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|Noah(Nightwalkers #5) by Jacquelyn Frank|
"It is teleporting. My sister is able to teleport herself and others at a thought. She was clearly waiting for her cue."
"Did you see Gideon? What was all that spray paint around him?"
"It is called a power aura. I can see them, too. All Fire Demons can. Apparently you can, too."
"So why him and no one else?" she asked, slapping her thigh in her frustration.
"I would say it is because you mapped his power last night, Kes. Relax. This is how it is going to be for a while. Luckily, I could explain this one."
"This one?" She rolled her eyes. "But you don't see everyone like that, do you? Because personally, I would get eyestrain."
"I can control it. So can you. We will test this ability another time. You need your energy for tonight, and playing capacity parlor tricks will wear you out."
"Oh, is that right?" Her attention was immediately on him as he curled her tightly to his side.
"And did I mention how damn adorable and sexy you are in this dress?"
"You mentioned nothing of the kind," she said, allowing herself to sinuously cuddle up against his hard frame until she was content and comfortable. "In fact, you have been rather silent since I came down here."
"I had business to take care of first," he reminded her.
"Yes, but I couldn't escape the feeling that I had done something displeasing to you," she said pointedly.
He didn't bother to deny it in the least. "It was that moment you thought you were standing amongst us as if you were my blond trophy. It upsets me that you have been in my mind and yet do not realize how such a behavior is in no way part of my makeup."
"Oh," she said, the dawning understanding causing her to look away. "I'm sorry. It was unfair, I know." She sighed softly, reaching to draw a pattern with her fingers against the fabric over his chest. "I'm still getting to know you, but that isn't a fair excuse. You've never given me cause to believe you capable of that level of chauvinism." She paused, absorbing the heat of him through her fingertips, the appendages sipping at him like hungry little straws. He was so warm. He always felt so damned good. It was almost addicting. "I'm also now realizing I have to learn about myself as a person connected to you, and I was feeling a little off my mark with such powerful strangers around me.
"To be fair to myself," she added, "I'm also not used to someone monitoring my every callous thought. I can have a very cynical, bitter mind sometimes. A defense mechanism, I suppose. I warned you I was normally not a nice person."
"And yet you exhibited flawless manners and etiquette with Elijah just now," he countered, leaning forward to brush his lips through her bangs. "Something of a contradiction, are you not?"
"I wouldn't agree. Everything I do is designed to get me something I want or need. I'm a mercenary, remember? I needed Elijah's information, and I wanted to make a pleasing enough impression so that I wouldn't be perceived as a threat to you by him. I'm a tough gal, but I'm not tough enough to go up against your own personal Goliath."
Noah choked out a laugh. "He can be intimidating at first sight."
"Intimidating? That's what you call it?" She snorted indelicately. "He's a pit bull. He figured out I was military-trained in-like-five seconds and then he dogged me for my entire resume."
"That is why he is in charge of my fighters." Kestra didn't mistake the swell of pride beneath Noah's humor. "Let me know if he tries to recruit you."
"You'll be the first to know," she assured him. She smiled up at him as she slid her fingers around the soft waistband and leather belt of his breeches, these dyed a piratical black in harmony with a black silk shirt. His black and tan boots had been replaced with entirely black Hessians as well. "You look very Prince Goth tonight," she remarked. "Hair slicked all in order into a tail." She teasingly reached for his hairline and he dodged her mischievous fingers. She then kissed his cheek and rubbed her pouting lips along the line of his jaw, murmuring, "Hmm, freshly shaved and aftershaved. Feeling so soft and smelling so pretty." She laughed when he placed a hand over her face and tried to push her away, but she had already slid her hands into his front pockets, securing herself to his body very tightly. Defeated, he had to slide his hand down from her face, stopping when she nipped at his passing thumb with possessive lips. He began to rub her lower lip with speculation shimmering in his eyes. "One would think you had a hot date tonight."
