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|Gideon(Nightwalkers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Her mouth began to ache with the desire to capture the taste and feel of him, her lips tingling and flushed full of blood in a broadcast to him of her need. His mouth came to hers suddenly, hovering above those thirsting lips as he drilled her with the intensity of his mercury gaze.
“Neliss… ” he murmured, reverting to the elegance of their ancient language. “Neliss ent desita.”
Beauty of the ages.
His mouth touched on hers at last, and she welcomed him with an eager sound of encouragement. White lightning sensation bolted through her, making her taut and weak all at once, bending her back in his hold as he insistently sought her compliance. His lips were sensual against hers, exploring with purposeful tempo, gentle, searching yet not aggressive. Legna thought a little dazedly that she had expected him to be a little harsher in his impatience. She could feel tempestuous emotions radiating from him like the brilliant moonlight at his back. However, the thorough nature of the kiss was very much in character for him. Thoughtful, methodical, and full of supreme confidence as he slowly examined every fine detail of her lips alone. When his tongue touched her lips for the first time, it was a slow stroke along her bottom lip that was like the caress of moist, sensual velvet. Her mouth opened slightly to allow an erotic sound of feminine pleasure to escape on a softly exhaled breath.
For the first time, her eyes slid closed, sparing her the penetrating heat of molten silver, even if it had been from under half-mast lashes. He saw so deeply inside of her, wanted to see so deeply inside of her, and it was as if she were already naked beneath his command of her. His hand against her ribs burned with his body heat, just as the rest of him did, marking her with the intense impression along all the surfaces of her skin.
When she made that aching sound of pleasure, Gideon finally breached her mouth, his tongue slipping past her parted lips, tangling with hers instantly. Her hands came up, her slim fingers sliding along his back, up to his shoulders, finally holding him there with the strength of a butterfly but the power of a Titan. Her touch alone made him groan softly against her, but added to that was the taste of her, so warm and sweet, like sun-warmed nectar, and he was but a bee driven by instinct to drink deeply of her. She hardened him, like liquid metal plunged into water, and it was an eroticism and a weighted agony to feel it. It had been so long since he had craved a woman in any fashion at all, Hallowed moons be damned. Sexual need was one thing, a bodily thing, and a physiological function that he could control better than any other Demon since control of the Body had been his one true mastery for a millennium. Needing Legna was something else entirely, an entity not within his realm of puppeteering.
To Legna, his kiss was yet another perfect reflection of Gideon. Bold, unapologetic, and brutally honest. His entire being radiated his hunger into her, his aroused body moving purposefully against her flushed and pliant one. He allowed her to feel his cravings, to feel the way she expanded his need, and to feel the pleasurable pain of his heavily hardened body as his hips rubbed against her. Then the curiosity and method of his kiss began to stutter in its smooth, controlled feel. He was tripping over the aggressive demands of his Demon nature. She could feel it as he began to devour her with increasing intensity, the surge of the base, animal nature that was such an elemental part of them all. This was her craving. She could not bear a moment more of his gentleness. The burn of the moon was within her, begging for more. Demanding it.
So she played him, played his senses with every feminine trick in the book. She moaned, low and erotic, into his mouth, allowing her feelings to overwhelm her until the single sound duplicated, then chained into soft gasps of aching pleasure. Her hands pulled around to his chest, sliding up to his shoulders, finally diving deeply into the silver hair along the back of his head. She returned his kiss just as assertively as he gave it, refusing to be the only haven for their joined tongues. She reached for the back of his head, holding him to her as she delved deep into his mouth for a richer taste of him.
His response was volatile, his hands grasping the back of her rib cage and hauling her completely off her feet and further into him. Her sensitized breasts were crushed into the hard wall of his chest, her flat belly in completely flush contact with the ridges of his taut abdomen. Her hips were cradled against his, his poorly restrained erection pressing urgently against her. The world began to swing away from her in a dizzying vortex of feeling and she was completely lost to emotion and sensation. His kiss went on and on, bordering on brutality, as if he had crossed a desert bereft of physical contact and she had suddenly become his only oasis. Legna would not realize then how accurate the metaphor floating through her mind actually was.
