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|Wicked as They Come(Blud #1) by Delilah S. Dawson|
The wood bent in against me a little more. I took a step back.
The door slid to the side, and there he was.
We studied each other in stillness. He leaned against the door frame, at ease but focused. He wasn’t much bigger than I, but I suddenly felt quite small. The painting of him in the locket had so cunningly captured the intensity of his gaze and the single-mindedness of his will.
His eyes were dark now, as gray and stormy as the sea through the portholes, captured and infinite at once. The eyebrows that had at first seemed cruel now seemed elegant, speaking volumes with the smallest angle. His mouth was just a little open, and I wanted to kiss it.
No, I wanted to bite it, worry it.
I wanted to bite it? That was strange.
But it didn’t matter. I inhaled deeply, taking in more of the scent. My eyes were drawn to the open neck of his shirt, so rebellious in its carelessness. His hair had fluttered loose, drifting over his shoulders. It was smooth and fine and dark, and my hand untangled itself from the blanket to reach out and brush it back. He closed his eyes as my naked skin brushed his jaw.
I half-expected a jolt, but none came. The electricity between us had nothing to do with foresight. I didn’t need a glance to tell me what would happen next.
My breath caught in my throat as the blanket fell around me, and his hand snatched it just in time. We both stopped, my hand barely touching his face, his hand holding the blanket, the air between us humming like a plucked string.
I looked down and reached to take the blanket back from him. He didn’t let go. I tugged a little, still refusing to meet his eyes. And then he tugged back, pulling me to his chest as he let go of the blanket and wrapped his arms around me. I was caught.
My head was tucked under his chin, and as my nose brushed his throat, I found myself nuzzling his neck. I felt drunk, woozy, swooning. As I rubbed my cheek on his collarbone in a daze, he swallowed hard, and I felt his muscles tense. He was like an animal held in check, barely contained.
Then he stepped back a little, his gloved hands lifting my face to his, cradling my jaw. I shivered, but I kept my eyes closed.
“Look at me,” he said, his voice husky and low, compelling.
I exhaled, steeled myself, and opened my eyes.
He was gazing down at me, and his eyes were endless, deep pools of pleading and fire and barely restrained something or other, and they were magnetic, like black holes, but full of flames, and yet gray, and yet full of colors and see-through and dancing with little flecks of glitter, and I couldn’t look away, and what pretty eyelashes he had, as long and dark as a woman’s, as a kitten’s, as a panther’s, and the smell, oh, the smell, like crushed heather and berries and springtime in the morning and bodies rolling over and over in the grass and everything covered with dew like cobwebs making mandalas of raindrops, and I couldn’t stand it, couldn’t hold back for one more second.
But I had to know first.
“Are you doing this?” I whispered, head tilted up and lips so close to brushing his that I imagined our molecules dancing in the air together. “Are you doing something to me? Is this a spell or some sort of glamour?”
“I don’t have this kind of power alone,” he whispered back.
“Is it inevitable?”
My words hung there, suspended, trapped in the spangled amber of the moment. I couldn’t see it, but somehow I knew that he smiled, sharp teeth glinting.
“Only if you want it to be,” he said.
And then the cool suede of his glove stroked over my lips, and they felt full to bursting and ripe, and I shivered and breathed out, and the blanket slithered off my shoulders and puddled on the floor at my feet as his lips crashed into mine.
I wrapped my arms around his neck, my skin rippling with goose bumps as his hair brushed over my collarbone. The kiss was hungry and determined, and I barely registered the heat of his skin as his tongue slipped past my lips. He tilted his head, and a tiny sigh escaped me as the kiss grew deeper. As I had hoped, as I had expected, he tasted of berries, like wine, dark and deep.
His gloves stroked down my shoulders and back like an artist’s brush, skimming every bone and curve with tender force. I pressed against him shamelessly, and the smooth linen of his shirt rubbing over my nipples made my eyes roll back. He shrugged off his heavy coat, and I could feel the imprint of his hands where they had touched me.
I wanted them back. I wanted them lower.
