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|Noah(Nightwalkers #5) by Jacquelyn Frank|
But here lay a potential feast of feeling, spread before her in the form of a beautiful man, a magnificent lover, and a good soul. He would set her body to burn in a thousand ways, and she could see it in his quickly clouding eyes. Noah was in her mind, so he knew her thoughts. His hand was wrapped around a post at the foot of the bed, his knuckles white and lips pressed with restraint. Honor. Nobility at its most extreme.
Find the fear, Kestra, she thought to herself. What should you be afraid of? Where is the danger? Don't walk in without knowing the danger.
She was afraid she couldn't love him as he deserved. She was terrified of the danger that would cause to herself and others. He'd proved her body wasn't frigid. Could he do the same for her unpracticed, unwilling heart?
Noah came around the bed, walked to her, and took her chin between his fingers. He tilted her face up until their eyes met. "In this one thing, I ask you to trust me. I can show you the way. You think you are incapable of loving, but you also treat yourself as if you had no life before you were eighteen. You have pushed away the love of your parents, your friends, and your remaining family. But it was once there, Kes. You did love."
"And they suffered for it. I suffered for it," she said icily. "I will not love only to lose. What if-"
"No." He cut her off instantly. "Do not go to that place. You do not belong there. You never second-guess, never doubt. You only prepare, be safe, practice, learn, and grow in skills. These have been your precepts for all of your adult life. You chose not to live in fear in all things save love. It is time you apply those principles to that which frightens you the most. You look into your heart, see its needs, see its penchants toward me, and all you see is danger." He leaned closer to her, his sensual mouth smiling slightly as it hovered close to hers. "Jump, Kes. Just jump off and trust all your safety systems to work. Jump, throw your arms out, and feel the rush. It is incredible, and it is worth every second of it."
"Now, the trick with Demons," Cygnus lectured, as if he were a professor at Cambridge, "is to know their element. The ideal is to catch them in the daytime, when they are sleeping, but that way is very painful."
The others chuckled, except Cygnus's brother. Quinton was not amused. He had to grudgingly admit that Cygnus was really good at stalking Nightwalkers. They each now had aspects of Mistral and Shadowdweller in addition to their Vampire skills. They were confident they could take down a few of the lesser Demons. An adult. The women were not powerful and not worth it, so it had to be males.
"However, there is an advantage we mustn't overlook. Samhain." Cygnus grinned. "It's tomorrow. I have something good planned for tomorrow, but tonight is pretty powerful in itself and, well…let's just say there are going to be a lot of horny Demons out there. Catch one while it is rutting, and he will never have a chance. Capturing the power of a Demon for ourselves, no Summoning necessary." He chuckled with the others. "The trick is, what element to choose?"
"We need no telepathy or healing."
"Do not rule out Mind and Body. Mind Demons teleport and Body Demons have astral projection powers as well. For both reasons, however, it would risk exposing us if they got the opportunity to warn others. I would say a Water Demon. Or Wind. Both have weather abilities. Shape-changing to mist or wind, that would be very advantageous. Earth Demons are dangerous even at an early age."
"Fire," Cygnus mused. He made a show of tapping his chin in thought, and then he gave an evil grin. "That is what Samhain will be saved for. There is only one male Fire Demon. The Demon King. It would be the best time. He will be alone. The castle will be abandoned to the holiday after festivities. I figure if we get Water and Wind tonight, he will not be able to fight both with his Fire."
"It would be wise to wait. To practice untried abilities," Quinton argued. "There is time for Beltane."
"Perhaps. We shall see what happens tonight. I have other ideas as well. We will have a glorious time either way. Follow me, I think I see our first candidate."
They fell into the shadows behind an unsuspecting young Demon male.
Noah kissed her then, feeling their hearts beating the same wild rhythm. His mouth stroked against her softer one, gently tasting her lips, little sips of that natural sweetness that he simply couldn't figure out the source of. He had to believe it was just Kes, only Kes. His Kes.
