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       Created Darkly, p.15

           Gena D. Lutz
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  I was eager and filled with want of being his sensual playground. His fingers tugged at the zipper of my shorts. I stood up on my knees, far enough to shimmy them down my hips. I had to lean back, however, for him to pull them over my legs. I ended up with my head between his feet, with my legs splayed open before him, spread eagle. The only thing left between Rush and the most intimate part of my body was a thin, black strip of silk.

  Rush bit down on his lower lip. So help me, I almost reached down and ripped those freakin’ panties off myself. He looked so damn sexy…edible, even. With a lazy smile and slow bat of my eyes, I began massaging my breasts. My nipples were taut and extremely sensitive from Rush’s petting. I groaned and squirmed, keeping a leisurely pace, pressing my fingers into the soft flesh. His hungry eyes shot straight to my hands, entranced by what they were doing. My chest rose, straining to meet his heated gaze, beckoning him to take over.

  “Touch me,” I pleaded, unable to stop my hips from swiveling. They begged for a release from his sweet torture. I was imprisoned, and he was my jailor.

  Lust-filled eyes gave my naked body a thorough once-over; he took pleasure in my delicious agony. My cheeks prickled and flushed. Heaven’s breath; I was being driven mad by the man. It was the look on his face. It branded me with an unspoken desire, a searing passion that bit every part of my exposed flesh that his eyes deemed to land on, and he didn’t spare an inch.

  His large erection jerked, right before wide-set shoulders bunched forward, muscles straining, he crawled up my legs. My breath hissed out, hindered, as I tried to calm my frenzied nerves. I prayed to God above and even the pixies in the flower garden—anything real or imagined that I could possibly conjure—that I wouldn’t lose control while Rush took his torturous time with me, slowly licking my trembling flesh as he ascended my body.

  His tongue left a wet trail that evaporated, instantly cooling my enflamed flesh. My belly tightened the moment his tongue reached the inside of my thigh. With a flash tug and masterful flick of his wrist, the lingering silk undies were assassinated, torn away from my body, sent flying in the air to land somewhere behind him.

  His head slipped between my legs. I dug my fingers into his shoulders and pressed my head back against the arm of the couch. Biting my bottom lip, I moved my hips in time with his licks, matching his slow, deliberate rhythm. After several long, pleasure-racking draws from between my folds, he continued up my body. He grabbed hold of my hands, licking and sucking my fingers with an erotic hunger.

  “In me. Now!” It was a rumbled, animalistic demand from deep within my chest.

  He rubbed his hips against mine, undulating, causing a sweet friction that sent me over the edge. After sucking my lips into his mouth, he reached between us to grab hold of his massive length. He teased by rubbing against me, sending waves of anticipation and pleasure rippling throughout my aching loins. Then finally, after easing his swollen head past my entrance, he delivered a long thrust, not stopping until he was seated deep inside of me.


  "Aren't you tired?" I could barely move my arms or my legs. They were like leaded weights, but Rush's mischievous hand continued to travel down my body.

  "Are you kidding? I've wanted to touch you like this for as long as I can remember. I can hardly contain myself around you."

  "You flatter me."

  His hand sought the depths between my legs, his thumb beginning a gentle glide over the sensitive flesh there, sending a warm, euphoric spasm through my body.

  "If you knew the fantasies I've had about you, you'd be more than just flattered."

  "Show me."

  He lifted his mouth from my nipple, only after giving it one last tug. With a sexy arch of a single brow, he smiled up at me.

  "It would be my pleasure," he said with a throaty voice.

  I found myself flipped onto my stomach. At first, my body clenched, scared of what could come next, but then I threw caution to the wind and relaxed. Somehow, I trusted him, probably a lot more than I should have.

  I felt a prickle of longing heat in my belly as he pressed one feathered kiss after another along the width of my shoulders. I twisted my head all the way to the side and eagerly received a long, deep kiss filled with lust and unbridled passion. I loved the way he tasted and how his tongue challenged me to take more. All the while, his large, firm arm snaked underneath my belly, lifting my waist up, settling my body into a kneeling position. I couldn't help it. I shivered in anticipation, and then, he filled me completely.

