Authors: Jess Raven,Paula Black
‘Goddamn.’ Madden fired the stones against the rock face and they pinballed around the small cave where he was holed-up. Marooned in this freezing hellscape of blood and brimstone, and you think he could start a fire? No joy. He kicked at the painstakingly gathered pile of driftwood tinder and drew the silky robe tighter about his shivering body, but without its sash, the damn thing just flapped open again. No doubt, the great hulk of macho boy-scout slumped in the corner could have whipped up a blaze with a click of his arrogant fingers, were he alive. Madden had given up checking his vitals days ago. He doubted the big bastard was ever going to come round, and if he did, the doctor was going to have to pray that his knot-tying excelled his, lets-face-it, non-existent fire-starting skills.
How he’d even dragged that mammoth body across the sand before the harpies got to them was a minor bloody miracle. He was deranged, should have just taken his punishment like a good runt and grovelled his way back into the King’s favour. The Lord and Master loved nothing more than a good ass-kissing.
MacTire's blurted confession about Aoife had rendered Madden temporarily insane. Just as sure as they’d eviscerated Connal Savage, the King’s claim had ripped everything Madden thought he’d known of his world inside out and dumped it on its head.
A dark shadow passed across the entrance to their cave and Madden huddled into himself. There was no sun to mark the days and nights in this subterranean pit, only the diurnal plummet in temperature that piled an extra helping of misery on his already pitiful state. The Raveners seemed to like it. As the chill descended, the gargoyles stirred to life, stretching their immense wingspans across the blood-red sky. They knew he was in here, had smelled him out the first night. They were simply biding their time, playing cat and mouse with the infinite patience only an immortal could fathom.
Yep, he should have swallowed his damn pride. Not like his precious dignity was going to fill a growling stomach, and hiding out on the high ground wasn’t going to get him the hell out of Fomor either. It was going to get him killed.
Dead to the world, she lay sprawled. Hair, midnight silk, fanned across his sheets, the curve of her spine hollowing out to the luscious mounds of her ass.
. Her thighs spread for him, just enough to gift a glimpse of her sex. Even comatose she tortured him. ‘I have waited long enough. I will have you.’
Tugging at the wolf’s-head buckle of his belt, MacTire wrenched the strap, shucked the leather down his thighs and loomed above her. Broad, heavily muscled and naked, he was fully aroused. Prowling up the bed, canines throbbing, his mouth mapped the contours of that perfect ass in growled breaths.
Head cocked, claws traced the triskelion inked on her shoulder, hooking raven strands across her nape to expose her throat. Razor-sharp, they grazed the thud of her heartbeat.
Proof of life
. Her scent was a feast of ripe sexuality, begging to be plucked and sucked and … Fuck, his cock was hard as a bat. His body pounded, ravenous. Too-long denied, his teeth tested the tender skin of her throat. ‘You are
, little raven. You have always been mine. I
Ash was lost in dreams, cushioned by the spongy damp of moss under cheek, her body ravaged, caught up in an erotic replay of trees and dirt and the powerful male at her back. She could stay there forever, basking in the dreamy wisps of sensation, but a blade was slowly ripping open the veil of sleep. It beckoned to her with sharp kisses, coaxing her to surface from a darkness heavy with sensuality, the pool of her dream lusts only deepening with the threat of pain.
'It's you,' she sighed. Her body bowed, exposing her throat in surrender to the kiss of his teeth, moans of submission falling to the cloud-soft plush of the …
not moss …
pillows. His touch radiated fire, their bodies grinding a language all carnality. Her core clenched and she undulated off the mattress, guiding him, begging him to sink deep inside her.‘Yes. All yours Connal. All yours. You have me.’
His answering growl was her only warning. A fist yanked her hair as teeth clamped hard on the flutter of her captured heartbeat.
‘We do not speak that name within these walls.’
‘Who ...?’ She rasped, whimpering as her spine curved again, not on a grind, her fantasy had crumbled, but in a struggle.
A kick split her thighs wide, permitting a hand to explore her swollen flesh, glossing fingers in her arousal.
‘So fucking wet … for
,’ he murmured, a groan escaping his throat as the rage retreated, only to coalesce into the animal that was his lust. ‘It is
Her heart hammered as his grip tightened in her hair.
‘The cur who poisoned you will not bother us again.’
Her body was so obedient in its panic, it gave this stranger exactly what he wanted. Her resistance excited him. She fought the stroke of his hands as he kneaded her flesh. Ash recoiled, only to have her wrists caught and her thighs pinned by his until she stopped thrashing out her terror. She lay still when he rode his fingers through her soaked folds.
Even when he sat back and released her to pull her hips up, she couldn’t move. Ash was displayed to a gaze that stroked darkness to her most intimate flesh, and it only made her wetter. Her body didn’t know whether to fight or fuck. Spine tightening, she went rigid as her captor’s tongue curled a shivery lick to her ear. ‘Struggle for me, My Queen. You will come harder in the end.’
