"It's not the right time of the month for me to conceive. But even if I did, it wouldn't be the end of the world."
"It might just be if I'm the father. Remember the ultimate evil part?"
"You're not evil."
She wouldn't feel that way for long. "Holly, you have no idea." He set her away, then got out of the tub, snatching a towel from a nearby chair.
"You can't convince me of that so don't even try. It's because of the pregnancy thing, isn't it? I know this is a lot to think about. But I wouldn't hold you responsible - "
His shoulders shot back, and he narrowed his eyes. "You think I can't take care of my female and my kid?"
As soon as he'd said those words he stilled - just as he had on the bridge talking to Tera. The sheer obviousness of it. Why did something feel as if it had just shifted into place?
"Of course, you can. I was just - "
"That has nothing to do with it. You haven't even seen me at my worst. Holly, I could kill you."
"No, Cadeon" - she reached from the tub, and plucked up a large splinter of wood - "you can't." She dragged it over her forearm.
"Holly! What are you..." He trailed off when the cut began healing instantly.
"You can't hurt me. I'm an immortal now."
"But the change - I thought you didn't want this."
She rose and sauntered up to him, water drops trickling over her sleek body. "I want to stay like this." Her eyes were silvery. He couldn't look away, couldn't pull back, even when she reached under the towel and started stroking his cock.
"What changed your mind?" Say I did. Say it was me!
"You. I want to be with you, completely. I want to make love with you."
Everything he'd dreamed of hearing from her. And still he forced himself to say, "It won't happen, Holly."
She'd tried reasoning with Cadeon, but he'd held firm. It was time to play dirty. "You win." She ran her fist up and down his length, stripping his towel. "Then let's just release some steam."
She kissed down his chest and torso, nuzzling the trail of hair below his navel before kneeling in front of him on the fur hearthrug. Hands flat against his chest, she took his shaft between her lips, licking the broad head.
"Ah, Holly, that's it..." Threading his fingers in her hair, he guided her head. "Gods, it's so good when you do that..."
Soon he was subtly thrusting as he did when on the verge. His body tensed, his erection pulsing.
Her hands eased down to his ankles. Grasping them tight, she wrenched upward with all her might.
Caught off guard, he dropped flat on his back. "Holly!" he roared. "What the fuck - "
But she was already straddling him.
He tossed her to her back on the fur. "Is that how we're to play this?" he grated. He didn't recognize his own voice.
When he pinned her arms over her head, his cock slipped against her damp sex, making him shudder with want. She rolled her hips at the same time, almost dooming them both - because for one perfect moment, the crown had nudged right at her entrance.
His gaze trailed from her face to her breasts, rising and falling with her hectic breaths. With a groan, he dropped his head to suckle her.
As his tongue swirled around one of her nipples, he couldn't stop himself from rocking his cock against her folds again, hunting her wetness for that connection again.
She was looking for it, too, undulating her hips. "Cadeon...please." She didn't know how to ask for what she needed.
"Does it ache inside?"
He drew his hips back to slip up and down...again that tightness began to glove him, giving him a maddening glimpse of what it could be like. "You need my shaft in you?" Why was he teasing her like this? When he had no intention of taking her fully? "But are you wet enough to take it?"
"I am..." she moaned.
At her ear, he whispered, "You want me to mount your little sheath? Ride you till you clench for my seed?"
At that, her head thrashed, her hair tossing on the fur. "Cadeon, why?"
He didn't know why he was goading her, pushing her. He needed something from her. As he suckled her breast, he tried to read his own instinct. An ache, a need for more than just plunging inside her.
No! The only thing he needed was the will to stop this.
But why? He couldn't permanently hurt her. She was an immortal. Wanted to be one because he was.
Holly, wet for him, begging him to take her...he tried to recall all the reasons this was a bad idea. But he'd wanted her for so long.
"Let my hands go," she murmured. "I'll be good."
He released her, his own hands trailing beneath her to cup her ass. "Ah, gods!" he bit out, when he prodded right at her soft core again. The scent of his female's need, those beseeching moans...they were triggers he couldn't fight. He was turning. "I'm going to...lose control."
Suddenly he wanted to bite her, to pump his seed inside her body, marking her as his own.
No! I can't have what I want... He began to draw away from her -
She seized his horns, clutching them tight.
"Uhhh..." he groaned, his eyes rolling back in his head. Too stunned to speak, to move.
She guided him back down to her body. "I need you inside me." When he tried to pull back, she gave a decisive yank.
Which meant - it was over.
"Release me..." His voice was a hoarse rasp.
