Authors: D.B. Reynolds,
nodded her understanding, but what Raphael found most interesting about Lucas’s comments, was that he had no qualms about revealing his security arrangements while Aden was in the room. That indicated a level of trust which spoke directly to Lucas’s confidence in Aden, and it made Raphael’s opinion of Aden go up a notch, despite his blindness when it came to women.
“Okay, we need to check out the scene,”
was saying. “Kathryn, I have a flashlight in my purse, but just
and these guys never need them.”
“Hey,” Kathryn said in mock affront. “Don’t you watch TV? I’m an FBI agent. I
have a flashlight with me.” She disappeared into the bedroom, emerging a moment later with the same kind of Mini Maglite that
carried. Raphael couldn’t help noticing the similarities between the two women, and he only hoped Kathryn tormented Lucas as efficiently as
did him. The thought made him smile.
“I hate to break up the party,” Lucas said dryly, when the women were gone, “but it’s getting late. Kathryn will be going back to the city this morning, but, Raphael, I’ll have to stay at the main house today. We don’t know yet what damage this place has suffered, and given the situation—”
In any event,
and I will leave for Chicago at sundown.”
Everyone was being polite, Raphael thought to himself, but the truth was that vampire lords were too aggressive and territorial to play well together, especially when visiting another’s territory. The annual Council meetings typically lasted only a few hours, with the various lords flying in for the meeting and leaving just as quickly. This year’s meeting in Chicago would last longer because of the challenge, but since the city was part of the Midwest and currently no one’s territory, the strain would be lessened.
There was also the fact that under Raphael’s guidance, the members of the Council were slowly becoming allies, rather than enemies. They couldn’t erase their vampire instincts, but they could blunt them long enough to get along and work toward a common goal.
Which was why Raphael had maneuvered all of them into this situation in the first place.
If the European vampires had left him and his alone, he would have been happy ruling nothing but his Western territory with
at his side. But he was nobody’s victim. If Europe wanted a fight, they’d get one. And they’d discover the bitter taste of defeat.
But for today, Raphael and Lucas would sleep in the same house, albeit as far from each other as physically possible. It helped that Lucas was Raphael’s child, and that he was willing to submit to Raphael’s will if it came down to it. But despite their love for each other, it would be stressful. It was necessary for this one day, but that was it.
The front door opened with a squeal of damaged wood, and
stuck her head in.
“The replacement SUVs are
and sunrise is about an hour away,” she said with obnoxious good cheer. “Time to rock and roll, my lords.”
* * * *
“Time to rock and roll?”
Raphael repeated, as he locked down the elevator in their guest quarters.
laughed. “I considered going with
what with Lucas having horses and all, but decided to stick with the classic instead.”
“Classic is obviously a relative term,” Raphael commented drily.
“You’re being awfully calm about me going back out to the homestead this morning.”
“As you said, Rob will be with you, and I happen to agree with your reasoning. It
necessary to find and stop Magda before she can disrupt the challenge in Chicago. With all of the other lords present, the potential for disaster is fairly high. And that doesn’t take into account the challengers who will be on edge even without her machinations.”
narrowed her eyes at him. “Who
,” he said, stepping close to her and trailing a finger down her silken cheek. “I have finally come to understand that my attempts to control you only result in you engaging in ever more risky behavior in order to prove that I
control you. I have, therefore, changed my approach. I
capable of adapting, you know.”
“You, my love,” she drawled, “are one of the most adaptable people I have ever met. You have one goal, and that is to win. And you do whatever it takes to get there.”
“I would move heaven and earth to keep you safe,
“I know,” she said, her eyes going soft. “Even though I could argue you’re controlling me by not controlling me.”
Raphael laughed. “If only we had time for that discussion,” he said with mock regret. “You did promise to tuck me into bed, however.”
So, I did.” She shrugged out of her jacket, letting it drop to the floor behind her,
stripped her sweater off over her head. “How much time do we have?” She walked toward him, her hips swaying seductively as she twisted the front clasp on her bra.
Raphael growled and stuck his fingers into the waist band of her jeans, pulling her closer as her bra fell open, baring her beautiful breasts. He rested a hand on her waist as he bent to take her mouth in a kiss. Her arms snaked around his neck as she leaned into the kiss and pressed the full length of her body against him.
Their tongues caressed each other in a dance that was both familiar and different every time. She tasted like
, sexy and seductive and surprisingly sweet. He could smell the enticing scent of her blood, so very close to the surface of her satin skin, the delicious perfume of her arousal. He lowered his head to the curve of her neck and simply breathed her in. He loved this woman as he had never loved another, as he never
He bent suddenly and swung her up into his arms, unable to wait any longer. The sun wasn’t far away, and he needed to be inside her, needed to feel her bucking beneath him, to hear her cries as she came over and over again, helpless in the throes of their lovemaking.
laughed as he threw her onto the bed. He pulled her boots off,
began tugging at his own clothes.
