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Cards of Love: The Moon (New Camelot Book 4) by Sierra Simone (1)

1

A hiss in the darkness, then a flame, bright and dancing and unwelcome.

A match, I think, and then I think, why?

And then: where am I?

“You’re awake,” says a voice like water. A voice I love. It still doesn’t help me figure out where I am.

“Am I?” I ask. “Awake?”

Like I said earlier, I don’t dream as such, but when I close my eyes, the memories and visions are there, dogging my sleep. And I think maybe—yes, there is also a memory like this. A memory of a dark-haired girl and a cave sparkling with light, the night air heavy with the ecstatic cries we fed it.

“You are awake, Merlin.” The flame moves, calves another flame, and then is blown out. A candle now glows softly against the face of a woman standing at the end of the bed I’m on.

Dark brows arch high over clear blue eyes and a long nose curves gracefully down the woman’s oval face, framed by a high forehead and cheekbones, and a beautiful, if narrow, jaw. Her lips are on the thin side, but perfectly sculpted, giving her an expressive, fascinating mouth. Coffee-dark hair hangs in glossy sheets around her face and down her back.

She’s haunting. Haunting even as a girl, but now even more so as a woman.

“Nimue,” I say, and for the first time I notice how thirsty I am. I make to sit up—and realize my hands are tied to the bed.

Nimue sets the candle down on an end table, and it illuminates the space enough to show me that I’m indeed in a room and not in the damp mouth of a cave.

It means it’s now and not then, which I suppose I should be grateful for.

After all, I died then.

A silver key glints from just below the smile of her clavicle, the bottom tip of it pointing to the sweet valley between her breasts I used to know so well. They are small and pert—her body still the lithe dancer’s body she had as a girl—and my flesh responds to the sight of those little handfuls, the memory of them. The fantasy of her dusky nipples dragging along the underside of my aching cock is enough to have my body warming, and that’s when I really become aware that I’m not only tied to the bed, but I’m also dressed in a pair of black boxer briefs and nothing else.

Well, nothing else except for the padded cuff around my ankle.

Nimue leans forward to untie my wrist, which leaves the front of her swishy dress gaping forward enough that I can see those nipples now, dark rose and erect.

I’d tasted them frequently once upon a time.

Once upon a time, twice.

In another life, I’d known the feel of her breasts against my lips and tongue better than I’d known almost anything else.

With one of my wrists freed, Nimue straightens and nods at the other. “You can untie yourself. You’ll find that the chain allows you more than enough length to do everything you need. I’m obviously trusting you not to do anything self-destructive, but should the need arise, I can take away this particular freedom.” She says it cheerfully, almost as if the idea of taking away my freedom delights her.

The key on her chest glints as she steps back, and I understand that it’s the key that unlocks my cuff—the same cuff that is connected to a ring in the floor by a length of slender chain.

Anger comes.

And with it shame.

And with that, fear.

I died once this way, and I’d rather not do it again.

I lunge for my other wrist to untie it, needing to be free, needing to reach for Nimue to kiss her or kill her—but by the time I untie myself, she’s out the door with it shut and locked behind her.