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  • Blade Bound(Chicagoland Vampires #13)(43) by Chloe Neill
  • I smiled at him. “I’d like a hot bath. Maybe you could comfort me in there?”

    His smile was slow and hot and promising. “I believe I could arrange something.” He glanced at the stairs. “Shall we go upstairs, wife?”

    I smiled at him. “Let’s do, husband.”

    • • •

    “Damn,” I quietly said.

    We’d made it up the stairs, but gaped in the doorway.

    The bedroom was enormous, with silvery paper on the walls and pale carpet across the floor. The bed was a pool of blue in front of a wall of windows that faced Lake Michigan and below a chandelier of sculpted glass teardrops that sent soft orbs of pale light across the room. Eucalyptus and lavender scented the air, and soft, chiming music played in the background.

    “It is a room for relaxing,” Ethan said. “For rest and sleep. And since tomorrow will come quickly enough—and whatever fallout that includes—we’ll rest while we can.”

    Rest sounded delicious, but somehow defeatist. This was, after all, the only bit of honeymoon we’d get. Paris was a memory. Fallout was our future.

    “You may need some assistance getting out of your dress. Or what remains of it.”

    “Don’t remind me.”

    “Turn around,” he said, spinning a finger. I was too tired to argue or make a seductive response, so I turned, waited as he unfastened the hooks, unzipped the back. The dress was ravaged enough that it fell to the floor in a heap of stained silk and satin.

    “Well,” Ethan said, taking in the ensemble beneath—the thigh-high stockings, garter, and bustier. Part of my wedding trousseau, and an ensemble intended to be seen only by him.

    “That is . . . lovely,” he said, his voice smoky with appreciation. He skimmed a hand down my back, his touch lifting goose bumps across my body. “You are a beautiful creature, Merit.”

    “Can you help with my hair?” I asked, pointing to the knot that was now hanging heavily at the nape of my neck.

    “Of course.”

    He walked forward, and began unraveling the curls and braids. It took a solid couple of minutes to pull out the pins. When he was done, I flipped my head over, shook out my hair, flipped it over again, scrubbed fingers through my hair.

    “Even better,” he murmured.

    I looked back at Ethan, his eyes—silver with emotion—tracking my body like a man with a long-denied thirst. “All of this is mine,” he said, trailing the back of his hand across my bare arm.

    “I love you,” I told him, putting a hand on his face. “But I would shove you out of the way to get into the shower right now.”

    He laughed. “I’m glad to know where I stand, Sentinel. And in this particular case, I won’t stand in your way.”

    • • •

    The bathroom was nearly as large as the bedroom, with lots of pale marble and a curvy soaking tub big enough for a crowd. Fluffy towels were piled on a bookcase near the door, and a chandelier of glass shards cast pretty shadows across the floor.

    “Impressive,” I said.

    “Only the best for my Sentinel.” He turned both faucets, and water and steam began to fill the room.

    “I could use a drink,” he said. “Keep an eye on the water.”

    I nodded, pulled the lid from a glass jar of what looked like purple dust dotted with tiny dried flowers beside the tub, sniffed. Lavender and something slightly astringent. Eucalyptus, maybe. “Fancy some bath potpourri?” I called out.

    “I’m not entirely sure what that is,” he said from the other room. “Although I’d prefer not to smell like a Parisian parfumerie.”

    “I don’t think that will be a problem,” I said, and scooped some of the salts and sprinkled them over the water. The smell was heavenly, a soothing balm that pushed thoughts of battle and blood out of my mind.

    “This is the second time I’ve found you nearly asleep near water,” Ethan said. He’d taken off his shirt, his shoes, his belt. He wore only black trousers, the waistband framing the bricks of muscle across his abdomen, and just skirting the diagonal muscles that marked his hips.

  • Romance | Fantasy | Vampire