A quick bite, p.20
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       A Quick Bite, p.20

         Part #1 of Argeneau series by Lynsay Sands
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Chapter 19


  Greg's sleep was plagued by nightmares. He floated in a sea of blood, drifting past half-submerged bodies. One passed by with its face turned his way, and he flinched at the macabre sight. Black blood was pooled in the empty sockets where eyes should have been and filled its gaping mouth, eternally silencing its scream of agony and horror.

  On the shore he could see cross after cross lined up, crucified figures upon them. All turned their heads to watch him pass, smiling sickly and seeming oblivious to the dark figures peeling away their skins strip by bloody strip.

  A laugh made him turn his head to find a smail boat keeping pace with him. Lucian Argeneau stood in the bow holding a torch aloft. As Greg watched, the vampire smiled tauntingly, then dropped the torch he held. It hit the red viscous liquid with a splat, and Lucian burst out laughing even as the bloody sea burst into flame.

  Greg screamed as the fire raced hungrily toward him, knowing it would consume him and leave nothing but an ashen heap.

  "Shh shh, it's okay. You're safe. "

  Lissianna's soft voice helped him pull free of sleep's hold and Greg opened his eyes only to find himself confronted with utter darkness. For one moment, he feared he'd somehow been blinded and panic seized him, but then he began to be able to distinguish shapes and shadow and he realized it was simply that the lights were off.

  "Sleep," Lissianna whispered by his ear, then he felt the bed depress as she slid in next to him. Greg could feel the heat from her body reaching out toward his own as she joined him, then her fingers slipped into his and he clung to them, grateful for the contact.

  "Sleep," Lissianna repeated. "The worst is over, but now you need to rest and recover. You'll feel better the next time you wake up. I'll stay here with you. "

  Greg wanted to resist, he wanted to stay awake. He had a thousand questions to ask her, but couldn't hold out against his body's need and soon allowed sleep to reclaim him. This time, however, he wasn't plagued with nightmares. Instead, he dreamed of Lissianna. He chased her through the forest of time, laughing as he followed her under low branches and around large trunks, then he finally caught her by the waist and tumbled her into a mound of leaves.

  Giggling breathlessly, she threw handfuls of leaves at him as they rolled on the soft foliage. Greg finally caught her hands, slopping the barrage, and they lay there panting, their laughter slowing. When they had managed to catch their breath and lay staring solemnly at each other, he said softly, "I love you. "

  "And I love you, Greg," Lissianna responded. "I gave you my life's blood, and with it my future. We have drunk of each other and are now bound forever. If you are in trouble, I shall know. When you need me, I shall be there. We are connected. "

  Her words filled his heart and Greg released her hands to catch her face instead. Holding her gently, he covered her mouth with his and kissed her with all the love and passion he felt.

  Lissianna moaned softly into his mouth, and the sound made him hungry for more. Greg arched against her, reveling in how her softness cushioned his hard erection.

  "Mmm. "

  Greg blinked sleepily as that murmur of pleasure stirred him from his dreams. Opening his eyes, he found himself once again in the dark bedroom, soft light spilling from some source behind him. Turning his head slightly, Greg saw that the bathroom light was on and the door left cracked open to allow a sliver of it into the room. It revealed the IV by the bedside, which held an empty bag that was no longer inserted in his arm. It seemed the turning was done.

  A sleepy murmur drew his attention to the woman in his arms. Lissianna. They lay together spoon style, her bottom pressing into his groin and her shoulder in front of his mouth. Greg could see a round damp patch on the shoulder of her T-shirt in the dim light and realized he must have had his mouth pressed to her shoulder until he woke up.

  She sighed in her sleep and shifted just a little bit, but it was enough to make him aware of the healthy erection he had nestled against her bottom. Greg suspected that while he had imagined he'd been arching against her in his dream, he must also have been doing so for real while he slept.

  He lay still for a moment to give his erection a chance to go away, and as he waited, Greg inhaled her scent and enjoyed the feel of her warm, soft body curled against his. He could see that Lissianna wore a T-shirt, but soon began to wonder what she wore for bottoms. After a hesitation, he allowed the hand that was wrapped around her waist to ease down her flat stomach, then to her hip.

  Lissianna moaned and pressed back against him in her sleep as his hand drifted past cloth to skin. Blinking in surprise, Greg ran his hand back up, skimming it under the large T-shirt this time and for one minute he was sure she had nothing but the T-shirt on, but then he encountered the thin silk of panties. Greg let his hand skim past that to the soft flesh of her belly, then splayed his fingers and let them run up her side, then around to her stomach.

