Chapter 8

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Heat coiled in my stomach and bubbly warmth raced along my veins. Long fingers trailed down my spine, brushing my hair away, my mate's lips following in their wake. I buried my face deeper into the pillows and moaned, half in arousal, half in frustration. Fenrir really was taking the Gifting seriously. Possibly too seriously.

Either he was holed up in the spell room singing magic into gold, or he was dragging me off to the nearest soft surface and cumming all over me. Even as much as I craved his touch and wanted the visceral evidence of his claiming, I was getting a bit tired of being perpetually sticky. At least he'd given up on making sure I orgasmed every single time he did. I hadn't really considered torture by orgasm a real thing before, but I was starting to seriously consider the possibility.

Fenrir stilled, his fingers tensing. "How do you feel about piercings?"

This time I didn't even try to swallow my groan. "Give it up, Fenrir. No nipple rings, clit rings, belly button rings, or anything of the like." It might be a good way to affix more gold to my person other than the endless chains he draped around me, but I was already feeling like an over-burdened Christmas tree as was. Braided gold headband, torques that wrapped around my arms, numerous thin bangles, earrings, two waist chains, anklets, and a thick gold torque around my neck. It was a good thing I didn't need to leave the house because at the rate he was going, I wouldn't die in childbirth. I'd either get mugged or shamed to death by the fashion police.

"With dragon healing, it would barely even hurt," he muttered.

I winced at a long ago memory. "Look. I once tore my tongue with my braces as a teen. Just no on metal that could catch on things and end in tragedy."

"Theoretically, those places you mentioned shouldn't be particularly risky. Unlike earrings..."

"No."

He buried his face in the small of my back, his fingers stilling.

Sighing, I turned in his arms.

He nuzzled his face deeper into my belly, his arms tightening around my waist and my heart twinged. Fates, I was such a pushover.

"My father mentioned yesterday that the company who came up with this process for making gold coated silk finally got their act together enough to make it in quantity. Also—" I blew out a breath, remembering the torment in my parents' faces when I video-called them the other day, and relented, "maybe I'll consider the non-pierce nipple rings."

"Truly?"

I rolled my eyes. "Yes. Really. But you have to promise that you'll stop short at making me wear all gold clothing. I would like to be able to leave the house without looking like a runaway tinsel tree."

"Of course not," he said lightly, "I wouldn't want my wife associated with shrubbery, of all things."

Shrubbery, eh?

It was the unabashed mirth in his voice that tipped me off.

I eyed my mate. "Shrubbery, as in greenery, pubic hair, or a woman of ill repute?"

Barely repressed laughter danced in those golden eyes. "Greenery, clearly. Although, I wouldn't precisely complain if you didn't wish to associate with any of those other things as well."

Right. I'd bet not. But just as well if the male could bring himself to tease. It was moments like that when I regretted telling him of the prophecy. I should have known better. The Mating Call hadn't been resisted more than a handful of times in dragon history and they were all under extreme extenuating circumstances. When I could see the male he was hidden under all the worry and guilt, I saw someone I would have fallen in love regardless of the Fates or Destiny. The loss of what should have been carefree lusty days tore at me and it was only the thought that it would have been a terrible wrong to hide it from him that kept regret at bay. Of course, my parents would never have been willing to keep it a secret, so there was that.

I pushed the thoughts away and focused on Fenrir. He looked faraway, probably running through more spellwork and calculations in his head. One hand still stroked circles on my stomach, but the motion was soothing rather than arousing.

A yawn snuck up on me as the tension subsided and I pulled a pillow over my head. If he wasn't going to insist on dosing me, I was going to try and get some more sleep. "Wake me up for brunch?"

A soft kiss brushed against my collarbone. "All right. Sweet sleep, darling."

I let myself drift off to thoughts of sunlit days, glimmering water, a mate who looked at me with nothing but love in his eyes, and a healthy child in my arms.

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