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Other titles in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series:
Narcissus in Chains (Anita Blake Vampire Hunter)
The bedroom was empty when he kicked the door shut behind us. I didn?t know if the living room had been empty or not. I couldn?t remember anything but Richard?s eyes from the kitchen to the bedroom. Every room might have been empty for all I?d seen.
We kissed just inside the door; my hands were full of the rich thickness of his hair, the firm warmth of his neck. I explored his face with my hands, my mouth, tasted, teased, caressed, just his face.
He drew back from my mouth enough to say, ?If I don?t sit down, I?m going to fall down, my knees are weak.?
I laughed, full-throated, and said, ?Then put me down.?
He half-walked, half-staggered to the bed, laying me on it, going to his knees beside it. He was laughing as he crawled onto the bed. He lay beside me, his knees hanging over the side of the bed, though since he was tall enough that his feet actually touched the floor when he lay like that, maybe hanging wasn?t the right word. We lay beside each other on the bed, laughing softly, not touching.
We turned our heads to look at each other at the same moment. His eyes sparkled with the laughter, his whole face almost shining with it. I reached out and traced the lines of laughter around his mouth. The laughter began to fade as soon as I touched him, his eyes filling up with something darker, more serious, but no less precious. He rolled onto his side. The movement put my hand along the side of his face. He rubbed his face into my hand, eyes closed, lips half-parted.
I rolled onto my stomach and moved toward him, my hand still on his face. He opened his eyes, watching me crawl toward him. I propped myself up on hands and knees and watched his eyes as I leaned in toward his mouth. There was eagerness there, but there was also something else, something fragile. Did my eyes mirror that look, half-eager, half-fearful, wanting, afraid to want, needing, and afraid to need?
My mouth hovered over his, our lips touching, delicate as butterflies blown by a warm summer wind, touching, not touching, sliding along each other, gliding away. His hand grabbed the back of my neck, forced my mouth to press against his, hard, firm. He used tongue and lips to force my mouth open. I opened to him and we took turns exploring each other?s mouth. He came to his knees, hand still pressed to the back of my neck, our mouths still locked together. He drew back, crawling backward to the head of the bed, leaving me kneeling alone in the center of the bed. He reached under the covers, drew out pillows, propped himself up, watching me. There was something almost decadent with him naked, propped up, watching me.
I knelt looking back at him, having a little trouble focusing, thinking. I finally managed to say, ?What?s wrong??
?Nothing,? he said, voice deep, lower than normal. It wasn?t the growl of his beast; it was a peculiarly male sound.
?I want to run my beast through you, Anita.?
For a split second, I thought it was a euphemism, then I realized he meant exactly what he?d said. ?Richard, I don?t know.?
?I know you don?t like otherworldly stuff during sex, but Anita?? He settled into the pillows in a strange smoothing motion that somehow reminded me that he wasn?t human, ?I felt your beast. It rolled through me.?
Just hearing it out loud took a little of the glow off for me. I slumped back against the bed, still on my knees, but no longer upright, hands limp in my lap. ?Richard, I haven?t had time to think this through. I don?t know how I feel about it yet.?
?It?s not all bad, Anita. Some of it can be wondrous.?
This from the man who had hated his beast for the entire time I?d known him; but I didn?t say it out loud, I just looked at him.
He smiled. ?I know how strange that sounds coming from me.?
I looked at him harder.
He laughed, settling lower on the pillows until he was sprawled in front of me. One leg bent up so he wouldn?t touch me, but close enough that I could have touched him. He lay there unself-consciously nude, which I?d seen before, but it was more than that. He seemed bathed in a comfortableness that was rare for Richard. I?d seen it at the lupanar, that he?d accepted his beast, but it was more than that, he?d accepted himself.
?What do you want from me, Richard??
This was his cue to get serious, to demand I be less bloodthirsty, or a half dozen other impossible things. He didn?t. ?I want this,? he said, and I felt the prickling rush of his power a second before it passed through me like a warm ghost.
I shuddered with it. ?I don?t know, Richard, I don?t know if this is a good idea.? It would have sounded better if my voice hadn?t had a tremble in it.
