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|Ecstasy(Shadowdwellers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Trace felt her stiffen and was well aware of her reservations. It was completely ridiculous, of course, but he had to treat her doubts very seriously and very carefully.
“What will it take to convince you?” he asked her against her lips. “Will you be satisfied of the authenticity of my feelings only when I am coming wildly inside you? Tell me, what will it take?”
The imagery his words evoked took her breath away, just as the heated depth of his kisses did. Soon she was dizzy with the need to breathe, and when he finally released her mouth she did so in a drawing rush. Her heart raced hard against her ribs as she began to truly realize how much vital male she was daring to take hold of here. He dwarfed her like a mountain dwarfs a tiny goat, but all the same she wanted to be nimble enough to conquer her mountain. She wanted to grab hold of him and show him how to take and touch her, as if he was in need of the lessons. She wanted to leave fear and doubt behind and just do everything she wanted.
She suddenly realized that this was the one man alive she could ever safely do that with. Knowing what torture he had suffered secured her mind that he would never be cruel to her. He knew too well what it felt like. Just as she knew what it had been like for him.
I forgot I couldn’t bear to touch or to be touched by a woman.
Yet he touched her. He’d had twelve years to touch any of those dark, curvaceous beauties, and he had wanted none of them. But he had wanted her…
“Yes,” he whispered into her neck as he ran a provocative tongue over her carotid pulse. “No other will do for me what you do. They never have.”
Ashla squirmed in delight at both his words and his playful tongue. The keen insight into her thoughts went completely unnoticed as her mind floated to a place of pleasure.
Total stillness followed the command, and he raised his head with a lifted brow and amusement in his eyes. “Turn around?” he echoed.
“Yes,” she breathed, flushing now that she had to assert her wishes while looking into his eyes.
But to her infinite surprise, her very dominant ’Dweller straightened up, took a step back, and did as she asked. Ashla licked her lips as she ran her eyes down the beautiful, high-powered length of him. From the broad scope of his shoulders to the tight narrowing of his waist, she could see the beauty of a truly fit male. Even the braced strength in his legs ran up tautly into an outrageously fine ass, which was accented, she felt, by the tailored cut of his slacks.
She had asked him to turn because she had barely gotten the chance to see him from behind last time. He had crowded and dominated her every movement. Now, this time, she wanted everything. Like him, she wanted it to be better.
Ashla stepped up behind him and slowly shaped her hands to the long muscles that crossed from his lower back around and down to his pelvis. Her fingertips bumped over his belts and their buckles. His katana was missing, but the second sword, the one he had told her was called a wakizashi sword, was in its scabbard on the other side. It was much shorter than the katana, but not as small as the one he kept strapped by his calf.
“Where is your katana?” she asked softly against the fabric of his thick woven shirt. She had to take the time to breathe in the scent of him, the richness and raw male message of power it imbued was heady and delicious.
“Ruined,” he admitted, displaying his regret in his tone. “Saw-stars are notorious for their weight and force. Deflecting them damaged the blade badly, and then using it afterward fractured the steel.”
“I’m sorry,” she said sincerely. She had come to realize there was value to his blade that went beyond its ability to help guard his life. Now that she knew he was Magnus’s foster son, it explained the similarity of their weapons and filled in the understanding that it had probably been a deeply treasured gift. “Can it be fixed?” she queried as her fingers closed around the buckle of the weapons belt.
“The master who made it has it. He will no doubt replace the tang.” Trace exhaled a long, slow breath as she took away his belt and laid it aside. She smiled when she returned her fingers around him to find the belt to his pants and removed it as well. At first she was enjoying the way he would stiffen up, as if in reaction to her teasing slow touch, but then she realized it only happened when she brushed or touched against his spine.
“Take your shirt off,” she demanded suddenly, pulling back so she could see his back once he did so. His hesitation gave him away and he knew it, so he turned to look at her.