“Strip,” he ordered. “I want you naked.”
blew a raspberry at him, but put her hands on her jeans, snagging her lacy underwear as she began a sexy shimmy that shoved them both over her hips and down her endlessly long legs. When they were around her ankles, Raphael bent and pulled them the rest of the way off, then wrapped his fingers around her calves and placed one knee on the bed between her legs.
He looked her over then, one eyebrow
in a challenging stare as he slid his hands higher along the inside of her thighs, spreading her legs until she was completely open to him.
“Raphael,” she whispered, her breaths shallow, her heart pounding so loud that he didn’t have to strain to hear it as he watched her fingers twist into the elegant silk of the bed’s coverlet.
,” he crooned, pressing his hand to the slick wetness between her legs, spreading the swollen lips of her vagina, and leaning close enough that his hard cock stroked teasingly against the satin skin of her inner thigh.
“I thought you said …” She panted a little to catch her breath, trying to finish her sentence. “You said,”
repeated breathlessly, “there wasn’t much time.” Her last word ended on a cry as he slipped a finger into the delicious heat of her sex, while his thumb rubbed slow circles around her sensitive clit.
groaned and tried to reach for him, but he only smiled. She swore and palmed her own breasts instead, pinching her nipples until they were full and ripe as cherries, until he could almost see the blood pulsing between her fingers.
It was his turn to swear. Leaning forward, he flattened one hand beneath her upper back and lifted her breasts to his mouth, sucking hard, first right then left, before biting one juicy nipple with a hungry growl.
cried out, her nails digging furrows into the skin of his shoulders as her back bowed upward, offering herself to his mouth. Her hips thrust against him impatiently, her legs wrapped around his hips, pulling him into her heat.
Raphael reached between his legs with a snarl, and fisted his cock, wetting only the tip between her thighs, sliding it up and back, enjoying her small cries of frustration, until he finally positioned himself and entered her with a firm thrust. Plunging as deep as he could go, feeling the trembling sheath of her body as it parted before his invasion, then wrapped him in a hot, wet embrace.
scraped her fingers along his scalp and gave a hard tug on his hair, pulling him up to her mouth, tasting her own blood on his tongue as they kissed passionately. This was no longer a seductive dance of tongues. This kiss was demand and desire all tangled up in the deep love they felt for each other. It was a hunger they could never satisfy, and one they would never tire of. Their teeth clashed as their tongues fought for dominance, and Raphael wanted to roar with the sheer joy of the battle.
With a growl, he wrenched his mouth away from her lips and nipped at her neck.
breath caught, and he felt the first clench of her sheath. He bit harder, still teasing, still not breaking the skin, but beneath him
muscles tightened in excitement, and the hot grasp of her pussy began to shiver around his cock.
Raphael lifted his head enough to stroke his tongue over the taut side of her neck. He kissed the swell of her jugular once, a bare touch of his lips.
“I love you, my
,” he whispered against her hot skin.
“Raphael,” she panted,
groaned as her inner muscles contracted.
Raphael’s fangs emerged, and he struck without warning, slicing into the velvet honey of her vein, her blood filling his mouth, his stomach, spreading heat and life into every inch of him, until it was hard to tell where she ended and he began.
cried out, her inner walls fisting his cock until he could barely move, her abdominal muscles clenched, the hard pearls of her nipples scraping against his chest as she climaxed, bucking beneath him. He knew he should retract his fangs, should stop the satin flow of her blood into his mouth. He was powerful and old, he didn’t need much blood to sustain himself, but this was more than nourishment—
this was his
. He took one
, indulgent pull, relishing the sheer, sweet taste of her, then lifted his head enough to lick the twin wounds shut.
Her eyes flashed open, green and fogged with desire. Her tongue dashed out, and she licked her lips, meeting his gaze in a challenge of her own, as she flexed her inner muscles around his cock.
Raphael sucked in a breath as desire flooded every nerve, heating his blood and swelling his cock to almost painful hardness as it jerked deep inside
He growled and cupped her ass with both hands, holding her open as he began fucking her with long, hard strokes, the friction of their bodies generating an almost volcanic heat that surrounded his cock and shot straight to his balls. It soared higher and higher, a wild heat that shot down his shaft, splashing against
womb as she
yet again, the two of them thrusting against each other until they were both spent and breathless.
Raphael collapsed on top of
, feeling the pulse of her heart beating against his chest for only a moment before he rolled to one side, taking her with him. It was a few minutes before either one of them could speak.
“How’s that for tucking?” she asked, the tease ruined by the jaw-cracking yawn she spoke around.