I squirmed closer, rubbing against him, begging for his touch, and he withdrew from the kiss, licking my lips and chuckling low in the back of his throat. He tossed his vest to the floor and drew the shirt over his head, saying, “Fair’s fair. Now, come back to me, beauty.”
My body was bereft without his touch, and I suddenly realized that I was completely naked. I was overcome with shyness. I’d never been aggressive in the bedroom, and I hadn’t been with anyone but Jeff in years. I had never felt this passion, this fire—not with Jeff, not with anyone.
What did he want from me? What did he expect?
“Come here,” he whispered.
I crossed my arms in front of my stomach and muttered, “Why should I?”
He grinned at me, the corner of his mouth quirking up in the way that made me melt. “Because you want to,” he said. “Because you must.”
“I don’t have to do anything,” I said, stubborn to the last.
“Of course not,” he said, and he reached out to cup my face tenderly. I looked down, because I couldn’t meet his eyes. Now I was facing the elegant, muscled skin of his chest and, even lower, the spare, beautiful curves where flat stomach met hipbones. The scent rising from his warm skin was doing strange things to me.
He lifted my face, caught my eyes with his own. I was stuck, struck, hypnotized. Again, his thumb rubbed over my lips, which were now swollen and tender from his kisses. Then it moved down, tracing over my chin and down my throat, where it rested for a moment in the hollow.
“Your heart is beating fast,” he said. “I can feel it, just there.”
I couldn’t deny it. I couldn’t stop my heart from beating any more than I could still my breathing or make myself quit aching for his touch.
The hand traveled farther downward, spreading over my chest and lightly skimming over one breast, pressing gently over the nipple. My body surged toward that hand without thought, and I gasped and blinked and pulled back, unsure. His eyes seemed to go a shade darker, and his head tilted toward me as he licked his lips.
Lower still the hand traveled, too slowly for my liking. When it found my arms crossed tightly over my stomach, wrist grasping wrist, it stopped, and he raised his eyebrows and waited. I didn’t budge. I had to keep some sort of power from him, had to feel that I had a choice in what I was doing, if not what I was feeling.
One dark eyebrow arched up in challenge. I shook my head, just the tiniest gesture. I smiled slyly.
Then, swiftly but gently, his hands tugged my arms apart and spun me around. I ended up facing the bed, my wrists held together behind my back in one gloved hand as the other continued right where it had left off, stroking my hip, causing tingles to race over my bare skin.
I took a deep breath and tugged my arms, but he stepped closer, pinning them between us. My captured hands were pressed between our bodies, and a little thrill ran down my spine when I realized how badly he wanted me. I felt the warmth of his breath on the tender hollow behind my ear.
“I don’t mind if you want to play coy, Letitia,” he whispered, his lips brushing my skin just enough to make me buck. He licked a line from the curve of my ear down my neck, and I shuddered. “But I do aim to make you surrender.”
His lips nibbled my neck as his hand stroked relentlessly down the crease of my thigh. Without thinking, I arched just a little bit toward that hand, straining toward the touch that I craved. He chuckled again, and I could feel his teeth scrape against the nape of my neck. My nerves were screaming different messages, Run and Stay and No, touch here, damn you. I had never felt so alive, as if every cell of my body was focused and yearning and feeling and hungry.
The teasing hand changed direction, tracing the lines of my body back upward with deliberate slowness. When it reached my breast, I held my breath. The suede over his thumb rubbed my nipple, circling, and I moaned a little.
“Please,” I begged.
“Surrender,” he said.
The thumb circled lightly, lazy and maddening. I thought I might explode.
I turned my head and nipped his earlobe, whispering, “Haven’t I already?”
The hand left my breast to catch my face there, and his mouth sealed over mine, another promise, his tongue seeking and ravenous. I had never kissed anyone like that, reckless and messy and gasping. He released my wrists and spun me back to face him, and then I felt both of his hands on my ass, pressing me against him. I was straining toward his body, trying to rub every inch of my skin against whatever I could reach.
My mouth was in a frenzy against him, but his tongue was slow, deliberate. I was getting desperate. He was holding back, teasing me, enjoying himself. Playing with me, drawing out the torture now that he’d gotten the surrender he wanted. He was treating me like a kitten again.