“This is different than before,” he reminded her with a pulse visibly racing in his throat. “I feel everything; I am aware of everything.”
“Take your shirt off,” she repeated slowly, reaching out to turn him away from her again. She watched the tension in his body increase, and even heard him fortifying himself under his breath. He skimmed off the first shirt, and she watched carefully as he scooped the second one over his head.
She gasped, unable to help herself as she looked in wide-eyed horror at the scars raked thickly up the length of his spine. Now that she knew where they had come from, her imagination raced in wild and terrible directions until she couldn’t bear it anymore. Trace’s hands curled into fists and he twitched to move, but she reached out and stayed him, giving herself time to look at him and to reconcile all she was coming to understand.
Ashla reached to touch him, amazed once again to find there wasn’t texture to match what she could see. The white and pink tears in his dark skin were so stark and ugly that they ought to have a thickened feel to match the many, many streaks of pain he had suffered. But his body had healed everything except the disruption of color that showed his history of agony.
“Trace,” she whispered softly, tears rimming her eyes. She leaned forward and kissed the first place of old hurt she could reach. Her arms wrapped around his sides and chest, her palms pressing flat against the crisply curling hair of his pectorals. She continued to rain kisses against the ghosts of the past, pausing only when he took hold of her hand to thread her fingers tightly through his.
Trace’s eyes were sealed closed as he felt her lips and silent tears drifting down the length of his spine. The part of him that couldn’t bear to be touched on his back dissolved away for her. Her pity did not insult him, because he knew exactly how she meant to give it to him. Her desire to heal him turned his heart over in an increasingly tight space. When she stopped to rub her face against him, her tears had gone and she was ready for the next step. He could sense it as strongly as he knew his own mind. He turned to face her, dark eyes rife with grief and reconciliation. There was powerful emotion to be found as he exposed it to her. Then he gathered her up tight and close, seeking her mouth with deep need and the starving strokes of his tongue. He kissed her until she could barely keep her balance; kissed her until she was holding on to his body as if he were there to save her life. She was everything he had needed all these long years of recovery, he thought starkly. Every touch was a balm and a fire; one to soothe, one to burn away the remnants of the evil past.
She aroused him madly, just as she had before, the planes and scope of her soft body just as craved as it had been in Shadowscape. It overran him like wildfire, again that blessed burning that told him he was alive and in need. Trace broke from her mouth by sinking to a single knee, his nose running the entire length of her sweet-smelling body. He couldn’t believe how exotic the real depth of her scent was as it ran over and through him. The disparity in their heights brought him just beneath her breasts, and he instantly framed her between his hands, making an offering of gorgeous pale flesh under maroon silk. He found her easily through the material, her nipples already hard in anticipation of him. He bit at her gently, making her squeak softly in that way he was learning to get seriously turned on by.
The dress she wore was tied to her body in a knot beneath each breast and then together in between. They were small but serviceable ties, and they were also completely at his access.
Trace slid his hands down her slim sides, shaping her hips and thighs slowly as he distracted her with the flutter of his tongue through damp silk. She buried her hands in his hair, all but demanding he keep his mouth to her breast. She didn’t seem to take note of his hands until she realized they were running quickly up the backs of her legs beneath her skirt. She tried to squirm, but stopped when a nip of his teeth warned her to keep still for him. He looked up, wanting to see her flushed face as his fingers met nothing but bare skin along the curve of her backside. Then he slid his fingers forward over the crests of her hips, enjoying how she shivered and trembled under his simplest touches. He nuzzled her slowly beneath one breast, and then the other, watching her pant for breath and feeling the restless shift of her legs. Just as his thumbs caressed the smooth mound of her sex, his teeth tugged free the last tie between her breasts and the dress slid down onto his arms.
Ashla hadn’t expected to be suddenly naked in his hands, but she was. She was also feeling the combination of his mouth returning to her tender nipple even as his thumbs toyed against her sex, playing with the dampness already present at the very edges of her flesh.
