|Home > Delilah S. Dawson > Blud > Wicked as She Wants (Page 27)|
|Wicked as She Wants(Blud #2) by Delilah S. Dawson|
“That answer doesn’t count.”
He sat up, leaning possessively over me. “Then I guess we’re even.”
“I don’t think we are.”
He caught my chin in deft fingers, his lips so close I could feel their warmth against mine. “Are you trying to make me crazy, woman?”
“I was trying to stop that from happening, but I think I’ve changed my mind. I like you better wild.”
Something twisted in the air between us, a breathless pause that reminded me of that moment when the first snowflake falls, giving the sky permission to erupt in flurries of blinding white. He was kissing me before I’d even noticed him moving, and I took it as permission to let go of the control I’d kept around him until then. My hands caught in his hair, and he pressed me back, deep into white blankets that billowed around us like clouds.
I laughed fiercely into his mouth, and he whispered, “This is serious, girl,” and licked a searing trail up my neck to the same place where I’d kissed him earlier, right behind my ear. It ran tingles of fire down my spine, and I gasped and made fists in his hair. No wonder he’d called me a minx. That place was like liquid gold. He was halfway on top of me, and I curled one leg over his leg, keeping him there. He made me feel small and dainty, and I liked the weight of him, pressing against me in the most wonderful ways.
He took my mouth again, his tongue dipping between my lips with ferocious purpose. I was learning, and I kissed him back, loving the taste of him. Pulling away and licking my lips, he murmured, “I want more.”
Grabbing me around the waist, he pulled me down until I was stretched out the full length of the bed. He placed one hand on my neck, trailing it down my chest and stomach.
“And your very flesh will be a great poem,” he said.
“You have me laid out before you, and you speak of poetry?” I couldn’t help laughing. “Is that how things are done in your world?”
“You make me remember things I thought were lost forever,” he whispered. “Things I needed. Things I’m glad to have back.”
“Maybe one day you can scrawl poems on me with a brush,” I purred. “Starting at my ankles, with black ink winding ever upward.”
“Oh, woman. It’s like you want to kill what’s left of the gentleman inside me.”
“I don’t want him dead. Just quiet. Kiss me again.”
I pulled him down to me and nipped his lip. Words were pretty, but I didn’t want words. I wanted his body, his mouth, his growls. I wanted the fire behind his eyes to consume us both. I wanted the flame he had kindled in me to catch and burn. I wanted him to make me forget everything else.
He kissed down my neck and along my collarbone, his lips and tongue searing against my skin. It was as if I’d never felt anything before, as if every inch of my body was waking up, and waking up hungry. He kissed along the neckline of my gown, following it to the V and licking deep in the line between my breasts. I moaned underneath him, pressing upward, aching to rub against him as I’d once seen a cat do.
His hand slipped under me to fiddle with the buttons down my back, and I rolled to my side to accommodate him. If his deftness with buttons was any indication, those nimble fingers were going to be delicious on my skin.
He was running his tongue across the tops of my breasts when the lights winked out, leaving us in complete darkness. I gasped and pulled back, for there wasn’t even the faintest hint of light to see by. I was lost without all my senses.
“There’s a tunnel,” Casper murmured into my skin. “Under the mountains.”
I felt the kiss of skin on my back and sighed as he pulled the strings of my corset, releasing the bow. His mouth was still busy with the mounds of my breasts pushed up by the corset, and he found one nipple and teased it with his tongue.
“But, Casper, the lights . . . ?”
“The shadows will fall behind you.”
When his lips slanted again over mine, messy and rough in the dark, I thought perhaps he kissed me just to shut me up, and I obliged him by unbuttoning his collar, down and down, until his chest was laid bare to my hands.
Just then, a sound rang out over the throbbing hum of the train. Metal scraping against metal—in the door’s lock. With a hiss and reflexes long honed by the threat of assassins, I grabbed Casper’s shirt and yanked him to me, rolling us both onto the ground beside the bed. Before he could ask me why, I put a hand over his mouth. Even without a Bludman’s perfect hearing, he should have recognized the sound of a heavy boot on the floor of my room.
