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The Vampire Queen's Servant (Chapter Twenty-one)

Her eyes had been so full of pain when she'd turned toward him. Now she straddled the motorcycle behind him, cheek pressed to his back and arms around his waist. He drove through the light traffic of early morning, his face aching, his mind going over the pieces of the puzzles, the images Carnal had painted, the words she had spoken. Despite his best efforts to accept and get past it, even the way she'd struck him and how both vampires had treated him kept intruding.

He'd scoped out several routes from the mall, and he took the shortcut through a new neighborhood behind the shopping area. It would connect to a main thoroughfare, but instead of taking the turn to it, he went a different way on impulse, speeding down a darkened street with as-yet-unbuilt lots that dead-ended into a service road, currently barricaded off with an iron pole gate to keep out cars. He swung wide and bypassed it, taking the pedestrian path through a proposed forest park area. As they left the tree cover and came out into a clear meadow, the winter grass had turned silver in the moon-light. He cut his headlight and turned off the engine so they could look at the tranquil view. When she turned her head so her other cheek was pressed against his back, he knew she was looking as he was at the varying shadows playing across the field, since the moon had dipped just below the tree line. She kept her arms around his waist as he braced his feet on the ground on either side of the bike.

He could hear nothing but his own thoughts, and realized there was a sense of "other" when she was in his mind. Just a shadow, like when she was following him around the house. It made him feel alone, knowing she wasn't in his mind right now, and yet she'd only marked him an hour or two ago. It made him wonder how Thomas had borne the loss after having it for so long. He breathed in the night air, letting the tranquility of the meadow, the sound of crickets and the feel of her arms around his chest soothe and steady him. Taking one of her hands in his own at last, he kissed her knuckles, then held them on his thigh, warming her cold fingers against his own body heat. He wasn't cold at all despite his dampness. She was, though, and he wondered if it was caused by more than her normal low body temperature.

He felt that shadowy presence enter into his awareness and tested his theory. Would he be out here? Watching us?

"No. " She spoke then, as if knowing he wasn't quite up to long strings of dialogue in his head yet. There was a dry note to hervoice. "Carnal is allergic to nature. He's a made vampire. Rex was his sire. Born and bred in the city, not connected to the earth at all. Probably because he senses it's going to open up one day so the bowels of hell can claim him. " Good.

Tugging on her hand, he encouraged her to dismount, seeing her arch look at his one-word answer to Carnal's current and potential future whereabouts. One hand slid from him as she complied, though he retained her other and she didn't pull free or let go. He swung his leg over and walked her into that meadow. The straw-colored grass as fine as a woman's hair, gold in summer but now shining silver, feathered against their legs, whispering. When he stopped, he turned her to face him. Her eye color was almost a pale sea green in this light. He was glad she'd left off the wig. The wind had dried her hair somewhat, but it was snarled and not smooth around her face. He saw the ghosts in her face, the strain around her mouth. She looked almost mortal.

The desire to withdraw from him, to avoid his questions, filled her eyes. Before she could back away, he put his hands on her shoulders, saying nothing, and kissed her.

Not the hard, passion-driven kisses they'd shared until now,infused with dark images and violence. There was a pleasure in that, but this was a different pleasure, a gift he could offer to her.

Her mouth was soft, yielding. She leaned into him, her hands resting on his hips as she kept her face completely still, her eyes half closed as he spread light kisses on her lips. The top, then the bottom, the corner of her mouth, one eyelid then the other. Her cheek. Next to her ear, where when he started to nibble, her hands closed into fists on the waistband of his jeans. Her fingers slid inside to caress his skin at his waist, finding his hip bones then moving around to the sensitive curve of his buttocks, for she preferred him not to wear underwear. He moved to her neck as he found her flesh as well, palming the small of her back, thinking of the tattoo there and tracing the rougher feel of it. She made a murmur of noise, telling him his fascination with it had made her more aroused in that area. So he lingered, teasing it a bit longer until he took the hem of the T-shirt and brought it over her head, leaving her like him, standing just in a pair of jeans, since she'd worn no bra beneath the snug shirt. It had the softness of worn cloth, a tiny tee probably meant to be a sleep tank, but he'd particularly liked it for her, the "not everyone is a morning person" motto. She looked as cute in it as the sleeping kitten on the front.

"Jacob. I am over a millennium old. I am not cute. "

He smiled against her skin. "You are to me. Stop listening to my thoughts. " Dropping to one knee, he worshipped her breasts with his mouth, his hands, his eyes. Every touch reverent, designed to create a quiet, yearning arousal, a mode just short of climax where the sweet edge of desire could be ridden forever. While he might die of frustration from such a reality, he knew it would be heaven to her, and he wanted to give her heaven.

