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|Jacob(Nightwalkers #1) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Jacob poured himself a glass of Himalayan goat’s milk and sank down into the depths of an easy chair. He rolled his head around, trying to ease some of the kinks in his neck, mulling over all the same thoughts again, knowing that soon, whether he made sense of things or not, he was going to have to talk to Noah.
Jacob started at the soft, unsure greeting, lurching to his feet and turning sharply to see Isabella rubbing sleep out of her eyes as she walked heavily down from one step to the next.
He was not able to cast sleep inducements into a person’s mind like Kane could or force them into sleep by draining them of all their energy as Noah could, but he sure as hell knew how to blend potent enough herbs to do the trick. She should have been out for hours!
“Oh, hello,” she said, smiling at him sleepily when she spied him gaping at her from below. “Jacob, right?”
“Right,” he agreed, at a loss to do anything other than respond.
His eyes raked over her as he tried to puzzle a solution, but he only succeeded in reminding himself what a fabulously luscious figure she had. She’d soiled her clothes at the warehouse, so he had stripped her of her jeans, T-shirt, and socks and had clothed her in one of his own shirts. Somehow, seeing her in it, breathing, awake, and vital, made for an alluring visual stimulus. She carried herself in a kittenish sort of way, slow and vulnerable and irresistibly inviting. Her long, black boa of silken hair dipped both outside of and within the collar spread wide over her small shoulders. The deep vee of the shirt beneath her throat, caused by neglected buttons in his earlier haste, allowed space for one long lock of midnight to snake down her breastbone and into the enticing hollow between her breasts. Hers was a breathtaking shape, boasting ample curves for so slight a frame. Gorgeous, full breasts, a drawn-in waist, the curves at her sides set just deep enough to settle both hands within them, fingers spreading out over soft belly or tempting hips or…
Jacob felt his blood surging in hot response to his imagination, his body hardening so unexpectedly and so swiftly that it took his breath away. He turned his head away quickly, tearing his eyes off her and muttering a fiery expletive under his breath. His glass slammed down on the table in front of him and he pressed his hands atop the furniture, as if the feel of the wood could somehow ground him. His hearing, always sensitive, picked up the sound of her body and clothing as she completed her descent into the parlor. Even though she was half a room away, he could track her scent. That clean fragrance had altered, heated by sleep and perfumed by the freshly laundered sheets of his guest room. It reminded him of a sultry summer night, filled with flowers still warmed by daylight, clean damp grasses, and the sweet, delicate musk of a being clearly of the opposite sex.
Fresh, pure, warmly tempting.
And coming closer with every step.
“You should be sleeping,” he said abruptly, feeling her start when he broke the heavy silence of the room.
“I woke up.”
He heard her shrug. It made perfect sense to her and made none to him. She took another step, and another. Jacob was suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to call out to Noah. It was such an absurd impulse that he almost laughed at it. Such a summons was unprecedented, and it would very likely bring the King down on them with both proverbial barrels blazing since Jacob was not the type to ever need help, never mind call for it. But who, he wondered in a moment’s panic as her nearing heat began to assault him, who enforces the Enforcer?
No! Damn it! You are stronger than some slip of a human female! She is not even doing anything! Jacob would not let the madness of that accursed moon get the better of him. He had never lost control in his life, and he was not about to start now. He had set a staid example for over four hundred years and he wasn’t going to tarnish such a superlative reputation, not when Demons like Kane so desperately needed his guidance and censure.
With a grim set of his jaw, he turned to face her.
“What am I doing here?” she asked, her long fingers absently reaching to touch one of the many antique knickknacks on the table, softly shaping it, exploring its textures and craftsmanship until she smiled with a delight that lit her eyes an electric purple. She moved on to another, one of his personal favorites in his expansive, lifelong collection. Her eager fingers swept it with fascination and a specificity of touch that enthralled him. “I’m assuming this is your home?”
“Yes, it is.”
“I don’t even remember coming here. It’s quite lovely,” she complimented, her enormous eyes taking in the expansive room and all its rich appointments. “I see you have a thing for antiques.”
