He glanced at the cascade of water within a glass chamber, opened the door, and ran his hand under it. Now, this he could use. He set her away, then stripped.
Her eyes widened, focused on his cock, and she covered her mouth. You'd think she'd never seen one. He let her look her fill, even leaned back against the wall, crossing his arms over his chest while she stared.
Under her rapt gaze he grew hard, his length distending - his body, at least, must think she was his - until she gasped and lowered her gaze. His wasted leg caught her attention, seeming to startle her even more. That alone embarrassed him, and he stepped into the water to break her stare.
He closed his eyes with pleasure as the water ran over him, noticing that it did nothing to quell his erection. He sensed her tense as though to run, and opened his eyes. If he'd been stronger, he would've hoped she would try it. "Looking at the door like that? I'll catch you before you make it from this room."
She turned back, saw he'd grown harder, and seemed to choke on a cry.
"Take off your clothes, vampire."
"I-I will not!"
"Do you want to come in here with them on?"
"Preferable to being naked with you!"
He felt relaxed under the water, even magnanimous after the excellent food. "Then let's make a bargain. You grant me a boon and I'll return one."
She looked up at him from under a curl freed from her tight braids. "What do you mean?"
He put his hands on each side of the door and leaned forward out of the water. "I want you in here, unclothed. What do you want of me?"
"Nothing of value equal to that," she whispered.
"You'll be with me indefinitely. Until I decide to let you go. Do you no' want to contact your...people?" He spat the word. "I'm sure you have much value to them, being so rare." In fact, keeping her from her vampire kin would just be the beginning of his revenge. He knew they'd find the idea of her being fucked repeatedly by a Lykae as revolting as his clan would find it. She nibbled her red bottom lip with one tiny fang, and his anger flared again. "I doona have to grant you anything! I could just take you in here and then in the bed."
"A-and you won't if I agree to be in there with you?"
"Come willingly and I will no'," he lied.
"What will you...do?"
"I want to put my hands on you. Learn you. And I'll want your hands on me."
In a voice so soft he could scarcely hear her, she asked, "Will you hurt me?"
"Touch you. No' hurt you."
Her delicate blond brows drew together as she weighed this. Then, as though in great pain, she bent down to her boots, unfastening them with a buzzing sound. She stood and grasped the edges of her jacket and ruined blouse, but she seemed unable to proceed. She shook wildly and her blue eyes were stark. But she was agreeing - in a flash of insight, he knew she wasn't agreeing because of any reason he could fathom. Her eyes seemed so expressive, yet he couldn't read her.
When he loomed closer, she peeled the wet jacket and blouse away, then the shredded undergarment beneath them, hastily draping a thin arm over her breasts. Shy? When he'd seen the orgies of blood the vampires reveled in?
"Please. I-I don't know who you think I am, but - "
"I think" - before she could blink, he'd ripped her skirt clean from her body and tossed it to the ground - "that I should at least know your name before I set to touchin' you."
She shook harder if possible, her arm tightening over her breasts.
He studied her, his gaze drinking her in. Her skin was perfect alabaster covered only by her strange pantalettes, the black silk that was like a V on her body. The front was transparent jet lace and teased against the blond curls between her legs. He remembered his two fleeting tastes of her skin in the howling rain and unnatural lightning, and his cock pulsed, the head growing slick with anticipation. Other men would find her exquisite. The vampires would. Human males would kill for her.
Her trembling body was too small, but her eyes...wide and blue like the daytime sky she would never witness.
"M-my name is Emmaline."
"Emmaline," he growled, slowly reaching forward one claw to slice away the silk.
She'd been a fool to agree to this, Emma decided when the remains of her underwear fluttered to her ankles. Why should she trust him? She shouldn't, but what choice did she have? She had to call Annika, her foster mother. She would be frantic when the pilot reported Emma had never shown up.