She rewarded him, cupping his face, her fingers following where she'd struck him, soothing as he nuzzled between her breasts, pressing them together with his hands so he could lick the valley in between, tease the nipples with his thumbs in slow strokes. A sigh left her, her body leaning further into him, the tension slipping off her like a cloak falling to the forest floor. But here, it was all moonlight and silver, the pale gleam of her skin like cream. Her fingers trailed along his bare wide shoulders, learning every point of bone, the straps of lean muscle.

He opened the jeans, guided them off her legs as she increased her grip on his shoulder, bringing her other hand to his hair. He could tell she liked his hair, the way she so often played with it, watching the reddish brown threads drift through her fingers. He liked feeling her touch there, for it was more spontaneous than some of the other ways she touched him. Not the calculated seduction moves wrapped up in the things she felt were so important for him to understand about the etiquette of their relationship. This moment was just them. That was the way he wanted to keep it. Forget about what had just happened, or what might happen after they left the park. Give me this, my lady. Moments like this would make those moments easier to bear.

He kissed the line of her lower abdomen, hip bone to hip bone, small touches of his tongue tracing the line of skin over the low rise of the panties, his chin rubbing against her pubic bone. She made a noise of need and he could smell her desire as he laid his hands on both of her thighs, holding her as he stimulated her further. He remembered that first night when she'd marked him with the slick dew from her cunt. His legs, stomach, cock, chest. Would three centuries be long enough to make sure that he'd kissed every inch of her?

But she'd said she wouldn't give him the third mark. And if he couldn't convince her otherwise, he'd have even less time to be sure his lips had touched every part of her, over and over again. Lifting his gaze to her face, he hooked his fingers in the panties and eased them down her legs. Left them at her ankles as he bent his head and licked her clit.

Her hand convulsed on his shoulder, a lock of his hair trapped beneath her fingers, tugging on his scalp as her body jerked. He did it again, those slow licks on the clit hood with her legs not yet spread enough to get his head all the way between them. He kept his hands on her thighs to tell her he wanted her to stay that way for a few moments longer. He nuzzled her when she bumped against him impatiently, and her nails dug into his skin. She'd draw blood one way or another, for it was her way. He was learning that much. He didn't want this to be about anything she had to do for someone else. He didn't want her to have to make any decisions.

"Just feel, " he murmured. Rising, he slid his arms around her waist to lift her, so the last garment fell to the meadow floor and she was fully, blissfully naked against his half-clad but tautly aroused body. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders, she pressed her face into his neck. He could feel her need for this,to lose herself. As he held her in the tight, quiet embrace, she drew in a deep breath, her nostrils flaring against his skin as she inhaled his scent. Her bare feet brushed against his jean-covered calves, goading a fierce surge of reaction in his chest. He would do anything to protect her, to keep her happy.

Maybe it didn't make sense to the whole world, his brother, even himself. Despite her savagery, her cruelty, he felt whole, complete when she trusted him like this. There were no questions now. This was where he was meant to be, the meaning and importance of his whole life held in his arms. Perhaps it was like the first moment when a mother saw her baby. There would be terrible pain. The child often would do everything he or she could to shake that love. But that kind of love was steadfast, inarguable. That was the point, the clear path.

"Jacob–"

"Sshhh. Just let me love you, my lady. "

Shifting, he laid her down on their clothes cushioned beneath by the soft meadow grass. Spreading her hair around her, he brought a handful of it to his lips, brushing it there, then over his eyes, his face, loving the feel of it as she watched him, her hand stroking his shoulder. Her other hand touched his knee as he squatted next to her supine form, trailed along the inseam of the denim. Taking her time making her way up his thigh until she reached the hard evidence of his desire, constrained behind the' zipper. He rose, her hand trailing downward to his knee as he shucked off the garment. Tossing it on the pile of her clothes, he looked down at her. Her hand had come back to rest on his bare knee now, her eyes traveling up his body, lingering on his turgid cock, the weight of his balls. She'd required him to shave around his genitals for her, and her eyes registered her approval of the closely trimmed pubic area even as she appreciated the line of hair she'd wanted him to keep at his stomach and the light thatch over his chest. Finally, her eyes lifted to his face.

Even with the desire in her face he could feel the need behind it. She wanted, badly. Now. He was hers. All hers.

He heard that thought as clearly as if she'd spoken it. Without further hesitation, he dropped to one knee next to her, laid his hand on her thigh and spread her legs, feeling as if he were opening an angel's wings to reveal the heart of life and its meaning. Easing over her, he felt the brush of her thigh as she raised it, touching his bare hip. She framed his face with her hands as he lowered himself to kiss her, bearing his weight on his arms as he slid slow and deep within her. Easy, so easy.

"Aaahhh… " That soft breath from her again. He closed his own eyes, the feel of her wet pussy closing around him in a moment too sacred not to be met with an attitude of devout prayer. He felt her amusement with the thought, mixed with a wave of her own desire. He smiled as well, opening his eyes as he began to move.

