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  • Home > Jacquelyn Frank > Shadowdwellers > Rapture (Page 47)     
    Rapture(Shadowdwellers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank

    “You always demand more than I can give,” she retorted.

    “More than you think you can give,” he corrected. “Amazingly, I have been right every time I have asked you to stretch yourself.” He gave her a rather wolfish grin as he perused her moist, naked skin and began to contemplate the way he would like to really stretch her, making those thoughts as vivid as he could just to see if she was paying close attention.

    “Magnus!” she exclaimed a little breathlessly. “People don’t really do that—do they?”

    “And so much more,” he assured her, satisfied she was plenty distracted as the deeper topics were discarded and more carnal ones arose. “Do they frighten you, my thoughts of what I want to do to you?”

    He could tell by the blush suffusing her upper body that they didn’t, but he wanted to hear what she would say. Daenaira bit her lip and looked down at where their bodies were thoroughly connected…where she could feel him recovering his arousal in quickening, thickening increments.

    “I don’t really think so,” she mused, fascinated by the changes she felt happening inside herself. That didn’t surprise him. He felt, quite certainly, that she was capable of an enormous and rapacious appetite. All she needed was a little time.

    Just a little time and she would reach all of her fullest potential.

    Emotionally as well as physically.

    He was sure of it.

    Chapter Seventeen

    Daenaira awoke feeling distinctly sore.It had been a long, exhausting week.

    The whole of Sanctuary, it seemed, was in an uproar. Sagan was missing and presumed dead or worse. Brendan, though alive, remained weakened from his injuries and massive blood loss. The volume of blood he had lost inhibited his natural ability to heal, and it was very difficult to provide transfusions between members of their society.

    Magnus, who should have been enjoying a small reprieve and relief from knowing Sanctuary had been gutted of its influence of evil, was instead steadily driving himself to exhaustion as he tried to pick up the shattered pieces of trust all around the city and within the religious house itself. Parents had yanked nearly half the student body out of Sanctuary when rumors of student abuse filtered into the city. Daenaira had watched with devastating sorrow as Magnus had taken each and every instance deeply to heart. But as each child left, he spoke to the families and turned it to his use. Take them, he said to each one, until I am done securing the school once again. When I have implemented safety measures that will assure all our children will be safe with us once more, I will call you back to me. And, baffled and frightened, the parents would nod and agree, their anger and their indignation dissipating as this man they had all been raised to trust so implicitly made them a promise they knew he would die to keep.

    Then there were the three.

    Those three names Nicoya had mentioned before her death, who were also betrayers. All had escaped just ahead of justice, and with only Ventan and Magnus alive to dole out penance, there was no one left for Magnus to delegate to. This eradication of his penance priests was, by far, the most devastating effect to ripple through the temple itself. He and Ventan had to pick up the slack of listening to confession of sins, overseeing penitence, and doling out penance. Then, when he wasn’t teaching his courses, which he refused to hand over to anyone else, he was out trying to hunt Nicoya’s remaining devils.

    And somehow, in the midst of all this, Magnus made the time to dwell in the chambers of the female Chancellor, providing her with his guidance and reassurances. They were lucky, he told her, to have finally rid one of the three most powerful bodies in their government of the seeds of deceit growing inside it. The Chancellors were confident that their upper echelon was also free of such deception. Now the Senate was all that remained. This, however, would not be so easy to rectify as it had been to set Sanctuary to rights, and they all grimly settled themselves in for the long haul where this was concerned.

    It was another part of Nicoya’s legacy that truly kept Magnus in a state of perpetual devastation, and watching him struggle with it had the power to shatter Daenaira’s heart. For a week he had agonized over Shiloh’s dire prediction of woe and death for his son’s family, and he knew of no solution. Had it been in his power, he would have erased the threat completely, allowing his son and his wife to continue on in complete ignorance of there ever being any danger. However, all his initial quests for information had proven to him how fruitless it was to hope for such a thing. Dae knew he was now only waiting for the warrior who guarded the queen, Guin by name, to return so he could plumb his resources in a final attempt. Only after he had exhausted the other man’s mind would he relent and finally tell his son and new daughter of the threat that hung so direly over their heads.

