He shook his head, his thick hair falling around his face. “I don’t like any of this.”
She arched her back to take him deeper. “Not even this?”
An emotion she couldn’t name darkened his expression. “You’re aroused. The bond compels me to service you.”
“You heard me.” He thrust faster, his movements almost mechanical. “Let’s get it over with.”
“If you think you’re doing me a favor by screwing me,” she snapped, “you can stop right now and go screw yourself.”
He stopped, but he didn’t withdraw from her body. “You would never have said that to me a year ago.” His voice was a low, rough rumble. “No female I’ve ever brought to my bed would dare speak like that to me.”
Glaring at him, she struggled to free her hands. “Probably because they’re hanging in chains from your ceiling.”
“Good point.” He glanced at the implements of torture and pleasure hanging from his walls as though selecting one for her. The thought made her shiver, but whether with fear or excitement, she wasn’t sure.
“I suppose you want to do that to me?”
He laughed, as if what she’d said was completely out of the realm of possibility. Which offended the hell out of her, because why would he enjoy other females like that but not her? And why in the world would she be upset about that?
“I like your spirit, little wolf. But it could use … discipline.”
“My dad said the same thing.” She winced, regretting both the words and the memories that rushed in through the opening she’d made for them.
The little brat needs discipline. Her father’d say it right before he came at her with a belt or a wooden spoon or whatever he had handy. She’d been so spirited as a child, defying her parents at every opportunity, enraging her alcoholic father to the point of violence.
So how could she possibly view Shade’s assortment of whips and other, unidentifiable objects as anything other than instruments intended to cause pain? What kind of messed-up sicko was she?
Shade stroked a thumb over her cheek. “Runa? Hey, you okay?” He finally released her wrists and shifted his weight as he prepared to climb off her. “We’ll do this later.”
“No.” She tightened her legs around his waist. “I think … I think you would be doing me a favor if you just keep … you know.” Now that her anger had faded, she couldn’t be as crude as she wanted to be.
Heat bloomed in her cheeks, and desire bloomed in her core. “Yes.”
“You sure?” When she nodded, he sank against her once more, his h*ps rolling into her even as a sigh of relief escaped his lips. “Good, because stopping would put me in a world of pain.”
“Like in the dungeon?” Lightly, so he wouldn’t realize that he’d forgotten to restrain her, she settled her palms on the warm skin of his shoulders. “When you could have died?”
“Not that bad. We barely got started just now. I’m not that worked up yet. I’d have gotten over it eventually, but you’d have wanted to stay the hell out of my way for a couple of hours.”
Her heart did a little flip that he’d have suffered for her, and dammit, it shouldn’t be flipping for him for any reason. It seemed to be looking for any excuse to fall for him again. Clearly, it had a very short memory.
Shade tongued her nipple, shattering her thoughts. “Can you feel me?”
She smiled, because oh, yeah, she could feel him stretching her sensitive inner walls, sliding across the spot inside that made her wild. “Uh-huh.”
He seized her left arm, the one he’d said should gain mate markings to match his, and her heart sank, because she wanted to be able to touch him, just this once.
“Not that. I mean, can you feel me? Did you sense my shift into a warg? Did you feel my mood this morning?”
Locking her ankles behind his back, she writhed against him, annoyed that the talk was interfering with the lovemaking. “No. Nothing. Am I supposed to?”
“I think so.” He broke her leglock and pushed himself off up her. “Stay there.”
Her body shook with need as he stalked out of the room, but he was back within moments.
And he was carrying a kitchen knife. “Um … Shade?”
“Shh.” He mounted her, sank into her with a hard thrust. “I’m not going to hurt you.”
“I know.” How she knew, she wasn’t sure, but in that moment, she just did.
For a heartbeat he froze, but then he was pounding her into the mattress with ruthless, delicious force.
Her cl**ax came out of nowhere. Shade slashed his wrist and brought it to her lips as she peaked. Coppery wetness flowed over her teeth, her tongue.
