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Asit Tal-eb

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It had been volatile from the start. Taashath and Cassandra had gone toe to toe from the moment Taashath woke in chains surrounded by guards pointing swords at her. Only a few weeks in Haven, and she felt like she was drowning. This wasn’t her world and they demanded so much of her. Storming off into the woods, she had lashed out at a tree. Incinerating it with blow after blow of her magic.

She had heard the crunch of footsteps in the snow, snarled and stared down at Commander Cullen Rutherford. Former Templar. A man who hated magic. So when she launched the ball of magic at him, she had expected him to flinch, but he’d only raised a brow at her. Maybe his Templar abilities had let him know that it wouldn’t harm him, even if it did hit.

She was full of anger and somehow Cullen had tempered her rage. They sparred, hand to hand. No weapons, no armor. Despite the fact that she had nearly a foot on him, he took her down more often than not. Trained and skilled with muscles honed for battle. All things she was not. He called her Taasha. Shortened the name given to her by Shokrakar of the Valo-Kas. And she found she liked it.

Now, after weeks of sparring, Taashath stared down at Cullen, a smirk curving her lips. He only looked up at her, unimpressed, a brow arched as she sat back and let out a whoop of triumph. She had managed to sweep his legs out from beneath him, knocked him down and settled her weight over him, her hands curled around his wrists.

It was her own fault, she knew it. Realized it too late that Cullen wouldn’t concede so easily. Taashath released her grip on his arms, sat back, her thighs straddling his waist one moment and the next she was pinned down in that small clearing, flat on her stomach, with Cullen over her, his body hard and unyielding over her. Her lip curled, a snarl escaping.

Taashath didn’t like being restrained. She’d spent nearly her entire life in chains, would die before she ever let that happen again. The sharp nip of pain on the tip of her ear caused a whimper to escape her lips, a sound she knew she’d never made. Jerking her head to the side, staring over her shoulder at the man with slightly disheveled curls falling over his forehead, and she knew the sudden difficulty she was having breathing had nothing to do with the solid weight of his body over hers.

His hands curled around her wrists and his body stretched out over her own. Hips shifting and she could feel the solid press of his erection through layers of fabric. His breathing matched her own. Lips parted. Pupils blown wide. Taashath had heard tales of the pleasure, but as Saarebas, had been denied that. In her short time with the Valo-Kas, there had been offers but she’d had no interest in her fellow mercenaries. For the first time, heat pooled low in her belly, and judging from the press of Cullen’s hips against her rear, he wanted her too.

“Yes,” she rasped out, one of the few words of Common she could speak, arching her hips back. Taashath wasn’t fool enough to believe anything would come of it. Pleasure was just pleasure within the Qun. And it was a rare person, man or woman, human, dwarf or elf, who wasn’t afraid of her. She wanted it, wanted to know what the fuss was. Wanted something to distract her from all she knew was coming.

Cullen’s fingers tightened on her wrists. Long moments passed and she waited, then his teeth were on her ear again, until she cried out as it sent pleasure straight to her core. Then his mouth was on her throat, sucking and kissing while one hand released her wrist, ran down her back, over her hip and beneath her, into her breeches, past her smalls and all she knew was pleasure.

Thick calloused fingers slid through her curls, lower, she felt the groan rumble in his chest as they slid through slick folds up to the sensitive bundle of nerves. Dropping her head, Taashath pressed her mouth against the back of her hand, bit down to stifle the cry as he circled that spot, slow and lazy. Cullen’s lips and tongue sucked and kissed down the back of her neck, teeth grazing the skin at the curve of her shoulder.

His teeth sunk into her throat. Not hard, but not gentle either. She shattered. Felt herself break apart into millions of tiny pieces as heat lapped over her, licked at her skin while his fingers continued to circle and rub. Taashath couldn’t breathe, could only feel. It was too much and yet, not nearly enough. She felt hollow. When Cullen withdrew his fingers, she whimpered. “You need to say it,” his voice was hoarse, a rasp against her ear. “I won’t-” The hand that slid from her between her thighs left a damp sticky trail over her belly to where he gripped her hip, angling her hips as he rocked his hips against the curve of her bottom. “You speak enough Common, say it.”

She could barely think, let alone speak a tongue she hardly knew. Lips parted, a quiet whimper escaping. “Say it, Taasha, darling.”

The drawled endearment sounded strange, but it caused more heat to bloom within her. “Yes,” she gasped out, angling her head back, meeting his heated gaze. “Yes!”

“Say it,” he said again. “Tell me what you want.” Cullen ran his tongue up the side of her neck, nipped at her earlobe. “I need you to say the words.”

