Lothaire Read online

Page 45


Page 45

 

  Cupping her face, he lightly covered her mouth with his, tenderly licking her fang, giving her one last taste of blood.

  The sweetest good-night kiss. Then back into the secure cradle of his arms.

  So why did she still feel a shadow of misgiving? Why did she feel like she had in fact just sold her soul to the devil-and there was a no-refund policy?

  No, no. What woman wouldnt love this god, this decadent lover with power and money, who seemed to worship her body?

  If he told her he loved her right now, shed say it back. And shed mean it.

  But he hadnt said it. And hed never told her he was sorry for everything hed done to her.

  Im Lothaires fool. . . .

  Lothaire had exactly zero kingdoms under his control. None of his vendettas had been carried out and all of his plans had been upended.

  Yet a languorous relaxation spread through him. His lips continued to curl of their own accord.

  The satisfaction he felt from stroking Elizabeths hair as she slumbered against his chest . . . indescribable.

  Hed pleasured her with his body, stoking her need, then sating it. Hed fed her with his blood until her skin was warmed. Now she slept deeply-while he safeguarded her with the strength hed earned through eons of survival.

  Of course she loved him. He knew shed been about to tell him earlier. So her loyalty was his. . . .

  Indescribable.

  Lothaire had taken great pains to rehearse that transformation wish, and the ring had done exactly as bidden. Which meant that tomorrow he would give her a gift no other male could offer.

  When she absently worried her bottom lip with one of her adorable little fangs, he sighed.

  The Enemy of Old fucking sighed.

  Dear gods, itd finally happened to him.

  Happiness.

  Then his own fangs sharpened. I will kill anyone who tries to take this feeling away from me.

  Chapter 51

  At twilight, Ellie woke with no grogginess. One second she was asleep, the next awake. Weird.

  She found Lothaire gazing down at her with a disconcerting tenderness, his tousled hair hanging over one of his eyes.

  If hed been gorgeous before . . . Lothaire looking well loved was breathtaking.

  In a gravelly voice, he said, "Good gloaming. "

  A vampire version of good morning? "Uh, you too. "

  "How do you feel?"

  Mentally? The jurys still out. Body-wise? Amazingly good. Though she refused to admit it.

  Ellie didnt want him thinking he could continue to get away with this high-handedness where she was concerned. If she was going to make a vampiric life-oh, dear Lord-with him, she needed to nip this behavior in the bud.

  She shrugged. "I feel okay. Its definitely different. " She had no twinges, despite their aggressive sex.

  But I also have no craving for my usual waffles.

  "What are you thinking about?"

  "I miss food. " With a pang of sadness, she rose, feeling his eyes on her body as she never had before.

  Palpable. Possessive.

  "Ill be your breakfast. Ive replenished out of the refrigerator. Come, Lizvetta, you love the way I taste. And I know just how you prefer to tap my . . . font. "

  So smug. She gazed at him in the bed-it looked like a murder scene. The mattress was shredded. By her claws? Blood was everywhere.

  She flushed to realize shed never offered him her own blood. Did that make her a selfish lover?

  He followed her gaze, seeming proud of the destruction. He cast her a self-satisfied smile as if hed just won an argument. And for some reason his fangs were so . . . incredibly . . . sexy.

  Her mind seemed to blank. Lick them, feel them in me. She rubbed her tongue over one of her own.

  That sinful vampire could make her a mindless sex slave if she let him.

  She shook her head hard, then strode into her bedroom to throw on some clothes. She didnt trust herself to be naked around him.

  When she opened her closet, she broke the knob clean off the door.

  "Youll get used to the strength," he said, suddenly behind her. As she gaped at the doorknob, he added, "Its not a bad thing to be strong. "

  With a swallow, she set the knob on a shelf and painstakingly began to dress, careful not to destroy fabrics that felt as flimsy as cobwebs.

  Lothaire gazed on with an enthralled expression, as if hed never seen her naked before-or maybe he just didnt want to let her out of his sight. "Admit it. Vampire sex is better. "

  Atomic blast. "Doesnt matter. Lothaire, we need to talk. "

  "We will. " He reached for her, drawing her close, until she could feel his erection like a steel rod against her. "After we spend again, and you feed from me once more. Dorada will return at midnight, but afterward, I have a surprise for you-"

  "Now. Please get dressed. "

  Seeing she was serious, he shrugged. "Im feeling very magnanimous right now. "

  The victor. If hed been arrogant before, now he was insufferable. It chafed as never before.

  He traced away. When she returned to his bedroom, he emerged from his closet fully dressed. Just as they had so many times before, he sat at his desk, she on the settee.

  "Tell me, Elizabeth. What cant wait until later?"

  "Lothaire, you cant make decisions for me again. "

  "Of course I can. "

  "No, we start this thing as equals. Say it. "

  "I cant say that. Whereas you, my love, retain the ability to lie, I do not. "

  "What was that?" Shed misunderstood him.

  "We are not equals, Elizabeth. I have thousands of years of knowledge over you. The bloody wisdom of ages. "

  The room seemed to rock.

  "You are my Bride, my most cherished possession, and I am your mate and technically your sire. I will make decisions for us, and you will trust me to know whats best. "

  "How can you say that?"

  "You didnt want to be a vampire, but you ended up loving it. "

  "Loving one night of it. The rest remains to be seen!" She tried to tell herself that he just didnt know better than to say these things. As Balery had explained, Lothaire was emotionally insensitive because hed never learned how to-or why he might-behave differently. Be patient, Ellie. . . . "Lothaire, promise me youll never take my choice away again. "

  "Im going to take care of you for the rest of my life, doing whatever is necessary to ensure your safety. If that includes making decisions for you, then so be it. "

  Her lips parted. She was now a vampire, and he was still treating her like shit.

  Its never gonna end.

  An eternity of living with this arrogant ass?

  "No, Lothaire, this bullshit stops now! Or Im leaving you. Do you understand me? I dont have to be with you-and Id rather be alone than be constantly treated like a child. "

  "Your blood is still high. This will ease in time. " He gave her an indulgent look. "Ill forgive these rash words for now. "

  She sputtered, "Forgive? Lets talk about who should be forgiving who. "

  "Whom," he corrected.

  "Shut up! Im in the right here. Remember all those things you did to me? Threatening my family? My mother and brother? Sending my ass to prison? You never once apologized to me. You never once asked forgiveness-from me. You just commanded your pet to get over it. And only after you recognized that I was your Bride, once the lightbulb had finally flickered on in your thick head. "

  "And you told me you would get past these things!" he snapped. "You vowed it. "

  "I-lied. "

  He looked stunned, as if this possibility had never occurred to him. "Then youve already betrayed me!"

  "Did you think Id just shrug off everything in the space of a couple of weeks? I couldnt-especially when you hadnt changed whatsoever! And all of that went on before you turned me into a blood-drinker against my will. "

  "Making you a blood-drinker should