Wicked as She Wants

Page 44

“You need more,” he murmured into my mouth, and I answered, “I’ll take what I need.”

When he tried to pull back again, I settled my hips against him, rocking from side to side as I kissed him, hard and demanding. His grip on my waist slid down, settling possessively on my hipbones. He jerked me closer and pulled up his knees behind my back. We were lined up in the most primal way, and I found that in this sense, at least, I liked being trapped.

“I need more,” he whispered in my ear, and I turned my neck for him, anxious for the sharp pain that preceded the strange euphoria of him feeding on me.

He bit down harder this time, as if testing his fangs. I gasped as he latched on, and he moved against me, hip to hip, rubbing sensuously through the layers of fabric to reach the most secret part of me. Tentatively at first, then more pointedly, I moved with him, his thrusts matching the pulse of his lips sucking at my neck. It all moved together like the waves I’d seen at the ocean and never, ever dared touch. They were dangerous, those swells and crests, and I knew that they held the power to destroy me instantly. But this—these waves—they felt right, and if there was any threat of me flying apart, it was from pleasure.

The rhythm was timeless, and I caught on fast, my breathing and heartbeat a high counterpoint. I wanted something, something more, something I couldn’t describe. My hands found his bare shoulders, broad and muscled and warm, my nails digging in with urgency. I began to understand what could inevitably unfold between two people, but at the same time, I was somewhere else entirely, floating again. And hungry, so hungry. For him.

With one last, wild lick, he pulled back from me, his hips still moving, his mouth wet with my blud.

“Do you need more?”

“I’m . . . I need . . . I don’t know.” And I didn’t.

“Do you want me, Ahnastasia?”

“I don’t know what I want, but if I don’t get it, I’m going to rip you to shreds.”

“No,” he barked, and when he stopped moving against me, I hissed and focused on him, our eyes but inches away. He chuckled and drew back, holding my face in both hands as if daring me to look away, his smile kind and dimpled but his eyes stern. “No, darlin’. No. We’re way past that adorable little vicious act of yours. If we’re doing this, we’re doing it as equals. I’m not your pet anymore.”

I whimpered and tried to kiss him, but he was stronger than he had been and kept me at arm’s length.

“Why does it matter?” I said. “Don’t you need it, too?”

“I need you, not it. And I’m done being used. If you’re going to take from me, you’re going to start giving back, and I’ll start with your heart.”

For that second, I swear my heart stopped beating. All the want and hunger and desperation faded in the face of his demand. Could it be possible that Casper . . . loved me?

I had been raised in wealth and coldness, receiving more warmth from Verusha than from my own family. Personal greetings were mannerly and swift, a polite peck on the cheek. Hugs were almost unknown, for how could my mother draw me close when her dress was encrusted with diamonds and weighed more than she did? Love and affection were things you felt for your country, for your favorite hat, for the wolfhound that greeted you without fail at the door. But to expect love from a royal match—it was laughable. Almost unheard of. I had never considered, in all my life, if my parents loved each other. I knew for a fact that they didn’t.

And here we were, tangled up and blood-spattered on the floor of a Moravian inn, and this man, this Stranger, wanted my heart. He wanted my mouth to say words I had never heard spoken. He wanted me to declare myself just for the privilege of rutting with him as I’d seen the passengers of the Maybuck meet, flesh to flesh. The day before my final stand, before I planned to murder a dictator at a holy rite in front of my people, he wanted me to make a commitment that no princess, no Tsarina, could make. A Tsarina’s heart belonged to her country.

The feelings he had awakened in me were tempting, and I was curious. But those feelings, that satisfaction—they weren’t worth lying to him, making promises I couldn’t keep. Maybe the intimacy I felt was part of the bludding process, part of the powder’s magic. Maybe I had to admit to myself that my beast had desires, and blood was apparently not the only one.

Or maybe . . .

I swallowed hard and sought my answer in his eyes.

It hit me like an arrow, thudding in my chest. In Casper’s eyes, I saw more than pleas and lust. I found recognition, acceptance, and dedication. It was all written there for me to read, in the shadows dancing against the blue. This man, this new Bludman, had feelings for me. Fierce ones that couldn’t be denied. And he was no longer confused, lost within himself. He was strong like me, powerful like me. And he wanted me, he loved me, as sure as his blood beat in my veins.

In that moment, it went from impossible to simple.

He hadn’t asked for a commitment, hadn’t asked me to love him or marry him or pledge myself to him eternally. He wanted my heart, but he hadn’t demanded it. He had asked me, quite simply, if I wanted him. And that was an easy question to answer.

