Halfway to the Grave

Page 17

"You don't have a life, you're dead."

I was trying to remind myself of that. Listening to his explicit detailing of everything he could do to me-not that I would ever let him, of course!-had made that a hard point to remember. I shook my head, trying to clear it of the images dancing in it.

"That's a matter of opinion. In fact, if you judge by senses and reflexes, I'm as alive as any human, just with a few more upgrades."

"Upgrades? You're not a computer. You're a killer."

He rocked back on the two legs of his chair, easily balanced. He wore a charcoal-gray pullover that hugged his shoulders and skimmed his collarbone. Black pants were nearly a staple with him; I wondered if he owned any other color. The dark colors only accented his light hair and pale skin, making them even more incandescent. This was no accident, I knew. Everything was deliberate with Bones. With those incredible cheekbones and his ripped physique, he was stunning. And dangerous, yet somewhere along the line I'd lost most of my fear of him.

"You're a killer, too, luv, or did you forget that? You know, those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and all that rot. Really, Kitten, why so shy on our former topic? Didn't that sodding chap who shagged you kiss you everywhere first? Don't tell me the wretch neglected foreplay."

"Not unless you count him taking his clothes off as foreplay." Goddamn Bones, and damn Danny Milton as well. Maybe one day I could look back and not feel a sting. "Can we not talk about that? It hardly puts me in the proper mood."

Something cold flashed across his face, but his voice was light. "Don't fret over him, pet. If I meet him, I'll snap him in half for you. No, we won't speak of him any longer. Ready to go back to the table now? Or do you need a few more minutes to cool off?"

There was that insinuating tone again, making simple words sound graphic.

"I'm ready. I just wasn't prepared before." I sat back at the table and slid my hands into his waiting grip. "Go on. Give it your best shot."

He grinned with a slow sexy twist of his lips and the fire leapt back into his eyes.

"Love to give it my best shot. Let me tell you just how I'd do it..."

Two hours later, my ears were burned to twin crisps, and I owed him forty miles. Bones was in high spirits. Why wouldn't he be? He had just hypothetically f**ked me into incomprehension. Tartly I asked him if he wanted a cigarette when he was finished, and he informed me with a laugh that he'd quit smoking. Heard it wasn't good for his health. God, the man amused himself with his own jokes.

I used one of the cave's small enclosed areas as a changing room to strip out of the harlot's dress and put on my jogging clothes. Bones always collected on his bets, never mind that there was now a thunderstorm out. We were going for our little tortuous run in the woods. With my hair rolled into a bun to avoid it lashing me in the face, I squeezed out from behind the rocks to find him waiting for me. He gave me a once-over, and that cocky twist returned to his lips.

"There's the Kitten I know and love. Felt like you'd been away for a while, with how different you looked. Ready for a romp in the rain?"

"Let's get this over with. It's nearly nine o'clock and I'd like to get home. After this evening, I feel like I have to wash."

"Well, luv"-we had reached the mouth of the cave, and the rain came down in torrents-"I aim to please. One shower, coming right up."

The run was brutal, as expected. He even had the nerve to laugh behind me the whole way. When I climbed into my truck, I was soaking wet and exhausted. It was an hour-and-a-half round trip every day I went to the cave, and the truck was a gas guzzler. Bones was going to have to start contributing to my travel expenses, because I wasn't going to use more of my college money on gas.

The lights were out at the house when I pulled in, and the rain had slowed to a drizzle. I took my shoes off and headed straight for the bathroom. Once inside, I removed all of my clothes and ran a hot bath.

As I sank into the water, I closed my eyes. Everything ached from the run. For a few moments I just sat, allowing myself to relax. The steam from the water caused moisture on my upper lip and I wiped it away, startled when the brush of my fingers caused an unexpected tightening in my belly.

I tried it again, never having done this before and imagining my fingers were not my own. Gooseflesh broke out on my body and in a completely surprising reaction, my ni**les hardened.

I cupped my br**sts next, gasping at the increased sensation. The water felt like it caressed me as well now, in the most intimate of places. I skimmed the outsides of my thighs, amazed at the ripples of enjoyment that followed. Then I ran a hand along the inside of my thigh, stopped guiltily for a moment, and reached lower.

A soft moan escaped. With my eyes closed, open mouth breathing in warm humid air, I let my fingers move a little faster, a little faster...

...feel your tight wet box wrapped around me, pulling me deeper inside you...

Bones's words stole through my mind and I snatched my hand away as though burned. "Oh, shit!"

I jumped out of the tub, slipped on the wet tile, and fell with a crash to the floor.

"Sonofabitch!" I shouted. Great, that was going to leave a mark. There'd be a bruise the size of my stupidity.

"Catherine, what happened?"

My mother was outside the bathroom door. The thump or my shout must have woken her.

"It's okay, Mom, I just slipped. I'm fine."

I dried off with a towel while lashing myself under my breath.

"Stupid, stupid, stupid, thinking about a vampire. What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you?"

"Who are you talking to?" Apparently my mother was still outside the door.

"No one." No one intelligent, that's for sure. "Go back to bed."

After changing into a pair of pajamas, I carried my dirty clothes downstairs and put them in the washing machine, reminding myself to start a load in the morning. When I went into the room I shared with my mother, I found her sitting up in her bed.

That was different. She was usually asleep by nine every night.

"Catherine, we have to talk."

She couldn't have picked a worse time, but I stifled a yawn and asked her what she wanted to talk about.

"Your future, of course. I know you waited two years to start college so you could help out after Grandpa Joe had his heart attack, and you've been saving for another two years so you can transfer to Ohio State University from the community college here. But soon you'll be leaving. Living on your own, and I'm worried about you."

"Mom, don't worry, I'll be careful-"

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