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|Noah(Nightwalkers #5) by Jacquelyn Frank|
"Of course," she agreed, unable to repress a forlorn little sigh. "But-"
"No." His tone was firm and brooked no arguments. He gained the hallway and crossed the landing, heading for the opposite side of the castle.
"I was only saying-"
She sighed with heavy resignation.
"Fine. If you're going to be all uptight and moral about it."
"Not to worry," he placated her with a chuckle. "You will have plenty of things to blow up in our world. Believe me."
"Promise?" she demanded.
"My word as your King."
"Ha!" Then, at his look of disdain, she eased his ruffled honor. "You aren't my King," she reminded him gently.
"Nevertheless, it does not change the value of my word."
"No, but you should watch how you put things."
"Funny," he mused as he kicked open the door of the bedroom Elijah used to inhabit when he'd spent great amounts of time as Noah's guest, "but I did not think I had to consider whether or not I was yours, King, man, or otherwise."
He settled her onto the bed and pulled away to give her a meaningful look. She was already mulling it over.
"I see your point," she said softly, reaching up to place a warm hand on his stomach as he stood over her.
"Conceding a point? To me? Seems you have just blown me away once again."
"Ha. Ha. Ha," she said dryly as he covered her hand with his own.
Kestra felt him stiffen suddenly and he tore his gaze away from her face. She followed his wide stare to the hand she pressed to his belly. For the first time she realized a red stain was spreading across his shirt. She sat up suddenly, trying to jerk her hand free to see his wound.
"Not mine," he corrected her softly.
Finally, she noticed the red streaks of blood crisscrossing her palm, forearm, and biceps, sliced from her hasty crash through the stained glass window.
"Wow. I never felt a thing," she said as he nudged her over and sat beside her so he could better inspect the damage she had done to herself.
"This is my fault," he muttered, clearly feeling it. "I should never have messed with a new power indoors. I know better than this."
"You were trying to calm me down," she reminded him. "I thought I was turning into an alien, for goodness' sake."
"Nearly seven centuries of living dictates I should have used my head," he argued, wincing when he saw there was glass embedded in her skin. "Sit still. I am sure Elijah has first aid equipment in the bathroom."
She watched as he disappeared into the bathroom, breaking her gaze away only briefly to seek strength from the heavens.
"You had to give me a control freak," she said with mild disgust. "I would have settled for 'a little bossy,' or even 'slightly stubborn,' but no…" She sighed, sounding very put upon. Then she addressed the man in the next room. "They're only superficial cuts," she called out.
"Not the one on your palm," he argued.
"Regardless, Gideon said I'd heal rapidly on my own. I don't see why you're getting your knickers in a twist."
"Because," he said heatedly as he approached the bed with a first aid kit in hand, "I damn well hate to see you hurt."
That was clearly the final word on the matter, mainly because Kestra was busy dealing with the warm and fuzzy feelings his remark had caused to well up inside her. Damn him anyway for turning her into a woman made of marshmallows.
He lifted his head from his inspection of her injured arm long enough to give her a look that told her that her thoughts hadn't gone unmonitored.
"Well, you are," she groused good-naturedly.
"Fair return for what you have done to me," he retorted, a sparkle in his smoky eyes.
She impatiently threw her legs over the side of the bed, fidgeting as he cleaned and dressed the gash in her palm.
"Oh, quit babying it," she complained when he was taking too long for her satisfaction.
With an exasperated sigh he grabbed her by the chin and forced her to look at him. "Are you in some kind of hurry I should know about?"
"Well, I was thinking I'd go outside. You know, take these babies out for a spin, see what they can do!" She waggled her fingers in his face even as a stern scowl radiated over his expression. "Oh, come on! It's like when you get a brand-new gun. A laser-sighted fine-lined semiautomatic with its first full clip. The first thing you need to do is shoot the damn thing! Get the feel. Ride the rush until your arms ache from the recoil. You know?"
