A Court of Crows
Eris lifted the paper. “You didn’t really expect me to implement such restrictive measures on day one of a siege, did you?”
“Of course not,” said Ruith with a shrug.
“Then why give it to me at all?”
“Because they think I’m here to take Brucia from under you.”
The queen’s mouth was dry. “And are you?”
Ruith stood. His heavy footsteps thumped in time with her heart as he came around the table. Trailing his fingertips over the tabletop, he stopped next to her throne, towering over her. “I have six thousand Crows at my command. I am stronger than any man, better with my sword than all three of your queensguard put together, and faster than every human I have ever met. If I wanted your city, it would be mine. Whatever I want, I get.” He lifted his fingers from the table and brushed them against her cheek.
Eris’s heart skipped a beat.
She grabbed his hand. “You do not have me.”
The sound of his dark chuckle left her fighting a shudder.
“Not yet,” he said.
“If you ever touch me uninvited…”
“Please.” He wrinkled his nose, disgusted, and pulled his hand away. “I would never. I have no interest in bedding a woman who doesn’t wish it. If the touch is truly uninvited, then I apologize. But if it isn’t, and if these sultry looks you’ve been throwing me are more than just curiosity…” Ruith leaned down, lips hovering next to her ear. He smelled like warm leather with a sharp citrus bite. “I will touch you in ways no one ever has, or ever will again. I could give you more pleasure with one finger than you’ve ever known.”
Eris’s insides turned molten, skin prickling at the thought. She turned her head toward his, their mouths suddenly so close that they shared breath for a moment. “That’s a bold claim. I’m a queen. I could have anyone I wanted.”
He leaned back, his smirk returning. “I’ve seen the men in this city. I know what I’m up against, and I stand by my statement.”