But was that really the reason she'd agreed to this? She feared it wasn't so selfless a reason. Throughout her life, men had asked things of her - things her hidden vampire nature made impossible. Not this male. He knew what she was, and he wasn't asking the impossible, he was demanding...
He held out his hand. Not aggressively or impatiently, but accompanied by a slow perusal of her wholly naked body with eyes that were intense but now warm and golden. He gave a sharp groan that she knew was involuntary. As if he found her beautiful.
His size was still terrifying, his leg sickening, but with a deep breath, and more courage than she'd conjured in her entire life, she slipped her hand into his.
Just when she fully grasped that she was completely naked in a shower with a six-and-a-half-foot crazed male of indeterminate species, he pulled her under the water with him, turning her back to him.
He took her left hand and placed it against the marble. The other he placed against the glass. Her mind was racing. What would he do to her? She couldn't be more unprepared for a situation like this. A sexual situation. He could do anything he wanted. She couldn't stop him.
She drew her head back in surprise when, all business, he began running soap down her back, over her backside, his palms big on her. She was embarrassed that this stranger saw her like this, but she was also intrigued by his body. She strove not to peek at his huge erection as he bent and moved, but it was...eye-catching. She tried not to notice that the hair on his arms, legs, and chest was golden-tipped, or that his skin, but for that of his leg, was tan.
He bent down to wash her legs front and back, and scrubbed the grass and mud from her knees. When he rubbed toward her upper thighs, she shoved her legs together. He gave a frustrated growl, then stood to draw her back against his chest, until she could feel him prodding her. He started the same leisurely exploration of her front, one arm bent by her side, his hand clasping her shoulder.
Suddenly his callused palm cupped her breast. She would fight, or scream -
"Your skin's so damn soft," he murmured in her ear. "Soft as the silk you wore."
She shivered. One compliment, and Emma - who'd never suspected she was easy - relaxed somewhat. When he ran his thumb slowly over her nipple and back, she sucked in a breath, glad he couldn't see her eyelids briefly slide closed. How could anything feel that good?
"Put your foot there." He motioned to the narrow bench along the shower's back wall.
And spread her thighs? "Um, I don't - "
He lifted her knee and placed it there himself. When she began to move it, he snapped, "Doona dare. Now, lean your head back against me."
Then both his hands were back on her breasts, now rubbing with friction since the soap had washed away. She bit her lip as her nipples hardened almost painfully. She should be terrified. Was she so desperate for touch - any touch - that she would submit to this?
His fingers inched lower. "Keep your legs open to me."
She'd just been about to shove them together again. She'd never been touched there. Or anywhere else, for that matter.
She'd never even held a man's hand.
Swallowing nervously, she watched as his hand trailed down to her sex. "B-but you said - "
"That I would no' fuck you. Trust me, you'll know when I'm about to."
She gasped at the first touch, involuntarily jerking in his capturing arms, staggered by the intensity of feeling. Two fingers caressed her sensitive flesh, stroking and teasing her, and it was all the more pleasurable because he was...gentle. Slow and gentle. When he felt her wetness, he rumbled foreign words and brushed his mouth over her neck as if pleased with her.
He tried to dip his finger inside her, but her body clenched against the unfamiliar touch.
"Tight as a fist," he rasped. "You have to relax."
She wondered if she should tell him that all the relaxing in the world wasn't changing that.
He reached for her from the back. When he began working his middle finger into her sex from behind, she gasped and rocked to her toes as if to get away. But his other hand bent her forward slightly, then trailed down to stroke her from the front. She heard panting, and was startled to realize it was her own.
This stranger was petting her body - inside her body - and she was aroused.
Did the air charge with electricity? For her? Please let it be for me...
He shook more and more as he touched her. She sensed that he barely held onto his control... She should be wary, afraid. But his fingers were so slow on her, the one inside her hot. So much unfamiliar pleasure. The urge to moan arose.
She had never moaned with pleasure before. Never in her life had she been moved to...
