Eternal kiss, p.22
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       Eternal Kiss, p.22

         Part #2 of Mark of the Vampire series by Laura Wright
Chapter 22



  Kate heard the scream like it was right beside her, and it triggered a reaction in her that was tantamount to panic.

  Lying nude on the bed after stripping herself of the red dress and heels, she grabbed a robe from the back of the chair and threw it on. She was out of her room and flinging open the door to Ladd's just as another cry stole from his throat.


  He was writhing on the bed, his sheets crawling up to his belly.

  "Ladd. " Kate went to him and dropped to the mattress.

  "Ladd," she said again, her hands on his shoulders, then face. "It's okay. Ladd, wake up. "

  His eyes jumped open and when he saw her, he looked momentarily devastated. She wasn't the one he wanted.

  But the look lasted only a brief second, and with a cry, he threw his arms around her neck and clung to her. She wasn't the one he wanted, but she was there and she was female, a worthwhile substitute and she was patting him as gently as she could manage.


  Ladd spoke against her chest, his smal voice tired and confused.


  "Is my mom real y dead? Did it real y happen?"

  Kate's throat tightened, but she answered him. "Yes. "

  He was quiet for a moment. Then he said, "I don't know what to do now. "

  "You don't have to know. You don't have to decide anything. Everything wil be okay. "

  "Are you going to go away again?"

  Fuck. It wasn't fair-not that he shouldn't be able to ask the question, he should-but that she felt so compel ed to give him the honest answer. "I don't know. "

  He pulled back so he could look at her. His eyes were red. "Maybe you could stay. For just a little while. "

  Her insides twisted, her stil heart too. But she nodded, because it was something she could give him. "Sure. For a little while. "

  "Okay. " He gave her a smal smile, then scrambled away from her and lay back down.

  Kate watched as he hugged his pil ow to his chest and stared straight ahead, blinking his exhaustion. She may not have known how to rock the boy in her arms or comfort him in a traditional way, but she wouldn't leave his side until his breathing changed and he was asleep again.

  Nicholas had heard it too. The cry of the balas.

  He took the steps two at a time, reached the landing just in time to hear Kate's voice intermingled with the boy's. He steered right and walked down the hal to the door of Ladd's room. Dressed only in a white robe, her feet bare, Kate sat on the edge of the bed, her hand on the balas's back. He was lying down and hugging his pil ow. Kate's face was a mask of unyielding bleakness as she watched him blink his way back to sleep.

  The boy whimpered and Kate soothed him with her voice and rubbed his back. Nicholas just watched, the dim hal way at his back leaving him in the protection of the shadows. Downstairs, on his cell, making demands and offers to those who would assist in his plan with Dare, Nicholas had wondered just who he'd become over the last several hours, who he was-what he'd turned into. But now, as he stared at the veana before him, he wondered who she was. What she'd done to land herself in Mondrar. She was tough and smart and could give a good punch, but the marks on her long, beautiful neck weren't little nothings.

  They signified a long-held secret, and a long-term stay in the vampire prison.

  A lethal crime.

  And yet she had saved the boy, had risked her freedom for him-a child she was in no way close to or related to.

  He wondered if she would ever tel him the truth, or if they would go their separate ways knowing as much about each other as they did at this moment.

  Kate brushed a bit of Ladd's pale hair from his temple and sighed. Nicholas felt a pul toward them, toward her, an invisible tightrope he wanted to run across. He wanted to take up the space behind her on the bed and watch the boy with her, over her shoulder.

  She stood up then, covered Ladd with a blanket, and started toward him. Nicholas held his ground. If he didn't take off now, she'd see him and she'd know he'd been watching her.

  They'd moved him.

  Moved him into a room where the sounds of sex fil ed his brain and his ears. It was like porn sensory overload, and he couldn't keep up with the wants, needs, and cries of orgasm.

  Gray sucked in air as the tape was ripped from his mouth and eyes. The stinging sensation took his breath and his sight away for several seconds. Then the room, his new world came into focus. White wal s with black shapeless art

  -and no windows. On the floor, backs and knees to the carpet, asses swinging like pendulums, eyes closed and mouths open, couples were engaged in al types of sex acts.