I expected him to ask, or talk, but he didn?t. I felt his power like a brush of thunder a second before it smashed into me. I had a second of panic, a moment to wonder if his beast and mine would claw me apart, then his power rubbed through me like a velvet glove. My beast rose as if from a great, warm, wet, depth, up, up, to meet the warm, burning rush of Richard?s energy. He pushed his beast through me and I could feel it, impossibly huge, the brush of fur so deep inside me that I cried out. I felt his beast as if it had crawled inside me and was caressing things from the inside that his hands would never have touched. My power seemed less certain than his, less solid. But it rose around the hard, muscled fur like velvet mist, swirling through his power, through my own body. Until it felt as if something huge was growing inside me, something I?d never felt before, swelling inside me. It felt larger than my body, as if I couldn?t hold it inside myself, like a cup filled to the brim with something hot and scalding, but the liquid kept pouring in, and still I held it, held it, held it, until it burst over me, through me, out of me, in a roar of power that turned the world golden and slow, drew my body to its knees, curved my back, sent my hands clawing at the air trying to hold onto something, anything, while my body spilled apart, and remade itself on the bed. For a space of labored heartbeats I thought he?d brought on the change, and I had slipped my skin for real, but it wasn?t that. I felt like I was floating and only gradually felt my body again. I lay on my back, my knees folded under me, hands limp at my sides, so relaxed it was like being drugged.
I felt the bed move under me, and a moment?or a minute?later, Richard appeared above me. He was on all fours, looming over me, and I had trouble focusing on his face. He cradled my face, staring into my eyes, while I tried to look at him. ?Anita, are you all right??
I laughed then, slow and lazy. ?Help me get my knees straightened out, and I?ll be fine.?
He helped me straighten my legs, and even then all I wanted to do was just lie there. ?What did you do to me??
He lay down beside me, propped on one elbow. ?I brought you using the beasts.?
I blinked at him, licked my lips, and tried to think of an intelligent question, gave up, and settled for what I wanted to know. ?Is it always like that between lycanthropes??
?No,? he said, and leaned over me, until his face filled my vision. ?No, only a true lupa, or a true Nimir-ra, can respond to my Ulfric the way you just did.?
I touched his chest enough to back him up so I could see his face clearly. ?You?ve never done that with anyone before??
He looked down then, a curtain of his hair sliding over his face, hiding his face from me. I pushed his hair back so I could see that nearly perfect profile. ?Who?? I asked.
Heat washed up his neck and face. I wasn?t sure I?d ever seen him blush before. ?It was Raina, wasn?t it??
He nodded. ?Yes.?
I let his hair fall back in place and lay there for a few seconds thinking about it. Then I was laughing, laughing, and couldn?t stop.
He was back at my shoulder, peering down at me. ?Anita??
The laughter faded as I looked into his worried eyes. ?When you forced Raina to give you up all those years ago, did you know that she was the only one that could do this with you??
He nodded, face solemn. ?Raina pointed out the down side of not being her pet.?
I took his hand and slid it down the front of my satin shorts. His fingertips found the wetness that had soaked through the satin, and I didn?t have to guide his hand anymore. He cupped that big hand of his over my groin, and the cloth was soaked through. He traced fingertips across my inner thigh and the skin was wet, wet down to my knees.
?How did you give it up?? My voice came out in a whisper.
His finger slid up the inside of my thigh, in the hollow just below. He leaned in to kiss me as his finger slid slowly upward across the moist skin under the wet satin. His mouth stayed just above mine, so close that a sharp breath would have made us touch. He spoke, his breath warm on my skin as his finger caressed the edge of me. ?No amount of pleasure was worth her price.?
Two things happened at once; he kissed me, and his finger slid inside of me. I screamed against his mouth, back arching, fingernails digging into his shoulder as his finger found that small spot, and thrust over it, and over it, until he brought me again; the world had soft, white edges like seeing through gauze.
I felt the bed move, but couldn?t focus, couldn?t see, wasn?t sure I cared what was happening. Hands fumbled at my shorts. I blinked up to see Richard kneeling over me. He slid my shorts down my legs, spread my legs, and knelt between them. He leaned over me, raising the satin camisole, baring my breasts. He ran his hands across them, made me writhe, then rolled his hands down the line of my body, his hands gripping my thighs, bringing me in a harsh jerk against his body.
The moment he rubbed against the outside of me, I felt the rubbery latex of the condom. I looked up at his face, and asked, ?How did you know??
He moved so that his lower body was lying between my legs, but still pressed against the outside of my body. Most of his weight was supported by his arms like a modified push-up position. ?Do you really think Jean-Claude would warn me about the arduer and not warn me that you weren?t on birth control??
?Good point,? I said.
?No,? he said, ?this is.? I felt the movement of his hips seconds before he thrust inside me, in one powerful movement that drove sounds from my mouth, somewhere between a scream, and a shout.
