Warrior’s Bride (PT 16)

Chapter Sixteen
Looking around once more, Cadell gave her a lopsided grin. “Well, Your Highness, I hate to be the one to say this to you, but it looks like we have some work to do”, he rising once more with the grace of a cat, his hand outstretched for hers. With no hesitation, she placed her small hand into his large one, he pulling her gently to her feet. However, the action brought the two closer together, her hand still in his, the feel of it enveloped by his strong one suddenly filling her with the strangest heat.
Looking up into his face, she could see a similar desire reflected in his eyes too, surprise mingled with something else, something which made her groin clench, a shiver running through her. As though sensing her arousal, his free hand lifted to cup her face, the joviality of earlier disappearing, replaced by something more intense.
Her nerves were strained to the breaking point, she not even aware as her hand lifted to cover his, this action not one to throw him off her, but to keep him there, her eyes dropping to fix on his mouth. Everything in her wanted him to kiss her, to once more feel the way he made her feel the previous day in the palace, only this time there would be nobody there to interrupt them.
Hearing the soft groan from him, her eyes once more rose to his, she seeing that now he was looking at her mouth, his intentions clear as his hand, still in hers, pulled her even closer as his head bent and touched her lips.
With a sigh, she felt her body fall against his, his kiss deepening as her mouth flowered open for him, the hand on her cheek moving to cup the nape of her neck, pulling her head even harder to him. The kiss was full of fire and passion and promise, the promise that he would take care of her, support her and be her partner, Tialla responding with a woman’s instinct as though she was made for this man.
As his hand released hers, her arms wrapped around his neck, her body writhing against his with a need that was both foreign and demanding. She wanted him, the truth somehow freeing her. This man was to be her husband, and this thought was not unwelcome. He had been nothing but kind and patient and understanding with her, when he did not need to be. She had been his for the taking, yet he had held back, complied with her people’s customs, winning them over, even though his armies had swept into her kingdom as a hostile force.
With absolute conviction, Tialla knew that Cadell was intelligent, strong and somehow the perfect match for her, this truth seeping into her with a certainty that allowed her to bring down the walls she had erected to all others. Finally, she knew what it was that made her body and mind so drawn to the warlord. Cadell was her soul mate.
Cadell pulled the small woman harder against himself. He had enjoyed many women in his life, but this one was different. She was special. She would be his wife, and this thought, rather than making his spirits drop, filled him with the strangest happiness. Tialla was everything he ever dreamt of in a woman, and more. Her spirit matched his, her determination to be the best like his own. Where he was the iron fist, she was the unyielding rock that would never break. She both fascinated and attracted him. Her beauty was not just skin deep, it was to her very core. She was a good woman, and she made him want to be a better man.
As a warlord, he knew of the two competing forces within him. He strove to allow goodness to lead him, even though the path was often littered with evil deeds. He fought each and every day to keep the darkness at bay, to follow the light and fight for those who needed him to keep them free and safe. With her by his side, he knew that the darkness would be banished, held back by the dazzling light that she was. With certainty he knew too that she was his soul mate.
Pulling back slightly his hands held the top of her arms, the need to speak filling him. Looking down at her, he had to swallow hard not to pull her to him once more. Her eyes struggled to open as her smooth brow furrowed slightly, a small whimper leaving her large reddened lips, lust slamming into him. He had never wanted a woman more, but at that moment he needed to talk.
“Tialla.” He could hear the hoarseness of his voice, the breathiness of his words, “I want you.”
Now her eyes opened, her long lashes sweeping up as those large blue eyes met his. The smallest of smiles touched her lips, honesty deep within them. “I want you too Cadell.”
Her statement sent another shudder running through him, he having to take a deep breath not to fall back onto their makeshift bed, he needing to get out the words filling him, “I have never felt this way before.” Her eyes softened as the smile widened, “I want your body that is true, but more than that, I want you. I want to wake up with you, watch you as you rule your people and bring your wisdom to mine. I want to protect you and I want to have children with you.” He paused, truth tinged with nerves making his tone lower, “What I am trying to say Tialla is that I never believed that there was such goodness to be found in this world, and I certainly never thought myself worthy of it.” His eyes shone with the intensity of his words as he dragged in a deep breath, Tialla seeing the way he bared his very soul to her as he whispered almost reverently, “Tialla, my princess, my future queen. What I am trying to tell you, is that I love you.”