"My Kes," they said together, against each other's mouths. Noah smiled just as she reached to kiss him a little deeper, and she laughed into his mouth just before their tongues touched.
"Do I really taste like sugar?" she asked between breaths and kisses.
"Find out for yourself," he encouraged her, the invitation somehow sounding sexy and forbidden. She pulled back, looking at him curiously, taking a moment to think. He reached to stroke a lone finger through her bangs, completely under the spell of watching her think about so many things, feeling her struggle with small surges of caution and apprehension.
He met her eyes with purpose, lowering to touch her mouth, sweeping his tongue playfully across her lower lip. He made an appreciative sound, licking her taste off his lips, his eyes gleaming with a smoky dare.
Kestra reached for the back of his head, securing him by lacing his hair between her nestling fingers. She held his eyes, searched them for a moment, and then he felt her flickering through his senses, felt her adjust for a moment to being behind his eyes, focusing on herself and how he saw her to be.
"You are beautiful," they said, her merge into his thoughts so perfect every time that she kept mistaking his impulses to speak for her own.
Noah left his eyes open, wanting her to see and feel everything he could provide, wanting her to know what a blessing it was for him to have her. He took her mouth gently, ignoring the inviting parting of her lips for a moment so she could pay attention to the full effect. He inhaled slowly and deeply, catching her scent, bringing it deep into his lungs where it stirred up sensory memory of over a hundred cotton candy dreams. They made an aching sound of pleasure as just these small traces of data sent stabs of heat streaking like hundreds of little fireballs down through his body.
When he finally nudged his way into her mouth, sweeping her taste onto his tongue, she could feel his heartbeat quickening, could feel his arousal as if it were her own, so unbelievably heavy, a straining need for her, for even the slightest detail of her. She did taste like sugar. At least she did to him. And she was shocked to find it was the truth, although she hadn't truly doubted him. His senses were so different than hers, so much sharper, so focused and powerful. She could hear her own heartbeat through his ears; she could smell the teasing flirtation of her own excitement.
Kestra gasped, jerking back away and into her own mind, her eyes wide with wonder and her cheeks stained with a ridiculous blush.
"I d-didn't realize…" she stuttered softly, pressing her hands to her face. "Your senses are so…so strong." She laughed. "I have the strangest and most desperate urge to take a shower."
"You do not require one," he said. "But I am ever the gracious host."
He reached for her hand and jerked her up from the bed and against his body. He secured her to himself with a tight arm around her waist, fitting her to every detail of his incredibly healthy form. His gray and green eyes were dark and knowing with his blatant desire for her. She was mesmerized and couldn't look away. He kept her feet barely touching the floor, moved, leading her backward across the room, again that debilitating tango that destroyed her equilibrium and every other thought that had nothing to do with him. He drew her entire focus, body and soul, making her feel his body, his eyes showing her his soul.
She saw it. Maybe she heard it. But most of all she felt it. She felt his certainty of it, and knew it was the truth. He would never tire of her, he'd never be able to hurt her, he couldn't betray her and could protect them both from all the dangers she could imagine and even those she hadn't yet come to know. It wasn't an absolute. Life and death were absolutes in and of themselves, and no one could change what would be.
Except he had defied that. He'd cheated death for her. Who else would ever give her such a gift? Who else would ever need her so much? Need but release when she required a separate peace. Argue but reason. Communicate though speechless.
They entered the bathroom, gaslights flaring brightly to life though he touched no switches. Candles flamed on their wicks, then lowered to muted softness. He moved her, his masculine body rippling with power and grace against her with each step. He smelled so good that she leaned in to him to breathe the smoky scent of his essence. He stopped their progress, simply feeling the sensations running over him as she did this, knowing she took pleasure in it just as he took delight in the fragrance of her.
"You showered, but you still smell like me," she noted on a whisper under his ear.
"I could not possibly wash you away even with a thousand showers, baby," he said, his intensity giving her a delightful shiver. "You are a part of me now."
"Why is it when you call me 'baby' I don't want to punch you out like I usually do when men think they can call me that?"
