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|Gideon(Nightwalkers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank|
The phraseology was intensely suggestive, but it was lost on her until he reached out to her, past her shoulder to take hold of her braid, wrapping it around his large fist twice before using it to coax her closer to him. When she was close enough for him to lower his head to her ear, he brushed his mouth over it in an unbelievably erotic caress.
“I crave the time when you are wrapped around me,” he told her, the heat of his breath and his words flying through her like an arrow to its mark. Her entire body lit up with the heat of response, a flood of molten liquid rushing madly to awakening places beneath her skin.
“Gideon,” she breathed, unable to draw in enough air to sound his name more firmly.
“Mmm, I love when you speak my name, Neliss,” he said, his tongue touching to the sensitive lobe of her ear just long enough to draw it between his gentle lips. “I will love it just as well when you cry it out. And even more so when you scream it.”
“Gideon, please do not do this,” she begged, the words falling from her in soft, short bursts of breath. “I am not ready for this.”
“I think you are.”
To illustrate his argument, Gideon lifted the knuckles of his left hand to her breast, skimming over the taut thrust of her clearly aroused nipple. Legna practically melted under the touch, her body swaying into his as he turned his hand over and cupped her through the rich satin of her dress.
“Yes. Yes,” she relented. “My body is ready. But Gideon… ”
“Hmm.” He brushed his mouth over her jaw until he was nearer to her mouth. “A Demon of the Mind whose mind is not as willing as the rest of her. A remarkable dilemma, Magdelegna.” His mouth hovered so close to hers, an awesome temptation to her weakened resistance. She remembered his kiss too well, the flavor, the artistry, and the intensity beyond anything she had ever known. “I will make a bargain with you, Neliss,” he offered, continuing to caress the shape of her breast, eliciting an unchecked moan from her. “Whenever I take something from this delightful body of yours, I will give you anything you desire that will appease your reluctant mind.”
Gideon stepped away from her, releasing her so unexpectedly that she had to stop herself from following him. She looked into the white-hot fire of his eyes, understanding instantly the effort it had taken for him to deny his needs. The taut set of his jaw was only the beginning of the rigidity locking up every muscle in his body.
“This time, I give you your wish to go home. Go. This instant, Legna.”
Another command. Albeit a welcome one. One she wanted to follow almost instantly. But she hesitated just the same, her gaze still locked to his, unable to break away.
Gideon’s hands curled into fists.
“Legna,” he warned.
Legna crossed the distance he had put between them in a heartbeat, throwing herself against him. Gideon caught her to himself even as she locked her mouth to his and thrust her hands into his hair at the back of his head. She held him to her, aggressively seeking his tongue, tasting him with wild savagery as his arms wrapped tightly enough around her to lift her onto the very tips of her toes. She disengaged as sharply as she had begun, panting rapidly for breath before she pulled him back to her hungry lips.
His hands were sliding over her, everywhere at once, his touch matching the ferocity of her kisses. Wildfire scorched her wherever he grasped her, setting her to burn. His body was pure strength against hers, solid and unforgiving, hot and hard and just as aggressive as hers was.
Gideon caught the satin fabric at the back of her dress up into a vicious pair of fists, using the material to pry her away from him. He held up a hand to keep her at bay when she moved forward with a sound of protest.
“If you touch me again, Legna, I will have you,” he warned, his voice hoarse with pent-up need and barely leashed impulses. “Do you understand? No turning back, no more time.” She drove him to the brink with just a kiss, his control shuddering with weakness. Gideon’s whole being was rocked with this outrageous desire for her that she wasn’t ready to appease. She thought she was at war with parts of herself, but she couldn’t know how much his feral half was raging to be let loose on her. It was all he could do to maintain control of himself.
Gideon’s caution humbled Legna, and her eyes widened with her remorse for forcing him to be the one to maintain control in spite of her aggression. She felt the haze of his mind within her own, felt the baton of respect and concern for her he was using to beat back every inborn instinct he had. He wanted her to come to him with clarity of thought, with an honest need that transcended just the physical chemistry that so over-whelmed them. The amazing part was that he wanted it for himself just as much as he wanted it for her.
