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Crimson Death(Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #25)(12) by Laurell Kaye Hamilton
WHEN WE WERE clean, all our long hair plastered tight to our shoulders, though Nathaniel’s hair was plastered down most of the back of his body, I released the ardeur. Kaazim had accused me of making people into my sex slaves. I didn’t believe that, but this was the power that made him think it. I finally let myself concentrate on it, and the craving was there, like it nearly always was if I allowed myself to hear it. If the ardeur was well fed, then it was like needing another meal, a faint emptiness to be filled, but if I’d gone more than six hours it was like being truly hungry after you’ve missed several meals. I treated the ardeur the way I treated hunger for actual food, something to be forgotten about while I was doing other things, which meant I had eaten almost nothing last night and not fed the ardeur at all. The more real food I ate, the easier the ardeur was to control. I’d slept, but none of us had eaten breakfast. I was supposed to be Nathaniel and Damian’s master. I was supposed to be in charge and in control, and I might have been if I’d eaten a real meal in the last sixteen hours, or fed the ardeur in the last twelve. I hadn’t meant to forget to eat, and I rarely went that long without having sex with one of my lovers, but it had been a busy day. Micah had been called out of town on Coalition business and taken one of my main feeds with him. Damian had requested that there be no sex with him in the bed with Nathaniel, Jean-Claude, and me, so we’d missed that window for feeding me. Jean-Claude had taken blood, which was his main food source; sex was a supplement for him. It wasn’t a supplement for me. It was what kept me from sharing his bloodlust or Richard’s craving for flesh. It was what kept me from sharing Damian’s bloodlust and Nathaniel’s craving for flesh. It was what helped me keep all the beasts inside me quiet and controlled. It was what helped me not become a monster. Feeding the ardeur was like feeding the monster something safe when what it really wanted was to tear people’s throats out.
I freed the ardeur and it roared over all of us, because I’d been arrogant and ignored most of my safety precautions. One minute the three of us were standing in the shower like reasonable naked adults and the next we were hands and mouths that just wanted to touch, kiss, suck, and bite each other. The water pouring over us from nearly every direction became part of the hot, pounding need. Damian was pressed against the back of my body as tight as he could make us, one arm around my waist, the other turning my head to the side to bare my neck. Nathaniel knelt in front of me, his fingers playing between my legs, his mouth kissing along my thigh. Damian’s body was so tight against me that I could feel him tucked up tight against my ass, but he wasn’t hard at all, because he hadn’t fed either. Until he took blood he couldn’t feed my need.
Nathaniel stared up the line of my body; his eyes were the darkest they had ever gone, true purple, and his fingers teased between my legs. He licked water off my thigh, and just that made me shiver. Damian’s arm tightened across the front of my body, pinning me against him, and just that much extra force made me catch my breath.
“Pull her hair to hold her for your bite,” Nathaniel said, raising his mouth off my skin enough to speak.
Damian hesitated. I ground my ass against the front of him, and said, “Please.”
He grabbed a handful of my hair and used it to pull my neck taut for him. I said, “Harder.”
“Harder,” Nathaniel said.
“Do it!” I said.
He grabbed a bigger handful of my hair and pulled harder. I made small happy noises for him.
“I’m going to bite her thigh when you bite her neck.”
I had enough of myself to ask, “Where are you going to bite me?”
He set his teeth lightly in my thigh, marking his spot.
“Yes,” I whispered.
Damian’s heat had cooled; he had such control of himself, and that was part of the problem with him and me. We were both so controlled that together we were more so, and it was enough to help us climb back into our heads.
Nathaniel said, “No, not this time!” He bit me hard enough that I screamed for him more from surprise than pain.
Damian still hesitated.
“God, please!” I cried out, shuddering from the feel of Nathaniel’s teeth in my thigh. I looked down to find that his eyes had bled to his pale, almost blue-gray leopard eyes. His beast poured heat over me and over the vampire at my back. It was enough. I felt Damian tense as Nathaniel growled around the piece of me in his mouth. Damian bit me, driving his fangs into my neck.
I screamed for him, then felt him beginning to suck. Nathaniel raised his mouth from my thigh, my blood decorating his lips. He growled up at me as he leaned over to lick between my legs. I both wanted him to and was afraid for him to; how much was his beast in control? How much of him was in there as he began to lick over that most intimate part of my body? He’d left a bloody imprint of his teeth on my thigh. I didn’t want that there, but with Damian feeding at my neck it was like I couldn’t talk, couldn’t do anything but make small noises. Nathaniel loved me; he would never hurt me more than I wanted to be hurt. I trusted him. I trusted him. That’s what I kept telling myself as he brought me writhing to my orgasm between them as the vampire drank me down, and the wereleopard licked the last bit of orgasm from between my legs and then grabbed more of me in his mouth, so I was like meat between his teeth, as he began to bite down.