|Home > Jacquelyn Frank > Nightwalkers > Noah (Page 17)|
|Noah(Nightwalkers #5) by Jacquelyn Frank|
She should have met the comment with outrage at its audacity, but she was unexpectedly overwhelmed with a sensation of fear unlike anything she was accustomed to feeling. Her heart pounded relentlessly, the speed of it ten times what it had been as she'd casually lain sprawled over plumbing while a security guard walked beneath her. Being shot at was far less unnerving than this man suddenly seemed. At least she knew what a person firing a gun at her was after.
"You have…" She uncharacteristically struggled for words as his eyes never left hers, becoming more jade every instant as she watched. "You're nothing to me," she whispered, grinding her teeth together when the lack of conviction came through in the softness of her voice.
"I am everything to you," he said in return, his voice just as soft but in no way deficient in conviction.
He took just one more step closer to her, the slight squeak of the leather of his boot sounding terribly loud, somehow drowning the noise of her own body as her heart pounded and her breath came quick and chaotic. Noah reached up, and the sight of his fingers unfurling, displaying his fingertips and broad palm as they reached for her, made her react. Her entire body pivoted into the slap she used to strike him away from whatever part of her was his goal.
With uncanny instincts, her opposite hand darted up to catch his other wrist as it moved, quick as flickering flame, to replace the one she'd already discouraged. Kestra felt just as surprised as he looked, if she could call the intrigued lift of his brow an expression of his surprise. She was fast, she knew, but it usually took the register of a telltale movement or something like it to justify any action. The point was, she normally wasn't fast enough to do what she'd just done. She was realistic about her own limitations, and with all of her body committed to the original strike…
"Full of surprises, hmm?"
Kestra gasped. It was as if he were reading her mind.
She released him roughly. She backed away, wanting to turn and run, only her pride keeping her from doing so.
"I don't know who you are, what you want, or how it is you've done the things you've done," she hissed angrily, "but you will never come near me again. Do you understand me?"
"Every word," he agreed.
Lies. It was lies. She could see it in the predatory look in his eyes, felt it with every fiber of her being as he stepped toward her again and again. She was being hunted. Stalked. Kestra didn't know why he threatened her so easily, but she met the perceived threat the only way she knew how.
Noah stopped midstep when, preceded by movement that was almost too fast for even his preternatural senses to comprehend, he heard the distinct click of a gun being cocked and found himself targeted right between his eyes.
"I swear to God I will," she ground out hoarsely. "Don't make me kill the man who saved my ass. I hate feeling guilty about things like that."
The remark was almost glib, and it amused the Demon King. She had no idea that the little gun was more of a threat to her than it was to him, even under the best of circumstances. It didn't change the captivating question of exactly how she had concealed the weapon while wearing so brief and tight an outfit.
Noah knew he wasn't reacting to her pulling a gun on him the way she would expect a human male to react. The increasing tremble of her outstretched arm and tightly clenched hand were clear giveaways to that fact. Still, she had to find out sometime that he was no ordinary human male, and there was no patience left within him to wait for her to get to know him a little better.
This time it was the Demon King who moved faster than perception, his left hand grabbing her wrist and removing the danger of the weapon from them both. His right arm snaked around her waist quick as lightning, jerking her up off her heels and forward into the bend of his body. She was so long and lean, so humanly hot to the touch even through her clothes as he clasped her to himself. It was like fitting a lock with its only key. She slid into him hip to hip, thigh to thigh, and breast to breast, as if they'd been born that way and sliced apart at birth. Now, finally, they were completed once more. Noah made a low, rough sound of satisfaction that rang out like the sigh released when agony was comforted at last.
Kestra was shaking head to toe with rage and apprehension and who knew what else, but none of it mattered to him. All that mattered was that he was touching her, that he was close enough to truly take in that unusual scent of sweet sugar that radiated off her in warm, delicious waves. He barely knew what he was doing as his nose drifted over her cheek, her hair, her neck. He'd waited all his life to be this close to her, and would spend all of the rest of it bringing her closer still.
