Chapter Sixteen


I can never betray you. You can never part from me. In love forever, this life and next. You are the very heart of me.

SOLANGE TO DOMINIC

Solange woke with her body wrapped tightly around Dominic's. For the first time she hadn't slept in the form of her jaguar. She wanted to lie beside him, skin to skin, and wake up looking at his face, touching his body. She dreamt of him, sometimes at night, sometimes during the day, but Dominic always filled her mind now. At times he seemed the center of her world and she didn't even know how--or when--he had so taken over her thoughts.

Sometimes, like now, she felt like she was drifting in a sea of need, craving the way his beautiful eyes moved over her with that look of such intense desire she could barely breathe. This evening, on waking, she felt almost possessed in her need to be with him, as if he truly did own one half of her soul. She'd spent her life alone, independent, and it was strange to wake up with Dominic as her first thought. She wanted to be everything he needed just as he was everything she needed. Dominic had awakened the woman in her. For the first time in her life she felt sexy and alive. She enjoyed the way he looked at her when she was wandering around their lair in the clothes he'd asked her to wear. She found she liked to dress for him, to see the dark lust building as his gaze followed her around the chamber.

She sat up slowly and looked him over. His lashes had lifted the moment she moved, his arms coming up to halt her progress. Her bare breasts brushed his hard chest as he held her in place. He had impossibly long lashes that would have looked feminine on anyone else, but the very black crescents only served to bring out the colors in his eyes. His slow, sexy smile melted her heart and slightly mesmerized her.

"Kiss me, kessake. Kiss me now before that little ball of fur-trouble bounces down on top of us and spoils my good mood," he growled. His hand slid up to bunch in her hair, giving her no choice but to comply.

Solange leaned over his body, unconsciously sensuous, sliding her skin against his just for the sheer luxury of touching him. He was so physically beautiful to her, his body honed by battle, a warrior in his prime, everything that appealed to her cat. But the unexpected sweetness in him, the way he saw to her every need, the way he focused so completely on her, as if everything she said and did mattered to him--that appealed to the woman.

She took her time lowering her head toward his, savoring the way she felt, that hot, delicious, restless need pouring over her, mixing with a terrible, frightening, overwhelming love that stole her sanity. The moment her lips brushed against him, the fire started, rolling over her, burning hot and out of control. His hand kept steady pressure on the back of her head as he took his time exploring her mouth, long, drugging kisses that melted her bones.

His hands stroked caresses over every curve, inflaming nerve endings even more, until her body shuddered with need. One hand drifted lower, his thumb brushing gentle, almost tender strokes over her mound and down to her sex. He caught her ragged breath in his mouth, holding her captive there while he took his time kissing her until she sagged against him, so boneless she couldn't move.

Dominic wrapped his arms around her, and with his mouth welded to hers, floated them up from the rich earth to the floor of the chamber. He left the little cub curled into a small ball of fur, still asleep on top of the healing soil.

Solange felt the woven rug under her bare feet as he put her down, but her body was no longer her own. Mostly she felt hot and needy and so in love she could barely find words. She could only look at him with her heart in her eyes. Dominic Dragonseeker. The legend. The man. Hers.

His smile was slow and certain. "Bath or food?" She crushed her need to say you. He utterly bemused her and she couldn't speak. She glanced at the inviting hot water and smiled up at him, hoping he would join her.

"You love a bath," he said, his gaze burning hot over her.

Solange nodded. She was very conscious of him behind her as she made her way to the steaming pool. The water closed over her skin, tingling, bubbles rising, frothing over the raw nerve endings so that her breath caught in her throat and she closed her eyes, allowing the sensation to rush over her.

Dominic followed her into the bath, finding a niche in the smooth rock so that only his chest and head were above water. Solange ducked her head under the water and allowed him to pull her back against him so he could wash her hair. She loved the feel of his strong fingers massaging her scalp. The water lapped at her chin as he rinsed out her hair.

"I've been thinking about the little cub," she ventured, trying not to sound shy. Her newfound realization of how much he was wrapped up inside of her made her feel more vulnerable than ever. "If you give him Carpathian blood, do you think you can put him right? He's such a sweet-heart, Dominic. Is that even possible? Giving him your blood once the parasites are removed?"