When she'd first clutched his horns, he'd gone wild, shuddering his massive body over hers. Now his eyes appeared almost dazed as she held on to him. "Cadeon, I want you."
Using his knees to spread her thighs, he loomed over her, his breaths in her ear. "I didn't want to hurt you."
"I'm hurting right now!"
At once, he gripped his shaft to guide it into her. "Holly..." he groaned as he wedged that broad head inside. "I need to fuck you so bad."
"Then do it," she cried, arching her back.
Inch by inch, he pressed into her, stretching, filling her. "You're so little...so tight." His forehead was beading with sweat. His brows were drawn as if he was suffering pain, but his eyes slid shut like he was savoring it.
Holly needed this, was desperate for him, but it did hurt. If she'd done this before she'd become an immortal, she probably would've passed out from the pain.
Now she gritted her teeth, willing her body to accept his. To get this out of the way so she could have pleasure again.
He began to change above her, his horns lengthening in her grasp. His skin was altering as well. He'd said it would act as an attractant.
He hadn't told her it would make her crazed.
As his flesh slickened with sweat, it darkened into a burnished red color that made her feel frantic to lick it, to taste it.
She released his horns to caress his magnificent body, leaning up to flick her tongue against his chest and nip it. She grew wetter in a rush, and the pain began to ebb.
"That's it. I feel you taking me in." When he opened his eyes, they were black, staring down into hers. "You're goin' to be mine?"
"Yes!" This was more than sex, more than taking her virginity. He was claiming her, and she wanted it.
Possession - she read it lit so clearly in his burning gaze. "I'll never let you go now." His voice was low, almost frighteningly rough.
"I never want you to," she whispered.
By the time his shaft had delved as far as her body would allow, his appearance had altered utterly.
Firelight flickered over his seething muscles and his taut, dark skin. In this form, his face was harsher, more brutal but still starkly beautiful to her. His eyes were filled with hunger and promised wicked things. That armband above his bicep glinted in the light.
A demon with immortal need was seated deep and tightly within her. She was unafraid, wanting him for her own with a desperate ache.
At last, he drew back his hips and plunged forward, rasping, "Mine..."
She gave a cry in pain. Yet she heard herself saying, "Do it again!" After another long withdrawal, he thrust even harder. Pleasure began to drown out any discomfort as he drove into her again and again.
Holly didn't understand half of what was going on, just that everything was happening so fast. She was changing - her claws curled as she sunk them into his muscled ass, urging him on for more. She began panting as electricity charged the air.
He was changing - not only in appearance. His aggression was spiking, his manner with her rougher, more demanding. "Need you...to take more of me. Need deeper inside you." He was earthy, animalistic, making her want to be as well. "More!" He shoved harder.
She cried out in bliss.
"Arch your back."
As she did, he lifted her hips and wrenched her along on his shaft.
He tangled his hands in her hair, cupping her head with one hand. He looped his other arm around her back, clutching her ass tightly, holding her flush against him as he rode her. At her ear, he rasped, "You're goin' to take me good and deep...then I'll come for you."
She moaned at his words, writhing in his arms. "Cadeon..."
The pleasure was so intense, it bordered on pain.
But it was also unfamiliar, as if he'd never had sex before.
He'd never known how heavy and aching his sack could feel. He'd never had to grit his teeth from the throbbing pressure as his semen rose in his shaft.
The moist clench of her sex seemed to demand it from him. The heat of her...
As he lunged his body over hers, his chest rubbed against her stiffened nipples. Her back arched to him, her breasts jutting.
Elemental drives ruled him. His gaze was drawn to the tender flesh between her neck and shoulder, just under the line of her shining pearls.
"Holly...can't stop myself."
"Mine." He sank his fangs in her.
Her arms fell limp over her head, her body quiescent as he rutted over her. She screamed with pleasure as she helplessly came.
Her sex clenched around his cock, milking it for the seed he could finally give her.
Mindlessly snarling against her flesh, he plunged into her again and again. The ache, the pressure, the throbbing inside...
He was crazed with the need to ejaculate, thrusting, grunting, driving. He released her neck, throwing back his head to roar as his come began to shoot from him. His back bowed from the force of it, jetting out in wave after wave.
He'd claimed her. Holly's mine...at last.
He collapsed over her, heaving his breaths against her marked neck.
Once he'd begun to gather his wits, he leaned up to see how badly he'd hurt her, an apology on his lips. "Holly, I..." He trailed off at her expression.
She looked even hungrier for him.
"Is that all you've got?" she said, her voice a purr.
