Destined to Crave(5)

By: Setta Jay

Mentally steeling herself, she finally blurted the words she’d been dreading. “After today, we can’t see each other.” It hurt, but it was the right thing to do, no matter what he hoped. “I won’t take chances with your powers.”

His body tensed. “Lucy—”

“No. I will never forgive you if you seek me out. And more…” This was the worst part, and she held her breath before forcing the words free. “I don’t want you to come near me before your twenty-fifth birthday.”

“What?” he bellowed.

She sucked in another fortifying breath. “I will have nearly five years of being an adult before you turn twenty. I’ll be able to do whatever I want while you’re learning about your powers and the worlds of your family. It’s not right, Rykr. It’s not okay that I get time to get to know myself as an adult and you don’t.”

His wings flexed with his anger. His face was a hard mask as his eyes flashed at her. “I will not stay away from you.”

“You have to.” She’d considered this long and hard. “It’s eternity, Rykr. You have no business being tied to me before you’ve had any time to get to know who you are as a grown male.”

He was more than angry, and even with his power lashing out into the trees and over her skin, she wasn’t scared. She was safe with him. They loved each other. And that was why she had to do this for him. For them.

Through gritted teeth, he said, “I know who I am now. You do not get to make this choice.”

She braced for what she knew would seal the deal. “I will not accept you if you come for me before you turn twenty-five.” That was the kicker. It was considered Earth law that full consent be given before an Immortal touched a potential mate. The law had been meant for pairings with a mortal because the humans weren’t used to the more primal natures of Immortals, but it wasn’t worded exclusively for them. If one person chose to deny the bond, then the other had to find a way to convince him or her without touch. Excessive unwanted advances could end in a forced separation where the offending party was caged for a specific amount of time. It was a harsh law for a reason. Skin-to-skin contact meant there’d be no going back, not once the mating frenzy started.

He flinched a little before saying, “You wouldn’t do that.”

“I will. You deserve a life.” He deserved the world and every happiness in it. That was what love was—wanting the very best possible for the other person, no matter how much it hurt to give it to them. She refused to allow him to jump from childhood into an eternity bound to her in every way. They’d be linked telepathically, and even though the bond was beautiful, it was a huge commitment.

“Why are you doing this?” Fury and deep-seated hurt warred in his beautiful eyes before he snapped at her, “You want to experience life? Does that mean sex with someone else?” He was livid and acting out.

She shook her head, trying to calm her own temper. “You know me better than that.”

“So you want me to be with others. Is that the life experience you want for me? To come to your bed with skills.” It was a shot to her heart to hear him say that, and her beast reared up inside the confines of her mind, angry at the image he’d painted.

Regular Immortal males needed sex to fuel their energy, and he was using that to try to hurt her, to get her to stop her from separating them. Knowing his reasons didn’t make the words hurt any less, and she wouldn’t change her mind.

His tactic might have worked except that she knew he was different than other Immortal males. According to Sirena, the Guardian healer, he shouldn’t be ruled by sexual need like others were. His biology and power were beyond that. She felt like an ass for having even questioned the other woman before making her choice. But in all reality, she wasn’t sure she could handle it if he touched anyone but her.

She unclenched her jaw to speak as calmly as possible. “You do whatever you need to do, Rykr. I’m not saying I want you to have sex with anyone else. I don’t want that, not at all. But it’s important to me that you have a life before being bound to me for the rest of time. I want you to have time to grow before children come our way. There’s no Immortal birth control. Do you really want to be a father at twenty-one?” She couldn’t imagine being pregnant at twenty.

He practically growled. “Kids won’t come for a decade after we’ve mated.”

Lucy’s long hair whipped in the wind, lashing at her cheeks as Rykr’s anger and hurt threatened to tear her apart. The elemental skills from his mother’s side had always manifested with his strongest emotion.