  This was Dare's new compound-what the Romans sought, and what they sought to destroy. Gray fought the sounds and demands of those in his head, those before him. Even fought the erection that strained against his fly.

  "You like it. I knew you would. "


  Gray fought the binds around his chest.

  "I thought we could talk. " Dare flashed in front of him, his dark eyes probing as he dropped into the empty chair beside Gray.

  "I don't know about any balas, " Gray spat out.

  "But you do know the layout of the Roman compound.

  How to get in, how to bypass whatever charms keep it locked up so tightly. "

  "Harder. "

  "Faster. "

  "Oh God, yes!"

  His brain spun; his cock pulsed.

  "If you were to share that information with me," Dare continued with a grin, "I would be inclined to release you from your bondage. You could join Marina and the others. "

  Gray turned, saw Marina in the very center of the room.

  Her mouth on a female as a male took her from behind.

  Dare had brought him here to fuck him up, both literal y and figuratively. He wanted inside the Roman compound, wanted a balas who may be held there-and he was going to torture the information out of Gray any way he could.

  Gray's nostrils flared. He wanted what was in front of him, couldn't help it. And yet there was Sara . . . and some sense of loyalty to those Purebloods who'd taken him in.

  "I have nothing for you," he uttered through clenched teeth.

  "You sure?" Dare asked. "Be sure. "

  Gray said nothing, his eyes trained on Marina. She was about to come, her breathing heavy-her mind tossing off sounds and words that were real easy on the brain waves. . .

  "I. Know. Nothing. "

  A flash of deadly venom crossed Ethan Dare's face and he was up and out of his chair. "You wil change your mind or you wil die," he cal ed, walking through the writhing bodies and out of the room.

  "Oh God. Yes. Yes. Yes. "

  As Marina slammed her hips back, she looked straight at Gray and smiled.

  And when she came, so did he.

  Kate paused at the door and looked at the boy one last time, asleep now, his breathing even and his face free of fear or anxiety. Don't get involved here, she warned herself. Don't get attached to anybody, fond of anybody-don't go so soft you lose your one opportunity for freedom.

  "And it's coming for you soon," she whispered to herself.

  "What's coming for you?"

  Kate jerked around and came face-to-face with a set of hard black eyes and one cruel, delicious mouth.

  "Nicholas!" She shook her head, breathing heavy.

  "Jesus. What are you doing here?"

  "I heard the balas cry out. "

  And he'd come running, instincts that would make him a good father if that's who he turned out to be. And for Ladd's sake, she hoped that was how this was al going to go down. The boy deserved such a paven.

  "It was just a nightmare," she told him, pushing away from the door and heading down the hal to her room. "He's okay. Back to sleep. "

  Nicholas. "Was it about Mirabelle?"

  "Yes. " M
irabelle. Poor Mirabelle.

  Kate walked a little faster. She hated feeling jealous of that veana. It was vile and sad and foolish. And yet she couldn't stop herself.

  When she reached her door, Nicholas moved in front of her and leaned back against the wood, blocking her way.

  "What are you doing?" she asked, her tone tight. She needed to rest, needed to think.

  "You're angry," he said, studying her. "Sudden anger too. "

  His dark eyes searched her own. "Why?"

  "It's nothing. "

  "Don't think so. " He shook his head. "I can smel it. "

  She tried to reach for the door handle. "Let me pass. "

  "Why? So you can go to bed?"

  "Yes. "


  "Yes!" Kate's eyes flickered over his face, the brands on his cheeks. Her breasts tightened as the mark above her right nipple hummed. Her tone went suddenly soft, even vulnerable. "Did you love her?"


  "Mirabelle. Did you love her?" God, she sounded like a fucking balas. Yet once again, the mark above her nipple quivered. She pulled the lapels of her robe closed. How open had the thing been a moment ago? Had Nicholas seen anything? Anything he recognized?

  "My relationship with Mirabelle had nothing to do with love," Nicholas said succinctly.

  "It was just sex?"

  His lip curled upward. "Why do you ask me these questions? They mean nothing. I do not inquire about your lovers. "

  She laughed, bitter and choked. "You mean from my days in Mondrar? Not a lot of time or opportunity to meet someone in there. And then there was the credenti . . . "

  "What about it?" he said, his eyes narrowing. "You met someone in the credenti?"

