Book excerpt

Obsidian Flame

The Guardians of Ascension

Caris Roane

St. Martin's Press

Who can change,
But the one ready for magnificence.
 
Collected Proverbs, Beatrice of Fourth
 
 
CHAPTER 1
 
 
Thorne, out of ancient Britain in AD 11, stood outside a vile-smelling dive, a real shithole, somewhere in El Paso One, Mortal Earth. He took deep breaths trying to calm the hell down so that he didn’t draw his sword, go back inside, and impale a beefy-looking mortal who was more innocent than guilty in this little flirtation drama.
He whipped his Droid Ascender from the pocket of his jeans, a sweet interdimensional piece of technology that allowed him to call home. He all but punched the screen. Shit, his hand trembled. He had so much adrenaline and testosterone flooding his system that, yeah, he was shaking like a drunk off a bender.
The phone rang several times. “Pick up, pick up, pick up.”
Finally, Alison’s voice came on the line. “Sorry. Had to get out of Endelle’s office before I answered.”
“Okay, good.” In the past three weeks since he’d left Second Earth, he’d grown dependent on Alison for a couple of reasons. She helped him keep his head screwed on straight, and she kept him informed on that little detail called the war against Commander Greaves.
He was about to launch into his current dilemma, as in what to do about his woman who was making moves on another man, when Alison cut him off. “Thorne, there’s something you’ve got to know right away, and it’s bad.”
His body stilled. Alison wasn’t given to drama of any kind. From the day of her ascension over a year ago, she’d been an equalizing force among the Warriors of the Blood and especially with Endelle, serving as she did as the scorpion queen’s executive assistant.
His hearing became focused, laser-like, on exactly what Alison would say next. He took another deep breath. “Let me have it.”
“It’s been all over the news for the past hour. In three days, Greaves is conducting a spectacle-grade military review that will last four, maybe six hours. Rumors are that he’s marching an army of two hundred thousand troops, his ‘Ascender Liberation Army,’ down the Moscow Two avenue.”
Thorne’s lips parted because he needed to keep breathing, but he wasn’t sure his lungs were working.
Greaves had just upped the stakes at the same moment that Thorne had gone AWOL to chase after a woman who wanted nothing to do with him.
Perfect.
“Are you there?” Alison asked.
“What?”
“Thorne, did you hear what I said?”
“Yes. Processing. Shit.” He shook his head—like Alison could see that. “This is a completely illegal maneuver. COPASS can’t let this slide, not this time. ‘No entity shall engage in a public display of military prowess.’ The rules are clear.”
“Marcus has been on the phone nonstop to the international COPASS HQ in Prague. Every answer he’s been given goes something like, The committee has the Commander’s request for permits under review. But we all know what that means.”
“Squat.”
“Exactly. I hate to ask this, but can you come home? This news has all of the High Administrators still aligned with Endelle jumpy. Three shifted their alliance to Greaves just because of the announcement. Three.
“Oh, shit.”
“Exactly.”
He turned back to face the run-down building, which blared some lively Mexican music: trumpets, guitars, and a quick beat.
Marguerite, his woman, his vampire bond-mate, was in there, getting one huge motherfucker of a Mexican all worked up with her long, blood-red nails and short platinum hair.
He’d followed her to Mortal Earth because he’d had no choice in the matter. Much to his surprise the goddamn breh-hedden had hit him flush in the jaw and torn all his good sense from its usual strong footings. All the warriors had thought the breh-hedden was a myth; then Alison had shown up and knocked Kerrick on his ass—Kerrick, the one who had vowed never to marry again. Three other warriors had followed, like dominoes: Marcus, Medichi, and just a few weeks ago Jean-Pierre.
Now it was his turn.
And Greaves had decided this was the hour to let the world know that he’d built an army worthy of victory, and was getting ready to launch his takeover bid of both Second Earth and Mortal Earth.
Fucking great.
