Chains of darkness, p.23
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       Chains of Darkness, p.23

         Part #2 of Men in Chains series by Caris Roane
 
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  He nodded. “I can do that.”

  “I’m not done.”

  The smallest smile tugged at the corner of his lips. “I hoped like hell you weren’t.”

  “I want to feed you one last time, then I want you to make love to me, really make love to me, because this is going to have to last the rest of my life, got it?”

  He wanted to say something profound, even to beg her to stay with him forever, but all he could do was nod.

  “Was there anything else you needed to do here? Talk to Gabriel?”

  He shook his head. “Everything’s settled. He’s holding the weapon for me until I can get the trap laid for Daniel.”

  “Is his Ancestral crew going to help?”

  Lucian shook his head. “No, and I didn’t want him to. This is between me and my father.”

  “I guess we can go, then. I’ve said my thanks to Gabriel’s staff.”

  Lucian nodded. “Ready to fly?”

  She responded with a dip of her chin.

  Knowing it was possible Daniel would have Gabriel’s Pharaoh system watched, he took off south, shooting high into the air then heading west to South America. Within the space of four powerful seconds, he brought Claire into his living room, a simple place with a wood table and chairs, a bright, multicolored table runner, and tall solid wood chairs.

  He didn’t say anything else to her, but he set about pulling steaks from the fridge and the makings for a simple salad. To his surprise, yet not, Claire joined him and silently washed and tore apart lettuce, chopped tomatoes and cucumbers, and put the salad together.

  He fired up the grill on a vampire-esque outdoor space, a section of the cave off the dining area that had a stone shelf overhang open to the air. A breeze from within the cave kept the smoke out.

  His heart beat heavily in his chest, but he wasn’t sure if it was his blood-needs, or his desire for Claire, or the fine smell of grilled meat, or a kind of grief he could hardly bear.

  Whatever it was, when Claire moved to stand beside him, he slid his arm around her waist and pulled her close. She sipped her beer and sighed, doing both over and over.

  The meal he ate with her was a quiet thing. Every once in a while he’d look at her and she’d look back, her light-brown eyes speaking of her affection for him and how much she’d miss him. He returned the favor, but he couldn’t speak. What was the point? The blood-chains told the whole story anyway: He’d miss her like hell, and she felt the same way.

  She didn’t eat much; he was slightly more successful. Eventually, he rose from the table, carrying the plates into the kitchen. He could have cleaned up, but his tremors told him he needed to get on with things.

  Claire had just pushed her chair in when he caught her up in his arms and carried her into the bedroom, the place where she’d healed from the cut on her back.

  The room was pristine, the bed made with fresh linens and Claire’s earlier torn-up, bloody clothing removed. He needed to give his housekeeper a goddamn raise.

  * * *

  Claire had never been so in sync with Lucian as she was in this moment. She felt his pain at the upcoming separation and knew it matched hers like a reflection in a mirror.

  When he set her on her feet, she held his face in her hands and just looked at him, memorizing the cool gray of his eyes, the permanent scowl on his forehead that took his thick brows low, the way his nostrils flared because she knew he smelled her blood, and maybe her sex, and that he wanted her.

  The chains didn’t need to tell her that, though hers sang against her throat, reminding her of how everything had started. Now she was here, staring into the eyes of a vampire she’d grown to love over three short nights. She wouldn’t deny it anymore. She loved Lucian, everything about him, including his scowl, the heaviness of his spirit because of all that he carried around with him, his concern for his world, but mostly his belief that he’d lost his soul a long time ago because he was Daniel’s son.

  This part of his life she would never fully understand, in the way she couldn’t truly comprehend what Zoey had endured, or what it had taken for her to live as long as she had, with tremendous strength of spirit.

  But the journey ended here, tonight, with Lucian. Soon he’d take her back to Santa Fe.

