"Bite me," I cut him off.
This time, Ian didn't attempt to stuff back his laughter. "I'll leave that to Crispin."
An hour later, I jumped back down into the underground garage, winding through the support barriers until I reached the spot where Bones was secured. Ian reclined in front of him, one leg propped up on the pile of extra chains we had just in case.
I threw a hotel key card at Ian. We were checked in not far from there so we had another place to store our weapons.
"Here. Why don't you wash up, change clothes, and find someone to eat?" And don't hurry back, my pointed look added.
I'd already done two out of those three things, as my damp hair and new outfit attested. After all, I wasn't about to seduce my husband while his friend's scent still clung to me.
Ian rose. "Don't mind if I do. See you both in a bit."
I waited until I heard him exit before I set down the bag I'd been holding and began to arrange its contents on the floor.
Bones sniffed. "Scented candles?"
"I'm sick of the oil and blood smell," I responded, lighting them. "This is better."
I didn't need to look up to know his dark brown gaze followed my every movement. I could almost feel his stare, and though he tried to tamp down his aura, slivers of yearning and remorse whispered across my subconscious.
"Did Ian tell you that Balchezek says he knows another way to force the demon out without killing you and the others?" I asked, glancing at him.
His brows drew together. "Yes, but I don't trust demons."
I laughed, soft and wry. "I'm right there with you, but Balchezek has his reasons for helping us."
I wasn't going to repeat those reasons with the female demon eavesdropping inside Bones. Since possessing vampires was technically a demon no-no, I doubted the bitch could tattle on Balchezek without outing herself, but why give her an edge?
"You know what you have to do if he's wrong, Kitten."
The flatness in his voice made a shiver run through me that had nothing to do with the garage's frigid temperature. Yeah. I'll find another way to save you, I silently replied, but didn't say that out loud, either. Bones would only argue about promises and duty and I didn't care about any of those things if they meant he had to die.
I finished lighting the candles and walked over to him. His mouth was still set in a hard line, but his gaze raked over the contours of my body as though he couldn't stop himself. In addition to remorse and yearning, another emotion crested against my subconscious - possessiveness. He might know that I'd only had good intentions by my earlier actions with Ian, but his vampire nature demanded that he assert his claim over me. How well I knew that from being on the other side of the jealousy coin with Bones in the past.
"How's our demonic squatter?" I asked, brushing his chains.
"Angry." One word, clipped with the weight of emotions I felt him trying to hold back.
I smiled. "Good." Then I took out the key and unlocked the first of many bolts connecting his chains.
Tension slipped through the wall he'd erected around his aura. "What are you doing?"
I unwound a length of chain, letting it drop to the floor. "Making you more accessible. One down, half a dozen to go, and even then you'll still be unable to move your arms or legs."
"Don't." His eyes flashed green. "She's too dangerous."
I undid another section of chain before standing on tiptoe to slowly run my tongue down the side of his ear. "Fuck her," I whispered. "She's had you to herself too long, and you're mine."
More chains fell. His mouth brushed my cheek, control raging against the hunger I felt rising in him. "It's not safe," he tried again.
I laughed before I caught his ear with fangs that were already out from my growing desire. "Oh, Bones. How often do we ever play it safe?"
A low growl was my response. So was the blast of lust decimating the last of the barriers he'd had around his emotions. I reveled in both, licking the shell of his ear and then letting my breath tease the same space.
He couldn't grab me with his hands, but his aura enveloped me, sheathing me in a tingling cloud of power and raw need. It still felt fragmented from his fight to keep the demon down, but I had no doubt he would win that fight. Three more lengths of chain fell from around his waist. I could now reach through the remaining links and pull his shirt open, revealing the hard flesh of his chest and stomach.
"I missed you," I said, abandoning his ear for his lips.