Taashath racked her brain, what words? What did he want to hear? Common was such a difficult language, her ability to speak it so limited. “F-fuck me!” she sent up a silent prayer to any gods that might hear her, that was what he’d wanted to hear. That they were the right words. “P-p-plea-” His hand was between her thighs again, fingertips rough as he pushed her over that ledge again. “Please!”

She barely felt the cold air on her body as he tugged down her trousers, there was a rustle of fabric behind her, a soft curse and then all the air left her lungs as the hot, hard length of him pushed into the core of her. The burning stretch stole her breath and for a moment she thought she’d gone blind, unable to see anything beyond sparks of colors.

That earlier hollowness was gone. Now she was full and stretched taught and she could feel Cullen’s panting breaths, warm and damp against her shoulder as he lay over her, unmoving save for the slow stroke of his fingertips on her hip. “Taasha,” it was a breath, almost reverent. Seconds stretched on for an eternity as her body adjusted to the thick intrusion. He drew back and pleasure sparked along her nerves, her fingers splayed out on the ground before her, leverage as she pushed back, arched her hips. Cullen groaned, drove back into her with a hard snap of his hips.

Taashath cried out. Never had she expected this. Her body was alight with sensations. Cullen stilled behind her. “Taasha?” his voice tentative.

“Yes!” She all but shouted, arching and desperate for more. “Cullen!” Whatever restraint that had held him back broke at that moment. Taashath felt one of his hands slide up her back, blunt fingernails scraped lightly over the back of her neck, before he wrapped her hair in his fist, and drove into her again and again. His thrusts were hard and deep, rubbing against places deep inside her that she’d never thought could bring so much pleasure.

She was sobbing as sensation took her, begging for more in a haphazard mix of Qunlat and broken Common as his fingers stroked her clit and his cock filled her. Heat washed over her, licked at her from her toes to the top of her head. Those sparks danced in her vision again, and she felt Cullen still, her name a quiet question beyond the roaring in her ears.

So close, she was so close to that precipice again. Teetering on the edge. “Please, yes. Please. Cullen-”

“Come for me, darling.” That was all it took, those hoarse murmured words against her throat and she fell. The feel of Cullen’s hips bucking against her, his length pulsing inside, the warm wet flood that filled her, pooled in her belly were all distant as bliss claimed her.


Cullen stared down at the woman who lay beneath him, eyes closed, lips parted as she panted for breath, while his cock throbbed, still half hard inside her warm wet heat. He hadn’t intended for this to happen. Hadn’t meant to take her, half-clothed in the middle of a clearing where anyone might have stumbled upon them. Hadn’t meant to fuck her at all. The attraction was there, but he was unwilling. Had meant to ignore it, deny it as they moved forward.

Until she’d been astride him, crowing her delight at having knocked his legs out from beneath him. His cock had been rock hard in a heartbeat. Cullen had demanded her consent and then he had gone and spilled himself inside her, like the worst kind of cad, without even asking. Though, she didn’t seem to be complaining. Still, he thought and finally made himself shift back, off of her, out of her. Taashath didn’t move for a long moment as he knelt, righting his clothes, then finally with a quiet moan she pushed herself up stiffly and tugged her trousers back up her legs.

“Does that happen often?” Cullen asked and she looked up, her brow pinched in confusion. “The flames?” he amended and watched her go utterly still, the laces of her trousers slipping free from her fingers as she stared at him. The first orgasm he’d stroked her through he’d felt the heat radiating off her. The second and it had grown, but then as he’d rutted inside her, Cullen had seen the flames wash over her. Warm, but not burning. They hadn’t so much as singed him or their clothing. Her hair danced with it.

Concern had flared inside him, but then she’d begged again and he realized it obviously wasn’t hurting her and seemed to be doing no damage, so he’d continued, let the heat of her flames lick over him as he’d fallen with her over that edge and into pleasure.

“It has happened before, hasn’t it?” he asked but her eyes were wide and her next breath hitched as she fumbled for the ties on her trousers. “Taashath,” Cullen said, finishing lacing his own pants, he stood, stepped up to her, but she pushed up to her own feet, refused to look at him. “Taashath,” he repeated, an edge to his voice, her cheeks were flushed, and not from their previous exertions. Cullen reached for her, but Taashath twisted out of his grasp and then she was gone, hurrying away from him and back to Haven.

Finally, he followed, returning to Haven. He would give her some time, then he would find her, apologize. You didn’t even kiss her, he bitterly chided himself. Just rutted on her like an animal. Perhaps, she’d allow him to make it up to her. Cullen had thought, that maybe having her would sate the desire, but it only seemed to feed it, now he wanted her more than he had before.