“Drink.” His voice was a husky command she couldn’t resist even though every instinct screamed against this. She remembered doing it in the strange dream-sex they’d had in the dungeon, the sex that had been imaginary but at the same time, very real.
Unable to stop herself, she took long, greedy pulls. With every swallow, her cl**ax climbed higher, went on and on. His blood was like liquid sex, and as he pumped into her and found his own release, hers wouldn’t stop. Orgasm after orgasm thundered through her, and each time she thought she was finished, another would overtake her.
Gradually, she became vaguely aware of Shade’s weight on top of her, of his labored breaths, and of his rumbling voice.
“Runa?” He tried to pull his arm away, but she’d latched on with her teeth and was gripping him with her hands and no way was she letting go. As long as she drank, she came, and … “Runa!”
Ecstasy rolled over her and kept coming. A twinge of pain streaked across her cheek, but she didn’t care. The pleasure had consumed her, taken her higher than she’d ever been.
The pain intensified, and through her orgasmic haze she realized Shade was squeezing her jaw, forcing her to open her mouth. Reluctantly, she released him, and he jerked away, clutching his forearm.
She moaned, unable to move as her amazing cl**ax melted away. “What happened?” Her voice was a drugged, barely audible slur.
One corner of his mouth turned up in amusement, which surprised her, given the pain he must be in. “If I didn’t know better, I’d say you were half vampire.”
Sensation spun up again. Lust built, exploded, and she convulsed with another release, her body bucking wildly. Shade watched her with hooded eyes, his gaze shattering in its intensity.
“Beautiful,” he whispered, his voice touched with awe. “You’re so beautiful when you come.”
She felt beautiful when he looked at her like that. Beautiful and vulnerable.
Panting, she fisted the sheets. “Why? Why make me drink you again?”
On some level, she knew she should be disgusted by the fact that she’d swallowed his blood, but after nearly a year of eating raw flesh three nights a month, she’d become a little desensitized.
“You don’t have the mate marks yet. I’m hoping another try will make them appear.”
“Maybe not all species get them.”
Shade’s gaze skipped away. “Maybe.”
Sitting up, she grasped his forearm. “What are you not telling me?”
“Nothing you need to worry about.” He stood, pulling out of her grip. “We need to go. We’ll hit your place first to pick up some clothes. After that, we’ll run some tests on you at UG, and be back here by nightfall.”
Part of her mission for R-XR was to learn as much as she could about the demon hospital, so this was a great opportunity, but following that order felt wrong now. Like a betrayal.
God, she had enough to be concerned about without dealing with whether or not she should disobey her commander. Who also happened to be her brother. She’d have to check out the hospital and decide what to do from there.
“Don’t tell me not to worry, Shade. Not when you are obviously concerned about something.”
Dark shadows flickered in his eyes, turning them flat and black, making her shiver. “You’re right, Runa. As long as Roag is still out there, we have every reason to worry.”
No one liked a slow day in the ER, but they made Kynan climb the walls. He wasn’t a kiss-your-boo-boo-and-make-it-better kind of guy. He wanted blood and guts, life or death. The kind of cases that dumped a gallon of adrenaline into the system. As an Army medic, that’s what he’d been best at handling, under fire or in the eye of the storm. He hadn’t even cared whether his patients were human. Car-struck dogs and bullet-riddled camels had received his care right alongside the humans.
And the demon.
Kynan exhaled slowly, the memory crushing in on his chest. He and Lori, who had also been enlisted, had been married four years. They’d been stationed at Fort Lewis, but he’d been deployed to Afghanistan. On the day his life had changed forever, he’d gone to the aid of a team of Rangers who had been ambushed and pinned down. When his team arrived on site, the Rangers were nowhere to be found, and with the amount of blood that had been splashed like paint on the mountain rocks, they couldn’t have humped it out of there on their own.