"Mmm, I have an answer for that, but I will keep my counsel on it for a little while longer." She lifted her head and narrowed her ice blue eyes on him. He covered the glare with a hand, making her laugh. "No fair reading my thoughts. Not about something I have just deemed semiprivate. You have no scruples."
"I confess I do not. Well, I do have the important ones." She watched as he reached into the shower stall behind her and turned on the taps. Steaming water streamed into the huge cubicle from all sides. "I just believe that if you have a resource, it should be utilized."
"You may revise your opinion when you are in a roomful of telepaths and empaths." He tested the temperature of the water with his fingertips. When it met his satisfaction, he looked into her eyes.
Kestra felt her breath clogging in her throat when she read the blatant craving in his look. Her hands came to his biceps reflexively, clinging to him as she waited with a pounding heart for his next move. He made it, stepping back from her, though his eyes never left her face and body as he watched steam tumble from the shower, casting opaque clouds around her.
"Undress for me, Kestra," he instructed her in a low, male command, his voice rumbling with sheer sensuality of purpose.
Kestra leaned back against the glass of the shower for a breathless minute, her heart throbbing painfully in her breast. Slowly, she reached for the hem of the red velvet dress.
"No. The other way, Kes," he huskily scolded her, his eyes flickering like jade gems with their intensity.
She understood. The neckline of the dress was such that she could easily step out of it. She reached for her shoulders, slipping the dress down. She had a natural sensuality that made every movement sexy and riveting. She felt it within herself, but now, under the fixed hunger of his gaze, it became amplified. Her gymnast's body always stood posed in a perfect curve of the spine and thrown-back shoulders, but her desire to be tempting to him added a slink to her backbone and a tilting curve to the pitch of her shoulders. She wriggled her arms out of the sleeves of the brief dress, then slowly peeled the top down.
Noah watched with total possession, welcoming the instant need gripping and clawing its way through him this time. He remembered the bra he had chosen earlier, a demicup of black and scarlet jacquard satin, the straps thin and black and doing so little to contain so much soft, enticing flesh. She hooked her thumbs in the dress and slowly worked it down her body, revealing the bra and all the lush beauty of her skin and curves. Noah's breath left him in a violent decompression of air. She was more beautiful than he could bear. Her skin was so perfect, her face, hair, and body all so flawless and so unbelievably tempting. Perhaps he was blinded by prejudice, but if it were so, then he welcomed his ignorance with open arms and a body she had turned to steel with longing. He wanted to learn every inch of her, he thought as she slid the dress past the curve of her waist and on to the swells of her hips.
Kestra watched Noah's hands curl into rock-solid fists, his stance becoming visibly more rigid, his jaw tightening perceptibly. A smile of feminine satisfaction blossomed in her mind as she watched him. She purposely shifted her legs, sliding one thigh against the other, causing a soft undulation of her hips just as she pushed the dress farther down. She tilted her head down so she was looking at him with blue flames in her eyes, staring hard at him through her lashes. She looked predatory, aroused, as if she knew exactly what she wanted, and it was no illusion. She released the dress and it fell to her ankles. She took a single step out to the side, widening her stance. She listened. She watched.
Noah was rooted in a web of his own making. He watched as she flared into erotic life, as she turned his own game against him with painfully artful ease. She slid her hands up her hips, palms spreading out over her belly as if she were touching herself as she would want him to touch her. She turned wickedly meaningful eyes on him as her hands slid up over her ribs, then her breasts. Noah's entire psyche screamed out with voracious need. He had to forcefully drag in his next breath, though it did nothing to oxygenate blood that was pooling in one specific place on his body. He felt as though he were hard from head to toe. His clothes were strangling him. She purposely looked below his belt, smiling a sexy little smile of satisfaction as she flicked open the front catch of her bra and peeled it back from her skin. Her gorgeous breasts and their darkly colored nipples were thrust forward as she shrugged her shoulders back and allowed the bra to glide easily from her arms.