  She released a deep sigh and leaned up to kiss him, just feeling his lips with hers, memorizing them, knowing this would be the last time. She’d already decided to keep her memories and not have them erased. How wise that would be, she wasn’t sure, but she never wanted to forget Lucian. Never.

  His arms slid around her, very gently, as he drew her close. She hooked an arm around his neck, fondling the coarse hair at the nape.

  She pulled back. “Will you let me have my way right now?”

  He didn’t smile. He just nodded. He must have understood.

  “Let’s get our clothes off.”

  There was no hurrying the process, just a steady removal of shoes and shirts, pants and underwear. He was in that half-aroused state that she found extremely attractive: the cock swollen but not yet upright, getting ready.

  Lucian had a beautiful cock. She sat on the side of the bed, spread her legs, and gestured for him to come close.

  She explored him, touching, looking, feeling the silkiness and the hardness, the magic of what would fit inside her and pleasure her, what he would release that should make babies, but for vampires rarely did.

  His abs flexed as his chest rose and fell in long deep breaths. With one hand around his stalk, she ran her other hand over his stomach. “Flex for me.”

  He tightened his stomach so that her fingers moved up and down the waves of him. She leaned close and took his crown in her mouth. He shuddered, his muscular thighs quivering.

  She focused on the feel of him in her mouth, the ridge over which she moved her lips, and heard him groan, her tongue dipping into the tip then swirling over the rounded head. She sucked him slowly, moving down then back up, over and over, her hands sliding around to grip his firm buttocks.

  Lucian.

  His hands stroked her short hair, her face, her neck, and lingered on her shoulders. His hips flexed, pushing into her.

  She heard his breathing catch, so she pulled back then drew him onto the bed. She had him lie facedown and for the next half hour, she moved her hands and her lips over every inch of his body, sucking different parts, tasting, biting.

  Claire. Claire.

  His voice through her mind was one thing she’d really miss, the deep resonance that filled her thoughts from side to side and made her feel full. And that was how he made her feel: full.

  How was she supposed to return to regular old earth, and human men with bouncing, nervous knees as they looked her over, then boasted about accomplishments she would never again care about?

  She tugged on his arm and turned him over. She felt another familiar tremor run through him. He’d had several during the time she’d been touching him. He needed to feed and after tonight other women, probably vampires, would take care of him, ease the remnants of the blood-madness he’d endured, slake his thirst.

  She hated all those women. She wanted to be the one, the only one, the forever one to feed him, all impossible, of course. So she hated them.

  But right now she could feed Lucian.

  “Take my blood, vampire, in whatever way you want to do it.”

  * * *

  Lucian’s mouth watered. Claire straddled him now, and his gaze fell to her throat. Over the past three nights, he’d taken blood from different parts of her body, even through a syringe when he was out of control. She’d given it up for him repeatedly, out of necessity at times and out of desire at others.

  He felt so much coming from her, vibrating through the chains and through her touch, a kind of energy he’d never felt from her before. Yet he felt the same way: That this was good-bye. That she was touching him so thoroughly, sucking him so thoroughly as a way to memorize his shape and feel.

  He wanted something similar, but in this
case he’d be doing things she’d never be able to do with a human.

  His fangs descended as he got ready to pierce a vein.

  “I need you to stand up.” He gestured to the side of the bed.

  She slid over the side, gained her feet, then waited for him. He stood in front of her first drifting his gaze over her breasts. He fondled each of them, exploring her as she’d explored him, making his hands do the memorizing. Her nipples puckered and her breathing became a light pant. Her hands floated over his forearms, then up his biceps, over his shoulders.

  He moved around to position himself behind her. For what he wanted to do, her short hair helped. He nuzzled her throat, kissing her neck, licking the vein.

  She tilted her head in response. “Yes.”

  He drifted one hand low, catching her between her legs. He kneaded her gently, which by the undulation of her hips he could tell pleased her.

  With his other hand, he covered both breasts easily at the same time, teasing the nipples into a firm state.