Noah had to resist the urge to laugh and get caught up in her enthusiasm. The parallel wasn't all that far off, actually. In that moment she practically reeked of her military training, and it fascinated him. And yes, she should get familiar with this new power as soon as possible.
"But not tonight," he said in a concise, no-nonsense tone. "Let us save it for the morrow, Kestra. You need rest, and frankly, I need at least an hour where you are not in danger of losing a limb…or even a healthy strand of hair, for that matter. Now settle down."
Damn it. She was pulling the pouting thing on him. Did she really think that was going to work on any intelligent man? Women had been pouting at him for six centuries. It didn't affect him in the least.
Except perhaps to make her look extremely kissable. Her lips had such a sweet pink blush to them, and it darkened considerably when she pushed them out in expression of her consternation. And why in hell was an ex-militia cum mercenary using a feminine wile like pouting, anyway? Women's activists had to be rolling in their graves.
Noah forced himself to look down at her arm and finish the task of binding her wounds. When she was wrapped in gauze from palm to shoulder, he finally gathered the fortitude to look at her face again. The pout had disappeared, replaced by an expression of abject disappointment and resignation.
"What?" He covered his disturbance with impatience.
"Well, you won't let me play with this power. You won't let me play with you. You won't let me do anything, and I don't think I like you very much right now."
"Play with you." Did she actually just say that? Noah swallowed hard as that lightning-quick awareness she so easily triggered in him leapt to attention. He was trying to remember why he wouldn't let her play with him, the issue lost in a jumble of erotic thoughts and confused priorities.
"I am…" He cleared his throat when his voice sounded a little too rough and aroused for his liking. "It is not my wish to deny you anything," he explained reasonably. "You are free to do whatever you like. I know you are an independent person. But," he hurried along when a wicked smile curled the corner of her delicious-looking lips, "but I am older and wiser when it comes to the world you have entered, and you have to understand that my advice has reason behind it. Good reason. And a desire to keep you safe."
"Hmm." She seemed to contemplate that for a second. Then she stood up and turned toward him as she pulled at her towel. The cotton cloth fell away from her body, leaving him with a breast-level view of her sleek body. "I have a desire to keep you safe as well," she told him softly. "Safe here, in my arms."
She slid her arms around his neck, stepping around his leg so she could get even closer. This brought the hard peak of her nipple to brush boldly over his lips. He made a repressed sound of need as she so easily mastered and called forth the fire from within him. It flowed over his skin and bones, melting through both until he was little more than hard, tensed muscle and an aching heaviness of arousal. All of which he knew she was counting on, shameless and relentless siren that she was.
"Noah," she whispered against his hair. "I want you. And I know you want me."
"Wanting you is not in question," he murmured, his mouth brushing over her warm skin as he spoke. He let the tip of his tongue touch the surface of her breast, and she caught a breath and shuddered. "I will always want you."
Noah gave in to her temptations, drawing her rigid nipple into the warm cavern of his mouth, flicking his tongue over her with expert speed and pressure until her knees went a little weak and she clung to him with a soft moan of delight. He left her with a teasing scrape of his teeth. If she wanted to play at seduction, he was more than happy to oblige.
"Oh, that feels so good," she breathed into his ear as she rubbed her face against his hair. "I don't know how or why, but it makes me so…so…"
"Hot," he supplied for her roughly. "Hot enough that I can feel it radiating off your skin."
He reached out to caress the globe of her breast with a long, graceful stroke meant to tease ever so lightly. His fingers then drifted down along the curve of her side as he reached to suck on her dark, tempting nipple once again. This time his draw on her was tighter, rougher. He was more insistent on hearing her cry out, which she did readily. Her head bowed to touch his, her damp hair hanging against his face and neck a chill contrast to the increasing warmth emanating from him.
Noah moved to gently run his tongue over a fading welt traveling diagonally over the rise of her breast. She eagerly sank her fingers into his dark hair, holding his head to herself with a shuddering sigh. Her nails rubbed against his scalp as he moved to attend the opposite breast, the sensation sending a shiver down his spine.
