Dark Hunger


Page 3



“Bloody hell.” He gritted his teeth as her body resisted him. “Relax, sweetheart. It’s just me. Let me in. Let me love you.”


Reese began to say something, and then she closed her eyes, her body arching up as he went deeper.


“That’s my girl.” Will eased into her, forcing himself to go gently rather than hammer into her. “Can you let me…There, yes, like that.” He had breached her to the hilt, and held still to feel the faint flutters against his shaft as her body adjusted to him. He had always delighted in her warmth and willingness, but for some reason tonight she was as tense and tight as a new bride. “Easy, sweetheart. It’s only me.”


Will had enjoyed making love to her dozens of times, but never once had it felt as this did. She clenched around him as he drew out of her, dragging at him as if she meant to keep him buried deep. When he forged in again, tears spilled from the corners of her eyes.


He froze. He’d never forced a woman in his life, and yet here she was, soft and slick and warm around him, and weeping in silence.


“No,” she muttered as he disengaged his body from hers. “Do it. Finish it.”


“Not with you crying on me like that, sweetheart.” He straightened her garments and his before he lifted her from the floor and put her on his lap. “What did I do? Was I too rough? Did I hurt you?”


“It’s not you.” She wiped the tears from her face with quick fingers. “I’m sorry. It’s been a long time.”


“Reese. It’s been three weeks.” He caught her chin in his hand and made her look at him. “You really don’t want this. Damn me, but I thought you were jesting.”


“It’s my fault, not yours,” she said, easing out of his grip and standing. “I’m just tired, that’s all. I wanted it to be special. Another time, okay?”


Will couldn’t tell if she was lying; the perfume she wore kept him from detecting the changes in her scent. “I’ll call for a car.”


“I brought my own.” She tugged at the hem of her skirt. “Would you arrange for me to have access to Rosethorn tomorrow night?”


“On one condition.” He took her hand in his, startled to feel how cold she was. “Will you forgive me for behaving like a brute?”


“There’s nothing to forgive.” She hesitated before she stood on her toes and kissed his mouth, her lips soft and damp. “I’ll see you soon.” She unlocked the door and fled.


Will considered following her, but the taste of her tears still lingered on his mouth. That and her strange reaction to his lovemaking had him in complete upheaval. She was his friend, his lover—how could his advances have shocked her? Why would she refuse him after they had found pleasure in each other so many times?


Reese’s tresoran training included a thorough understanding of the ways of his kind. She knew how determined Kyn males became when they were aroused by a human female. Centuries of discipline and self-denial had taught Will to control his instincts and appetites, so she had never been in any real danger. He would rather fall on a bed of copper swords before he hurt a woman, mortal or Kyn, and yet…He suddenly realized something else that had happened, something he barely recalled.


In those stark moments as he had pulled her to the floor and put himself between her soft thighs, his dents acérées had stretched into his mouth, fully extended, eager for the hot richness of her blood.


This, when he’d fed well from the stores Robin kept at the penthouse before escorting his master to the club. His need for human blood, the only form of nourishment he could take, should not have returned until he woke tomorrow night. Nor should he have had such a primal reaction to Reese. In all the months they’d been lovers, he’d never once been tempted to feed on her. Tonight he suspected he could have drained her dry.


Had she seen his fangs emerge, and thought he was becoming enthralled? Was that what had frightened her so much? Worse than that, could she have been right?


Unsettled by his thoughts, Will returned to the nightclub, in time to see his master walk to the dance floor and take the red-haired woman into his arms. Rather than moving close to Robin, the female stepped back, deliberately holding him off as if she meant to maintain a respectable distance between them.


Not for much longer, little mortal. Will knew that a few humans had the natural ability to resist l’attrait, the scent shed by the Darkyn to lure and control those upon whom they fed. But no one could resist Robin of Locksley’s talent, which charmed any mortal he touched. In a few moments, the redhead would succumb to his master’s ability and begin clinging to him like a thirsty vine.


“Are you here with anyone?” a hopeful voice asked.


Will barely glanced at the woman. “Yes.”


“Oh.” She began to pass him, but then turned back. “I’m sorry, I don’t mean to bother you, but do you think your date would mind if I asked you to dance?”


Dancing would allow Will to get closer and watch the redhead’s defenses crumble. Given Reese’s rejection, the urge was a masochistic one, but he was also obliged by duty now to assure that the woman valiantly resisting his master hadn’t been trained to do so.