  When his fingers found her breast, he discovered that her nipple was already erect. It pressed eagerly into his palm as Greg covered it, and Lissianna moaned again, this time arching so that her bottom ground against him while her breast pushed forward into his hand in demand.

  "Greg?" Lissianna breathed, and he could tell that she was still half-asleep, yet her head turned instinctively in search of him.

  Greg shifted slightly until his mouth could reach hers, then he kissed her as he continued to fondle and caress her breast. The more awake she became the more passionate her response was. When Lissianna tried to turn to face him, he knew she was finally fully awake, but Greg wouldn't let her turn. Holding her in place with his body and mouth, he let his hand slide down over her stomach again, but this time slid it straight down and let it slip beneath the waistband of her panties.

  Lissianna gasped into Greg's mouth when his fingers reached and covered her mound, then she shuddered violently against him as he slipped a finger between the folds and began to caress her. He felt her hand close over his wrist, but she neither urged him on, nor pulled him away but simply held on to it as if she needed to touch him, too, but his hand was all she could reach in her position.

  Greg readjusted his hand so that he could continue to caress her with his thumb while sliding a finger into her at the same time and guessed Lissianna liked it when she began to suck fervently on his tongue. In the next moment, she broke their kiss with a gasp and turned her face into the pillow. He heard the cloth rend and knew she was biting into the material to keep from crying out.

  When she ground back against him, he groaned and pushed back, then moved his own mouth to her shoulder to nip her lightly, the action a sign of his need. He wanted to be inside her, to feel her warm wet heat close around him.

  "Greg. "

  His name, a cry muffled by the pillow, was a plea Greg was happy to respond to. Retrieving his hand from between her legs, he caught at the frail cloth of her panties and ripped them free with one quick jerk, then shifted them both and entered her from behind. Greg heard Lissianna cry out, and he paused, fearing he'd hurl her, but when she reached up to grasp the bedpost and used it to lever herself as she pushed back into him, he began to move again. He thrust into her over and over again, then reached around to continue caressing her as well and heard the groan that came from deep in her throat.

  Lissianna grabbed his hand again, her hold this time frantic, her nails digging into his skin, and he knew she was close to the breaking point. Her excitement excited him further, and Greg turned his face into her neck, pressing kisses there. When Lissianna cried out again and shuddered in his arms, suddenly throwing her head back to expose her neck fully to him, Greg didn't even think, he inhaled her scent, felt something shifting in his mouth and gave in to instinct, sinking his teeth deep into her neck.

  He heard Lissianna gasp something, but didn't really catch it, then they both moaned as pleasure crashed over them. Greg's mind was suddenly filled with her; her thoughts, her feelings, her pleasure exploded
in his mind, and he growled against her skin.

  Greg had experienced this at Deb's, but it was different somehow this time. While it was overwhelming at first, after a moment it stopped being just a blur of sensation. He began to be able to differentiate things, Greg could feel her pleasure at what he was doing, separate yet mingled with his own and found himself experimenting with it, changing his rhythm and readjusting his touch to explore until he found the most effective caress, the most pleasurable rhythm for them both.

  Lissianna moaned and reached up, arching against him so that she could reach his hair, then ran her fingers into it, caught hold of him and tugged even as they came. Greg pulled his mouth from her neck and cried out as he thrust into her one last time, his body vibrating with orgasm. He could feel her own orgasm quivering through her, muscles squeezing and twitching around him, then the door opened.

  "Lissianna, Aunt Marguerite is heading to bed and wants to know-- Oh my. . . uh. . . Oh. . . er. "

  Greg and Lissianna had frozen at the sound of the door opening. They were still frozen in spot when Thomas reached the bed and finally stumbled to a halt. It was only then that Greg became aware that the blankets had slid down past their hips, leaving them almost completely exposed. . . which, of course, was how Thomas had realized what he was interrupting.

  Sighing, Greg retrieved his hand from between Lis-sianna's legs and reached down to pull the blankets up to cover them both. He heard Lissianna moan deep in her throat as he did and suspected she hadn't realized the blankets had slipped until then either. Greg put his arm around her under the blanket and cuddled her close, trying to mitigate some of the embarrassment he knew she must be experiencing.

  "Uh, yeah, this is kind of embarrassing, isn't it?"

  Greg glanced back to Thomas, to see that the other man had turned and was moving back toward the door.

