Immortal ever after, p.28
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       Immortal Ever After, p.28

         Part #18 of Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands
Page 28


  Damn. He liked that, she guessed, and continued to caress him through the heavy cloth, feeling both his pleasure as well as the way he hardened beneath her touch. The combination was like a road map, telling her exactly where and how to caress him, and how much pressure to apply. It made her the perfect lover, she realized, and made him the perfect lover too.

  Soon, touching him through his clothes wasn’t enough, and Valerie turned her attention to quickly undoing his belt and the button of his jeans. The zipper was next. It slid down easily, allowing her to slide her hand inside both his jeans and his boxers and find that hot hardness to caress.

  Her first touch made them both gasp as his body reacted. Valerie felt his stomach ripple with pleasure, but her own stomach was doing the same, jumping under the skin with excitement.

  “Valerie. ” Anders’s voice was a rasp of sound.

  Her response was to drop to her knees and take him into her mouth. She damned near bit into him with shock at the roar of sensation that was sent rushing through her body, but caught herself at the last moment.

  Wow, this shared pleasure rocked, Valerie thought as she slid her tongue around his tip and began to move her mouth along his shaft. Anders’s pleasure was her pleasure as she worked, excitement rolling over her in waves and centering at her core where it turned liquid. She was so caught up in what she was doing and the sensations it was causing that Valerie was taken completely by surprise when Anders suddenly caught her under the arms and lifted her up.

  She actually growled with frustration at being forced to stop, but then Anders covered her mouth with his and began to tear at her clothes. He wasn’t doing so carefully either. Valerie heard cloth tearing, but didn’t care. She simply helped him strip herself and then him, though he only allowed her to lift his T-shirt off over his head. When she reached for his jeans, he pushed her hands away, shoved them off his hips, raised her onto the table and stepped between her legs.

  “Christ,” Anders growled against her mouth as he slid home. He paused then and glanced briefly around.

  “What?” she gasped, digging her fingers into his behind to urge him to move.

  Anders shook his head, and then lifted her off the table and lowered them both to the floor.

  Valerie felt the cold tile press into her back and almost protested, but then recalled the fainting that would follow the pleasure. The floor was probably better, she acknowledged and then didn’t care as he began to move.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Valerie frowned at the empty cupboard she’d just opened in search of a water glass, and asked, “Why don’t you have any dishes or food here? You eat. ”

  “Eating is a very recent occurrence for me,” Anders said quietly as he tugged his T-shirt on over his head. “I ate for the first hundred years or two, but food lost its interest after that. As did sex and many other things. Your arrival in my life has reawakened those old appetites though,” he admitted. “That, by the way, is another sign of a life mate. ”

  “Oh. ” Her mind tried to consider the fact that she was his life mate, but Valerie wasn’t ready for that yet and pushed it away. Closing the door, she turned to face him and commented, “I suppose that explains how you’ve never had a Tim Hortons iced capp then. ”

  “Yes. ” He smiled faintly. “They’re very good. Everything I’ve tasted so far has been good. ”

  Valerie eyed him silently. He was rubbing his stomach and licking his lips. She suspected they were both subconscious actions he wasn’t aware of, but it made her ask a little nervously, “When did you last have blood?”

  Anders blinked, but answered, “This morning. I’m good for a while. I am hungry for food though. We never did stop for brunch. ”

  Valerie’s eyebrows flew up. Her stomach had been gnawing at her since leaving the bookstore. She’d assumed it was just a symptom of her anxiety and fear, but most of her fear had dissipated now, yet the gnawing remained. Hunger, she realized.

  “I’m sure you have many questions,” Anders said quietly, almost stiltedly. “But do you feel safe enough with me to go have that brunch we planned on, and then hit the grocery store?”

  “You’re kidding, right?” she asked with disbelief.

  He looked uncertain. “No. ”

  “Geez,” Valerie muttered and pointed out, “I just woke up from passing out after jumping your bones. I think you can take it that I feel pretty safe around you. ”

  “Oh. ” Anders grinned, but then said, “Well, one doesn’t necessarily mean the other. The shared pleasure is pretty addictive. You might not have been able to help yourself. ”

  “Because of your superior lovemaking skills?” she teased, remembering his words from earlier that morning in her bedroom.

  “Exactly,” he said and walked over to pull her against his chest with a chuckle.

  “Oh no,” Valerie said, ducking the kiss he tried to grace her with. “That leads right back to getting naked which is awesome, but I need food. My stomach is killing me. ”

  Concern crossed Anders’s face. “I’m sorry. I should have realized. Come. We’ll leave right away. ”

  Valerie smiled crookedly as he urged her toward the door. She liked his caring and concern. She could get used to it, she thought as they walked out to the SUV and got in.

  They stopped at literally the first restaurant they saw. It was a little diner in the middle of nowhere with bench seats and a surly waitress, but the food was actually amazing. Valerie and Anders chatted amiably as they ate, but stayed away from the topic of her kidnapping, and his origins entirely. She was glad they did. It allowed her to pretend they were just a normal couple out for brunch . . . well, a very late brunch, she supposed since it was after one in the afternoon.

  They didn’t talk about anything immortal related until they were walking back out to the SUV and then it was Valerie who brought up the subject, asking, “So, I take it that whole business about crosses and sunlight hurting vampires is bogus?”

  “Crosses have no effect at all and we can go into churches,” he assured her. “But sunlight is something we generally try to avoid. ”

  “Why?” she asked with a frown, her gaze sliding up to the sunny sky they were walking under and then to his bare arms. “Does it hurt when the sunlight touches your skin or something?”

