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|Rapture(Shadowdwellers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank|
“I haven’t needed it. Survived without it. But…” She smiled winsomely, the expression taking his breath away as it turned her instantly beautiful before his eyes. Not that she wasn’t beautiful to begin with, because she was, but in that moment it was like seeing precious sculpted art; eyes carved by a lover’s hand, a mouth shaped to reflect his lust for it, and the turning curve of her cheek begging for the stroke of a reverent touch. “But I might learn to like it,” she finished, looking up at him.
Magnus lowered his eyes, covering under the action of turning his back to her so she could continue her task. Whether she saw the evasive tactic for what it was, he did not know. He assumed not, because she didn’t even hesitate to reach for his shoulders and continue bathing him. Close to a ledge, Magnus reached out both hands and braced himself against it. His legs were steady, but the rushing of his blood and the spinning tilt to his senses made him require support.
He took in a long, slow breath as quietly and evenly as he could manage, trying to calm his hurrying heart. He was a man, after all, he reminded himself. He was going to feel desire. It could hardly be avoided so long as he was in his sexual prime. As she ran her brush down his spine and her free hand absently curved forward over his hip, her fingertips tickling against sensitive skin and hairs, his internal logic double-timed.
It was normal to feel excitement, especially after the adrenaline rush of battle. Soon he would crash and he wouldn’t even be able to stay awake. It was all physiological, acts of predictable biology. The trouble was that the actual act of sex couldn’t stop at mere biology. It was too intimate, and with intimacy came difficulties. Distractions…
Her wet, warm body leaned against his back, the slippery weight of her breasts sliding prominently against him, including starkly tipped nipples that were reacting, no doubt, from the temperature clash between the water and the cooler air. It was one temptation too many for Magnus’s control to manage, and he began to develop a rapid, heavy erection in response. He gritted his teeth, closing his eyes and trying to get a hold of himself. He didn’t think she would understand. It would send her a mixed, confused message and she was too inexperienced and uneducated to know how the male mind and body functioned in this way.
You’re a teacher, for Drenna’s sake! he hissed to himself. Find a way to explain yourself!
“Daenaira,” he ground out between tight teeth. “Do you understand about an adrenaline rush?”
She laughed, obviously finding it an odd turn in topic. She skimmed her industrious brush down past his tattoo, over his ass, being just as thorough as she could as she shaped around his uninjured hip and cheek and thigh. The sensations she created were so incredibly good, and so damn close to pleasure, that he began to ache with the steady throb running the length of his cock.
“Yes, of course I do. It’s a natural high. It can give you power and strength when you need it. I feel it when I fight.”
“So do I,” he informed her roughly as her brushing glided around to the front of his pelvis. She barely missed running her knuckles up against his cock, but then continued down his thigh as far as she could reach. “It has other effects to. It can…uh…”
Dae suddenly moved forward, leaning her entire body around as she reached for the bar of soap he had abandoned to the ledge. She ducked under his arm when she couldn’t quite reach and stood in front of him with her back to him. The luscious curve of her backside swished only a few tempting inches away from his turgid sex, and Magnus was overwhelmed with the urge to latch on to her hips and drag her back against him. Instead, he dug his nails into the marble ledge.
Then she turned around and his time for explanation ran to a fast halt. The brush hit the water with a splash, a little thunk following a moment later as it hit bottom. Her amber eyes dashed up to his and she could see, he knew, every bit of the way he was struggling for control of himself.
And then she looked straight back down again and stared at him with open admiration that just about set his balls on fire.
“Oh my,” she whispered.
Just like she had done when she had found herself aroused by the couple modeling for his class. Of course she had been aroused. She was young and healthy and starved of exposure to such things. Plus, it was only natural. There was always some element of excitement in the voyeurism of a classroom experience.
“I’m…” He couldn’t make himself apologize, no matter how much he wanted to. He made a sound of frustration. “Adrenaline,” he said rather lamely.
“Oh,” she said softly, still staring at him. “That’s…uh…quite a rush,” she noted.