  "Well, I guess this answers one question," Lissianna's cousin said wryly. "Greg has woken up. "

  Lissianna lifted her head to keep Thomas in sight as he crossed the room, and Greg did the same behind her.

  "And I'll tell Aunt Marguerite she needn't come check on him before she goes to bed. He's obviously feeling much better. "

  Lissianna groaned, and Greg didn't have to look to know she'd be blushing.

  "And I'll let Mirabeau and the others know they shouldn't bother you to say good sleep before they retire. I'll explain that you're. . . er. . . recuperating. " He chuckled softly as he walked out the door and pulled it closed behind him.

  Lissianna dropped back on the bed in front of him with a groan. Greg lay down behind her again, the action making him aware that they were still joined together. Beginning to relax again, he smoothed one hand soothingly over her shoulder, then pressed a kiss there before pulling his head back to glance at her neck. Greg was relieved when he saw that the marks there were small and growing smaller by the moment. Still, he asked, "Are you okay?

  "Yes," Lissianna said quietly, then sighed. "Actually I

  should have asked you that when I first woke up, and I didn't. "

  Greg smiled faintly. "You were a bit distracted. "

  "Yes," she said softly, then reached back to run one hand lightly up his hip and asked, "Are you okay? I mean do you feel all right?"

  Greg chuckled softly, his chest rumbling against her back, then he assured her, "I'm fine. "

  "No pain, no--?"

  "I'm fine," he repeated firmly, pulling her closer back against him. "Great, in fact. Now. "

  They were silent, then Lissianna whispered, "It was pretty bad, wasn't it?"

  Greg grimaced into her hair. "Pretty bad" didn't begin to describe the turning. The pain had been unbearable. There were several points where he'd thought it would kill him. But even when the pain had ended, the nightmares had been just as bad in their own way.

  "It was bad," he admitted, then added, "but worth it. "

  "You don't regret it?"

  "No. " Greg ran his hand lightly up and down her arm. "We're alive. Safe. 1 don't have to worry about them coming after me to try to silence me and you don't have to fear retribution for trying to keep me safe. "

  They fell silent, each lost in their own thoughts, then Lissianna said, "Greg?"


  "Last night, after I left you in Debbie's room to think about whether you really wanted to turn or not?"

  "Yes?" he prompted when she paused.

  "What did you decide then?"

  "I hadn't decided. I was still thinking," he admitted honestly, then added, "but 1 was leaning toward a yes. "

  "Really?" Lissianna asked, and something about her tone told him it was important to her.

  "Really. " Greg allowed silence to close in again, then recalled his dream and said, "I was dreaming just before I woke up. "

  "Were you?" she asked. "What about?"

  "You. "

  "Me?" He could hear the smile in her voice. "Sounds like a nightmare. "

  Greg gave a snort at her words and tickled her for punishment.

  "Okay, okay," she cried, grabbing at his hands to try to stop him. "What did you dream about?"

  Greg allowed her to catch his hand and stop his tickles, but waited until she was settled back against him once more before telling her, "We were playing chase through the forest of time. "

  "The forest of time," Lissianna murmured.

  "Yes. It just looked like a forest to me, but in my head I knew it was the forest of time. "

  "Oh. " She snuggled against him with a sigh.

  "And I caught you and we roiled in a pile of leaves and you, of course, had to throw fistfuls of them at me. "

  "Oh well, of course I did. " Lissianna chuckled.

  He smiled and pressed a kiss to the top of her head, then hesitated.

  "What happened next?" she asked.

  Greg stared at the back of her head, then finally said, "I told you I love you. "

  Lissianna went still in his arms. He swore she even stopped breathing, the silence was so thick, then he added, "And you said, you loved me, too. "

  He wasn't imagining it, Greg decided. She was definitely holding her breath, he realized with amusement.

  "And then you said, you'd given me your future with your blood, and that we were connected because we'd drunk of each other. That you'd know when I was in trouble and when I needed you you'd be there. "

  Greg frowned as he finished, wishing he could remember the exact words. He thought he'd recalled the gist of it, but somehow it had sounded more official when she'd said it in his dreams, almost like an oath. . . or a vow.

  Aware that she was very silent, he rubbed his hand up her arm, and asked, "Would you know if 1 was in trouble?"

  Lissianna cleared her throat, then said, "They say there is some sort of communication between the nanos. "

  "That makes sense," he allowed. "They work together, one would presume they'd need to communicate somewhat. "

  "Hmm. " She nodded slightly. "They say that mothers have special bonds to their children because of it and because it is their nanos that are passed on to them. They also say that the same thing happens when sires pass on their blood to their life mates. "

  "They say?" he echoed. "Is it true?"

