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|Damien(Nightwalkers #4) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Damien had warned her not to enter the library before she had even left the bedroom. Although the windows were stained, the balcony doors leading into the upper level of the room were not. They only used that room at night, which was why Jasmine was using the parlor to study.
The Princess touched absent fingers to her collar. Unlike her sister, she knew the secret to putting hers back on. She wasn't supposed to know it until after she was wed, but she had picked it up covertly from an instructive manual they thought they had sufficiently hidden from her. She did not know how to take it off. Now, however, all she needed to do was ask Damien to do so.
She had thought she would feel enormous relief at the proof of the removal of the necklace, but she had not. Not because she was not reassured, because she supposed that she was. She had not felt relief because she had already given way to her convictions. She supposed Damien had known this, and that was why he had removed it from her as she slept. He had waited until it became an issue that had nothing to do with their decisions to choose one another.
Well, her choice was most definitely made. There was no turning back for her now. Though there were additional ceremonies to formalize such things, the minute Damien had breached her maidenhead, he had become wed to her soul.
As if the sexual act had anything to actually do with it, she mused with humor. His soul had captured hers long before that. That and his wisdom and perfect words. His gentleness of touch and his understanding. How she had ever resisted, why she had ever resisted, was now completely beyond her understanding.
She sighed, looking around the kitchen for something to eat, having little hope of actually finding anything considering it was the home of a Vampire.
He was exhausting.
Granted, she was working on a reduced blood supply after she had fed his hunger the night before, but he had also proven his stamina and appetite to be worthy of his legend. He had woken her repeatedly through the dark hours, making fine love to her body, always with the same intensity as the first time. Though he had experienced no pain the last time he had taken her blood, he had not taken it again. She had mistakenly thought that it was a major part of lovemaking with a Vampire, one that she could very easily get used to because of its powerful aphrodisiacal abilities and its blatant eroticism. His passion, however, reached the same extraordinary heights no matter what he did or did not do to her. She had never realized the body could be manipulated to pleasure in so many ways.
Lessons on sex and sexuality paled in comparison to the actuality of it.
Especially the part they neglected to mention about how sore it left one. It was a physically demanding workout, one that taxed even her athletic and well-trained body.
She realized that there was not even a refrigerator in the kitchen. Not so much as an icebox. She made a sound of consternation.
She turned with a start. Now at full power, Damien could once again use the little tricks of stealth and strength that were seemingly an automatic part of his makeup. He had crept up behind her without raising so much as a hackle on the back of her neck.
"You need to teach me how you do that," she said with envy as he moved to wrap a single muscular arm around the slight circumference of her waist. He drew her tightly to himself, swinging her slightly as he leaned in to kiss her collarbone where the gaping of his shirt in front left it exposed.
"It is a trick of the mind. I would be very interested to see if you could accomplish it one day. I would not put it past you."
"Neither would I," she agreed smugly, making him laugh at her.
His laughter vibrated over her skin, giving her a shiver as he moved his mouth in a line of slow, moist kisses up her throat and neck. She giggled when his whiskers coasted over her damp skin, and she squirmed out of immediate reach of his mouth.
"I warned you about that!" she scolded him, pushing at his chest when he would not allow her to wriggle free.
"So you are not ticklish there only if I am biting you?" he concluded in delight with a flash of mischief going off in his eyes.
"Some Vampire you are. Ooh. Watch out! The Prince of Vampires might tickle you to a horrible death!" She threw the back of her hand up to her mouth and went as wide-eyed as a serial heroine. "Somebody save me!"
"Did anyone ever tell you that you are a troublemaker?" he asked dryly, reaching to pull down the obnoxious hand blocking her lips from his.
He ended the entire repartee by kissing her into obedient silence. The kiss was just as stimulating to her now as it had been from the start. The only improvement was in her skill, she felt. She was learning the ways of his mouth and his kisses, just as she would learn the topography she used to fly from point A to point B when she was the falcon. Every crest and every valley was a marker, his clean, masculine taste and the dominant sweep of his tongue like road signs and landmarks to guide her.