The cheeky observation made him want to laugh and groan all at once. He forced himself to breathe, to smile as if it was no big deal, and then reached to brush a damp hair off her cheek.
“Men can’t hide things like women can,” he said tightly. “And we aren’t all that hard to please as a sex. We tend to be very visual. And you, K’yindara, tend to be very visually stimulating.”
“Thank you,” she said, looking slightly stunned by the backhanded compliment. “You’re very visually stimulating, too.” She punctuated her obvious sincerity by slowly licking her lips. Magnus’s heart tried to bolt out of his chest when he saw the provocative and subconscious invitation. “I have to touch you.”
Magnus went deadly still, even holding his breath as it burned his chest in demand.
“I mean, to finish bathing you,” she amended. She reached out a tentative hand, her fingertip coming to within a breath of the head of his erection where it broke the surface of the water. “Is that all right?”
No! Absolutely not!
“Of course,” he said, forcing himself to shrug. “We’re going to be doing this a lot, Dae, and this is bound to happen from time to time.”
Holy Light, he’d actually managed to sound casual. Casual was good. They had to be casual. Relaxed. Get past the awkward steps and settle into a matter-of-fact routine.
But she pulled away at the last second and laughed. “I need a sponge. Not certain you’d like a brush in more sensitive places.” She ducked below the surface, sending water ebbing against him as her hair floated toward him in a wild cloud. Just when he could imagine himself wrapped up in the dark and beautiful strands, she surfaced with the brush in her hand. She set it on the ledge, clearly intending to get back to it, and ducked back out from between his braced arms.
This is a bad idea, M’jan, he warned himself.
No. He could handle this. It would be a minute or two of sheer torture, and then she would move on. Any Shadowdweller male worth his heritage could bear up under a two-minute tease. All he had to do was treat it like any lesson. A handmaiden’s lesson. Just teach her how to be thorough and efficient. Be clinical.
Daenaira popped back under his arm, waving a sea sponge in triumph. Then she swept up her soap. It was obvious to him that she was all business. That should help, he told himself. It had to help. His testicles were starting to ache. There was no describing the pulses of heat that rushed down his shaft as he watched her lather up her sponge between deft hands.
She didn’t affect shyness, whether she felt it or not. She just tossed aside the soap and reached to take him in hand. Efficient, casual, and even clinical.
Until the thickly lathered combination of her sponge and her free hand stroked him from tip to root and back again.
“Are many men this thick around?” she inquired, awe obvious in her voice and eyes as she studied every motion of her hands almost as closely as he did.
“It varies,” he managed to say, though he hardly came off sounding neutral.
“Should I be careful? Usually I’m going for pain when I catch hold of a penis,” she noted. “Not sure if I know how to be nice.”
Bullshit. Her touch was ecstasy. Gods, he needed her to be a little quicker. Yes, faster. Much faster.
Dae slowed her touch, her soapy fingers inspecting him in deliberate increments. “How amazing, how different we are. Men and women, I mean. This doesn’t hurt you?”
Not like you mean. “No,” he breathed.
She slid her sponge in a thorough path past the base of his cock while holding him snug in her opposite hand. She swirled soap and water around his taut testicles, the massage all but bringing him to his knees. Fire burned suddenly up his tense thighs and through his gut. The preliminary urge to climax was on him before he could even recognize it. He reacted violently and unexpectedly, grabbing hold of her wrists and jerking them out of the water and to a safe distance into the air.
“Go,” he gritted out, struggling to keep control as he ground his teeth down to nubs.
“But…did I do something—?”
“Go! Leave me!”
He saw her temper flash, a knee-jerk response to her embarrassment. Damn me to Light, I’m doing the very thing I try to prevent by the classes I teach. Causing shame. Fear. Resentment.
“Dae, please,” he begged her then, the honesty in his torn voice the only thing he could give her.
It quelled her temper a bit, but she still rushed from the bath in obvious upset. She stormed into her bedroom, no doubt wishing she had a door to slam on him.
