Embrace Me at Dawn

Page 36

“All right.”

Softly, he kissed her lips, then withdrew reluctantly. “When I’m with you, I can breathe again. I feel whole, alive. I feel loved. No matter what else happens, I will keep pursuing you unceasingly until you either Bind to me again or look me in the eyes and tell me unequivocally that you no longer love me.”

Her heart nearly burst. He was so forthright, so brave with his feelings. That made her feel even more like a coward.


“Let me finish.” He held up a hand, then caressed her cheek. “I also understand that I didn’t give you all the loving guidance you needed when we were previously mated. I’ve talked to a man…a Dominant. I’ve been reading up. I understand now, love. God, I wish you’d told me.”

A deep flush swept up her body. Proper, perfect Lucan knew all her dark little desires? She tried to turn away, conceal her face. Lucan grabbed her chin and refused to let her hide. Still, she squeezed her eyes shut tightly.

“Stop. Look at me. Now,” he demanded tenderly, waiting in silence until she complied.

When she dared to glance at him, his direct stare awaited, prying at her like a crowbar and opening up her soul. “Lucan—”

He pressed a finger over her lips. “Let me finish and don’t look away. Not being completely honest is part of what led us here. I might not have been able to stop Mathias from taking you or hurting you—and it bloody pains me to say that—but maybe if I’d been everything you needed and told you how worthy you are of love more often, you would have wanted to come home to me from the first.” He brushed her wet hair from her face and kissed her lips softly. “Let me assure you, there is nothing you want that I don’t. I always tried to treat you so gently. You’re delicate, and I often feared breaking you. I pushed down urges that I know now would have pleased you. I always wanted you desperately. I wanted to be deeper in your body and soul, but I worried about scaring or hurting you too much to do anything about it. That changes now.”

She looked up, her mouth gaping open. “But what about…” Hell, she couldn’t ask him for that. Could she? Anka swallowed, indecision gripping her. She hated being a fucking coward, but she cringed at the thought of his rejection.

“If it’s on your mind, say it. This is the first of what I hope will be many negotiations between us, Anka. You’ll have everything you need. I have needs, too.” He dragged a hand down her back to cup her backside. She shifted on his lap, and his cock hardened inside her again, thick and insistent.

A bolt of desire trembled low in her belly. How easy it would be to surrender to his touch and just forget this conversation. But Lucan was right. If they were going to have any future, not clearing the air now would only come back to haunt them.


His grin widened. He lifted Anka up his cock slowly. “Absolutely. I’m looking forward to reddening your pretty backside.”

Pleasure suffused through her even as she felt another flush rush up to her cheeks, this time with a shy smile. “Will you…tie me up?”

“Can you handle it?”

Anka nodded, then moaned when Lucan eased her up his shaft again. “Yes! It’s not something Mathias did to me.”

“Good. Then yes.” He pumped into her again, agonizingly slow. “Fuck, yes. Feel me inching my way inside you, love?” She wriggled on his lap with a whimper, and he gripped her arse tighter, keeping perfect control. “I know you do. But do you feel all the love I’ve kept buried in my heart? I’m giving it to you as I stretch you wide so we can join as one again. I want you to feel all my need, my tenderness, my unconditional love filling you over and over. It’s all for you. Always for you.”

Every slow thrust reawakened her nerves and her need. She threw back her head with a gasp.

“Oh, you feel so good, love. I’m already mulling many intriguing ideas, ways of binding you to our bed so I can do this to you for hours.”

“Please…” Her voice cracked as she begged.

She didn’t know where they were headed or what would happen, but she knew that nothing else mattered but him in this moment. If he truly loved her this much…maybe he could handle her terrible truth.

With a wave of his hand, he turned off the shower, then stood. “Wrap your legs around me.”

His firm voice rang out in the enclosure, familiar…but deeper than ever. Sure of himself. It hadn’t been a request, but a command. Complying both thrilled her heart and aroused her body. With another wave of his hand, one big bath sheet wrapped around them. The other disappeared into the bedroom.

She forgot about everything when Lucan took his first step, gravity driving him deeper inside her than he’d ever been before. She cried out, digging her nails into his shoulders, planting kisses along his neck and jaw. Though he gripped her by the arse and held her up, Anka felt herself slipping—and lacking the strength to clutch him. The energy he’d given her earlier had revived her, but it was quickly waning, drained by the heavy thrum of Morganna’s spell still sucking her under.

Her suddenly heavy lids drooped, and he kissed her mouth while every step had her gasping with every deep shuttle into her body. Then the bed was at her back, the towel beneath her, and Lucan dragged her backside to the edge and stood above her.

With a leisurely withdrawal, he caressed his way down to her aching nipple. “You look exhausted, love.”

Blast it all, she wanted to stay awake, stay with him, enjoy this precious moment back in her mate’s arms, in the bed they had long shared. “I’m with you.”

“You need more energy.”

“I know. But I ache. I need.”

He frowned as he pulled away almost completely, then eased the thick crest of his cock back between her shiny folds, watching himself disappear into her body with a guttural groan. “God knows I want to give you pleasure. So much that you can’t stand to be away from me again. But I don’t know if giving you release and you sharing your energy with me now is wise.”

“Please. Please. Please!”

Lucan hesitated, then traced his fingers over her abdomen, trailing them into her plump mound and brushing his knuckles over the hard little pearl at the top.

The flare of sensation was like a sunburst all through her. Anka gasped, her eyes widening. He merely smiled as he kept up the slow torture with his fingers and his shaft, both teasing her so slowly and precisely, she had no way to fight it—or him.


