Twenty-four years a virgin and later tonight, she was going to give it up for Arun. She shivered at the thought looking out the window. The day was amazing, as if the gods themselves were celebrating the renewed coming together of man and elf. Below, she could see lines of elves and men coming in together to witness the ceremony, and thankfully, both sides were putting an effort into making their first meeting in a thousand years hospitable.

The truth was, she could not wait to give herself to Arun. If it were anything close to her previous encounters with him, she wanted to jilt the whole wedding ceremony and jump into bed with him. They were as good as married anyway. The ceremony was nothing but a symbol to let the world know that they have pledged themselves to one another.

She plucked at her robe trying to banish such thoughts. If she kept on with it, she might just go into his room and forget all about the altar.

"Stupid, Alethi! Stupid." Of course she could not just go into Arun's room! That would be too forward. Too eager. Besides, it would go against tradition for them to see each other. Although, she knew he would not mind her early visit.

"I never considered my queen to be anything but intelligent."

Arun's sultry voice and his breath on her ear made her jump and skitter to the side of the window. She held her hand to her chest, trying to calm her pounding heart. She did not even hear him approach! So her quick pulse was not exactly all due to his sudden appearance. Gods! His smile and his gorgeous face would arrest her heart just as quickly. And – oh, dear gods! – the shirt he was wearing was almost see through! "Do not frighten me like that! You stopped my heart!"

He closed the distance between them, cornering her to the wall. "I'm not quite certain surprise was all that stopped your heart."

Her eyes widened at him. Did he know how to read thoughts?

"You should not be here!" she said instead trying to distract herself from looking at his almost naked chest. Other than Aurn, Liushan was the only other man she had seen with a bare chest and liege could not compare to master on that.

"And why not?" he cocked his head with that mischievous smile playing on his face. His eyes held a dark, heavy promise that made her knees so weak, she thanked the wall for supporting her weight.

"Tradition dictates that we should not see each other before the ceremony!"

"What for?" Arun asked putting one hand on the wall beside her head.

Fuck me! If he comes any closer it would be the end of me!

"Tradition!" she squeaked.

"Hmm…are we not past tradition already?" He placed his other hand on the other side of her head boxing her in. "We are getting married against tradition. And we enjoyed each other, short of completing the whole sexual union before marriage against tradition. Why be so concerned now?"

Alethi held her breath. He was right of course. Touching each other so intimately should have soiled her if anyone else ever knew. And besides, the tradition of not seeing each other did not make sense. At least to the both of them.

"I am way past caring what anyone else might think at this moment," he whispered at her ear, his breath sending illicit messages between her thighs. He sighed and her knees almost gave way as his breath touched her neck intimately. "How about you?"

Alethi bit her lower lip holding back a gasp as Arun's teeth bit gently at her ear and held them there without moving. By the gods! The elf was driving all her sensibilities off her mind! That small act was enough to make her feel her wetness build up.

"Damn, Alethi…" he breathed as his mouth moved to nibble. "You smell so amazing…making me lose control so quickly."

She whimpered. She was not even doing anything and he already felt that way? Maybe it was his mating instincts for the year talking? She had to be the voice of reason. They could wait a few more hours.

"Arun…people might see us…" she struggled the words out trying to keep her head straight. They were not yet married…officially.

He pulled away from her and smirked. "I ought to silence you." He pulled the string holding the curtain and it came undone dimming the room as the curtain covered the light source. "I did not want to do this with such a dim light but it is better than nothing."

Alethi opened her mouth to protest but Arun stayed true to his word and silenced her with his. It did her in and her legs gave way, only to be held up by his strong arms.

Whatever she was about to say was gone from her mind. Nothing existed but Arun's hungry kisses, his arm around her, his hand caressing her neck and his hard body pressed against her. She moaned feeling his chest crush her breasts and his bulge poke at her stomach.

He pulled away and though she felt completely light-headed, she noticed that he was breathing as hard as she was. She did not know where he got his strength, but hers was surely gone and she could only rely on him for support.

"I am truly desperate now, love. Please…"

Alethi reached up and ran her fingers through his hair and traced his ear. He rewarded her with a primal groan, but held himself steady, waiting for her answer. She felt warmth flood her at his actions. Despite everything, he still respected her decisions and his problematic year wrenched her heart. She wanted to give Arun everything.

"I believe we are as good as married. It is only a ceremony."

Arun lips broke into a wicked smile. "For your first time, I will be gentle with you. But after this, love, you will know exactly how I like it during these years. And perhaps, you will as well. I promise, I am gentler in my more normal years."

She felt her face flush, but somehow, even the hidden danger in his tone failed to make her afraid or embarrassed. Whatever promise his words held, she held onto it with anticipation. She wanted him to show her what it was like to be loved and to be loved completely, emotionally and physically.

