And that look knifed him in the chest more than anything else. More than the painful lashing Sorin had given him just a few days prior.
He couldn’t handle it. He couldn’t handle the pain.
“You’re right. I do wish this was a trick because at least then I’d understand.”
Sorin snorted. He crossed his arms, turning away from Lucian. Giving his back as though Lucian meant less than nothing to him.
Lucian pushed himself to his feet. At least he was taller than Sorin, so that little back-turning thing shouldn’t have bothered him too much when he was on his feet.
Except it still bothered him. A lot.
“If you would just give me something, give me anything that I could hang on to, then I could go along with it. Does that key even open my shackles?”
“It does.” Sorin nodded, looking back at him. “And you won’t get it.”
Lucian bit his lips together. Angry. So fucking angry.
Hold it back. He needed to hold it back. This might not be what he thought it was, and he needed to know everything before he made his decisions about this.
“Okay. So what do I have to do to get it?”
“Nothing, because you won’t get it. I just came down here to see you.”
Lucian clung to those words. Sorin had come down to see him. All right, if this had been anyone other than his mate, he would have taken it to mean he was being mocked. Maybe Sorin just wanted to see how he was doing honestly. Hell, someone could be watching Sorin right now to make sure he was playing along.
If Sorin broke character, then Lucian was fairly confident Varrick would kill him.
Varrick had already proven willing to kill members of his own family to get what he wanted. Would his own son be any different?
Lucian swallowed hard. This was a level of chess playing that was outside of his skill set.
Should he play along? Should he assume this was real and rant and rave at his mate? Or should he tell Sorin he loved him? Maybe beg a little for the sake of whoever was listening in on them?
That second option might break Sorin out of character, might make him do or say something he regretted. Hell, even a look could give him away.
And all that hung on the presumption that this really was just an attempt by Sorin to keep him alive.
Lucian needed to say something. The silence was getting to him, and he wasn’t about to risk that this might also be considered strange behavior by whoever watched them.
“So, did you at least bring some food down for me? Or are you going to starve me to death?”
Sorin regarded him up and down. He opened his mouth, the mouth Lucian had kissed and sucked on while Sorin chuckled sweetly at him only days earlier.
Then he closed it.
“So you’re going to starve me. Great.”
“No, you can’t be starved,” Sorin said. “Until the mating can be broken off, I need you alive. My father doesn’t want me falling into some suicidal tailspin because of what you did to me. After I can break off the mating on my end, then you can die. Until then, I’ll have food brought for you.”
Lucian blinked several times. He tried desperately to read through all the hidden messages that could be in a sentence like that, and all he got was exactly what Sorin said.
And he was fucking furious. “You’re trying to break off the mating?”
Even if this was an act, his inner dragon, the animal instinct within him to protect and love the man in front of him, was insulted, enraged. It roared and spread its wings, desperate to protect the bond that kept him tied to this man.
A mating wasn’t easily broken off, though it could be done. The fact that it wasn’t such a common thing was, by its nature, the kind of bond that made each party not want to be separated from each other.
Even thinking about doing it hurt. Hurt and made his blood bubble and boil.
Sorin had said it without a single emotion on his face. As if he didn’t care one way or the other. Lucian couldn’t stand that.
And Sorin still wasn’t answering him. As if he didn’t owe Lucian a damned thing.
Maybe he didn’t.
This could still be a trick. This could still be an act. Lucian needed to not take this so personally.
Except he was.
“I’ll arrange for something to come down for you. You look like shit.”
“You seemed to like what you were looking at when I was inside you.”
Stupid thing to say. It honestly just popped out of his mouth, a product of his anger and instinct to defend his bond with the man he’d just tried to hurt.
And hurt him he must have because of the way Sorin’s eyes popped wide right before he flew across the room.
He open-hand slapped Lucian hard across the face.
That shouldn’t have been enough to make Lucian fall to one knee. Sorin was smaller than he was, and he didn’t have anywhere near the same muscle definition.
Lucian was an alpha, and yet it felt as if his mate had just hit him with a brick.
“Don’t you ever bring that up to me again! Ever! Do you hear me! You never fucking say that shit again!”
Sorin panted for breath, clearly enraged, and after a few seconds his knee came up, catching Lucian under the jaw.
Lucian felt the thunk all the way to the top of his skull, and he fell back hard, landing on his shoulder and groaning.
Maybe he was much weaker than he’d thought from the lack of food because Sorin didn’t have this kind of strength. That hurt. A lot.
