Give and take.
Malkom had given her shelter and a present she'd appreciated, and they'd just finished a bountiful meal he'd provided.
Normally he would've taken the burning spit in his roughened hands and devoured the meat. But for her, he'd cut away a portion, offering it to her on his blade. In time, he'd coaxed her to bite the meat off his knife with her white little teeth. Which had made him stiffen with a swift heat...
Give and take. Now Malkom wanted to take something in return.
He was so used to denial, had known a lifetime of it, but no longer could he deny the need to touch her body.
I want to feel a female's breasts for the first time and hear her cries in my ear.
The only time Malkom had ever been in sexual situations, he'd been forced by either hunger, pain, or the threat of both. Never had he voluntarily been with another. Now he wanted to know what it would be like to desire - and then to possess.
Yet earlier, she'd mimed that while he'd known pleasure the night before, she'd received only pain. Twice he'd found release and given her none. He felt his neck heating.
Why would she want to receive him?
She yawned, stretching her slender arms over her head, her breasts pressing against her top. Gods, he'd never wanted to see a woman's body so badly. But his curiosity was understandable. He'd never encountered a female like her.
And I will be enjoying her body solely for the rest of my life.
His gaze dipped to the edge of her short skirt, to the shadow beneath it. What would she feel like down there? When he'd been a lad, the idea of rutting atop a female and spending betwixt her legs had aroused him unbearably. He knew females could grow wet inside, but would she be hot? Soft?
He remembered years ago a demon warrior saying, "The only difference between coupling with your fist and coupling with a female is that the fist doesn't follow you around afterward."
Malkom gazed down at his fist, recalling when he'd last brought himself release. Surely she'd be softer than that?
Curiosity. Possibilities. "uestions about females he'd forced himself never to consider. If he could convince her that he wouldn't hurt her again, he might at last get the answers.
"Yep?" She lazily gazed over at the demon, feeling more sated than she had in days. She'd had her fill of fresh water and succulent chickants. Earlier, when he'd handed her meat on a knife, she'd realized he had a thing about hand-feeding her, as if she were a prized pet or something. She'd said, "No plates? No fuss, no muss, huh?" thinking he was kidding.
But eventually she'd eaten every bite he'd offered.
She would be sleepy if it wasn't for the nearly seven-foot-tall demon getting hard right before her eyes.
"Sex," he said. In English.
"Whoa, what?" She nearly fell over. She'd thought they'd gone over this. But then, he hadn't promised anything on this score.
"Sex," he repeated. Thumping his chest, he said, "Nolo fortis."
She remembered the word nolo from all the times she'd pled nolo contendere - no wish to contest legal charges. He was trying to tell her that he didn't want to hurt her.
First of all: Yeah, right, she was going to hop back on the trust train with him. And second, even if she believed he wouldn't hurt her, she still couldn't have sex with him. Aside from the fact that she could get pregnant by a vemon, she didn't need to be intimate with him - it would make her mission that much more complicated. She shook her head. "No sex."
He flicked his hands out in that impatient What gives? gesture.
Okay, so he wanted to know why. Hmm, how to mime betrayal? She didn't see that answer forthcoming, so she knelt on the ground, wiping flat an area of sand. With a finger, she drew a profile of the three peaks of his mountain. Beside that she drew a doorway. The last picture was of a house. " Minde home," she said.
Curt nod from the demon.
She pointed at him, then herself, then walked her fingers from the mountain, through the door, to the house.
He gave another nod of understanding, but he was "uick to point to himself and then her, interlacing his fingers and clasping his hands.
"Together? Yes, we'll go together." He would follow her through. There went the first hurdle. Now for the next. "No sex till then."
She pointed at the drawing of her house. "There. Sex."
She wanted him to leave this plane with her, to go through the portal to her home.
Malkom knew there were other planes, some rumored to be heavenly. When young, he'd heard tales of one with blue skies, of all things. Food was said to sprout straight from the ground, there for the taking. No catching or hunting necessary.
Precious water was said to fall from the sky, riches given to all.
But as he'd grown older, he'd realized that all who came through the portal told different tales. Some said the fields were golden, some said green. Some said the "oceans" were blue, some said gray.