The door opened on silent hinges. Casper froze for the barest moment before lurching to his feet and springing away. I couldn’t see anything, but I heard a strange man’s yelp of surprise. After a quick tussle, liquid splashed over the ground, and I crawled up on the bed before the salt-reeking water could reach me. The smell was sharp and painful, biting at my nose. The fight continued, and an unfamiliar voice shrieked in wordless fury. The scent of burning flesh filled the room, and Casper called, “Are you hurt? Did the bastard get you?”
“I’m unharmed. What’s happening? I can’t see anything!”
Three quick thumps, then the heavy smack of a big form landing on the ground, all of it overlaid with shrieking and growling and an unsettling hiss.
“How do you kill a Bludman?” Casper grunted with effort. “Quick!”
“You can’t kill him yet. We have to question him first.”
“Screw questioning him!” Casper shouted between the sounds of a struggle. “He’s big, and he’s already been hit with his own seawater, and he’s still not cooperating.”
“Little bitch, I hear you!” the man called between grunts. He had a thick Svedish accent, and I breathed in deeply, trying to get a sense of him. A Bludman, and one strong enough to fight while soaked in seawater.
And then I knew the answer to Casper’s question about killing him.
Without saying a word, I crept forward, one hand out in front of me and my boots splashing in the puddle.
“Where are you, Casper?”
“On the ground. I’m on top of him. But stay back; he’s covered with salt water.”
I scooted one foot ahead of me until I nudged a heavy boot. It struck out at my leg, and I jerked back before he could bruise me. Carefully and quietly, I nudged my way up his body. He tried to grab my boot at one point, and I stepped on his hand and ground the bones under my heel.
“I can see you, ice bitch,” he growled.
“And I can smell you, fool. Who sent you?”
He chuckled, low and deep. “Your father.”
I reached out until I found Casper and traced down his arm until I found his hand on the assassin’s shoulder, pinning the larger man down. Before he could ask me what I was up to, I felt down Casper’s half-dressed torso for the knife he wore always on his hip. Once I had it in hand, I knocked him off and straddled the man in his place, ignoring the damp water that stung my knees.
“Here’s a message for my father,” I said in Sanguine, and I plunged the knife into his chest, right where I could hear his heart beating. He struggled for just a moment, but the strike was swift and sure, the knife lodged firmly in his breast.
“What did you do?” Casper asked.
“What I had to.”
The man shuddered and bucked under me for a moment longer before going still and cold.
“Get me a light,” I said, suddenly overcome with a grand idea. “And a cup or a bottle. Hurry.”
Casper sighed and stood. “Do I even want to know what you’re doing now?”
“What I have to,” I said. He left the room before he could hear me whisper, “For you.”
He returned with an antiquated lantern, a teacup, and an empty wine bottle.
“They’ll have the lights back on soon. He took out the whole car, and everyone’s raising a big stink over it. The carhop was handing out lanterns.” He reached into his waistcoat, now smooth again over his buttoned shirt. “And he sent these, with his apologies.”
The two vials of blood were heavy and cool in my hand, but I had other priorities. We had to hurry.
“Drag him into the bathroom. There’s a narrow tub.” Because I’d paid extra for it, of course.
In the light, the man was revealed to be tall but wiry and wrapped entirely in black leather. He wore strange goggles and carried dozens of knives and an instrument that squirted seawater when a trigger was pulled. Together we dumped the body into the tub. Casper didn’t understand what was happening until I sliced the assassin’s black sleeve with his own knife and slit the crease in his elbow by the sparse light of the lantern.
“Oh, Ahna. God. Do we have to . . .”
And then he smelled the blud. His eyes went to pinpricks, his breathing speeding up.
“So much of it. I’ve never seen so much at once.”
