She saw me fuck for sport.
One sniff at her, and I knew she was my mate. The ice maiden had come to my world.
Ice to your fire, my archangel stepmother had once foretold.
Pink lips, pale face framed by radiant silvery hair, and ice-blue eyes burning like twin suns at daybreak when they were trained on me.
She was the most beautiful, exquisite thing I’d ever seen.
The beast in me rose, recognizing its fated mate, and roared with hellfire.
Heat seared through my veins. My cock had never shot up so hard for any other female.
But she couldn’t be my queen.
Tessa Morrigan had come too late.
I’d started the Underworld Bride Trials. All the contestants would fight to the death until the last one stood by my side to claim the hellfire crown.
“Hurry!” Dux called urgently from the other side, which meant his side was safe.
“Go!” I told Fayette and Archer.
Fayette darted through the shrinking portal, lithe as a feline.
“You first, Your Grace,” Archer insisted, and I shoved my second-in-command through the shimmering portal, regardless of his large build and hard muscles.
I wouldn’t leave my team—they were all I had left now—stranded in a foreign land. He stumbled through the narrowing portal, and I dived after him, slamming into his massive back, just as the portal closed on the heel of my boots.
I landed in a crouch beside my team before they stopped to shout at me in panic.
I was the only one who could open a portal to different realms for a brief time, which wasn’t too bad, especially when we were constantly on the run. The last thing we wanted was for the bloodhounds to track us.
“Easy, guys,” I said as my eyes assessed them for injuries.
We’d fled a battle and lost the enraged gang carrying big guns on the other block. One of their rockets almost followed us through the portal. It would’ve been a disaster if that had happened.
My teammates were in one piece, though Dux limped a little on his left leg, and his trousers were torn around the knee. Fayette had a red line near her blond eyebrow, beads of blood forming and about to drop. She also sported bruises on her swan-like neck, but for a warrior maid, bruises were nothing.
Archer appeared to be in the worst shape among us. His brown armor was broken in several places and tainted with blood. But he didn’t pay any heed to his wounds as he scanned the surroundings for threats, his pointed ears pricking and straining to hear unusual sounds.
I would check on him after I could breathe a bit easier. My broken rib should heal in a matter of hours.
“Your Grace, are you hurt?” Fayette asked, biting her lower lip. She did that when she was worried. “You don’t look too hot.”
I raised a hand to stop her from coming closer to fuss over me.
“I’m fine,” I said as I inhaled the scent of wood and spring. In my world, there was only endless ice in the eternal winter. “I regenerate faster than any of you.”
I dropped to one knee and grasped a handful of sand, then I let it slip through my shaking fingers, emotions surging within me, even though I tried not to let myself be easily overwhelmed.
“We made it, my queen,” Fayette said softly, knowing exactly how I felt.
“We don’t know if this is the place,” Archer argued. He loved to disagree, eating arguments for breakfast, and he was suspicious of anyone and anything except us.
Dux flashed an easy smile. “We’ll find out soon, won’t we?”
While Archer was so damn serious all the time, Dux balanced him out with a more carefree style. Archer also stood out with his impressive build and good looks, but Dux was lanker and could blend into any setting. That’s why he was our best tracker and scout.
“For what it’s worth, we got the job done,” Dux continued. “We broke into a fortified compound and assassinated the drug lord Fallon.”
“The gold from the bounty can only buy one battalion,” Archer said, not letting go of his negative outlook. “Even with all the gold we accumulated, it won’t be enough to rally the troops to drive out that bastard Ragnarö.”
I breathed out a trail of frost at the mention of my ex-mate, the illegitimate son of the giant Frost God of Udgård. Ragnarö had stolen my kingdom and became the current Ice King. I’d escaped him eight years ago, and he’d never stopped hunting me since then.
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