"Oh god," she breathed, her head thrashing as he didn't move, merely kept her pinned to the couch with every inch of his body. He'd left his pajama bottoms on the floor when he joined her, and the coarse hair on his calves and thighs tickled her delicate skin. She felt the weight of his heavy balls resting against her buttocks, and the tears fell faster.

"I take you like this." He withdrew, the broad head massaging her. He pushed back inside, forcing his way into her greedy, clenching depths. "I fuck you as often as I can. I meet you for lunch and take you in your office. I keep you drenched, soaked with my cum, ready for the moment when you're fertile."

She whimpered as she tightened helplessly around his pumping cock.

"That's it," he purred, his accent thick and sexy as hell. "Tell me how much you like it."

"I love it," she gasped, writhing under a perfect deep stroke. Beneath her calves, she felt his buttocks clench and release as he fucked her slow and easy, swiveling his hips, rocking into her.

Drugged by the pleasure, Lyssa gave herself up to his expertise, her head falling to the side, her hands stroking his back in time with his leisurely, unhurried rhythm. She set her heels on the couch and pushed up, opening herself further so he could drive deeper. Shafting her pussy in long, heavy drives.

The sun continued its steady ascent, the rays of light slanting through the window and warming her skin. She breathed in a shuddering breath, willing to give up everything she had for endless mornings just like this one. He took her as if they had all the time in the world, as if they could do this forever.

Arching his back, Aidan pressed his cock into her deepest point. She came with a silent cry, her cunt rippling along his throbbing flesh, her body shaking with the force of her orgasm.

"Sweet Lyssa," he breathed, moving his cock in gentle nudges, making her climax roll through her in waves. "Just like this. This is how we make our child." He thrust hard and groaned as he joined her.

She felt the warm release of his cum as it flowed deep into her, the hard jerking of his cock making her moan with pleasure. And heartache.

Aching with the force of his orgasm, Aidan pressed his lips to Lyssa's, his mouth hard and his teeth clenched tight as he surrendered to his need for her. He gasped when it was over, his tongue sliding into her mouth, his embrace almost crushing. She sobbed quietly beneath him. He turned his head and pressed his damp cheek to hers, wondering how he would live the rest of his immortal life without her. She would grow old and die, as all mortals did. How would he bear it?

He wanted that dream he'd shared; he longed for it with every fiber of his being. His heart grieved for the loss of the future he wanted but could never have.

But what he'd deciphered in the ancient text that morning left him no choice.

He was going to have to return to the Twilight.

And this was the last time he would ever make love to Lyssa.

* * *

Chapter 14

Aidan rolled to his side, taking Lyssa with him. On the narrow space of the couch, they were locked tightly together to keep from tumbling to the floor. His cock still throbbed inside her. Her pussy still milked him gently. He took a deep breath and tucked her closer, struggling to find the strength to leave her.

"Aidan." Lyssa's exhale gusted warmly over his sweat-dampened skin. It shifted through him, moving from his heart to his toes in a tingling ripple of pleasure.

"Mmm?" he murmured, caressing the soft skin of her back. He would never get enough of touching her, holding her, making love to her. The knowledge killed something inside him, that warm spot of hope and peace she'd given him.

"There has to be a way for you to stay."

The lump in his throat was painful to swallow past. He didn't know what to do with this surfeit of emotion. He'd been numb with loneliness for so long, nearly dead inside, caring only for the men under his command. He had respected every woman he'd taken to bed, but the name they spoke was not his. He was "Cross" or "Captain," and the distance between them was vast, even if their bodies were as close as they could be.

"I want to take care of you," Lyssa whispered, her fingers moving through his hair. "I want to make you laugh, make you happy."

"You do." His voice was rough, scratchy like sandpaper.

"I don't want to stop doing those things. You need someone to take care of you."

He pressed a kiss to her forehead. "What a pair we are. You need looking after, too, Hot Stuff. You and I spend so much time taking care of everyone else, we neglect ourselves. You're the only thing I've ever wanted just for me. Selfishly."

What he wouldn't give to spend his life with her, grow old with her, die beside her. Far better for life to be short and sweet, than eternal and empty. But the most he could do for her was ensure her the longest life possible. So she could marry. Have children and grandchildren. Another man's children and grandchildren.