Alethi smiled up at him as his knuckles stroke her cheek still waiting. "I trust you completely with everything, my lord."

He smiled tracing a finger on her lips and in the heat of the moment, took it in her mouth and sucked on it. She felt the ache between her legs grow stronger and apparently, she was not the only one as Arun lifted her leg to his hips with a growl and tore at her robe. Strangely, she felt no desire to hide herself nor feel embarrassed as he perused her body with hungry eyes.

"So beautiful…" he breathed.

Arun laved and sucked at her newly exposed flesh, quite savagely. She knew that they would leave their mark for quite a while. Her hands went on their own journey across his body, noting the taut muscles on his back, his arms and his sides.

He pulled his finger from her mouth and traced her curves, stopping just above her dark curls.

"You drive me completely mad, woman," he growled in her ear as she felt his hands squeeze at her buttocks. "Do not make it impossible for me to hold back and be gentle."

She lifted his face, saw the struggle in his eyes and she melted. Arun, her sweet Arun was still putting her concerns above his. She pulled him close and whispered in his ear, "Take what you want, my lord. Do not hold back because of me. Do what you will to satisfy yourself."

For good measure, she grazed her tongue on his ear and wrapped her legs around his waist. It brought out from him an unrestrained grunt and she squeaked and groaned as he his gentle fingering increased in intensity and he suckled on her like a famished babe.

"Arun…please! I cannot...ungh…hold back…"

Liushan groaned feeling as if he was not supposed to stand outside the queen's chambers hearing his lord tease his woman. Stone walls and heavy wooden doors included, he could still distinctly hear Alethi's screams of pleasure. He could even often hear snatches of his lord's dirty talk.

If it were not for the prince asking him to stand guard and warn him of an intrusion, he would have bolted away! He knew his face was flushed with embarrassment and uneasiness as he fought to keep his senses a little more sensitive than normal. There were some humans who could creep so silently they were almost elfin and he had to note their coming.

By gods! He should not feel as if he were, in human expression, a boy caught with his hand in the cookie pot. He had seen and heard many matings and couplings but this, after hearing his lord's first unbridled roar into his orgasm…

Her scream pierced the air as her third orgasm came that morning drowning out Arun's own growl. His face felt hotter. Even Leanne did not come that quickly for a human. But then, the woman was a seasoned…artisan as she would call herself. And Alethi had been nothing but a virgin before now. Not to mention his lord did have a reputation of being…highly skilled even among the more notorious circle of elves. He could understand his lord's quick spirals into climax. He had been celibate for four seasons and it was nearly the end of the year before he had gotten his relief. Today.

A long stretch of silence and soft murmurs echoed from inside the room before Arun stepped out as if nothing has happened. Only a silly boyish grin in his face marking that something had left him so satisfied. For all his life serving under the prince, he had never seen such an expression on his face. And it was quite nice to see him so happy if not fully satiated.

"Liushan, please send for Leanne and Eian into the queen's room. I believe she has need of help preparing. She—You are flushed." In a blink, his boyish grin was gone and his eyes suddenly glowed menacingly.

Liushan knew it to be the mark that he was near the heights of his anger. Had he done something wrong? "Y-you asked me to guard and be aware of anyone who might intrude. I could not help but…hear. I-I do not wish for anyone to have snuck past me."

Arun sighed, menace and anger gone. The sudden changes in his lord's emotions were making him unsteady. Why, such sudden changes were more human than elfin!

"I should not blame you. You were only doing what I asked. Not to worry. You will not have to do it again." The silly grin returned on his face. "Perhaps you should just let Eian in the queen's chambers. Leanne could help you with your…problem."

Liushan followed the prince's eyes and looked down at himself. By the gods! He had been hard, but he did not notice because of his concerns. Now that his lord called his attention to his need, he felt a stirring that grew stronger with the memory of Leanne's expertise. He shuddered.

Arun laughed and clapped him on the back. "I believe you would not find your stay here with me as my retainer not boring at all." His eyes twinkled. "I am sure the countess would keep you company well should you be bored. Now, please take care of everything quickly. The ceremony will start in a while."

Liushan watched his lord walk away with a satisfied gait and smiled to himself. He mused at how much happier he had been since the announcement of their engagement and how hard it had been for him to hold back from storming into his lover's room and demand his release.

And speaking of release, he needed his. True enough, he did not have the same control as his lord did and he was thankful that Leanne had told him that she would always be available when she needed him. It put a smile on his lips. He could not understand why he could easily lose control in her, managing to drive out the queen from her own solar quite often, but he did not care. Somehow, she felt different…

His eyes opened not knowing he had them closed in the first place. By the gods! It could not be happening to him, could it? He shook his head. He had things to do. He must find Lady Eian and tell her to come to the queen's chambers then he could call on Leanne and find satisfaction in her warmth.

Liushan groaned. He was doomed.