A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)(11)


by Sarah J. Maas

He gripped my thighs to spread my legs wide, lowering his mouth, and—

“What do you mean, there’s no such thing as a High Lady?”

The heat, his touch—all of it stopped.

He looked up from between my legs, and I almost climaxed at the sight of it. But what he said, what he’d implied … He kissed the inside of my thigh. “High Lords only take wives. Consorts. There has never been a High Lady.”

“But Lucien’s mother—”

“She’s Lady of the Autumn Court. Not High Lady. Just as you will be Lady of the Spring Court. They will address you as they address her. They will respect you as they respect her.” He lowered his gaze back to what was inches away from his mouth.

“So Lucien’s—”

“I don’t want to hear another male’s name on your lips right now,” he growled, and lowered his mouth to me.

At the first stroke of his tongue, I stopped arguing.

CHAPTER

3

Tamlin’s guilt must have hit him hard, because although he was gone the next day, Lucien was waiting with an offer to inspect the progress on the nearby village.

I hadn’t visited in well over a month—I couldn’t remember the last time I’d even left the grounds. A few of the villagers had been invited to our Winter Solstice celebrations, but I’d barely managed to do more than greet them, thanks to the size of the crowd.

The horses were already saddled outside the front doors of the stables, and I counted the sentries by the distant gates (four), on either side of the house (two at each corner), and the ones now by the garden through which I’d just exited (two). Though none spoke, their eyes pressed on me.

Lucien made to mount his dapple-gray mare but I cut off his path. “A tumble off your damned horse?” I hissed, shoving his shoulder.

Lucien actually staggered back, the mare nickering in alarm, and I blinked at my outstretched hand. I didn’t let myself contemplate what the guards made of it. Before he could say anything, I demanded, “Why did you lie about the naga?”

Lucien crossed his arms, his metal eye narrowing, and shook the red hair from his face.

I had to look away for a moment.

Amarantha’s hair had been darker—and her face a creamy white, not at all like the sun-kissed gold of Lucien’s skin.

I studied the stables behind him instead. At least it was big, open, the stable hands now off in another wing. I usually had little issue with being inside, which was mostly whenever I was bored enough to visit the horses housed within. Plenty of space to move, to escape. The walls didn’t feel too … permanent.

Not like the kitchens, which were too low, the walls too thick, the windows not big enough to climb through. Not like the study, with not enough natural light or easy exits. I had a long list in my head of what places I could and couldn’t endure at the manor, ranked by precisely how much they made my body lock up and sweat.

“I didn’t lie,” Lucien said tightly. “I technically did fall off my horse.” He patted his mount’s flank. “After one of them tackled me off her.”

Such a faerie way of thinking, of lying. “Why?”

Lucien clamped his mouth shut.

“Why?”

He just twisted back to the patient mare. But I caught the expression on his face—the … pity in his eye.

I blurted, “Can we walk instead?”

He slowly turned. “It’s three miles.”

“And you could run that in a few minutes. I’d like to see if I can keep up.”

His metal eye whirred, and I knew what he’d say before he opened his mouth.

“Never mind,” I said, heading for my white mare, a sweet-tempered beast, if not a bit lazy and spoiled. Lucien didn’t try to convince me otherwise, and kept quiet as we rode from the estate and onto the forest road. Spring, as always, was in full bloom, the breeze laden with lilac, the brush flanking the path rustling with life. No hint of the Bogge, of the naga, of any of the creatures who had once cast such stillness over the wood.