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  I came awake with the bitter taste of stale coffee and sleep on my breath.

  “Did you sleep well?” Rush asked, squeezing me with the arm he had casually draped over my back. His other one was tucked behind his head and the arm of the couch.

  “Yes, thanks. Were you watching me sleep?” I asked, feeling my brows pull up and scrunch together. “’Cause even though it’s kind of sweet, it would still be really creepy.”

  He chuckled and smiled wide enough to show off his fang-free pearly whites. I loved that about him. He was handsome, bore the subtle, but ripped, physique of Adonis, and was a whirlwind in bed. Rush was the total package, all without being a vampire—a creature who underwent magic plastic surgery to accomplish such rugged and mouthwatering perfection. I guess some people just had great genes.

  “Beauty like yours is meant to be appreciated. But in answer to your question, no; I was not staring. I’ve been too busy cursing the moron contestants on this week’s episode of Wheel of Fortune.” He scowled at the television. “I seriously doubt any one of them has ever read a book.”

  So he was a word snob. Good to know.

  I spotted the top of the remote poking out of his fisted hand. He’d been watching television while I slept. I didn’t even remember dozing off. Mortified, I wiped my mouth and sat up, hoping I hadn’t snored or drooled all over him. My body twinged in several spots, but not from my earlier injuries. Those had healed. It was from some good lovin’.

  “I take it, you’re an avid fan?” I quipped, spreading out my arms to stretch.

  He threw his legs over the side of the couch to sit up. After tossing the remote on the table, he stood and gave a cat-like stretch of his own. I could almost hear him purr.

  “You can say that.” He winked at me. “Can I tell you something sort of embarrassing?”

  A moment of surprise flickered across my face. How quickly we had moved from annoying each other to sharing intimate secrets. “Sure.”

  “I’ve always wanted to be a contestant on that show. It’s among the top ten things on my bucket list.”

  The subtle scent of sweat and sex swirled around my nostrils, reminding me of our earlier sessions. I blushed. “You have enough money to buy that show and all the prizes on it. It shouldn’t be too hard for you to find your way behind that big wheel.”

  He slipped a shirt over his head. The muscles in his back and shoulders bunched and tightened. I watched his every movement with keen interest.

  “I like doing things the old fashioned way, on the level. It wouldn’t be as much fun for me if I didn’t earn it.”

  I smiled, enjoying his answer. I liked the unspoiled, real man that lay underneath all my first impressions of him.

  After pulling on my shirt and jean shorts, I stepped around Rush and fished through my purse on the kitchen counter. Taking out my cell phone, I checked for any missed calls. There was only one, and it was from work. I was scheduled to deal poker in the VIP lounge that night. There was no chance of that happening, so I hit the return-call option on the notifications.

  “Good afternoon. You’ve reached Atlantis Hotel and Casino. How can I direct your call?”

  I smiled at the sound of Helen’s soft greeting. She was the owner’s personal assistant, and she was one of my dear friends.

  “Helen, it’s me, Kris.”

  I heard the shuffling of papers and a muffled sound like Helen had covered the receiver with her hand. After a fe
w tense seconds, she got back on the phone.

  “Sorry girl. I had to tell that worthless assistant of mine to take over phone duty so we could talk. I swear…dealing with her is like trying to teach an old poodle how to piss outside.” She took a deep breath and continued. I let her. It was always best to let Helen run out of steam before attempting to interrupt her. “Now, are you going to tell me where in the world you’ve been the last two days? You missed work yesterday, leaving Paul to deal your blackjack shift. You know how that old bastard gets when he has to stay late. You’re on his shit list now; just thought I’d warn you.”

  I could see her in my mind’s eye, standing by her desk, hands on her hips, wishing I was in front of her, so she could pin me with one of her scolding glares. The look would say, “Kris, as always, you’re being an idiot.” I loved that about her. She wasn’t afraid to call me, or anyone else, on their shit.