"I do have a hot date tonight," he agreed. "I am expected to make an appearance at the festival."
"I see. Deep in a dark English forest," she mused. "Where couples frolic behind every bush and tree."
"No," he chided. Then he smiled. "I told you, frolicking comes after the festival."
Kestra made a small adjustment of her hands, seeking him through the soft fabric of his pants as she licked her lips, and subsequently his nearby thumb, her eyes shimmering with mischief.
Noah was watching the sexy slide of her tongue when the touch of her hands seemed to come out of nowhere. He sucked in a soft, startled breath as her fingers rubbed him from their covert hiding places. She chuckled low in her throat as she watched the gray in his eyes cloud over darkly.
"I want you to know," he said roughly, pausing to close his eyes as she caught his thumb in her mouth and slowly, with a sweep of her tongue, sucked it with sexy suggestiveness. His entire body went into instant meltdown as she toyed with him. He barely managed to complete his point. "I am required to make this appearance."
Kes slid a hand free of his pocket so she could fully cup him through his zipper. She made a soft sound of admiration as he blossomed into rigidity beneath her insistent fondling. His hands had come around her shoulders and were squeezing her tight enough to bruise her. She reached for his mouth and he obliged her instantly.
Here he was the one in charge of the aggression. His lips crushed down on hers in a full-out assault. He delved into her mouth wildly, a reward and reflection of the fire she had lit with so simple a match. She caught his tongue, sucking it suggestively now as her palm pressed up the hot length of erect male flesh beneath her touch.
Noah groaned loudly, unable to help himself as she ripped the sound out of him with her skillful playing. He felt her take a step and he automatically stepped back under the press of her body. Before he knew it, she had him backed into his desk and she wrapped herself around him like a snake, taking his wild kisses with delighted little laughs of encouragement, her hand taking his and placing it on her backside. He could feel the ridiculously short hem of the minidress she wore right at the tips of his fingers. He slid his hand beneath the thin gingham and felt the shock of completely naked feminine flesh filling his hand warmly.
"Sweet Destiny, Kes," he gasped, "you have nothing on under this dress!"
She shrugged and actually batted her lashes at him, the little minx. "I was in a rush."
She heard him curse roundly, and she burst into laughter even as he flipped their positions against the desk, seating her on the edge and grabbing both of her thighs and hooking them onto his hips. He kissed her savagely until she was too breathless to laugh, his hands sliding up under her dress with heat and eagerness. He behaved as though he hadn't touched her in weeks, rather than hours, and she reveled in the power of his craving for her. His hands ran burning paths up over her hips, one breaking to settle in the sensitive small of her back, the other continuing on until he was cupping her breast, kneading the full flesh with enough passion to bend her back over his bracing hand.
Noah wanted nothing more than to shuck the slip of nothingness she called a dress off her body and devour every inch of her skin. He could not believe she had stood there conversing with a roomful of men in what had amounted to nothing but a-well, he couldn't think of a metaphor at the moment. Her hands were driving him to distraction.
The Demon King was no fool, however. He was also very cognizant of the benefits to the immodesty of her apparel. He slid his hand down from her breast, sweeping over her belly until his fingers crept between her thighs, playing a fair game of turnabout as he sought sensitive, damp flesh.
"My, my, my," he murmured against her ear as he stroked through rich, honeyed folds. "Someone has been thinking some very exciting thoughts."
"You would know," she gasped, her voice so low and sexy it caused heat to claw at his groin in response. Everything she did seemed designed to make him swell beyond reasonable capacity, and he ached with the pleasurable pain of it. Without any further preamble, Noah slid a finger inside her. She shuddered, and he felt it from the inside of her body outward.
"You know what?" he said suddenly, removing his touch and making her exclaim in consternation at the unexpected deprivation. "You will forgive me for my impatience, baby," he whispered hotly as he reached to rapidly free himself from his pants, "but you pick the damnedest times and the worst places."
