Page 44

"Want you naked, Bride." In the space of one of her gasps, he'd torn off all her clothes, piling them at her feet. "Take off my shirt," he rasped at her ear. "I want to feel those nipples rubbing against my chest."

Oh, God, so did she! With a moan, she reached for his shirt. The material seemed to fall away under her fingers.

"The strength is intoxicating, is it not?"

She'd ripped it to threads? Exactly how strong was she . . . ?

Her thoughts drifted, her gaze locking on his bared chest, on her bite mark. Why had she never fully appreciated the beauty of his flesh, the smooth skin that tempted her to bite once more?

Tempted her to sate this hunger . . .

He made her grasp his leather belt, gazing down into her eyes. "Pull this free if you want more of me."

She couldn't have stopped this even if she'd wanted to. Her body pulsated like a plucked guitar string.

She barely tugged. The leather ripped in two. "Empty," she murmured, yanking at his jeans. "Hungry." His clothes were no match for her frantic fingers, and soon he stood naked before her. "Lothaire . . . what's happening to me?"

"I'm going to take care of you. All will be well, if you trust me." He took Elizabeth's small hands, laying them against his chest. Of their own volition, her claws dug into his muscles, securing what she desired, trapping him close.

As if I'd ever leave her side.

"Tonight you'll become acquainted with your body all over again. As will I."

Her appearance had changed, but thankfully not too much. Though she had no tan lines, her skin was fully golden, as it had been when he'd seen her at nineteen. The long mane cascading over her shoulders was even richer in color, silkier. Her irises shimmered from glowing gray to jet black, her fangs sharpening before his eyes.

Seeing these vampiric traits in her made his own long-denied instincts rage to the fore. For weeks, he'd kept himself from pinning her against anything.

No shoving her front against the mattress as he railed into her from behind.

No forcing her knees to her shoulders, driving more of his inches inside her.

Now he maneuvered her back against the wall, his hand caging her throat as he kissed her ear, her cheek, her bottom lip. He licked the blood from it, tasting himself on her. "You're infinitely more powerful now." But compared to his age-old strength, she remained delicate to him.

"Then you won't have to hold back?"

Can't lie. "I'll give you everything I can."

At his words, her gaze locked on his neck, on the vein pulsing there.

"You want more blood?"

She glanced away, but not before her tongue darted to her lip.

"Never be ashamed of your thirst. We hold it sacred. Look at me, and tell me you want more."

She slanted her gaze up at him. "God help me . . . I-I do."

"Right now, my blood flows strong to one place on my body."

Her eyes widened with realization.

Before she could protest, he had them in the bed. "Lie back, then." When she hesitantly did, he rose up on his knees beside her head. Fisting his shaft, he told her, "Sink your beautiful fangs into me here." He could tell she wanted to, knew she could hear his blood coursing there. "Drink, Elizabeth."

She stared at it covetously. "But I'll hurt you."

He cupped the back of her head, pulling her up to him until her lips pressed against it. "Drink."

Take from her. Hadn't he always had that thought during sex? Tonight, he thought, Give everything to her. . . .

With a lost moan, she covered his flesh with savoring licks, easing down to nuzzle his sac, then back to his shaft. But she wouldn't bite.

Instead, she whispered his name, smoothing loving kisses along his length, caressing her face against it . . . cherishing him.

He tenderly tucked her hair behind her ear, wanting her to continue doing this forever-even as he was desperate for her to bite.

To tempt her, he ran a claw along the side of his shaft, drawing a line of blood. "Lizvetta, love . . . take!"

Ellie's gaze was transfixed by the crimson drops beading the top of Lothaire's erection. A cry escaped her when her fangs dipped, seeming to swell inside her mouth.

"I will be anything you need." Had his accent ever been so thick? "Taste me!" His big hand covered one of her hips, his claws digging into her skin. He was more forceful with her now, more animalistic.

Though his aggression called to her, summoning an answering wildness within her, she shook her head. "Lothaire, I can't hurt you!"

"Do your fangs ache?"

"Oh, God, yes!"

"You need to sink them into flesh. My flesh. The pain will only get worse."

Gazing up at him for courage, she parted her lips.