The cub was solid in front and back, but his middle was shadow, which made it difficult, if not impossible, for the cat to eat.

"Maybe. I honestly do not know what can be done for the little guy." He ducked his head beneath the water to wash out the long silken mass.

There was regret in his voice and Solange frowned. She waited until he was finished and then brushed the palm of her hand over the heavy muscles of his chest. "I thought the blood of Carpathians could heal almost anything."

"This is twisted magic, Solange," he said, catching her hand and pressing her palm tight over his heart. "I want to help, but I do not yet see how we can undo this damage."

She sighed and leaned forward without thinking to lick at a drop of water running down his chest. "They didn't have time to program him to need my blood. He's such a sweet little thing, but we're going to have to find a solution fast or he's going to starve. What were they thinking?"

"I doubt they cared whether the cat was hungry, as long as it did what they wanted."

"We have to do something for it. Keeping it asleep is the only way to keep it from starving, but that's a temporary fix."

He smiled down at her and her stomach did a little flip. "If it is at all possible, we will find a solution." She believed him. He had said he wanted to help but didn't yet know how. She knew Dominic deep down now, at the core of who he was, what he stood for, and he would not allow the kitten to suffer. He paid attention to details, no matter what they were.

She turned more fully into his arms and tentatively reached for him to explore. He was so sacred to her, she almost felt as if she should ask his permission to touch him. She felt very daring running her palms over his chest. He made no move to stop her, and her reticence vanished. She followed the sculpted contours, memorizing each defined muscle, trying to absorb the shape and feel of him through her fingertips as she stroked caresses over his body. She heard his breathing change, felt the stirring in his body, the rising need. He stayed quiet, just watching her with the approval she craved in his eyes.

Her fingers traced every rib, his tapered waist, splayed over his flat, hard belly. She felt the muscles bunch beneath her hand in reaction. Already he was hard, very aroused, thick and long and straining toward her hands, but he moved then, sighing softly.

"We have to be careful, Solange. You need to eat."

His voice was firm and she allowed her protest to die in her throat. She did need to eat, but she needed him more. She touched her tongue to her lips and nodded, hardly daring to breathe in case the wrong thing came out. Like a protest.

This evening wasn't supposed to be about her and what she needed--she wanted it to be about him, but she was uncertain how to proceed.

He dried her off with a soft, warm towel, as always taking care to make certain she was completely buffed and rosy before he did the same for himself. Solange didn't move, watching him without blinking, afraid she might miss the smallest sign from him. He donned his usual elegant clothes with that easy wave of his hand she found so breathtaking.

"Which robe?" His voice was low and husky, taking for granted that she would want one of the gowns he'd made for her--the gowns he preferred her to wear when they were alone.

"The dragon robe," she said, unable to meet his eyes. She loved that gown. Her heart pounded and she tasted fear and excitement in her mouth. When she wore the Dragonseeker robe, she felt not only beautiful, but as if she truly belonged to him.

Dominic held out his hand, and the exquisite stretchy lace lay over his palm. Gallantly he held the robe so she could slip her arms into it. He cinched the waist himself, so that it was tight in the middle, flaring over her hips, but leaving the front open. The fabric clung to the sides of her breasts, leaving them bare of even the star-strewn lace.

He cupped her breasts in his hands, lifting the soft weight, his eyes going hot. Her breath exploded from her lungs as he bent and sucked one nipple deep into his mouth, tugging and rolling with his tongue and teeth until it was a hard little bead. His mouth moved to her left breast to repeat the same attention, taking his time, teasing and stroking until her soft moans became mewling whimpers of need.

Her breath came in ragged gasps as he continued to lavish attention on her sensitive nipples. Her breasts felt swollen and hot and her body tightened into a restless, familiar ache. She shook her head, her gaze cloudy, her hair spilling around her shoulders in complete disarray.

"This is supposed to be for you," she whispered.

He smiled and tipped up her face. "This is for me." His hand slipped down her open robe to find her sex. He slipped his finger inside of her. "You are so hot and wet for me, Solange. So ready. For me."

