Lothaire Read online

Page 25

Page 25


  "Almost anything one wishes. For a time," he added cryptically. "Its a powerful talisman, yet deceptively simple to use. Just twist it on ones finger and make a wish. But not too many. "

  "What does that mean?"

  He didnt answer, just stroked her hair.

  Realizing she wasnt going to get more from him on this subject, she said, "I know youll find it soon. "

  He grinned down at her, revealing even, white teeth, his fangs not so intimidating in this twilight. Lothaire Daciano was stunning when he smiled. "I will. And then youll be my queen forever. "

  "Yes, forever, Lothaire. "

  He curled his finger under her chin, instead of pinching it. "You want to be with me. "

  This unexpected tenderness, coupled with his vulnerability, was making her chest ache.

  "Waited an eternity for you. " He ran his knuckles along her cheekbone, his expression one of longing. And she had the strangest urge to cry. "I didnt know what you would look like. Imagined for centuries, searching faces. "

  "Are you happy with how I look?"

  Another roguish smile made her heart clench. "I could stare at Saroya for hours. "

  A compliment, Ellie supposed. She tilted her head at him. Lothaire appeared younger when he grinned. "How old were you when you turned immortal?"

  "I was thirty-three when my heart stopped beating. " He sighed. "Last time I took a maid. "

  As shed thought. Thousands of years without a woman. "Are you truly evil, Lothaire?"

  "Yes," he answered without hesitation.

  "Do you really mean to do me harm?"

  "When I find the ring, yes. To you, Im nothing more than death," he said, even as he gave her cheek another tender stroke.

  "Will it hurt when you cast out my soul?"

  "The ring might bring you pain. I dont know. "

  Disturbingly vague. "You wont show me any mercy?"

  "Mercy? My father begged me for it once. After I decapitated him, I fed his remains to the dogs. " Lothaire gave her a sinister smile, so different from his heartbreaking grin. This was more a baring of his fangs. "He hated dogs. "

  "You k-killed your own father?"

  He tensed around her. "Perhaps he oughtnt to have buried me alive for six centuries. "


  "Sent to my grave. Before I was dead. "

  Oh, dear God. Last night, shed recognized that she was out of her depth with Lothaire. Now she realized she was out of her depth with this entire new world of his. A world filled with hate and torture and murder.

  No wonder he wanted Saroya.

  And still, she found herself reaching out to smooth her fingertips along his strong jaw. "Im sorry for what youve suffered-"

  He snapped his head around and bit her forefinger.

  "Ow. " Like some rabid animal!

  When blood rose, he clasped her wrist and drew her hand to his mouth, closing his lips over her fingertip. As he began to suck, his lids grew heavy, then closed altogether. Those sculpted muscles relaxed all around her.

  And oh, she responded to his obvious pleasure. Watching his lips work made her melt. When his tongue twined around her fingertip, she felt a slow, wet ache build between her legs.

  Why hadnt she let him suckle her breasts before? To have his hungry mouth working her stiffened nipples?

  Suddenly he released her, his expression intent. "Need you. "

  She swallowed, wondering what he would do now. "Lothaire?"

  "Do you want me to touch you?"

  Did she? Would he hurt her? If he could caress her as gently as hed worked that puzzle . . .

  Before hed thrown it in a rage.

  Ellie had planned to seduce him away from Saroya. Am I gonna give up after one failure?

  He cupped her breast with a hot palm, those elegant fingers tugging at her nipple through the silk. She gasped, her body gone boneless.

  "Answer me. " He dipped his mouth to her neck, teasing her with small grazes of one fang. "Yes or no, Elizabeth, before I stop pretending your answer matters. "

  When he began slipping her nightgown up her thighs, she shivered with need, lost. "Yes, yes. . . . "

  Chapter 27

  The fog receded. Lothaire wasnt dreaming.

  He had one of his hands on a tender breast, his other steadily inching Elizabeths lingerie up her taut thighs.

  How had he gotten into this position? He couldnt remember. Why did he taste her delicious blood? Why couldnt he recall-

  Wait. Had she been questioning him? As his mind began to clear, he realized the mortal had thought to take advantage of him. "You were digging for information?"

  She swallowed.

  "You little bitch!" He wanted to punish her-and he couldnt. Blyad! What would it take to secure the ring-and to finally be rid of her?

  Frustration bubbling up inside him, he rose and brusquely tossed her back onto the bed, making her cry out.

  Yet as she scurried to right herself, her nightgown rode up and he caught the fleetest glimpse of her sex.

  Bare? At once, he traced to the bed, throwing her back down. "Have you a surprise for me? Ill see it now-part your thighs. "

  "No!" She yanked down on her nightgown.

  He clamped his hands on her knees, spreading them, rucking up the gown.

  Face gone red, she fought, but he easily overpowered her, wedging his hips between her thighs. "I did things your way the last time. Now Ill do them my . . . " His words trailed off at his first sight of her female flesh. Glistening lips opened like petals.

  A growl escaped him as his hand dipped to her.

  He didnt want to want her. But the sight of her aroused sex and its luscious scent made him lust beyond control. When she needed release, he instinctively needed to sate her.

  His first feel of her . . . wet, hot to the touch, unimaginably soft. He gave a reverent groan.

  "Let me go!" She shoved at him.

  To take this prize away from him? "Mine, Elizabeth!" He cupped her possessively, giving her a harsh jostle. "This belongs to me. You dont deny me whats mine. "

  When her nails dug into his arm, he laughed cruelly. "Like the claws of a kitten. " Another jostle. "Understand me, woman, I own your body, will enjoy it for the rest of my life. Licking it, fucking it, all at my leisure. "

  Shed begun trembling with fear, gazing past him with bleak eyes. . . .

  Damn her, that wont do.

  Yes, he hated her and enjoyed taunting her-especially since shed questioned him. Yes, he was furious to have no new leads from his earlier slumber, and he wanted to take it out on her.

  But now he had an aching cockstand, which meant he craved the uninhibited sexuality shed shown him. Want her wetter, want her abandoned.

  With effort, he calmed his tone. "Relax, pet," he forced himself to say. "I wont hurt you tonight. " Hmm, not a lie?

  Still tension thrummed off her.

  "You dont trust me?"

  She shook her head, her flowing hair stark against the sheets.

  "I only want to finger you, just play. Watch me, then. " To illustrate, he leisurely rubbed his forefinger over her clitoris. Once, twice . . .

  She lessened her grip on his arm. Another light caress and she began to relax.

  "Thats it, female. " When he teased her, she lifted her hips for more. "So responsive. " He skimmed his forefinger between her damp, silken lips. "Youre quite pretty here, Elizabeth," he said hoarsely. To utter that statement without the rana, he had to add, "I find you exquisite here. "

  She swallowed nervously, studying his expression.

  "Put your arms over your head. And keep them there. "


  "Because Im driving. Do it. Clasp your elbows. " When she hesitantly did, he fisted his hands on her nightgown and ripped it clean from her. Leaving her wholly naked.

  Gods almighty.

  "Lothaire! Your eyes . . . "

  Between breaths, he grated, "Ive needed t