Of one thing he was certain. No plane could possibly be worse than this one. Would he go with her? Absolutely. She might have parents, siblings, or friends there. He had no one.
In the sand, she drew the symbols he'd used for a day, then held up five fingers.
She was telling him that he wasn't to claim her until then? The better part of a week? He held up five fingers in blatant disbelief, and her lips curled the smallest bit. "Yes, demon."
He recognized the word and liked it when she called him that. He did not like her conditions.
When he asked her in Demonish why he'd only have her there, she merely shrugged, and again he was struck by how little he knew about her. He didn't even know what she was, much less what her customs would be.
Perhaps she needed a binding ceremony to make him her husband. Perhaps marrying within her culture wasn't as easy as within his. With a few words spoken...
At the end of those five days, would she be as anxious as he? Eagerly leading him by the hand to her home, to her bed?
Would she introduce him to her family? Hardened warriors weren't oft valued in a soft world. Yet maybe her people would appreciate the fact that he'd saved her life.
Dreams of the future, Slaine? He knew better. No longer could he dream without dreading. The two were forever intertwined for him. Every time he'd dared to anticipate a change in his fortunes - even from the earliest age - he'd had his hopes crushed.
When his mother had sold him into slavery, he'd stupidly believed he was going to be adopted into a new family. And as much as he'd hated what the master had done to him, Malkom had felt betrayed when that vampire had turned him out in the streets.
But Malkom had made both of them pay, along with the guards who'd delivered him to the Viceroy and eventually the vampire leader himself. All were dead. Except for Ronath.
Reminded of this, Malkom realized he couldn't depart Oblivion when she wanted. Unless Ronath attacked before then, Malkom would be leaving him unscathed, though he'd always meted retribution.
That bastard had cost him his best friend in Kallen. Malkom didn't blame Kallen for what had happened in that cell. Malkom blamed the conniving armorer for the loss.
Nearly as much as I blame myself.
Could he forgo vengeance on Ronath? After awaiting it for so long?
Malkom gazed at Carrow. Hadn't he been awaiting her for just as long, even if he hadn't realized it?
She was no distant dream. She was here, real and tangible, a fantasy made flesh. He feared after one night inside her body, he would surrender his vengeance without a second thought.
One way to find out....
The wheels were turning again. What was the demon deciding?
When Carrow stood, again intending to unroll the second sleeping bag, he scowled.
"No sex," he said in halting English. "No bi-ting." He held up his palm in frustration, so clearly saying, Then what am I to have?
Good point, she thought as she knelt on her new bed. The demon had fed her, given her shelter and protection. Though he came from a master/slave culture, he'd actually been negotiating with her, but she knew she was on borrowed time.
Change of plans. "Fine." If she did give him pleasure, he might fuel her with more power. She glanced away and held out her own palm. "Hand shandy, anyone?"
He hadn't moved. Great. Was she going to have to mime this one, too? When she faced him, realization lit his expression.
He narrowed his eyes, giving her a look of distaste. As if she'd just cheapened herself.
And Carrow the Incarcerated, party girl without inhibitions, was embarrassed. Then she remembered who she was with. "You're giving me that look when you creamed jeans on me - twice? Maybe you should be embarrassed!"
"Carrow," he said warningly.
Yes, he'd injured her and freaked her out, but she no longer believed his behavior was due to malice in his heart - it was because of what he'd become. He yelled at me to run.
Which meant that Carrow was the real villain here. She did have malicious intentions toward him. She planned to hurt him worse than he could ever hurt her.
Don't think about that; think of Ruby.
He flicked his fingers at Carrow's shirt, commanding her to remove it. When she merely gaped at him, he hit his fist into his other palm.
The demon wasn't joking around.
Yet the idea of kissing him, or more, when he was so dirty skeeved her. "Look, it's not you. It's me, and my inability to dig dirty dudes." Not to mention how filthy she was. Earlier, she'd swiped phicken juice off her chin with the back of her hand.
She had all the materials needed to get them s"ueaky. She just needed a tub and about fifty gallons of pure, grade A water. "Uh, I don't suppose you have a place to take a bath?"