The Shadows(Black Dagger Brotherhood, book 13)(85) by J.R.Ward
Doc Jane came back—and stopped when she saw that the place wasn’t on fire or something.
“I’m going to go get dressed,” Selena said as she headed for the door. “I’m cold in this gown. Do you need help cleaning up?”
Doc Jane looked back and forth between them, clearly wondering what had been said or done to turn things around. “Ah, no, let me take care of it.”
“Okay.” Selena nodded at the doctor, and then glanced back at Luchas. “Take care of yourself.”
She could feel his eyes on her as she stepped out into the corridor. Could feel them still as she went back to change.
When she reentered the tunnel, she began to get paranoid that she’d have an attack halfway back to the main house, and get stuck dying under the fluorescent lights. Or maybe if it happened on the stairwell up to the foyer … or—
Okay, she’d better stop this.
She had enough to worry about without looking for more trouble.
He couldn’t stop looking at her.
As iAm lay naked in front of the dying fire, his body was entwined with maichen’s, their legs one among another, their hips still locked together, their sexes close, but no longer joined. She had her head on her folded arm; his was propped up.
“I want to see you again,” he whispered.
He wanted to tell her how much he needed more of this special time, this complete break from all the shit he couldn’t shift and couldn’t make a difference with back in Caldwell. In coming here, it was as if he had briefly stepped to the side, changed his track, taken a breather. It wasn’t a permanent relocation, and he didn’t want it to be—there was no way he was abandoning his brother.
But it was enough to give him a second wind.
“It is hard for me to get away.” She kissed his fingertips. “I have only a few more days when it will be this easy. After the mourning, it will be more difficult.”
“Tomorrow night, then. Midnight.”
maichen nodded. “I will be here.”
He glanced around at the decrepit cabin. “No, come to Caldwell. Meet me in town.”
As she hesitated, he said, “I have a place there. It’s private. No one will know—and I can make you more comfortable.”
He wanted her in a bed. In the shower. Maybe on the kitchen counter.
In order to persuade her, iAm dipped down and took her mouth, stroking her lips with his own, licking his way inside. “Follow the signal of my blood and you’ll find me.”
The sound she made in the back of her throat was all about surrender—and before he knew it, he was rolling her onto her back and mounting her again. The fact that they had actually had sex was so monumental that he couldn’t think about it while he was with her now.
It was just too huge a milestone.
Guiding himself in, he groaned and ducked his head into her neck. With great arching surges, he rode her, finding that rhythm, driving harder and harder. His body knew exactly what to do, and it was a shock, as he orgasmed, to find that he was glad he had waited for this one particular female.
It was also crazy to think that a part of him was starting to plan a way to get her free of the s’Hisbe.
So now he had two on that list.
Her nails bit into his back, and her thighs squeezed around his hips as she found her own release, the subtle milking on him kicking off another sharp spear of pleasure as he came again.
Afterward, he collapsed against her.
“Sorry,” he mumbled, trying to find the strength to do anything but breathe. “Heavy.”
“No, I like the weight.” She stroked over his skin. “You feel as powerful as you are.”
“I don’t want to go.”
“Neither do I.”
Eventually, he was in no-choice land. For one, the fire had died and it was getting cold, but more importantly, he didn’t want her to get in trouble for missing her duties.
At least he didn’t have to worry about her and the approaching dawn.
He’d be psychotic.
Pushing free of her, he slipped out of her sex and realized, shit, she was covered in his scent.
“What’s wrong?” she asked, those peridot eyes staring up at him.
“We should wash you.” But the damn cabin had no running water. “Next time, we do this in Caldwell.”
“I’ll be careful. There is a hot spring on the edge of the Territory. I can wash there.”
“What about your robing?” As he handed the load of fabric to her, he cursed. The shit was wrinkled. Ripped. Smudged with dust. “Damn it.”
He should have hung her things up. What the hell had he been thinking?
Getting to his feet, he helped her get dressed, arranging the under-robe, clipping the top layer with that brass fastener, shaking out her hood and mesh.
“Let me do this,” he said as he went to cover her hair and face up.
He hated masking her, his stomach rolling, his mouth going dry: It made the fact that he was sending her back to the Territory unprotected all the more stark. And then he took a step back and looked at what had been so pressed and pristine when she had arrived—and was now a hot mess.
He kind of felt as though he’d taken something that was not his to own, and ruined her in the process.
“I should go back with you,” he said. “Make sure you—”
“That will be harder for me. I shall be all right. I’ve become quite facile at hiding myself after all these years.”
And then there was nothing much else to say, no combination of words that could be spoken that would make him feel better about any of this.
With a curse, iAm took her arm and escorted her to the door. “Be careful. That is a dangerous place.”
When she went to bow to him, he stopped her. “No. Don’t do that. We’re equal, you and I.”
For a moment, she just stared at him. He could feel it through the mesh that hid her eyes. “We are not,” she said. “Sadly, we are not.”
With that, she was out the door and gone before he could stop her. And as the cold air racked his naked body, he hurt all over—but it wasn’t physical.
After pulling his clothes back on, he went to check that the fire was totally extinguished and then he left the cabin. As he closed things up and stepped away, he thought it was completely bizarre how so much of his life had happened in this one random place: finding his brother, meeting Rehv … now tonight.
Dematerializing, he returned in a scramble to the Brotherhood mansion, resuming form in the courtyard. As he stared up at the great stone manse, with its Gothic gargoyles perched on turrets, and its diamond-paned windows, and all the shadows that lurked in the corners, he realized he was testing it out for security and defensible position.
So, yeah, he was thinking of bringing maichen here.
Except what kind of life would she have? He was still all up in his head about Trez and Selena. And what was going to happen if the only way to keep his brother free from the s’Hisbe was the pair of them disappearing around the globe, never to light in one place for any length of time again?
Was she going to be into that life of a fugitive? And what if the s’Hisbe found her with them?
She’d be dead faster than a breath.
And yet he wanted her, to distraction …
Another no-win situation.
Just what he needed.
Rhage’s ass was numb.
Then again, he’d been sitting on a rock, staring through the forest into Assail’s glass house for how long? Hours. And all the guy had been doing was masturbating a bunch of paperwork on his desk.
At least that drug dealer had a nice chair to sit in.
Rhage checked his watch. Dawn was going to come sooner rather than later. “Running out of time here, people.”
Just as he was about to front-and-center his phone, and find out how V was doing tracking the dealer’s two cousins, the Brother materialized next to him—and the Range Rover the pair of dealers had left in came down the peninsula’s drive to the house.
“Where’d they go?” Rhage asked.
“Downtown. They went to this boathouse down on the river. No one showed up to meet them as far as I saw. It’s entirely possible one of them dematerialized out of there for a short period of time and went somewhere else. I don’t fucking know.”
As V rubbed his eyes like they were full of sand, Rhage asked, “My brother, when was the last time you slept?”
V dropped his arm and got thought up, like he was solving pi to a thousand decimals. “It was … ah … I mean, yeah, it was…”
Rhage glanced back at the garage door, which was trundling shut. “They’re in for the day. Let’s ghost.”
“What did Assail do?”
“Other than a lot of blow?”
“He didn’t leave, then.”
“Nope. Other than playing with his papers, and making two phone calls that lasted no longer than thirty seconds apiece, he had his thumb up his ass.” He clapped V on the shoulder. “We’ll get ’em tomorrow night.”
V was still cursing as they took off and traveled home through the cold night air. As they arrived at the courtyard in front of the mansion, they found iAm staring up at the house’s facade like he was expecting Godzilla to clubfoot it over the roof and do a clean sweep with that barbed tail.
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