Her claws curled like they never had, and as she panted, she imagined sinking them into his backside as he thrust into her. What was happening to her?
"Now, there's a good lass," he growled in her ear, just before he turned her and lifted her in his arms. "Put your legs around my waist."
Her eyes had been heavy-lidded with lust, but now they widened in panic again. "Y-you said you wouldn't."
"Changed my mind when I felt you wet and needing." She did want him - as she was supposed to.
He frowned, uncomprehending when she struggled. Even in his weakened state, quelling her fight took little more effort than holding a wildcat.
He pressed her against the wall, pinning her there, and set his mouth to sucking her throbbing little nipples. He closed his eyes with pleasure, groaning as his tongue swirled around them. When he opened his eyes again, he found hers squeezed shut, her balled fists resting on his shoulders.
He set her on her feet again and stroked between her legs. She'd gone tight again. If he tried to fuck her like this, he'd tear her - but he didn't care. For all he'd done just to get this far, only to find a vampire, he wouldn't be stopped now. "Relax," he bit out. Just the opposite happened - she began that useless shaking again.
Need to be inside her. Haze. She would make him wait longer for the mindlessness he craved? Torturing me just as her kindred did. He bellowed with rage, his hands shooting out on each side of her head to crush the marble behind her.
Her eyes went stark once more. Why couldn't she have been of his kind? If she had, she would have been clawing him to fill her, begging. She would have fed him into her body and sighed with relief when he rocked into her. The mental image of this creature doing that made him groan in misery at his loss. He wanted her willing. But he'd take what fate had given.
"I'm going tae be inside you tonight. Best relax."
She gazed up at him with her brows drawn as though with despair. "You said you wouldn't hurt me. You p-promised."
Did the witch think that promise would be enough to save her? He gripped his cock, dragged her leg up to his hip...
"But you said," she whispered, devastated that she'd believed him. She hated being lied to, especially since she could never lie back. "You said..."
He stilled. With a deep growl, he released her leg and hit the wall again. Her eyes widened when he grabbed her and turned her around. Right when she was about to scratch him, bite him, he pulled her into his arms again, her back against his chest. He shoved her hand to his erection, inhaling sharply at the first touch. His voice gone guttural, he said, "Stroke me."
Glad for the reprieve, she tentatively held him, in no way able to fit her palm around him. When she didn't begin at once, he bucked his hips. She finally ran her hand over him in long strokes, looking away.
"Harder." She tightened her fingers, face hot with embarrassment. Was it so apparent that she had no idea what she was doing?
As if reading her mind, he rasped, "That's it, lass." He was kneading her breast, his mouth against her neck, broken sounds coming from his chest. She could feel his muscles tensing. His arm tightened around her until she didn't think she could breathe. His other hand dipped down to cup her sex.
He growled, "Going tae come." Then, with a raw groan that drew her gaze back to the sight, his seed came, pumping out into the shower. "Ah, God, yes." He pawed her breast, but she scarcely felt it, her eyes widening as it continued on and on.
When he'd finished, she realized she was dazedly continuing to stroke him. He stayed her hand as he shuddered, the muscles of his torso rippling.
She was losing her mind. She should be appalled, yet she recognized her body was aching. For him? For the firm hand he'd removed from between her legs?
He pushed her back against the unmarred wall under the showerhead. Leaning his chest against her, he placed his chin on her head and his palms by her face to box her in. "Touch me."
"Wh-where?" Was that her voice sounding so...husky?
She began rubbing his back, and as she did so he kissed the top of her head, absently, as if he didn't realize he was being kind to her.
His shoulders were broad and, like the rest of him, hard and thick with muscle. Seemingly of their own accord, her hands glided over him more sensually than she would have liked. Each movement brushed her achy nipples against the ridges of his torso. The golden hair on his chest tickled her lips, and despite herself, she imagined kissing that tanned skin. Her sex still throbbed for the semi-erect penis pressed high against her belly, yearned for it even though she'd seen how huge it had grown.
