Lothaire Read online

Page 8

Page 8


  Was he being stalked?

  How to anticipate a threat when he could scarcely untangle reality from reverie? Waiting . . . watching . . .

  Once night fell, the presence disappeared. Or had he imagined it?

  Unsettled, he returned to the living room. Saroya emerged shortly after. At the sight of her, he shrugged off his disquiet.

  The wait had been worth it.

  A floor-length gown of black silk molded over her every curve. The front was a deep V cutting down all the way to her waist. Thin leather ties crisscrossed over her chest, holding the material in place over her full breasts.

  Want to see them. For the first time. Lothaire had never gazed upon her naked form.

  His eyes were riveted to her movements in that ingenious garment-one created to make males fantasize about slowly unlacing those ties to free her bound flesh.

  She sauntered across the room, her stilettos giving her the illusion of height. Her damp hair smelled of scented shampoo and hung heavily down her back.

  Her makeup had been applied liberally. Bold blush strokes over her cheeks and heavy foundation nearly blunted the nuances of her finely boned features. Her eyes were made up with sweeping shades of brown, black, and silver. Her lipstick was scarlet.

  She had lips like a sexpot, a pouting bow.

  And her wicked nails looked as if blood dripped from each fingertip. Very nice touch, Saroya.

  Overall, the effect was flagrantly sexual.

  By all the gods, she was a lovely piece, and soon hed claim her. At the thought, his shaft swelled. He shifted uncomfortably, adjusting the long jacket that disguised his reaction to her. The growing pressure . . .

  Lothaire had been thirty-three when hed last had a woman beneath him, the night before his heart had stopped its beating and hed frozen into his immortal form. Until that age, hed enjoyed females from all factions in the Lore, had taken a new one every night.

  Now he was to suffer the urges and drives of his youth all over again?

  Between his dwindling sanity and this inconvenient erection, he found it impossible to concentrate on his Endgame.

  He began to pace, having to remind himself not to teleport in front of the mortals.

  I cant lose focus. At long last, he was on the cusp of seizing the Horde throne. Hed completed the most challenging task-slaying Stefanovich-ages ago.

  Though not before the old king had lashed out against his bastard with incomprehensible malice. The earth grinding over me . . .

  No, focus on the Endgame! On the ring. It would enable Lothaire to

  destroy Elizabeth and transform Saroya into a vampire-a vital measure of protection for his Bride, and the key to securing the Horde throne

  for him.

  And the ring would give him the power to find and annihilate the Daci. To locate Serghei at last.

  One ring equaled Lothaires eternal mate, two kingdoms, and the vengeance hed hungered for since his mothers murder. . . .

  Saroya began to finalize her purchases, her demeanor bored. She pointed out every rack of clothing, ordering, "Put them in my wardrobe. " Her bedroom, the one adjoining his own, had an oversize closet; he doubted everything would fit into even that cavernous space.

  With an aggrieved air, she perused the jewelers offerings. "I will take all the baubles. "

  Eight figures worth of baubles. Lothaire sighed. Welcome to matrimony.

  All eyes fell on him. With a negligent wave of his hand, he approved the expenditures. If possible, the humans groveled even more, which increased his irritation.

  When Saroya returned to her suite and settled into a chair to have her hair trimmed, he followed her.

  "Am I to have no privacy?" she asked.

  "No," he said simply. No longer. He owned the body as much as she did. Hed be there for any alterations. "And after this, I want to see you in the garments Ive bought for you. " He leaned down to say at her ear, "See you in the lingerie. " His gaze dipped, greedily taking in the swells of her breasts.

  One tug of a leather tie . . . golden flesh spilling out.

  "Of course, lover," she said, too smoothly.

  He pinched her chin, turning her to face him. "Saroya, I dont buy you these things for your benefit. " Never would he give a gift with no thought of a return on his investment. "I buy them for both of us to enjoy. Just as we will this new body. "

  She subtly arched her back. "A body like this is made for sex, is it not?"

  He ground his teeth before saying, "I can only guess, as Ive never seen it. "

  "Soon, Enemy of Old. I promise. "

  Lothaire debated whether to believe her. Saroyas mythology was sparse at best, and contradictory. Some said shed been as frigid with-and deadly to-males as her twin Lamia was sexual with them. Others said Saroya had participated in depraved orgies in her temples.

  Seeing her like this-in fuck-me makeup and clothing-had him betting on the latter.

  But no matter what her proclivities were, he knew the great Saroya wouldnt happily bed a mate like him, a male who would demand obedience in all ways.

  And he would never rape a female. So it would take all his considerable experience to bring her to heel-

  "Shear it. To my chin," she commanded the stylist.

  "Ah-ah," Lothaire grated. "Keep it long. " Hed never seen hair so lovely, curling locks the color of mink.

  Now she wanted to cut it all off? After hed imagined threading his fingers through it infinite times?

  After hed fantasized about gripping it in his fists-as he eased his shaft into and out of her mouth . . . ?

  Saroya bristled. "I want it short. "

  He snapped his fingers, and the stylist scurried out of the room, closing the door behind her. "I prefer it long. "

  "Its my hair. "

  He gave her a snide look of amusement. "That body is as much mine as it is yours. "

  Her eyes flashed. "I inhabit it. "

  "And I stole it from prison. Ill be the one feeding it, safeguarding it. The body would be dead if not for me. Therefore, I own it. "

  "You forget Im a goddess," she hissed. "Your goddess. "

  And a bitch as well. But then, werent all goddesses afflicted with bitchery?

  Though he knew he couldnt expect anything different from Saroya, he could begin putting her in line. "You forget that you have no power. So for now, I am your god. Stop pushing me, Saroya. " He held her gaze. "You wont like it when I push back. "

  Chapter 8

  Saroya parted her lips to curse Lothaire to the surface of the sun, but her vision wavered. She raised her freshly manicured hand to her forehead.

  She could feel Elizabeth already trying to rise-as if the girl was ramming herself against whatever internal wall separated them.

  A reminder of how much Saroya needed this fiend. For now.

  Control your righteous anger, tell him what he wants to hear. "Lothaire, I was a deity of the first Ether. Im unused to relinquishing control. And now Ive been too long downtrodden and trapped. Im sure someone as great as you can scarcely imagine how low Ive been brought, but try. "

  Immediately, she sensed a change in him. Her words had affected him.

  "I do understand, goddess. " Now he tenderly curled his forefinger under her chin. "But in this matter I will not bend. "

  He cant lie. Which meant he truly wouldnt relent. "Then I will leave all this"-she waved at the heavy mass of hair-"for your pleasure. "

  His eyes darkened with need. "And what else would you do for my pleasure?"

  Nothing. Never again. That night shed let him kiss her, shed barely concealed how revolting shed found that rutting side of him.

  If he hadnt been in such a fervor from his blooding, surely he would have detected her reaction?

  She knew he wouldnt be as motivated to secure the Ring of Sums for her if he discovered how sexually repellent his Bride found him. How could she disguise it if he slaked himself on her now?