Susan cried out as her muscles jerked in response to his hot touch. He took a nip of her skin in his fangs an instant before he drove himself deep inside her again.
She clenched her hands into fists against the wall as unimaginable pleasure filled her. He drove himself so deep inside her that she swore he actually touched her womb. His fingers teased her in time to his thrusts while his hot breath singed her neck.
Ravyn closed his eyes as he moved even faster against her. This was a position that most of his kind reserved only for the mating ritual, and he’d never used it with any woman before. He wasn’t even sure why he did so now except that he wanted to know just once what it was like to make love to a woman like this.
And he couldn’t think of anyone better than Susan to experience it with.
Susan pushed herself away from the wall and leaned back against him as he continued to thrust himself into her. He felt so incredibly good there. She fell back in his arms so that she could reach over her head and sink her hand into his silken hair even though it made her skin itch. He moved his lips so that he could tease her lobe while she massaged his scalp, and chills consumed her. No man had ever felt better. And her body was growing hotter and hotter.
She tightened her grip in his hair an instant before she cried out in ecstasy. Still he kept his hand buried between her legs, wringing out every tremor of pleasure from her body until she fell forward and begged him for mercy.
He moved his hands and then braced them against her h*ps as he quickened his strokes until he, too, found his release. He kept himself deep inside her as he nuzzled and licked the flesh of her back.
Susan trembled as Ravyn held her while he was still inside her. Their bodies still joined, he pulled her with him down to the mattress.
"You know," she said as she slowly floated back into her body. "Aside from the allergies, I think I could get used to you being a cat."
He laughed gently in her ear before he wiggled his h*ps against hers. She moaned at the sensation of him stroking her deep inside.
Then suddenly the blanket was over them again.
"Do you think we’ll ever get our lives back to normal?"
Ravyn was silent as he considered that. The concept of normal to him was actually laughable. But he knew that wasn’t what she was asking him.
She wanted him to tell her that everything would be all right.
"I’m sure you’ll get your life back, Susan." The only problem was that he knew he, too, would go back to being a Dark-Hunter, but after spending this day with her he didn’t think that his life would ever be the same again. How could it?
He’d shared things with her that he’d never shared with another living being. More than that, she’d touched a part of him that he didn’t even know he still had.
But he also knew that in the end, he was going to have to walk away from her. It was all he could do. He was a Dark-Hunter and she was human.
And that reality broke the heart he thought had died more than three hundred years ago.
Cael jerked awake as a sense of foreboding terrorized him. Amaranda rolled over in bed to stare up at him with her brow furrowed by concern.
"Are you okay, baby?"
He couldn’t speak as he tried to pull his dream into his conscious mind. One of his gifts as a Dark-Hunter was the power of precognition.
Yet this vision escaped him completely. Except for one thing that he remembered clearly.
He pulled her into his arms and held her as pain racked him. He couldn’t lose her. He couldn’t.
"Cael? You’re starting to scare me."
Still, he couldn’t speak, not while he saw her dead at his feet. And as in the past, the thought of her death weakened his Dark-Hunter powers. He could feel them slipping, even as he drew personal strength from her.
"It’s okay, Randa," he said, finally. But inside it wasn’t. He’d already lost everyone who’d ever meant anything to him. He didn’t want to ever feel that grief again.
And yet what choice did he have?
She was going to die. Their time together was so finite that he couldn’t even let himself think about it.
Tightening his arms around her, he laid a gentle kiss on her cheek. "Go back to sleep, love."
He reluctantly pulled away from her.
She frowned at him. "Where are you going?"
"Bathroom." Cael pulled up his plaid and wrapped it around his h*ps before he opened the door and stepped through it toward the bathroom in the hallway.
He’d only taken a few steps when he felt a preternatural frisson go up his spine. He turned just as a door opened on his right to show him a man almost even in height to him. And even though the man had black hair, he oozed the scent and aura of a Daimon.
But unlike a Daimon, this man had swirling silver eyes that Cael had only seen on one other being.
"Who are you?"
The man smiled to show him a set of fangs. "Stryker."
"You don’t belong here."
He arched a brow at that. "I would think, as a Daimon, that I have more right here than a Dark-Hunter does. Tell me, why is the enemy living in peace in a commune of Apollites?"
"That’s none of your business."
Cael started for the Daimon only to have him vanish. Two heartbeats later, he appeared at Cael’s back.
"I’m not your enemy, Cael."
"How do you know my name?"
"I know lots of things about you, including your marriage to Amaranda. More than that, I know what you fear most."
He curled his lip at the Daimon. "You don’t know shit about me."
"Oh no, that’s not true. But tell me something? If I told you there was a way to save her, would you take it?"
Cael’s heart literally stopped beating. "I won’t let her go Daimon."
"What if there was another way to save her?"
Dare he even hope for that? "What other way?"
Stryker moved to stand just before him. So close that Cael could feel the heat from his body. "Join my army, Cael, and I will give you the secret you need to keep Amaranda alive as an Apollite past her birthday. "
He cut a suspicious glare at Stryker. "What army?"
"The Illuminati. We serve the goddess Apollymi, mortal enemy of Artemis and Acheron."
Cael stiffened at those words that asked him to betray two people he owed his loyalty to. "I made my oath to Artemis. I won’t go back on it. Ever."
Stryker tsked at him. "Pity you then. I hope your oath keeps you company after your beautiful wife disintegrates in your arms. "
Cael sucked his breath in sharply as his dream came back to him in crystal clarity and again he felt his powers drain.