  His cock was hard. He pressed it against her cheeks, rubbing up her ass-crack. She pushed back against him as he licked her throat just above the vein. Her blood, as always, smelled so sweet.

  Lucian, do it. Oh, my God, do it. I need you to take from me.

  Her voice inside his head almost made him come. He’d loved hearing her from the first moment telepathy had arrived for them. His fangs emerged fully and with the practice of centuries he struck. Her warm blood flooded his mouth.

  He created a seal over the wound and began to suck, his hips pushing his cock against her ass, his hands working her breasts and the soft wetness between her legs.

  He needed more. Spread your legs, Claire. Let me give you release like this. I want to feel you come on my fingers.

  She made that unh sound of hers as she parted her legs. He slid two fingers inside and started to pump, teasing the place on the upper inside of her well, the place where pleasure sparked for a female.

  Lucian. So much pleasure.

  Her breathing grew ragged, so he drove his fingers harder. He pinned his arm over her breasts to sustain the hold on her throat because she writhed as she came, crying out repeatedly, deep cries as ecstasy took hold of her body and pleasure flowed.

  When her body settled down, he relaxed his grip on her then released her neck. He watched the holes shrink quickly to nothing the moment he let go.

  He wrapped his arms around her and held her. She covered his arms with her hands and rubbed back and forth. He’d never had this, not in his long life, the feel of a woman in his arms, someone he’d had more than once, whom he’d fed from this many times in a row.

  His throat grew tight.

  He didn’t want this to end and that was a first. He’d never been so tempted as he was now, but Claire needed to go home, wanted it desperately. And she deserved to be back with her family and to pick up her life.

  Making this about her helped, because he didn’t want to think about the other truth: that he could never ask her to stay, that the darkness in him would live there forever because of Daniel, that he couldn’t really be trusted, that one day the darkness would escape and he’d never be able to bring it back.

  He picked her up and laid her out on the bed. Still standing, he leaned close. “What do you want, Claire? I’ll do anything you ask.”

  Tears brimmed in her eyes. She touched her hand to his face, something she did often. She leaned up and kissed him, then thumbed his lips. “Just make love to me like I’m your woman, like we’re two regular people who’ve been together for a while, and just want to make love.”

  He nodded, despite the fact that he’d never had that kind of relationship. But something about Claire seemed so easy to him, as though he couldn’t make a mistake with her, even if he tried.

  He climbed on the bed and forced her knees apart. She smiled and took a deep breath, her arms wrapping around his shoulders as he stretched out on top of her.

  He kissed her, all the while wishing for what he couldn’t have.

  She responded, her fingers digging into the muscles of his shoulders, his arms, his back. She suckled his tongue, biting his lips gently, kissing down his throat.

  At last he held his cock to her opening, then glided into all her wetness, watching her mouth open wide and a heavy moan leave her throat.

  He stayed in just that position above her so he could watch her as he flexed his hips and thrust, driving in and out, fast then slow, then fast again.

  He liked working her body and watching her pleasure float across her face: the lift of a brow, a wince that looked like pain but was just the opposite, then another moan.

  He lowered himself, forearms to either side. He could still watch her but his body had become demanding. He could have split into two parts, he could have bitten her again, he could have moved at lightning speed, but right now he wanted to give her what she’d asked for, to make love to her just like she’d asked, like they were a couple and had been together a long time.

  She was breathing hard and staring into his eyes. He was feeling so much, and the chains vibrated heavily so he knew she was just as caught up as he was.

  Claire.

  Tears fill her eyes. I know. Just fuck me, Lucian. Let me feel you come. I want to watch you come. Keep looking at me.

  He pushed deeper, strong heavy pushes, his body ready. He thumbed her cheek.

  He was so hard.

  He felt her tighten down low and gasp. She gripped his arms, holding his gaze.

  I’m ready.

  He moved faster, then with a few pumps more he started to release, the pleasure gripping and streaking as his cock jerked.