"Yes, Bride, feed. . . ."

She darted her tongue to the stream; with the first contact, a delirious moan escaped her.

His blood seared her, seeming to leap to her tongue, bringing that sense of homecoming, of rightness.

At once, thirst and arousal suffused her. Unbearable.

He hissed in a breath. "You must bite. . . ."

Before she'd even made a conscious decision, her fangs began sinking into the side of his thick erection.

She pierced his flesh; her eyes rolled back in her head.

"Gods, yes!" he roared, his back bowing.

Undeniable. As Lothaire's delicious blood drenched her tongue, his mighty heart thundered in her ears, a drumbeat to his groans of ecstasy. "Suck, Lizvetta, until you can't anymore. I'm strong for you."

She did, drawing a rich, sultry rush from him. She felt as if she'd waited her entire life to drink like this. With each swallow, her breasts and sex swelled, her nipples jutting wantonly. She was aflame, her body seeming to throb with each beat of her heart-or of his?

Lothaire's blood was affecting her in ways she couldn't understand. She felt more alive than ever before, but her emotions were out of control.

One moment she thought she'd cry, the next, laugh hysterically. She sucked harder.

"Don't stop, don't release your fangs." Easing onto his back, he rasped, "Must kiss you in turn."

She kept him under her bite as he maneuvered her body to his side. "Scream, Lizvetta, scream for me." When he burrowed his head between her legs, pressing his opened mouth to her, she did scream.

"Ah! Keep feeding," he commanded her with a lash of his tongue, "and I'll reward you."

Dimly, she remembered the last time he'd said that. She wanted her reward, wouldn't stop her suck until he pried her away.

He thrashed with pleasure when she kneaded her claws into his torso, drawing with greedy pulls. And then he covered her clitoris with his mouth, suckling her.

Rapture. Never take this away from me. She sank her claws into his ass. Never want this to end.

When he growled against her flesh, the vibrations pleasured her even more. About to come. To orgasm as she never had before.

His blood on her tongue. His flexing muscles snared beneath her claws. His shaft in her ravenous mouth.

She could feel his seed rising, thought she tasted it.

And when she perceived a tiny prick of his own fang, her eyes flashed open. She toppled over the edge.

Screaming . . . sucking deep . . . screaming more.

He snarled against her as his semen began to pump over his torso, reaching his chest.

The scent of seed, of sex. Of blood. Heaven.

Even after he'd come, he remained hard between her lips.

Between harsh breaths, he grated, "Love, you're going to have to give me this back for your reward." He cupped her face, pressing a thumb against her jaw muscle to make her release him.

She reluctantly did, giving his shaft longing licks as he pulled it from her. Losing my mind.

He carelessly wiped away some of his seed marking his chest, then traced between her legs. "Now that we've gotten that first frenzy out of the way . . ." He slipped his finger inside her slick core.

"Lothaire!" He gave her no quarter as he wedged a second finger deep inside. With flicks of his wrist, he wickedly thrust them, faster . . . deeper. The veins in his bulging arm and neck muscles now looked doubly sexy to her. "Is it . . . is it always like this?"

Human orgasm, firecracker. Vampire orgasm, atomic blast.

"Once we learn what your body can do? It will only get better. I'm going to make you love this, going to make you thank me for turning you into my kind."

She shook her head hard. "I still haven't accepted this-"

He tickled the top of her channel until she screamed.

"What was that, Bride?"

When he paused, she cried, "That's not fair!"

"Should I be unfair once more, Lizvetta?" Another stroke, another pause.

Staring into his eyes, she again felt like she was making a deal with the devil, her soul given over in the space of a plea. "Please don't stop. . . ."

Chapter 50

Elizabeth's irises were dark with emotion as he stroked her heat, her breaths shallow between her bloodstained lips. Simply looking at her made that ache return in his chest.

But Lothaire couldn't allow himself to savor that unfamiliar feeling-or the staggering release they'd just shared. He had an agenda. He must convince her that this was the right course.

If his Bride had a fatal flaw, it was her stubbornness. Of course, now he loved that trait in her, found it admirable. Didn't mean that she shouldn't be coaxed from it at times.