I’d show him a kitten.
My hands moved to his back as the kiss grew more ferocious, and I lightly trailed my nails up and down his skin. They were still blood red from Mrs. Cleavers’s paint, still filed to points to impress the Pinkies at the caravan. He murmured approvingly into the kiss, and I murmured back while softly and sensually drawing one single nail ever so gently up his spine.
And then I made my hand into a claw and ripped my talons down his back.
He drew back from the kiss and hissed at me, teeth bared. I smiled smugly.
“Meow,” I whispered.
“Indeed,” he growled, his voice dripping with ferocity.
For just a second, I registered that I could smell the blood on his back, and I was filled with a wild desire to run my tongue up the wounds I had made. And then the full force of his body drove me to the bed and pinned me there, pressing me down into the cool sheets.
The studied tension of his kiss was gone, all veils of playfulness dissolved in the blood on my hands. When he kissed me this time, he meant it.
I meant it, too. I wanted him, more than anything I’d ever wanted in my life. My hands held his face right there, daring him to stop kissing me for even a second. Somewhere at the other end of the bed, he was ripping off his boots and stockings with one hand, but his tongue kept lapping at me, pulling me in. I heard things hit the ground, and then he pressed back over me, and I sighed against his lips, arching my back and finding the heavy fabric of his breeches still there, between us. Between me and what I needed.
I didn’t want to wait another second to feel the full, hot length of his skin along my body, to find him poised at the brink of me. I wrapped my legs around him and ground my body against the hardness there, whimpering, all pride and modesty forgotten.
He pulled away to whisper raggedly in my ear, “It takes two hands to do this, love,” and I understood.
My hands fumbled for the ties on his breeches as he licked down my throat and between my breasts, and I mumbled, “Don’t they have kilts in your world?”
Finally, the laces were loose, and I tried to push down the cloth with clumsy fingers. Just then, he started circling a breast with his tongue, and I dropped the laces to clutch the sheet underneath me, gasping as he took my nipple into his mouth and sucked. I threw my head back and moaned, twining my fingers in his hair.
He kissed me as he shucked his breeches, and the kiss built in intensity until the full weight of him finally covered me, skin meeting skin until there was nothing left between us. I could hear myself whimpering again, feel myself wiggling, but still he held back.
“Are you mine?” he whispered in my ear, and his knee nudged my legs apart. His gloved hand teased me, stroking, dipping and caressing. I was so close. So close.
His finger worked faster, and he licked the hollow behind my ear. I threw back my head and looked up at the mirror then, at the dark fall of his hair and the pale, powerful ripples of his back. I saw the four straight red lines where I had clawed him, already healing. It was only a second that my attention wandered, but then the finger was gone, and he was pushing against me, poised at my last barrier, waiting for my word.
I was panting, wanting, groaning, a beast of emotion and yearning that couldn’t be denied. And he wanted words from me, wanted me to think. Wanted me to make a choice.
“Sometimes,” I whispered back in his ear.
Then, so quietly, “Now.”
And with a chuckle of fierce triumph, he plunged into me, again and again and again, and I was already there, somehow. I cried out in release, fireworks blossoming behind my closed eyes as he touched something inside me that I hadn’t known existed. He stroked again, and again, and I kept waiting for him to bite me or draw blood or do something definitively inhuman. But instead, he just kissed me as I came, his tongue tasting every inch of my mouth with the same hotness that burned below.
“Stop, stop. I’m dying,” I said. Inside me, everything felt swollen, loud, overtouched, sensitive beyond belief. “Please.”
But he rolled to his side, taking me with him, and his hand moved down to caress me even as he kept moving. Forehead pressed to mine, he said, “You don’t mean that. You don’t want me to stop.”
“I can’t take any more,” I said. “One’s all I’m good for. This is too much.”
“It’s never too much.” He chuckled, his finger moving faster again.
And then I felt it, deep inside me, blooming like some bright flower in the darkness, something new and strange. And I was riding it, consumed by it, the pleasure sweet and sharp as a violin note, rocking me to my core. And we both cried out in release, quaking together before collapsing in a heap, laughing.