Next installment (5th June)

Warrior’s Bride (Pt 15)

Chapter Fifteen
The exploration of the cave did not take long, Cadell nodding in approval as his eyes scanned the area. The interior was about 30 feet long and about the same in width, he ensuring that there were no hidden crevices or holes where animals might be lurking. Finding a second entrance leading out to the wall of water, his features broke into a smile, “Excellent”, his only comment, though even Tialla knew the benefit of having another exit in case they were surprised from the first.
Turning to her, he grinned, seeming to have made up his mind. “OK Princess, time to unpack”, his eyebrows wiggling as he bent down and began to empty the contents of his backpack. Tialla chuckled seeing the numerous weapons he pulled free, along with a change of clothing, before he looked pointedly at her bag. “I may have been unfair asking you to bring all the cooking stuff”, his tone softening. “You will be glad to know that I have a trusty knife and can make just about anything… Within reason. Also we have plenty of firewood at our disposal.”
Giving a small snort, she knelt down to join him. “I think you underestimate me Cadell”, her tone a little waspish, though the smile on her mouth belied any real animosity. Pulling items from the bag, she soon had cutlery, plates and cups. As she pulled out coffee and tea granules, he laughed, declaring her an angel, she rewarding him with a smile of her own. “Well, I must admit that those are more for my benefit. Your Tol Dor might seem very long if you had to put up with me with no caffeine in my system.”
Nodding, his lips twitched, finding himself enjoying her company, his forehead furrowing as she gripped the sides of the bag before ripping it apart, it seeming to break into three sections. One contained two towels, his eyebrows rising at the clever design.
The other two looked familiar and with interest he reached over to lift them, his head shaking as it finally dawned on him what he was looking at. “Water purification kit?”, his eyes finding hers seeing as she nodded.
“I am sure that boiling is fine, but I like to be cautious”, her head cocking to the side. “Animals use the water down there as a bathroom you know.” Grinning, he made to stand, she rising with him. “Not finished yet”, her words making him pause seeing as she pulled the heavy cloak from herself, her eyes sparkling impishly. “I know you probably think that I was crazy wearing all of this, but in about one minute, you are going to be amazed”, her lovely mouth curving in anticipation.
Enthralled, Cadell leant against the rock wall watching her, his gaze full of curiosity. “OK, amaze me.”
Laughing again at his challenge, she lay the cloak on the ground, he seeing the inside was lined with thick fur. Sympathy filled him. It must have been very uncomfortable for her trekking in the jungle wearing such a thing. With a yank, she pulled the hood from the main piece, the shape of the item changing instantly, he seeing as it now became a perfect rectangle. Pushing back from the wall, his eyes widened seeing as the cloak began to expand, as though filling with air.
Giving her a stunned look, his head shook with genuine appreciation. “Is that a bed?”
Tialla nodded back, her features shining, “Yep. My scientists created this from two compounds. While each on its own is less than the width of a finger, when the membrane between them was removed, which the hood held, and they mixed…then they expand to nearly a foot!” She chuckled. I have no idea how it works, but it does, and now we don’t have to rough it on the floor.”
Nodding his head, he fixed her with amused eyes. “OK, I am amazed.” Laughing, she held up a hand to indicate that there was more before reaching to the decorative clasp on the long skirt she wore. Pulling it, the skirt dropped to the ground, Cadell seeing that she wore more suitable trousers under it.
Lifting up the voluminous material, she neatly draped it over the makeshift bed, he seeing that they now had a blanket. Lifting her head, she pointed to it. “Again, my scientists have developed a material that keeps in heat, so we should be nice and cosy”, her lips twitching with pride. “They really are a very creative group.”
Cadell’s brow rose as he nodded. He had camped often, he used to rough living, but even he had to admit that the thought of a little comfort for a change was very enticing. Moving to sit on the bed, he was aware of just how comfortable it was, the reason for the fur on the inside now clear, the softness adding to the pile.
His eyes were questioning as she joined him. “How long will it remain like this?”, he asked softly.
Tialla shrugged “Apparently, we should not worry. They tell me that so long as we are not spending a month in the jungle then it should remain as it is.”
Cadell released a deep laugh, his finger lifting wagging it as he tutted softly, “And you accused me of cheating! Thought you could only have the items you could carry in the hold all?”
Giving him a superior look, she huffed out a small sound of indignation. “I checked the rules VERY carefully, and it doesn’t say that you can’t wear things!”, a hint of laughter now in her eyes as she smiled at him. “So, I figured if it didn’t say that you couldn’t… Then it meant you could.”
Shaking his head once more he regarded her thoughtfully. Beautiful, compassionate, caring and now resourceful. It seemed that he really had done well in his choice of bride. Very well.

next installment {May 21st}