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Midnight Awakening (Chapter Twenty-one)

Tegan closed his cell phone after reporting in to the compound and leaned back on the ridiculously froufrou velvet settee in his private room of the Darkhaven. He was pissed off that the night had resulted in a stalemate with Petrov Odolf, and more rattled than he cared to admit by the Bloodlust reality check he'd gotten at the facility. Seeing Odolf and the other Rogues was a damn good reminder of the fire he'd walked through after Sorcha's death.

He'd managed to beat his Bloodlust all those years ago, but the fight had been brutal. And the hunger was always with him, even when he was trying his hardest to deny it.

Being near Elise only magnified his craving. Damn, but that female put his blood on a slow, rising boil.

That moment alone with her in Reichen's car–touching her, walking her through her psychic distress–had been a colossal mistake. It only made him realize how deeply he wanted to help her. That he didn't want to see her in pain.

That despite centuries of religiously honed apathy, he was starting to care. He was genuinely beginning to have feelings for her, a bold and complicated Darkhaven beauty who could have her choice of any male, Breed or otherwise. He truly cared about Elise. He wanted her…and he knew that it was only a matter of time before he went after her like the predator he was.

Touching her soft skin had made him recall how good it had been to feel her body pressed against him, how delicious her mouth fit his own…how sweet even the smallest taste of her blood had been on the tip of his tongue.

Christ.

He hadn't been able to bolt out of the car fast enough.

And the hour he'd spent alone up here in his guest room hadn't done much to cool the need that urged him to go downstairs and find Elise. Sate himself with her the way Reichen had so freely been able to do with the woman in the city.

The fire Elise had stoked in him from nearly the moment he set eyes on her was banked, but still burning.

Maybe he could douse it, Tegan thought, stalking into the bathroom to turn on the shower. God knew he wanted to get the feel of the containment facility off his skin as well. Seeing those incarcerated, mostly catatonic Rogues had pulled him back to an ugly time in his own life– one he had no desire to relive, even in passing memory. That part of him was buried deep, where it belonged.

He stripped off his shirt and weapons and dropped the lot of it on a chair beside the settee. His fingers were working the zipper of his black fatigues when a knock sounded on the closed door to the hall. He ignored it, wondering if it might be Reichen looking to drag him into a few hours of sin back in the city. Part of him was tempted by the thought–anything to slake the coiling hunger he had for Elise.

The knock came again, and this time Tegan threw open the door without a thought.

As the panel swung wide, he was surprised–and not a little furious–to see the subject of his frustration standing there. Just what he didn't need right now. Gorgeous as ever, still wearing the proper navy pantsuit she had on at the clinic, the sight of Elise was a major dose of gasoline tossed on his fire.

What the hell are you doing up here? His voice was harsh, more rough than he intended.

Elise didn't so much as flinch. I thought we might talk.

What happened to Reichen finding you some dinner downstairs?

He did. That was almost an hour ago. I…waited for a while to see if you might come out of your room, but when you didn't, I decided to come to you.

He stared at her for a minute, then mentally cut the shower off and turned to grab his shirt and weapons holster. I was just on my way out.

Oh. She didn't look like she was buying it. What could be so urgent all of a sudden? Just a little thing called duty, sweetheart. I'm not used to spending my nights sitting on my ass when I could be outside killing something. He said it deliberately to shock her, and he probably took a bit too much satisfaction at the disturbed frown that creased her forehead. I need to get out of this place for a while. I should be in the city, on the streets, where I'm useful. Not wasting my fucking time sitting around here.

He expected her to give him space and be glad he was leaving. His cold attitude had scared away countless Breed males, even among the Order, so he didn't expect this female to linger for long.

For a second, he really thought she was going to retreat like he'd intended her to do.

But then she strode right over the threshold and into his room.

You're not going anywhere tonight, she said, soft but resolute. There was apprehension in her expression, but damn if she didn't close the door behind her and keep coming toward him. Tonight we need to talk. I need to know where things stand. Where we stand, Tegan.

He glared. You think it's wise to shut yourself in here with me? It won't take long for Reichen and the rest of this house to figure out where you are and think the worst. He may be discreet when needed, but the others who live here–

I don't care what anyone else thinks. I just need to know what you think.

He scoffed, a grating sound that held more mockery than he'd intended. I think you're out of your fucking head.

She glanced down, gave a little nod. I'm confused, I'll give you that. I don't know if you…I don't know what to make of you, Tegan. Not from day one. I don't know how to play this game that we seem to be playing together.

I don't play games, he said, deadly serious. I don't have the interest or the time–

Bullshit!