He turned again, to once more face away from the bar. He felt the call of his world, of Second Earth, and of something more, something vast that had begun pulsing in the center of his brain. He lived with two aches now, the heavy pounding in his head and the stiff pulsing in his groin.
He was a man torn, now more than ever, because of the implied threat of a spectacle-based military review. Damn, there’d be fireworks and massive orchestral music as well as hundreds of DNA-altered swans and geese. Second Earth lived for spectacle and Greaves knew it. The damn thing was genius.
He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to think. Alison, thank God, had fallen silent, giving him space, the usual. She’d been a counselor before she ascended. She knew how to let a moment breathe.
Finally, he said, “I’m going to do everything I can to move things along here. But I can’t leave Marguerite right now and it isn’t just because of the breh-hedden. Because she’s obsidian flame, Greaves wants her dead. She’s unprotected if I just take off. You know Endelle was counting on her emerging power to make a difference in the war. At the very least, I need to bring her home with me.”
“You’re right,” Alison said, some of the tension leaving her voice. “I’d gotten so wrapped up in this review, I’d forgotten about Marguerite’s power. Don’t worry. I’ll talk it over with Marcus. He’ll understand. More than anyone, he’ll understand.” Marcus was four thousand years old and had only recently returned to Second Earth and to the Warriors of the Blood after a two-hundred-year absence, his own form of desertion.
Yeah, if anyone would understand all the dilemmas facing Thorne, Marcus would.
“I’d better go,” he said.
“I almost forgot, what did you call for?”
“Nothing. I mean, I’ll work it out.” He laughed as he pushed a hand through his hair and all but dislodged his cadroen. “I may be calling you later. I’ve got a situation in El Paso Two.”
Alison’s voice dropped. “Oh, shit, Endelle just walked into my office. Gotta go.”
The line went dead.
A military spectacle review. Jesus H. Christ.
He returned his phone to his jeans. He lowered his chin and went back into the bar. He sure could use a drink right about now, but for this ride he’d stopped with the Ketel One. Everything was coming to a head fast and he needed to see things just as they were, not through a vodka haze. Still, it sure didn’t help that Marguerite was flashing a smile at that goddamn good-looking Mexican.
He drew his mist in tight. He was good at creating the preternatural disguise that kept him invisible to anyone around him, especially here on Mortal Earth. Anyone, of course, except Marguerite. She could see him even though she’d been ignoring him all night. By now she was used to his hovering presence—he’d been dogging her heels from the first night he’d touched down on Mortal Earth.
They’d argued plenty, but this was the worst she’d been, sitting as close as she was to her current prey on a tall stool. It looked as though she’d made up her mind that tonight was the night.
He took up his former station, leaning against the wall, close to the door. He crossed his arms over his chest. His biceps flexed involuntarily. His nostrils flared. His breathing was still pretty uneven, especially since even at this distance he could smell her rose scent, rich red roses. It was the one sure sign that this woman was meant for him.
Yet he had no real claim on Marguerite, even though they’d been lovers for over a century. She’d broken with him, needing to go her own way, because she’d been locked up in a convent for the last hundred years. Her parents had consigned her to the Convent in Prescott Two in hopes of getting her to conform to their fanatical religious beliefs. She’d survived the ordeal by sustaining the hope that one day she’d be free to live however she wanted to live. So as soon as he’d liberated her, she’d hopped down to Mortal Earth and started a new life away from Second, away from the war, away from him.
The problem was that she’d ended their relationship at the exact moment the breh-hedden had kicked in.
What a nightmare the breh-hedden had proved to be. Marguerite was his breh, his bond-mate, the woman meant for him. She even carried a decadent rose scent that only he could detect. The urge to be near her, to protect her, to be joined to her in every way possible had overruled his common sense and even his duty as the leader of the Warriors of the Blood. That she also carried the red variety of obsidian flame power was just one more reason he’d felt compelled to follow her to Mortal Earth. Somehow he had to convince her to return with him to Second. So here he was, his back pinned to a goddamn wall in a stinking bar, and without a single clue as to how to convince her to come back with him.