“So, once again you are the one to show far better control between us,” she said quietly, taking a ginger step away from him. Slowly, he released the fabric of her dress, the satin slipping from his fingers after a long, highly charged moment. “I will go home, as you say, because I must put Noah’s mind at ease. I know he is worried. I can feel it. But I will not take long, Gideon. The night has just begun and I want to spend it learning exactly who you are and what we will be with one another.”
Gideon nodded once, a short movement that radiated the strength of the tether he had upon himself.
“Do me one courtesy, Neliss. Remember at all times that I am a part of your mind now. Take great care in what you do and what you think.” He exhaled slowly. It galled Gideon to confess his weakening discipline, but he had to make this clear to her. “My self-control is stretched far too thin as it is. For all my age and experience, I cannot fight what is happening to me. Do you understand?”
“I do. I will do my best, but I am similarly afflicted and I may make mistakes.”
“I understand that quite well, Legna. But there is a vast canyon between understanding and execution. However, I will maintain a reasonable mind. That is a promise.”
This time she moved forward slowly, her intent quite clear as she watched him with careful eyes. She reached to kiss him gently, briefly, stepping back with a sensation of awe over the tenderness he had used while returning her kiss. She absently touched her mouth for a moment, then raised the same hand into a graceful twist, sending herself home.
Legna appeared in her bedroom, startled to see Noah was already there waiting for her. Suddenly self-conscious, she touched her hair with one hand and covered her reddened mouth with the other. Noah turned from the window to look at her and she turned away and moved to her wardrobe, making herself busy with her back to him.
“I would have come down to you,” she said as neutrally as she could.
“I was worried. After Kane told me what had happened, I went to see Jacob. He told me when he left you with Gideon you were sleeping, but I grew concerned when the entire night and next day passed without word. Jacob told me what you did for him and for Bella. I am amazed, to say the least.”
“I know.” She reached to absently recrease a fold in one of the dresses hanging before her. “I rather amazed myself.”
“Legna, when are you going to tell me what the hell is going on?” he demanded suddenly, his hurt at being left out of the life she had always shared with him coming through in spite of his efforts to maintain an even tone.
“It is senseless for you to try and hide emotions from me in any event, Noah,” she chided softly, finally turning around to meet his eyes.
“Legna,” he uttered, the shock that washed over him so potent that it made her catch her breath. He crossed over to her in only two steps, reaching to grasp her by the chin and turn her face up to his. “What the hell is this?” he interrogated her roughly. “What happened to your eyes?”
She could not answer him. She was suddenly overwhelmed by Gideon’s virulent concern for her.
Legna, what is the matter? I can feel your distress.
Nothing. Please, do not worry.
You are lying to me. Tell me what is going on.
Noah and I are talking. Gideon, trust me. I will be just fine.
Legna felt his reluctance, his urgent desire to protect her no matter what. But to her relief he gained control of the instinct and moved to the back of her thoughts, allowing her the freedom to deal with her brother in her own way.
“Legna, answer me.”
“Noah, I cannot give you the explanation you desire if you are going to rail at me.”
“I beg your pardon, Legna, but I think a brother has a right to be upset when his sister’s eyes have changed from a pretty gray-green similar to his own into this bright silver that looks just like—” Noah went pale as realization dug deep claws of shock into him. “Sweet Destiny, Legna, are you insane?”
“Noah, I refuse to get into an argument with you over this,” she said, jerking her head out of his grasp. “And it is not as though we have any choice in the matter.”
“This… is impossible,” her brother growled bearishly. “He’s more than seven hundred years older than you, Legna! His power is like nothing ever seen before. Do you have any idea what an infusion of power that potent can do to someone as young as you are?”
“So far what it has done is allow me the grateful opportunity to save the life of a greatly beloved friend. A friend who happens to be the wife of a man you care for very much, Noah. As strong as he is, how well do you think Jacob would survive the loss of Isabella? Do you think he would even make it through a year? Did you think Father would have if he had not been Summoned so soon after Mother’s death?”