Ash jerked violently in protest. This was not a dream. This was not some sordid fantasy she'd thought up in a sex-blissed stupor. She was wide awake and there were no dreads tickling her skin, only a matted blond braid of hair pouring over her shoulder as she lay prone and vulnerable at the hands of a stranger.
He was NOT Connal.
And yet her body burned like he was.
She was riding the same high that took her when Connal's bite had hurtled her into orgasm. She'd tasted it and her body was aching for more. It gave him power. This stranger at her back was mastering her need, her craving for Connal kept bright by his male presence.
Wrong. It was all so wrong.
Connal’s last words rang in her ears, an ‘I love you’ that had tipped her into darkness. That was the last thing she remembered, before light had been thrown on her dreaming mind and the binds of sleep had become literal.
She was pinned, naked and pleading for her captor to release her, not only from his hold, but from the desperate ache that would not stop.
Her denial was vicious; the heat remained. There was no dim on the carnal switch he’d turned to high, only panic, fear, and a maddening arousal that licked her higher with the graze of his teeth against her skin. It left her begging for the bite that would send her flying.
The part of her that was molten for this stranger was all animal. It turned her hands into claws and it snarled around blunt teeth. It arched and cried to get him closer, as her body flailed a dichotomy of pure fear and desire. She found herself pleading for two things that should cancel each other out and left her begging up to interpretation. ‘Please ...’
‘She begs. Perfect.’
A claw raked her skin, from nape to lower back, and his sleek tongue lapped in its wake, rocking a shudder down her spine.
‘I can taste your fear, and the hunger that wars against it. Your blood is inside me, Ash-ling.
are in me, your body wants this. Surrender your mind.’
His hand slipped between her thighs once more, and this time, the tip of a claw hooked into delicate skin, circling her pulsing clit. Ash bit down hard on the whimpers that rose and fell with the kick of her curves, muffled into the pillows.
‘You will come, Ash-ling, you will come hard, whether or not your mind permits it. I control your body now. I tell you when.’
She trembled. Whoever this man was, he kept her on an edge of pain and riding the primal sensation of claws in her flesh. He commanded her ecstasy and it contemplated obeying, tense and winding in her core.
Lust snapped up her spine when the palm of his free hand connected with the soft cheek of her ass and she cried out. Her hips jerked, tilted up for him, arching into the next strike.
She fought her own reactions, the miscommunication between her brain and her body fizzling with static. Need shot through her veins, the feather-light brush of his lips whispering to her bruised skin. His touch had her thrashing. Half a fight for escape, it was a futile plan, as though she could tear herself from something he controlled. There was no wiggle room as his hands clamped her hips, she had to submit to the wicked tease of his teeth, grazing the curves of her ass, nipping at slap-tender flesh. A throaty hum left her lips. He had her lust on a leash and it panted for him, obedient and wanton.
And then he put his mouth on her and she was ruined. Hot and greedy, he sucked starved, savage kisses on her slick flesh. He dragged her closer to the edge of control as he brutalised her sex with an attack of sensation too powerful to ignore, too animal to fight off, too raw to want to fight off. Liquid arousal overflowed, feeding the wet tongue-rasp of his hunger as she rode his mouth in a hard grinding circle. The torment spiked her high and left her hovering on screams. Closer … closer ... ‘Please ...’ Somehow she knew: She wasn’t begging for freedom now.
Her mind screamed for Connal while her pleasure came undone at the touch of a stranger, an enemy. Disgust at her own body’s ecstasy broke down the last remaining fragment of her composure, exposing raw emotion. Tears welled up on every crest of her dwindling climax. ‘Connal,’ she sobbed.
Her body shuddered, breaths hitching with the hot tears spilling down her cheeks. She felt him withdraw from her.
‘Not the sobs of a woman brought to her knees by the soul-shattering ecstasy of my gifted mouth,' he said, in an accent that was strangely archaic.
Ash kept her eyes tightly shut as strong hands guided her quaking form over onto her back. He shaped her hips cautiously, as though he didn’t want her to break. She could have told him, she was already fractured.
‘God, what did you do to me?’ Ash recoiled up the bed, wrapping herself in more sheets.
‘Nothing that you didn’t beg me to do, Ash-ling.’
Her denial fell flat.
‘He can’t hurt you anymore,’ he murmured. The back of his hand grazed her damp, flushed cheek. She flinched and the spurned hand curled into a fist at his side.
‘Who can’t hurt me? Who the fuck are you? Where am I? Where is Connal? How did I get here?’ The questions spewed from Ash’s lips in a burst of panic. Disorientated, her gaze darted about the room to settle on the wolf branded into his bare chest, an exact replica of Connal's.
‘He bit you.’ The blond giant motioned to her throat.
Shakey fingertips raised to skim the marks brought to attention by his words. ‘He really did it ...’
‘Your precious Connal bit you and he left you for dead.’