He stared at the new Marguerite. She was as beautiful as ever, an almost perfectly oval face, strong arched brows, and large brown eyes, eyes he’d looked into ten thousand times while making love to her. She used to have really long straight brown hair that he would hold wrapped around his forearm when he took her from behind. Now she had short platinum-blond hair, white-blond, and blood-red fingernails about an inch long.
She sipped a very crimson cosmo, her current favorite drink, the same color as the lights flashing in his head. She had her elbow on the bar, her long nails flicking the feathered spikes of her hair.
The bastard next to her had his left knee about a millimeter away from hers. His eyelids lazed low.
Shit. Thorne knew exactly what that look meant: that the only thought running through the bastard’s head would be just how soon he could get this woman on her back, or settled on his hips and riding him hard. He shuddered through a few more deep breaths.
He wasn’t entirely to blame. The breh-hedden had him hooked in deep, forcing him to look at Marguerite not just as a woman but as his mate, his fucking mate. His mind swirled with a variety of impulses that kept shouting things like Use your fists and beat the shit out of that asshole or worse, Use your sword and take the smile off his face permanently.
This particular mortal wasn’t half bad looking if you liked a scruff of a beard, a scar on the right cheek, thick black hair combed back straight, and tats on the neck, shoulders, and forearms. He was big, too. Warrior-big.
This was so not going to end well.
Under-fucking-statement.
Even through the stench of beer, smoke, and male bodies, all he could really process was that light floral scent that kept his dick in an uproar.
The bastard made his move. He reached out and grazed Marguerite’s elbow with the tips of two fingers, then moved away, a smooth, quick testing of the waters.
Marguerite smiled. She leaned in toward him and reached out with her hand to stroke his bicep.
Stroke his bicep.
Stroke his bicep.
The red strobes in his head spun faster. His fists balled. Creator help him. His palm itched for his sword. He spread his fingers wide, ready to catch some steel.
For a split second he almost completed the mental sequence that would have brought his sword into his hand. He saw the carnage as plain as day: one asshole with his head split wide, one woman caught up under his arm and hauled out of this hellhole kicking and screaming.
He was so close.
His fingers trembled.
He wanted his sword in his hand.
He wanted the bastard dead.
He didn’t so much as have the thought as act because in the next split second he dematerialized out of the smoke and re-formed in the deep night shadows, well beyond the bar, well away from temptation. He bent over. He shook. He came within an inch of puking his guts out.
Shit. He’d almost killed an innocent man. Thorne, Warrior of the Blood, protector of the innocent, preserver of life, keeper of the peace, and he’d almost killed an innocent man. Creator help him.
So here he was, almost losing the Buffalo wings he’d gorged on, tortured because his woman, who was not his woman, was pursuing her favorite hunting-sport: men.
There was only one real question to answer: How the hell was he supposed to keep from killing this man if she succeeded in taking him into her bed?
*   *   *
Marguerite Dresner’s fingertips tingled as she played over the tatted barbed wire on the stranger’s bare, thick, muscled bicep. Her quarry’s smell rose up around her. He wore a heavy cologne, heavy like his muscles, like the male scent she was getting from him. She flared her nostrils and sucked in more of what he was giving.
Unfortunately, another scent crowded the space.
Dammit, cherry tobacco. Again. For the thousandth time.
Despite the fact that she knew the real source, she asked, “Do you smoke a pipe?”
He shook his head, leaning into her a little. “Nope. I’m a cigar man. You like cigars?”
She liked the shape well enough. Who didn’t? But she didn’t care for the aroma. She did like pipe tobacco, though, which was one reason the cherry aroma bugged the shit out of her.
“Now, why are you frowning?” he asked. “What’s made you unhappy?” He had a slight accent and a deep voice, fitting for all that body he carried around. Her gaze fell in a free fall to his snug jeans. This man knew how to display, and when his knee shifted just a little, the bulge moved.
She felt light-headed. She had waited so long for this, to explore the world again, to cruise the Mortal Earth bars and know a lot of men.
