Page 15

Mira huffed out a harsh breath. "How convenient for you."

She meant it to sound sharp and uncaring, but there was no hiding the fact that she was wounded. She hated the rawness inside her, hated that he might hear it now, would certainly see it in her moist eyes. She shuttered herself with a downward glance, but Kellan wouldn't permit it.

Merciless, he lifted her face, then made the ache even worse by smoothing away the trail of one fat tear with a brush of his thumb across her cheek.

"Look at me, Mira. Tell me if you think there's anything more to what you saw back there than what I'm telling you it was." His voice was level yet intense. "Look at my eyes. They're still glowing. They're still inflamed with hunger, even though I drank my fill of Candice's blood. Look at my glyphs, Mira. Do you see satiation in them, or are they still livid and churning with hunger and with the dark colors of a different, deeper need when I'm standing here in front of you?"

Mira didn't want to look at him, but he gave her no choice. And as she obeyed his demands to see him - really see him, as a formidable man and a dangerous, preternatural creature both - she realized that everything he was saying now was the truth. While the edge of his blood thirst had been curbed, he was far from satisfied.

Kellan pressed into her, letting her feel the full, hard length of his body. He bent his head down next to hers, his voice a low growl against the sensitive shell of her ear. "Do I feel like a man who's taken what he wants from someone other than the one woman he craves above all others?"

Mira's breath caught in her throat, leaking out of her in a small moan. She felt his rigid arousal, felt his desire for her radiating out of him in palpable heat.

Kellan muttered a dark curse. "For eight years I've wished I could find someone to make me forget you. But there's been no one, Mira." His lips closed around her earlobe, suckling it gently between his teeth and fangs. His warm breath rasped against her ear, reaching down into her, making her pulse race and her thighs tremble. "There's been no one since you, Mira."

He took her face in his hands and kissed her. Not the gentle nip and brush of his mouth just a moment ago, but a fierce claiming. Possessive and hot, his kiss invaded her without patience or mercy. It was a demand, raw and unbridled.

And Mira gave in to it with abandon.

She couldn't deny him, nor the passion that shot through her body in molten waves as he dragged her deeper into his kiss, pulling her body against his hard planes and rigid edges.

Like a dam breaking, Mira's meager resistance flooded out of her, along with the last small bit of her fight. She wrapped her arms around him and opened herself to his plundering kiss. Inside, she was melting. Blood ran hot, pooling in her core. Limbs went weak and unsteady, turning to gel beneath her.

She wanted him. God, how she wanted him.

Wanted this moment to last forever.

"Kellan," she murmured, arching into the heat of him.

She gasped a second later, when his strong hands skimmed around to the front of her and slipped beneath the loose cotton of her T-shirt. His fingers were rough against her bare skin, more callused and hardened, battle-worn. But his touch was light, raising a shiver on her as his palms skated up her ribs, toward the naked swells of her breasts. He cupped them in his hands, squeezed them, rubbed his thumbs over the nipples that were tight as pebbles under his caress.

Mira buried her face in the curve of his strong shoulder, relishing the feel of his hands all over her bare skin. She touched him too, running her fingers along the muscled bulk that flanked either side of his spine, retracing every inch of him, remembering his body as though they'd never been apart. "Oh, God . . . Kellan. I've missed this so much. I've missed you . . . us."

His reply was a low growl that vibrated all the way to her marrow. Without words, without asking for permission, he wheeled her around in front of him and guided her toward the bed, kissing her every step of the way.

She couldn't have resisted if she tried. Everything female in her was willing and wanton and wet, so ready to welcome him back to her.

He pushed her down onto the mattress and followed her, covering her with his body. His tongue delved deep into her mouth, thrusting and withdrawing, telling her exactly where they were heading. Mira opened to him, meeting his tongue with hers, taking when he retreated, submitting when he came back for more.

She clung to him, arched for him, yearned to have him buried deep inside her.

He knew what she needed from him, even now. He knew just how to touch her, just how to kiss her. He knew everything, still, after all this time.

