“Yes,” he growled, “we are.”
Something else bounced off his shoulder. A clothespin, fun little items for pinching flesh. “What’s Maluncoeur?”
Shade jerked around. “What did you say?”
She stepped back, but she didn’t drop her gaze. “You kept mumbling ‘Maluncoeur’ while you were releasing me.”
“Nothing.” He took a deep, rattling breath. “It’s nothing.”
“Stop lying to me,” she shouted. “Stop avoiding me!”
“Avoiding you? I can’t get away from you!”
“You’re such a jerk! Stop shutting me out.” She made a sweeping gesture around the room. “You won’t even let me be part of the things you’ve done with other females you say mean nothing to you. Does that mean I’m less than nothing?”
Hell’s bleeding, freaking rings. How could he tell her that he didn’t want to do to her what he’d done to all those females not because she meant less to him, but because she meant so much more?
“Remember what I said about not asking questions you don’t want to know the answer to?”
She recoiled, crimson splotches mottling her cheeks. “You can be such a bastard sometimes, you know that?” She stamped past him and into the bathroom. Had there been a door, he knew it would have been slammed hard enough to take it off its hinges.
Wraith turned out to be pretty good company. He’d kicked Kynan’s ass in a couple of video games and had entertained himself by going through Kynan’s movie collection and making fun of it, but mainly, he just kept quiet while Kynan drank himself into a stupor.
Six beers and six shots of whiskey later, Kynan wasn’t nearly drunk enough. He glanced over at the demon, who was sitting in the leather recliner next to the couch, throwing potato chips at David Letterman.
“You’re getting grease all over my TV screen,” he said.
Wraith snorted and fell back in the chair, legs spread, black button-down BDU shirt gaping open. His clothes had been ruined during the battle with the African rebels, so he’d borrowed one of Shade’s paramedic uniforms to wear since he refused to wear scrubs—“damned pajamas,” as he called them. He sighed, ran a hand over his muscular chest.
Christ, Kynan had never seen anyone as well-toned and built as Wraith. It was as though the demon spent twenty-three hours of the day working out. And it wasn’t bulky muscle gained from countless reps with heavy weights—it was the functional stuff, the sinewy, ropey kind that saw regular use and not just from workouts.
Lori had rubbed against that chest, had used her face like a cat marking its territory. Her hands had smoothed up and down Wraith’s body in intimate familiarity.
Seemed like yesterday, but it had been a year ago that Kynan had seen Wraith with his fangs buried in Lori’s throat and his hands working her pants’ zipper. Wraith had always denied sleeping with her, but the sight of them together had stuck with Kynan to this day.
“Human? I can smell your aggression. What’s up?”
“Tell me again that you didn’t sleep with Lori.”
“Shit, are we back to that again? I don’t bang humans. Want me to make a tape recording so you can play it over and over?”
“Why don’t you sleep with humans? Most vampires love them.”
“I have a pulse. I’m not like most vampires.” Wraith leaned forward, braced his forearms on his knees. “I’ve got the thing with your wife figured out, though, if you can dig yourself out of the pity well for a second.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“Ouch,” Wraith drawled. “Hurt me.”
“Fine. What do you have figured out?”
“It was Roag. He’s the one who messed with your wife’s head, probably for months.”
“He can shapeshift. After he recovered from the fire at Brimstone, he probably used my form for his black market dealings to frame me so I’d take the heat. That’s why that night at the zoo, when you saw me with her, she thought she knew me.” Wraith shoved his hair away from his face. “Thing is, I don’t think he actually had sex with her.”
“You aren’t making any sense.” Kynan eyed the whiskey bottle. “Or maybe that’s because I’m half lit. I saw her rubbing all over you. It was pretty obvious she’d screwed you—or Roag, if that’s who she thought you were.”
“Okay, listen. From what Shade said, Roag got toasted like a burnt marshmallow. He would have been nearly destroyed, right down to his junk. I’m betting he can’t have sex no matter how badly he wants it.” Wraith grinned. “Which is really f**king funny.”
