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To Crown A Beast (Blackest Gold #4)
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She tasted his sweetness, his power, and his love, and it destroyed him.
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CLOAKED IN WARM darkness, Molly Darling approached the High Court’s new king. King of all demons. The man she had married not even a day ago, the man who had told her he loved her mere hours before.
A single glance from his obsidian eyes felt like a thousand daggers slicing across her flesh, letting her drain out and collapse. Those soft lips of his were smoothed into a line of indifference.
Impassive. Fierce. Deadly.
The crowd had dropped to the ground in low bows, like a god to mortals, like a storm sinking mighty ships, sinking the wreckage to the ocean’s bottom deep.
Her stomach dropped into a bottomless pit. The man she loved now long gone, replaced by a beast: dark and hungry for pain and suffering. And so Molly’s knees bent, bowing to her king like the rest of them.
Tensley’s sharp eyes watched her every move, pupils dilating at the spike in her pulse.
She wanted to touch him—to calm her racing thoughts. Two sides warred in her.
The rational—and the irrational.
One knew the damage was done.
The other, hoped—hoped that the broken shards in her chest, cutting deep into her lungs, were a lie.
Tensley Knight hadn’t died.
Tensley Knight hadn’t had his heart ripped out by the king, and then moments later, beheaded Fallen.
Not her Tensley.
Not the man she had fallen utterly and deeply in love with.
Her knees hit the cool marble floor and she bowed her head, eyeing the tiny specks of gold glimmering against the white slabs—splattered with Fallen’s still fresh blood. The previous king’s body lay decapitated a few feet away, lifeless—an ancient body turned to stone.
She breathed through her nose shakily, fallen strands of hair fanning across her tear stained cheeks.
In, out. In, out.
If she kept calming herself with soothing breaths, she wouldn’t pass out. She wouldn’t sob aloud in pain and let the court see her crushing under the shock.
She couldn’t piece the facts together. She wanted to collapse. Ignore everything.
You’re in shock.
Tensley’s shadow moved across the floor, his boots thudding harshly like cries of war, and with each step forward, she recoiled.
Then two black riding boots stopped in front of her and she examined their weathered texture, the mud and dirt and specks of blood coating the dark leather.
In, out. In, out.
She didn’t know what was going on in his head, what would be his next move, and her nerves were eating at her. Seconds, minutes perhaps, passed by painfully slow. No one moved. No one spoke. All she could do was concentrate on her own shaky breaths as she waited. And waited.
Ever so slowly, she tilted her head upward. Her gaze traced up his toned thighs— breeches tight, up his strong chest— the ugly punctured hole there a symbol of what he had lost, and she froze, carefully lifting her gaze further.
She saw the vicious man in parts—first his jaw, as sharp as a deadly weapon, a muscle feathering there under his clench, those full, tempting lips she touched every morning and every night, the feel of his lips the last thing she’d feel before falling asleep at night. And lastly, with eyes blurred by tears due to the crushing pain now residing permanently in her chest, she found his eyes.
A calm storm rippled in the depths of them, controlled by their master. Dark grey, but with a cold edge of anger slicing through, of rage, and she knew how easily he could snap.
In, out. In, out.
She kept repeating to herself.
Over and over.
His fisted hand relaxed beside his thigh and with one single fluid movement, two fingers touched the soft and fragile skin under her chin.
“Stand,” he commanded coolly, his hoarse voice causing chills on her skin. Because she still responded to him. Still craved the man before her, despite the hunger of the beast.
She stood, his fingers still anchored to her chin, and eyed him from underneath her lashes.
He simply stared back, that jaw flexing, those eyes darkening to the point she wondered what he was calculating.
This isn’t Tensley.
He’s not heartless.
Surely he’s still somewhere in there.
Far beneath, perhaps. But still there.
“Tensley,” she whispered, hating how her voice wobbled and cracked. She hated how so much emotion echoed in one single word. His name. His precious name she cried out in the darkness, the name that made her stomach flutter with giddiness, and the name that soothed the fear throbbing in her chest and head.
His eyes narrowed.
Simply narrowed, and she sucked in air fast.
Now it was just a hollow name that echoed through this new emptiness ravaging deep within her chest.
“This is absurd,” a lord snapped and Molly flinched at the loud sound when the room had previously been so silent. Unbearably silent. A lord, one she had seen a handful of times, stood out from the crowd, his face red in anger.
Tensley’s head turned ever so slowly toward the man, a look of indifference, his jaw finally relaxing to its usual state. Sharp, precise, beautiful…