When his lips touched her throat ever so slightly, the end to the strangest act of aggression she'd ever been victim of, Kestra's entire network of muscles constricted in sharp spasm. Still, she barely heard the report of the small .22 she held as it went off, forgotten on the end of her clenching trigger finger. The gun clattered to the floor, though she was sure she didn't release it. It was as if it passed right through her hand and fingers, as if they were no more than air.
She didn't give it another thought. She was far too shocked by the response flooding through her entire body as his lips traced up the artery along the side of her neck. Flooding was the only word for it, because it was as if all of her blood had burst the confines of its vessels, like a heated waterfall beneath her skin, crashing to a halt in…in places she couldn't bring herself to acknowledge.
She should have been screaming in protest, fighting tooth and nail for her freedom…at the very least kicking the crap out of him.
But she couldn't.
She was paralyzed. Paralyzed with feeling and a rush of thoughts she should never have had. All this because he'd touched his lips to the side of her neck. But in spite of this paralysis she tried to blame for her inaction, her head tilted slightly, as if to give him better access, her hand fitting against the muscles stretched across his lower ribs.
She realized what she was doing, understanding that though everything was new, it had an experienced habitualness to it. It's those damned dreams. As if they'd been real, as if they were lovers a hundred times over, she responded when he abused his knowledge of her body's sensitivities and preferences.
Kestra jerked back violently, trying to escape his well-sprung trap. She was successful for all of a single breath, and then he was following her and close to her again. Again flush against her, he stepped with her as she backed across the room, his body strong and heated against hers every single millimeter she moved, like a skilled partner in a perfect tango. She had no space to breathe, everything about his movement so much more deadly and erotic than resting still against him had been.
"Stop," she begged him just before she backed into a solid barrier. She sounded breathless and aroused even to her own ears, and her face burned with a combination of fury and mortification. "Let go of me."
Of course Noah couldn't oblige her. He had waited far too long to hold her like this in the waking world, and he was too heavily swayed by emotions and needs far out of her scope of understanding. He could feel the near fullness of the moon burning just outside the windows behind his back, alternately chilling him and firing him with a hunger that was almost as frightening to him as it was to her. It was to the point where he could no longer tell which one of them was shaking hardest.
"Not yet," he objected on rapid, heated breaths. "Not yet."
Kestra jerked her head back purely out of self-preservation when he feinted for her mouth. All she earned for her effort was a hand at the back of her neck that held her perfectly still. She felt the bite of potential tears in her eyes as alarm and bewilderment warred within her. She cried out, a frustrated growl that grew into an outcry. She struggled even harder, but it was like being a fly stuck in glue, and she made no headway and no impression on him at all. Worse yet, she affected the reactions of her own rousing body even less.
Finally, Noah was able to touch his mouth to hers.
Her resistance and reluctance were nothing new to him. In all those months of interaction, it had become like a form of foreplay for them. He knew she could accept what she was feeling only after she convinced herself that she had done her best to fight him off. The moment his lips touched hers, the soft sound she made gave away her true desires, at least those of the body she had tried so hard to keep away from him. It was enough. Hopefully her mind would follow later.
There was no time for tenderness between them. There never had been. They had always switched gears hard, and this moment was no different. He had barely had a sip of her lips when her mouth parted beneath his, demanding a speed and aggression that was painfully easy for him to fall into. As soft and beautiful as she was, there was always hardness and forcefulness beneath her more delicate exteriors. On some level he understood that it was because she couldn't bear to give him the vulnerability she associated with those things she hid within herself.
All of those finite details meant nothing just then. He let her draw him into her game just as he let her draw him into her mouth. He kissed her, tasting deeply of her antagonistic tongue, the warmth and wetness of her mouth as much like refined sugar as the rest of her radiated in sweet, fragrant waves. She was breathing as hard as he was, the rasping rhythms all either of them could hear over their crashing heartbeats.