  "Oh yeah! A lot of somebodies-al who got raging hard-ons for the convicted felon. " She cocked her head, slapped the skin over her whip marks. "This is a real turn-on for most pavens. "

  He snarled, almost viciously and sent his fist back against the door. It flung open and smashed into the wal of her room. "Most pavens have shit for brains," he said, scooping her up in his arms. "And in this case, I'm excessively glad of it. "

  He carried her into her room, tossed her onto the bed, and mounted her. His face was a mask of ferocity as he stared down into her eyes, but Kate didn't cower. His reactions, his need, his feelings of possessiveness weren't about being an overbearing cretin. They were his natural instincts, carrying out a thousand-year-old ritual that was rooted within his genetic makeup. She was his true mate, and even without knowing it, his need to breed with her, possess her, and keep her away from al other males was impossible to control.

  "I won't take from you," he said blackly. "Not yet.

  Kate was about to voice her confusion when Nicholas began unbuttoning the cuff of his left shirtsleeve, then yanked it back up to his elbow.

  Her body began to hum.

  "Are you sure?" she asked, already licking her lips at just the thought of his blood in her mouth, coating her throat.

  "You fed me earlier. " His eyes were intense, hypnotic as he looked up at her. "It is your turn now. "

  Her blood heated in her veins, cal ing out its readiness to be joined with the blood of the paven before her.

  "In fact, I can stil taste you," he said, his voice rough and lust-fil ed. He laid down beside her and offered her his wrist. "Take al you want, al you can. "

  His words made her skin grow tight and hot, made the muscles around her pelvis pul inward. This paven was a dangerous, delicious drug, lying so close, his scent inside her nostrils, and his wrist just an inch away from her dry, trembling lips.

  "Your first real feed from a vein," he whispered into the cove of her ear. "Strike hard, open your throat, and let it come. "

  Her mouth watered and her fangs elongated to pin-prick sharpness. If she drank from him, from his vein, would he know, would he suspect-would he feel the deep, unbreakable bond of his true mate's suckle?

  It should've stopped her-the question alone should've stopped her. But even as her brain tried again to switch on, reason with her, she drove her fangs down into his flesh with the zeal of a starving child. And then there was nothing

  -nothing but blood-hot, rich, delectable blood funneling into her canines and rushing like a life-giving river into her mouth, over her tongue, and down her throat.

  She turned, curved into his side, gripped the other side of his wrist with one hand and his thigh with the other, squeezing, kneading his muscle like a cat as she suckled.

  She heard him hiss and pul in a breath and knew he was getting turned on by her intensity, by her unabashed need for him.

  Her hand groped up his leg, felt every rope of muscle as it flexed and strained, up until she brushed over his crotch.

  Her bel y clenched as she felt his prick, stone-hard and pulsing beneath his fly. As she fed, gulping him down, draining him, she thought about another part of him she wanted to take into her mouth. She imagined it standing up tal and thick before her, her tongue lapping at the crown.

  Her fingers twitched, and as she played with him over the black fabric of his pants, she began to feel more and more aggressive, more and ever frustrated. She needed more than what she had already consumed. More than his blood.

  She broke the suction on his wrist and looked down into his beautiful face.

  He leaned up and lapped at her lower lip with his tongue.

  "What is it, Kate?"

  "I'm stil hungry. " She lifted his hand to her mouth once again, but this time she let her tongue travel up his wrist to his palm.

  He watched her. "What can I give you? Anything I have is yours, you know that. "

  She grinned. "I was hoping you'd say that. " She took his thumb into her mouth and suckled it deep, tasted the hint of salt.

  Nicholas groaned, his eyes blazing with fire. "You want my cock, sweetest?"

  She let his thumb slip from her lips, wet and heavy. "Wil it feed me, paven?"

  "Perhaps more than you can take," he said.

  Smiling, Kate slid to the edge of the bed and knelt between his legs, her body feeling smal between his large, powerful thighs. The confidence flowing inside her, spurring her on was al him, had come from his blood-and good thing too. It was her first taste of a paven, and she didn't want to do it wrong. Not with him, never with him.