“You’ve removed your hair,” he noticed, sliding a fingertip into the cleft left exposed by her meticulous grooming.
“I…” She flushed, especially when he grinned up at her. They both knew very well why she had taken such special care in grooming herself. She had anticipated being with him again. “Don’t get cocky,” she breathed.
“Never,” he assured her. “Now come down here.”
He swept her dress out of their way, and then coaxed her down onto the floor. The dormitories all had mats covering the polished marble or wood, protecting it from the traffic and the rambunctious students. They were firm enough to walk on with comfort, but softer than perhaps even carpeting. Still, Trace took care as he laid her out before him. He felt as if he had not taken proper time to pay respect to her differences or even to her feminine body in general, and he was going to change that.
Ashla was racked with a continuous little shiver, but he knew that was from the intensity of her arousal and her curiosity over what he was planning. He cupped her knees in his hands and slowly stroked her legs along the insides of her thighs, methodically parting them as he went, until he could go no farther and his hands were framing the exposed heart of her. He simply drank in the sight for a moment, the display of pink flesh glistening with wetness he had inspired. It made his rock-hard cock pulse with randy anticipation. Impatient anticipation. He was bathed in the pure sexual scent of aroused woman, the power it had over him incredible as his heart raced in an effort to fuel the action his body wanted to take so badly.
“You are so magnificent,” he uttered to her as he stared, the words tumbling out of him so roughly and so emotionally, she had no choice but to see the truth of them. She had felt self-conscious up until that very moment, but now Ashla’s entire body relaxed into his guiding touch.
When he didn’t take advantage of her wanton sprawl, she moaned and squirmed with need. Instead, his hands were shaping all the bare swells of warm, smooth skin he could reach. Soon, she realized, there wasn’t a single spot on her body that hadn’t received his erotic attentions. Except the one place that craved him most. Her breasts ached with the stimulation of his caresses, her nipples throbbed with the dipping tugs of his teeth and tongue. Her hips lifted in offering as his hands sculpted them again.
“Tell me what you want,” he said, his low tenor sly and sexy.
“Oh, please,” she gasped.
She meant please don’t make her voice her needs, because of her shyness and self-consciousness, and Trace wasn’t going to stand for that. Not this time. He bent over her and, taking his hands away from her, blew a warm stream of breath against the swollen tip of her clitoris. She caught a spasm through her body, her back arching at the sensation and proving how incredibly sensitive she was.
“Tell me what you want,” he echoed as he turned to kiss and then lick a line of stimulus up the inside of her thigh. The darker undertone of musk in her arousal increased so sharply it was enough to intoxicate senses as sensitive and starved for her as his were.
Suddenly he reached for her and rolled her over before she even realized what was happening. On her stomach now, she had to struggle to see him, but he reached out and turned her head back around, pressing her cheek to the floor.
“If you want to know what I am going to do back here, all you have to do is tell me what you want. Then that is what I will do. And believe me when I say far more than your curiosity will be satisfied.”
She went hot along her skin at the promise, and again at the touch of his mouth against her spine. He bridged himself over her legs and took her hips in his hands, lifting her slightly so her bottom was in the air. He continued his slithery sensual kisses all down her spine until she was leaving a wet puddle on the mat beneath her and he had reached the line where her tailbone met her bottom. She felt him shift his grip until he was spreading her cheeks open for his ongoing progress. Ashla’s heart reacted with panicked eroticism. She was screaming what she wanted in her head, but she couldn’t connect it to her voice. She was afraid of what he was doing just because she wasn’t used to the bold exploration or being the focus of so much attention.
“Trace!” she croaked out as his tongue danced in a wicked tease against her.
“Speak,” he beckoned, breathing the word over damp places that fired with unexpected sensitivity.
“I w-want your mouth on me,” she gasped, her face burning as she hid it against the floor.
“My mouth is on you,” he pointed out, reminding her of it with a nip on one buttock.