“Let go, love.”

She arched with a hoarse cry, grabbing the sheets in her fists and staring at him with wide eyes, panting. “Yes. Oh my—”

The scream tumbled out of her, a high wailing of her need and pleasure that shattered her all the way down to her soul while her body throbbed and pulsed with a fireball of an orgasm.

After that, she had a vague impression of Lucan’s worry, his urgent driving strokes into her body over and over, slick skin sliding over her own, desperation thick in the air. Then his choked cry as he released into her again and the feel of warm seed jetting against her womb.

She reawakened later with her old silk robe wrapped gently around her body and her sister-by-mating, Sydney, rushing in with a tray of eggs and fruit, a blueberry scone nestled on the side of her plate.

Anka happily ate everything in front of her, smiling as Lucan took the fork in hand to make sure she finished every bite. He pampered her, kissed her, his face reflecting all the love she’d feared she’d never see again and wanted so desperately.

“Full, love?”

She nodded sleepily and curled up to his side, nuzzling her face into his chest, breathing in his skin and holding him close. Peace washed through her, a coveted feeling she thought she’d never know again.

“Excellent. Sleep now.”

She wanted to. A full night’s rest—without Shock crashing through the house during the wee hours of the morning, so intoxicated that he barely knew his own name—sounded both heavenly and restorative. But she and Lucan had unfinished business. In good conscience, she couldn’t make him wait to know her secret. If, after hearing it, he still wanted her…then she would answer his Call.

“I need to tell you something—”

He placed a finger over her lips. “Is the world going to end if you don’t tell me right now?”

Impatience and anxiety merely needled her, but her secret had been safe for over a hundred years. One more night shouldn’t matter, except to her conscience.

“No, but—”

“No buts. You need sleep, and I’m going to make sure you get it.”

Anka gave in. Yes, she wanted to enjoy one whole night of being in Lucan’s arms and bed again in case he no longer loved her after she confessed. The time was stolen, but she craved these moments with him.

“You also need more energy. During the night, I’ll make sure you get more of that, as well.” He winked at her.

Anka hadn’t believed it possible, but she fell just a little bit more in love with Lucan. For once, it felt as if her entire world was coming together again. She prayed their love was strong enough to keep them together forever.

Chapter Fifteen

In the dark bedroom, Lucan slipped from bed with a crooked smile, threw on a pair of jog pants, and padded down the stairs. Coffee, a little breakfast for the two of them, then… His smile widened. He’d given Anka plenty of energy through the night. She should be more than able to give some back to him, and he was very much looking forward to that. Having her with him all night had been the sweetest miracle. He’d barely allowed himself to sleep for fear he’d awaken and find every beautiful moment with her had been only a dream.

In the kitchen, Lucan snapped on the light and waved a hand in front of the coffee maker. As he waited for the hot brew to finish, he opened the refrigerator and contemplated the contents. He’d never mastered the art of cooking, not even magically. He could ask Sydney to help out or ring Sabelle but—

“You Called to Anka again?”

At the sound of Caden’s astonished question, Lucan turned. His brother stared at his altered signature. Caden’s expression wasn’t condemning…but he didn’t look thrilled, either.

“She’s it for me, brother. My one. That can’t be a surprise.”

“Did she Bind to you?”

That was Lucan’s only disappointment. He wanted to be certain she chose him freely, yet…if he was the mate of her heart, why was she hesitating? The waiting chafed. “Not yet.”

Now Caden let his displeasure show. “She picked the enemy over you, Lucan.”

“It’s more complicated than that, and the enemy… Yes, Shock is a dodgy prick, but he cares for Anka. She had no memory of me after she escaped Mathias, so she took shelter from the one person she knew she could count on to protect her. By the time she recalled once having a mate…” He shrugged. “I’d let her down and I didn’t fight to win her back. If anyone is to blame, it’s me.”

“That’s utter shit!”

“Is it? Zain is awfully interested in your mate. If you failed to protect Sydney from him, if he ravaged her and she barely escaped with her life, would you really expect her to come running back to you with open arms?”

Shuffling into the room, Caden grabbed a coffee cup and tapped his thumb against the counter. He knew the answer; he simply didn’t like it. “Probably not.”

“Because every wizard knows that the unspoken part of the Call demands that you give everything, even your life, to protect your mate. I didn’t. I failed her. I must earn back her trust before I can expect to earn back her devotion.”

As the smell of fresh brewing coffee filled the air, Caden nodded. “So you’re determined to make her your mate again.”

“Yes. Anka and I will talk through whatever our problems are, but I will get beyond every barrier between us so we can start over. I’ve got her sleeping under my roof—”

“And in your bed, if the noise last night was any indication. Sydney giggled a lot.”

Lucan smiled, feeling almost optimistic for the first time in three hellish months. “In the bed, on the floor, against the wall...”

“TMI, brother.” Caden rolled his eyes. “You know, if it works out with you and Anka, Sydney and I are happy to move elsewhere and let you two—”

“No. You’re family. I want you here, if you’d like to stay. Besides, safety in numbers. Mathias took Anka because she was alone and unprepared. With both of us here, we’ll have extra fortifications around the house. No one will catch us unprepared again.”

Caden nodded, thoughtful. “That makes sense. Having extra protection for Sydney would allow me breathe a bit easier when I can’t be with her. That woman has a penchant for finding trouble.”

“A frightful one, yes,” Lucan agreed with a grin.

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