He was a well-endowed man. It had never seemed a thing of much consequence to him, except it saved him from locker-room ribbing and he was able to give pleasure to the women who took joy in it. But as she arched and gasped, he filled her tight channel and was glad to be able to give her that gift.

Her nails sliced him anew, so that he increased the power of his strokes, his desire rising. Her lips parted so he couldn't resist bending and covering them with his own. She met him with a hard kiss, her tongue seeking his, her hands now on his head, gripping his hair as her lower body lifted and fell, increasing the power of the impact as they came together more rapidly. "Yours, my lady, " he muttered, echoing her thoughts, and growled as she raked him from shoulder to buttocks, her heels clamping over his hips.

Mine, she agreed, the jade eyes locking with his. Her hand was between them, now resting on the mark over his nipple, which was swollen and stinging like fire, so when she reared up and placed her mouth over it to suckle on him, it speared shards of aching pleasure through him. Her hands gripped his ass, fingers rocking him against her as her hips rose and dropped, driving them higher.

Come for me, Jacob.

You first, my lady. 'Tis not a battle. Give me the gift of seeing you come while I still have a scrap of sanity to enjoy the sight.

"I can feel your cunt tight like a fist over my cock. " He whispered it, lying down on her body, his mouth against her ear as he held her pinned to the ground. He slowed his strokes to rub with excruciating small movements against her clit while she quivered spasmodically beneath him.

She could remove him easily, even reverse the position, but instead her arms locked around his shoulders, her legs still around his hips. She pressed her face into his shoulder as he rocked her, pumping her slowly against his cock, reaching beneath her to palm her soft bottom and guide her on him, up, down, deep in, dragging out.

She hesitated, fighting dark images he couldn't see or understand, but he could sense their pull. He wouldn't try to fight those, but he would coax her from their grasp.

"Let your servant please you. You've nothing to fear from me. My life is yours to do with as you will, my lady. " His voice was hoarse. He wanted her ears to hear the truth of it as well as her mind.

Neither death… Nor pain… Nor loss. Shall I fear. Only my beloved may rend my heart asunder. Burn me to ashes like the rising of the sun. Vampire… Poet. Sjaran, twelfth century.

"Never, my lady. Never. " Daring to tip the scales, he shifted his firm grip on her buttocks, brushed his finger pads around the rim of her rectum, teasing it as he stroked against her clit.

Pressing his cock even more deeply inside her, he found the dense area of her sweet spot when he put his lips to her throat, just beneath her ear.

The grip of her arms increased exponentially and she shattered, her body arching, bucking against him convulsively. With her arms and legs tight around him it was a furious wet friction against his cock that snapped his own barely leashed restraint. As she spasmed, muffling her cries in his shoulder, her cunt clutched him, the tissues quivering between her buttocks beneath the probe of his fingers. Finesse had to desert him in the face of such unbearable sensation. His hand slid back to her buttock and gripped her hard as he pounded into her, his cock spurting as her cries grew in volume, her climax increasing in intensity as he tried to enhance it with his movements within her, his touch, the harsh rasp of his breath against her ear.

That delicate ear, as finely made as any flower that grew in the meadow during the first gentle touch of spring. It was his first rational thought as he regained his senses and found his cheek on the meadow floor, his gaze on that beautiful ear, touched by moonlight. Her hair was a pillow for his head, and he took the opportunity to rub his face against it again before he remembered his manners and pushed himself up on his elbows to cup her face, his fingers brushing her lips.

She kissed them, her hand on the back of his neck drawing him down to exchange a kiss between their mouths, and then another, and another. Until he realized she fully intended to get him charged up again and was succeeding. A process that should have been physically impossible to accomplish so quickly, no matter the stimulus.

One of the benefits of the second mark. Record recovery time.

He'd have smiled if he didn't want her again so much already. Semi-erect, he slid back into her still slippery heat and she held him with her muscles there, stroking, rippling. In a flash, she rolled so she could sit up and ride him, her hair wild and snarled about her. Catching his hands she held them, using them as a resistant counterpoint as she sinuously worked him, drawing him harder and deeper within her, bringing him closer to explosion with internal muscles as supple as her fingers. She controlled every movement, pushing down on him with a force underscoring the difference in their strengths, her reminder that she had all the advantages, that the choices were hers. His cock responded helplessly, spurting for her again in a much briefer time than he'd ever experienced before, his control gone.

He let her have her way, for he'd accomplished his intent, reminding himself why he'd chosen to serve her. It wasn't the soft firmness of her breasts, the wet pull of her cunt, the sweep of her fine hair on his skin, though all those were enough to make a man kill for her. It was the soul of the woman beneath all that he heard calling to him, making it impossible to walk away.

He'd stand by her, no matter what she did to him.

But even as he had the thought, he remembered what Gideon used to tell him. Fate didn't like being dared.

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