Men different from the only one she’d known for the past century.
Aw, shit, why did she have to think of Thorne right now. He hadn’t wanted her to leave Second Earth, but she’d left anyway. She’d had to leave. She had a life to live and men to devour. One hundred years in that godforsaken Convent, the one with canings, and strappings, and beatings, had left her needing so much more of life than what Second Earth could offer right now.
Why couldn’t Thorne get that? Why couldn’t he just leave her alone?
She saw from her peripheral vision that he was done with holding up the wall. Huh, so maybe he’d finally taken the hint. He’d glowered and looked so hot in jeans and a wife-beater shirt that it was all she could do to keep from going over there and attacking him.
But she needed him to get the message. She couldn’t go back to him and she sure as hell couldn’t go back to Second Earth. As much as she knew this would kill him, she’d been putting off the inevitable for three weeks now. She’d spent some time getting her bearings, learning to drive, then driving through state after state and back again. It was late March and most of the lower states were a piece of heaven.
But tonight she was crossing over, ending her connection to the past. She was beginning the real adventure, the fantasy that had kept her sane during her hundred years in that Convent.
She forced memories of Thorne down deep.
She lifted her gaze to the dark brown eyes in front of her, the man flirting with her, casting out signals. His gaze was slung low on her chest, as it should be. She’d hardly covered her girls up at all, and even though the bar was a little steamy her nipples were firm and probably nicely puckered, pushing against the dark blue silk.
He leaned in close, his hand sliding up her leg and squeezing her bare thigh. The man had a nice firm, possessive touch. He whispered against her ear, “Let’s get out of here. I’ve got a place close by.”
Shivers chased down her shoulders and sides from all that breath over her neck. Her heart set up a racket in her chest.
She didn’t answer him. She just slid off the stool, took his big hand, and headed for the door. This is what she remembered it being like, the excitement, meeting some stranger, getting worked up after a couple of drinks, wondering how good he’d be in bed.
She had a knack for picking men who knew how to work it. This man had good lay written all over him. God, what a body, almost as big as Thorne.
Thorne again! Dammit!
She reached the cool clean desert air and drank in a big gulp, hoping to clear her head. But there it was again, cherry tobacco, stronger now that she was outside. She looked to her left and could see him in the shadows but lifted her chin and moved on. She needed him to get a clue: He could glower all he wanted, but this was the life she wanted, the life she’d chosen. Hell, this was the life she’d earned after so many decades locked up.
But when she got a few feet down the sidewalk, suddenly he was just there, all misted up so her new man couldn’t see him. He didn’t try to touch her but she couldn’t help looking straight at him. Oh … God.
Don’t do this, his mind sent straight into hers. Please.
His hands had dropped to his sides and were balled into fists. She could tell he was holding on by a thread.
She dropped her gaze to his chest. She couldn’t bear looking into his eyes. How could she explain the why of all this? But then explaining wasn’t necessary. This was what killed her about Thorne: He got her, he understood her, he knew she had to do this, had to leave, had to move on. In his way, he was letting her go. He sure as hell could have just thrown her over his shoulder, and maybe that’s what she wished he would do so that she didn’t have to choose.
But she had chosen.
Thanks for not making a scene, she sent.
Fuck, he responded, probably not meaning to.
Let me go, Thorne. Please.
Another quiet Fuck left his mouth, but he dematerialized.
Her new man leaned down. “We good?”
She looked back up at him. “We’re good.” She still had hold of his hand so she gave it a squeeze.
But something deep inside her trembled. She felt an overwhelming need to get back to Thorne.
Would this torture never end?
Would she ever truly be free of Second Earth?
She forced the trembling to stop.
Forget all that.
She had a life to live.
She ran a hand through her short blond locks.
He put his hands on her waist. “What’s your name?” He dipped his head low and kissed her cheek.
“Marguerite.”
“That’s a beautiful name. Marguerite.” He said it slow, like he was practicing, like he intended to say it a lot and at exactly the right time.