“No, not at all.” He grasped her hand and led her to the edge of the open space in front of the band. There he took the woman into his arms and finally looked at her. Her makeup, clothes, and hairstyle were those of an older woman trying rather desperately to appear younger. “What is your name?”


“Rosalyn.” She ran the tip of her tongue over her top teeth before she smiled. “What’s yours?”

“William.” He shed a little scent, just enough to make her pupils expand. “Rest your head on my shoulder, dear lady, follow my lead, and listen to the music.”


Rosalyn happily obeyed him.


Will didn’t crowd Robin and his partner, but guided Rosalyn close enough so that he could overhear their conversation.


“It’s pretty, isn’t it?” the redhead was asking his master. “I think it was the only hit Spandau Ballet ever had.”


“Spandau Ballet,” Rob repeated. “I cannot say that I am familiar with them.”


“Before our time,” his partner said. “My mother loved this song.” Her expression and the tone of her voice changed. “How did you know what I was drinking? Did you ask the waitress or the bartender?”


“Neither.” Robin studied her face. “I could smell the ginger ale on your breath.”


Will was obliged to lead Rosalyn around another couple, which took him out of earshot. He glanced back and saw his master bend his head, close enough to kiss the woman in his arms, but the mortal reacted by stiffening and drawing back.


“What the devil is wrong with that woman?” he muttered under his breath.


“I don’t know.” Rosalyn lifted her face. “Do you want me to go and ask her?”


“No, my dear.” He knew better than to speak without thinking around a be spelled mortal. “You dance beautifully.”


“Do I?” Her eyes brightened. “I come here twice a week, but no one ever asks me to dance. I’m too old for them, you see.”


“Then they are fools,” he assured her, “for you are lovely and graceful.”


She breathed in deeply and turned her head slowly toward Robin. “Do you think he would dance with me?”


Will caught the deep, hot fragrance of bergamot, and turned her around so that he could see Robin’s face. His master no longer smiled, but seemed wholly intent on the red-haired woman. As a beam of light flashed across the dance floor, it illuminated Robin’s dark violet eyes, which now glowed like polished coins.


The only time Robin of Locksley’s eyes turned to copper was when he hunted.


“If this is a practical joke, it’s a good one,” the mortal was saying to Robin. “Did Hutchins put you up to it?”


Will’s master replied in a voice so low it sounded only like a low growl. He saw Robin glance toward the exit leading out to the elevators. He could guess what his master was thinking—he wanted to take the female to the top floor, where all the rooms were kept reserved for their use—but the redhead wasn’t acting as if she were be spelled. In fact, she seemed utterly oblivious to Robin’s state.


The scent of bergamot grew stronger, spreading out over the dancing couples and enticing their attention away from one another. Soon every mortal within twenty feet was staring openly at Robin and his partner.


“Oh, bloody hell.” Will whirled Rosalyn through the bemused gauntlet of dancers to take her to the edge of the dance floor. Scanning the room, he saw an older man with a kind face sitting alone. “Do you see that man there?” When Rosalyn nodded, he said, “Go and join him. Talk to him. If you like him, ask him to dance with you.”


“Join. Talk. Dance.” She nodded and drifted away.


Will turned to look for Robin. Instead he met the gaze of the redhead, and saw open curiosity in her brandy-colored eyes. She kept watching him as she spoke to Robin, who finally gave Will his attention.


Robin turned until his partner’s back faced Will, and made a pointed gesture of dismissal.


Will scowled in return. He didn’t want to leave his master surrounded by dozens of be spelled humans, but he knew Robin badly wanted the woman, and doubted he would remain in the club much longer. Patience had never been one of Robin’s strengths.


As he wove his way through the crowd gathering around the dance floor, walking toward the exit, Will saw Rosalyn and the older man sitting close together and talking, apparently engrossed in each other. Robin’s scent still lingered on the air, and in the past it had often had a curious effect on large groups of humans exposed to it. Tonight it seemed to be having a mild aphrodisiac effect on the patrons, judging by the sudden pairings and hasty departures.


Everyone will have their lover tonight, Will thought, except me.


CHAPTER TWO


Reese waited until Will Scarlet had left the nightclub before she left her observation post and walked out to the parking garage. Everything had gone exactly as it should have, and she had played her part flawlessly. The endless hours she had spent preparing herself had not been wasted.



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