Gently, he leaned her back against the mattress, his kiss deepening. Kiara twined her fingers in the soft strands of white hair, holding him to her.
His eyes blazing, Nykyrian pulled away and removed her panties, exposing her completely. A shiver went over her as she fought an urge to cover herself. No doubt he’d take that the wrong way and she wanted nothing as trivial as modesty to destroy what they were sharing.
“What are you thinking?” She smoothed the frown on his face.
“How frail you are. I don’t want to hurt you by accident.”
She smiled at him. “I’m not as frail as I appear. I know from lots of experience that I bounce really well.”
He laid his fingers against her cheekbone before he placed a tender kiss there. “I would kill anyone who hurt you.”
“I know.” He already had, and instead of scaring or repulsing her, she took comfort in that fact.
For the first time in her entire life, she felt safe. This was the one person no one could get through to reach her. Nykyrian would always keep her safe.
Kiara kissed him with all her passion and spread her legs as his hand skimmed along the inside of her thigh. When he touched the part of her that craved him, she groaned in pleasure.
Nykyrian buried his lips in the crook of her neck as he felt how wet she was for him. The heat of her skin scorched him. Nervous and unsure, he moved to cover her with his body.
Had he waited long enough? Had he pleased her enough? He had so little experience with women that he wasn’t sure. He would ask her, but he didn’t want her to mock him for his ineptitude.
I forgot how bad assassins suck in bed. Nice to know you’re no exception.
He flinched at words that still haunted him. Would Kiara mock him, too?
But as he looked into her eyes, he saw her tenderness. No one had ever looked at him like that before.
Like she cared.
She nipped at his chin as her arms held him close. There was a connection in this moment that he’d never known. He took her hand in his and laced their fingers together.
Kissing her lips, he drove himself home and hissed at how good she felt.
Kiara gasped at the sudden pain that ripped through her pleasure as he entered her. It was raw and biting, and it was all she could do not to cry out loud.
Nykyrian went rigidly still. Releasing her hand, he leaned back on one arm to stare down at her. “You’re a virgin?”
He started to move away, but she wrapped her body around his and kept him in place.
“Stay with me, Nykyrian. Let me love you tonight.”
A tic started in his jaw and, for a moment, she feared he would leave her, as he avoided meeting her gaze.
“I want you.” She cupped his face in her hands and forced him to look at her. “I see you, Nykyrian, and I want to be with you. In all the universe, you are the only one who makes me feel like this. Don’t walk away. Please.”
Nykyrian was terrified by those words. How could she say that to him? Now he totally understood Syn’s stupidity.
Even when it was bad, it was good.
He had no right to be with her. No right to touch her. Except for the fact that she wanted him . . .
She kissed his lips and shattered the last shred of his resistance. Slowly, he began to rock his h*ps against hers. “Tell me if it hurts.”
Kiara reveled in the feeling of his cheek against hers as he made love to her as if she were the most precious thing he’d ever touched. In all her dreams and fantasies, she’d never imagined anything more wonderful than the way he felt inside her.
After a time, the pain ebbed and was replaced by a new pleasure. She breathed heavily as he moved even faster and she met his strokes, driving him even deeper into her body. She ran her hands over his shoulders, feeling the strength of him as he pleased her.
He was hers and she intended to keep him with her no matter what.
A new demand built inside her. Kiara rocked her h*ps against his. She matched his rhythm, amazed at the sharp, intensifying pleasure. Just when she thought she couldn’t stand anymore, her world exploded into a titillation she’d never dreamed of.
Nykyrian buried his face in her hair and joined her release. He breathed in the sweet fragrance of the silken strands. Her soft arms and legs wrapped tightly around him, obliterating all the pain in his soul. Her hand played in his hair, holding him against her.
He lay there unable to believe it was real. That someone could hold him like this . . .
The fact that it was a woman he’d been longing for all these years . . .
He expected to wake at any moment and find himself alone and that the entire night had been nothing more than a cruel dream. But then he wondered if the reality of this night would be even more cruel than the dream itself.
Because in the end, he knew this couldn’t last. Any minute she’d curse him for this.
“Why?” he breathed against her cheek.
“Why did you sleep with me?”
Kiara heard the pain in that simple question. “I care about you.”
He withdrew from her and left her feeling suddenly cold as he rolled to his back. “You don’t even know me.”
She rose up to look down at him. “That’s not true. I’ve seen the beauty inside you. The part of you that protects your friends even while you expect treachery from them. The part of you that hides from the world.”
Kiara ran her hand through his soft hair . . . It and his lips were the only parts of him that weren’t as hard as steel. “It’s weird. I went through a period in finishing school where I wanted to lose my virginity at any cost, but every time I started to go through with it, I couldn’t bring myself to squander it on boys who didn’t really care about me.” But she knew Nykyrian wouldn’t take it for granted or brag about this.
She meant something to him. She knew it.
“So you squandered it on me?”
She screwed her face up in anger over his even thinking that for a second. “Of course not. I gave you what I’ve never given to anyone because you deserve to have something uniquely yours. I wanted you to know how much I care about you and I couldn’t think of a better way.”
He scoffed at her. “A thank you card would have sufficed.”
She gaped at his random oddity. “A thank you card?”
He shrugged. “No one’s ever given me one of those either and it would have been less painful for you.”
She punched playfully at his stomach for that. “You’re awful.”