She shuddered, gasping at the shocking heat racing through her body.

"This is definitely for my pleasure," he whispered. "All for me. I want to touch you, Solange. And I need to know you welcome my touch anytime." He pushed two fingers into her and made a sound of appreciation deep in his throat.

She felt that sound resonate through her entire body. Everything in her settled. She would do anything for his pleasure. If it was important to him that she was aroused, she would take pride in being ready for him.

"I love how you feel," he whispered, his eyes darkening more. "Soft like silk." He brought his fingers to his mouth. "But even more, I love the way you taste."

Her heart lurched. She got lost in his eyes, in the dark, heated depths, just melted until the violent world around her fell away and she thought of nothing but him. A tremor ran through her body as Dominic sucked at his fingers, his eyes dark and hot. A small whimper escaped as a bolt of lust shook her entire body.

He smiled, male satisfaction very evident. "Come with me, Solange. You need to eat."

Eat? Had he actually said eat? Her body was hot and needy and he wanted her to eat? She licked her lips and took his outstretched hand. He led her to the candlelit table and held out the high-backed chair for her. This small cavern was their world, and he liked elegance and finery. The dishes on the table were beautiful, as was the silverware. Everything Dominic did had an elegant touch to it. He was Old World and courtly and made her feel special beyond anything she could ever have fantasized. Solange pushed down the uncomfortable feeling of not belonging. She did belong--here, with Dominic.

She put the woven napkin in her lap, her fingers sliding over the soft material. Beneath the table she twisted her fingers together in an agony of need. He had given her all of this. A home. A man who treated her as an equal. A man who listened to her and addressed her fears with respect and love. She had never imagined a relationship could be so good, and it made her sad for the loss of her people. All the women who had been brutally used and thrown aside because Brodrick refused to acknowledge they were good for anything but breeding.

Dominic was the opposite of everything she despised in a male. He fed her meat, one small bite at a time, meat, which he found repulsive and yet knew the cat in her needed. She could see the effort he had taken to study what foods would best suit her body, and the balance was all there. Dominic cared for her health and comfort. He cared for her peace of mind.

Solange bit down hard on her lip, tears glittering in her eyes. She blinked them away, hoping he hadn't seen, but Dominic saw everything when it came to her, every small detail.

"What is it?" He took her chin in his hand and tipped her face up to his. "Tell me."

He could have easily looked into her mind, but she loved that he didn't. That he waited. It allowed her to gather the courage needed when she was too shy or embarrassed. Eventually, she knew, she would get over that and realize fully that everything she felt and said was important to him.

"You move me." She couldn't find better words. "The way you love me, it--moves me." She struggled to get the words past the thick lump in her throat. She wasn't like him. She couldn't find easy compliments, but it didn't mean she didn't feel emotions every bit as deep and intense as his.

His smile made her tilting world come right again. Her heart fluttered and she found herself smiling back, breathing easier, as if her lungs followed the rhythm of his.

"I want to discuss the conversion with you, Solange. We need to look at it from every angle before we make a decision. We have no idea what it will do to your blood--or to you--and that worries me. Your jaguar is strong and there may be repercussions."

She continued eating, watching his face in the flickering candlelight while she turned the idea over and over in her mind. Conversion. Becoming Carpathian. Living in the ground. Drinking blood instead of eating. She could do all those things as long as she was with him--but she couldn't give up the other half of who she was. She was jaguar. She would always be jaguar. Her cat was her.

"What happens if I don't convert?"

He shrugged, the movement easy and casual. "I told you. We would both grow old and die together." "You would stay with me?"

"You are my lifemate. You are the woman I love. There is no other answer. And Solange," he leaned in to her, so that her gaze was held by his, "there would never be regrets."

She believed him. That changed things instantly for her. He would give it all up for her without regret. Everything in her loved him, yearned for him, wanted desperately to give him back all the things he'd given to her. She felt a little helpless not knowing what women did for their men, but even if she didn't know, she would forge her own path, just as he seemed to be doing with her.

She picked up a slice of mango. "Would my jaguar be destroyed?"