Mira speared her fingers into his thick chestnut hair as he took her mouth in a hotter, more demanding kiss that left her gasping and drugged beneath him. She didn't know how he managed to strip off her sweats and panties, didn't much care. Because suddenly Kellan was moving down the length of her body, pushing up the hem of her T-shirt and kissing a warm, wet trail along the flat plane of her belly. She moaned, bowing up off the bed as he kneaded her breasts, then took one peachy nipple into his mouth. He kissed the other one too, giving it a teasing graze of his teeth.

"You taste the same," he murmured against her skin. "Still sweet and tender."

She couldn't reply, could only twist her fingers in the sheet and suck in her breath as his mouth began a downward trek, leaving a trail of fire everywhere his lips touched her skin. He paused at her hip bone, licked its delicate ridge. "Sweeter here."

Oh, God.

She lifted her head and watched as he drifted lower still. He glanced up at her as he moved into the apex of her thighs, his irises swamped with amber, swallowing the thin vertical lines of his pupils. That otherworldly, predatory gaze stayed locked on her, the tips of his fangs stretching longer, sharper as his broad mouth spread into a carnal smile. Then he parted her legs and sank down between them.

He kissed the triangle of light curls at the mound of her sex. Mira held her breath, pulse racing, veins filled with liquid fire. Another kiss, this one lingering much longer, the tip of his tongue cleaving into the sensitive folds. He licked her slowly, suckling her, drawing the tender bud against the wet heat of his tongue. His approving growl vibrated against her quivering sex as he went deeper. "So sweet and juicy. This is what I thirst for. You, Mira."

He went down on her again. The air shuddered out of her lungs on a ragged sigh, sensation shooting through her like tiny lightning bolts, the coming of a storm. He played with her, teasing her clit, tonguing her, making the petals of her body weep for him.

"I need you," she gasped, rising up to reach for him, fingers digging into the hard bulk of his shoulders. "Please, Kellan. I don't want to wait. I'm afraid to wait another second . . ."

Afraid the moment would somehow shatter and reality would toss them both back where they'd been just a few minutes ago: Enemies, not lovers. Strangers, not friends.

Back to a man and woman with a distant, shared past, an uneasy present, and a dubious, uncertain future.

Mira couldn't let go of him, not now. "Come up here. I need to feel you against me again. I want you inside me."

Whatever he said was lost in a deep, rumbling growl. He moved back up on the bed, shucking his pants along the way. Mira drank in the sight of him, naked and lean and beautiful. So strong and powerful.

So alive.

How long had she dreamed of this moment - being with Kellan again, having him back from the dead?

It made her greedy for him now. Desperate to hold him close, as close as their bodies possibly could be.

Kellan covered her, every inch of him pulsing with warmth and masculinity. He kissed her again, deep and long and possessive. His thighs were wedged between hers, his arousal heavy and hard, the thick shaft nestled upright in the moist cleft of her sex.

Not close enough.

Mira shifted her hips, seating him for his first thrust. She sucked on his tongue, and his cock gave a little kick in response. Kellan moaned into her mouth, a raw sound of need. He broke their kiss with a curse and stared down at her, propped up on his fists.

"I want to go slow with you, but . . ." His voice trailed off, and he shook his head, giving a slight press of his pelvis. The head of his penis nudged into her, testing. "Ah, Christ . . . you feel too good."

Mira's heart was banging in her chest like a caged bird, every nerve ending quivering with an urgent need. "I don't want to go slow. There's been too much time standing between us. No more, Kellan. Not right now."

He nodded, eyes rooted on her as he gave another experimental thrust. "You're so tight. Just like the first time we were together."

She'd been a virgin that first time - the only time - she and Kellan made love. He had been too. Although their desire had been mutual, undeniable for years before that night, they'd never taken it so far. She'd been too young at first, then, later, when she was a woman, Kellan had thrown himself into his duty with the Order, taking on missions that sent him away for weeks, sometimes months at a time. But he always came back to her, and when he did, it never took long for them to end up in a tangle of arms and legs and questing mouths.

They'd learned to pleasure each other in other ways before that moment eight years ago until, finally, need had proven greater than any amount of denial or restraint. Mira had given herself to Kellan and he to her.

