Lothaire Read online

Page 21

Page 21


  Lust was within the realm of her knowledge.

  She had experience enough with it from all her truck-cab flirtations. And when growing up, shed learned much by simply keeping her ears open. Shed been raised in Appalachia, for Gods sake.

  Not to mention that the women in her family had made sure Ellie knew how to handle the opposite sex, because in times past, everything depended on men.

  She remembered her granny telling her, "Men are like coal boilers, Ellie. If you find a man you reckon to keep, you got to feed his belly every day, make him burn for you, then release some steam purty regular, or you aint ever gonna get him to work. "

  Hell, Saroya could take a lesson from Granny Peirce!

  Ellie watched Lothaire pacing so aggressively, imagining the pain he had to be feeling down there. And in his mouth, too. He kept running his tongue over his fangs.

  His fangs are sharp, yet my skin isnt marked anew; his shaft is raring to go while my bodys untouched.

  Saroya, that silly bitch-whod had time yesterday to amass a new wardrobe, wax her privates, and get her nails done-had consigned her vampire to this condition?

  Then left him in another womans company . . . a woman who looked exactly like her?

  If shes stupid enough to leave him unsatisfied, Ellie half-jokingly thought, then maybe I ought to feed his belly and release his steam. Turn him to my side.

  She stilled.

  What if she . . . did?

  Could she win him over? Tempt him until he preferred her over Saroya?

  Her eyes went wide. If there was a way to get rid of Ellie, maybe the reverse was true? Then she could coax Lothaire to cast out Saroya!

  I could get my body back. My life back!

  The vampire paced, reaching one end of the spacious room a split second before the next. His movements were as dizzying as her thoughts; for the first time in years, she realized, Maybe I . . . maybe I dont have to die.

  Ellie could bed Lothaire if she had to. She could close her eyes and pretend he wasnt evil and that she didnt hate him to the core of her being. Surely.

  You didnt seem to mind when he was licking all over your neck, Ellie.

  At the memory, her nipples tightened again, but she forced herself to ignore her reaction.

  Could she let him have her? Risking bodily harm? Pop . . .

  What choice did she have? If all it took was a ring to be rid of Ellie, sooner or later Lothaire was going to find it.

  Then Saroya would win.


  Im gonna seduce Lothaire. Make myself irreplaceable to him. But she knew that would take more than merely seducing his body.

  If I were an ancient immortal, what would I want?

  Energy, surprise, excitement.

  Ellie could keep him on his toes, keep him guessing. Shed win over this vampires mind as well.

  Then theyd boot Saroyas ass to the curb, and Ellie would own her jewels!

  I dont have to die. My future is in my hands once more. She would use everything in her arsenal, all the lessons shed ever learned, drawing on all her truck-cab follies, her vices and victories.

  Shed pit her country wisdom against his worldly-and otherworldly-knowledge.

  My fate boils down to making a vampire want me more than he does a goddess.

  Lothaire paced, raging inside. Dawn had come and gone, the night over.

  And Saroya was dormant. Which meant she had no desire to see him. Even after hed explained to her that his lusts couldnt be quelled. Even when the burgeoning pressure within him had turned to pain.

  That bitch! Id been right about her, I predicted this. Saroya would wait as much as a month to rise? While he was out battling for them?

  Where was the loyalty, the unity between them?

  His suffering mind could hardly process this situation. He should have forced her into his bed yesterday-instead of buying her goddamned clothes!

  With a bellow, he swung a fist, crushing an antique whiskey service.

  Never had he wanted a woman who didnt desire him back.

  "Lothaire?" Elizabeth murmured. "I need to tell you something. "

  "Then say it!"

  "Its embarrassing. Im not going to shout it across the room. " She twisted her hair up, leisurely tying it into a knot.

  She played with those silky strands as if she knew just how it affected him. Eyes riveted, he imagined shed bared her neck for him.

  Bared it in invitation. His shaft throbbed harder. "Tell me. "

  She crooked her finger. "Kindly come?"

  He rubbed his tongue over a fang, then traced to stand just in front of her. "What?"

  She stood, going up on her toes. When she laid her delicate hands on his chest, he nearly shuddered.

  At his ear, she breathed, "Lothaire, I can tell youre stiff as timber. "

  That was . . . unexpected. Another near shudder. "You think I didnt notice?"

  "Just wanted to let you know that others could too. "

  "Look at it, Elizabeth. " He pinched her chin and pulled her head down. "Would I ever be so deluded as to think that could go unnoticed?"

  She kept staring down at his shaft even after he released her. His own head fell back.

  Can feel her pretty gaze on it.

  He envisioned pressing her to her knees, then feeding his cock between her lips. Hed command her to suck it until there was nothing left of him. . . .

  She murmured, "Maybe you want to come back in here afterward. "

  "After what?"

  "After you go take care of that. "

  "You assume I need to tend to myself. " After the first stroke, hed be right back with her, roughly groping, desperate to spend with her. Or rather, with Saroya.

  My Bride. Who wont deign to see me. Then fuck her. He would use this mortal for his own pleasure. And if the fancy struck him, hed make her luscious little body come, climaxing so hard that the goddess would still be feeling it when she did make an appearance.

  "You are going to tend to me, girl. "

  Elizabeth displayed no fear, no surprise, just took his measure with studying gray eyes.

  "Youre not going to fight me?"

  "No. All I ask is that you shower off the blood first. "

  "Whats your plan?" With a sneer, he said, "Perhaps youll try to make me want you more than I do Saroya?"

  Elizabeth raised her brows.

  "Ive predicted every move on your chessboard, every play you could possibly make. This is the only move open to you. "

  "Maybe thats exactly what I plan. "

  Another sneer. "Then Ill give you a chance to demonstrate how badly you want to sway me. When I return from my shower, be wearing the red silk gown and go to your knees before me. "

  Just as he was tracing away, he heard her murmur, "Ill make sure youll be . . . pleased. "

  Chapter 22

  Ellie masked her shock until hed traced away.

  The vampire meant to just use her in the most cursory way imaginable?

  Wrong, on so many levels. First, shed never gone down on a man before. Shed limited her encounters to third base, a soft third-grinding fully clothed to climax. No muss, no fuss, no pregnancy. Ideal for her.

  And second, she needed Lothaire to desire her so much that he would choose her above a deity.

  Thered be no seducing his body and his mind if she was just a vampire receptacle.

  Ellie had suspected he would crave wonder, surprise, excitement. Now it struck her that the surest way to surprise him would be to disobey his orders.

  As she hurried to her own shower, she debated her options.

  On the one hand, Ellie needed to obey him so as not to risk her family. If she were gambling with only her own life, then this would be a no-brainer.

  On the other, if her plan succeeded, she could win the jackpot-her body back from Saroya and maybe a chance to escape Lothaire, preferably with a pocketful of jewels to improve her familys financial situ