Just when she thought he was about to fall asleep, he murmured in her ear, "I can scent you're still aroused. Deeply so."
She sucked in a breath. What exactly was he? "Y-you say these things just to shock me." She thought he spoke so bluntly because he'd quickly determined how uncomfortable it made her - and she resented him for it.
"Ask me to make you come."
She tensed. She might be a coward, without accomplishment or talent. But right now she felt fiercely proud. "Never."
"Your loss. Now, take down the braids. You'll keep your hair loose."
"I don't want to - "
When he reached down to do it himself, she unraveled them, trying to keep her pointed ears covered.
His breath left him with a sharp exhalation. "Let me see them."
She said nothing as he brushed her hair back.
"They're like the fey's." He ran the backs of his fingers against the sharp tip at the top and she shivered. By his watchful gaze, she knew he was noting her reaction. "Is that a trait of female vampires?"
She'd never seen a full-blooded vampire, male or female. She shrugged.
He rinsed her hair, studying her face with an inscrutable expression. When finished, he ordered, "Turn this water off," then drew her from the stall. Taking a towel, he dried her completely. He even pinned her still - by hugging an arm around her waist - to run the cloth slowly between her legs. Her eyes grew wider as he continued to inspect her as if she were a prospective purchase. He palmed the curves of her bottom, then brought his hand down hard on each side, making sounds of...approval?
He must have noticed her bewildered expression, because he said, "You doona like me learning you?"
"Of course not!"
"I'll allow you to do the same." He placed her palm flat on his chest, dragging it down, a challenging look in his eyes.
"I'll pass," she squeaked, jerking her hand back.
Before she could even cry out, he swooped her up in his arms and carried her to the bed, roughly tossing her there.
She scrambled up, dashing for her dresser full of clothes. In a flash, he was behind her, peering over her shoulder, pressing into her with his entire body, his penis hardening against her. He picked out a revealing red lace nightgown, pulling it out with one finger under the straps.
"Red. To remind me of what you are."
Red was her favorite color. She wanted to be reminded, too.
"Raise your arms."
Enough! "I - can - dress - myself," she snapped.
He yanked her around to face him, and his tone went deadly. "Doona displease me, vampire. You canna imagine how many years of rage I've got pent up, ready to be tapped." She glanced past him, and her jaw slackened when she saw the distinct claw marks that had rent the bedside table. He's a madman.
She helplessly raised her arms. Her aunts would have told him - Her brows drew together. Her aunts wouldn't have told him anything, because they'd already have killed him for what he'd done. Frightened Emma raised her arms. She was disgusted with herself. Emma the Timid.
When he smoothed the gown over her, he insolently brushed her nipples, which were hard as if seeking his touch. He stood back to rake his gaze over her from her toes up to the gown's high slit at the leg, finally resting on the lace bodice. "I like you in silk." His voice was a deep rumble, his gaze as strong as a touch, and even after everything that had happened, she responded.
He gave her a cruel smirk. He knew it.
Her face flushed and she turned away.
"Now, get in the bed."
"I'm not sleeping with you."
"We're going to do something in that bed. I'm weary and thought we'd sleep, but if you have other ideas..."
Emma had always wondered what it would be like to sleep with someone.
She had never experienced it, never felt another's skin against her own for more than the briefest moment. When he'd tucked her against his body in a spooning position, she'd been shocked by how warm he was. Her body, which had paled and cooled with hunger, grew warm as well. She had to admit this unfamiliar closeness was...remarkable. The hair on his legs tickled her, and his firm lips pressed against her neck as he slept. She could even feel his strong heartbeat against her back.
She finally understood the appeal of this. And knowing what she did now, she wondered how anyone could not want a bedmate. He was answering so many questions she'd had, proving so many of her secret dreams.
And yet he could readily kill her.
At first, he'd squeezed her to his chest so hard it was everything she could do not to cry out. She didn't think he held her so tightly to hurt her - he could have just hit her if that was his intention - so she was confused by his obvious need to clasp her to him.