He nodded, knowing full well that what she called antiques had been brand new when he had purchased them so many years ago. Of course, there was no sense in telling her that, so he remained silent.
“You don’t talk much, do you?” she asked offhandedly as she reached for a tiny wooden figurine that she would never realize had been carved by a woman in a long-extinct African tribe hundreds of years ago, shined and mellowed with the woman’s spittle and painstaking rubbing. “Though after what happened earlier, I can understand not feeling chatty.”
Isabella put down the little wooden figure, moving her light, caressing touch to the next thing and then the next, her sensory curiosity devouring all the curves and textures of his belongings. Her gentle fingers skimmed the high tabletop, heading close to his left hand where it lay slightly curled atop it.
Jacob moved away awkwardly, all of his usual grace evaporating as he took a clumsy backward step to escape the nearness of her. Hell, he thought vehemently, the woman ought to have the sense not to get too close to a male she hardly even knows! Especially a human woman. She had no power, nothing innate to protect herself with, yet here she was, wandering trustingly into his reach.
Then again, she’d just killed one of his kind only a few hours ago.
“I do not mean to come off unfriendly,” he managed with politesse in spite of his turmoil of thoughts. “I am not used to having the company of others is all.”
Well, at least that was the truth.
Isabella tilted her head, causing more of her raven black hair to skid forward, settling like black silk against her breast as she took his measure. The touch of her eyes was akin to physical contact. The exquisite glitter of violet curiosity began with a light dance across his face, a gentle glide over his shoulders, and then a slow drifting across the expanse of his chest. Everywhere that gaze fell, Jacob felt his skin begin to burn, the muscles beneath jumping tensely to attention, his clothing insignificant beneath her visual investigation. His abdomen flexed, the sinew of his thighs twitching unbearably as she inspected him relentlessly. She couldn’t possibly miss the raging hard-on he had.
The muscle in his jaw clenched as he felt her thorough examination like a brand. Did she realize what she looked like as she did this? Had no one ever warned her of how the half-mast sweep of the thick lashes framing her candid eyes was nothing short of natural sensuality at its most potent?
“A loner,” she said at last. It was a statement, and she nodded to herself in agreement. “I can tell you don’t have six kids running around. Not with all this priceless stuff within reach. By the way”—she met his eyes directly, and Jacob felt his breath stutter to a stop—“did you undress me?”
It was that moment that Jacob became convinced she could not be human. No mere human female could put so much influence into such a simple question. No sane mortal woman would have even dared ask such a thing while standing half naked inches away from an obviously aroused male stranger.
Isabella didn’t even see him move. One minute he was standing away from her, the next his hands were on her. His commanding grip encircled her upper arms and she was yanked up off her feet and against his chest. She let out a sound of surprise as her breath rushed out. Before she could inhale, his mouth was seizing hers with barely checked ferocity.
Her hands came up reflexively, clutching at the front of his shirt for balance and for a potential protest. That protest barely germinated as his hard, athletic physique burned its masculine strength into the curves of her softer, more pliant one. He was impossibly fit, every muscle blending perfectly into the next, and she could feel him positively vibrating with life. Male and potent, it was everywhere. His hands were arresting and sure as they moved to draw her more securely against the power of his body.
Jacob’s mouth scorched against hers with a cunning sensuality that was part art form and part natural talent. It was nothing like the awkward kisses she’d tried in the past, and there was nothing platonic or remotely giggle-worthy about the sensations he inspired, whether it had been invited initially or not. He kissed her aggressively, his hot mouth and the flick of his tongue touching her lips, both coaxing and demanding all at once, as if he knew something about her that she’d never discovered. There was dizziness and rushes of heat and the pounding pulses of her blood. She tingled across her breasts and lower until she blushed. She felt a surge of adrenaline, then the wash of a sensual desire she’d never conceived existed. She relaxed her lips against his, her heart fluttering like a wild bird caught in an unexpected snare.
Jacob felt the inherent invitation keenly. He’d been waiting for it. He accepted it with an invading sweep of his tongue, moving deeply beyond her lips and seeking the momentarily withheld mate she kept shyly hidden. It was the only thought in his head—making this contact, tasting her in a specific way, dragging her flavor into dimensions rich enough to drive a saint insane. All following thoughts were focused within the haven of a hot, sweet kiss. There was nothing else.