  Helen was over ten years my senior, and in a lot of ways, filled a void my mother had left deep within my heart the day she disappeared. They were the two very different sides of a coin. My mother, Lizet, was tall, blond, and irresponsible. Helen was average height, with short, raven-black hair that was beginning to grey at the temples and the widow’s peak. She was a responsible woman and had decided early on that I would become one of her pet projects. I remembered the first time we met. I walked into her office to apply for a waitressing position. We connected the instant she told me to get rid of the baseball cap and tossed me a brush.

  “Conner will turn you away instantly looking like that,” she said. I was a bit of a tomboy back then, and I guess in a way, that never changed. However, because of her sound advice, I not only got the job, but was bumped to the higher position of dealer. The advancement meant a better hourly wage and incredible tips. Considering I’d just inherited a mortgage and a mouth to feed, I eagerly jumped at the job offer. I always thought it was Helen who talked Conner, the owner of the casino, into giving me the highly coveted position. She continued to deny it, but I never believed her.

  “I’m sort of in a bind.” She must have picked up on something—a tremble in my words, a veiled sob in my voice—because unlike her, she kept quiet and didn’t interrupt me. “Something horrible has happened to Torra, and I’ve been trying to help her. My hands are tied, and so far, I’ve done nothing but fail her.”

  I expected to feel a sense of relief in telling Helen, my closest confidant other than Jude, what I’d been keeping bottled up inside me. But instead of a wash of release, tears welled up in my eyes, and pent-up sobs racked my body.

  Firm arms enveloped me, and Rush pulled me back against his chest. I could feel his heart beat through my skin. It was beating fast, increasing with my tears. He stood there, holding me, while I explained to Helen, from the beginning, what had been happening over the last couple of days.

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Twenty minutes later, I hung up the phone. Helen had been beside herself with grief and worry over Torra’s kidnapping, and she was extremely supportive, a wonderful shoulder to cry on. I was feeling a bit lighter for it. She assured me that she’d take care of my shift for the day and would make sure that my vacation request passed over Conner’s desk ASAP. I owed her big time. The only thing left for me to do was to find my sister and make things right by Devil. Piece of cake! Yeah, right. Nope. It was a little slice of Hell that I was in no way looking forward to.

  “Are you all right?” Rush asked tenderly.

  He had remained quiet during the long, emotionally draining phone call. He was content with letting me lean on him, so I could soak up his comfort. I soon realized that the circle of people I could trust and count on had grown by one. It wasn’t the sex between us, even though it had been mind shattering, which brought us closer. It was his being there for me through that ordeal. I was beginning to open my eyes wide enough to see the reality of it and him. We were falling in love.

  I took in a deep breath that seemed to shake. “I’ll be okay. Even better when we find Torra, and completely sated once all this is over, and I’m back in bed with you again.”

  Out of the blue, I found myself swooped up and pinned against a hard chest. Rush’s mouth came thundering down on mine. Our tongues warred, hearts pounded. That kiss was different, scorching but sweeter, because it followed my realization of how truly deep my feelings were for him. I closed my eyes as the hunger rose. Eager hands found my ass, pulling me against him. Sweet Jesus, I could feel every inch of his excitement rubbing across my inner thigh, making me squirm and gyrate even harder, countering his sensual attack. When our hips finally aligned, his growing bulge rubbed between my legs.

  The sound of a throat clearing reached me through a lust-induced fog. I somehow peeled myself out of Rush’s arms. He groaned. I was embarrassed.

  “Hey, Jude, what’s up?” I asked, rolling from my heels to my toes. I shoved my hands into the pockets of my shorts, softly whistling.

  Jude smiled with his transparent features and pointed to my purse. “Your phone’s been ringing off the hook. Well, loud enough to raise the dead, as it were.”

  It took me a second to understand, but when his words penetrated, I sprinted to my phone.

  I put the phone to my ear. “Hello.”

  “Ah, seems like I was dialing the right number.” Wolf’s voice floated away. “See, Torra, your sister doesn’t wish you dead, after all.” I could hear growling resonating in the background. It came from his end of the line. Then I heard a pissed-off feminine roar. “Fuck you, prick!”

  Inappropriately, my heart welled with pride. It sounded like Torra was fighting that monster every step of the way. I just hoped her rebellious spirit wouldn’t land her in the grave. I decided to check my own attitude, so as not to poke the bear any harder than she already had.