  "I want to taste you like you tasted me," she said, unzipping his fly. "I want your blood and your cum in the back of my throat. "

  He wore nothing underneath, and his cock jutted out, the head smooth and purple. For a moment, Kate just looked at him, the stretched skin, heavy veins, the intimidating length.

  Her mouth watered.

  Nicholas reached out and gripped her knees, his eyes the blackest she'd ever seen them. "It can be difficult to take a paven so deep. "

  "Not you. I want it. " Her hand closed around the base of his shaft. "I want to suckle you, lick your head until you can't control yourself and you-"

  "Fuck your mouth?" he finished wickedly.

  She grinned. "Yes!"

  She lowered her head and guided him into her mouth, inch by delectable inch until he touched the back of her throat.

  "Oh God, yes," Nicholas groaned as he watched her.

  It was nothing like Kate had imagined. Instead of awkwardness and fumbling with something she didn't know how to handle, she was al instinct and desire. He was so hard, like hot steel inside her, and as she kept him deep within her mouth, she let her tongue play with the base of his shaft.

  "Kate, look at me," he commanded, his tone heavy with lust.

  Kate's eyes flickered up and she saw him, fierce as a jaguar, his nostrils flaring, his mouth open, fangs extended as he dragged in breath after breath. Her own body responded to his need, her nipples going as hard as the paven in her mouth, her cunt clenching, dripping with desire as it ached to be touched, fil ed.

  "I know you're hungry," Nicholas said through grit
ted teeth, his fingers gripping her scalp. "But I can't feed you.

  Not just yet. "

  Kate wasn't schooled on how to give head, but she knew how a paven pumped his shaft into a veana, as a male animal thrust himself into a female. In and out and lots of suction. And that's what she did, using her mouth like a cunt, short thrusts, suckling and lapping at the tip as she listened to his breathing change, quicken.

  And just as she was begging for a taste of him, a wash of cum hit the back of her throat, beads of precum bubbled over on the tip of his head. Hot, salty, delicious. She closed her eyes and savored.

  Perfect. He was perfect.

  For her.

  Greedy for more, Kate took him deep again, pulsed him back and forth, reveling in the control she had over this paven's body, his climax.

  Nicholas roared, groaned, and Kate prepared herself for the rush of cum that she had been waiting for.

  But there was nothing.

  Nicholas stil ed, his hands, his thick fingers digging into the skin above her knees. And in one swift movement, he had her off of him and on her back.

  It was like a slap in the face, and Kate lay there feeling cold and confused. What the hel was going on? He wanted it, wanted her-she could feel it, smel it, taste it. So what had happened to make him pul away?

  Staring down at her, Nicholas spread her legs with his knee, making the cotton folds of her robe part and reveal her naked pussy to his gaze. His eyes were ink black and hardened with a combination of lust and torment. Kate stil ed, though her breathing remained rapid. Maybe he wanted to come inside her, feed her cunt-connect in the most complete of ways.

  She waited, ready for him, ready for the hot, hard length she'd had in her mouth to find its proper place-deep within her, the wal s of her closing in around him.

  But he didn't move, just hovered above her, staring down at her with a furious, ravenous expression.

  "What's wrong?" she whispered.

  His nostrils flared. "I want to come, need to come. "

  He looked so tortured, his eyes, his expression. She'd never seen anyone look so racked with pain. Not even the prisoners in Mondrar.

  Kate wanted to strip the robe from her skin, show him that she wanted him-show him that she wanted him to see her, al of her; touch her, fuck her-come inside her, where it was warm and safe.

  But she couldn't.

  Just as he held back, she did too. Everything, her life, her freedom, would be gone if he saw the mark on her breast.

  She wanted his body, wanted him-but she didn't want him to claim her, not forever. She couldn't be a prisoner again.

  Not even for love.

  Her eyes lifted to his and she felt his hand on her leg.

  "What are you doing?" she asked. "What are we doing?"

  "I want to feell. . . " His eyes closed for a moment as his hand drifted up her leg. "I want to know what my cock would feel. "

  "This is bul shit, Nicholas. Please. " Kate stared up at him, every inch of skin he touched flaring with heat. "Come inside me!"

