Delicious friction built lower down where two scraps of thin fabric were all that separated us. But just when I was about to push aside the lace and cotton, Adam flipped me over. The muscles in his chest and arms bulged as he leaned over me. Kissing down my chest, my stomach, my thighs. A magical tingle danced across my skin. I blinked, surprised to find myself completely naked. I looked down and realized I wasn’t the only one.

The mancy shot me an impish grin. Then I forgot what I was going to say because his hot breath teased the sensitive skin of my thigh. Without further warning, he dove in and delivered a long, slow lick that made my eyes cross.

Soon, my nails dug into his scalp and my hips rocked. Fangs scraping against my bottom lip, I searched for the orgasm he offered.

I didn’t have to look far.

The next moment, every muscle in my body stiffened. Adam rose up and absorbed my yell into his mouth. I tangled my tongue with his, enjoying the flavor of myself on him. Before the last spasm passed, I flipped him over, keeping our mouths connected.

Unable to wait any longer, I impaled myself on him. He obliged with a thrust of his hips. I stilled his movement with my hands on his shoulders. He seemed to understand my need to lead without hearing the words. I rode him hard, my knees digging into the mattress.

His hands threaded into my hair. I enjoyed the pain and rewarded him with a kiss made of tongue and fang. I nipped at his lip, drawing his sweet blood into my mouth. Adam moaned his approval. He pulled my head up and tried to meet my gaze. I closed my eyes against the wave of emotion building in my throat.

“Look at me, Sabina.” His hand caressed my face. “Open your eyes.”

I released my clenched lids. His pupils were dilated, and I almost believed I could see his soul hovering just behind them.

Our panting breaths mingled between our lips. Our hands glided over sweat-slicked skin. Our bodies yearned toward shared pleasure.

The visual connection, the physical one, the taste of his blood on my tongue morphed into a powerful yearning for his blood and something else— something even more primal. It snaked up through me and, judging from the light in Adam’s eyes, through him, too. Sparks of light rose around us, like frenzied fireflies.

“Do you feel it?” he whispered.

I swallowed and nodded, intrigued and not a little afraid of the power we created. The magic we made, literally and figuratively. Together.

I pulled away before I could give in to my baser temptation. But Adam’s hands wrapped around my neck and pulled me down. In his eyes, I saw the permission I sought but wasn’t sure I was ready to accept.

“Do it,” he whispered. His head tilted to the side, exposing the corded column of his throat with its seductive vein throbbing beneath golden skin.

I’d like to say I overcame my instincts and refused. That I was too strong to indulge that particular desire. In the light of day, it’s easy to say you’d never do something. But when the moon rises and passions are high, well, that’s another matter.

I hesitated, giving him a chance to change his mind. But he urged me on with his hands. To ease the way, I licked the salt from his skin. Suckling it until he was moaning and his thrusts picked up speed. Then, when I was sure he was distracted, I bit down.

Adam gasped and went totally still. I pulled away instantly, afraid I’d hurt him or that he might push me away. Instead, his hands pushed my face back to his neck. His blood flowed into my mouth freely. Tentatively at first, I lapped at the spot.

Only when he began thrusting again did I allow myself to fully indulge. I’m not sure if it was his mage genes— or just something about Adam in particular— but his blood tasted both sweet and spicy, like cinnamon and sugar and cardamom and every good thing ever. The infusion made the blood in my own veins dance, like a shot of effervescence to my system.

Right then, with Adam’s blood in my mouth and his c**k deep inside me, I experienced my second true moment of freedom. The spasms sent me higher, bringing him with me. Our bodies didn’t literally levitate, but it sure as hell felt like we were flying. The French may call it “the little death,” but I’d never felt more alive.

I collapsed on Adam’s chest, letting him support my weight. My body felt both hollow and completely filled. I closed my eyes and surrendered myself to the aftershocks. Behind closed lids, flashes of red told me the sparks continued to flash around us. Adam’s chest heaved beneath me, and his hands roamed over the slick planes of my back.

When he slid from me, I felt the loss keenly. I opened my eyes in time to see the tiny lights fade around us.

My breathing slowed and he shifted beneath me. I lifted my cheek from his chest, fully expecting awkwardness to ruin the moment. But when I looked in Adam’s green eyes, I felt ….. confident. No, more than that. I felt powerful. Whole. Full of the mysterious and sacred feminine knowledge passed down from the Great Mother herself.

His lips lifted. “What are you thinking? You’re smiling like the Mona Lisa.”

I kissed him once, twice, three times. “Nothing.”

He eyed me suspiciously through droopy lids. “One of these days, you’re going to tell me all your secrets.”

I ducked my head to hide the fade of my smile and the lie in my eyes. “I don’t have any secrets.”

My conscience raised its head. After everything we’d just shared, I knew I had to make a choice tomorrow. I told myself it was for his own good. Sure, he might hate me after it was done. But better angry and alive than aware but doomed.

His hand tipped up my chin. I schooled my features but couldn’t quite meet his eyes. “Hey,” he whispered. “Don’t go chasing dark thoughts. Just enjoy the fact we’re here together, finally.”

I forced a wobbly smile and kissed him softly. My eyes stung, so I squeezed them shut and tried to show him everything I felt without saying the words I knew he wanted to hear. It seemed wrong somehow to give voice to them now. As if speaking them would sharpen the betrayal.

Finally, I pulled away and looked him in the eyes. “You’re absolutely right. By this time tomorrow, everything will finally be as it should.”

27

The steady pings of rain on the roof woke me. Of course, woke was a relative term given how poorly I slept. Every time I closed my eyes, my mind filled with images of everything that could go wrong.

Adam’s body pressed against my back. A muscled arm snaked around my waist and his hand cupped my breast. I closed my eyes and savored the feel of him. A risky indulgence, but one I justified because it might be my last moment with him alone.

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