“What’s yours?” she asked. He shifted her beside him and set them both moving slowly in the direction of a big Chevy Silverado, the kind with four wheels on the back. A big man needed a big truck.
She needed a big man.
“José. My name’s José.”
“Mexican?”
“Sí.” The word popped out like a whip. “Mexican okay with you?”
“You mean, do I discriminate?”
“Sí.” Again, like a whip.
She put her hand on his hip and moved lower, sliding her fingers so that she rested over the entire beautiful length of his erect cock, the jeans rough against her fingers. “Oh, I discriminate. Right here, José. Is that okay with you?”
She pushed.
He hissed. “Yeah, it’s okay.”
She smiled. “Let’s go, José, before I change my mind.”
This time he smiled. He had a wonderful smile full of big teeth. She wanted those teeth on her.
Thorne had big teeth, too. He’d use them nipping, pulling, biting, plucking. He’d done it for a hundred years and knew exactly how to work her up.
Dammit, Thorne again.
*   *   *
Thorne stood in the shadows of the building. He didn’t know what to do. Her scent was heavy in the air.
He watched them get into the truck.
He created more mist. He lost his shirt and mounted his wings. He shot into the air high overhead and followed the truck.
The red strobes still flashed through his brain but at least some part of his mind was functioning because his rational side had begun to calculate, to figure this damn thing out. The man, José, would die tonight unless Thorne got his shit together and connected some dots.
He could engage in fist-to-fist, a battle he would win. So at the very least, yeah, he was doing that. He’d leave the bastard unconscious so that he’d live, but Marguerite would be pissed. She didn’t have the gentlest temperament, an understatement that made him smile. She was his wildcat, game for anything, and he loved that about her.
But in this situation, her fighting spirit limited his options.
So what the hell was he supposed to do now?
He could call the cops, create a little diversion, cause some chaos. But again … woman … pissed. The one thing he’d learned from being Endelle’s second-in-command was a little diplomacy, a sense of timing, a sense of when not to go all shock-and-awe, when something less splashy was called for. Not that he’d learned strategic thinking from her; rather, he’d learned because of her scorpion temperament and her recklessness. Thorne wasn’t reckless, which was one reason his current predicament was a total shitfest.
He’d like to let loose. God knew he would. He’d like to let loose, use every power in his arsenal, and fix this thing right now. But that was warrior thinking: Shoot now … don’t even think about asking questions later.
No, this fucking conundrum required finesse.
The truck pulled in front of a house that was much nicer than expected given the man’s tats and the overall sleazy nature of the bar. The rock landscaping out front didn’t even have weeds. Huh. The bastard might actually be a fairly decent bastard. Thorne even liked the truck. He knew the score. A big man needed something that fit the size of his shoulders.
As the bastard left the driver’s side and went around to Marguerite’s door, Thorne touched down at least fifty yards away, keeping his mist tight. He drew in his wings. He knew that if Marguerite looked around she’d see him, but when José opened the door she pushed off the running board and leaped into his arms.
He caught her and wasted no time jamming his tongue down her throat. His woman ate it up.
Thorne watched both sets of jaws working like mad.
Aw, fuck.
Before he realized he’d thought the thought, he pushed his mind against José’s and slipped through the back door of the bastard’s head. He was inside the man’s mind.
He ignored the firebomb of desire that flipped words like tits and ass through the bastard’s head with rapid slingshot-like movements. Instead he focused on what he’d been missing for three weeks, the feel of Marguerite’s swift darting tongue pushing into his mouth … well, José’s mouth.
The experience was unusual to say the least, because it was as though he not only was inside José’s mind but could feel what José was feeling. And there seemed to be a strange vibration to the whole experience, like a low level of electricity all through Thorne’s body.
At the very least, he felt like he could take partial possession of José’s mind and body and just enjoy the ride, but because the red strobes were still flashing in his head, he knew at some point he’d probably lose it and take every one of the bastard’s brain cells with a pointed thought or two.