Isabella felt a wave of heat erupting up from deep within the core of her body, the splash of it oozing outward into every single vein and vessel. The feeling was extraordinary. Until she’d felt it for herself, she’d been honestly oblivious to her effect on him. Now, warmth slid like liquid fire along the underside of her skin, and she wondered if it felt the same for him. Her tongue touched his of its own volition. She grew braver and undeniably curious.
His mouth ravaged across hers with desperation and a primal need she had no hope of comprehending in her naпvetй. It was as if she were the last woman on earth, the only woman worth kissing. She felt the misting heat of his breath as it rushed over her face and into her mouth. His fingers swept up the pronounced curve of her lower spine.
Jacob growled low in his chest as her mouth welcomed him further. She tasted sweet, unbelievably sweet, like the heavy delicacy of a forbidden candy. Her skin temperature was increasing exponentially, nothing like the cooler skin of a Demon female, and he could feel every degree like a taunting touch. Even his own naturally cool body was flung into extremes of heat not normal in his kind. A cacophony of urges washed through him, so many of them that his thoughts became a haze. Instinct took the reins as his hands skimmed over the curves of that unbelievably hot skin, from her shoulder to the bend of her waist and down low over the swell of her enticing backside. She was exceedingly soft, fitting his touch with exquisite perfection. His fingers flexed strongly on her bottom, pulling her farther up off her feet and deeper into the bend of his body.
He released her mouth suddenly, his breath coming so hard that they swayed to the rhythm of it as they stood entangled together. His eyes searched her face restlessly, studying her as if she were some sort of complex puzzle. Isabella could do little more than cling to him, trapped as she was against his demanding, dominant body. She watched his nostrils flare as he took a deep, purposeful breath, as if he was drawing in a fragrance. But she wore no perfume. Then he leaned in and nuzzled her neck, inhaling deeply against her skin. It was an erotic sort of thing to do, and Isabella felt her belly constrict in response. His tongue touched her skin over her pulse, his teeth scraping over the sensitive area, and she shivered under the stimulation.
Jacob felt her body tremble. He made an appreciative sound low in his throat as he sought her mouth once more, branding her with his taste, bleeding his own scent onto her fragrant body. She made a soft, sexy little noise and it burned over his raw senses.
Their melded bodies jerked as his arm swung out, sweeping across the top of the table just behind Isabella, sending a cascade of priceless trinkets spilling to the floor. She was lifted up and her bottom contacted the wood tabletop under the guidance of his urgent hands, the sitting position naturally drawing up her thighs. Her knees bracketed his hips, her ankles hooking around his legs as if she’d done the action a hundred times before. She gave little thought to the fact that she hadn’t. She felt the thunderous beat of his heart against her breasts, the vibration throbbing right through her entire body. Jacob’s palms cradled her head, his urgent fingers grasping at the fine tendrils of her hair. It was supple, heavy silk, filled with the fragrance of a flowery shampoo. The heat of the skin it grew from was divine.
He was acting purely on impulse, every wild twist of his mouth against hers a reflection of that mindless need for gratification. Jacob’s hands dropped, his long, urgent fingers wrapping around her hips and dragging her forward to the very edge of the table, holding her steady as he pushed himself deeper toward the juncture of her thighs. She gasped at the strength he used to command her pliant body, and then moaned beneath his demanding lips when she realized she could feel his impressive arousal against the very center of herself. His body was hard, hot, and straining against barriers of fabric for the mate so close within reach. She made an abandoned sound of pleasure, wriggling up toward his aggressive frame instinctively. Her hands glided down his back, over his waist, and onto his taut buttocks, where she could feel every muscle straining toward her.
Jacob groaned with coarse satisfaction at her eager response. He made savage use of her mouth, kissing her until she was bruised, gasping for breath and practically chanting a sound of encouragement that scraped over his already raw senses. He was bombarded by her natural perfume, her aroused sex, and her blood as it pooled and heated in her erogenous zones. The mixture was heady, and he felt as if he were swimming in it.