“You’re sick. And how is he still alive if he can’t have sex? You need it to survive, right?”
“If his testicles got barbecued off, he wouldn’t need sex anymore.”
“So why would Lori think she had sex with him?”
“Because he has the same gift I have. He could have made her believe it.”
“Not buying it.” Guardians had defenses against attacks on the mind, and besides, making memories like that would have left some sort of doubt, some sort of lingering feeling that something wasn’t right.
Suddenly, Kynan was flat on his back in his bedroom, hands tangled in the sheets, and Gem was riding him. Her soft skin glistened with perspiration, and her strong thighs held him prisoner in their grip. Pleasure shot through him, sharp and searing. Gem’s moans vibrated all the way to his balls, which tightened, ready to spill.
This was wrong, all wrong. He knew he wasn’t here with her, knew that somehow Wraith was doing this, but he couldn’t escape. Wasn’t sure he wanted to. Especially not when she did that thing with her lip, rolling it between her teeth as she threw back her head.
Light flashed in his eyes, and he was on the couch again, fully clothed, panting, a raging erection straining at his button-fly.
“Believe me now? And I wasn’t that deep into your head. If I’d gone deeper, you wouldn’t be aware that I was doing it. You’d buy it all as if it really happened.”
Jesus. Kynan scrubbed his face with a trembling hand. “That’s what Roag did to Lori?” And why the hell had Wraith used Gem in that fucked-up little fantasy, anyway?
“I’d bet my life on it.”
Kynan shifted to make more room in his jeans. “Then why …”
“Why did I bite her? Try to get into her pants?”
Nausea rolled through him at the memory. “Yeah,” he rasped.
“She was all over me, Ky. I’d been fighting and was half-crazed with bloodlust. I didn’t want to, but I wasn’t thinking straight, and I needed to feed. And unfortunately, since I’m an incubus, feeding and f**king go together when I’m with a female.”
Great. Whatever. He needed a break from all of this, and he had to take a leak. He stumbled to the bathroom, and when he came out, Wraith was standing near the door.
“This was a riot, but I’m outta here, human. I need to get back to hunting Roag, and I need to feed.”
I needed to feed. It was what Wraith had said about Lori. He’d bitten her, sunk his huge-ass fangs into her graceful, creamy throat. Her head had lolled back as though she were in utter ecstasy.
Dammit. Kynan sank to the couch and in a fit of childish, drunken rage, he swept his hand across the coffee table, sending the empty bottles and bags of chips flying. When the last beer bottle stopped rolling, clunked up against the TV stand, he flopped back onto the cushion and threw his feet onto the now empty table.
This was so screwed up. He knew better than to drink, because his thoughts always detoured to Lori. Sometimes he remembered the good times, the entire days they’d spend in bed, making love and talking about the future, vacations they wanted to take, the kids they wanted to have. Other times he’d think about seeing her in Wraith’s arms, his fangs buried deep in her throat.
What had it been like for her? Had she been afraid for her life, or had she enjoyed it? Had she been waiting for Kynan to save her, or would she have let Wraith take her right there in front of him?
He wanted to scream at the top of his lungs and hope Lori heard him, wherever she was. She’d left him with so many questions and so much anger, and he wasn’t so drunk that he didn’t recognize that he needed help to get out of the quicksand of despair that was sucking him down slowly.
“Wraith,” Kynan blurted, “bite me.” Okay, maybe he really was drunk.
Wraith paused as he reached for the door handle. “Come on, Ky. I expect a better comeback from you.”
“It’s not a comeback. I want you to feed from me.” I’ll take Things You Never Thought You’d Say for a hundred, Alex.
One tawny eyebrow shot up. “How much have you had to drink?”
“Not enough to affect my judgment.” That was a totally drunk thing to say.
Wraith snorted. “I don’t care about your judgment. I’m wondering ’cause I get a righteous high from the alcohol in the blood.”
“Do you ever have any thoughts that don’t revolve around you?”
