“Stand.” A voice unbearably rich in beauty – both a choir singing and angels weeping – washed over him, making shivers rush through him and demanding an immediate response.
Loch stood, raising his eyes to see the Goddess Danu, having taken the form of a stunningly gorgeous woman, ripe with curves and lush in the prime of youth – an apple waiting to be plucked from the tree. Loch fought the immediate surge of lust that coursed through him, instead dropping his eyes from her and bowing deeply.
“Goddess,” Loch said, his tone respectful, his eyes on the damp floor of the cave.
“Lochlain Laird, high priest of my people, what have you done?” Danu demanded, her voice causing twin spikes of lust and fear as Loch’s mind raced, wondering how to play this out. The fact that he was still alive was unthinkable, and he wondered what that meant for him.
One thing Loch knew was that if he told her someone had been given her blood, that person would be captured and quarantined, as it was still uncertain what magickal benefits a drop of goddess blood might unleash in a fae. Still certain his death was imminent, Loch raised his head and flashed a cocky grin at Danu.
“Just thought I’d see for myself what all the hype was about this cave. It’s really quite interesting, all the artifacts in here.” Loch glanced around, allowing insolence to infuse his manner before raking a hand through his hair and shrugging. “Certainly some lovely magicks.”
Danu tilted her head, studying him, and the cave remained silent.
“You know, I’ve always liked you,” Danu finally said, causing Loch’s façade to crumble a bit as he caught her eyes in surprise. She walked slowly toward him, coming to stand but inches from his body, her power brushing over him, making every nerve ending he possessed go on high alert.
“Is that so?” Loch said, forcing himself to remain brash, though his mind whirled as he tried to resist the power of her. It threatened to sweep him under, rendering him defenseless.
“Yes. So strong,” Danu said, stroking a hand up his arm, heat trailing in its wake, “Hot-headed, stubborn, and with a fierceness that very few warriors have. And yet, deep within lies a heart that is pure gold – one that makes choices for the good of others, often for the good of all.” Danu continued to run her hand over his arm, stepping a breath closer as she looked up at him with eyes of amethyst, slanted at the corners, holding the secrets of the world in their depths.
“Only but to serve your highest wish, my goddess,” Loch said, ignoring the invitation he saw in her eyes.
“I almost took you for a lover,” Danu said, and Loch felt his stomach clench, his body responding against its own will to her words, as any man would in the face of such beauty and power. “But you are not for me,” Danu said, patting his cheek gently before stepping back.