Her response was to nod vigorously in understanding. He reached for her, cupping her buttocks in his hands and dragging her to the very edge of the desk. He settled his throbbing length against her and she gasped with that sensation of first touch, so exciting and anticipatory at the same time. Her hands instinctively dove into his hair at the back of his neck, her fingers cupping his head as he fastened his mouth to the line of her throat as if he would devour her even as he claimed her. He slid like pure heated steel against her, and her entire body trembled as tongues of fire licked up inside her from that contact point. She felt him poise himself against her entrance, tickling her with inevitability.
Kestra felt him hesitate. Hold back. She made a whimpering sound of complaint, her body trembling in his iron grip as he denied her needs. Then she felt his hair brushing her cheek as his head picked up and his entire body went still as death. She could feel the hackles along the back of his neck rising beneath her sensitive fingers. She pulled back to look at his face, her heart rate suddenly picking up for all new reasons as she saw the darkening expression on his face.
"What is it?" she asked warily.
"Trouble." He looked at her and, cupping her head between his hands, kissed her regretfully. "Sorry, baby, but we have to finish this later."
"Of course." She immediately let go of him, letting him step away in order to resituate his clothing. She hopped down from the desk, smoothing her dress back down into place. She self-consciously rubbed a hand over her bruised lips, but it was the restless shifting of her needy body that she couldn't seem to hide.
"Kikilia, do me a favor and stand in front of me for a minute or two?"
She laughed, grateful for the release of her keyed-up tension as he leaned against the desk and pulled her back against him.
"Play trophy blonde?" she asked.
"Human shield is more like it," he said dryly. "And do not wriggle that backside of yours or so help me…"
"I will do my level best," she promised. "And it's Druid shield," she corrected on a quick whisper.
"How could I forget?" he said softly, unable to contend with his feelings about the remark that indicated her acceptance of who she was becoming, versus the wall of dread and torrential rage approaching them from an outside source. Noah was no empath, but the energy of these emotions was something he knew all too well.
They both looked up when a shower of dust blasted into the hall through an open plate in one of the high windows. Jacob materialized with a vicious twist of dust molecules, his dark eyes blazing with outrage and his fists clenched even before he began to speak.
"Noah, Benjamin the artisan has been murdered."
"What?" Noah's voice pitched so low and so dark so suddenly that Kestra felt ice walk down her spine even though his breath was hot on the back of her neck. Leaning against him as she was, she felt every muscle in his body coiling into a position of flexed fury.
"His throat torn open, among other sadistic wounds. I saw the body myself." The usually steady Enforcer actually shuddered slightly. "It was an accident, really, that I should come across him. It being Samhain, I keep watch for hints from nature of things out of place, as most Demons leave signs of their struggles even when they manage to cloak themselves from me in other ways. I saw carrion birds and…the kill was fresh. Last night, right before dawn, I would wager."
"The Vampire rogues," Kestra said. "Clever to just beat the dawn in such a way, when the Demon himself was probably more focused on getting home to bed. He would get a little sloppy, not be paying any real attention as he paced himself against the coming sun."
"That is exactly what I thought," Jacob agreed. Kestra took note that the Enforcer accepted her input in equal stride, no hint of ego or the usual macho nonsense she had dealt with in human society.
"Jacob, do you have a trail?"
"To be honest, Noah, I did not even bother to check. I came right here. Benjamin was a Water Demon. Adult level, about the midrange."
"They knew he was just powerful enough to be of value, but as an artisan was likely to be unskilled in battle tactics," Kestra mused. When both men looked at her with surprise, she shrugged and tilted a wry grin at them. "What? It's what I would do."
Jacob opened his mouth to speak, but closed it with a silent snap.
"It is a long story, my friend," Noah offered him gently. He moved his mate aside, letting her lean back beside him so he could see her as she contributed to the conversation.
"This means they are on our territory, Noah, during Samhain, our weakest, most vulnerable time save Beltane. And I hate to say it, but I can only think of one reason why they would choose Water."