"I do not have the answer for that. What happened with your cousin?"

"She said her jaguar made the conversion difficult, but she feels her cat with her, yet not in the same way."

"Your blood is different from your cousin's?"

She nodded. "Her mother was a royal, but not her father. The lineage is all but wiped out now. There is only Brodrick and me. I know I am the last of my kind. I can't save our people. I've known that for some time, and as sad as that is, it is the truth. Our time is over." She took a breath. "I want to protect my jaguar. She's as much me as the warrior and the woman. Is there a way to ease in to the Carpathian world and see if she is accepting?"

"Once I am able to gather the information we need, we can try one blood exchange to see how she takes it. Right now, if I took your blood, it would kill the remaining parasites in my body, and I need them to gain entrance into the vampire conclave taking place this next rising."

She tried to breathe evenly, to keep her heart from pounding. "We should test how far I have to be away from you in order for the parasites not to react to my presence. I'm a good marksman and can make shots over a good distance, but not with the crossbow. I need that to kill the vampires."

He nodded. "I thought your crossbow was ingenious."

"I'd like to take credit, but Riordan, Juliette's lifemate, helped me come up with it. He mixed this great accelerant for me because vampires seemed to be showing up more and more in this area. We knew Brodrick had made some kind of an alliance with them. It took a while to figure out why. Everyone thought he was controlled by the vampires, but I knew differently. I knew they couldn't influence him." "I have a difficult time fathoming why a man would sell out his entire species without a vampire controlling his mind, because he has to know the vampires are influencing his fellow jaguar-men who do not have his particular brand of protection."

"He's wholly evil," Solange said, unconsciously lowering her voice. She shivered, remembering the look in Brodrick's eyes as he slashed the throat of her six-year-old friend because she couldn't shift. "He enjoys his power over women. My aunt told me how he dragged my mother out of the house by her hair after he killed her parents, then held her captive for months. She was very broken when he let her go. She was only seventeen at the time, and he was terribly cruel. He enjoys hurting women, and in his position as leader of the people, the men embraced his philosophy that the women were to serve their every desire and they could treat them however they wanted. Brodrick believes all women are less than he is, and that he has every right to hurt them for his own entertainment."

Dominic took a slice of mango and held it to her mouth until she took a bite. She knew he was worried about her not eating enough; she could read it in his mind. So she ate the fruit and felt a silly little glow when the sheen of approval lit his eyes.

"His father before him was the same way, as was his father. Something happened long ago to prompt this, whether he was born sick and twisted, or whether some event made him that way, we will probably never know, but Brodrick was raised by his father to enjoy hurting women.

"He didn't have to follow what went before. In the end, we're all responsible for the choices we make," she argued. "He's allowed the extinction of an entire species in order to pursue his depraved proclivities. I hate that his blood flows in my veins."

He stroked his hand down her hair, to comfort her. "You are an incredible woman, Solange, and not any part of him."

She felt the flutter in her heart and looked up at him, uncaring that he would see the stars in her eyes. He made her feel like a fairy-tale princess, beautiful when she knew she wasn't, special when she was ordinary, sexy when she hadn't the first clue about being a woman. Dominic was her Prince Charming and always would be. Every day with him seemed a gift to her, a fantasy she could never have conjured up on her own.

All those days when she made up a fantasy companion, her "perfect, ideal man," she had never realized just how perfect he could be for her. He was a man, and she had never been able to bring herself to trust a man. After meeting Riordan and Manolito De La Cruz, watching the two men with her cousins and her friend MaryAnn, she had wanted to trust in them and come to love them for who they were, but . . . She sighed. It had been Dominic who had allowed her to find faith in men again.

"He wants the database of psychic women the vampires have compiled," Solange said. "They are finding every woman who tests high for psychic ability, and by asking questions about their backgrounds, they're able to provide enough information to trace those who are descendents of the jaguar people. Essentially, Brodrick uses the database as a hit list to kill those he thinks can't produce a shifter and breed those who can."

"We will get the data, Solange, protect the women and destroy the laboratory and all of their computers," he assured.

It sounded like an impossible task. She'd tried for several years to figure out how to do it, but had been unable to come up with a plan.

