Home > The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(33)

The Bitten (Vampire Huntress Legend #4)(33)
Author: L.A. Banks

He staggered against the tiles as she began to bleed him out, but he held her close, letting her take what she needed. Even if she flat-lined him, it was all right, just as long as she survived.

When she finally lifted her head, he was semiconscious. Her beautiful mouth was dripping red water, the shower washing the blood away. Her skin was no longer cool and pallid, but flushed and warm. All he could do was reach out and trace her jaw with trembling fingers and brush the stray locks away from her face. She nuzzled the inside of his hand and brought her mouth to his to exchange a kiss, which he returned so tenderly that she deepened it immediately.

Relief buckled his knees as his arms enfolded her tightly and they fell against the tile wall. His fingers wound through her hair, caressed her back, pulled her so hard against him that he was afraid he might hurt her. He kissed her face, her neck, her shoulders, her throat. Then he hugged and rocked her. A dead man's prayers had been answered.

Through her shudder he felt it, but hesitated to act on it. She'd seen this before - this had happened in the compound... the shower. Yeah, he remembered her premonition, too.

She looked at him, their minds locking with the shared gaze. She nodded and smiled. The offending scent now washed away, the raw essence of Neteru ran all through him. He shook his head no. He didn't want to tempt fate.

"The purge shocked your system," he said, panicked, trying to extract himself from her embrace. "You've ripened early." He closed his eyes, tilted his head, drew in a deep breath and shuddered. Then he spoke to her through suddenly lowered incisors. "I've gotta get you home."

"They'll torture me again," she said quietly, standing an inch away from him, water cascading down her na**d form, her eyes glittering. "You were the one who understood... brought me back."

"But I'm the one thing right now that might kill you," he said, her fragrance destroying his resolve. But neither of them moved. He couldn't even look at her. Not standing there naked, dripping, with a plea for sanctuary in her eyes, a half inch of fang showing and Neteru scenting the air.

She reached out and cupped his cheek with her hand. He turned into it and pressed a deep kiss in the center of her palm.

"You are the only one who accepts all of me - the good and the bad, the strong and the weak. You'd take me with a halo or with fangs," she said quietly, smiling sadly and moving in closer to him. "To be with you doesn't require that I play some role, or be something special, and when I fall, you don't even care about that. You were that way with me before and after your turn... strength of character, Carlos - you've got it. So, if fate has it that I die with you, isn't that an honorable way to go out?"

Her words were shredding him, and he tried to remember that he was indeed talking to a female master, as her gaze held his defiantly. Life was ironic, death was even more perverse, because here he was backing away from a gorgeous, naked, wet, ripe, seductive vampire.

"Damali, I actually prayed that you'd get a second chance to live," he said, pushing a stray lock over her shoulder. "In this condition, you could conceive, and we wouldn't know whether what you were carrying was good or something..."

She pressed her index finger to his lips to stop his awkward tumble of words. "Nobody knows what will come out of this next generation. Life is a gamble, just like death is a gamble. The way I see it, we've got a fifty-fifty shot."

Water beat on the tiles, just like her words beat on his conscience, both standing so still neither was breathing. Then she made the fatal mistake of moving a millimeter closer, her br**sts brushing his chest when she lifted herself on tiptoes to take his mouth.

Prayer was forgotten, his conscience was banished. Her hair filled his hands, and his mouth captured hers. The steam carried her scent. As his reason melted, so did his clothes. The hard rake of her nails down his back dragged his hands the length of hers. There was one single objective: enter this woman, or lose his mind.

Her short pants were now the pace of his pulse. Her back hit the wall, knocking the wind from her lungs. He caught the hard exhale in his throat and thrust his tongue into her mouth.

Tearing his lips from hers, his jaw collided with her cheek, forcing her head to the side so his incisors could drag a hot trail from the edge of her shoulder to find the sweet spot midpoint on her neck. She held his shoulders tight, pulling him against her as though trying to fuse with his skin. His hands flattened at the small of her back then moved over her supple behind, lifting her off her feet.

Writhing under his hold, her eyes shut tight, anticipation in every breath, waiting for the double entry. A swift strike came with the deep thrust, her voice rising with the steam, creating so feral a sensation that she let go of his shoulders and flattened both palms on the tiles.

From some remote place of awareness, he knew he had to pull out of the siphon. Her body was going limp; the punishment too intense. Yet need created by the scent of ripe Neteru was beyond even council-level control. He should have fed, first... but how in the hell... when she shuddered like she did, her moan deep and guttural, her legs now clamped around his waist, and every returned thrust sending intense pleasure through his groin.

He could feel his incisors about to sever the vein, hit muscle, cartilage, and penetrate her esophagus. A long, hard shiver sent shock waves down his spine as he tore his head back, kissed the wound to close it, and rested his forehead against the tiles, sucking in air.

"Don't stop," she whispered hard against his ear, still moving under him, cradling his head, running her fingers through his hair.

"I have to feed," he said, breaths staccato, words running together. "I'll kill you."

"You can't, not this way now that I'm already turned..."

"Not permanently."

Her head was tilted back, her neck arched, breathing irregular through her mouth. The words, the timber of the plea, the invitation, were a double-edged blade - slicing reason, while snapping it back into focus, if only for a moment. He pulled out hard, causing her gasp to stab him. She turned away and pressed her cheek against the cold tiles.

"You right, you're right... okay," she said between her teeth after a moment.

But the sight of how the water played over her shoulder blades, the definition of her spine flexing drew his fingers to each vertebrae, lingering to kiss them with his touch, making him take one step back to admire the form of her wet ass.

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