He arched a brow at her unexpected blurt of profanity. He was ready to push again–seething with the compulsion to shove her away hard, before she got any closer to the truth of what he was feeling. But the glint of anger in her eyes gave him pause.

She crossed her arms over her breasts and took a couple of paces nearer to him, making it clear that if he pushed now, she was sure as hell going to push back.

What do you call it when you're tender with me one moment, then cold as ice the next? You kiss me, only to push me away a minute later. She drew a breath, letting it out on a frustrated- sounding sigh. Sometimes you look at me as if you might really feel something for me, but then…then you blink and it's like the feeling was never there in the first place. What is that, if not your twisted idea of fun?

Since she wasn't about to stand down, he pivoted away from her on a snarl and went for the duffel bag that held more of his gear and weapons, ignoring her attempt to goad him. He reached in and blindly grabbed for a cache of combat supplies. He pulled out a sheathed blade, then a clip of titanium rounds for his 9mm–anything to keep his hands moving and his focus trained on something other than the maddening awareness of the woman who was slowly walking up behind him.

Incredibly, his fingers were shaking as he put his gear down on the settee's velvet cushions. His vision was going sharp, his field of sight taking on a hard edge as his pupils narrowed and a flood of amber fire bathed everything in a hunter's light. His gums ached with the emergence of his fangs, his mouth watering with the hunger he'd barely been able to stave off before Elise arrived in his room.

Now that she was here, provoking him with her mere presence, he didn't know how long he could hold the beast at bay. It had been snapping at its leash since the moment he first laid eyes on her.

Behind him, he heard the thick Persian rug crush with the subtle movement of her feet. He closed his eyes, his senses flooded with awareness of her.

With the keen, aching want of her.

You say you don't play games, but you're a master at it, Tegan. In fact, I think you've been playing at them for so long you can't remember how to be real anymore.

He was hardly aware of his own movements as he whirled back on her with a furious roar. Distance closed in fractional seconds–a blink of time between the moment he'd been turned away from Elise and the next, when he was bearing down on her like a train in motion, pushing her with both the force of his will and his body until they both slammed up against the closed door.

He pinned her there, between the hard, unyielding length of him and the thick plank of oak at her back.

Is this real enough for you, sweetheart?

He hissed the words at her, his lips curled back from his fangs. Desire had him livid, fully transformed into the savage side of his nature. With a growl, he bent his head and took her mouth in a hot, demanding kiss.

She cried out, startled, her hands coming up to brace defensively against his shoulders. He only kissed her harder, thrusting his tongue past her teeth as she gasped to take a breath.

Christ, she was sweet. So warm and lush against his mouth.

So soft against the scorching rigidity of his body.

He didn't want to feel this arousal. Wanted like hell to reject this consuming need. But he was burning up with it, and there would be no denying it now.

No stopping the pound of his blood as everything Breed in him–everything elementally male–awakened to the delicious taste of Elise.

When he broke their kiss, she was panting. He was too. His whole body heaved with the force of his hunger, his every pulse point pounding with a beat he felt echoing in Elise as well.

Last night in the boathouse, I felt your fear, he whispered fiercely, holding her wide gaze, pressing the front of his body deeper into hers. His cock was rigid, growing harder just at the feel of her. I let you go instead of taking what I wanted. I'm not going to be forgiving this time. So, fear me if you will, Elise, but don't expect me to fucking care–

I went back last night. A breathless little sound curled up from her throat, but when she spoke her voice was steady. I wasn't afraid of you, Tegan. I went back for you.

The words sank into his brain slowly, stilling him as he registered what he was hearing.

Last night, after you told me to leave you…I had gotten as far as the main house and I realized that I didn't want to leave. I wanted to be with you.

She stared up at him without the slightest tremor of uncertainty now. Where his hands held her arms, he felt only pliant acceptance, knowing surrender. Through the connection of his touch, he read her desire. Felt it radiating out to him, seeping into him.

I wanted to be naked with you, Tegan. I wanted you inside me, so I went back. But you were already gone.

Holy hell.

He knew he should probably say something, but he had no voice. Only a dumbshit muteness like he'd never known before. His weight settled back on his heels, and the urge to shove her away from him in defense–remove her from his reach–was nearly overwhelming.

But he found he couldn't let go of her.

He couldn't stop looking into the clear lavender pools of her eyes. The unwavering honesty–the guileless need–that he saw in their depths floored him.

