Page 14

He didn’t, allowing Gideon to raise his sword and strike. Galen’s head detached, leaving his body behind. “No! No!” Sky-blue eyes found her, a well of despair. His face was pale, the blue veins underneath his skin arrestingly evident. “Tell me I can change this. Tell me this isn’t my fate.”

“You wish me to lie?” she said in that sweet little-girl voice.

His hands fisted at his sides, useless weapons against what awaited him. “Why did you show me this, then? Why?”


Scarlet came awake with a jolt, sitting up, panting as Galen had done in the dream realm. Damn it. She hadn’t finished with him, but her time there had ended. And there would be no going back for twelve hours.

At least Nightmares was satisfied. The demon had fed on Galen’s terror, terror so much more intense than what humans experienced, and now retreated to the back of her mind.

“Not good. You’re asleep.”


His voice floated over her, into her, burning her up. With anger, with lust. Goodbye fun dream world, hello hated reality.

“Where are we?” she demanded, studying her new surroundings. She’d fallen asleep in his presence—again—and he’d clearly taken full advantage of the situation. “Someplace shitty.”

Rather than a hotel room, she found herself in a forest, the sun setting in a violet sky. She rested atop a cool bed of moss, and there was a natural, bubbling spring beside her. She still wore the dress he’d given her, but at least he’d removed the cuffs.

Before she’d jacked up the music in the car, he’d tried to ask her what she found most romantic. She hadn’t replied, so he’d obviously taken a guess. And to her consternation, the bastard had guessed correctly. This was amazing. Night birds were chirping, the scent of wildflowers saturated the air and Gideon was gloriously bathed in that violet-tinted light.

Right now, he was sitting in front of her, only a few inches away, leaning against a tree trunk. A lock of hair had fallen onto his forehead, and just as before, she had to curb the urge to brush the strands back in place. His baby blues were all over her, perusing, lingering, savoring. Trying to remember?

His hands were fisted on his lap. Was he trying to stop himself from reaching for her?

Gods help her, but she knew exactly what this man could do to her body. With his hands, his tongue. He could have her writhing, begging, in seconds.

Fight his appeal. “You might as well let me go.” Or you yourself could, I don’t know, finally ditch him. “You’re not going to find any pleasure with me.”

“I’m sure you’re right.”

Sweet heaven. He truly thought to bed her. Was utterly confident in her capitulation. Why, oh, why was that so damn sexy?

She narrowed her eyes, lest he see the desire surely banked there. “You sprang me for answers, so why are you trying so hard to soften me romantically? You’d have better luck working me over with your fists.” Good. She’d sounded angry rather than breathless.

“Didn’t think about that already.”

He’d thought about hitting her? That—that—

“And I could absolutely bring myself to do it.” Sweetheart.

Gods, she really was an idiot, melting like butter because he’d decided not to beat her up. Next she’d be hearing angels sing because he decided not to fork her jugular. “No matter what you do, you’re going to fail.” Fingers crossed that wasn’t a bluff.

“Even if all I want us to do is relearn each other?”

Yes. No. Argh.

Hey. No more softening. “Nothing wrong with forgetting each other, either.”

He was grinding his teeth as he moved his legs, trapping her knees with his ankles and placing her feet dangerously close to his—hard, growing—penis. Tragically—er, thankfully—his pants prevented her from experiencing skin-to-skin contact. Therefore she despised—loved, damn it—those low-slung jeans.

“So who aren’t you today?” he asked, wisely changing the subject.

Hurt him. Make him stop this slow seduction. “Scarlet…Reynolds.” She shivered as if the thought delighted her. “Yes. I’m in the mood for a little Rye-Rye today.”

Gideon popped his jaw, teeth bared for a second. “Are we not married?”

“Sure we are,” she said. “But in my mind I’m cheating on you with Ryan.”

Now the pink tip of his tongue peeked out from his lip, as if he meant to chew it off. “You’re so freaking funny.”

“Who said I was joking?”

Before she could blink, he was on her, pushing her into the moss, his chest pressed against hers, his weight pinning her. “You do not annoy the shit out of me.”

A tremor skipped down her spine, her nipples straining against her dress, trying to reach him. She could have knocked him off; she was strong enough, skilled enough, but she didn’t. She fisted the collar of his shirt, holding him in place. Craving… “Well, if you hadn’t guessed, you do annoy the shit out of me.”

In and out he breathed, nostrils flaring. “Keep talking, I don’t dare you.”