His mouth closed over mine with such hunger that my embers of desire turned into a furnace. He didn't wait for me to part my lips, but invaded past them with deep, seeking strokes of his tongue. I moaned and tugged harder on his chains. More fell, until I could press my body against his and feel the bulge of something other than metal against me. He groaned, rough and guttural, when I reached down and clasped my hand around him.
His mouth tore away from mine, glowing green gaze pinning me in its intensity. "Take your clothes off. I need to see you."
I backed away on shaky legs, the roar of lust slamming into my subconscious making me almost glad he was chained. He felt wild, almost feral. Like he thought this was the last time we'd be together and he'd hold nothing back except the demon raging inside him. I drew the shirt over my head and tossed it aside, my skin rippling with gooseflesh under the rake of his gaze. My bra came off next, ni**les already hard and aching. Then my jeans. I pulled my panties down with them, kicking both aside.
His accent was thicker, and he stared at me like he'd devour my flesh with his eyes. I stared back, absorbing the view of pale crystal flesh stretched over muscles that bunched and flexed against the chains. His features were almost frightening in their fierce beauty; mouth fuller from our recent kiss, eyes glittering green, jaw clenching from passionate impatience.
I was impatient, too, emotions surging in me that went well beyond lust. Someone was trying to steal away the most important person in the world to me, and I was going to take back what was mine. His gaze flared brighter when I stalked over, yanking away the last of the chains around his hips. A wealth of rigid flesh filled my hands when a rough tug split open the front of his jeans. Then I stepped on the discarded pile of metal to raise myself to his height, sliding my thigh up to his waist.
His mouth crushed over mine, tongue sensually ravaging me as he bent to bring that hard flesh against my center. I didn't have time to reach down to assist before a strong arch pushed him inside me, wringing a gasp from me that his mouth absorbed. Every nerve ending flared in welcome as another thrust brought him deeper, sending more pleasure searing through me. I gripped his shoulders through the chains when he moved again, burying himself to the hilt and then grinding against my clitoris in a way that sent spasms ricocheting through my loins.
I cried out when he did it again, locking my arms around his neck for leverage and hiking my other thigh up to press myself closer. He began to move in strong, measured strokes that had me begging for more in between kisses. Power slid along my back, curling around me to hold me aloft and molding my h*ps tighter against him than mere hands ever could. His thrusts intensified, sending aching currents of rapture through me. My head fell back and I leaned against that invisible grip, loins clenching in frenzied bliss with every deep, rapid stroke.
His throaty growls and my moans drowned out the clanking noises from the chains as we moved faster, faster, until I wasn't aware of anything except the overwhelming sensations surging inside me. They culminated in a cl**ax that tore a hoarse shout from me, the feel of Bones's answering spasms sending more ecstatic ripples through my body.
I sagged against him, feeling as though my arms and legs had been replaced with jelly. At some point, he'd knelt down as far as the chains allowed, so cold metal bit into my knees from my straddling him, but I didn't care. Everything still tingled too much for me to focus on the lack of comfortable surroundings.
"I don't want to move . . . ever," I managed.
His laugh was soft, wicked, and free of the concerns that bound him more securely than the chains lashing him to the support beam. Hearing it was another form of bliss, only this one reverberated deeper than even my previous, explosive cl**ax.
Something soft touched my legs. I glanced down and saw a blanket winding its way up that had formerly been in the corner. Bones's power curled it higher, until it draped across my shoulders and warded away the chill in the air. Just further evidence that his will alone restrained him, rather than all the chains and locks Ian and I had wrapped around him.
"Show-off," I murmured, tucking it over both of us.
He smiled, but a shadow crossed his features, which I knew was the demon coming between us again. "I kept her from using that power as much as I could. If she takes me over once more, the chains will slow her enough for you to shoot me. Don't hesitate. You'll only have moments."
I didn't glance behind me to where we'd stacked the guns, but they were within easy reach. "I won't, but let's not talk about that now. You should try to get some sleep."
"No," he said at once. "She wants me to sleep so my resolve will be weakened and she can take me over again."