“I want you,” I said, and a wicked smile lit his face.

In one smooth swoop, he stood, holding me tight against his bare chest, his hands under my thighs. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and he carried me as if I weighed nothing. Before I knew what had happened, he had shoved through the door into the next room and spread me out on the bed. It swung under me slightly, the ropes that tied it to the ceiling creaking. I felt more weightless, more pure and groundless and free, than ever. Even though it was past the last rays of sunset, the lantern light from outside was bright enough to shimmer through the stained-glass window and paint me in a rainbow of colors.

Casper walked around the bed. Stalking me. I stretched and arched my back for him, lifting one leg to let the silk dress slide up one calf.

“Everything about you is just so . . . delicious.”

I grinned, showing him my teeth. “Taste me, then.”

He wrapped long fingers around the rope, his eyes tracing it to the ceiling in curiosity. Apparently satisfied by what he saw, he leaped lightly onto the bed, which barely swayed, thanks to his newfound dexterity, the balance and litheness of a predator already taking root. With the same care I’d seen Tommy Pain use when the cat walked a ledge, Casper prowled around the outside of the bed, drinking in every inch of me. When he wound around the ropes and stepped over my feet, his shadow blocked the window, and for just a moment, he looked rampant and wild as a timber wolf, his eyes glowing in the darkness.

There was a new confidence there, too, whether because of my admission or the fundamental change in his body. He appeared by my side on his knees, so quick and smooth that it seemed as if he’d melted, the bed barely swaying. The squares of light flowed over his bare shoulders like liquid, lighting his hair like the halos I’d seen in old-fashioned Pinky paintings of saints and angels.

“I have wanted you since the first moment I saw you. Even half-dead, you were more alive than any woman I’ve ever met.” He stretched out, half beside me, half on me, one hand tugging my curls. “And that hair. It’s like I can still see it sometimes, the color of butter. Like I can feel it pulling through my fingers when I’m asleep and dreaming of you.”

“It’ll grow back,” I said, almost apologetically, and he chuckled.

“Hush, sugarplum,” he said, his accent strange and mellow.

He kissed me, long and slow, taking his time. The anticipation built, my body crying for his touch and rabid for satisfaction as he refused to hurry. The wine had made it easy the first time. Sharing blud had made it even easier, the excuse of feeding and hunger melding with the physical desire for the body around the need for sustenance. But now there was only him and me and the knowledge that we wanted each other, whatever that meant.

“It’s easier to kiss you now that I don’t want to eat you,” I murmured.

“For me, it’s harder. Because now I want to eat you, too.”

I gasped as he kissed down my jaw, tracing a line along the vulnerable skin there, the veins close to the surface where he’d already bitten. When he found the hollow of my throat, I moaned and ran my nails down the back of his neck, his hair soft on my wrist. He kept going, sliding his tongue along my collarbones and into the V of my silk dress. With a growl of frustration, he grasped the sides of the bodice as if to rip it in half, and I covered his hands with my own.

“Patience, Maestro.” I slid his hands to my hips. “You’ve waited this long.”

“If you insist.”

I rolled over onto my stomach, and he gently bit the nape of my neck. Kissing down my spine, he unbuttoned the dress, one flick of fabric at a time. His lips followed his fingers, and I quivered as he hit the spot that was usually covered in corset. I had left it with Verusha, knowing that we were in for a messy and painful business. But now its absence gave me cause to purr, feeling the soft heat of Casper’s lips trailing on skin tender with unaccustomed freedom. He undid the final button and ran his tongue all the way up my back, and something inside me melted, heavy and sweet as puddled wax.

He rolled me onto my back again, rough and slightly playful, the bed swaying. One after the other, he slid my arms from the fitted sleeves, kissing the curves of my shoulders, the tender insides of my elbows, and the pale white dip of each wrist. I closed my eyes, savoring the anticipation, wanting him to get back to kissing me or feeding on me or something less ticklish, more real, more demanding.

“I will never get used to all this damn fabric,” he murmured into the curve of my neck.

He kissed me hard as his hands slid the gown down to my waist, and I pressed against him, skin to skin and hotter than the sun. When he pushed it down farther, past my hips, I arched up against him, glad to be free of the blood-soaked silk. My foamy petticoats and his breeches were the only things left between us once he tossed my dress onto the floor, and I wanted more than ever to be completely unfettered.

Copyright © novelfull thefreeonlinenovel.com All Rights Reserved.