Jasmine landed lightly on her feet, her boots scuffing slightly on the asphalt.
The female Vampire took a long, lazy look around herself, then raised her head to the cold autumn breeze. She could smell Demons on the wind, just as she could sense every creature, Nightwalker or otherwise. Either by scent or her heat-sensitive vision, anything existing within a certain proximity was known to her. Life and power, all these things tickled over her senses in one way or another, five centuries of experience giving her the skill to sort through the information adeptly. All she need do was flick down the nictitating membranes in her eyes, and in a glance she could sort out a gathering of Nightwalkers just by the disparate level of heat they gave off. Every one of them was unique, but to her it was like reciting her alphabet. She knew it all in her sleep.
She turned farther into the breeze as it picked up, allowing it to lift the black tangle of her already windblown hair. The loose black satin of her shirt fluttered against her athletic body, the untucked tails lifting until her flat midriff was exposed, revealing the sparkle of a diamond hoop along the edge of her navel and a slim gold chain wrapping through it and around the circumference of her slender waist. She caught the tails of the shirt in her hands and tied them tightly into a knot just beneath her breasts. The original knot had come undone during her flight, but now she could repair her outfit.
She walked up the drive, her long legs taking her up quickly as it changed from asphalt to gravel, then at last to a large path of rocks. There were no vehicles in the drive, as was to be expected because Demons could no more use technology than Vampires could. It forced them to live anachronistically, but Jasmine saw no true loss in not being able to properly use technology. It looked to her like it was little more than an enormous pain in the ass. Then again, that could just be because her Nightwalker chemistry often made those types of human trinkets blow up in her face. That or the fact that most Nightwalkers were born with everything they would ever possibly need to obtain comfort in life. Technology was superfluous to many Nightwalkers, downright primitive to others when compared to what they could do naturally with their power.
Ten minutes later, the Vampire who had so hastily been assigned the task of being her Prince's messenger found herself cooling her heels in the Great Hall of the Demon King's household. After five hundred years on the planet, and by default because she was a Vampire, it never took Jasmine long to get thoroughly bored. She was not the type who could stand still for more than two minutes at a time. She was also not interested all that much in protocol.
The Vampire slowly began to inspect her surroundings, walking with ease throughout the sprawl of rooms in the lower level of the Demon King's holdings. The staff was used to strangers coming and going, their master liberal with his open invitations, so she wasn't questioned as she wandered around.
Of course, being a senior Vampire and quite skilled at becoming a part of the shadows around her, she found it almost too easy to slip past the sentries that were posted here and there. Jasmine would have thought that Noah's guards would have more experience detecting her type at this point, what with the traitor Demon Ruth at large and rogue Vampires tagging after her. It was assumed that Ruth and Nico, her Vampire compatriot and an old enemy of Damien's, had survived their last battle with the Vampire Prince and his new Lycanthrope bride. A battle Jasmine had attended. If those turncoat Nightwalkers had survived that kind of devastation, then they were fearsome enemies indeed.
Jasmine left the shadows as she continued to explore. Everything around her was made of painstakingly laid English stone. It made almost every room a uniform shale or dark gray color. Every laid carpet and heavy hung drape was just as elegantly detailed and anachronistic as the rest of the place.
It was equal to the citadel in which she lived as counselor to her Prince. Since Damien had only opened court and living quarters just at the beginning of the year, there had not yet been time to have its blank walls filled or the touches added that would make a home. Here it was obvious that family had lived in the maze of rooms.
Compared to these personalized and elegantly adorned rooms, Damien's citadel was decorated like a monastery. It probably had not improved much over the past nine months because its new mistress had lived all of her life in a monastery. The least Syreena could do was try and be like other Lycanthropes. They, at least, knew what it meant to enjoy the richer comforts of the world. Of course, Jasmine's quarters were decorated with all these elegant comforts and an assortment of sins in mind. Had she been in charge of the-