  She sucked in air as Nicholas thrust two fingers inside her. Oh God. Oh shit. Long, thick fingers, working her so deep. Back and forth he pulsed, tapping against a spot so hidden and pleasurable that she forgot about begging, questioning, and even the pain that stil hovered in his gaze.

  She writhed under him, her hips lifting, jerking as her cunt wept against his palm. He slipped a third finger inside her and she cried out, her pelvis thrusting, rotating. It was so primal, her response to him. It was like her body surrendered to his touch anytime, anywhere.

  She kept her eyes closed. God, she didn't want to see him, see his pain as she gave in to so much pleasure. She didn't know why he didn't want to be inside her-maybe he didn't want to be held captive either-but for now, she was going to pretend it didn't hurt her.

  His thumb flicked her clit, light feathering, a perfect rhythm that sent shards of sensation running through her body.

  "Knees up, sweetest," he said. "I want to get deeper inside your pussy, feel the hot juice flow out of you when you come. "

  Just the command held Kate's breath hostage inside her lungs, but she did as he instructed, bending her knees, spreading her feet wide apart so he could get closer, deeper. She was so wet, could hear the sound of his knuckles buried within her, the suction as he drew out, then thrust a fourth finger inside to join the others. He pumped her, a steady blistering rhythm as he continued to flick her clit.

  Her hands fisted around the rug at her back and she slammed her hips up and held them there.

  "Oh yes, there it is," he whispered. "Your hot, tight cunt is milking me now, Kate, suckling my fingers . . . and your clit is so swol en, so red like a berry I'd kil to eat. Sweet Christ, you're beautiful. "

  Her body convulsed, her legs shook. "Nicholas, please. Don't stop!"

  She came hard, fierce, the wal s around her cunt contracting with such force she could barely control the volume of her cries. And Nicholas kept thrusting, continuing to feather her clit, gentle and easy, working with the wetness of her opening until her jerks and delicious spasms ebbed and she lowered her hips, let her head fal to the side.

  She just laid there for a moment, breathing in and out. It felt like many minutes before her body cooled and she opened her eyes once again, but when she did she took in the sight of Nicholas above her. His eyes were fil ed with misery, with failure, and she wondered what would be said between them now. He had drank from her, touched her, made her come, and yet had refused his own pleasure.

  Without a word, he lifted her up and placed her on the bed, even covered her with the blanket. When he was done, he stood at the foot of the bed like a servant.

  She exhaled, shook her head. "Nicholas . . . Jesus. I- Should I say thank you?"

  "No," he said, his neck stiff, his back too as he stared down at her. "But I should. "

  "Why? For what?" She shrugged, wanting to goad him into a reaction, something more than impassivity. "You didn't get anything out of it. "

  His nostrils flared. "Not true. "

  She crossed her arms over her chest, wel aware of the mark, his mark beneath the soft cotton. "Are you going to tel me why you wouldn't come inside me? Why you wouldn't orgasm?"

  "You are a virgini," he said simply, suddenly dispassionate.

  Her soul dropped, squeezed inside her skin. "How did you know?"

  "Your scent. It hums inside my nostrils, in my loins. You remain untouched, and you deserve more than this, more than . . . "

  He didn't finish, but he didn't need to.

  God, she hated this side of him. So cool, detached.

  She'd rather have him cursing at her with pain in his eyes-

  at least his passion would be visible; she'd know he cared.

  "Are you sure it's not the same problem as the pavens in my credenti?" she asked. "It's one thing to play with a Mondrar cunt, it's another to give your desire, your seed, yourself to one. "

  His lip curled and his fangs dropped. "That's far more insulting to you than it is to me, Kate. "

  "I'm just looking for honesty. "

  He sniffed, a barely recognizable chuckle. "No, sweet one, I don't think you are. "

  "What the hel does that mean?"

  "You lie to me, as I lie to you. " He walked over and kissed her on the cheek. "We are both comfortable in that fact, it seems. "

  Stunned at his words, at the truth that registered within them, Kate watched him walk out the door. She hated what he'd said to her, yet she knew he was right. He was her true mate, his body craved her to the point of pain-and yet she wouldn't tel him the truth.

  A fire erupted within her, beneath the smooth skin of her mark. She ripped off the blanket and the white cotton robe, tossed them on the floor, and once again lay there naked atop the mattress.
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