Born of Defiance

By: Sherrilyn Kenyon

While she and Talyn still couldn’t legally live together or marry, they did have a contract, courtesy of her mother and Morra. It wasn’t as good as unification, but it was the best they could hope for under current Andarion law.

And since it allowed her to remain with Talyn, it was more than enough for her.

Felicia winced again as Duel slammed Talyn to the ground, again and stomped him. “How can he stand that?”

Lorens snorted. “Your male is one tough SOB.”

Erix shouted something at Talyn. With a fierce roar, Talyn came off the floor and laid into Duel with an unbelievable fury. In a matter of minutes, he had Duel trapped.

The victory buzzer went off.

Thank the gods, it was over. She could finally breathe again.

When the announcer reached for Talyn, Talyn took his mic. Pulling the mask from his face, he spat out his fang guard. “I have an announcement to make.” His breathing ragged, he met Felicia’s gaze through the bars that separated them. “Tonight is a special anniversary. Two years ago, on this day, I met mu Ger Tarra Felicia. Not long after that, I made a promise to her that once I became a commander, I’d retire from the Ring. And with this, my last contracted fight, I’m keeping my word to her and surrendering my title.”

Felicia couldn’t breathe as tears blurred her vision. He’d really done it.

Unbelievable! No one walked away from a career like his.

No one. Except a male whose integrity meant more to him than titles. He’d given her his word that he would quit before they killed him.

And he’d kept it.

Tears choked her.

As soon as the cage walls went down, Talyn left the Ring and came straight to her seat.

Hesitating, he held his hand out to her… as if she would ever deny him anything.

Felicia threw herself into his arms and kissed him.

“I’m disgusting,” he said with a laugh.

“No. You’re beautiful. Even the gross sweat.” She nipped at his lips. “You didn’t have to do this.”

He cupped her face in his wrapped hands. “I have ulterior motives.”

“And those are?”

“I don’t want another night where I’m nursing bruises, instead of making love to you.”

She tsked playfully at him. “Then what will I do without those boo-boos to kiss?”

A devilish grin curved his lips. “Oh, I think I can come up with something else that needs your attention.”

Laughing, she pulled her hand from his face. As she opened her mouth to speak, he gasped, seeing the tattoo on her finger.

Talyn choked on the raw love he felt as he read the words she’d placed on her flesh. Forever Talyn’s.

She smiled up at him. “My anniversary present for you.”

Tears filled his eyes. “You know what this means?”

She nodded. “That I am, and will forever be, of the Winged Blood Clan Batur.”

“No. It means you have to keep me. There’s no getting rid of me now.”

“And I would have it no other way.” She kissed him then, knowing that while the rest of the universe might not recognize their unification, they didn’t need them to. They didn’t need the blessing of the Andarion courts or anyone else.

She was his and he was hers.

No one and nothing would ever again divide them.