Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements 3) - Page 21

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My fingers stopped on the first tightly rolled ab. “Um.”

“Dirty girl, get your mind out of the gutter. I wasn’t talking about that stuff. Yet,” he added in a way that made my tummy tighten. “What I meant was, can we start last night over?”

I didn’t get it. “How so?”

“I was plastered, but I think you told me you wanted to be with me, and well, I want to hear you say that again.”

My heart did a backflip and I tilted my head back, so that our mouths were close. “I want to be here with you.” The arm around me tightened even more, sealing me to his chest like he had last night, and once again, I really liked it. “I want to be with you.”

Roth pressed his forehead against mine as he rolled slightly onto his back, bringing me with him. I ended up lying half on him, both hands braced on his chest and my legs tangled in his. The arm on my waist was unshakable and the hand curled around the nape of my neck sent a riot of sensations skittering down my spine.

But I wasn’t done. Staring into eyes that were as bright and beautiful as any tawny jewel, I said what I had never said before. And I said it with every ounce of my being behind it. “I love you, Roth.” My voice shook with emotion. “I’m in love with you.”

Roth shifted again. This time I was on my back and he was above me, his one leg thrust between mine and his hand still cradling my neck. “Say it one more time,” he pleaded in a voice barely above a whisper.

“I love you. I love you.” And I said it again and again, until I couldn’t say it anymore, because he’d silenced me with his mouth.

The kiss was nothing like last night. His lips were gentle on mine, a sweet sweep that was at such odds with his enormous strength, and I felt it in every part of me. He kissed me softly, and then lifted up just enough so that I could see him. Tugging my hand off his shoulder, he clasped his fingers around mine and drew our joined hands to his chest and pressed them together. I could feel his heart beating strongly.

“I covet you like any good demon would.” His other hand tightened at the back of my neck. “And my desire for you increases every waking second in a way that should frighten me, but really just excites me. But most of all, I love you,” he said, and my entire body jolted at the words. He didn’t seem to notice. “I, Astaroth, Crown Prince of Hell, am in love with you, Layla Shaw. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow. A hundred decades from now, I will still be in love with you, and it will be as fierce today as it will be a decade later.”

Hearing his words was like bear-hugging the sun. Warmth poured into me and he drove those words home with a kiss that went beyond the soft, questing one we’d just shared. It was deep and thorough, and I felt like he was claiming me and I was claiming him in return. That finally, after all this time, we’d destroyed that line between us and there was no going back.

“I love you” was said over and over, in between kisses and then in between the moans those kisses eventually wrought from us. Even when we moved beyond the words, it was screamed in every kiss and touch.

Dropping our hands, Roth gripped my hip as he pressed his body to mine. The thin pajama bottoms offered no real barrier between us, not when we were so greedy for each other. I wanted him, so badly that I ached in a way that had to be physical, totally was physical, but it went further, deeper, tattooing my skin, carving out my muscle and etching into my bones. And he had to feel the same, because I could feel how much he wanted this with every roll of his hips and when he slipped his hand under my shirt, dragging the material up and up, I could barely breathe. My heart jackhammered as he rose up on one arm and stared down at me.

I was bare from the waist up, and while this wasn’t the first time he’d seen so much of me, a nest of cannibalistic butterflies started flapping their wings in my belly. My experience in these situations was limited, but the stark hunger in his fiery gaze was evident and I knew in the very core of my being that he was thrilled with what he saw.

And he proved it with his words.

“Beautiful,” he said, voice thick as he lightly trailed his fingers across my belly. I jerked, and then bit down on my lip. “You are so beautiful, Layla. And if I could pick one thing I could stare at for the rest of eternity, it would be you.”

My heart swelled so fast and so big I thought I’d float right up to the ceiling and into the stars. Maybe even to the Heavens themselves.

Roth’s fingers drifted up, his caress reverent. “It would always be you.”

Then he was kissing me again, and these kisses, these moments were precious, powerful and beautiful in their own way.

Roth’s lips skated over my cheek toward my ear, and he whispered words that sent a heady flush across my skin and caused my muscles to curl in a strange, delightful way. When he lifted his head, his gaze was questioning, wanting and a thousand other things.

I nodded.

One side of his lips tipped up, and then he said, “Thank you.”

Not a single part of me understood why he was thanking me, but then all thoughts flew out the window, because he kissed the corner of my lips, and then started a line of tiny kisses that trailed from my chin down my throat and then farther still.

My fingers dug into the comforter when he stopped, and then lingered, drawing a stuttered gasp from me. I really didn’t get why he was thanking me while he was doing this, because it should truly be the other way around.

His lips skimmed over my ribs. “I think we need to get you a tattoo.”

It took me a few minutes for his words to make sense. “A...a tattoo?”

“Yeah.” He kissed just above my belly button. “A familiar.”

“I can do that?”

Roth lifted his chin and grinned in a way that caused my heart to flop around. “I don’t see why not, and I know who can do one for you.” His gaze traveled down the length of me, sending a shiver dancing over my skin. “This would be a good spot.” He dragged his hand over the side of my ribs. “Or here?” That same hand made its way under the band of my pajama bottoms and curled around my hip. His gaze heated. “I really like the idea of it being here.”

“Does it really matter where it’s inked on?” I asked. “It’s going to move anyway, right?”

“Oh, it matters.” He kissed the spot below my navel. “Mostly just matters to me.”

I laughed. “Okay, then.”

Grinning, he rose once more, climbing over me. His arms were huge and powerful and his hands came down on either side of my head. My breath caught as his lips took control of mine. I wrapped my arms around him, holding him close. His tongue swept over mine, and the taste of him drove me crazy.

Roth went on the move again, sliding down once more. My fingers played in his hair, and I could no longer keep track of where he was heading, because he obliterated any comprehensive thinking skills.

I don’t even know how my bottoms came off or where they ended up. It was like magic. Roth was magic. He also had this delightful mischievous tilt to his lip as his hands traveled up the outside of my thighs. There was nothing between my skin and his hands, and I could feel every touch and even the softest caress was like being hit by volts of electricity.


I loosened my grip on his hair, letting my hands fall back to the comforter. “Yeah?”

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy
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