Avery stepped forward. “Lucien, you know the law. You need consent. Your second must be present as must the Uninitiated’s Distinguished. Even you can’t –” Avery started.
Lucien lifted a hand and Avery ceased speaking.
He knew. He’d been fucking well living the nightmare for five hundred years. He bloody well knew.
This was also something about which he didn’t care.
“Go,” Lucien ground out.
“Lucien, don’t do this,” Cosmo implored.
Lucien lowered his voice to a dangerous rumble. “Now.”
There was a hesitation before Avery, as ever, played diplomat.
Glancing at the occupants of the room, Avery said on a whisper, “There’s a way. No one need know, Cosmo. This doesn’t leave this room.”
“I don’t like it,” Cosmo replied to Avery.
“Lucien, let me talk to her,” Lydia pleaded, her hand coming toward him.
“I will not say it again,” Lucien snarled.
With that, they knew they’d tried his patience, they knew what that meant and without further hesitation all of them moved to leave.
“Not you,” he demanded and everyone turned.
“What?” Leah asked, her soft, sweet voice grating on his nerves.
“Not you. You stay.”
Her eyes darted to her mother, Cosmo, Avery then back to Lucien. “But I thought –”
“Come over here,” Lucien ordered, cutting off her words as the others quickly and silently left the room.
She didn’t do as he’d commanded. Instead, she looked at the closed door in confusion.
In fact, since she’d stepped foot in the Contract Room she hadn’t done a single thing that he’d commanded.
It wasn’t just her voice that was grating on his nerves, everything about her was.
He’d expected to enjoy this. He hadn’t had a challenge in five hundred years.
He wasn’t enjoying this.
“Leah,” he called, his voice as strained as his patience.
Her head snapped around. “What?” she asked sharply.
He felt his body go taut fighting back the desire to teach her the respect he was owed.
Instead of acting on this urge, he warned quietly, “Don’t ever speak to me that way.”
She stared at him, confusion warring with fear in her face, another look he hadn’t seen in a long time. A look he liked, a look he missed, a look he craved.
This appeased his anger. Not all of it, but enough.
“I don’t get it,” she said, the same fear and confusion in her voice and he felt it stir his blood.
Especially the fear.
Every concubine itched to be selected. This served a purpose but it also eradicated the chase, the capture, the taming.
All of which Lucien also liked, missed and most assuredly craved.
Her fear was as delicious as her face, her hair, her eyes, her breasts, that ass, her fucking scent which had practically brought him to his knees the minute he’d entered The Selection and caught it.
As it had done the first time he saw her, smelled her, years ago, after which he’d marked Leah Buchanan as his. Everyone knew it, they had for decades.
Except, of course, Leah.
She kept talking. “I thought if I refused to blood your contract that I was free to go.”
Lucien pulled in a calming breath.
It failed to calm him however his voice sounded less impatient when he explained, “If Nestor had declared his intention. Yes. Magnus. Yes. Hamish. The same. Any one of them,” he paused, gesturing to the door with his hand to indicate The Selection before he finished, “Me? No.”
“Why not you?” she asked.
“Because I want you.”
“But I don’t want you.”
“That doesn’t matter. You’re mine.”
She blinked then rallied, “But, Mom said the rules are absolute. No one breaks them. Ever.”
“I’m not no one.”
Her head jerked with surprise. “Who are you?”
“I’m your Master.”
Now she started to look angry. “No one is my master.”
She stared at him, anger displacing the fear, her hands balled into fists and she leaned toward him before she declared, “You. Are. Not.”
He’d had enough.
Come here, Leah.
Instantly she moved to him. Lucien watched as the anger disappeared and the confusion came back.
So did the fear. A great deal of it.
So much the room reeked of it. It mingled with her scent. He had the forbidden desire to snatch her in his arms, rip open her throat at the same time he ripped off her clothes and buried his cock in her so deep, he’d feel his own thrusts as her blood poured into his mouth.
“Stop doing that,” she whispered as she halted less than a foot from him.