    And then, long after day broke, he would enter their rooms and seek Daenaira in her bed, climbing in to swallow her warmth and passion like a healing draft. He blanked his mind of his worries during this time, focusing so fully on her and the pleasures they shared that she had little opportunity to help him vent mentally as well as physically. So she allowed him his fierce moments of respite inside her, welcoming his fever and the sense of desperation she knew came with it. He was working so hard to keep everything from slipping through his fingers, and he feared, she knew, that he wasn’t going to be fast enough, smart enough, keen enough, or wise enough to rectify all of the damage that had been done.

    The previous night had ended in a fruitless hunt for one of Nicoya’s henchmen, and he had come to take his frustrations out on Dae’s tender body. Oh, he was quite welcome to do so when the result was a chain of orgasms unlike anything they had previously shared, but there was a price to be paid when she let herself be so worn out and slept too little to compensate.

    Daenaira looked at the empty pillow beside her and sighed. He had been up before dusk, no doubt, and was already back at work trying to stitch the world together. She picked up the pillow, taking a moment to rub her face against it and inhale his wonderful scent. The thick masculine aroma and the heady scent of sex made her squirm for missing him with a sudden and biting hunger. He had been quite tender and assertive this week, always taking control of their needs for both of them, obsessing over her pleasure and her passion, that she had hardly gotten in a word or action otherwise.

    Not that she was complaining.

    She had never realized how addictive her own body could be to her. The roughly awakened sensuality inside her suddenly seemed to permeate her everywhere. Magnus made her feel incredibly beautiful, and she was beginning to believe it for herself. Instead of being insulted by the attention and staring of other males, she took note of it, studied it, and even toyed with the power of it to see what she could create within herself to make her body all the more alluring.

    Then she would tentatively test what she learned on Magnus.

    But tentative was not working, she realized. Well, it was—just not as she wanted it to. She enjoyed all of the attention she received, she just sensed there was need for something different. Something more. By drilling his focus onto her and her pleasure, he was trying to manage and control her just like every other thing he felt he needed to repair in his damaged life. She supposed he thought if he kept her blindly happy, she would never doubt or question her need to stay or her purpose in being there. It was ridiculous, of course.

    But she felt saddened by the fear that motivated him to it. He shouldn’t feel so isolated and so starkly alone that he felt he needed to hold the entire world up on his shoulders with perfection. What he needed, what she wanted to give him, was a place and space of reprieve from that. At first she had thought that was what she was doing when they made love, but his controlled, methodical passion was too starkly different from the wilder lust and fervor that had always overcome him before.

    It was mildly insulting, actually.

    Daenaira sighed, tossed away his pillow, and got up. Well, she wasn’t going to help him by lazing around in bed, and it was very clear to her he needed help. Since she was the only one within arms’ reach he seemed to trust, it was her responsibility to see to his well-being.

    She bathed and dressed, secure in the knowledge as she did so that the mirror back had been painted black and boarded over besides. The tunnels had all been locked or sealed permanently. The only ones Magnus had not closed off were the ones behind the private tutoring rooms. These he had kept secret. He had locked them away to anyone but himself and her, and whenever they passed or had time they would observe the lessons in the rooms to assure that no one was abusing their positions as Nicoya and Shiloh had done.

    For Henry’s sake, the entire incident had been left without names or specifics. He had been offered a chance to go home, something that wouldn’t be questioned with so many others leaving as well, but he had refused. He wanted to stay close to Daenaira and Magnus and the few who knew what he had been through and would understand what he needed when he needed it. She felt bad for the boy who tried so hard to act normally, but his cocky humor was nowhere to be seen now and he had switched to the early lecture, which Magnus had taken over for Brendan, securing a distant place of viewing. Daenaira had attended this week as well, sitting near to Henry and finding that her own naïveté was a calming and disarming influence on the tightly wound student. This was probably why her dry, sarcastic and amusing whispers to Henry had gone unchallenged by the keen-eared teacher who lectured them.