It was in that moment, on the heels of that thought, that Gideon had suddenly broken away from her, shoving her back away from him so hard that she nearly fell onto her backside. He had cursed richly, using a term she wasn’t sure she knew the full meaning of, but could certainly feel its intent. She had been too overwhelmed by her abruptly bereft feelings to make any sense of it. Confusion rushed through her as she tried to comprehend what he was doing.
He swore again, condemning himself, berating her.
“This is madness,” he had uttered hoarsely, his hand striking through his hair in a rare expression of disturbed emotion. “You are a child! A child! I am stronger than this. I will not give in to this ridiculous impulse of madness. I refuse!”
And before she was finished hearing the words, he had turned and fled with the preternatural speed of a creature with perfect control over anything he wanted his body to do.
She had been left bereft, insulted, and humiliated beyond words. She had collapsed to the ground, too shocked to even cry, his words ringing brutally against her feminine pride, her delicate ego. And after that, the very next year, he had chased down a woman not even of the same species, stopping only because Jacob had battled him away from the unsuspecting creature.
So no, she had never forgiven him. And until this moment, she had never wept from the injury he had visited upon her.
Gideon watched her closely, knowing she was upset, unable to figure out how to proceed. He was not at all skilled in handling a woman’s sensitive emotions. He was not a Mind Demon, after all. He was aware that he had handled the original situation poorly, but he had always been at a loss to figure out how to repair the damage, so he had hoped it would fade with time and things would revert to their normal state. It was an error in thinking that, faced with it as he was at that moment, felt almost as sharp to him as the acts he had committed so arrogantly during the Druidic war. He had made grievous mistakes then, and clearly had done so now as well. One would think that a thousand years would provide enough information to circumvent such errors, but apparently they had not.
Gideon moved closer to her, and Legna could feel his body heat against her back. It always amazed her that the Ancient Demon seemed to radiate an almost humanlike heat in spite of the fact that Demon body temperature was normally five degrees lower than that of the mortals. She felt the intensity clearly, however, and it only served to unsettle her further.
“I wish for you to leave,” she said tightly, not looking at anything but the artistry of the garden outside her window. The dawn had come, tingeing the sky rose and orange, its soft colors reflecting off every shiny leaf of every tree in sight. She should have been in bed, settling in for the day, relaxing and drifting into dreams that had nothing to do with pain or humiliating tears.
“I will not leave, Magdelegna.”
Legna winced inwardly, wishing he would stop using her full call name as he did. It reminded her too clearly of the compelling timbre he had used to beckon her to him all those years ago.
“Fine,” she said bitterly, “you can feel free to stay.”
She lifted her hand, moving it in the familiar twist that helped her to focus on directing herself to her target. Before she could begin the teleport, the medic had hold of her wrist, locking it tightly in his grip. Legna glared at the elegant fingers circling her hand and finally turned to face the owner of the offending appendage.
“As usual, you are determined to have your way regardless of my feelings, Gideon,” she accused sharply. “You are cruel and insensitive. You have no reason for detaining me, and I have no desire to be in your company. Remove yourself,” she threatened coldly, “or I will call on my brother and the Enforcers to do it for you.”
“Your suppositions are inaccurate, Legna. I have very good reason for detaining you.” The Ancient relaxed his hold on her wrist a little, allowing their hands to fall, still linked, between them. Legna knew, however, that it would only take an instant for him to tighten his grasp should she even think about freeing herself. “Reasons, I suspect, you would not care to share widely with others, including your friends, the Enforcers.”
“You are uttering nonsense,” Legna snorted. “I have nothing to hide.”
