One Grave at a Time

Page 52

His mouth sealed over the spot on my neck that would be madly jumping with my pulse if I still had one. I rocked back again, trying to encase him inside me, frustration and rapture building when he only teased me with the head of his cock.

"Open your eyes," he urged me, the words vibrating against my throat.

I didn't know how he knew I'd closed them-I was facing the other way-but I opened them as asked. Between the red whips of my hair, I saw vast cornfields spread out beneath us, darker and less distinct from our height, but noticeably swaying in the breeze. They were more stunning viewed from above because the distance hid the sight of drying husks and cracked stalks, making them look like miles of an undulating, golden ocean. Seeing those gently swaying fields filled me with a form of peace I hadn't felt in a while. My roots came from the country, not from concrete or asphalt jungles, and up here, there were no ghosts chasing us, literally or metaphorically.

The sheer splendor of the sight made my chest tighten and tears sting my eyes. All the darkness lately made it easy to forget the world contained more than people trying to hurt other people. It had beauty, too, if you knew where to look-and remembered to open your eyes. Bones's mouth continued to caress my neck, making me shiver with a longing both passionate and poignant. I could feel his hunger in more than the hard length of flesh intimately pressed against me. His aura surrounded me, passion and need combining to scorch my senses, but he'd waited to take me until I saw something that he knew, somehow, would heal a piece of me I hadn't known was broken.

There were words for what he meant to me, but if I studied every language ever spoken for the next thousand years, I still wouldn't find enough of them to describe it.

I reached down, clasping my hands around his and squeezing, wishing he could still read my mind so he'd know even a portion of what I couldn't put into sentences. His lips moved against my throat in what felt like a smile.

"I love you, Kitten," he whispered.

I was about to reply in kind, but only a gasp came out because he sank his fangs into my neck while thrusting deeply at the same time. The double impact ignited my senses, setting my nerve endings ablaze. The grip I had on his hands tightened, more ragged noises escaping me as he pulled out very, very slowly-and then thrust forward hard enough to wring a shout from me.

Vampire body heat didn't rise, and the cold air around us probably meant I'd clock in under room temperature; nonetheless, I felt like I grew warmer. Another tantalizingly slow withdrawal built that sensation of heat, and when it was followed by a swift, deep thrust, I felt like my skin would start to spark. The puddle of material around my thighs kept my legs together, but that meant I could grip him tighter, and I did. The extra swell of pleasure cresting over my emotions let me know how much he liked that, so I kept doing it, squeezing him with every muscle I had when his flesh slid out inch by achingly unhurried inch.

"Don't. Stop," he growled.

I tried to keep my eyes open, to look at the stunning canvas we were soaring above, but the mounting ecstasy kept dragging them shut. It built, drawing from the slightest movement of his body as well as those fierce, rapturous thrusts, until my entire body shuddered from the intensity. His arms were like steel bands around me, molding me to him hard enough to bruise, but I wanted him to hold me even closer. Each slide of his fangs into my neck seemed to send more heat through me, each thrust coiling the pleasure tighter in my loins. I didn't want him to stop, either. I needed to feel his flesh merging into mine, tried to hold him there with every clench of my thighs and inner muscles. His groans inflamed me, but that was nothing compared to his aura raking through me, merging his feelings with mine. Through that, I knew exactly when to move faster. When to let go of his hands and grip his hips to hold him to me, then I knew nothing except shattering ecstasy when he lost control and took me over the edge with him.

For several moments afterward, I couldn't move. I could only cling to him, savoring every last tremor of his climax and the continual, tingling ripples from mine. Finally, my lids fluttered open. At some point, I must have closed my eyes again. We were no longer over the golden, swaying cornfields, but a patchwork of roads, thankfully too high for the streetlights to present any collision issue-or embarrassing illumination.

"Do you know where we are?" I murmured, reaching up to run my hand through his hair.

He turned his head, nuzzling me through the material of my sleeve.

"Not a clue."

My laughter was breathy from afterglow. "Poor navigator you might be, but you are one hell of a pilot."

His chuckle mingled with mine. The angry blare from a horn drifted up to us, a reminder of the real world waiting to intrude, but I closed my eyes and rested my head back against him.

The real world could wait a few minutes longer.

Chapter Thirty

On October 26, not four hours after Bones and I put the finishing touches on the new limestone/quartz/moissanite trap, my cell phone beeped from a text. I was in the shower, rinsing suds from my hair and trying to ignore how the water seemed to get icier every day. No electricity meant no hot water. If the carbon monoxide exhaust wouldn't kill Tyler, I'd set up a generator in the house just to be able to take a hot shower again.

I continued rinsing my hair, not rushing to read the text because it was about the time Denise would send her daily updates, letting me know everything was okay on their end. If it were urgent, she wouldn't text. To conserve the battery in my phone, we didn't chat verbally, and to be honest, it was easier to text back "no news" than admit out loud that we still hadn't found the last woman. All of us watched the days count down on the calendar with increasing dread.

Kramer hadn't been coming around as much in the past week. The knowledge that he was probably splitting his time between readying his accomplice for the woman's kidnapping and escalating his torment of her was enough to make me feel like I had a permanent case of nausea. Unless we found her, that woman had just over a hundred hours to live.

It was just me and Bones at the house right now. Ian, Tyler, and my mom were at the Southern Hills Mall. Ian prowled about seeking his own version of food, and my mother kept watch over Tyler just in case Kramer happened to stumble upon them. Hopefully soon, my mother would follow Ian's lead and vary her diet. I half wondered if that was why he insisted on going out so frequently and taking them, although maybe it was just a case of boredom combined with cabin fever.

After I got out of the shower and dried off with a few brisk, efficient swipes, I grabbed my cell from the countertop and read the text. My first thought was that it was gibberish. Letters, symbols, and numbers were run together without spaces, some repeating, some not. Maybe Denise's phone got jiggled around in her purse or pants pocket and my number was redialed by mistake; I'd butt-dialed people by accident before. But this wasn't coming from Denise's cell. It was from Elisabeth's number. I looked more closely at the message.

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