Ky’s team had conducted a search, an expanding square that turned up jack shit and landed his team in a firefight. In a hail of bullets and never-ending, ground-rocking explosions, Kynan had been separated from the team and pursued by Taliban fighters. He’d taken refuge in a cave.
Nursing a leg wound, he’d radioed for help. The transmission had been spotty, and he’d had no idea if the cavalry would be saving his ass any time soon. As he settled into a defensive position, he stumbled upon what was left of the Rangers. Alongside them were the bodies of enemy fighters, and scattered among the fresh carnage had been hundreds of human and animal bones.
Ky’s mind had barely registered the horror when a two-headed monster—a demon, Kynan knew now—emerged from deep inside the cave. He shot it and then tried to save its life, mainly because someone somewhere would want the thing alive.
The enemy fighters had attacked while he’d been distracted, and he’d taken a shot to the throat. His memory from that point on was hazy at best, but later he’d learned that when fellow soldiers discovered him, they’d also found the men who’d attacked him torn limb from limb. There was no sign of the monster, but shortly after Kynan woke in the military hospital after life-saving surgery, the Men in Black—well, green, actually—had come for him.
With his enlistment nearly up, they couldn’t force him into the Army’s supersecret paranormal defense division, the R-XR, but the civilian equivalent, The Aegis, had approached him with an offer he couldn’t refuse. They’d guaranteed double what the military paid, medical and retirement benefits, as well as his own cell, to be co-supervised with Lori. They’d also wanted him to travel, to train other Regents in both tactical fighting techniques and emergency medicine.
So the moment he was honorably discharged from the Army, he and Lori had signed on to fight demons.
Funny, since here he was, working in a demon hospital and saving their lives. At the moment, however, he was standing at the triage desk, filling out a chart for an infant Daeva who’d been brought in for a cough.
Christ, demon parents could be as paranoid as human ones.
He heard footsteps, felt the warm swirl of air that accompanied Dr. Shakvhan, an ancient succubus who practiced Druidic medicine by day and stole human souls by night. Kynan had no problem working with her, but outside the hospital, Dr. Shakvhan would definitely meet the sharp end of his stang.
“Did you discharge the Neethul this morning?” she asked in a voice dripping with sensual promise she wasn’t faking.
She shrugged one shapely shoulder, making the pale blonde hair draped over it shimmer. Little wonder that human men went willingly to their deaths with her. She was Playboy-centerfold gorgeous.
“Eidolon wanted me to take a blood sample for the DNA bank.”
Kynan dotted his I’s and crossed his T’s on the chart. “Did it this morning.”
Eidolon went ballistic if every patient wasn’t checked against his list of catalogued species. Any species of demon not previously admitted to the hospital must be DNA tested and asked to donate blood to the bank for future use in others of the same species.
Dr. Shakvhan smiled and patted him on his head. “Such a responsible human. I think I’d leave your soul intact after I drained you of your seed.” She sauntered away, h*ps rolling in a rhythm that left most males panting.
Kynan hadn’t panted for anyone since his wife died, and he wasn’t going to start now, especially not for an evil succubus.
You almost panted for Gem.
Fuck that, he was not going there. Except his body was going there. It hardened at the thought of Gem, at the memory of how she’d stood in the locker room, her full br**sts overflowing in the cups of her black bra, the tattoo of some sort of dragon covering her flat, trim belly, its teeth inked to appear as though they were clamping down on the piercing in her navel.
Gentle and caring, my ass. He’d done that gentle, caring thing with Lori, and look where it had gotten him. Maybe now that he’d made Gem intimate with the lockers, she’d get the message. She’d realize that some scars never heal.
He shoved his patient’s chart into the filing box with more force than was necessary and reached for another as the Harrowgate hummed.
His adrenaline kicked in, and he welcomed the rush that washed away all thoughts of Gem. Technically, his shift had ended ten minutes ago, but he’d be willing to stay longer if something cool came in. Severed limbs and avulsions were always favorites.