Malkom was dazed at the sight of the pert, flawless backside she'd just casually revealed to him.
A reward for his patience? Earlier as she'd unplaited his hair, she'd been in high spirits about the prospect of shaving and shearing him. While he couldn't have been more ill at ease.
After all this time, having anyone near him had been strange, much less this female who so effortlessly undermined his control, with her breasts swaying directly before his eyes.
Plus, the water had been mere inches from him.
Yet he'd battled for control of himself, because for some reason, her task had been important to her.
For his troubles, she'd gifted him with that view of her backside.
Now he yearned to touch those pale curves, but she'd removed herself into the water. There, she mimicked that she would wash him, too. He hadn't agreed to this for himself. Yet look how he'd been rewarded for his cooperation so far! With her removing clothing and offering to clean him.
Her hands on him. Water on him.
He would smell like the vampires he'd hated. But shewould like him better. To be close to her, could he enter the pool that continued to deepen?
He'd have to undress. When he removed his cuffs, she would see the bite scars, possibly recognizing the marks of a blood slave. The idea filled him with embarrassment.
Let alone stripping completely. 'Twas one thing for other males to see him naked. But a woman? He figured that in all his years a female or two must have - but he'd never known about it, and he surely hadn't volunteered any glimpses of his body.
This one seemed to like the look of his countenance, gazing at him with unhidden approval, which mystified him. Perhaps she could be attracted to his body.
Would she undress completely? Show him those breasts he wanted to lick? Remove the silk triangle that covered her sex?
He pointed at her top, then made a couple of "uick motions with his fingers.
With a breathless smile, she teased it up so slowly, displaying pink silk, wetted and clinging to her curves. The lace revealed more than it concealed.
His lips parted. The gods amused themselves with Malkom, giving him such a fine female.
Or could she be his justly earned reward ... ?
For an extraordinary, fleeting moment, he actually felt like the luckiest male alive.
When Carrow drew off her halter, the demon's gaze was searing on her, as palpable as a touch. Brows drawn as if in pain, he gave a low growl and absently palmed the rigid outline of his shaft.
Snagging the shampoo and soap, she beckoned him again with a curled forefinger. But he began pacing back and forth at the edge of the pool. She could see his expressions even more distinctly now, could see sweat beading his upper lip. Realization struck. He was afraid of getting in the water.
His phobia made sense. When would he ever have learned to swim or grow accustomed to large amounts of water?
"Okay, I guess I'll enjoy this all by myself." With just her undergarments on, she waded to the deeper center, dipping below the surface to soak herself completely. She made a big show of lathering her hair, giving a moan here and there as if her military generic shampoo were as orgasmic as a bottle of Herbal Essences.
Once she'd gotten the tangles out of her own hair, she meandered over to one of the still trickling ceiling streams to rinse the shampoo away. When she raised her face to the water and ran her hands over her belly and thighs, she picked up a riot of different emotions from him. One of which was ... awe.
He gazed at her like he might have looked at his last sunrise.
At last, he trudged to the edge. She eagerly met him there, grasping one of his arms to draw free the laces on his leather cuffs. But that wary cast to his eyes returned. Again she thought, Thorn from a lion's paw. "Trust me, demon."
But he couldn't trust her. Ultimately, she was going to betray him. Don't think about it, just enjoy this time.
After removing the second cuff, she frowned. The skin on his wrists was marred with bite scars. Vampire bites.
For Loreans, scars only formed before immortality was reached in adulthood. And Carrow knew that sick Horde vampires enjoyed the blood of the young, thought it sweeter.
Had Slaine been a blood slave as a child?
She traced her forefinger over the marks. He wouldn't meet her eyes, and she knew. They'd kept him for blood at some time before he'd fully matured. No wonder he was violent.
Was that why he'd negotiated with her, when probably no other male in this entire realm would have? Because he'd known what it felt like to be powerless?
At that moment, she hated the faceless vampire, or vampires, who'd hurt him, and she felt sympathy for the boy he'd been.
He must have noticed the latter in her expression, because without a word, the proud demon turned to leave.
But she didn't want him to. "Malkom, come back. Please."
He slowed and finally turned. With that calculating look in his eyes, he motioned for her bra.
"You won't return until I take it off? Then I'll give you tit for tat." She raised her brows at his pants.
He reached down to the leather ties hanging low on his waist. With a bob of his Adam's apple, he began unlacing them. Like he's nervous? The ruffian, wild-man demon was shy? Finished with the ties, he hesitated.
She recalled the way his hand had shaken as he'd reached for her breasts. Maybe he hadn't been with a lot of women, or it'd been ages since he bedded one. Apparently females were nonexistent in these wastelands -
The demon let his pants drop to the ground. The full length of his erection sprang free, and she gasped. Oh, my gods.
Carrow felt the same way she had the first time she'd seen a penis in the flesh. Giddy. And she knew she'd forever be comparing any others to this one.
Demon males were notoriously hung and customarily pierced down south, and this demon was no different. Aside from being almost uncomfortably large, he had four piercings - a sexy foursome of barbells climbing up his thick shaft. The metal gleamed in the low light, making her want to sigh.
But his size. Avoiding intercourse with him had been wise. "Am thinking your file is too big for my computer to access, big guy," she absently muttered.
That tattoo on his side snaked down his hip, all the way to his inner thigh, the design and placement intimate. Someone had lovingly inked him.
She felt an unexpected flare of jealousy for the women who'd seen his tattoo. Had they traced it with tremulous fingers?
Carrow wanted to follow it with her tongue.
This sinfully gorgeous body and face had been hidden from the world. Malkom Slaine might be a demon non grata, but he was also a diamond in the rough, one that she couldn't wait to feel in her hands. She grew covetous of him, as if she'd just gone speculating in this mine and had hit the mother lode.
When she could tear her gaze upward, she found his eyes were flickering over her face, observing her again, discerning her reaction. He was doing that "listening" thing, likely understanding her better than men who spoke her language.
Once more, he swallowed. How she perceived him was obviously important to Slaine. Was he uncomfortable with his nudity around her? Demon cultures could be such a mix, masters and slaves all driven by sex, yet conservative with it. But she didn't want him uncomfortable.
She cast him an admiring look. "Malkom ... fortis," she said in a throaty voice. His erection pulsed, and the grim line of his lips eased somewhat.
She played a dangerous game. "No sex?" He'd lose control when they had sex - she knew it. Or rather, if they had sex. And the likelihood of him going demonic, vampiric crazy - while brandishing the biggestD she'd ever seen - made her want to cross her legs tight.
He growled, but eventually he nodded.
Deciding to leave her thong on for any additional bargaining power she might need, she unclasped her bra and tossed it on the retaining wall. "Then come - "
He was already on his way.