The images in his mind were like a knife thrust deep in his heart. Turning, gouging, killing him slowly and without mercy. He crushed her to him, but she didn't complain.

"Can we stay here like this forever?" she asked with a mournful sigh.

He took a moment to control his voice and then spoke as lightly as he could manage. "I think the bed would be more comfortable."

She gave a quiet laugh. It wasn't the full-bodied merri-ment he loved, but it was much better for his sanity than her grieved tone.

"How about a shower?" he suggested.


"I would love to, but I should clean up the dining room and get breakfast started."

She leaned back enough to look up at him with those big, dark eyes, and he cupped her shoulder blades to keep her from falling. The silent trust she had that he would support her made his smile genuine. Yes, she'd had her doubts about him, but despite them, she had always gone with her instincts, and they'd always ruled in his favor.

"What are you planning to make up for breakfast?"

She'd laughed until she cried when he came upstairs at three A.M. bearing a plate of Chips Ahoy! cookies with gobs of peanut butter smeared on the tops. "What?" he'd asked, grinning. "Peanut butter has protein."

That reply had her falling over with mirth, her lithe body rolling amid the tangled blue sheets. He'd set the plate down on the nightstand and joined her, eventually sitting back against the headboard and pulling her into his lap. She had straddled his thighs while facing him, his cock hard and throbbing inside her. They'd smeared peanut butter on each other's lips and licked it off, making love with cookies and laughter.

He kissed the tip of her nose. "I'll figure out something."

"Okay. I trust you." Her low, fervent tone touched him as few things ever had. With all that he'd told her yesterday, her belief in him said so much.

They separated reluctantly and rose from the sofa. Once they were standing, Aidan pulled his pendant over his head, tugged her closer, and slipped it around her neck. It settled between her breasts and glowed with an inner fire, an anomaly he'd assumed was attributed to either the journey here or a reaction to this world. It had never crossed his mind that the stone might be reacting to Lyssa.

He pressed his palm over both it and her heart.

"I can't take this," she breathed, setting her hand over his. "It's precious to you."

He shook his head. "You are precious to me. Promise me you'll always wear it. I've never removed it. I shower with it, bathe with it. There's no reason for you to take it off. It can't be damaged, and it won't tarnish like Earth metals do. I need to know that this will never lose contact with your skin."

"Aidan?" Her dark eyes were wary and capped with a frown.

"Just promise me. For my peace of mind."

"Of course." She lifted the stone to her lips and kissed it, then rose on her tiptoes and kissed him. "I will treasure it always. Thank you."

"Thank you." He held her tightly to him, his lips pressed hard to her forehead. Inhaling deeply, he tried to imprint the smell and feel of her into his memory so that he would never forget it.

"We'll find a way to be together, Aidan." Her small hands stroked down his back. "I refuse to think that it can't be done."

Aidan knew she felt that way. She survived because she refused to give up hope. That was why he couldn't tell her anything until after he was gone. She would try to stop him from going if she knew he wasn't coming back.

"Get ready to eat," he said, stepping back and releasing her, keeping the careless smile on his face by sheer willpower alone.

Their fingers stayed laced together until the last possible moment, then she took the stairs, and he went to the dining room. Aidan arranged the books in such a way that his purpose and motivations were clear. He couldn't let her think he'd left or was taken. He needed her to know why he was leaving, so that she could live with it. Accept it. Move past it.

She wouldn't notice anything amiss at first, but later, when she looked closely, she would understand.

He saved the note for last, pulling out a chair and taking a deep breath before writing his good-bye.

He couldn't do it face to face. It would be far too painful. Folding the paper, he lifted it to his lips and kissed it, then set it above the open pages of the book he'd stolen from Sheron.

The second book, the jeweled one with the references to Stonehenge and star alignment, seemed to have little or no relationship to the one the Elders kept hidden. If there were answers to be found in that, he couldn't find them. It appeared to present more problems than solutions, like a puzzle that became more complicated the further into it he got.

Without conscious thought, his fingertips drifted over the text he'd translated.

"Beware of the Key that turns the Lock and reveals the Truth."

The words struck him hard, each one an individual blow.

He sat tmmoving, his breath whistling in and out between clenched teeth.

The Key wasn't going to open the Gateway to the Nightmares. The Key was going to reveal something the Elders didn't want revealed. That was why they were hunting for it. That was why they wanted it destroyed.