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|Damien(Nightwalkers #4) by Jacquelyn Frank|
And she did not want to.
Then she understood that this was exactly what he had been trying to make her comprehend. That there was a choice beyond what others chose for her to do, if only she would listen for it.
Damien released her wrists and went to back off her. It had not been his intention to endanger her. He had not meant to stimulate himself in this or any other fashion. He should have realized from the start that it was not a safe game to play with her. She tickled his senses far too easily. She was so different, so unique, and just the sort of thing that he would crave.
Especially since he had tasted her already.
No, wait. The opposite was usually true. He almost never yearned for the same thing twice. Not when it came to a feed. To him it would be like dining on leftovers. Dull, cold, boring.
Confused, he pushed his hands against the floor and rose away from her warm body.
He was not expecting her hands to snake into his hair and pull him back, so he fell easily to her wishes. His nose bumped into her neck and he realized he was precisely where he had started with her.
With his mouth pressed firmly to her pulse.
She chose that moment to lock her strong legs around his hips, seriously trapping him to herself.
Great. Now she grows a will of her own, he thought heatedly.
"Syreena, don't," he murmured against her skin, realizing he was pleading with her.
"Syreena, don't what?" she countered softly, turning the tables with an artful twist.
If he were looking at the saucy little thing from a distance, he would have laughed.
But the truth was he was too close for comfort.
"Syreena, I have not fed tonight," he reminded her gently.
She did not respond. He felt her turning her head, felt her nose drifting up the column of his neck, over his ear, and into his hair. When he realized she was taking in his scent with slow purpose, he had to bite back the groan welling up in his throat.
Syreena thrilled to his reaction to her play. She did not know why it delighted her so much, but it did. And she knew he was reacting. She could feel it with every inch of her body, wherever he contacted her. He had tried to frighten her away, but she realized she was in no way afraid of him. She probably should have been, especially considering his warning, but she was not.
She understood it was because she trusted him. Because he had never given her reason not to, and had given her dozens of reasons why she should. Mostly, he had proved it by telling her the absolute truth.
A truth that even her sister was unaware of.
"I think I need to return a favor," she whispered softly into his ear.
Damien had no idea what she was talking about, but it had an almost ominous ring to it. He tried to push away from her once again, but she chose that moment to open her mouth and place it against his throat where his pulse would be.
Amazingly enough, his autonomic systems reacted to the erotic nip and provided her with exactly that.
A Vampire's neck was a key erogenous zone. And it was very clear as she scraped her teeth across it that she actually knew that. Damien cursed, dragged in a reflexive breath, and instantly tried to roll away from her.
The nimble little minx clung to him like superglue, rolling with him until she was straddling him once more. He reached for her waist and tried to push her away.
"You are the one who wanted to know what I wanted," she reminded him as she resisted him with an easy twist of her body. Eluding the grasp of his fingers entirely, she swept her neck and throat across his lips, covering his eyes with the silky rainbow of her hair.
This time there was no stopping the sound of hunger that erupted from his throat. She laughed with pure delight when he released the heavy groan of tempted pleasure and reflexively sank a hand into the hair at the back of her head. The noise he made stirred something inside her, an answering beat that sought a certain rhythm with which to match.
"Syreena," he said breathlessly, "you are playing with fire."
"I've been burned by your fire before," she countered carelessly.
Damien's fingers curled into a fist in her hair, letting her know she had flustered him enough to forget to be careful with the bruised tendrils. That felt somehow powerful and exciting. He was always so composed, so holier-than-thou patient, that it just begged her to rattle his cage.
She felt his mouth open against her skin, his tongue drawing a ravenous line up her pulse. A moment later he seemed to realize what he had done in spite of himself, and once again tried to seize her and push her off him.
"Why should I?" she demanded, her determined eyes flashing wicked fire down at him. "You don't like aggressive women?"
"I like them too damned much!" he bit back.
Her hands became very aggressive very suddenly. Using the way he was pushing against her as a support, she slid them down his chest, onto his stomach, and over his hips. Her path back up was far more blatant, pressing up over his fly, his navel, and on until her nails scraped over his nipples.
Damien's head jerked back, his entire body twisting to match the ripple of her bold touch. He swore savagely as her fingers ended their journey in his hair, jerking his head forward once more, thrusting his mouth against her pulse yet again.
This time there was no stopping his reaction. Fangs burst out in his mouth, the violence of the eruption making him suddenly dizzy. Instinct took over from that moment, and there was nothing civilized left as he reared back and forward again with blinding speed.
The strike was so quick that she hardly even felt it. But she felt the subsequent closure of his mouth over the opening he had made. Syreena released a strangled sound of utter pleasure. Her body released endorphins and adrenaline in response and she immediately became dizzy with the rush of them. It took a full minute before she realized she had somehow ended up on her back beneath him again.
She gasped a distorted encouragement to him, trapping his head against her, afraid he would stop the overwhelming pleasure of it before she could come to understand it. As he drank of her, he was pressed tightly to her, his body broadcasting his incredible arousal to her with its sudden heat and hardness. His hand was gripping her waist just a little above her hip, the coolness of his fingers fading as they were flooded with the warmth of what she presumed was her blood.
This time she was fully aware of the desire that screamed through him with the madness of a banshee. She was cognizant of the narcotic she was within him. For a moment, she even saw herself and felt herself through his eyes and his body. For that space of time she knew what it meant to be a male, holding the body of a female who aroused and impassioned him beyond reason of thought. She knew the taste of her own blood and the way it flushed and nourished him.
She also knew with perfect clarity how he saw her as a person.
As a whole person.