Wraith appeared to consider that for a moment. Then he shrugged. “Nope.”
Which wasn’t true, because the demon definitely cared about his brothers, no matter how vehemently he denied it.
“Just do it.”
Wraith stepped away from the door, his eyes narrowed as if he expected Kynan to spring a trap. “Why do you want this?”
“Bullshit. You’ve hunted my kind for years, and now you want to let one suck you dry? And why me? Why not find some hot female vamp for a nice f**k and suck special?”
“I don’t trust anyone else.”
“You shouldn’t trust me,” Wraith growled.
“I don’t. But I know you won’t kill me. The hospital means too much to you, and I’m a damned good doctor you can’t afford to lose.”
“You’re a fool if you think anyone or anything means anything to me.”
“Whatever.” Kynan crossed his feet at the ankles. “You going to bite me or what?”
“Not until you tell me why.”
“I’m giving you a free shot at my blood and you’re playing hard to get? What kind of vampire are you?” When Wraith just stood there, Kynan rolled his eyes. “Oh, come on. My blood’s eighty proof. You want it. You know you do.”
Wraith’s eyes sort of glazed over, because, yeah, he wanted it. But the damned demon wouldn’t be deterred. “Tell me.”
“Not my type.”
Ky sighed. “I hear you don’t usually feed from females.”
“Female humans. Demon females and male humans are on the menu.”
“Why male humans, but not females?”
“Because men don’t give me wood.”
“That’s a relief.”
“Only if I plan to feed from you. Which I don’t. Unless you tell me why.”
“Because I want to know what my wife felt when you bit her, dammit!” Kynan roared, surprising himself at the ferocity and suddenness of his anger.
Wraith turned away. “I didn’t want to,” he muttered. “I swear.”
Kynan slapped his hand over his face and rubbed his eyes. Shit, he was tired. “I know.”
He heard a rustling, the creak of the chair cushion next to him. Wraith’s hand closed on his forearm and brought it to lie, palm up, on the armrest. Ky’s heart began to pound hard in his chest. He didn’t look. Couldn’t. Then came the pain as Wraith’s daggerlike fangs sank into his wrist. A second later, warmth washed over him. Tingles spread through his muscles and nervous system.
God, this felt good.
He slid Wraith a glance. “This isn’t like, vampire gay, is it?”
Wraith snorted and shot him the finger.
Vampires were freaking strange. But he was starting to see why some humans willingly allowed vamps to feed from them. The high was powerful, and probably addictive.
He could imagine how it would feel to have a female doing this. At his throat, pressed up against him, lying on top of him or under him. His body began to stir as Gem became the female crushed beneath him, her teeth latched on to his throat—except she wasn’t a vampire, so the whole idea was ridiculous.
A stream of sensation shot up his arm when Wraith took a particularly strong pull, and damn him for putting the Gem scene in his head earlier, because now he couldn’t get it out of his head. It had been so real it felt like a memory instead of a fantasy.
He could still hear her whispering sexy, naughty things in his ear. The sound of her voice took him deeper into relaxation, lulling him more than the alcohol ever could.
“What. The. Hell?” Gem’s voice drifted to him, crisp and clear.
He peeled open his eyes just enough to see her standing in the living room, arms crossed over her breasts, which were pushed up into two plump mounds by the midnight-blue corset she wore. If she turned around, he’d bet her skirt would barely cover her ass. Her chunky, high-heeled boots came up over her knees, leaving only her thighs touchably bare.
She’d braided her hair into two ponytails, put on a spiked leather dog collar and black lipstick, and she looked like she was ready to party. Why that thought sent a stab of jealousy through him, he had no idea.
Then again, he was sitting on his couch, drunk, with a vampire latched on to his wrist. Clearly, he was f**ked in the head.
Holy shit, Gem thought. This was … unexpected. Kynan was sprawled on the couch, legs spread, left arm propped on the armrest. Next to him, kneeling on the floor, was Wraith, his mouth firmly attached to Ky’s wrist. When he looked up, his eyes glinted with mischief.