Anger burned through me, fueled by my love for Bones and the territorialism that was passed down from every vampire before me. This demon wasn't going to win. She was going to pay for picking my husband to possess. I'd chase her all the way to hell and back if that's what I had to do to get my revenge.
"Well, then she's got a long damn wait," I said, forcing my rage back enough to smile. "You rarely sleep as it is, and that's when you're not trying to squash a hell-bitch."
He touched his forehead to mine, closing his eyes. "You sleep, Kitten. You know I love holding you while you dream."
He couldn't touch me with his hands, but further waves of power cocooned me, somehow more intimate than flesh. I hated that he thought this might be the last time I fell asleep next to him, as the emotions brushing mine told me. With the demon lodged in him, Bones felt like every moment between us had an expiration date if he wanted to keep me safe. But I was equally stubborn about saving his life. This demon didn't know it yet, but she'd picked the wrong couple to f**k with.
I slid my arms around his neck, shifting until I was draped across his lap instead of straddling him. Then I closed my eyes, sighing as I got as comfortable as possible. I wasn't afraid to fall asleep next to him, demon-possessed or not. Nothing in this world or under it would make Bones drop his guard and endanger me while I was vulnerable.
"I love you," I whispered, tucking my head under his chin.
Something teased at my subconscious right as I felt myself drift off. Balchezek, talking about the intricacies of simultaneous possession of vampires. The upside is that if you pull it off, you're not limited to only possessing your anchor's human family. You could also go up to the third or fourth generation of your anchor's siring bloodline. . .
Wraith was the female demon's anchor, but that meant she should only have been able to possess Bones first. Once in Bones, she could have split off into the other vampires when they fell asleep; everyone at the cabin except Denise was within the required first four generations of the same vampiric bloodline. But it wasn't Bones that the demon had mutilated in that hotel room in order to force her first simultaneous possession. That had been Annette, yet Wraith and Annette weren't related as he and Bones were, so that shouldn't have been possible, unless. . .
I bolted upright, startling Bones. "What?" he demanded.
"Bones. I - I think Annette might be the person who changed Wraith into a vampire two centuries ago."
The sun was just starting to set when Balchezek suddenly appeared in our underground hideout.
"Got some news," he announced. He might disparage ghosts, but he had a lot in common with them when it came to unexpected entrances. "Let's talk topside so we can have some privacy."
"Go," Bones said when I hesitated, hating the need to treat him this way because of the enemy inside him. But I pushed that back and threw on some clothes, then met Balchezek outside by the side of the road, where it was impossible for Bones to overhear us. Ian was there, too, eyeing the demon expectantly.
"I did some digging about how you boot the demon from your pals," Balchezek started. "I was right! There is a way aside from the bone-knife-to-the-eyes approach, and the only person who has to die is the demon's main anchor."
"Wraith," I said, feeling torn. "We'd have to kill Wraith?"
Balchezek beamed. "Who's your favorite demon, huh? Told you I'd earn the revoltingly high check you're going to give me."
"But you said before that you could save Bones and all the others without killing them," I reminded him.
"Yeah, your other friends." A shrug. "Didn't think you considered Wraith your friend."
"I don't, but if he's possessed, an innocent man who happens to be my husband's brother is still in there somewhere," I replied sharply.
Balchezek sighed. "If you believe in the naive idea that anyone's innocent, then that's true. Look, I hate to use a cliche, but you can't make an omelet without breaking some eggs, okay? You have to choose between the lives of all your friends or the life of one stranger you just happen to be related to."
I said nothing, but my jaw clenched, the only outward sign of the roiling emotions that crested through me.
"If it helps, I doubt he has much personality left," Balchezek went on. "I told you that Hazael would've had to possess her anchor when he was still human. How long do you think your boy has been a vampire? Because that's how long he's been possessed. Probably a vegetable by now." A shrug. "Like I said, if your kind were easy to squat inside, my people wouldn't be afraid of ruffling your feathers. We'd have taken you over millennia ago instead."