Stryker handed him a small medallion. "Think about my offer, Dark-Hunter, and if you change your mind-"
Stryker gave him an evil smile. "As I said, if you change your mind, use the medallion to call me."
Cael didn’t move as the Daimon summoned a bolt-hole and stepped into it. He looked down at the golden medallion that held a dragon flying in the center of a sunburst. It was the universal sign of the ancient Spathis.
Was the Daimon serious? Could there be a way to save Amaranda’s life?
He’s lying to you, Cael. Don’t be a fool.
But what if he wasn’t?
Clenching his fist over the medallion, Cael went to the bathroom, then returned to his bedroom. He stood over the bed, staring at Amaranda, who’d returned to sleep. Her long blond hair was fanned out around her as she lay on her side completely nak*d.
He reached out and touched her supple arm. She meant the world to him. Before he’d met her, he’d been nothing but an empty shell who’d been incapable of feeling anything at all. She’d taught him to laugh again. To breathe. He owed her everything and the thought of living for even one minute without her crippled him with pain.
He put the medallion on the dresser, then dropped his plaid and joined her in the bed. If she were awake, she’d be angry at him for even thinking about betraying his oath.
"We’ll enjoy what we have and be grateful for it, Cael. Don’t wish for more than what the Fates have decreed for us. "
Her compassion and strength was only part of why he loved her so much.
And it was why he didn’t want to lose her.
Swallowing against the lump in his throat, he pulled her warm body flush to his.
And as he closed his eyes, he could have sworn he heard Stryker’s voice in his head.
"One single word, Cael, and you’ll never have to lose her. Just one. "
Cael whispered a prayer for strength and courage. But in the end, his gift of second sight laid out a future that scared him. Because in his heart, he knew the truth.
He would do anything to keep this woman by his side. The only question was what exactly Stryker would ask him to do in order to save his wife’s life.
Susan came awake just after dusk-at least that’s what she thought. Since there were no windows or a clock in the room, she didn’t really know what time it was, except for the fact that the music from the club upstairs was already hopping. That meant it had to be after sundown, but it was quiet enough that she figured it couldn’t be too late.
Ravyn shifted behind her as if he knew she was awake and laid a gentle kiss on her bare back. She shivered as chills shot down her spine in the wake of his hot lips on her flesh. "Good morning," he said as he stretched languidly. Rolling over, she could swear that she felt that stretch herself. The faint light showed his nak*d body off to perfection. His lean muscles were taut and bulging…
Along with another part of him she couldn’t help noticing.
"Evening, you mean."
He yawned without responding. She was mesmerized by the definition of his abs as he arched his back. Oh, yeah, a woman could do laundry on that. And it made her want to rub herself against him.
"Did you sleep well?" he asked, reaching over to brush her hair back from her face.
"Like a baby. You?"
He rolled to his side to give her a devilish grin. "Yeah, I actually did for once."
Before she could ask him another question, Grieg’s "In the Hall of the Mountain King" started playing. It took her a full second to realize it was Ravyn’s phone.
Making an aggravated noise, he rolled over to pull it out of his pants before he answered it.
"Yeah?" He reached over and idly toyed with her hand as he listened.
Susan savored the roughness of his fingers on her skin, even though a part of her wished it was something else he was fondling.
"Okay, I’ll be there." He hung up the phone.
He raised her hand up to his lips so that he could nibble the back of her knuckles before he answered. "They’re calling a meeting here tonight with all the Dark-Hunters."
That surprised her. "I didn’t think you guys could be together without weakening each other. "
"We can’t, which tells you how important the Squires think this meeting is. Acheron is usually the only one to call together something like this." He leaned over to give her a kiss, and as their lips touched, she felt warmth seep through her body. She couldn’t believe the things this man made her feel for him when they shouldn’t even be together.
Susan melted under his assault until he pulled back sharply.
"We have half an hour," he said quietly. "Chop-chop."
She groaned. "I wish that were half an hour for sex, but I think you mean half an hour for dressing."
He gave her an arch stare. "I could never have sex with you in only half an hour, my lady. Truly not possible."
Biting her lip, she reached down to cup his warm sac in her hand. "You keep talking like that, Leopardman, and we won’t be leaving this room any time soon."
He nibbled and laved her neck. "Yeah, but then they’d come after us and I’d have to kill one of them, which would really be a bad thing. Ash tends to get testy when we kill off Squires."
He laid himself down on top of her to savor her skin against his, then he stood up with a deep groan.
Susan allowed him to pull her to her feet before they quickly dressed and headed upstairs. Part of her wanted to stay downstairs and keep reviewing files… among other things such as testing how long his stamina would last, but her curiosity got the better of her.
What could be so important that they would call a meeting when it was obvious that the Dark-Hunters needed their strength to fight the Daimons who were trying to kill them?
Susan hesitated at the top of the stairs. "You don’t think this is a trap, do you?"
"How do you mean?"
"Well, if I were a Daimon and I knew that to get you guys together would weaken you, wouldn’t I do that if I could?"
"Yeah, but they don’t have our phone numbers."
He opened the door. Terra met them in the upstairs hallway before they could reach the kitchen. "They’re in the back office," she said, handing each of them a sack and a soda.
"What’s this?" Susan asked.
"Breakfast. I figured the two of you would be hungry during the meeting."
"Thank you," Ravyn said.
"No problem." Terra led them down another hallway that shot off the kitchen, to a large office that had a desk along one wall and a huge conference table in the center. Leo and Kyl were already there, along with Erika and Jack. Susan looked around for Jessica, but there was no sign of her.