His eyes went wide, then narrowed. "Oh, I've got more, baby." He clutched the back of her neck. "A lot more."
"Then let's see it." Her claws sank deeper into his ass.
He hissed in a breath, and his cock pulsed inside her. "Later, I'm gonna do you nice and slow, but right now I just need to bend you over things and see what this sexy little body of yours can do...."
"Try to keep up, demon."
He'd exhausted her. Holly lay sleeping soundly beside him, her slim arm stretched over his chest as he sifted his fingers through her hair.
Cade had been merciless with her, making her come over and over. But he wanted her to remember this night for the rest of her life.
He kissed her shoulder where he'd bitten her, glad to see it was rapidly healing. Her transition was indeed complete. She was an immortal. His little immortal.
He'd claimed her. There was no going back, even if he wanted to. And he did not want to.
In the morning, he'd remember why this had been unwise, but for now, he blocked out all doubt, allowing himself this night.
Awash in satisfaction, he'd been grinning, or on the verge for the last half hour. Prim Miss Ashwin had thrown one over on him, making the ancient demon feel like a weak-kneed lad. She was a wanton, holding nothing back from him.
Even as she wore her dainty pearls.
He'd never imagined a sense of completeness like this. And what if he'd gotten a babe on her? Again, he grinned. My female and my kid.
If Holly thought that Cade could try her patience, imagine what his demon spawn would be like.
Maybe Valkyrie daughters and demon sons...
His phone rang, casting him back to his much bleaker reality. He dragged himself from the bed to answer it, knowing who it would be.
Rök had been checking in several times a day. And never with good news....
Cade asked, "What do you have?"
"Not a lot. It's like they're being tipped off, every time we get close to N®¶omi."
The deadline was drawing near. With every night that his crew couldn't find the vampire's Bride, Cade's hopes dwindled. Should he keep his crew scouring the city?
Or begin planning his riskiest idea ever: an assault on a sorcerer's fortress.
"We'll give it seven more nights."
"I'm...happy?" Holly said aloud, with a frown. Yes, for the last week at the cabin, that's what she'd been feeling. Contentment.
As she straightened up, waiting for her computer to charge in the car, she found it hard to concentrate on cleaning. That's a first.
And she might even be more than merely happy.
Holly's parents had had that kind of love so rare that one only read about it. Maybe it happened more often than Holly thought.
Maybe it's happening...to me.
Her demon had only been gone an hour - he was out ice fishing - and already she missed him, missed his booming voice and heavy footsteps. She craved his addictive scent - cold and pine and Cadeon.
Earlier, he'd said, "If I go through the trouble of catching, cleaning, and cooking fish, then you will go through the trouble of eating it."
For him, she was going to...try.
The last week with him had been incredible. She regularly experienced what a day was like broken up with bouts of sex. In fact, Cadeon did just find her wherever she was and take her.
He was insatiable. Even in sleep he grew aroused. His erection would stiffen against her backside, and as he softly growled in her ear, he'd rock it against her.
She'd woken him more than once for a good seeing to, which clearly delighted him to no end.
The strangest thing about sex - she didn't have any bizarre quirks with it. This was the one area in her life where she was normal.
Well, if you could call her need to be overpowered by a demon normal.
Cadeon had also continued her training, working with the sword - and with the diamond. She could break her stare three out of ten times, but only if he threatened her computer.
They played hunting games and hide-and-seek. Her night vision was nearly perfect, and she could leap twenty feet into the air with the ease of an afterthought. He'd taught her to rub pine needles over herself to mask her scent, and she'd become so stealthy that she could actually stalk him from the trees.
And she continued her own work, pushing to finish her code so that when this quest was over with, she could do nothing but enjoy her demon.
Only two things marred this time. The first was his secretive calls. Outside, she'd hear him snapping in Demonish, pacing back and forth amidst the spruce trees. Then when he returned, he was always distant with her, taking time to relax again.
The second was his attitude about the future. His full-court press across the country of Canada had...cooled.
Even after she'd been claimed, he didn't speak about the future, evading the subject if she brought it up. At first, she'd had insecurities, wondering if she'd done something to disappoint him or put him off.
But that was ridiculous. They were good together, better people than they were apart.
No, she felt confident that he wanted her as much as she did him.
"Did you miss me, halfling?" he asked from the door.
She ran and leapt into his arms. "Terribly."
"I've got a surprise for you."
"Lemme guess - it's a fish?"
He nipped the tip of her ear, which always gave her shivers. "Get your gear on and meet me outside. The weather's nice."