It had been magical. Miraculous. Until a few hours later, when a rebel's bomb took all of that away.

She gazed up at Kellan, poised above her in the soft quiet of his bed. Her heart was still broken from everything that had happened that night and in the time since. But this moment was real. It was now. It was theirs.

She smiled at the feel of his nakedness all over her, moaned in pleasured pain as the head of his cock stretched her impossibly tight around him. He was so careful with her. Too careful. She reached up, stroked his handsome face. "There's been no other for me either, Kellan. Not in all this time."

A flash of bewilderment raced across his features. "No one?"

She shook her head. "Only you."

"Ah, God." He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he opened them again, they were blazing with a newer, fiercer light. He wasn't happy. Not at all. "Ah, Christ, Mouse. Damn you for that. Damn both of us for not having the sense to let go."

With a growl through gritted teeth and fangs, he pushed inside her on a swift, deep thrust. Mira cried out as he filled her, biting her lip as the sharp, initial sting of his invasion gave way to a glorious completion.

Oh, fuck.

He felt so good.

She felt so good, holding him buried within her.

She knew this dance with him, every instinct within her responding like it had been only yesterday that she'd last kissed him like this - naked and breathless, skin on skin, melting with pleasure and hungry for more. Their first time together had been branded into her senses, a memory she'd carried all this time. It had been all she'd had left of him, and she'd clung to it as she would her own soul.

And now she had Kellan with her again. Inside her.

His name was a ragged whisper on her lips as he increased his tempo, each long push going deeper, stoking the fire that was already roaring inside her. His mouth covered hers as the first broken cry of her climax curled up from the back of her throat.

He showed her no quarter, but then, she hadn't wanted any. Not like this. Not when her need for him was still so raw and unsated.

But her orgasm was building swiftly. It raced up on her with his every stroke and retreat, every kiss and caress carrying her higher, closer to the edge. Kellan drove into her with relentless purpose, pushing her mercilessly toward the cliff.

"Oh, God," she gasped as the first hot waves crashed into her. "Kellan."

Mira held on to him and tumbled headlong into the pleasure of the moment.

The pleasure of this reunion, no matter how fleeting her heart feared it might be.

Chapter Eleven

ONLY ONCE IN HIS LIFE HAD KELLAN FELT THE TIGHT, WET bliss of Mira's body sheathing him. Only once had he known the sweet clench of her womb around his cock, the tiny undulations of her climax milking him, wringing him out. He'd remembered that one time with vivid clarity - or so he'd thought, until the sight of Mira coming for him now, clinging to him and gasping his name in heated frenzy, made everything he thought he knew seem pale and dry as dust.

Christ, she was beautiful.

Her blond hair was a wild tangle on his pillow, her porcelain-perfect skin gone pink with the rush of blood to her cheeks and across the lovely mounds of her pert breasts. Her eyes were heavy-lidded, dark lashes at half-mast. She sucked in a sigh through parted lips that were bruised a dark red from his kiss, her rosebud mouth trembling with each rising pant of her breath. She clutched at him as another deep shudder racked her.

Transfixed, triumphant, Kellan watched her orgasm sweep over her. It gripped him in its hot fist as she trembled with the force of her release. His cock twitched, leapt, ready to explode, his own climax building to the point of torture.

But it was a delicious agony. A pain so good, he wanted to keep it going forever. Mira began to shatter again, her small body going tense beneath him, her breath racing, pulse thudding hard against him everywhere they touched. He coaxed her higher, rolling into her with deep, penetrating strokes, fanning the flames of her pleasure.

"Don't stop," she whispered brokenly. "Oh, God, Kellan . . . please . . . don't ever stop."

He growled in agreement, male pride swelling inside him like a tidal wave.

She was his.



Always . . .

It was that last thought, the lie of it, that stuck him like a barb. Always wasn't theirs anymore. No matter how much he wanted it to be true.

And it had been unfair of him to take this from Mira - her pleasure, her surrender, her undeserved fidelity and affection - knowing that it wouldn't last. It couldn't last, not with the grim future that awaited him.


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