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|Adam(Nightwalkers #6) by Jacquelyn Frank|
When? Oh, when had she last felt so much pleasure from the physical connection of her body to that of another? Never. Oh, never. She admitted it wildly and freely to herself. She had just come home. She had found the place she had always been searching for. This, she realized, was the place she would always be able to stay. This would keep her aboveground. This would make the world a gorgeous, irresistible pleasure every single day of her life to come.
Jasmine came hard and with incomparable ecstasy.
Adam felt the bliss in her thoughts, and it overwhelmed him even as he was feeling his own wild sense of having come home at last. He felt the orgasm hit him like a ton of bricks and he wanted nothing more than to fling himself into it, to let them both indulge in their realization that they had quite simply been made for each other. As though they had been whole at one point, split apart, and were now reunited at last. It brought tears to his eyes. Partly because he knew how important this sense of coming home was going to be to him in the future as he learned how to adapt to the new world he found himself in. This, he knew, would be what kept him sane, would keep homesickness at bay, would make his losses feel less and his fortunes seem so much more.
“Sweet Destiny. Sweet, sweet fortune. Can a man find love in only a day?” he asked her even as she threw back her head and shouted out to the ceiling. He saw tears leaking from the corners of her eyes, and it made him happy he had held himself back. He wanted to give her that pleasure again. And again.
The locked tension in her body suddenly released and she relaxed in his hold, her torso a liquidy ooze of flesh against his own. She gasped for breath she didn’t need, her hands alternately gripping at the muscles of his arms, then relaxing.
“Is it love or just this crazy genetic predisposition?” she asked softly. He had not realized she had even heard his uncontrolled utterance. He was also surprised she was being so calm about it. The idea of love must be everything she feared the most.
“I don’t fear it,” she corrected him. “I fear being disappointed by it.”
She lifted her head and met his eyes, understanding that the deep green she saw was a reflection of her own now, in more ways than she could possibly think of in that moment.
“I am not afraid,” he heard himself say, even as he surprised himself by saying it. “No, it is true. The Imprinting was such a distant dream for me. So distant I just assumed it would never happen. But the moment I understood it had happened, whether to a Vampire or a speck of dust, I understood it was destined. It was meant for me and it would be right for me.”
“I like that, I’m no better than a speck of dust.” She sniffed at the idea, but he knew she was playing.
“Perhaps you ought to prove to me otherwise, eh?” Adam lurched forward, throwing them both on the floor, her back hitting a tapestry rug and her body swallowed up under his.
“Perhaps I should,” she agreed. Then using the strength of her entire body she pushed him over, reversing their positions on the rug. She sat up over him, a proud and fantastic woman, more than he would ever have asked for, more than he would ever have expected. “Aye, you should remember I am better than a Demon like you deserves,” she taunted him.
“Keep teasing, little Vamp. I am your only source for dinner tonight. Methinks I will not feed you.”
“No?” She moved in a wicked undulation of her body, riding tightly over him, sending chills of delight all over his body. “But you have such mighty appetites of your own. Why not feed together?”
He groaned, reaching to grip her by her long, sleek thighs.
“I might be so convinced,” he confessed on a rough exhalation.
He should have known just by the smug turn of her lips that she was up to something.
She rose off his body, letting him slip free of her warmth and wetness, making him utter a clear sound of protest, his hands trying to grasp for her before she could escape him further.
But she wasn’t going far. That reflexive breath of hers skimmed his belly as she resituated herself, bringing her mouth to the level of his waist, her tongue darting out immediately to lick the length of him from tip to base and then ever more slowly back again. Adam’s hands fumbled blindly into her hair as his eyes rolled closed with pleasure. She dipped her head and took him into her mouth, a strong seal immediately following as she sucked him hard against her palate again and again. Then she eased up a little, her saliva wetting him as her tongue danced over him in teasing sweeps of pleasure.
Adam had never felt anything like it. He was so hard and heavy, growing more so by the second ... or so it felt. The urge to come flooded over him as sharply as it had when he’d been inside her. His hands fisted sharply in her hair and he ejected a harsh sound of need.
I need you!
And I need you, she countered.
And that was the moment he felt her fangs skipping along his length.
She bit down hard.
Under any other circumstances, Adam imagined his first instinct would have been to backhand her across the room and then curl up into a wounded little ball of damaged manhood.
But this was not other circumstances.
This was his Imprinted mate, and her bite had proved to be the closest thing to nirvana he would ever know. He exploded into her mouth, a mixture of blood and all his most primal essences. He came in a way that went beyond the physical, the orgasm clawing up out of his every blood vessel and every nerve all at once. She drank from him as though she had been denied food all of her life and was finally given the chance to suckle. He felt the pleasure flooding through her mind, felt how it numbed her and invigorated her all at the same time.
Then he felt her reach her threshold of pleasure and of physical satiation. He braced for the second bite, but was still unprepared for it. He felt the coagulants and antibodies burning through him, but it was like a whole new act of bliss instead of something practical and helpful. Adam fell flat on his back, his hands leaving her hair and driving through his own. He had to close his eyes because whenever he looked up, the etched stone ceiling and the Moorish arches in her room began to spin around him, making him feel incredibly dizzy and unanchored from his world.
Her tongue brushed over him and he felt the skin on his body flinch. It was all too much. More than any one creature could possibly withstand. The impression must have flitted through Jasmine’s mind, because she immediately backed away from him. She climbed up the length of his body and dropped down heavily over him. She began to chuckle in soft outbursts of humor, rolling a bit to and fro, like a woman deep into the high of her life.
“You know what I like best about all of this?” she asked him.
“Hmm?” he grunted.
“We are never going to have just boring old sex. Neither of us has it in us to be drab and conventional.”
“I should hope not,” he agreed.