"I'm not good with computers," she admitted. "I have no idea how to copy the information. In the end, I just figured it was better to blow the entire thing up and hope the data went up as well. I mapped out a blueprint of the building so I could plant explosives and bring it down."

Dominic leaned over and licked the mango juice from her lips. Her womb clenched and her stomach muscles bunched. "I think we can get the information. I have a friend standing by to help with the computer problem. He gave me very precise instructions."

That sensuous lick had caused her temperature to soar, and she became acutely aware of her body all over again. He seemed all too aware of her, too.

"What friend?" she asked, trying to stay on task.

The pad of his thumb traced a slow line from her collarbone to the tip of her breast. She sucked in her breath sharply. His thumb continued to smooth over her bare stomach to slide lower.

A small smile tugged at Dominic's mouth. "He is considered a punk kid, although he is not much younger in human years than you are, but he is very gifted with computers. He wanted to come, but I could not take a chance that he might think himself capable of fighting a vampire. His name is Josef, and at times I think most male Carpathians, myself included, have considered sending him to the vampires just to stop his antics. The boy is very modern and runs a little wild. He is waiting by his computer to take over the ones in the laboratory as well as their network."

She laughed. "I never considered that Carpathians might have trouble with their children. And that one sounds intelligent."

"You would be surprised. I was a very wild boy myself. Once I almost shifted inside the middle of a huge boulder just to show off."

Her eyebrow arched. "Wild? How wild?"

His smile bordered on a smirk. "Not as wild as I intend to be." Her body shuddered as he cupped her sex, one long finger stroking and caressing. His gaze had dropped to her breasts, making her very aware of her body all over again. He could do that so easily, just brush her with his gaze, and every cell responded. The blush started somewhere near her toes and crept up. She forgot what they were talking about, everything falling out of her brain to leave her wide open for him.

She took a deep breath and admitted the truth to him. "I can't think with wanting you."

His gaze jumped to hers. "Do you trust me enough, Solange? I do not just want your body. I want you to give yourself to me completely. Anything I ask. Anything I need. Even if it scares you a little, if you trust me, we can have everything. There is no going back once we commit. I will bind us together and there is no retreat from that position. Our souls will be bound and there is no way out for either of us. You cannot make a mistake. My needs must be yours. Every moment of your life will be dedicated to me. To my pleasure and comfort. You will be giving yourself into my care, your health and happiness, everything to me."

She swallowed the fear that was rising. She refused to be defeated in this, her one chance at happiness. "Because your care is in my hands." She wanted him to see that she understood what he was trying to tell her. Everything she thought, everything that mattered to her, was important to him--and he wanted to be just as important to her.

He nodded slowly. The room seemed very still and utterly silent, as if even their lair held its breath. His gaze remained steady on hers.

Solange took a breath and smiled, the pounding in her heart settling as it found the rhythm of his. She'd never felt so sure of anything. "I want you with all my heart, Dominic. I might be afraid now and then, but I trust that you'll see me through. And I promise you, I will do everything in my power to make you happy."

His eyes went a deep, piercing blue. His voice dropped to the low, seductive note she had become familiar with. "I have waited a long time to hear you say that." His fingers stroked over her breast. Her nipple peaked and he leaned forward and captured her breast in the scalding cauldron of his mouth.

She cried out, arching her back, her hands coming up to cradle his head to her. His silken hair flowed over her arms and she threw her head back as the fire rushed over and into her. He had a magic mouth, burning hot and so talented.

She was a little bemused as he drew her up and out of the chair and into the middle of the chamber. A wave of his hand changed the entire room. Candles sprang to life along the walls, up high so that only a soft glow cast light across the room. The woven rug seemed thicker beneath her bare feet, but really, all she saw was the man standing in front of her.

Very gently he slipped the gossamer dragon robe from her shoulders, letting the stretchy fabric pool around her feet. Her breath caught in her throat as she felt the slide of the lace down her bare skin. He cupped her shoulders, looking down into her upturned face. Her heart thundered in her chest, almost hypnotized by his absolute control, his enormous strength, but most of all the heat in his eyes. She shivered beneath his touch, unable to look away from the gathering intensity in his eyes. He slid his hands down her arms to her wrists, watching her with his complete focus.

