He dragged his burning mouth along her neck, his teeth sinking into her flesh, making her cry out and then beg, “Please, please.”
He gripped her ass hard as he rammed inside her. Again. And again. Harder. Faster.
Then her world shook, tremors rocking across her body, and they were so real Stella felt herself convulse over the bed. When she opened her eyes a brief moment later, she could still see his face lingering above hers.
Then she heard him, his voice soft as the flutter of wings, his hands firm on her face. “Don’t marry him, Faith.”
A few shallow breaths later, Stella heard the quivering reply. “I have no choice.”
Stella felt her heart clench, suddenly realizing this was no dream. No spell. No vision.
They were memories.
Not her own, but Faith Harrison’s.
* * *
His hands couldn’t stop trembling as he stared into the fire. He raked them through his hair and swore. For the past two hours, he’d been sitting next to the flames with his knees up, elbows on top, and now he tiredly rubbed his face with his hands. So many years had passed, and she still hadn’t come to him. Almost thirty years, holding his breath…and still nothing.
He stared into the flickering flames. “Where are you?”
He’d done everything she’d asked him to, even though now he knew he shouldn’t have. She’d asked him to stay out of it, let her do what she must do, and he’d listened. He should’ve done what he’d wanted to. He should’ve killed that son-of-a-bitch gangster who was threatening her family. He should’ve stopped the wedding and taken Faith and everything she held dear away from this sorry little town. He should’ve made her his wife despite what the townsfolk said and what her parents thought. And he should’ve used his magic, learned to control it before it was too late.
Yes, he’d killed her. If he hadn’t been so weak, if he hadn’t listened, if he hadn’t…
It was too late now.
All that was left for him to do was wait, and cling to the meager remains of hope he had left until she came.
The stranger who’d come to him tonight, so beautiful in her simplicity, in
the way she’d stared at him with such candor, had been stealing into his thoughts for the past two hours. He was the witch, yet he felt as if she were the one who’d put him under a spell. Something had thumped inside him fast and steady, while his loins had stirred like a burning torch at the sight of her.
A long time had passed since he’d been so close to another human being. So long since he smelled something other than his own stench. So very long since he felt the warmth of a body. Her kiss, her taste…dear God; it had been so much like Faith’s.
His body—that traitorous, mortal thing—had trembled with the need to sink inside her, to rip off her clothes and taste every inch of her with his tongue. This unexpected rush of desire angered him. Frightened him.
He’d had so little to give Faith so many years ago. A poor mine worker, with powers over which he had yet to learn control. He’d had no money, no education. All he’d been able to offer was his love, and his word.
He’d promised her, at her insistence, her fears. “I swear, I’ll never be with anyone else, or love anyone else, but you, baby.”
“Swear it! Swear it by your magic!”
“I do. I swear it by all that I am, including my magic.”
“And I,” she had said with a wide, pleased smile, “will never love another man, want another man, but you. You know that, don’t you?”
“No,” he’d said with mock seriousness, smiling when she gasped. “So you’d better show me.”
“Villain,” she’d said with a playful scowl, and he’d twirled her around while she shrieked and clasped her hands behind his neck.
Gabriel couldn’t even bear to remember. He couldn’t bear to think of her without feeling so completely, unbearably sick.
For over thirty years, his magic had seen to it that he kept his vow. He’d never wanted anyone or anything else. Yet now…he wanted someone else. So much that every bone in his body ached. His muscles felt tense, his member throbbing to the point of pain. Should his magic cease to work its spell now…how would Faith ever come back to him?
He could not want this woman!
But the alluring scent of her arousal had filled his nostrils, tantalizing in its sweetness, its promise of fulfillment. Her face was plain and homely, her eyes wide, a light shade of honey with little specks of green. Her lips were sexy, sensual, the lower lip plusher than the top one. Although she’d held her hair secured behind her face, he could make out the shine on those lovely brown tresses, and he’d ached to bury his nose in it. There was something so achingly sensual about her, so familiar even, in the way she’d looked at him.