Chains of darkness, p.7
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       Chains of Darkness, p.7

         Part #2 of Men in Chains series by Caris Roane
 
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  “I know that he’s an honorable man.” She touched her chain. “These don’t lie and I feel it with every breath he takes.” Another reason her desire for him seemed ever-present. She liked the vampire.

  She then told Rumy what had happened, especially about seeing Zoey.

  “Jesus,” he murmured. “That must have been horrifying for you.”

  She put a hand over her stomach and pressed her fingers to her lips. Her throat grew tight all over again. “It was, but she’s alive. Only how are we supposed to exchange the extinction weapon for her?”

  Rumy put his arm around her shoulders and gave a squeeze. “Don’t think about that. The important thing is, she’s alive. Later, once you’ve found the weapon, you and Lucian can figure out the next step.”

  She turned back to Lucian, who had started to thrash once more. Whatever medication had been given to him clearly wasn’t a cure. She felt the agony he suffered even though he’d received a strong dose of her blood. “What can I do for him?”

  “Not much. It’s the recovery process, sort of like withdrawal. He has to get through it, and he will.”

  “How much longer will it take?”

  Rumy shook his head. “I don’t know. Another day maybe.”

  She could live with that.

  Taking a deep breath, as deep as she could get, she placed a request. “Would you please have your housekeeping staff bring me a basin of cool water and a stack of fresh washcloths?”

  “Of course.” He glanced at her with a warm light in his eye. “And what about you? What can I do for you?”

  She smiled suddenly. “A mojito, the best one your bar makes, preferably something with sage and honey. I’m partial to sage especially.”

  “I’ll bring you a pitcher.”

  She sighed. “Sounds like a plan.”

  He chuckled and drew his phone from his pocket. He repeated her orders to his staff, then held the phone to his shirt. “How about dinner? I know you’re not hungry now, but you have some hours yet to get through.”

  “That’s probably wise.”

  “Italian, say in four hours?”

  “Perfect.”

  He spoke once more into the phone. When he hung up, he said, “I’ll be back with your drinks.”

  Not long after Rumy left, the doctor repeated essentially what Rumy had told her, especially that she needed to be alert and patient. Beyond that, Lucian would return to normal in a few hours; this would be the worst of it, followed by less significant episodes over the next few nights.

  The team left shortly after so that she was once again alone with Lucian. She sat at the table, watching the vampire moaning and at times crying out. She would be in for a long night.

  A few minutes later, however, Rumy returned with a suede wingback chair just for her and stationed it near Lucian’s side of the bed. Another waiter brought in a side table, covered it with maroon linen, and with a flourish set a silver tray down that bore a pitcher of what smelled like heaven, along with a tall glass of ice.

  He poured the first mojito and garnished it with thin cucumber slices. She sipped, leaned back in her chair, and tried to let go of the nightmare that had, in the past few hours, become her life.

  When the basin and clean washcloths arrived, she left the comfort of the chair and her drink, and dipped a cloth in the water.

  Lucian now rocked his head from side to side, his eyes squeezed shut.

  Lucian. She thought maybe speaking to him telepathically might help.

  He moaned, but began settling down. She put the now damp, cool cloth on his forehead. He was sweating, but his neck arched just a little at the feel of the cloth. His body relaxed, and his breathing evened out.

  Is that better?

  Fire. So hot. Where’s Claire? Marius? My brother. Oh, God, my brother.

  I’m here, Lucian.

  The chains told her he was lost in his grief and in the feverish whirlwind of his thoughts. She didn’t know what else to do, so she started telling him what Rumy had said about him. “He’s proud of you, did you know that? The leader of the underworld thinks you’re the best of all the vampires. I don’t know you very well, but I’m beginning to think he might be right. He said you’ve served for four hundred years.”

  She continued in this vein and he seemed to relax a little bit more, taking deep breaths, a state that continued for some time. She resumed her seat and again sipped her drink, leaning her head into the wing part of the chair. She was more tired than she realized, and the mojito seemed to magnify her fatigue.

  But a few minutes later she watched sweat bead on his upper lip and in the hollow of his throat. He started thrashing again.

  She changed out the cloth and wiped all the way down his chest as well as his arms. The more she touched him, the more he seemed to calm down.

  She continued to talk to him. She told him all about Josh, what it had been like to care for him for two years, how close she’d gotten to him, how often they played video games, and how much she missed him. She added that Rumy had given her an update on the boy once she’d arrived at The Erotic Passage: He was back with his mother and seemed to be thriving. “Adrien’s become a father to him, did you know that? At least that’s what Rumy said. See what you accomplished, Lucian? You kept Adrien safe, and now he’s able to keep Josh safe and Lily. You did good.”

  He released a deep sigh, his brow still pinched, eyes still closed, but his body no longer spasmed and his breathing had once more settled down.

  She returned to her seat and topped off her mojito.

  Much later, between ministrations, dinner arrived. When she caught a whiff of the fresh bread, the pasta, and the salad, her stomach growled like she hadn’t eaten for a year. Being a blood donor in the vampire world and taking care of a sick warrior was hard work.