Shut up, he meant. “Or what?” He smelled so damn good, like musk and alluring spice. Warmth radiated from him and enveloped her, slinking around her in a sly embrace.

“Or…” His gaze dropped to her lips. The anger seemed to drain from him, something hotter, sultrier taking its place. Those rasping pants never slowed, and in between them, he said, “You’re so unbelievably…ugly.” The last was offered hesitantly, as if he feared she wouldn’t understand what he was trying to tell her. “You don’t make me ache. You don’t make me hunger for so many things. Dirty things. Wicked things.”

Kiss him.

No, don’t you dare.

A war raged between body and mind. If she kissed him, she wouldn’t be able to halt what was sure to follow. Once his lips met hers, she would be lost. His taste drugged her, his body addicted her. That’s the way it had always been with him.

And now, she would want but she couldn’t have. Not truly. But for one blissful night, she would belong to him again. Any price was worth that. Added bonus: she could forget her troubles, forget the lonely future that awaited her.

Forget. Wrong word. She stiffened, no longer having to talk herself into resisting. “Get off me.”

“I want to hurt you,” he whispered, heated breath dragging over her skin. “Tell me to stop.”

Meaning, he wanted to pleasure her and all she had to do was give him the go-ahead. She shook her head in a desperate attempt to prevent what she still wanted, needed, but could never afford. “No. I won’t.”

Wait. No, she wouldn’t tell him to stop? Argh!

Slowly he smiled—so wicked—as if that’s exactly what he’d hoped she would say, no matter her meaning. “Too bad,” he said. And then he fed a sizzling kiss straight into her mouth.


SWEET GODS ABOVE, Gideon thought, dazed. This woman—his woman—tasted like perfectly ripe berries, felt like caged lightning against him, and the sounds she made as his tongue rolled and thrust against hers, those little catches of breath, were like heroin mixed with ambrosia. Addictive, mind-fuzzing, overwhelming.

He had her pressed into the ground, his legs between hers, his erection resting against the apex of her thighs. He wanted to knead her breasts. Gods, did he want to knead her breasts. But that would be too much too fast. For her, at least. So he did the only other thing he could. He captured her wrists and pinned them over her head, effectively pinning his own movements, as well.Mistake. That, of course, arched her lower back and closed all hint of distance between their chests, muscle to soft, luscious breasts. Her nipples were hard, so wonderfully hard, and they created the most delicious friction against his chest, catapulting him to a new level of awareness.

A dangerous level where her enjoyment and happiness were more important than his own.

He didn’t release her, though. It was too late for that. He had to have more. So if he couldn’t roll those nipples between his fingers, if he couldn’t tongue them, he’d have to settle for continuing to rub himself against them. As an added bonus, every little movement rammed his shaft into her core, causing them both to shiver and groan.

Kissing usually did nothing for him. Maybe because he could never ask for what he wanted; he had to lie and demand the opposite. He had to ask for sweet, innocent. He had to ask for gentle, tender. Yet, with Scarlet, he didn’t have to ask for anything. She simply gave him hard and wet. Deep and intense. She bit at him, sucked on his tongue, scraped at his teeth. And he couldn’t get enough.

He kissed her forever. He kissed her while the insects sang and the moon fought for its place in the sky. He kissed her until he lost his breath. Kissed her until she was writhing against him, her legs wrapped around him, squeezing him, her teeth nipping at him as she silently begged for more.

And yet, through it all, she seemed distanced. As if she weren’t truly there with him. As if she held a part of herself back. Hell. No.

Distance, he wouldn’t tolerate. He might not want to push her too far, but by the time this kiss ended, she would think of no other man but him. She would be happy she was wed to him. She would dream of him, crave him more than any other.

Was this what it had been like between them, all those centuries ago? Consuming need dipped in fervent heat then twined with unquenchable aches?

He released one of her hands, and she immediately tunneled her fingers through his hair, nails digging into his scalp. Enough to make him bleed. Yes, yes. More. Maybe he could push her a little further. But to do so, he’d have to sacrifice the kiss. With their mouths pressed together like this, he couldn’t think properly.

Moaning, Gideon wrenched himself away from her lips. She had her eyes sealed shut, as if she were in pain. Those lips were swollen and red, moist. Unable to help himself, he licked that moisture away before hiking her dress up to her neck, baring her panties, her stomach and lastly her breasts. He hadn’t given her a bra. Too much had he liked the idea of her sitting next to him, a thin piece of cotton all that rested between his skin and her nipples.