Now he slept at last, his breaths growing even and slow. She called up her meager reserve of courage, and little by little, over what seemed to be an hour, she eased his arms open.
If only she could trace, she could escape so easily - but then she never would have been taken by him in the first place. Annika had taught Emma about tracing, the Horde's means of travel. She'd warned that vampires could teleport to any place they'd been to previously. The stronger ones could even teleport others, and only a fierce struggle might prevent it. Annika had wanted Emma to learn how. Emma had tried her hardest, failed, and been discouraged. She'd stopped paying attention...
When Emma was finally able to duck from under his arms, she rose in cautious degrees. Free of the bed, she glanced back at him, and again was struck by how handsome he was. She was saddened that he had to be like this. Saddened that she couldn't learn more about herself - and even about him.
Just as she turned, his big hands snared her around the waist. He flung her back into the bed, then joined her once more.
He's playing with me.
"You canna escape me." He pressed her back, then levered himself up beside her. "You only provoke my anger." Even as his eyes flickered, they appeared unseeing. He behaved as if he was still dreaming, like a sleepwalker.
"I-I don't want to anger you," she said with a shaky breath. "I just want to go - "
"Do you know how many vampires I've killed?" he murmured, either ignoring or not hearing her words.
"No," she whispered. She wondered if he truly saw her.
"I've killed thousands. I hunted them for sport, stalking their lairs." He ran the back of his dark claw across her neck. "And with one swipe of my claws I severed their heads - before they even woke." His lips brushed over her neck where he'd trailed his claw, making her shudder. "I could kill you as easily as taking a breath." His voice was a low rumble like a lover's might be, gentling her, so inconsistent with his cruel words and actions.
"Are you going to k-kill me?"
He smoothed a strand of hair from her lip. "I have no' decided. I've never hesitated a second before you." He was shaking from holding his position above her. "When I wake from this haze - when this madness clears, if I still believe you are what you are...who knows?"
"What I am?"
He took her by the wrist and forced her hand to his naked shaft. "You feel me hard. Know that the only reason I'm no' inside you right now is because I'm weak. No' because of any concern for you."
Briefly closing her eyes with embarrassment, she tugged at her hand until he finally let it go. "You would hurt me that way?"
"Without a second thought." His lips curled. His gaze seemed intent on her face, but his eyes were still vacant. "And that's just the beginning of the things I'll do to you, vampire."
The next morning Lachlain lay beside her, sleep barely shaken off, as content as he'd been in hundreds of years. Of course, he'd been in hell for nearly two hundred of those, and now he was clean and fed, and toward morning he'd slept like the dead with none of the grueling nightmares of the last week.
She'd lain tense and still for most of the night. It was as if she suspected any movement on her part might make him want to come again. She'd have been right. Courtesy of her soft hand, he'd ejaculated hard, shockingly so. She'd eased the heavy ache in his ballocks, but he'd still wanted to be inside her.
All night he'd squeezed her to him. He couldn't seem to stop himself. He'd never slept the night with a female before - that experience was reserved for a mate - but apparently he liked it. A lot. He recalled speaking to her, but not what he'd said. He remembered her reaction, though. She'd looked hopeless, as if she'd finally realized her situation.
She'd attempted escape one last time, and again he'd enjoyed letting her think she was about to succeed before he dragged her back and tucked her into his side. She went limp, then passed out. He didn't know if she'd fainted or not. Didn't particularly care.
He supposed it could be worse. If he was going to possess a vampire, she might as well be a beautiful one. She was a hated foe, a blood drinker, but beautiful. He wondered if he could put meat on her bones. Was that possible for a vampire? Drowsily, he reached forward to touch her hair. Last night when it had dried, he'd found it curled wildly and was a lighter blond than he'd thought it. Now he marveled at the glossy locks shining in the sun. Lovely, even for a vampire -