Within the span of a minute, Damien had her body melting against his, as if she were made of a soft, pliable clay he could mold perfectly to the bend of his body. She became very aggressive with her kiss, in spite of the relaxation of the rest of her. Syreena knew best what would please him. A lick. A nip. Unmatchable appetite for him that always floored him in its intensity and abandon. He could bend her over backward, as he was almost doing now, with the ardor of his kiss, and she would gladly accept it. More than acceptance. Encouragement. She had a way of making attractive, compelling sounds of delight and invitation.
When he finally was able to make himself withdraw from her hot little mouth, he did not go very far. She was clinging to him like a second skin, a leg snaked around him, arms wound over his back and shoulders, and her entire torso clinging to his like a magnet.
"Syreena," he said with soft relief as he pulled her sweet face into the curve of his neck.
Syreena knew every nonverbal sentiment that came with the action. She felt it just the same.
"I am very fortunate," she whispered into his ear. "I know that now. From this moment on, I will always find my way back to you, Damien. I will know that your kiss, your touch, and your warm sensitivity will always be waiting patiently for me, just as I will always make my heart your home, so you always have a place to come back to." She kissed his neck with a sweetness that rang like a poignant bell through his spirit. "If you ever did hurt me-and believe me, I know I am well deserving of it after what you went through-but if we had a misunderstanding, I would find you or wait for you or anything I had to do to make it better."
Damien swallowed as emotion rose like tight fingers under his skin. She was making a confession that could potentially make her weak to him and give him the power to make a slave of her emotions and promises. It was a measure of trust from her that he had not expected. Time would bring more depth like it; time and familiarity. There was no arguing that they were still learning about each other and, given their varied lifestyles, a great deal of understanding would need to come.
It was clear to him that when Syreena defeated an enemy, she did it entirely or not at all. All or nothing. Independent woman who made choices for herself, or automaton at everyone else's command. It was a bemusing trait for a woman who played the role of a royal advisor, someone who had to exploit the gray areas of a situation at every turn. He could see the benefits of decisive thinking, of course. Syreena was the one who would agree or disagree with a monarch who might one day wish to go to war.
There were very few gray areas in war.
She had always had a strong opinion, always fearlessly expressing it. She had just never expressed her opinions about what she wanted. Now that she had, now that he was what she wanted, he knew he would never be able to do anything to change it. He was already irrevocably attached to her, his shadow sewn to her feet, in a manner of speaking, and he could not imagine taking himself away from her and managing to survive the segregation.
It would only grow stronger over time. However, if he did try to walk away from her, he had no doubt that she would hunt him down and force him to keep every verbal and nonverbal promise they had made to one another these past few days.
"I would not punish you on purpose," he said to her in quiet admonishment. "I am not capable of being that petty."
"I know that. I only said I would deserve it. I cannot imagine that we will never argue. I know that one day we will have a disagreement. Possibly a very bad one. If I thought this was all going to be sunshine and glorious sex, I would be a naive and silly female."
"You are neither of those," he assured her with a chuckle. "Glorious, hmm?"
She giggled, nipping at his sensitive neck in punishment. "As if your ego requires any stroking," she remarked.
"I was not thinking about my ego, actually…" he murmured suggestively, reaching for her hips and rear, sliding his hands with clear appetite and sensuality over them.
"Damien," she scolded, squirming against his body. "Damien, I'm hungry," she complained. His hand continued to run the intimate curve of her backside, his fingers slipping beneath the bottom of the shirt so he could reach her bare skin.
His hands and wickedly adept fingers, she decided, were lethal. The grace with which he always seemed to move made for a flow in his touch that seemed perfectly uninterrupted. It was mesmerizing and easily addicting. It took a dizzying five minutes of standing under the enchantment of his touch before she remembered to protest again. Her skin was numb or tingling in slow paths that swirled her entire body, everywhere his clever caress had swept over her. She had to drag herself out from under his weighted spell in order to speak.