“Oh, no?” One silver brow lifted in warning, barely giving Legna a moment to step back from him, trying to press herself as far back into the stony window frame as she could. The Demon followed the retreat with ease, his body a mere whisper away from touching hers. “Legna,” he murmured softly by her ear, his breath washing down her neck, giving her a heated chill. “I can see what you try to hide from us. I see the power within you that you pretend not to have. I see things that you probably do not even know about yourself. You have changed much in this one short decade, and yet you choose to perform below your aptitude. Perhaps,” he murmured softly, an absent hand pushing her hair back gently from the ear he was engaging, “your brother might like to know why his sister behaves the way she does. I know I am quite curious.”
“Have I ever mentioned how much I despise you?” Legna hissed out, trying not to notice the peculiar swirls of heat in her body that answered to the stimulation of his touch against her skin. “If you wish to extract intelligence, hire a detective.”
“I have always preferred to get my information directly from the best source,” he told her, his eyes traveling down the long length of her body once more. It unnerved her whenever he did that. She knew it was nothing more than an assessment, a medical scan, and that he was probably taking her measure in the purely biological ways of a medic, but the quicksilver weight of his gaze always left her feeling heavy and exposed in very feminine places.
“If I answer your questions,” she relented at last, all fears put aside as the overwhelming desire to put him at a distance flared wildly into her consciousness, “will you leave me alone?”
“I am afraid that will depend upon the answers, Legna.”
“But you will maintain my confidentiality?” she persisted, her eyes dark with suspicion.
“I had thought we had already discussed my bindings to my ethics.”
“You never answer me directly!” she snapped at him. “You talk in obscurities so that you can later take an action and fit your words to suit your needs. You are bound to medic ethics, Gideon, but I know full well you are also bound to the Council’s ethics. If a conflict should arise, it is the Council ethics you will honor above all else.”
“Legna,” Gideon said quietly, his voice deep and even, weighed with an eerie seriousness that made her become very still. “My primary concern is, and always has been, for the health of those I serve. No matter who they are, no matter what it takes for me to reach my goal of a cure.” He placed a fingertip beneath her chin and raised it to make certain their gazes locked. “If it takes a clear promise that I will respect your confidentiality, no matter what, then you have it. Nothing you tell me will go beyond us.”
“Not even to Noah?” she challenged.
“Look at me, Legna. Look at me with all of your power and you will see there are no lies or deceptions. I will not discuss you with anyone. Not to Noah, nor Jacob or anyone else. Not without your permission. I swear it to you, Legna, I will not speak of this to anyone else any more than I spoke of that night between us.” He slowly searched her expression of surprise. “Whatever you think of me,” he continued, “I have never, in all my vast lifetime, broken my word.”
She believed him. Not only because he opened himself to her scan, inviting her to seek out any hidden motive, but because there was something so compelling in the honest concern for her well-being that swirled behind his silver eyes. There was true caring in the absent caress of his fingertips against her jaw. His promise was the purest of truths.
Legna looked away from his tirelessly penetrating gaze, feeling suddenly exhausted, as worn out as she probably should have been after so many days without rest.
“Very well,” she acquiesced at last.
Satisfied for the moment, Gideon released his hold on her, stepping back and giving her room to relax and breathe.
“I am compelled to warn you that I am a creature of direct tendencies,” he said quietly. “I have heard you explain as much to Isabella, but given the history of your temperament toward me, I feel I should remind you of it so as to avoid you taking any further offense.”
“Please,” she laughed shortly, rolling her eyes, “I do not believe things can get any worse.”
Gideon did not agree with her about that, but he took it as her indication of understanding.
“I have noticed you are trying to hide the true extent of your abilities,” he said. “Why?”
“Because I… ” Legna drew her bottom lip between her teeth for an anxious moment. “I believe it is abnormal for an adult Mind Demon to have such advanced skills. I am a good fifty years from becoming even a rudimentary Elder, and yet I have noticed some of my powers seem to have gotten ahead of themselves.” She absently pulled the heavy cloak of her hair into her hands. “I did not wish to draw attention or curiosity to myself.”