T-minus sixteen hours until they were to leave. And Carrow had feelings for the demon she was planning to betray.
In a moment of desperation yesterday, she'd tried to explain her situation to Malkom, to ask for his help - even though he didn't understand the words mortals, blackmail, kidnap, or daughter. Eventually she'd drawn a stick-figure Carrow that held hands with a stick-figure little girl, then she'd pressed her hand over her heart.
He'd thought she wanted a baby. When she'd emphatically signaled that wasn't what she wanted, he'd seemed hurt, yanking on his boots and storming off to go hunt.
Now, this morning, she couldn't pay attention to his lesson, was racking her brain for any alternative to deceiving him. Maybe she should have set out on her second day here to find other demons to help her.
But at that time, Malkom had been so brutal, so incomprehensible to her. Betraying him would've been nothing to her. She'd had no idea she could ever come to care for him.
What would Ripley do? She'd definitely rescue the orphaned girl from the island.
Break down the facts, Carrow.??Even if she could communicate with Malkom, revealing her plot would have to decrease her chances of getting him to the portal. He might balk. After all, she'd only known him for the better part of a week.
She decided then that revealing everything was an unacceptable risk.
And even if she were certain he'd do it, she'd never be able to convey all the inherent dangers for him. He'd go into that portal either completely unknowing, or partially so.
Carrow pinched her forehead. For a woman not used to feeling guilt over her actions or fear for someone who depended on her, she felt overwhelmed. Am I doing the right thing? Most of the time when people were under duress, they could talk to someone, friends or family who could help them make the right choice.
Carrow was flying blind - in uncharted territory.
She jerked her face up. "Huh? Where were we?"
But his expression had grown serious, the lesson forgotten. He interlaced his fingers and said, "We are bound."
He collected a piece of rope, knotting it.
"Oh, you mean bound?"
He gave a nod, then drew in the sand.
An infinity symbol? "Clever demon, how did you know that ... ?"
He was gazing at her with a "uestion in his eyes.
"Bound forever?" And somehow she met his gaze and lied, "Yes, demon. Bound forever."
As if to make her feel even guiltier, he gathered her into his arms, cupping her face against his broad chest. His voice a deep rumble, he said, "Carrow is Malkom's."
She wanted to sob.
"Yes," she answered, wishing that it could be so simple between them. Demon meets girl. Girl might be falling for demon.
But then, if not for all the treachery she'd gotten caught up in, she would never have come here to find him, never would have known him.
He rested his chin on her head and placed her hand over his heart. It drummed against her palm.
I made that beat. Maybe fate had been right to match them. Somehow between the two of them, they gentled Malkom's rages. She'd brought him happiness. At least for a time.
After midnight, Carrow didn't know if he could ever be gentled again.
She drew back, gazing up at his face. What if it could be simple between them, if just for a few hours? One morning spent enjoying each other - fully - with no thoughts of the future?
He'd been so curious about sex, and so patient with her, that she wanted him to have that experience. But if she offered herself to him, she'd have to trust him not to hurt her.
Do I trust him? Can I? She swallowed. "Malkom, I want you to make love to me."
" Sex, demon."
His body shot through with tension. Sharp nod.
"Gentle? Can you not hurt me?" Ah, Hekate, was she actually going to do this?
"Yes." He lifted her into his arms, carrying her to the pallet. "Will not hurt you."
He laid her down, joining her there. Then his brows drew together, as if he'd just recalled something. Was he hesitating?
"You are mine, ara. Say this."
At that moment, she was. "I'm yours."
Seeming to make a decision, he removed his shirt, revealing the tan, smooth skin of his chest. Then he eased above her. As she gazed up into the blue of his eyes, any doubts she had faded. The demon won't hurt me.
He dipped down to cover her mouth with his own. She loved the way he kissed now. He was aggressive with it, having learned exactly how to drive her wild. Strong flicks, teasing licks that set her body on fire.
As their breaths mingled, she gasped against his lips, "Yours."
She wants me to claim her. Malkom's chest was tight with feeling, his mind filled with thoughts of pleasuring her, so that she'd cleave to him.
"Bound forever," she'd told him. And, gods, he wanted to believe it.
So why did he continue to have the sense that she was slipping away?
As he levered himself above her, the importance of this moment struck him like a hammer blow. But he had no words to express to her what she was about to give him - and how long he'd waited for it.
How long he'd waited for her.
He didn't know how to ask her why his heart seemed to stop every time he gazed at her face. No way to tell her what being inside her would mean to him, the trust he would bestow when he gave up his seed. I could put a babe inside her this night.
"Witch," he grated. He kissed her palm, then laid it over his heart again, as if she could feel how heavy his chest was. That sense of possessiveness flooded him. With these kinds of feelings and no outlet ... bewilderment roiled.
She couldn't understand him, and he didn't know what to do.
"Malkom," she breathed, beginning to look uneasy, "y-you have to be gentle."
"Do not ... want to hurt you."
"The more needing I am, the less it will hurt."
Then he wouldn't enter her until he'd made her beg for him to.
Lying in the cradle of her thighs, he removed her top, baring her breasts to him. Never get enough of these. He bent down to kiss that tender, giving flesh, knowing how much she desired him to.
Yet once his lips closed around one of her nipples, his fangs sharpened. Claim her, his instinct commanded, in all ways. As his tongue swirled around the peak, he felt a hot jolt. A drop of blood had hit his tongue.
He rose up, eyes riveted to the line of crimson just above her stiff nipple. Starkness against her creamy breast.
He'd never felt so close to his female as when he'd bitten her. Surely she would feel it too, now that she didn't fear him, now that she wanted his claim upon her.
Must make her mine.
She shook her head, likely to tell him not to bite her, but he cut her off, warning her in Demonish not to deny them this.
Never deny us this.
As he leaned down, she kept shaking her head, shoving against his chest.
"But you are mine!" he told her in Anglish. "Feel this." The connection.
Cleave to me, witch! With a yell, he sank his fangs into one plump breast.
His eyes closed with ecstasy before he'd even drawn from her. When he licked her nipple as he suckled, she tensed beneath him, crying out.
He forced his lids open, alarm flaring. But then he saw her head and arms had fallen back, her lips parted.
When he realized she was coming, he gave a desperate groan, sucking her harder, palm covering her other breast, pinching the tip.
The way her body worked beneath his bite ... maddening. She arched her back and writhed, screaming as she climaxed, whipping forth his own release.
His sac tightened in readiness. Place your claim. His cock swelled unbearably. Plunge it inside her.
Snarling against her breast, he fumbled for his trews. Too late. Before he could even think of penetrating her, he began coming within them.
He tongued her nipple as pleasure racked him, so strong he jerked from the force of it again and again.
With a final ragged moan, he collapsed over her body, relin"uishing his bite with a tender kiss. "Ah, ara, you felt it."