As she faded back into herself, it was with a sense of unimaginable completion. In a single moment she had experienced the fusion she had sought between her two halves all of her life. She experienced it through the eyes of an outsider who had never seen her as a before or after picture, as a student or an advisor, a falcon or a dolphin. He saw it all. Liked it all. Wanted it all.
If it were possible, she was sweeter and more intoxicating than the first time. The chemicals flooding her bloodstream were like spices and wine, making him drunk with the three-dimensional flavor and effect of them. The most startling was the spiking of her hormonal levels as she was roused to passion. He felt the weight of her breasts pressed against him, the heat between the legs which still clasped him so tightly. For the first time in his life, he became aware of the possibility of mortality.
If he were inside her, deeply embedded in her heat and clutched by the pleasure that was even now quaking through her, he could give way to the idea of death without batting a single eyelash. That would be the pinnacle of life itself, he realized. And since it was not likely he would ever be claimed in such a way, at least not anytime soon, it opened up the idea that he could repeat the pleasurable visitation again and again and yet again.
As if in response to his thoughts, Syreena arched up roughly beneath him, convulsing and crying out with a rapturous exultation. He absorbed the buck of her body, felt the swirls of heat racing through her, and could define the scent of feminine musk coating her trembling being.
It was when she went quiet and limp that Damien started to come to his senses again.
And in that single horrific second, he realized what he was doing.
The Vampire Prince launched himself away, falling over in his haste and hitting the floor hard. A bitter taste filled his mouth and he realized he had forgotten the finishing bite.
He tried to move, to get back to her, to stop what could only be inevitable if he did not complete his feeding the proper way.
But he was paralyzed and could not move a single inch further.
All he could do was turn his head and watch as her blood pooled beneath her neck and head.
Windsong could not help the exclamation that burst out of her when she opened the door to her bedroom and saw the Prince and Princess lying on the floor.
Syreena was laying in an ever-widening ring of her own blood, and Damien was seizing fitfully.
She screamed the name even as she stumbled to kneel beside the Lycanthrope Princess, quickly putting her hand on the wound on her neck in order to stem the flow of blood.
"What is it? There's no need to yell at me, Wind-"
Lyric broke off with a horrified gasp, slapping her hand over her wide-open mouth in her shock.
"Get me my bitters! Hurry, girl!" Windsong commanded harshly, her tone galvanizing the young woman into obeying.
Lyric scrambled for the bag of herbs that always sat at the ready in the kitchen. Meanwhile, Windsong reached to press her hand to Damien's chest.
"What in the world possessed you, Damien," she muttered under her breath.
Softly, slowly, she began her most potent healing song shy of the Spirit-singing. The Spirit-singing could not be done without a healthy spirit, and hers and Lyric's were not compatible with the victims lying on the floor.
She did not break a single note when Lyric skidded back into the room, falling bravely to her knees beside her mentor. Windsong knew that the sight of blood was something Lyric had not faced as yet, so she was proud of the girl when she slid through the liquid to reach Damien's thrashing head and prevent him from harming himself. She immediately chimed in with her less experienced song, a totally different tempo and composition, meant to soothe a body in shock. Lyric had only learned the song the night before, when they had found the two in the forest. She had learned it on the fly, and now prayed her memory did her good service.
Windsong was in and out of her herbal bag without even looking at it, knowing by touch exactly what was what and where it was located. She quickly removed her hand and smeared a coagulation salve on Syreena's throat.
The herbs worked swiftly, but the Mistral did not miss a beat in her song to sigh with relief. Instead, she reached back into her bag and then forced a blood-building liquid down the Lycanthrope's throat. She felt for Syreena's pulse on the opposite side of her neck, the side that was still healing from the previous night's encounter with Damien's bite. It was weak but growing in tempo, and that was all that mattered.
She then turned to her second patient.
Damien's skin was gray, and then flushed, and then a strange color that looked similar to the tan coloration of a Demon's skin. For this, Windsong was at a loss. Vampires were totally alien to her. They had no circulation to speak of, no pulse and no breath, and the mysteries of their nutrition, both good and bad, were utterly beyond her skills. All she could do was support him with her song and use the intent of her eyes to encourage Lyric to do exactly what she was doing.
Syreena woke with a sharp intake of breath, her eyes flying open. The first thing she noticed was the bereft feeling of weightlessness.
That is, the lack of Damien's weight lying across her body.
She had apparently passed out again.
"Damn," she muttered, sighing in frustration at herself.
She turned her head and immediately winced at the incredible soreness on her neck. Not that she was very much aware of the last time Damien had fed from her, but she didn't remember it hurting so badly.
She sat up, immediately reaching for a brace as the world spun around her. Her fingers touched hair, and she was aware suddenly that someone was sitting on a chair at her bedside, sleeping soundly with their body bridging the distance between chair and bed and their head on the mattress. She noticed Lyric's hair color immediately.
"I have tried to wake her. She is exhausted, poor thing."
Syreena looked up at Windsong, who was seated in a similar fashion next to Damien.
The Princess darted her gaze to his face immediately, instantly becoming aware that something was terribly wrong.
"Do not move from that bed." Windsong anticipated her, her stern voice immediately rooting the Lycanthrope in place.
"What happened?" Syreena demanded of the Mistral.
"Perhaps you should tell me. Why on Earth would Damien repeat an act that very nearly killed him the first time?"
"He did not tell you that?"
"No," she said, her stomach suddenly queasy, the room spinning a little faster. "He said he was fine. He made it seem…" She swallowed convulsively. "He made it seem like it was nothing to him."
"Well, I assure you, it was something. He keeps going cold and hot by turns. I am no expert on Vampires, but I know they have a body heat that ebbs in one direction over the course of the day. From hot to cold and not back again. Not until they feed." She cleared her throat a little. "Feed normally, that is."