He stared into her eyes for a few more moments, holding her gaze captive while he gently entwined his fingers with hers and pulled her arms out away from her body. Very slowly his gaze dropped for a long inspection of her body.

She felt her color rising and her nipples peaking under his hungry gaze. Where before she might have been embarrassed, now she could see the appreciation in his eyes, the absolute desire, and she felt more sensual than ever. So much more of a woman than a warrior. She took pride in the fact that he was aroused by her.

"I love the way your body grows so wet for me," he said, inhaling her welcoming scent.

He had told her that many times before, but this time she felt different, knowing he was telling her a simple truth. She blushed a deeper shade of pink. She was wet for him. Welcoming. He hadn't touched her and her body had responded with an urgent need, coiling tight, her nerve endings burning and raw. She found she also took pride in how aroused he could make her body when she was close to him. He needed her to respond-- and she did.

"I can't help it," she answered. "Looking at you makes me that way."

He smiled down at her, a slow, sexy smile that made her heart clench hard in her chest. He pulled her naked body slowly, inexorably, into his fully clothed one.

"Undress me, kessake."

There it was, everything she'd been waiting for--hoping for. His eyes had gone dark with a potent, very intense mixture of love and lust. She felt the instant response of her body, already so completely focused on him. She could count the beats of his heart. She knew the ebb and flow of the blood in his veins. She knew his mind, and his heart. At last she had the opportunity to know his body, to memorize every muscle, every erogenous zone.

She slipped the elegant jacket from his shoulders, folded it carefully and placed it almost reverently on the small bench seat beside the pool. A rush of heat colored her skin as her hands smoothed over his shirt and then went to the buttons. She could barely breathe as she slipped each one open to reveal his bare chest. Again she slid the material from his shoulders. She held the white silk shirt to her face, inhaling his scent deep into her lungs before she folded the silk and placed it neatly on the bench.

Heat exploded through her body as she ran her hands over his chest and down his flat belly before dropping to the front of his neatly creased trousers. He stood barefoot, his shoes arranged under the bench as if she'd put them there herself, allowing her to kneel in front of him as she drew the trousers down his long legs. He placed his hand gently on her shoulder as he stepped out, one leg at a time.

Solange's breath caught in her throat as his heavy erection sprang free. He was thick and full, every bit as mesmerizing as the rest of him. She folded his trousers almost absently, her gaze focused on him. She was barely aware of the fabric leaving her hands to join the pile of clothing on the bench. She could only stare, hypnotized, irresistibly drawn by the evidence of his arousal for her.

She cupped his heavy sac in her palms and bent forward to lick almost helplessly at the small pearly drop glistening on the broad, mushroom head. His breath left his lungs in an explosive rush as his cock jerked with the fiery sensations shooting through it. She leaned forward and drew him deeper into her mouth, feeling satisfaction as his entire body shuddered with pleasure.

She loved how incredibly hot and smooth he felt against her tongue, the heavy weight of him filling her mouth, sliding oh so slow, a little farther each time. He allowed her to control everything, let her get used to the size and feel of him. Velvet over steel, filling her mouth with the heat and fire of him, with his desire for her. She took her time, wanting to know him intimately, every pulse of his hard flesh.

He groaned deep in his throat when she swiped her tongue over the broad head and proceeded to pull back to lick delicately once again. Her gaze flicked to his and satisfaction soared through her at the strained arousal etched into his face. His hand fisted in her hair, and red light flickered in the depths of his eyes as he pushed his pulsing cock against her mouth. She stroked his bare hip with one hand while the other circled the base of his heavy erection, and she deliberately curled her tongue around the base of the broad head.

He jerked against her mouth and his breath left his body in a harsh burst. A warning growl rumbled in his chest and throat. Again, satisfaction soared through her. She had always paid attention to detail. She could get this right. It wasn't about her, it was about him and his pleasure, and she was coming to know that she could deliver pleasure to him.