“So ... I guess that is kind of cool. I wouldn’t mind that too much.”
Adam laughed. “Well, I am comforted.”
“I am trying to say I accept this Imprinting of yours,” she pointed out.
“I realize that,” he said. He didn’t bother pointing out to her she really didn’t have any choice in the matter. They’d already been over all of that. They were both very aware of it. This was Jasmine’s way of taking control of something she simply couldn’t control. “I am glad. I have decided I really rather like you, Jasmine.”
“You said you were in love,” she pointed out. “And in less than a day.” He opened an eye to see how smug she looked, because she certainly sounded it. She was obviously very pleased with herself.
“That I did. I have to admit, I find your irascible nature, your quills, and your tendency to want to torture those around you to be rather charming.”
Jasmine laughed at him. “True. I am all those things,” she said, sounding very proud of herself for it.
“But you are also more sensitive than you care to admit to others, capable of craving beauty in all the things around you, and loyal to those who have been blessed to earn your loyalty. You are firmly for the moral right, although your methods might skirt the appropriate.” He reached out to push the edge of her hair back. “You are lovely, evocative, and I have never met your match. Tell me what in all of that I could resist loving?”
Jasmine suddenly sat up and moved away, snagging her robe from the hook near her vanity and cocooning herself within the plush fabric, tying the belt extraordinarily tight.
By the time Adam gained his feet she was spinning the crystal ball again, occasionally breaking from her study of it to glance up into the mirror above the table. He felt her insecurity, her fear, and the racing of her thoughts.
Adam came up beside her, reached out to cup the side of her face in his big hand. Despite her resistance, he made her look at him.
“I will not hide or lie. I do not wish to,” he said softly to her. “There can be nothing but truth between us, even when we wish to lie to ourselves.”
Her breath caught.
“I don’t love you,” she burst out, the statement a bit more painful than he had anticipated it would be.
“Love will come when you are ready to let it come, Jasmine.”
But I know it is already here.
“Stop it! I do not love you!” She picked up the ball with one hand and threw it into him as hard as she could. He caught it against his sternum with a grunt of pain. She used the action to push past him, to leap right through the blackened glass and out the window.
He bellowed her name, racing after her, diving after her even before he heard her scream.
Everywhere, all at once. Desperation and emotional pain had overwhelmed her instincts, making her forget that the sun was high in the sky. There wasn’t a cloud in sight, but they came as he plummeted after her, falling at breakneck speed down the massive height of the citadel walls. The clouds came with more speed than he had ever managed before, but not fast enough to keep her skin and hair from bursting into flames. He reached out with both hands, knowing he couldn’t grab her, but willing himself to do something. Anything.
And then suddenly he felt a source of water appearing before him. Jasmine, yet more than Jasmine. The fire along her body doused itself as her skin turned liquid, flinging droplets back at him.
They hit the ground, Jasmine first, in a violent splash of water, and Adam second as the same. But Adam knew how to draw himself back into a cohesive shape and Jasmine did not, so he had to gather up all of the water molecules that she had become, and slowly, with his arms around her, he reformed her into what she should be.
Her hair was burned, her skin, too, but she was Jasmine again. Jasmine his mate. Jasmine the beautiful. Jasmine the Vampire.
Jasmine who could become Water.
The clouds sealed away the sun, rain falling to keep her cool and protected as he took her to the nearest entrance of the citadel and finally was able to close her behind a sheltering door. She was groaning in pain, too weak to hold herself upright, staggering as he tried to avoid touching her at first. But he gave up on that, turning to Water and wrapping himself around her in a cooling, protective sheath. He buoyed her, helped strengthen and guide her steps. He didn’t want to change her form while she was so injured and damaged, not knowing what further harm it might do. When Demons were wounded, changing their molecular cohesion could cause a great deal of harm.
He found a bath nearby, herded her in, and, filling the tub, he lowered her into the water. The tub was wide and deep, allowing her the opportunity to float free of the hard, cold sides.
“I will heal,” she croaked, her voice scorched by the flames that had been swallowed down her throat as she screamed.
“I know you will. I know it takes far more time than a pair of minutes in the sun to kill a Vampire. It is ... it is one of the best ways to torture a Vampire. Stake them out in the sun and let them immolate for hours.”
“And you know the technique well,” she rasped. “How can you love something you hated for so many years?” she wanted to know.
Adam realized it wasn’t that she doubted his feelings. She wanted to know how he had managed to change himself in so short a time. She wanted to know if she was ever going to be able to change.
“To me it is not about Vampire or Demon. Not when it comes to you. It never was. I tried to hold you up to my ingrained hatred of your kind and failed time and time again. It was not the Vampire I was coming to love. It was Jasmine,” he said softly to her, brushing his fingertips, turned into water, against her temple. “It was always Jasmine. And once I realized you could never fit my preconceived prejudices, those prejudices had to melt away. They were designed to fit all Vampires. All Vampires were this. All Vampires were that. But you were none of it, so I learned I could not continue to make such encompassing assumptions about your kind. It made me realize how hard I had been working for some time to hold on to those assumptions.
“So tell me, little Vamp, what are you trying so hard to hold on to that I am not fitting into properly?”
Jasmine turned her face away, let herself soak quietly in the water for a long minute. He felt thoughts ghosting wildly back and forth in her mind.
“Emotions have always disappointed me,” she said at last, her voice already sounding smoother. She had lost her brows and eyelashes, and her hair was breaking off into the water. “For five hundred years I have longed to feel more than I do, but it never changed. No matter what I sought out, how I tried. So I gave up. I just ... gave up. Then Damien told me he had found the answer. But how could he?” she demanded angrily. “I had already written it off. It was over. And I couldn’t take the chance that he might be wrong. Clearly love was working for him, but what guarantees did I have it would work the same for me?