  This time it was Lissianna who hesitated, then she admitted, "Mother has always sensed somehow when I or my brothers were in difficulty or upset. "

  "Did she know you were in trouble when you were staked?" Greg asked with interest.

  Lissianna nodded. "Thomas kept me company for a while when I took over watching you for Mom and the others so they could get some rest. He said that she was in a state when he called here to warn them to lay in some blood because we were coming. He said--" She paused and cleared her throat. "He said her first words to him when she answered the phone were that something was wrong and I needed help. . . before he even mentioned that I was with him and injured. "

  "So she knew. "

sp; Lissianna nodded.

  "So you may know when I'm in trouble in future," Greg said slowly.

  She gave a shrug that was hampered by her position. "Perhaps. Or perhaps it's all just more of the legend that's wrong and Mother just knows when we need help because she's a mother. "

  "Do you know when she's in trouble?" Greg asked.

  "Well. . . " Lissianna paused to think for a minute, then sighed. "I don't know. Mother has never been in trouble. Not since I was born anyway. "

  Greg accepted that, then said, "Lissianna, last night you said that turning me wouldn't automatically make me your life--"

  "Greg," she interrupted.

  He paused and waited and heard her take a deep breath, before she said, "Please, no more serious talk tonight. Tomorrow we can. . . " She sighed. "Just for tonight, let it be. We have all the time in the world to worry about forever. "

  Greg hesitated, then smiled faintly and relaxed against her. They did have all the time in the world to worry about forever. And by waiting, he could spend some time showing her how good that time could be, he decided, then suddenly rolled out of the bed.

  Startled, Lissianna sat up to peer at him. "What are you doing?"

  "It's not what I am doing," he informed her, moving to the bathroom as he said, "It's what we are doing. "

  Lissianna smiled uncertainly as he briefly disappeared inside. She waited until he came back out to ask, "What are we doing then?"

  "You'll see," Greg said mysteriously as he tossed the terry-cloth robe from the bathroom at her, then reached for his pants.

  After a slight hesitation, Lissianna pulled the robe on and climbed from the bed to belt it up.

  Greg finished zipping up his jeans as she stood up. He waited for her to finish doing up her robe, then--not bothering with a shirt, he caught her hand and hurried her to the door.

  "Where are we going?" she asked in a whisper as he opened the door.

  "You'll see," he answered, then asked, "Why are we whispering? Everyone knows we're here. "

  "Yes, but it's morning, and Thomas said they were all going to bed," Lissianna reminded him. "I don't want to keep them up. "

  "Ah," Greg said with understanding, then grinned, and added, "That's perfect. "

  "Why?" she asked, but this time he didn't answer, but merely led her along the hall to the stairs. They were halfway down to the ground floor when he suddenly froze and glanced back at her.

  "The housekeeper?" he asked.

  "What about her?" Lissianna murmured.

  "Will she be here yet?" Greg asked with a frown, wondering what time it was. Probably just after dawn, he guessed, surely too early for a housekeeper to start work.

  "Oh. " Lissianna shook her head. "Mother gave her yesterday and today off. She didn't want Maria upset by. . . well. . . you were screaming and she wasn't sure how long it would last. "

  Lissianna looked uncomfortable as she made the admission, but her words made Greg grin and he assured her, "That's perfect, too. "

  "Perfect for what?" she asked curiously. "Wait and see," was all Greg would say.

  "Okay, open. "

  Lissianna dutifully opened her mouth. She sat on the kitchen counter, wrapped up in a fluffy white terry-cloth robe, feet swinging and the sash of her robe tied around her eyes so she couldn't see as Greg slipped a spoonful of some unknown food into her mouth. Lissianna closed her mouth as he drew the spoon back out, then swished the food around with her tongue. Whipped cream, cherries, some sort of cake. . .

  "Mmm," she murmured, almost groaning with pleasure. Lissianna swallowed the cool creamy substance with a pleased little sigh, then asked, "What was that?"

  "Sherry trifle. " Greg's answer came from in front and a little to the side of her and she heard the snap of the re-sealable container as he put the trifle away.

  "Oh," she said with surprise, then shook her head. "No. I remember sherry trifle, and it was never that good. "

  Greg chuckled and Lissianna heard him shuffling things around in the refrigerator, then a brief silence before he said, "Okay, open again. "

  She dutifully opened her mouth again, then gave a start as he slapped a blood bag into her teeth.