“Legna!” Noah’s temper flared, sparked by the suppressed issues beyond what she had dared to speak of. It was one thing to share memories of joy, and quite another to actually discuss the nature of their parents’ deaths. “You are trying, as usual, to divert this conversation from its true point, Magdelegna.”
“And that is?”
“You! Your well-being! Do I need to point out that you have just spent twenty-four hours sleeping off this exertion you are so proud of? What if it had been worse? What if conducting that kind of power had burned you out completely, something sleep cannot cure?”
“I have thought of this, Noah. Contrary to what you and Hannah seem to perpetually think about me, I am no longer a child. I am aware of the ramifications of my actions and the actions of others. Would it please you to know I am having a significant amount of trouble accepting this and that I am anxious enough without your predictions of doom?” She turned and slammed the doors to the wardrobe shut in a rare show of frustration. “I hardly know him, Noah, and now he is taking over half of who I am. Anything I do know about him has been from stories I heard as a child that, to be frank, could be pretty frightening at times. So trust me when I tell you I am sufficiently terrified to satisfy you!”
She sighed softly then and turned to face him slowly, her arms crisscrossing her waist. “My entire life was turned upside down a little over twenty-four hours ago.” Legna leaned back against the wardrobe doors, closing her eyes and releasing uninvited tears down her cheeks in the process. “All I have wanted to do since this started was talk to someone about it. The someone I chose to share this with, I found lying in a pool of her own blood on her living-room floor.”
“Legna,” Noah said, his eyes as sad as his hoarse voice, his anger instantly evaporating under the shower of her tears. “I did not mean—”
“I know you did not. But you have to understand, I have been fighting to keep my perspective on everything in my life ever since I was dragged out of it and entrapped in that horrific five-pointed prison last October. I have not been at peace since that day, Noah. The only way I can discuss the incident with you is in an argument, and Hannah is not much better. I do understand it is because of what happened to Father and how it affected you both.” Legna pushed away from the closet and crossed over to him, reaching to take up one of his hands between hers. “It was Gideon who figured out why I have been so restless, and it was he who finally helped me rest.”
“Legna, that is just his abilities. It does not mean—”
“Noah, please. Can you stop arguing with me and find it in yourself to support me in this? Gideon and I have not made a careless decision based on some kind of whim. We were chosen by Destiny for this. Yes, it was up to me to make the acceptance, but you do not know what the Imprinting feels like, how strong it is. Need I indicate Jacob and Bella as an example? She was a human, completely taboo by our laws at the time, and yet Jacob found himself betraying centuries of morals just to touch her. No matter how much it tore him apart.”
“You cannot liken Gideon to Jacob. There are things—” Noah broke off, running a frustrated hand through his hair. “I know you, Legna. You are extremely sensitive to the art of compromise. Gideon will never compromise. He demands and acts and expects that no one will contradict him. If they try to do so, he merely ignores them. I cannot bear to think of you in a relationship like that.”
“Noah, I beg you to stop making him out to be some kind of manipulative monster, because you know it is a lie and I will not stand for it. I love you, Noah. I always will. I understand your fear, but you have to look beneath it and understand what you are feeling. I do not believe it is Gideon’s age or power or rude manners that truly scare you.”
“If you are going to start psychoanalyzing me, Legna, just stop it right now,” Noah warned her.
“You have had my undivided love and attention practically since the day I was born, Noah. Has it never occurred to you that you are simply unwilling to share me with anyone else? You joke about it, but there are reasons why you are not interested in finding a companion of your own. Why should you? You have a perfectly kept home, a beautiful hostess to manage your social affairs, and she is pretty much emotionally maintenance free. I give you completely unconditional love, respect, and admiration. I keep you company when there are so many around, but none are really close enough to your heart to safely be a King’s confidant. There is only one thing I cannot do for you, and I already know you have your ways of obtaining that.”