I want to be with you now, Tegan…so if you want me, even a little bit–

He pulled her close and silenced her doubt with another kiss. She put her arms around him and held him to her, parting her lips and taking his tongue as he swept inside her mouth the way he intended to be inside her body. He guided her around, away from the door and toward the waiting bed, their lips never parting. Hands roaming, clutching, trembling.

Clothing was stripped away quickly under the force of their need. Tegan drew off Elise's jacket and made fast work of the white silk blouse beneath it, slipping free what seemed like a hundred tiny buttons until he had unveiled her satin-and-lace-covered breasts. He ran his hands over the gossamer white fabric, watching with a hungry gaze as her nipples rose to his touch.

Easing her back onto the bed, he unfastened her tailored navy trousers and slid them down her pale, slender legs. Her sex was hidden behind a small scrap of white satin. Tegan followed the line of thin triangle with his fingers, softly stroking the warm velvet of her hip and inner thigh. His thumb traced beneath the satin to something even more silky. The slick, wet heat of her made him groan, compelled him to delve deeper into that searing, moist cleft.

Elise sucked in her breath as he stroked the dewy petals and the tight little nub nestled at the top of her sex.

He pushed her legs apart and his hungry gaze settled on the tiny birthmark that rode the inside of her right thigh. Tegan smiled, amused that she bore it on such a delectable part of her body. He'd been wanting to taste that tender spot on her from the first time he saw it. Now he kissed the little teardrop-and-crescent-moon, nipping her gently as he came back up to look at her.

God, she was beautiful. Pure and decadent at the same time.

He wanted to feast on her slowly, but need was stronger–his own, and hers as well. He could feel Elise's hunger in every questing brush of his fingers, and knew her want was as strong as his, a sexual need coiling to the point of pain.

Tegan shucked his fatigues with hasty impatience, kicking them aside as he pushed Elise farther up on the bed. He drew off her panties and climbed over her, bracing his arms on either side of her head. His cock hung down between them, engorged and ruddy, a thick spear of hard flesh that weeped a drop of moisture into the cradle of her belly. The Gen One glyphs that covered him from shoulder to mid-thigh were pulsing with color, the pattern alive with lust's variegating shades of indigo, gold, and wine. Is this too real for you, Elise? His voice was reduced to a bestial growl, speech made difficult for the presence of his fangs, which were fully extended in response to his desire for her. Jesus Christ…I think it's too goddamn real for me.

If she had given the slightest indication that she was unsure about what they were about to do, he might have found the strength to back off.

He would have forced himself to heel, even though he was nearly out of his head with the need to possess her. Despite all his hard-ass threats, he knew, looking down into her gentle gaze, that he would have shown her mercy. Some panicked part of him hoped to hell she would want out.

But Elise didn't tremble at the feral beast poised over her. She reached up and put her hand around the back of his neck. Firmly, she guided him down to her, her eyes wide open and fixed on his, and pressed his mouth to hers.

Tegan crushed her beneath him as he claimed her lips in a heated kiss. God help him, but she met his every thrust and parry, driving him wild when he felt the ungentle prod of her tongue slipping inside his mouth, tracing the length of his fangs.

Without breaking contact with her lips, he reared back on his knees and took himself in hand, guiding his thick erection between her parted thighs. She arched up to meet him, a tremor rocking her as he played the head of his penis along the wet core of her body.

The tease was too much to bear, and he was too far gone to be patient. He tilted his hips back, then thrust into her moist sheath with one long, filling stroke.

Elise gasped near his ear as he came down over her and seated himself to the hilt. Her body was small beneath his, her sex tight and hot, a molten vise around his cock.

Everything he thought he knew about being inside a woman–everything he thought he remembered–was obliterated by the incredible feel of Elise wrapped around him. This was unlike anything he'd known before, more powerful than he ever could have imagined. He was connected to her, mind and body, feeling her pleasure pour into him everywhere their bodies touched. Elise was vibrant and strong, consuming. After centuries of exile from touch, from feeling, Tegan looked into Elise's beautiful face and gave himself up to the warm, wet bliss of her.

He couldn't stop his hips from pumping, couldn't stanch the escalating urge to lose himself inside her. His shaft swelled with the rise of his orgasm, and he knew he was just a few desperate seconds from exploding.

He grunted, going deep as the coil wound tighter. His voice was a raw scrape in his throat. Ah, Christ–Elise!

He couldn't hold it back. With a hard surge, he drove his hips into hers and came like a breaking storm. He shouted with the force of his release, thrusting as wave after searing wave shuddered out of him.

And still it wasn't enough. He was still erect, still hungry for her.

Still pumping into the velvety glove of Elise's exquisite body.

