But at night, alone in this cave, he’d found his thoughts turning . . . darker.

Aside from masturbating to the memory of their kiss, he’d conjured up filthy fantasies about Mirceo. Cas would stroke himself to a bone-melting release, yelling with equal parts pleasure and frustration.

He recalled the last one he’d indulged in here.

Cas unlacing his breeches and ordering Mirceo to suck . . . the prince’s gray eyes dancing as he dropped to his knees . . . using the vampire’s hot mouth . . . giving Mirceo his cum . . . the vampire taking his due and biting Cas’s cock. . . .

That fantasy had made him culminate so hard his back had bowed.

Cas tugged his coat down to conceal his raging hard-on. Gods almighty. Filthy.

“Only on occasion, demon?” Mirceo’s words ripped Cas from his memories. “At least one of us can lie. I’ll bet you thought of me and fondled your mouthwatering member on these very furs.” Mirceo skimmed his fingers through the top one, his pale vampire skin stark against silken black.

Mercy. Those deft fingers had encircled Cas’s shaft mere nights ago, forcing it against Mirceo’s own. That semen-slicked clutch . . .

“How long will you deny I’m yours?” Mirceo asked. “You saw your pre-cum. You know it’s for me.”

“And why would I produce pre-cum? I can’t impregnate you.”

Irritation flashed in the vampire’s expression. “Is spawning all sex is good for? Because that was the last thing you were thinking about when you tagged every available female across the worlds. Besides, you’re to give me seed because it will bond us. Just as sharing blood does.”


The more Cas struggled not to imagine coming inside Mirceo, the more vivid the image grew. Frustration simmered. “So I should accept having no offspring without even a qualm?”

“You can’t impregnate anyone until you break your seal, and you can’t do that without me. In any case, I’ve found a way for us to have children, even with me as your mate. But you’ll probably be too stubborn to listen.”

“Tell me how that would be possible.”

“We would use a donated egg for you—or us—to fertilize. Mina said she’d happily carry a babe for us.”

“So not only would she be trapped down there in Dacia, she’d be trapped and pregnant.”

He stiffened. “She’s not trapped.”

“Uh-huh. You can’t keep her shut away forever.”

Mirceo’s eyes flickered black with emotion. “Watch me. I will lock her in Dacia’s dungeon before she ever leaves the protection of the realm.”

Cas raised his brows.

Mirceo released a breath. “It’s a sore subject. Lothaire has been hinting around about sending her into the otherlands for education. If she stayed in her mist, she should be safe from the plague, but so many things could go wrong. If she lost concentration or grew too exhausted . . . or if Forbearers somehow found her . . .” He looked as if he were imagining every worst-case scenario. At length, he said, “I’ll take Lothaire’s godsdamned head before he sends her away.”

All the best with that, you rash young leechling. Lothaire was rumored to be one of the longest-lived vampires in existence—which meant he would be diabolically powerful.

Canting his head, Mirceo said, “You feel protective of Mina already, don’t you?” I . . . do. “You can scorn me all you want, but you are her brother-by-fate now. And she’s thrilled to be your sister. Your family just got bigger.”

“Silver-tongued as ever,” Cas said in an indifferent tone, but the vampire had gotten him thinking. “Where would the egg come from?”

“Balery, my uncle’s concoctioness and oracle, has some.”

“You expect me to trust a seeress—who serves the Enemy of Old—to engineer a pup of mine?”

“Yes. Because I trust her.”

“And would you be my partner in parenting?” Cas scoffed. “May the gods help any younglings with you as a father.”

“Staked through the heart, demon.” All light left Mirceo’s eyes, and Cas wanted it back. “No one has ever wounded me like you do.”

Mirceo had always struck him as unflappable, his emotions bulletproof. Did the vampire’s uncaring façade hide a more sensitive self?

“Before I met you, I never thought about bringing children into the worlds,” Mirceo said, holding Cas’s gaze, “but the idea of creating something with you, then protecting it, appeals deeply to me. It would be a worthwhile endeavor, no? A fulfilling one?”

The vampire’s words surprised him. What if Mirceo could somehow stay true and committed to a shared future?

“How long would that occupy you before you grew bored? I saw you burn through scores of partners. You simply aren’t capable of eternity, and I’d accept nothing less from my mate.”

“You’ve a lot of nerve to call me out on the number of partners. The notches on your belt must be infinite.”

“Yes, but I made sure my bedmates weren’t looking for more. Not usually a problem, since I was an impoverished demon of zero import. But with a rich prince like you, well, people start to dream. Every soul you’ve bedded ached for more of you, but you would cast them that look—”

“What look?”

“The it’s-been-swell look. The one that said you wanted nothing more to do with them.” Cas could see himself among that number, ruined forever by the vampire’s incomparable sex appeal. What if I start to dream? “Your eye was always on the next conquest.”