He forced his brain to work hard at a solution, even in the face of José pawing Marguerite’s breasts.
Oh, dear God.
He had to figure this out. He started flipping through José’s memories. He had a bunch of friends. He liked women, a lot. He knew how to use a blade. He sure as hell knew how to use his cock. There was a lot he liked about the man. He even earned his living buying and selling shit on the Internet. The bastard was a goddam entrepreneur. Okay, he really couldn’t kill him now. He was a contributing member of society.
So what the hell was he supposed to do?
What could he do?
He focused on the strange vibration he was feeling, the ease with which he could feel all that José was experiencing.
He pulled out of his mind.
José drew back from Marguerite, slid his arm around her waist, and propelled her to the front door.
A moment later that door closed and Thorne was left alone in the dark.
The trembling through his body started all over again. Jesus H. Christ. He felt those impulses fall on him, to race after the bastard and strip his skin from his body, one inch at a time.
Instead of reacting, he worked on his breathing and focused on this new strange sensation. Something was going on, a new power maybe, something unexpected. That deep throbbing in his brain got a little worse as well, but mostly it was this strange vibration and an urge to put a hand on José, but this time not to hurt him.
What would happen then, if he touched him?
He once more slid inside the bastard’s head and sifted through the man’s recent memories. He found a recent interaction with a friend named Miguel. He could see Miguel’s face, even hear his voice.
Thorne sped to the front door and pounded. He then moved back about ten feet, still cloaked in mist. He called out, “Hermano, get your ass out here,” in just the way Miguel would have, the way he often heard Santiago speak.
Jose opened the door and peeked his head out. He was sweating and his shirt was off.
Thorne penetrated José’s mind and offered a little thrall action. Tell her you’ll be right back. Your friend needs your help.
He looked behind him. “Stay here. I’ll be right back. My friend Miguel is having problems.”
Thorne could feel Marguerite reaching out for him telepathically, but he shut his mind down hard. He guided José to his truck and told him to hop in the back and have a nice nap. José practically sprang inside, stretched himself the length of the bed, and was out.
Thorne, now balancing on the top of the side, looked down at him. Marguerite wouldn’t remain where she was for very long. Whatever he was going to do, he had to do it quick.
He leaped into the bed beside José and went with his instincts. He put his hand on José’s face and felt that same vibration, a kind of electricity. He let it flow until it streamed through Thorne’s body. His mist dissipated.
He rose up and turned toward the house.
Uh-oh.
Marguerite stood in the doorway, topless, her arms folded beneath her beautiful oh-so-familiar breasts. She still wore her short skirt and stilettos, which somehow made the whole picture sexier than if she were completely naked.
He was in for it now.
“Well, you coming or not?”
Thorne froze. Why wasn’t Marguerite mad? Or was she? She didn’t look mad? Her lips were swollen and she was ready for the action she’d been chasing all night.
He jumped down lightly from the bed of the truck. He was about to explain that he didn’t want to kill her date so he’d put him in a slight doze when he realized that he wasn’t quite himself. He felt odd just moving his legs. His upper thighs seemed heavier than usual like he carried a few more pounds. He glanced down and saw … not himself.
He was … José.
Holy hell, he’d just morphed.
Well, didn’t this change things up?
For a split second he considered telling her the truth, but when she lowered her arms and thrust her chest out, he thought he’d be a fool to do anything other than accept her invitation.
*   *   *
Marguerite looked her prey up and down. He was built like Thorne except beefier. She’d also felt the most important part of him and yeah, like Thorne, his assets were just right, maybe not quite as well endowed as Thorne but he’d do. God, yes, he’d do.
She smiled. She’d been waiting for this for a hundred years and three long weeks. She didn’t know why she’d even put this off. Anticipation streaked through her in fiery flashes, and watching José move toward her now like he meant to devour her in one big bite made her smile broaden.
José smiled back.
“What were you doing out there?” she asked when he reached the doorway.
“You should be inside,” he said. “I have neighbors.”