He lowered his head enough to see my face. I lay gasping under him, but whatever he saw there reassured him, because he arched his back, his face looking somewhere in the distance, and drew himself out of me, slowly, inch by inch, until I made small noises. He drew himself out until he was barely touching inside me. I gazed down the length of my body to see him stretched hard and ready. He?d always been careful of me, because he wasn?t small; that one first thrust had been more force than he?d ever allowed himself. He filled me up, hit that point deep inside that was either pain or pleasure. I saw his back and hips flex a second before he thrust into me again. I watched him thrust into me, saw every inch of him plunge into me, until it bowed my back, my neck, and I couldn?t watch because I was writhing underneath him, my hands scrambling at the bedspread, digging fingers into the covers.
He drew himself out of me again, and I stopped him with a hand on his stomach. ?Wait, wait.? I was having trouble breathing.
?It?s not hurting you, I can tell by your face, your eyes, your body.?
I swallowed, took a shaky breath, and said, ?No, it?s not hurting me. It feels wonderful, but you?ve always been so careful, even when I asked you not to be. What?s changed??
He looked down at me, his hair falling around his face like a silken frame. ?I was always afraid of hurting you before. But I felt your beast.?
?I haven?t changed yet, Richard, we don?t know for sure.?
?Anita,? he said softly, and I knew he was chiding me. Maybe it was a case of the lady protesting too much, but still?
?I?m still human, Richard, I haven?t changed yet.?
He leaned over me, his hair gliding around my face as he kissed me gently on the cheek. ?Even before the first full moon, we can take more damage. The change has already begun, Anita.?
I pushed against his chest until he drew back enough for me to see his face. ?You?ve always been holding back, haven?t you??
?Yes,? he said.
I searched his face and saw such need in his eyes, and I knew why he?d been so angry at Gregory. He?d said that he almost regretted not making me his lupa, now that he?d seen me be Nimir-ra, but it was more than that. I looked into his brown eyes in the spill of early morning light and knew that he?d wanted me to be what he was, even though he hated it, that at some level he?d been tempted to make me his lupa for real. Somewhere in the lovemaking, where he had to be so careful, he?d thought of it, more than once. It was there in his eyes, his face. He started to look away as if he could feel that I saw it all, but he made himself look back, meet my gaze. He was almost defiant.
?How careful have you been of me, Richard??
He did look away then, using his hair as a shield. I reached through that thick hair to touch his face, to turn him to look at me. ?Richard, how careful have you been of me??
There was something close to pain in his eyes. He whispered, ?Very.?
I held his face between my hands. ?You don?t have to be careful anymore.?
A look of soft wonderment crossed his face, and he bent his head down, and we kissed, kissed as we had earlier, prodding, exploring, taking turns at thrusting into each other. He drew slowly back from the kiss and I felt the tip of him touch my opening. I stared down the length of our bodies so I could watch as his body flexed above me, and he thrust himself inside me harder this time, quicker. It brought my breath in a soundless scream.
I opened my eyes, not realizing I?d closed them. I gazed up at him. ?Don?t be careful anymore, Richard, don?t be careful.?
He smiled, gave me a quick kiss, then he was back, arched above me, and this time he didn?t stop. He thrust every inch of himself into me as hard and as fast as he could. The sound of flesh into flesh became a constant sound, a wet hammering. I realized it hadn?t been just his size that made him careful, but his strength. He could have bench-pressed the bed we lay on, and that strength lay not just in his arms, or back, but in his legs, his thighs, in the body he was pressing inside me, over and over again. For the first time ever, I began to appreciate the full power of him.
I?d felt the strength in his hands, his arms, when he held me, but it was nothing to this. He made of our bodies one body, one pounding, sweating, soaking, drenching piece of flesh. I was vaguely aware that it did hurt, that I was bruising, and I didn?t care.
I called out his name as my body tightened around his, squeezing, and I spasmed underneath him, my body slamming against the bed, not from Richard?s thrusts, but from the power of the orgasm itself; screams spilled from my throat as my body rocked underneath him. It felt good, better than almost anything, but it was almost violence, almost pain, almost frightening. Somewhere in the midst of it all I was aware that he came, too. He screamed my name, but held his place, while I continued to writhe and fight underneath him. It wasn?t until I lay quiet that he allowed himself to collapse on top of me, slightly to one side so my face wouldn?t be pressed into his chest.
We lay in a sweating, breathless heap, waiting for our hearts to slow enough to speak. He found his voice first. ?Thank you, thank you for trusting me.?
I laughed. ?You?re thanking me.? I raised his hand to my mouth and kissed the palm, then rested his hand against my face. ?Trust me, Richard, it was my pleasure.?
He laughed, that rich throaty sound that is purely male, and purely sexual. ?We?re going to need another shower.?
?Whichever of us can walk first can have the first shower,? I said.
He laughed and hugged me. I wasn?t even sure my legs would work enough to shower. Maybe a bath.
Copyright © 2001 by Laurell K. Hamilton
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