasts out in a desperate attempt to manipulate him with her raw sexuality. Same old tricks.
“Do not flatter yourself. You cannot tempt me.” His eyes bore into hers as he hissed, “You forget that I know all you have to offer. It didn’t satisfy me then, Oriana. It certainly will not now.”
Her eyes flashed at his scathing insult. “You dare to speak to your own wife that way?”
“I will speak to you however I wish when you are in my home. And, to clarify, you are no longer my wife. I nullified our marriage shortly after you left the realm.”
“It was easy, given your betrayal. I barely had to lift a finger to make it happen. You are no longer Queen of the Dark Realm. You haven’t been for two centuries. You have no power here. No say at all.”
She made a move to slap him, but his reflexes were far beyond hers and he caught her wrist with ease. “You are hurting me, Nathanial,” she said, struggling against his crushing grip.