He chose that moment to slide both of his hands up over her belly, under her shirt. His fingers splayed over the heat and softness of her skin as he slowly slid them over her breasts, her peaked nipples being burned by the continuing stroke as he continued to let them flow without stopping over her skin until they reached her shoulders, then her neck, then her hair.
By the time he reversed the route, she was moaning softly, her breath rasping out of her so hard that she began to feel the dizzy rush of hyperventilation. All she could do was cling to his shoulders, feeling muscles shift beneath her fingertips as his arms moved to access her heated body.
"I am hungry, too," he whispered, pausing to toy with her earlobe and the entire sensitive circumference of her ear. "I believe my appetite for your delicacies will prove to be insatiable, sweetling."
"I am getting that idea," she responded breathlessly.
When his hands reached her bottom again, they gripped her tightly and pulled her up his body. He turned toward a nearby countertop, bracing them against it as he slid forward between her knees. He drew her up tight and close so she could only look into his face and his darkly intent eyes. His hands still crept over her, but this time he moved down her belly, over her navel, and on to the softest, silkiest skin he could ever imagine. She gave a little wriggle of momentary protest, but he had her locked up tight around him.
His fingers slid into honeyed heat, intimate places flushed with arousal and nerves that were sensitive and very susceptible to his skills. Syreena gasped, a pleasured sound that made him smile with knowing confidence.
"There now, let's ease your hunger, Princess," he mocked her in sexy playfulness.
She laughed at him, a sound crossed between her amusement at his delight in mischievousness, and the incredible response she was having to his manipulation of her pleasure centers.
"Not working?" he asked. "We can try mind over matter, then."
His free hand closed around the back of her neck, holding her head in a locked grip so she could not look away from his deep eyes. Syreena's pupils widened as she felt him passing into her thoughts and perceptions. It felt, for a moment, as if he was crowding her inside her own head. But within half a minute, his consciousness had spooned itself against hers, catching on to the rhythm of her thoughts and functions.
Instantly, Damien gave her a new understanding of being touched everywhere at once. This time, she truly did feel him all over her skin, not a single inch of it deprived of an encompassing stroking sensation. She shuddered hard and groaned with unmanageable pleasure. Damien's mouth fell over hers, muffling her intensifying cries with the play of tastes and tongues. He manipulated her as if he were sculpting art, running with intimacy over every place he had come to know so well. He blended the mastery of touch, kiss, and thoughts together, whipping her up into something light enough to defy gravity. He did not even skip a beat as he freed himself of his clothing and brought himself smoothly inside the trembling trap of her hot body.
His sudden invasion sent her spiking off into uncharted sensations of explosive pleasure. She screamed into the seal of his mouth, clutching him tightly enough for her nails to pierce his skin. He refused to release her from that peak, conning her systems into believing they could maintain the brutal crest the entire time he made fast and fierce love to her. Her wild, gasping reactions and the pulsing hold of her pulled at him like a merciless whirlpool, drawing everything violently toward it without prejudice. He groaned deeply, the cadence of the sound matching the maddening tempo of his thrusts into her.
Syreena couldn't even breathe anymore to scream. She was arched back into a silent whipcord shriek of blinded bliss. In a sudden frenzy of movement, as if he could not seat himself deep enough within her to ever give his soul satisfaction, he reached the ferocious culmination he was seeking so aggressively.
In a moment, Syreena was able to catch the breath she needed in order to cry out as he finally released her from that mental crest of fulfillment. Her entire body seized fitfully in his grip, and he held her tightly in order to absorb it into himself. She was slick with perspiration, so it was not an easy task. Luckily, she soon settled down with a sudden increase of weight, dropping forward against him. She was gasping for breath, her struggle for air punctuated by the occasional disbelieving giggle.