He stared down into her dusky eyes as he filled her, needing to see her as he gave her some of the same pleasure she was giving him.

I was greedy, he murmured, bending down to kiss her in apology. He didn't dare get close to her luscious throat, not when his fangs were throbbing with another need that was raging to be sated. If you want, we can take it slower now.

Don't you dare, she said, wrapping her legs around his thighs to make her point.

Tegan chuckled, and some distant part of him wondered when the last time was that he'd actually felt humor. When was the last time he'd felt anything close to what Elise roused in him?

He didn't want to explore the place she seemed to have breached inside him. All he wanted right now was this.

It's been a long time for me, Elise whispered. And you feel so good…

Her words trailed off on a moan as Tegan pushed as deep as she could take him. He withdrew and thrust again, feeling the walls of her channel grip and contract around him.

My God, he rasped, hissing with the pleasure of it.

Already another orgasm was ratcheting up within him.

Elise's climax was swiftly building too. She took him deeper with every furious pound of their meeting flesh, clutching at his shoulders and panting as her body's need overtook her.

Tegan could feel her pleasure in each stroke of his fingers on her flesh, each silken caress of her core. Her emotion seeped into him from every point of contact, swamping him with a surfeit of sensation. He absorbed everything she gave him, all his focus on bringing her toward a shattering release.

He kissed her passionately, with tongue and teeth and fang. Elise met him every inch of the way, and when he felt the sharp nip of her blunt human teeth sink into the flesh of his lower lip, he bucked wildly, groaning as her tongue lapped at the small wound she'd made. She sucked a little harder and he was totally lost, fevered with the desire to have her at his vein.

Before he could think better of it, Tegan reared back and punctured his wrist with his fangs. Blood dripped in steady rivulets onto her bare breasts and throat as he offered the gift to her and gently pressed his arm to her mouth.

Take it, he said. I want to feed you.

With her eyes locked on his, she sealed her lips around his flesh. She drank him down, pulse after pulse, her tongue creating a mesmerizing, erotic suction. And all the while, Tegan thrust into her, taking carnal delight in every gasp and shudder of her body as she spiraled closer to release. Her fingernails scored his skin where she gripped his arm, holding him fast against her mouth, pulling hard at his vein as her orgasm seized her.

She broke apart on a violent tremor, crying out as Tegan drove in a relentless rhythm, chasing his own fierce climax now too. He plunged deep, felt the rush of hot seed jetting up his shaft, erupting from him in a gushing wave as Elise's sex milked him like a hot, wet fist.

Ah, fuck, he gasped, rolling away from her, spent but not sated.

Not even close.

The scent of blood and sex was ripe in the room, a potent fragrance that only reminded him of the savage side of his nature. The part that had once ruled him…had almost destroyed him.

Beside him on the bed, Elise crept closer. Her naked breasts pressed against his shoulder as she leaned over him. Her fingers were tender as she stroked the side of his face and smoothed his sweat-dampened hair off his brow.

You didn't finish. He scoffed weakly, still weathering the aftershocks of his release. You obviously weren't paying attention.

No, Tegan. I mean…you didn't finish.

Her arm came around him, hovering in front of his mouth. Alarm arrowed into his brain, overriding the hard-core impulse that made him want to fall on her like the beast he was and fill his mouth with the sweet heather-and-roses taste of her blood.

He got up like he'd been spurred in the ass, vaulting to his feet next to the bed. He licked the wound at his wrist, sealing up the punctures with an efficient sweep of his tongue.

You won't drink from me?

No, he said, forcing the word past his tongue. I can't do that.

I thought maybe you wanted to–

You thought wrong, he snapped.

His denied hunger made his voice take on an even sharper edge. He cast a glance at his discarded clothes and weapons, wondering how fast he could pull them on and get the hell out of the room. He had to go, before he gave in to the temptation Elise presented, sitting naked and beautiful in his bed, cradling in her lap the delicate wrist he had so callously refused.

Tegan's breath sawed out of him as it passed over his fangs. Shit, he said, his voice rough gravel, harsh and otherworldly. This is going too damn far. I need to…ah, fuck. He raked a shaky hand over his face. I need to get out of here.

Don't bother. Elise crawled off the bed. It's your room. I'll go. She hastily gathered up her clothes, yanking on her blouse and pulling the navy jacket over the top of it, buttoning it with sure, steady fingers. She grabbed her pants and stepped into them, fastening them as she headed for the door. This was a mistake. Another one, where you're concerned. You win, Tegan. I'm finally giving up.

She ran out, and he forced himself to let her go.

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