Embrace Me at Dawn

Page 28

Bram hesitated, then nodded. “I’ll ask one of the others to assume her training. If she conceives, I’ll restrict her or eliminate her altogether. I know she wants revenge against Mathias, but if Shock gets her with…” Bram sighed, as if realizing he’d said the one thing designed to turn Lucan somewhere between miserable and murderous. “If she does conceive, I’ll remind her to focus on the life in front of her, not the one she’s left behind.”

Lucan would do well to remember that himself. As he stomped onto the first step, descended to the second, he resisted the urge to look back. He’d want to tear into the room, and for what? Did he really want to see Anka naked under Shock while he strained to fill her fertile body with energy, pleasure, and seed?

With a grimace, Lucan whipped around and began running down the stairs before a scream unlike any other ripped the air in two with a shrill wail. Stomping feet came next, a curse, and the jiggling of a doorknob drew him back around. Finally, Shock wrenched the door open and stood in the portal looking disheveled, his hair askew, his jacket hanging off one shoulder. He sported a series of angry red gashes down one cheek. Marks from Anka’s fingernails. He zipped his leathers up, shrugged on his coat, and squared those concealing black shades on his face. Then he charged toward the stairs, stopping just beside Lucan. Menace rolled off him in an angry wave.

“I fucking hate you. You’re a pussy and you don’t deserve her. If you don’t give her what she needs now and always, there won’t be a hole deep enough for you to hide in. I will hunt you down and kill you as slowly and painfully as possible.”

Shock was…leaving? Conceding defeat? Hadn’t he and Anka just been having sex? Hadn’t Shock been feeding her need created by the spell?

Lucan didn’t plan to stay here and ask the bloody lout, not when Anka was alone and hurting.

He zipped past Shock and ran for the open bedroom door, searching out the desperate little whimpers coming from inside.

A sudden crash had Lucan spinning back, one fist raised, his wand ready in the other. But the noise hadn’t come from an invading foe. Instead, Shock had punched the wall, knocking a hole through the plaster and paint, leaving a gash and bleeding knuckles behind. He glared at Bram, daring the wizard to say something. Bram merely rolled his eyes.

“Bugger.” Shock shot Lucan a disdainful snarl. “What are you looking at? Why are you standing there when she’s waiting? Do you need me to draw you a fucking picture?”

Anka had really rejected Shock, given the bastard the heave-ho?

“Yes, for fuck’s sake! Go!” Shock shouted, then stomped down the stairs, slamming his way out the front door. With a heavy bang, he teleported away.

Anka had rejected Shock…and now she waited for him.

Shaking, his heart flipping madly in his chest, Lucan rushed into the shadowed bedroom, shutting the door behind him. It took a moment to adjust to the dimness, but he found her huddled in the corner with frightened eyes, clutching the spread from the bed up to her chin. She trembled so hard, her teeth shook.

His heart broke.

Lucan forced himself to take slow steps into the room and kneel in front of her. One thought circled his brain over and over: Shock wasn’t the true mate of her heart.

But what if he wasn’t either? That question haunted Lucan as he reached for her, giving her plenty of time to reject his touch if she needed.

“Love?” He reached out for her, his hand closing the distance between them until he cupped her cheek.

She gasped, trembled harder. “Lucan.”

“Am I hurting you?”

“No. The pain of Shock… I couldn’t bear to have him touch me. That hurt brought me out of the frenzy, but your hand…that’s nice.”

He could touch her and not cause her pain, as Shock had. Hope crashed in, thrashed around inside him, making mayhem of his logic. Did that mean he was the mate of her heart? Shoving aside the question, he forced himself to focus on her and her alone. “Tell me how I can help you, Anka. Or can I at all?”

She closed her eyes and her body started to shudder with sobs. God, he wished someone would simply take a knife to his soul and cut him wide open to bleed out. It couldn’t hurt less than seeing her suffer, than this misery making her delicate shoulders shake.

Then she nuzzled her cheek into his hand. “Tell me what’s wrong with me.”

“Morganna put a spell on you, love. You’ll be all right in a few days. You’re not dying. There’s no need to worry. I’ll stay by your side, if you need me.”

“Shock…” She opened her eyes and looked away. “He tried to…” She swallowed another sob, not letting it loose. “But it hurt. I couldn’t stand it, no matter how patient or coaxing he was. It was bloody agony. Something I’d closed my eyes a hundred times and endured for the sake of energy and friendship, but I couldn’t tolerate him—or the sudden pain—today. I’m sure you would rather not discuss him, but I’ve no one else to talk to.”

His heart stopped. Hope surged. She’d only ever endured Shock’s touch? “You didn’t want him?”

“In my head, yes. He’s safe. But in my heart, I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.”

Relief let loose some of the stranglehold wrapped around his lungs and evened out the careening between hope and fear. Breathing came easier, thoughts quicker. He nodded as he gathered her into his arms. “We only want what’s best for you, so he left. I’m here. You’ll tell me if I hurt you.”

“I already hurt,” she whimpered.

He released her instantly, despair spiking inside him. “Is that my doing?”

“No.” She leaned in and nuzzled her face in his neck. “You feel good.”

There was a wealth of meaning in that sentence. He soothed her and made her feel protected. But when she nipped at his earlobe and kissed a little spot just beneath, he shivered. Comfort and safety obviously weren’t the only things on her mind.

“It’s coming back, the frenzy.” She sounded slightly panicked.

“You needing, love?” He gently pulled the bedspread away from her tight grip and set it aside where she couldn’t reach it and hide from him again.

Beneath it all, she sat naked, a flushed tangle of soft skin and shaking legs. She closed her eyes and turned her face away, looking embarrassed and torn. “Yes. I’m sorry.”