  "You were still looking a bit peaked," Greg explained with a chuckle, and Lissianna wrinkled her nose at him. It was the third bag of blood he'd fed her this way. It was once they'd reached the kitchen that Greg had announced that he was starved and had dragged her down to the kitchen for a feast. Lissianna had then explained that he probably needed blood because of biting her.

  He hadn't believed her at first, until she'd explained that when he'd bitten her, he'd taken in her nanos and that while they would eventually die out and his body would become balanced again, in the meantime the extra nanos would be consuming blood at an accelerated rate. That, combined with the fact that his body was--and would continue for a while--going through blood at a higher than normal rate, meant that he would need to feed.

  When he'd asked if she, too, might not need to feed since he'd taken blood from her, Lissianna had reluctantly admitted that she did. She'd feared he would insist on hooking her up to an intravenous, but he hadn't. Greg hadn't wanted her to be out of commission while she fed any more than she did. He'd lifted her up onto the counter and blindfolded her with her sash, then proceeded to pop two bags onto her teeth one after the other. The first bag had been a bit messy, but Greg had cleaned up the mess he'd made, and the second bag had worked much better. He'd gone through three bags himself as he fed her, and still he'd claimed to be hungry once he'd finished, claiming he wanted something he could chew on.

  Lissianna had tried to remove her blindfold and slip off the counter then, but Greg had insisted she stay put and begun this game they were now playing. He was eating as well as feeding her a little of almost everything in the kitchen and, much to Lissianna's amazement, she was enjoying the food. She'd enjoyed the chili he'd made the other day and had joined him in eating it then, but had thought that was a onetime sort of deal caused by never before having eaten that particular food. However, this morning she was enjoying almost every single thing she sampled and a lot of it Lissianna had tried when she use to eat, but she didn't recall it tasting as good back then.

  'There. " Greg removed the bag from her mouth, and she heard the rustle as he threw it away. "You look much better. How do you feel?'

  "Good. . . but then I felt good before the bagged blood, too," she said on a laugh, then stiffened briefly in surprise as his hands slid inside her robe and around her waist.

  '"Yes, you do feel good. " he murmured, pressing a kiss to her chin and allowing his hands to run up and down her naked back under the terry-cloth robe.

  She felt his breath on her lips, then his mouth covered hers, and Lissianna opened to him, sighing in the back of her throat as he stirred a slow lazy passion in her with his tongue.

  When the kiss ended, Greg asked, "Do you know what?"

  "What?" Lissianna said on a sigh. She lifted her hands to cup his shoulders as he feathered kisses across her cheek to her ear.

  "I feel absolutely fantastic. "

  Lissianna smiled faintly. "Do you?"

  "Oh yeah. " Greg moved in closer, stepping between her legs and urging her forward until her breasts brushed against the hair on his chest. The sensation was somehow more erotic with the blindfold on, her tactile sense seeming heightened to make up for the loss of sight.

  "I think I already have some of that extra strength and stamina you guys all have," he told her, pressing her a little closer.

  "We'll see," Lissianna murmured, and reached up to remove her blindfold only to have Greg catch her hands.

  "Uh-uh," he said mildly. "We had a deal. I'd feed you the bagged blood on your teeth so we didn't have to waste time with an IV, but in return, you had to stay blindfolded until I say so. "

  Lissianna hesitated, then let her hands drop back down, a slow smile curving her lips. "Well th
en," she murmured. "I guess I'll just have to feel my way around, won't I?''

  "Feel your way around what?" Greg asked with interest.

  Smiling, Lissianna forced him backward as she slid off the counter and reached out until her hands brushed against his bare chest. She splayed her fingers over his warm flesh, then ran them down until she found the top of his jeans.

  "Oh," Greg breathed, as Lissianna undid his jeans.

  She bowed her head to hide her smile and eased his jeans down off his hips. As she had in Debbie's bedroom, Lissianna knelt to finish removing his jeans. Once she'd pulled them free and tossed them to the side, she felt Greg's hands take hers and he tried to urge her back to her feet, but Lissianna resisted and tugged her hands free.

  "Uh-uh," she said, reaching out until one hand brushed against his lower leg. "If I have to keep my blindfold on, you have to keep your hands to yourself," she announced, and began to follow his leg upward until she found his erection.

  "Oh that's not fai--" Greg broke off on a hiss as she leaned forward and look him in her mouth.
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