  As soon as the wait staff left, she gobbled her food. Of course, it looked like she was eating for two now, a thought that made her smile because it seemed so absurd.

  She glanced at Lucian, now lying peacefully on his back, his eyes closed, his arms at last slack in the bindings.

  She munched on antipasto, swirled a bite of spaghetti Bolognese on her spoon, bit off a chunk of bread, and basically devoured her meal without one thought to manners.

  It helped to be working on her third mojito between bites.

  Of course, just as she was starting to relax, his legs began to thrash.

  * * *

  Lucian could smell the woman’s blood. What was her name? He couldn’t remember. He couldn’t really focus.

  He was unable to reach her, either, which filled him with rage. Something held him back.

  More chains. He was covered in chains head-to-foot, bloody chains.

  He thrashed, trying to break free of them.

  Something cool landed on his face then traveled down his chest, easing him.

  He was so hot. He walked through hell, flames licking at him constantly.

  He couldn’t see much, but images flashed through his mind, of Marius as a little boy. Of Adrien. They were laughing. Sometimes Daniel would be gone for days at a time and they could relax, their wounds healing.

  Lucian always structured their play and made his brothers study between times of torture. One day they’d leave, but until then, Papa would return, chaining them to wood tables, teaching them how to be men by slicing them open.

  More images flashed of his mother smiling at him when he was very little, holding him close, telling him over and over how much she loved him and always would. She’d been human and died when he was four. Adrien and Marius each had different mothers, who had also died when the boys turned four.

  Daniel had killed the women because his boys needed to learn how to be tough, not to whine or cry.

  The fever raged once more.

  Another cool bathing.

  Was this his mother tending him?

  No, his mother was gone.

  Who, then?

  He took in a deep breath, and the woman’s
blood called to him. Something vibrated at his neck.

  More heat.

  Another cool wet cloth.

  A soothing voice spoke to him, about the wonderful meal she’d just eaten of pasta and salad, then something about sage mojitos.

  After what felt like centuries, his mind cleared and at last he was able to open his eyes. Only a single lamp burned on the nearby nightstand.

  He glanced at the chair next to his bed. A woman rested there, her knees curled up, her lips parted as she leaned against the side. She was asleep.

  His nostrils flared.

  He could smell her blood. His stomach cramped. He moaned and the woman’s eyes opened.

  She glanced at him, leaning forward. “You’re awake. And you’re finally present; I can see it in your eyes. How do you feel?”

  He couldn’t remember her name. “I need to feed. Now.” His voice was hoarse, like he’d been screaming. Maybe he had been.

  She scooted her legs off the chair and stood up. She drew the chair close to the bed. “Rumy told me only to offer myself to you like this.” She extended her wrist to show him.

  Claire—yes, her name was Claire—rose from the chair and held the back of his head. She brought her arm close to his face.

  His fangs emerged, descending rapid-fire. He struck then sucked hard.

  In quick stages this time, as her blood flowed into his mouth, the cramping eased and his hunger abated. After a few minutes he released her wrist.

  “Thank you.” He closed his eyes and fell asleep.

  * * *

  Claire drank from a second, less potent pitcher of water that Rumy had brought her about an hour earlier. How sweet it tasted, the exact thing she needed to fill up her reserves.

  She could see that Lucian had fallen asleep; he was actually resting. He seemed different now, less panicky, more satiated. She sensed he was on his way to recovery, if not completely out of the woods.

  And suddenly the need for sleep fell on her like a hammer.

  She rounded the bed, her feet dragging. She’d have to sleep next to him because of their constant proximity issue, but Lucian wouldn’t be able to reach her because of the restraints, so she felt reasonably safe. She slipped off her shoes then—still wearing her T-shirt and jeans—crawled beneath the covers on the far side.

  The world fell away the moment she closed her eyes.

  CHAPTER 4

  Sometime later Claire awoke to Lucian moaning. She turned toward him and her increasingly improved vision warmed up. He looked better, but he seemed to be in some kind of distress.

  The chains suddenly spoke to her. He was no longer suffering from the deprivation of blood, but from something else.

  Her body seemed to know and responded accordingly, as warmth climbed her cheeks.

  She slipped from under the covers and rounded the bed to the other side. He was wide awake and lucid, but his lips were parted.

  Claire. His voice was sensual within her mind. Be with me. Please. I need you.

  She’d wanted him from the first, but this was new territory.

  She felt flushed and hot. They were alone, in a private room, and the door was locked. Only the dim lamplight burned.

  She wanted Lucian. She valued and respected him, which caused her own need to soar. And the time with him at the club, especially the kiss they’d shared, had somehow opened the gate for her.

  Her gaze slid down to his chest, his pecs heavy with muscles, his nipples in tight beads.

  The single sheet that covered him had formed a tent at his groin. And he was still in restraints.

  She licked her lips.

  Lower the sheet. I want you looking at me. All of me.

  She hesitated. It was one thing to feed Lucian, to give up her lifeblood, but another to engage with him physically. Part of her knew she shouldn’t—if she had sex with him, she’d become much more attached than she should.

