Halfway to the Grave

Page 66

"You have nothing to prove to me," he argued, still refusing but weakening. I could feel his hunger rise. The air around us seemed to charge, and his eyes glowed a brighter green than I'd ever seen them.

I put my arms around him, brushing my lips against his throat. "I'm not afraid."

"But I am. I'm very afraid you'll regret it afterwards."

Even as he said it, his arms went around me. I rubbed against him, hearing his hiss at the friction of our skin. My teeth caught his earlobe, biting it firmly, and he shuddered.

"I want this. Show me I shouldn't have waited so long."

His hand brushed through my hair, smoothing it aside, and his mouth dipped to my neck. I gasped at the feel of his tongue circling my pulse in a more predatory manner than ever before. He fastened his mouth over it, sucking. Drawing the artery closer to surface and pressing on it with his sharp teeth. My heart was pounding now. Its throb must have been vibrating against his lips.

"Kitten," he moaned into my skin. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," I whispered. "Yes."

Fangs sank into my throat. I braced for pain, but it didn't come. A long, deep suction froze me with surprise instead. Oh! This wasn't like before when Hennessey bit me. It didn't hurt. On the contrary, I began to feel a delicious warmth spreading through me. It was as if our roles were reversed and the blood spilling into his mouth was feeding me as well. That heat increased, taking me down with it, and I curled my arms around his neck to pull him closer.


He drank deeper, picking me up when my knees buckled. I went limp against him, shocked that every pull of his mouth felt better, until it seemed like I'd melted in his arms. Lost in the unexpected rapture.

My whole universe narrowed, encompassing only the thumping of my heart, steady panting, and the constant flow of blood connecting every part of me. I felt it like never before, understood how it was integral to each nerve ending, every cell, and contained the very essence of life. I willed it into him, wanting to fill him until he drowned in me. It seemed like I was weightless, floating, and then the warmth coating me turned to a flood of liquid heat.

Yes. Yes!

I didn't know if I said it out loud, because reality was gone. All I could feel was that heat coursing through me, growing stronger, until my blood seemed to boil with it. Then suddenly my senses roared back into clarity. The skin covering me seemed to burst, my blood boiled erotically, and the last thing I felt was Bones tightening his grip as he drank.

When my eyes opened, I was burrowed inside the blankets. Pale arms were wrapped around me, and somehow I knew it was much later despite there being no clock to check.

"Is it dark out?" I asked, instinctively feeling my neck. No bumps, only smooth skin. How amazing that there were no visible traces despite my whole body having residual tingles.

"Yes, it's dark now."

I turned to face him, gasping when his cold feet touched mine. "You're freezing!"

"You took all the covers again."

I glanced down at myself. I was cocooned in the entire comforter. Bones only had a few scraps of the blanket as he'd spooned around me. Guess he wasn't exaggerating.

I unwrapped myself and threw half the blanket over him, shivering as his chilled flesh touched my bare skin. "You undressed me while I was asleep? You didn't take advantage, did you?"

"No, I took precautions," he replied, searching my eyes. It was then that I noticed he was so tense, a single blow might have shattered him. "I stripped you and hid your clothes so if you woke up angry about what happened, you wouldn't be able to run out without talking to me first."

Here was a man who learned from experience. I almost smiled at the mental image of him hiding my clothes under various boulders. Then I sobered.

"I'm not angry. I wanted it, and it was-incredible. I didn't know it would be that way."

"I'm so glad to hear you say that," he whispered. "I love you, Kitten. I can't describe how much."

My heart exploded in my chest with a rush of feeling. Tears sprang to my eyes at the ache of emotion silently screaming to be voiced.

He saw the tears. "What's wrong?"

"You won't stop until you have all of me, will you? My body, my blood, my trust...and still you want more."

He knew of what I spoke and his reply was immediate.

"I want your heart the most. Above all else. You're exactly right, I won't stop until I have it."

Tears began to slide down my cheeks, because I couldn't hold the truth back anymore. I didn't know how I'd managed to hold it back this long. "You have it already. So now you can stop."

His whole body stilled. "You mean that?"

Uncertainty but also growing emotion filled his eyes as they bore into mine. I nodded, mouth too dry to speak.

"Say it. I need to hear the words. Tell me."

I licked my lips and cleared my throat. It took three times, but finally my voice returned.

"I love you, Bones."

A weight seemed to lift from me I hadn't known was there. Funny how much I'd feared something that shouldn't have frightened me at all.

"Again." He started to smile, and a beautiful, pure joy filled up the emptiness I'd carried my entire life.

"I love you."

He kissed my forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and chin, feather-soft brushes that had the impact of a locomotive.

"Once more." The request was muffled by his mouth on mine and I breathed the words into him.

"I love you."

Bones kissed me until my head reeled and everything tilted even though I was lying flat. He only paused long enough to whisper onto my lips, "It was well worth the wait."

Chapter Twenty-One

CATHERINE, YOU HAVEN'T BEEN HOME IN FOUR weeks. I know college keeps you busy, but you have to promise you'll come home for Christmas."

Guilt filled me as I switched the phone from one ear to another, waiting for my Pop-Tarts to come flying out of the toaster. The spring inside the machine usually sent them crashing out onto the counter.

"I told you, Mom, I'll be there for Christmas. But before then, I'll be very busy. I'm studying like mad. Exams are coming up."

That wasn't what had filled most of my time. Oh, I'd been studying, but not for college. No, Bones and I had been poring over any and all paper trails we could find to try and discover who Francesca had meant when she said someone "higher up" than a judge or a police chief. Considering it would have to be a person with authority over the police department, from all the missing or forged reports we'd uncovered, that left the mayor of Columbus as our most probable suspect. We'd been watching him. Tailing him, eavesdropping, checking his background, you name it. So far, nothing, but that didn't mean he wasn't just being careful. After all, we'd only been monitoring him for nine days.

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