I handed him the assassin’s arm and quickly tipped the full teacup into the wine bottle. Casper’s mouth sealed over the wound in the man’s elbow. When I couldn’t pry him off that cut, I made a new cut in the other elbow and kept going until the flow got sluggish and the wine bottle was half full. Between his feeding and my tidiness, we hadn’t spilled a drip of blud.
Casper finally dropped the arm in the assassin’s lap, licking his lips in bliss. I held up the bottle, and he whooped and grabbed me up into a hug.
“You beautiful, clever girl.”
“Can’t have you going mad when we’re this close to Freesia, now, can we?”
The lights buzzed back on just as he was about to kiss me, and the previously shadow-hidden form of the mercenary in the bathtub was suddenly the biggest thing in the tiny closet of a room.
“Out the window, do you think?” Casper asked, and I nodded.
“We’ll need to . . . how would Keen say it? Loot him first. But why is he wearing dark goggles?”
“Night vision,” Casper said with a shrug. “So he could see once the lights were out.”
I handed him the bottle and gingerly unbuttoned the assassin’s jacket. The fellow was dressed for dastardly deeds, his leathers the color of shadows. I pulled off his cap and goggles to reveal ice-white hair and eyes the same color as mine. The knife, it turned out, was lodged so deeply that the hilt had sunk into his flesh, which made it difficult to search his jacket. Still, I took a fierce pride in the evidence of my strength and righteous anger.
Finally, I found what I was looking for. I slipped the packet of papers out of his pocket and opened the little book with trembling hands.
“These are fake.”
“How can you tell?” Casper leaned close to inspect the aged papers with their proper seals and signatures.
“Because I was raised to topple kings, and an assassin never carries his true papers. I don’t even know what I was hoping to find. I already know the truth. The Svedish king wants me dead and most likely has a network of spies and assassins spread all over the Blud world, hoping to catch a glimpse of me.”
“But why? If he’s your father, why would he want you dead?”
I gave him a wry smile. “I may be his daughter, but he can’t claim me or use me. Ravenna’s Freesia is a weak thing, and Charles would love nothing more than to march on Muscovy and claim her for Sveden. I’m his only real impediment.”
“Does this sort of thing happen often?”
“They plague the palace like bludlemmings, but it’s rare that one makes it so close to royalty. It’s fortunate you’re still immune to seawater. There’s nothing more to gain from him. Help me get him out the window, will you?”
With the determination and quiet strength I’d come to expect from him, Casper tugged open the window and leaned out to make sure no one else happened to be looking about at the same time. It was pitch black outside, the light from our lantern the only thing flashing on the rock wall of the tunnel. Together we hefted the rubbery body out the window and dropped it into the darkness, and the train chugged on as if nothing had happened.
I kept my head out of the window for a moment, enjoying the smell of ice-frosted stone deep within the mountain. Revenge felt good.
Casper pulled me back from the window and into his arms.
“At first, I thought it was impossible. But now I’m starting to think you can do it. You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”
In answer, I buried my head in his shirt. Breathing in, I could smell the change the blud had wrought in him. If I looked at his hands in the sunlight, I was sure they would be duller and a shade grayer. As little as I knew about halfbluds now, I could only assume that the more blud he drank, the closer he came to being like me. With the assassin’s blud corked in the bottle, he could stave off madness a while longer, but we both knew that every sip brought him one step closer to the bludding he so feared. I wanted him for my own purposes, and I wanted him soon, but I knew that I would have to wait until he was ready. I only hoped he wouldn’t hate me once the deed was done.
Keen knocked on the door shortly thereafter to tell him their food had been delivered. He was still pretending to eat in front of her. She threw me a dark look before the door closed, and I realized my dress was still mostly unbuttoned. With businesslike tenderness, Casper rebuttoned me, dropping one warm kiss between my shoulder blades.
“Always an interruption,” he murmured.
“No one knocks on the queen’s door when it’s locked.”
“Your door doesn’t lock anymore, thanks to Captain Clumsy Assassin. Will you be safe? I need to go, and I don’t know much about political intrigue. Are there more of them?”