Lucian looked up at the man, at his mate.
Lucian needed it. As his mate kissed and touched him, his heated hands moving, stroking, pulling at Lucian’s hair and body as if he would die if he didn’t get this, it brought out all the wild instincts within Lucian’s body.
He moaned, thrusting his cock against Sorin’s, the friction making the wild dragon within him lose almost complete control.
Lucian growled against Sorin’s mouth, thrusting forward again, swallowing the sweet little mewling noises that came from Sorin’s mouth.
More. He wanted so much more. He needed so much more than this. He needed to be inside him, feeling that tight gripping heat clenching around the base of his cock, holding him close.
Sorin’s fingers were steely and powerful as he reached down, gripping Lucian’s ass cheeks in each hand as he tried to pull him closer and closer.
“Just like that,” Sorin moaned, throwing his head back and giving Lucian access to his throat.
A throat Lucian could not resist licking and sucking, knowing what a sweet spot it was for a vampire.
“Just like that.”
It was going to be better when Lucian was inside him, when he made Sorin moan his name and come for him.
Lucian lazily thrust against Sorin’s body, letting the pleasure build, feeling the rush increasing as his blood warmed and his mate moaned into his mouth.
He liked it. Lucian liked being able to give his mate pleasure like this, to pretend that they weren’t being held hostage in this damned house with so many vampires and omegas and slaves and guards all around them.
Lucian should be figuring out how to get out of here, but he swore the need within him was on par with the desire he’d felt during the heat. The time, back in the beginning, when he was still learning of his connection to Sorin and every moment he didn’t touch the man had been torture.
He needed to have him, to make love to him at least once before he could properly think about how in the hell he was going to get out of here.
“Inside me. Hurry up,” Sorin puffed.
Lucian kissed him, smiling through it, but he worked quickly after that.
If he was losing his mind because of a lack of connection to his mate, then Sorin must have been going through the exact same thing this entire time.
“I’ve got you, baby,” Lucian promised, though it was an honest-to-God struggle for him to pull himself back, away from the heat of Sorin’s body, away from the throb of his cock.
Lucian’s dick screamed at him, the shaft pointing up accusingly, but it would get its chance soon enough. Lucian reached for the small bottle.
“I don’t need a lot. Just do it.”
Lucian pressed his lips together. He knew what Sorin was getting at. They might have someone loyal to Sorin out there watching out for them, but as much as Lucian wanted to make slow love to him, and then fuck him hard and fast, they didn’t have that kind of time. What Lucian wanted to do to his mate would take hours.
They had minutes.
He opened the cap and poured some of the lubricant into his palm. “I’m just going to slick you a little. It probably won’t be comfortable when I’m inside.”
“I can handle it. I can’t handle not having you inside me anymore.”
That was good enough for Sorin. He slid the lube up his fingers before stroking Sorin’s hole. He didn’t spend much time there, as much as he enjoyed the way he could still make Sorin’s pucker quiver for him. Lucian pushed inside, the tight ring clenching around his fingers, making him want more than just his fingers inside.
Sorin arched his back, throwing his head back against the thin sheets and sighing. His mouth fell open, and at first, it seemed as if he wasn’t breathing at all.
When he exhaled, he did it hard, and then he looked up at Lucian with that same dazed, pleasured expression on his face he always got when Lucian was in the middle of giving his mate what he wanted.
“I like your fingers, but something else would be better.”
“I know. That’s coming.” Lucian pushed his fingers deeper. “Just making sure you’re good to go.”
He couldn’t stretch his mate as much as he would have wanted to, but this right here, just having his fingers inside, spreading the lube deeper within him, would have to do.
“More. Hurry. Give me more.”
Even Lucian could lose his patience when Sorin begged so sweetly, however. Lucian pulled his fingers free from the man’s hole. He stroked his wet hand over his cock just enough to wet the shaft, and even though Lucian knew that wouldn’t be nearly enough, it was going to have to do as he pushed himself closer.
Lucian pressed the head of his dick against that sweet pucker, and he pushed inside.
“Oh!” Sorin pushed his head back again, his chest pushing up as his entire body seemed to arch, pulling Lucian closer as he thrust inside.
Inch by inch, Sorin took him, his arm looping around Lucian’s neck, holding him closer still, until Lucian's cock was all the way inside and he couldn’t go any farther, any deeper, if he wanted to.
And he so wanted to.