  She cried out, but stayed with him. “I’m coming.” Her voice was hoarse, and tears tracked down her face. “Lucian. Lucian.” More tears. “God this feels good, so good.”

  His hips began to slow and her hands moved to his neck then his face. She still looked at him, though tears flowed. “That was perfect. Exactly what I wanted.”

  “You’re perfect.” The words left his mouth before he could stop them. But he’d spoken the truth.

  Her brows lifted in surprise. She wiped her face. “Thank you for saying that. Oh, God, Lucian, I’ll treasure this night forever.”

  The ache in his chest hadn’t eased up, so he took a deep breath and pulled out of her. “I’ll get you something.”

  “Lucian?”

  Sitting on the side of the bed, he looked back at her.

  She dipped her chin. “It’ll be okay. We’ll both be okay.”

  Like hell, but he nodded anyway, trying not to think too much, feel too much.

  He left the bed and returned with a washcloth, then without saying anything else he got in the shower. He breathed hard while he soaped up and was grateful for the running water because he’d turned into a weeper. He didn’t want her to see him this way. He scrubbed his face and was actually grateful when the soap stung his eyes. He could blame the soap.

  He chuckled softly then slammed his fist against the tile.

  To Claire’s credit and maybe because the chains told the tale anyway, she said nothing in response. In every way possible, she’d grown very quiet.

  After a few minutes he set his sights on the trap he meant to lay for Daniel. Time to finish off dear old Dad once and for all.

  First, of course, Santa Fe.

  * * *

  Claire showered and dressed like she was in a fog. The chains already told her that Lucian had shut down and shifted focus.

  It was time, long past time, to return to her life, to the human world.

  Lucian told her that Rumy had already arranged to set her up in a hotel in Santa Fe so that she’d have a place to live until she was ready to contact her family, something Lucian had asked him to do. He’d transitioned a lot of humans back to their world; a separate residence sometimes helped, especially if the captive had been gone a long time, like Claire.

  She nodded her appreciation, but her hearing had sort of
shut down. When she asked about his plans with the extinction weapon, he brushed her off. She didn’t need to worry about that kind of thing anymore.

  He was right. She needed to let go of him and of his concerns. She needed to turn her face to the future.

  But the fog remained, even as he flew her back to The Erotic Passage and Rumy’s office.

  Once there, Claire recognized the chain-removal expert and something inside her spasmed, a twist of pain that stunned her.

  She didn’t want the chains off. They’d become part of her. They connected her to Lucian, and she didn’t want to let go.

  But she had to.

  She closed her eyes and ignored how she felt. She focused instead on the complete blankness that Lucian had become, a wall of closed-off vampire. That was what she needed to do as well, to shut down once and for all.

  Removing the chain turned out to be a simple process. The expert slid a thick leather band beneath the chain all the way around, then one by one made a hairline cut through the side of each link, small enough that the chain still held together. With each snip, Claire felt some of her connection to Lucian fade, one by one, link by link.

  “I’ll be doing the last one now. You might experience a sudden dart of sensation, a little bit like electricity, but nothing more. You ready?”

  “Yes. Go ahead.”

  He made the final snip, cutting through the larger link at the nape of her neck, which broke the chain. A jolt passed through her that arched her neck and made her gasp, but she couldn’t describe it as pain exactly.

  “You okay?” Lucian asked. He reached a hand toward her, then let it fall away.

  She touched her neck as the specialist pulled the leather away, still holding the chains in his hand. Claire took them from him and glanced at Lucian. “I’d like to keep this, if it’s all right with you?”

  He swallowed hard as his gaze fell to the limp collection of severed loops. He nodded several times in a row. “Of course.”

  It felt so strange not to have the connection to him anymore. And yet she still felt connected. In fact, she could have sworn she still sensed what he was feeling, but maybe that was an afterglow effect of having been chain-bound for the past several days.

 
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