“Thought I’d give ’em a thrill.”
“You’re giving me a thrill.”
“That’s all that matters.” When he got close, she grabbed his arm and pulled him into the house then slammed the door.
He moved fast as he picked her up and lifted her high, really high, as in his-mouth-to-her-breast high. She slung her legs around his back. He slammed her against the door.
“You getting rough with me?” But she was panting a little.
“You complaining?”
“No.”
He settled in for a suck, taking her breast in his mouth and tugging in hard pulls, just the way she liked it. She knocked her head against the door because his mouth felt so good. This was what she wanted. This was what she needed.
Thorne used to suck her breasts like this, like he was drinking from the fountain of life and couldn’t get enough. She had loved it then. She loved it now. Did all men enjoy breasts like this? She didn’t know. The memories of the men she’d had before Thorne were a century distant, all but forgotten in terms of technique.
“Hey, where did you go?” José looked up at her. She liked his accent.
“I want my skirt off.”
All those big teeth gleamed in the dim light. He leaned back and let her slide to the floor. He stepped away from her, his lids at half-mast. She reached behind her and unzipped the tight red leather. The zipper could have been a little longer, but it made wiggling out of the damn thing the right kind of show to put on. It was a real trick to keep her thong on at the same time, but she managed. It was just a bit of lace and sheer red fabric, but he would probably appreciate a little more anticipation.
When José’s gaze felt to her bare mons, he whispered, “Nice wax.” And his eyes rolled in his head, then he licked his lips.
“Where’s your bedroom? I wanna be on my back.”
“I want you on your back.”
He didn’t give her directions; he slung one arm behind her back and the other behind her knees and she was airborne. He was just strong enough and she was just small enough that he tossed her in the air a little as he walked.
She giggled. She was so damn happy.
When they reached the master bedroom, he tossed her on the bed and she landed laughing. She spread her legs wide and because it was something Thorne had always loved, she slid her hand down her abdomen, beneath her thong, and massaged herself.
“You’ll make me come just standing here if you keep that up.” Yep, she really liked his accent. There was just something so smooth about a Latin cadence.
“You’ll have to stop me.”
His jaw trembled and he moved kinda slow so she kept rubbing. It felt good.
“You like your hand there?”
“Sometimes my hand is my best friend.”
“Not tonight.” But he leaned down and kissed the back of her hand and nuzzled her, pushing at her so that together they were giving her a thrill.
She liked José. She liked his style. Thorne would have done something like this. Thorne would have loved how bare she was.
Thorne again … and yet she didn’t feel quite so guilt-stricken. He’d probably taken off, at last, and now she was free.
She felt free.
José finally seemed to reach his limit with her self-ministrations. He pulled her hand away and slid her thong off, taking his time, but his gaze was fixed on the full lips of her lower body and again his tongue made an appearance. She leaned back on the bed, stretching out. She pulled her knees up but kept them spread wide.
He took a good long minute to look at her. She could hear him breathing. He sounded a little strangled.
She took the opportunity to let her gaze drift down his body. The sight of his broad chest and muscular pecs, his abs rolling down and down, caused her body to give one full undulating roll that ended with a strong tug deep inside. “I could come just looking at you,” she said.
He smiled. He unbuttoned his jeans and pushed them down. But unlike her, he caught his briefs at the same time so that his package sprang free and now it was her turn to lick her lips. Yep, almost as big as Thorne.
Funny how she kept thinking about Thorne and yet it no longer bothered her. Guess she was making progress.
About time.
José grabbed her ankles and pulled her to the edge of the bed. He knelt, then he got busy.
Muy bueno,” she murmured.


 
Copyright © 2012 by Caris Roane

Caris Roane has authored over fifty published Regency romance novels and novellas under the name Valerie King.  In 2005, the Romantic Times honored her with a Career Achievement award for her Regency work. She lives in Phoenix with her two cats, one of which is named, Sebastian, after a favorite vampire. This is her first paranormal romance series.