  “No. If it did I wouldn’t be walking in it right now. “But sunlight does damage to the human body, both mine and yours. The difference is that the nanos will repair the damage my skin takes, which means they need more blood. We quickly learned to avoid anything that does damage to reduce the amount of blood we need,” Anders explained, walking her around to her side of the SUV. He saw her in, kissed her on the nose, closed the door and walked around to get in on his side, before adding, “The more blood needed, the more often one needs to feed, and the more risk of discovery. So we’ve habitually avoided the sun. ”

  “But you use blood bank blood now so can go out in it again,” she guessed as he started the engine.

  “True we can,” Anders agreed as he pulled out of their parking space. “But we try to avoid putting too much unnecessary demand on the blood bank. Most of us don’t spend much time in the sun. Walking to and from a car is one thing, but you won’t catch an immortal sunbathing. ”

  “But Leigh, and even you, were swimming in the pool in bright sunlight,” Valerie recalled with a frown.

  “Lucian had a special awning installed over it so that he and Leigh could swim during the day. ”

  “That barely there awning?” Valerie asked with a snort as she recalled the tinted glass awning over the pool.

  “It may not look like much, but while it lets the light in, it blocks the damaging rays,” Anders assured her.

  “Really?” she asked with interest.

  He nodded. “Most immortals have their windows treated with a similar coating as well. In fact, the windows of this SUV are treated with it. ”
Anders smiled at her. “We no longer need to live in the dark. ”

  “Oh. ” Valerie found herself examining the windows now. They looked like normal windows with a coating of that anti-glare stuff. Nice to know she was avoiding UVs though, she thought and then asked, “So do you all sleep during the day from habit then? I mean, I noticed that Leigh and Lucian tend to sleep late, and I’m guessing you would too if you didn’t have to be up with me. ”

  Anders hesitated and then said, “Some immortals keep bankers’ hours. Those who have jobs where they need to deal with mortals have to work mortal hours. But they still avoid sunlight as much as possible with treated windows and underground parking and whatnot. ”

  “And the others?” she asked. “Like you. If you hunt bad vampires, you aren’t dealing much with mortals. ”

  Anders narrowed his eyes and tilted his head from side to side briefly. “That’s not completely true. We do deal with mortals, yourself and the other women for instance. But we also have to question mortals when hunting a rogue. To try to find your kidnapper, we have Hunters out questioning people in the pet shops all over the Greater Toronto Area, asking about purchases of three or more large dog cages. ”

  She nodded and said, “So you have to have workers who work during the day. ”

  “Yes, but there are more Enforcers on the night shift than the day shift,” Anders said. “Most rogues revert to the Stoker version of vampires, feeding off the hoof, stalking the night . . . Some even turn a large number of mortals to make themselves a small army of adoring underlings. ”

  “Charming,” Valerie said dryly, and then asked, “But you prefer to work nights?”

  Anders shrugged. “It doesn’t make much difference to me. I work when I’m needed and I’ve been needed a lot lately. ”

  “Right, you’ve been short-handed,” she murmured, recalling Bricker saying new recruits had arrived because their hunters had been dropping like flies. The memory made her nibble her lip worriedly. “I suppose hunting these rogues is dangerous?”

  “It can be,” he said with a shrug as he turned off the engine. Then he smiled at her and undid his seat belt. “We’re here. ”

  Valerie glanced out the window to see that they’d arrived at a grocery store. “Did Leigh send you a list of what she wanted besides bread and milk?”

  “I forgot to check,” Anders admitted and pulled out his phone. It was an iPhone, she saw, as he began to run his fingers over the face and punch icons. “Geez. ”

  “What?” Valerie asked, leaning toward him to try to see what had brought on the dismayed sound. Anders turned the phone toward her and she stared blankly at it, slow to realize she was looking at a text from Leigh. A text of a grocery list. A long grocery list, she realized, reaching out to run one finger over the screen so that she could find the bottom of it. Cripes, the woman had about fifty entries on it. She supposed Leigh’s shopping had been a bit restricted what with Lucian acting so protective. He’d probably refused to let her shop and merely picked up a few things himself here and there on his way home. Valerie had noticed that the cupboards and refrigerator didn’t hold all that much.

  Giving a soft laugh, she reached for the door. “Guess we’d better get started. ”

  “Dear God, I thought we’d never get out of there,” Anders muttered, opening the back of the SUV to begin transferring the grocery bags from their shopping cart.

  Valerie grinned at his exasperation. “It was pretty bad, but I’ve seen worse. You should see the stores at Christmastime. ”

  “You mean that wasn’t the worst?” he asked with disbelief, pulling bags from the cart and tossing them in the back of the SUV. “There seemed to be half a dozen shoppers in every aisle we went down, and each one seemed to delight in blocking the aisle with their carts. Does no one have the good sense to leave room for people to maneuver around them? And what the hell is Leigh going to do with all this food?”

  Valerie burst out laughing at his griping as she helped transfer the bags. Her amusement was mostly because she could sympathize. They had hit the late-afternoon crowd, which seemed to be made up of people who had nothing better to do than stand about chatting. It hadn’t helped that neither of them had been familiar with this particular grocery store’s setup and that Leigh hadn’t listed her grocery items in order so that they’d had to backtrack and crisscross the store several times to get all the items.

  “Sorry,” Anders muttered, looking chagrined. “I’m bitching. ”

  “Don’t apologize on my account,” she said with amusement. “I wanted to smack that old lady with the blue hair and orange top. I think she deliberately blocked us every time we came across her. ”
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