A Life Lived Loudly
It was no hardship watching Ari vibrate with excitement, Liam mused. Especially when the excitement came from something he’d done.
His mate had a tendency to make high-pitched noises of delight when she found something thrilling and, as ear-bending as those sounds were, he wouldn’t have her do anything differently.
Ari lived life loudly. She squealed and giggled and yelled. And that was just when she was excited. Throw in some sexual stimulation and the sounds get exponentially louder.
There was screaming. Often.
But today’s excitement came from her first glimpse of the bar he and Jerinth had been working on for the past week.
They’d carved and cut and polished that beauty from a solid piece of wood some of the sprites had directed him too in the deepest part of the forest. It was from an old tree that had been happy to sacrifice part of itself for him and the others who protected their wild stretch of land.
It was humbling to accept such a gift.
Liam didn’t believe he did anything more than other supernaturals would do if the land was in their care. He kept the woods safe as best he could. He welcomed any who needed sanctuary.
He might have chosen a human name for himself, but he was still the Guardian in these parts. Nothing had changed in that regard.
The trees remembered. The elementals who slumbered beneath the earth whispered their thanks in their dreams.
And that glorious piece of wood that Jerinth had carved into a work of art stood as a reminder that his work—the work of all the supernaturals—would never be done.
There would always be more to protect. Others. The small ones. The prey creatures. Those who couldn’t protect themselves.
The thought gave him strength. Purpose. The drive to do everything he could for those who looked to him.
His mate’s joy at the bar was the first step.
It was a trivial thing to others, perhaps, but her happiness over the bar drove him to greater heights. Her delighted squeals made the woods ring with joy.
And that was what life was all about.
“Liam! It’s beautiful!” Ari spun toward him, her eyes shining. “Where’s Jerinth? I want to tell him what a wonderful job he did.”
Crossing his arms over his chest, Liam smiled gently at his mate. “He is with Amanda, I believe.” When she went to rush past him, he caught her arm and tugged her against his side. “Perhaps you should give them some time alone. Jerinth has been working on the bar almost non-stop.”
His wonderfully accommodating mate snuggled up to him without protest. “Right. Makes sense. I’d want to cuddle you if I hadn’t seen much of you over the past week.” Her smile turned sly. “Which, actually, I haven’t, have I?” Her fingers stroked down over his chest. “You know, now that I’m thinking about it, we should christen this place. Put our mark on it, so to speak.”
Clearing his throat so he wouldn’t laugh out loud at his nymph’s version of subtlety, Liam curved his hands under her thighs and boosted her up until they were eye to eye. “Christen it?” he asked, all innocence.
Long lashes fluttered down for a moment as she looked at his mouth. “Yep. You know, nakedly? Without clothes? You and me? Having wicked, wicked sex right here on this beautiful bar?”
This time he did laugh, a low, deep chuckle that made Ari’s pupils expand with arousal. “Is that sanitary? I thought you were going to use the bar to entertain people.”
“I’ll make sure it gets thoroughly wiped down before anybody stops by.”
His mate. She thrilled him. She humbled him every day in every way.
“Well, then,” he said, taking three long strides until he could rest Ari’s delectable ass on the polished surface, “as long as you do a thorough job.”
He’d set the stage for thorough. Right here. Right now.
His mouth. His mate’s body.
The sweet, seductive smile he loved so much put in an appearance.
And that was how the bar Ari had commissioned so she could have the first monthly monsters’ night out got the workout of its long, eventful life.
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