He hooked his finger under her chin. “Look at me.” He waited until she complied, blinking those amber eyes up at him, now swimming in tears. “Never apologize to me for what you need. Just tell me so I can help.”

“It’s not very… proper.”

A slow grin stretched across his face. “Even better.”

With a tremulous smile dawning, she looked into his eyes. “I’ve missed you.”

“Love, I’ve died every day without you.”

Her smile fell. “You’re better off without me.”

He dropped the smile instantly and gripped her chin more firmly. “You let me make that decision. Don’t think you’re going to make it for me, especially without talking to me. I want you. I want to be here for you. I want to give you what you need. All you have to do is tell me what that is.”

Anka hesitated, drew in a shaky breath. Then she launched herself at him, throwing her arms around his neck and seizing his mouth in a demanding kiss that made him instantly hard. A million questions still buzzed through his mind, but he shut them all off. Later, he’d get answers.

As he stood with her wrapped in his arms, he carried her to the bed and tore his mouth away for a moment. “Tell me if I’m hurting you.”

She nodded solemnly, her dark lashes wet with tears. Then she pressed her lips to his again, her tongue probing hungrily, asking, seeking, pleading. It went straight to his cock. He was touching her, tasting her.

He was the mate of her heart.

Joy soared inside him as he laid her back and covered her body with his own. Under him, all her soft, exposed skin beckoned, silk and perfume intoxicating him. Longing tightened him like a bowstring. He swallowed against impatience. After today, she would be his again. She’d never go back to Shock. Lucan smiled before he took her lips again. She might even have his youngling.

“Did you hear what Millie said about the spell?”

Anka closed her eyes, cheeks flushing. “Yes.”

“You understand what this means, then?”

“Can we just…not talk now?”

Something inside him softened. She might not be ready to face all this, and as much as he wanted to unleash the pent-up need screaming inside him, he had to be sure she could cope.

“No, love. I won’t do this without your full cooperation.”

She sighed. “I understand. My heart has chosen you. I might conceive. Yes, I still want this and you. Please…” Under him, her lithe little body began to undulate, her hips lifting and seeking.

All the desire he’d held at bay through sheer will broke through his good intentions. They should probably continue this conversation, decide what happened next for them. God knew he wanted to Call to her again so fucking badly.

Right now, he couldn’t spare any more words.

Toeing off his trainers and pushing his sweat pants down to his hips, he captured Anka’s mouth in a desperate kiss, forcing her to take every hungry sweep of his tongue, every conquering press of his lips. Anka murmured nonsensical words of encouragement between each kiss, guiding his hand to her peaked nipple. He groaned into the next kiss, pinching and pulling at the tender little nub, satisfied when it hardened even more.

He bent and took her nipple in his mouth, holding it gently between his teeth so he could lash it with his tongue. He did the same with the other, panting. Desire roared inside him like a freight train, charging at him full speed. It was going to run him over utterly, leave nothing behind. He gripped the mattress, struggling to subdue his impatience. But her little mewls only drove him higher.

Squeezing the corner of the bed with all his might, he unleashed his aggression on the mattress beneath her. He couldn’t bear to hurt her. The springs bent with a sickly metallic clink. He released the mattress, mentally cursing. But it was too late. The bed collapsed at the edges, sagging sadly.

She cried out with approval, gripping her hands in his hair. “More. Harder.”

“Be careful what you wish for, love.”


Back to monosyllables. Interesting… Maybe the more he fed her need the more the spell gripped her? Who the hell bloody cared? She wanted something. He’d be damn sure to give it to her.

He kissed her ruthlessly again, pinching her nipple harder. She gasped into his mouth, her hips rising up. His bare cock slid between those sweet, slick folds. He swallowed against the rising flood of lust threatening to overtake his senses.

Soon, so soon, he’d be buried deep inside her, and he hoped to fuck he didn’t emerge for days. Right now, he craved one thing so badly, had dreamed of the moment he had the right to do this again.

Shimmying down her body, he stopped to lap and nip at her swollen nipples, relishing her hands in his hair. The little beads hardened even more, and she arched up for him, setting her breast deeper into his mouth. With a moan, he seized them, ate at them. Damn, he’d missed her.

Finally, the lure of her scent became too strong, and he worked his way down her body.

“Spread your legs, love.”

Her little cry went straight to his cock. She knew what he wanted, what he craved. Slowly, she complied, parting those pretty pale thighs for him in welcome. Her delicate folds, slick with need, opened to him so beautifully. When they’d been mated, he’d often had to sneak this in, always had to coax and persuade her that he wanted her this way, that it wasn’t unladylike. Now, she pushed his head closer to her tempting flesh.

The tangy scent of her sweet spice made his entire body seize up. Hunger belted him in the gut. Impossibly, he got even harder


God, he loved the sound of her desperation. “You want something?”

“Now. Please. I need it. Right now.”

“Are you asking me to lick your pussy?” His gruff whisper barely sounded over her rough, sawing breaths.

She’d always hated that word, been shy about the act itself. And he was pushing her, some devil inside him wanting to know if she was really, truly ready for him again, even the more demanding side of him that he used to restrain. It strained against his mental chains, and unless he put it away entirely, the need to have his every way with her was going to emerge.

“Yes! With your tongue. And lips. Please. Deep…”

Hell, she not only assented, she begged. That pleased the feral animal he’d caged deep inside him. “Can you lie still for me and take it, love?”

“No!” Her hips bucked and gyrated, urgently seeking relief.

He gripped her, held her down. He liked the thought of her at his mercy, especially when she needed it so badly. Eventually, he’d give her all she needed and more. But for now, her beseeching released that primal part of him and he didn’t think he could shut it back off. He didn’t want to.

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