She watched his eyes, watched the muscles bunch in his jaw as, with infinite slowness, she took the sensitive head of his cock into the scalding heat of her mouth. His hips jerked involuntarily, desperate for her to take him deeper. She felt the erotic bite of pain in her scalp where his fingers tightened in reflex, and she moaned. The vibration went through her mouth straight to the hard flesh and she felt the answering throb. She allowed the hard length of him to sink into her mouth and was rewarded with a jerk of his hips and the sound of his harsh breathing filling the chamber.

Candles flickered, the soft light casting shadows along the deep lines carved into his face. His chest rose and fell, gleaming bronze in the dancing light. He adjusted the angle of her head so he could slide a little deeper, using small, almost helpless thrusts. She knew he controlled his movements, but she loved the way he couldn't stay still, needing the hot clasp of her mouth.

He pulsed against her tongue, and she loved the raw feel of him, the smooth texture and hot, sexy heat. He tasted all male, a spicy, erotic, very masculine flavor she knew she would be addicted to forever. He tasted like Dominic, passion and desire, love and acceptance. She stroked over and around, growing bolder as she felt his reaction. She kept her gaze locked with his, watching for every sign of pleasure, and when she saw his eyes glittered, the lids drooping heavy, she flattened her tongue and rubbed over the sensitive spot just underneath the crown, which she'd discovered by sheer accident.

She moved her head, a slow withdrawal, all the while watching the heat in his eyes, judging his pleasure while her tongue stroked and caressed along that sweet spot. She paused for a moment with just the tip between her lips, watching him catch his breath, his eyes go deeper blue, almost midnight black, and very slowly she took him in again. She burned with the need to please him, to give him the exquisite pleasure he'd given her, the same focused care.

To watch his body, his eyes, to feel his heightening sensation, was such an aphrodisiac to her. She felt her body's response, the burning pressure between her legs, the ache in her breasts and the need rising so urgently for him. There was acute satisfaction in her own response, but she kept her focus solely on pleasing him.

She increased suction, slow and then fast. Hard and then soft, all the while her tongue teasing and dancing. His husky, musical voice turned guttural, thrilling her. His thrust became a little deeper as he skated the edge of his control. She took him a little deeper and sucked harder, eliciting a harsh groan.

Solange was burning alive, inside and out. Her mouth felt scorching hot, but between her legs she was on fire with urgent need. She wanted-- needed--his body inside of hers. Her body ached for his, the craving so overwhelming that she wanted the taste of him forever in her mouth, his body imprinted on hers for all time.

His gaze locked with hers, holding her captive as he began to take over the rhythm, thrusting a little deeper. She tightened her mouth around him, increasing the suction, desperate for him. The quick, hard thrust took her breath, but as he penetrated deeper, she learned quickly how to take a breath when she could because she didn't want to stop-- not now, not ever. She loved what she was doing to him, loved that she could take his control and replace it with such mindless pleasure he couldn't focus on anything else.

He moaned, his breathing harsh. "Stop, kessake, I cannot hold on." The hand in her hair began to pull her head back, although his hips refused to cooperate, using quick, hard thrusts to push deeper into her tight mouth.

She danced her tongue over him, stroking and caressing, bringing him to the very edge of his control. He set his jaw and forced her head back further. "This is too dangerous, Solange."

She slowly, reluctantly relinquished him, breathing hard, confused. "I don't understand. You wanted this. You wanted me . . ."

" Want," he corrected through his clenched teeth. "I want you. But I cannot endanger you. I have parasites in my blood that I might pass to you."

"They can't hurt me," she pointed out, frustrated and growing more annoyed by the moment. She sank down onto the floor and glared at him. "You started this."

"I thought I could stay in control enough to separate the parasites and keep them from contact with you, but they go still when you are close and I cannot think straight. I am sorry, Solange. I had thought I would make love to you this rising."

She reached up, her fingers caressing the hard, thick length of him, watching with a heated gaze the shudder that ran through his body. "Have you ever heard of a condom? Don't Carpathians have condoms? Because I'm thinking that if you're all that worried, a condom might be just the thing."

His smile was slow in coming. "I had not thought of that. As a rule Carpathians do not need such things."

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