But Magnus couldn’t focus on her as he stumbled for the steps. He couldn’t drag himself beyond the top step and fell back gasping for breath as his blood sang with unbearable heat and need. He took himself in hand, trying to squeeze a calm into his urgency, but it was no use. He was stroking in hard, almost savage pulls within seconds, groaning low in his throat as he lay back across the floor and abandoned himself to the inevitable. His climax came roaring through him with a vengeance. His hand clutched his cock in quick jerks as he burst apart, semen jetting in harsh, hard spurts high into the air. He growled in low, pained release, fighting the urge to shout out and risk gaining Dae’s attention. He didn’t want her to know how damn weak he was. What a hypocrite he felt like. He had sent her away, but it had all been her.
And she hadn’t even been trying. She hadn’t even realized.
Magnus collapsed into relaxation even as he still felt spasms working through him. He gasped to catch his breath, only then realizing his hip was on fire with pain, the ripping tension of orgasm tearing at Dae’s careful stitches. He opened his eyes to look at himself, covered in his own ejaculate and bleeding again.
His attention jerked to the right when he heard the softest sound of movement, and his whole body and mind froze as he stared into wide amber eyes. His heart began to race again as he tried to know what she was thinking. But before he could move or speak, she had disappeared back into her room.
Oh, boy.This could be very, very bad.
Or it could be very, very interesting.
Daenaira was still dripping as she paced a small path next to her bed, her arms folded and a lip between her teeth.
Having realized suddenly that she had trotted off obediently, like that proverbial lapdog, Dae had instantly turned back to the bath with a fury, ready to cut stripes up and down his ungrateful, annoying, self-superior hide. She had stopped cold when she had seen him lying sprawled over the tiled floor with his thick, straining cock in his furious hand. It hadn’t taken but a few seconds for him to start seizing with his climax, and she had watched with awe and a swift, fiery burn along the nerves beneath her skin as he had shot out an abandoned release that had rained back down onto his body in a wild, wicked pattern of chaos.
She had stood and stared at him in total disbelief. It was the second time in a single day that she had felt an overwhelming rush of sexual arousal. Not bad, she thought, for someone who had never felt it before. Zero to a hundred in two seconds.
What was even more interesting, however, was finding out how much incredible bullshit the head priest of Sanctuary was really full of. Damn him anyway, using her naïveté against her like that! Gods, what an idiot he must think she was! She had fallen for all that “no sex” crap, trying her best to be as neutral as he had said he’d wanted her to be. And it hadn’t been easy! Just because she had no practical experience didn’t mean she didn’t feel things! When she had turned around and found him so amazingly erect, she couldn’t help her reaction…although she had damn well tried. She had never been so up close and personal before—not voluntarily—and he had made her think it was okay for her to express her curiosity. She had thought that to him, it was just like another class.
Dae’s face burned as she realized he had basically just used her to get himself off. A feeling that was confirmed when he suddenly looked at her with guilt stamped clearly in his golden eyes. Well, at least he had the conscience to feel bad about it—although he probably wouldn’t have if he hadn’t been caught! Gods, and to think she had defended his honor with that nasty little cow Greta! What if it really had been him she’d bent over for that day in the rectory?
She had walked away, her throat tight with disappointment and confusion. She didn’t understand. She had believed him. She didn’t believe anyone, but she had believed he was going to be different from all of those others.
Well, he was different. Instead of force, he used rules, traditions, circumstances, and her damn stupidity to get what he wanted! Or he snuck around behind a girl’s back. Literally!
Then her mind flashed back to the image of his body running stiff with the throes of his orgasm. She’d seen illicit moments of a man’s climax as a child, but while it had always looked somewhat painful to her young eyes the way they would groan and thrash and buck, there was also the unmistakable sensation that the man was lost in a moment of pure bliss and release. But seeing Magnus so rigid and agonized, it was almost as if he had been fighting it every step of the way. And for that matter, why make her leave? So she didn’t realize what he was up to, or so she didn’t realize what she had made him feel?