    Realizing she was going to be late for the lecture if she didn’t hurry, she gave her sai a quick pat of reassurance before dropping her sari into place and dashing out of the room. She ran most of the way to the educational wing, her still-damp hair curling in lazy streams behind her back. She entered the lecture hall and was surprised to see she was, in fact, early. The only ones in the room besides herself were the day’s models. Smiling, she went up to them and greeted them.

    “Hello. I am Daenaira.”

    “Hello, K’yan Daenaira. I am Sydney and this is my mate Thomas.”

    “A joined couple? That’s so nice,” she said with a smile. “We don’t see many joined couples modeling here. It seems to be something the single and youthfully adventurous favor.” She laughed when she heard her own unintended insult. “Not that I mean to insinuate…”

    “No, we understand.” Sydney chuckled. “And you are right. When you are joined, sex seems to become more insular—unless you are fetishists. But Thomas and I like to challenge each other every so often to put thrills into our routine.”

    “To what benefit?” Dae asked candidly of Thomas.

    “Well,” he said, clearing his throat. “I suppose it is a powerful affirmation of the sexual self. Also, the excitement is so jacked up. Mostly, though, it’s about making ourselves vulnerable—but vulnerable together. We are exposed, but as a joined entity we can withstand anything. It’s very spiritual in a way.”

    “Loving, too. But I doubt many others would agree with that. Our thrill seeking is different from what the others come here for, I’m sure,” Sydney said, with a becoming blush tingeing her cheeks.

    “What are you modeling today?” Daenaira asked them attentively.

    “Oral sex. I believe the focus is on the male. I wish it had been something more along coitus, but Magnus asked us to do this since he is short models of late.”

    “Yes,” Daenaira said thoughtfully. Her heart began to race as a terrible, awful, and shockingly wonderful idea came into her mind. “Um, could I ask you a huge favor?”

    Magnus sighed wearily as he pushed through the lecture hall’s doors. He was barely halfway through his evening and he already felt like he could use another eight hours of sleep. He spared a glance at Henry, who nodded to him, and noticed that Daenaira wasn’t in her place near to him. The realization made him a bit tense on Henry’s behalf. Considering the topic on the syllabus, he had really been counting on Daenaira to keep close watch on the boy. Especially after her detailed descriptions of his victimization at Nicoya’s devious hands.He had very specifically chosen today’s models as well. Sydney and Thomas were a loving and beautiful couple, their tenderness and easy humor perfect for what he needed. They were also very physically different from Henry’s abusers, and he thought that would be important as well. He was running a little late, so all of Brendan’s students were sitting and waiting patiently. All that were still enrolled, that is. There were maybe ten left out of a class of twenty. Magnus could only hope that within a month it would be back to normal. He had a great deal to prove to some rightfully fearful parents. One of the girls giggled as he passed her, and he almost tripped when he realized it was Condilaya. He couldn’t help but notice her crush on him ever since Daenaira had pointed it out to him. Now he rather wished she hadn’t done so. Every time he saw the girl, his memory went flying back to the erotic orgasms that bath had produced, as well as the difficult clash of emotions.

    It was a little unnerving, actually, to realize Daenaira had developed a far clearer pathway into his mind than he had into hers. There was a particular superiority for her in that. Perhaps this was why, ever since the day he had recognized their cockeyed Bonding, he hadn’t had a single moment of honest thought. He couldn’t help guarding himself from her notice. His burdens and his emotional torments were his to cope with. He wouldn’t weigh her mind with any more troubles and he certainly wouldn’t make her feel guilty or obliged to him in any—

    Magnus stopped short when he realized a stunning blanket of red-black hair was hanging over the edge of the bed. The female attached to it was stretched out on her back, giving him an incredible diagonal profile of large, firm breasts, a fit, flat tummy, and long, long, so very damn long legs accentuated by the playful cock of her knee.