"I feel as though I've waited all day for you to touch me. It's weighed in the back of my mind, rushing forward any chance it got, even with everything that's happened tonight," she told him.
The late night shadow of his whiskers burned over her skin; his tongue and lips scorched. Kestra felt his hands gliding into the bend of her waist and she sighed with contentment now that she was secure in the understanding that whatever his wishes a minute ago, he was now fully engaged in the moment. Noah broke away, pressing his lips to her breastbone as he chuckled against her.
"So sure of yourself, are you?" he asked as his heated hands skimmed down her hips.
She smiled into his silky hair.
"All evidence seems to point in my favor," she agreed, her sly tone daring him to refute her.
"And if I were to stop, just to teach you a lesson, my brat?" He asked this as his fingers slid to the V of her hips, brushing with teasing touches through trim white curls. She felt so soft and damp, her heat an exciting balm against the pads of his fingertips. Her sweet, sexy scent washed over him, as did a surge of craving for her that struck him low. He could never leave her.
Never. For the rest of his life.
Kestra gasped as he discarded his noncommittal teasing and slid his fingers into her welcoming flesh. Just as quickly they were gone and he was making a sound of deep frustration over their awkward positions. He practically gave her whiplash as he swung her down onto the bed with a bounce. He pushed her knees apart, his gaze hot and intent as she opened to his viewing and anything else he wanted to do to her. She was breathing hard enough to fill the room with sound, and he smiled at how eager she was to feel what he had taught her to feel. What they had learned to feel together.
Noah bent to kiss her knee, his mixed-colored eyes flicking upward to meet hers, making certain he kept her fully engaged. He brushed a seeking palm along the inside of her smooth inner thigh. His mouth quickly fell into its path, making a sound of anticipation hiss from her lips. Kestra's eyes closed in reflex, but the sharp squeeze of his fingers demanded she rethink breaking off eye contact with him.
"You wanted to play," he scolded thickly. "Let us play."
He pushed off with a knee on the edge of the bed and he landed over her entire body, braced on his hands, a palm on either side of her head and on his knees between her thighs. Kestra inhaled, taking in his aggression and his scent all at once. He pressed the front of his thighs to the backs of hers, pushing her farther open, leaving her exposed and vulnerable and making her heart pound when she realized he was still fully clothed and she was completely served up to his every whim.
"Ahh," he growled softly in her ear, his lips playing over her sensitive lobe. "Finally she understands that two can play this game."
"May the best one win?"
"May we both win," he corrected, punctuating the sentiment with an erotic sweep of his tongue down the length of her neck. He shifted his weight to a single hand, resting his freed palm and widely splayed fingers against her collarbone. He swiftly skimmed downward over her breast, on to her belly, which dipped in an anticipatory tremble as he brushed her with a painter's creativity for a long minute, exploring all curves and sensitivities.
Kestra sighed with obvious relief when his fingertips finally returned to their hastily abandoned exploration of the ready folds of her feminine body. He exhaled hotly against her mouth a moment before catching her up in a kiss that plumbed the depths of his passion for her. She felt his wild thoughts bursting across her mind, taking her breath away.
So wet. So hot. For me. I could spend a lifetime learning how to be inside you.
Kestra clung to his shoulders as tense pleasure sprang through her body from all the attention he was paying her. But at those thoughts, she was suddenly galvanized into action, her fingers falling to his shirt, dragging it from the waistband of his pants. He groaned deeply when her touch slid up over the bare skin of his back, but he refused to remove his hands from her to allow her to strip him of it. She cried out when two long fingers slid into her ready opening, the nectar of her aroused body hot to his touch as it bathed him. He felt the surge of answering longing thickening in his groin, his erection straining for its favorite haven.
But he'd longed for her all night, on one level or another, having been twisted through a wringer of every emotion ever created, and he wouldn't give in too quickly now. For her, however, he had completely opposite plans.