  Yet she wanted this with Lucian more than she wanted to be careful and wise. As one enthralled, she picked up the edge of the sheet and slowly peeled it away from his body, taking it all the way to his bound ankles.

  Lucian came from her mind unbidden. You’re beautiful.

  I love that you’re looking at me. I’ve wanted this. From almost the first moment I saw you in the cave, I’ve desired you.

  She nodded as her gaze became fixed on his erect cock, then on the line of hair leading toward his navel.

  His abs flexed and released.

  His hips rolled. He turned toward her slightly and arched his hips so that she watched his cock thrust.

  Her body responded in kind, clenching deep.

  “I can smell your sex, your desire, Claire.” His voice came out in a soft purr. “Please come to me, give me release. Your blood has eased the madness, but now I have a new kind of agony.”

  Maybe it was because the vampire used his manners; Claire would never be sure. But some kind of meet-your-vampire’s-needs insanity took over her mind. She reached down to the hem of her T-shirt and pulled up and up, stripping slowly. His gaze raked her face, the slope of her neck, then drifted down to her breasts.

  She leaned over so he could see her cleavage. His lips parted and his gaze fell to half-mast. She moved closer, leaning over him from the side of the bed.

  With her bra still on, she eased her chest down to his lips and watched his tongue emerge. She lowered herself until he could lick the swell of her breasts.

  He groaned. Claire. My God. Claire. More.

  She reached back and unhooked her bra, tossing it aside. She fed him a nipple. He latched on and suckled. And it felt so good.

  Look at me. His voice in her head commanded her.

  His eyes had a wild look, but very different this time from his earlier blood-crazed expression. Each tug on her breast brought an answering pull deep between her legs.

  Claire couldn’t blame the blood-chain. She needed this, too, and she needed Lucian now.

  She slid her hand down to his hip, lower, until she could stroke the crown of his cock. He moaned and suckled her breast harder as she ran her thumb over the wet tip, then slid it lower to caress the ridge, playing with him.

  Desire shot through her, demanding more. Claire had never experienced anything so erotic in her life. Not only was her own desire heightened by their chains, but she could also feel what he was feeling. Panting, she pulled back, then slipped out of her jeans, losing her thong at the same time.

  He watched her, breathing hard now, deep gulps of air, as his gaze flew over her body.

  She leaned over his cock and took him inside her mouth.

  His back arched and he groaned so loud that she was sure he would come just like this. She drew back, giving him a moment. When he settled down, she returned, sucking gently, letting him feel the pleasure of what had been denied him during the year of his imprisonment.

  Blood and sex.

  The touch of a woman.

  His most basic needs.

  “Enough.” His hoarse voice filled the room.

  She didn’t wait for instructions or permission but climbed up on the bed. She swung a leg over his hips and mounted him. He was a big man with a big cock, but Claire was more than ready for him as she glided down on all that enormous, wonderful girth.

  She closed her eyes as she seated herself. She heard his breathing, very light gasps, as if he was afraid if he felt too much, he’d spend himself way too soon.

  She eased up and savored the length of him, then slowly lowered herself again. She gave herself to enjoying what felt so completely forbidden.

  Sex with a vampire, a man who was essentially a stranger to her.

  His hips flexed as he pushed himself inside her.

  “Do you want me to release your hands? Can you control yourself right now?”

  He nodded.

  Maybe she shouldn’t have, but she took the risk and released the restraints, freeing his hands. She needed more of him, his hands touching her, fondling her. She wanted all of him and the
moment his hands grasped her hips, she planted her fingers on his abs and slowly glided her hands up.

  “Claire,” he murmured, his voice hoarse.

  She lifted her hips at the same time, feeling the length of his cock once more: pleasure on pleasure.

  She moved faster as her fingertips reached his mouth and he groaned, his hips flexing again. His hands dipped low, grabbing her bottom and holding her firmly. He took over, thrusting up into her, increasing the speed.

  She leaned down and kissed him, bit him, sucked on his lips until they parted.

  She took his tongue in her mouth and suckled him.

  He pushed into her harder.

  His arms wrapped around her back, pulling her closer. She wanted to be closer. The vein in her neck throbbed and a different kind of need rose. She shifted her face away from him, which put her throat in close proximity to his mouth.

  His tongue licked the length of her neck, over the vein.

  She groaned as he thrust and as his tongue teased her sensitive skin.

  She wanted more of the forbidden. She wanted him to bite her while her hips worked him hard.

  * * *

  Lucian rode the edge of ecstasy as he never had before. The blood-chains and his recent starvation worked together to forge a passion that moved like a roll of thunder through his body.

  He drove into Claire, his cock rigid and ready. He could release at any moment, but he needed more from the woman straddling him.

  His tongue repeatedly stroked above the vein that carried all that he’d needed desperately for over a year.

  His blood-madness was gone, but the cravings he felt were almost as powerful. One thought dominated all others: Even above releasing inside her, he wanted more of what was in her veins.

  His fangs descended. Give it to me, Claire. You know you want to.

  I do. More than anything in the world.

  He licked and she arched into his tongue, pushing against the little flicks he gave her throat.

  She moaned as she rode him, her hands on his shoulders.

  Come closer.

 
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