He was up to the challenge.

Again he curled his finger inside her. Because his blood coursed within her, that little ridged spot had swelled-so much so that he would be able to feel it against his shaft when he took her, would feel it catch the rim of his engorged crown.

And, gods, how she would feel it. . . .

"I will shower you with pleasure, with wealth." He began circling his thumb over her clitoris as he rubbed her inside. "You will never regret this. Tonight, I'm going to make you come a dozen more times, each one stronger than the last."

A flicker of distress passed over her face. He'd heard from turned humans that sex as an immortal was a thousand times more intense. No wonder she feared.

"Shh, shh, love, you can take it now. I'd never do anything to your body that you wouldn't thank me for later."

"Like changing my species."

Unashamed, he said, "Just so." Removing his fingers, he shoved his hands under her ass and lifted her. With one swift thrust, he mounted his female.

Lothaire withdrew and delved his shaft deep, twisting those lean hips to make Ellie feel things she'd never known she could.

"Yes, yes! Yes?" She began to orgasm before she'd even comprehended how close she was. "Coming . . . oh, God!" She could feel her sex clenching his shaft again and again, while he shuddered and sweated above her, already on the verge himself.

"It won't stop, Lothaire!" His cock was sliding over that spot inside her, making the orgasm go on and on.

He was merciless, kept plunging, plunging, until she was sobbing for mercy-while raising her hips for more.

But he gnashed his teeth, slowing his pace. "Do you accept this?" He threaded his fingers through her hair, gripping it, lifting her face to his. "Accept me?"

She could almost imagine he was saying forgive instead of accept. "I do! Oh, yes!" She would've told him anything at that moment, anything to keep him moving inside her.

He dipped down to kiss her, licking her lips, her sensitive fangs. As rich blood streamed between their tongues, she shredded the sheets with her new claws.

The first time they'd had sex, she'd begged him to be more gentle. Now she demanded, "Harder!"

"You want it hard?" His tone warned her that she might not.

Yet she found herself scoring his back to spur him. He shuddered, arching into her claws. And for the briefest moment, he cast her a look of . . . wonder?

Then the ruthless Lothaire returned. With a growl, he shoved her hips into the mattress, pounding against her. The sounds of their sex grew deafening-their skin slapping, her continuous moans, his guttural words in Russian.

And always the thundering of their hearts. She was on the verge, about to climax again.

This raw bliss would have killed her as a human.

Between heaving breaths, he rasped, "Tell me that you love me."

She almost screamed that she did. But even in this haze of emotion, she held fast to a whisper of stubbornness. Won't tell him first. . . .

And once she began to orgasm, she could do no more than cry out his name.

Just when Ellie feared she couldn't take any more of his thrusts, his body stilled completely, his whipcord muscles bulging. "I will never let you go, Lizvetta!" He remained motionless inside her, his face a mask of strain. "You are mine!" he roared, with his eyes aglow, his gaze pinning hers. "Mine! Ah, gods, you are . . . mine . . ."

Ecstasy lit his features.

His seed boiled forth in a rush. His hips surged forward in an uncontrollable fury, pistoning between her legs. Scorching jets of semen pumped into her . . . his body pouring into hers . . . over and over. . . .

Once he'd filled her with his heat, he finally collapsed over her. "Lizvetta," he groaned dazedly.

She clutched him close, pressing kisses to his damp temple, his sweat-slicked neck. He lingered inside her, still softly thrusting.

As their hearts pounded together, she experienced that closeness with him that she'd once known and then missed.

"It's only beginning, love," he promised, his shaft stirring within

her. . . .

At the end of the night, after countless bouts of sex, he squeezed her against his chest-hard. But it felt good to her.

"Do you know how long I've wanted to hold my Bride like this?" Brushing his lips against her hair, he murmured, "You will never want for anything again, Elizabeth. The world is yours for the taking."

Again, she felt protected. Safe. Her lids began to grow heavy. But she didn't want this to end, feared she'd wake tomorrow, and all this would be a dream. "I'm so sleepy."

"My beautiful girl, dawn nears. And all good vampires are to bed."

She eased up, arching a brow at him. "Then you'll stay awake."

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