Cesia’s lips leave streaks of red on Rath’s body, the deep red of blood that she has sworn to keep from staining his skin again. The color seems perfect.
The only way it would be better, Rath thinks, were if it were actually blood. But he knows without asking that Cesia wouldn’t approve.
Her dark hair falls in waves across his lap as she leans to stain his lips red with her own.
It’s an act of claiming him. An act without pain or blood or cruelty because in her own cruel way, Cesia knows he would enjoy those things for all the wrong reasons and will not let him indulge.
Instead of love bites, she leaves open-mouthed kisses and lipstick smears. Instead of clawing her nails across his back, she leaves trails of paint to mark him with infuriating gentleness.
Rath lets her. When she pushes him back, he bares his throat, but she leaves a caress of Kai-stern’s blue along his cheek.
That too is a strange mixture of sadistic comfort that he has come to expect from her. She doesn’t let him wallow in self-pity, but she also doesn’t let him forget his greatest failings.
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