  “I’m sorry it took me so long to answer. It won’t happen again.”

  Wolf chuckled and addressed my sister for the second time. “At least, one of you Chase sisters knows how to behave like a lady.”

  I bit back the curse rapidly forming on my tongue. “Do you have those final instructions for me?” Ignoring his backwards compliment, I tried to draw his attention back to me and off my sister.

  “Have no fear, necromancer. My need for your participation will soon come to its conclusion. As a matter of fact, tonight you will have your sweet sister back with you, tucked safely in your arms. All that’s left to do is meet me at the Hallowed Hills Cemetery at midnight. And please, be a dear and bring all your nifty instruments. You’ll need them.”

  Our call abruptly came to an end. My head dropped, and I quenched the urge to scream. That stupid son of a bitch wanted me to raise another corpse. I just knew it.

  “Did he tell you anything useful?” Rush asked.

  I put my phone back in my purse. If Wolf needed me to create a life to save my sister’s, well, then that’s what I was going to do.

  “Can you get me the equipment I used in Rafe’s ceremony?”

  Rush turned me around. “Let me see your beautiful face.” I obliged him by tilting my chin. “Yes, beautiful. I can get you whatever you need.” His thumb came up to swipe under my eye. I hadn’t known I’d been crying. “This will all be over soon. We’ll do whatever that asshole wants. And if I get the chance, I’m going to kill him for what he’s put you and your sister through.”

  I smirked, and after wiping the remaining tears from my eyes, I rose up on my toes and gave Rush a kiss on his scrumptious lips. The kiss helped chase my sorrow back to its cage, where it needed to stay locked up for a while longer. “Trust me. If such an opportunity arises, you’ll have to climb over me to get to him.”

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  After two days of being run through the gamut, the time to end it all had finally arrived. So much had happened, and I was extremely anxious for it to be over.

  My eyes roamed over Rush. He was sitting in the driver’s seat, eyes focused on the road with one hand on my knee. It hadn’t left that spot since we go
t into the car to drive to the cemetery ten minutes earlier. Turns out, there were two cemeteries in the area, and Hallowed Hills, our destination, was the city’s oldest one. I’m not sure why that fact evoked a deep forlorn feeling in the pit of my gut.

  “Are you sure you grabbed everything?” I asked Rush while rifling through the duffle bag full of candles, salt, and anything else he could find in my family’s awakening chamber at the Center.

  Rush had gone for the provisions alone, stating that he would be able to get in and out quicker without me. I had to agree with him. My fingers brushed against the sacred dagger, and a chill of remembrance traveled up my arm. The chill spread over my palm and reached the same spot on my forearm where I had sliced open the flesh there to administer Rafe’s first feeding. In that moment, with my concentration focused solely on the vampire I’d created, I was shocked to find that I could actually see him in my mind’s eye. Not only could I see Rafe, but somehow, I could feel his thoughts. They registered through me as if they were my own thoughts and feelings.

  Rafe was in the process of opening his eyes from a deep and restful slumber. He felt refreshed and stronger than he’d ever imagined possible because of his vampire awakening. He was excited to put that new-found strength to good use by helping Devil fix up the bar. He had no idea that he was being watched. As soon as I realized it, I pulled back on my mental probing. The abrupt yank of power, he did feel. And as my view of him receded, I watched as he stared right at me. His mouth gaped as he reached for me.

  “Are you a ghost?” Rafe whispered, his face a mask of disbelief.

  His eyes clouded over with strong emotions. I faded more, but before backing away fully, I had enough time to shake my head at him. Everything went black, and in a flash, my eyes opened. I found myself flat on my back on the cold, hard ground.

  The first thing that came into focus was a patch of bright stars in the sky. Next, my eyes landed on an old, wooden sign that read Hallowed Hills Cemetery. It swung, eerily screeching, over the arched entryway to the graveyard. Beyond that opening was darkness as far as the eye could see, and in that sable sea rested the bodies of hundreds of people. In some cases, it was also the home of some of those poor souls’ restless spirits. I could see vague images of them floating around, darting in and around some of the gravestones.

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