He pulled her into his arms and held her close. Kiara listened to his heartbeat as she lay her head on his chest, wishing she knew a way to really reach him.
For now, she would give him what she could and hope that one day soon he would realize she could be trusted inside his comfortable world of solitude.
Nykyrian watched the sky lighten. Kiara, still asleep, snored softly beside him as she lay tucked in his arms. He’d been here for hours, watching her sleep, feeling the warmth of her body tucked into his.
The scent of her skin hung heavy in his nostrils while he ran his hand down her silken arm in a tender caress. Her rear pressed against his c**k which was already swollen again.
But he’d hurt her enough. He wouldn’t press her for anymore.
He took her hand into his and studied the perfection of her fingers compared to the ugliness of his own. Her nails were polished and dainty. Beautiful.
His stomach lurched as he remembered them tearing his nails out when his mother’s men had dumped him in the human orphanage. After that, they’d dipped his fingers in acid to keep his Andarion claws from growing back.
You won’t be hurting any of our children, you f**king animal!
He’d fought as hard as he could, but it hadn’t been enough. They’d held him down and put that damned mask over his face to keep him from being able to bite. Then he’d been chained down in the bathroom, nak*d, and kept there for years, until the commander’s wife had seen him.
He could still see her looking at him as he cowered in the corner, ready to strike out at her if she attacked him like the others had done repeatedly over the years. Even on that day, he’d had one broken arm from an attack the night before—one of the guards had a sister who’d been killed by an Andarion. So the guard had used Nykyrian as the scapegoat for the Andarion’s action and the guard’s fury. The guard had beaten him so badly that his face was still burning. His back and arms . . . and other things he didn’t want to think about.
All he’d wanted was to be left alone in his pain to heal. It was why he’d been laying on his stomach on the floor when she’d entered the facilities as part of a charity tour.
The moment they’d come in, he’d forced himself to sit up in spite of the pain and hide as best he could in the far corner of the last stall. He’d stared out from under his matted hair and held the chains around his wrists to try and keep them from making a noise that would betray him. If he was as still as possible, hopefully they’d ignore him and go away.
But the commander’s wife had drawn closer to him.
“Don’t get too close, mistress. He’s an Andarion and prone to attack.”
She’d frowned at the shackles on his ankles and wrists. “Why is he chained so?”
“To protect the children. We don’t know what he’s capable of, so we make sure there’s no way for him to harm them.”
Terraga had tilted her head to watch him. “He doesn’t look dangerous.”
“Trust me, he is. Vicious. We even use a pole to push his food near him when he’s fed at night.”
Nykyrian had scoffed at the caretaker’s words. Fed? The leftover, half-eaten scraps were bad enough, the fact that they usually spat in them before they handed them over was worse.
As for water . . .
He looked at the toilets where he was forced to find drink. Like an animal.
No, even animals were treated better than he was. The commander’s wife had pulled back in horror. “You feed him here in the bathroom?”
“Of course. He’s not allowed to leave.”
Nykyrian had glanced up at the window not far from him. When no one was in here, he’d crawl over to it and lay his head on the sill so that he could look outside and pretend he wasn’t locked away in here. That was his only contact with the outside world and he was grateful his chains were long enough to allow him that one small freedom.
Terraga turned back toward him with sadness in her eyes as the commander joined her in the doorway.
He’d taken one look at Nykyrian and curled his lip in disgust. “What are you doing?”
She pointed at Nykyrian. “I want to adopt him.”
Huwin’s snarl had only grown more severe. “It’s pathetic and weak. Look at it.” The commander had moved forward to kick him.
Unwilling to be hit without returning the blow, Nykyrian had lunged at the commander with everything he had.
Huwin had laughed as he brought him down hard on the tiled floor. Nykyrian had screamed out in rage as he did his best to break free. But it was no use. He was too weak and injured.
The commander picked him up again and slammed him so hard against the floor that it’d dazed him. “You do have spirit, don’t you?” He grabbed Nykyrian’s face to examine it. “Not a single tear.” A cruel smile had twisted his lips. “We’ll take him. Have him cleaned and brought to my ship.”
Nykyrian winced as more memories surged. He hated to think of the past. To remember. There was nothing there even remotely pleasurable.
He leaned his head against Kiara’s hair and inhaled her scent that drove away those horrors. She was the beauty that had been missing for so long from his world.
And he never wanted to let her go.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay here in bed with her much longer. He didn’t want to move, but he had too many things to do to lie in bed while she kept sleeping. As gently as he could, he pulled her arms away from him and slid out of bed.
He watched Kiara situate herself on the mattress, her h*ps wiggling provocatively. A smile played at the edges of his mouth. He covered her with a sheet, then darkened the ceiling against the dawning sun.
Kiara was beautiful in his bed. And the memory of her touch was branded into his soul.
Reluctantly, he moved to the bathroom to shower. Over and over, he castigated himself for what he’d done last night. It was so wrong to touch her. She belonged to the day, to warmth and sunshine. Her world was light and wonderful, filled with love and laughter.
And he was born of night. His mother was the darkness, her cold embrace was all he had a right to crave. Just as the sun destroyed the night, he was sure she would destroy him, provided their enemies didn’t kill her first.
He refused to watch her die.
A lump burned raw in his throat. He would treasure the memory of last night forever, but that would be all.
She would have to be returned to her father before she did any more damage to him. Holding that close, he quickly bathed, dressed, and headed downstairs without looking at her tempting form.