Vampire queen 8 bound.., p.15

Vampire Queen 8 - Bound by the Vampire Queen - Joey W Hill, page 15


Vampire Queen 8 - Bound by the Vampire Queen - Joey W Hill

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  Expect me to be cruel.”

  Jacob looked between the two women, and saw his lady’s eyes light in response to the challenge.

  Great. Her kind of party.

  Chapter 8

  WHEN Cayden escorted them to their room, Jacob wouldn’t have been surprised to find a dank cell far below the earth, with the Fae version of rats— perhaps rodents with wings—their only attendants.

  But the chamber into which they were shown was small but well appointed, with a bed swathed in a gauze canopy, and a window open to the outside fragrant air. From it they could see the Castle of Fire illuminating the darkness. A bronze-colored dragon with red swirls along his sides was coiled on the parapets of that structure, occasionally sending out a companionable spout of flame and roaring to a green dragon on the top of the Castle of Earth, who responded with a groaning snarl and another stream of fire. It was like watching a pair of birds calling to one another from different power lines.

  Keldwyn had joined Cayden in escorting them to their rooms. Interestingly, when they’d prepared to leave the queen’s hall, Keldwyn had stepped to Lyssa’s side, sliding her hand into the crook of his elbow. Jacob had followed behind them. Cayden had taken his leave immediately upon dropping them here, but Keldwyn lingered, glancing about the accommodations. What he was seeking or verifying, Jacob didn’t know, but as he wordlessly turned to follow in the captain’s footsteps, Jacob stepped in his path.

  “Making sure all the listening devices are in place?”

  “Your privacy is assured here. If the queen wished to know what was in your minds, she has ways of extracting that, far more easily than vampire mind tricks.” Keldwyn gave Lyssa a short nod, made to move forward.

  “Anything else about your ongoing personal drama with Rhoswen we should know?”

  That got a response, but not in the manner Jacob expected. Keldwyn’s gaze hardened. “Her proper address is Her Majesty or Queen Rhoswen, vampire. Neither I nor anyone else will tolerate such disrespect. I have duties to attend.” When Jacob merely blocked him again, Keldwyn’s dark eyes went flat and dangerous. Lyssa had moved to the window. Jacob knew she didn’t have any objection to his interrogation, though he felt a touch of caution from her. We need more information, Jacob, but as Gideon might say, don’t piss kerosene on a fire unless you’re prepared to get your dick burned.

  Hearing the rough metaphor come through his lady’s cultured mind-voice was unexpected. She rarely even swore. But most of his attention was on that very fire, flaring up in front of him.

  “You know,” Keldwyn said, “the last vampire I saw annoy a Fae was turned into a merman. Ironically, he’s still a vampire in appetites. I expect the reason the Fae felt it a just punishment was because that particular vampire disliked the sea. Now he has to settle for fish-flavored merblood to survive. One week out of the year, he can walk the earth again. I expect he spends the entire time gorging himself on blood that tastes nothing like fish.”

  “That’s an amusing little story. You ever notice how much effort you spend convincing yourself humans and vampires are inferior? I think what irritates the crap out of you is that though you can crush me like a bug, you and I feel the same way about things. We care, we love, we want to protect what’s important.

  Like a girl trapped in a tree. And it’s those similarities that drive you crazy, because you can’t reconcile it with our differences and your idea that you’re a world apart from the rest of us.” A muscle twitched in Keldwyn’s jaw, but Jacob continued. “You wanted us to rescue her because you love her. Because there’s nothing you wouldn’t risk for her. I feel the same way about my lady and our son.” He flashed fang. “So you remember that, the next time you send her into danger without all the information she needs. Now, I repeat. Is there anything else we need to know?”

  Keldwyn’s lips pressed together. “I will say one thing to your lady, but I do not do so because I fear your threat, vampire.”

  Whatever helps you sleep at night, you big fairy.

  He kept that little taunt to himself, and accepted the reproving look from Lyssa as his due. But he did shift out of the way, leaving the communication path clear between his lady and the Fae Lord.

  Keldwyn nodded to Lyssa. “Remember that deep wounds never truly heal without a balm. They fester, infect the heart and soul. Rhoswen has been a good queen for many centuries. But she could be a great one. You are the key to that.”

  Then he was gone, so swiftly he could have dematerialized into mist. The solid oak door was now securely closed.

  Jacob joined Lyssa at the window. She appeared to be studying the view, but he could tell she was thinking, so he gave her a few moments. Looking down, he saw into a side courtyard. Beyond that was a practice field for arms. Some of the Queen’s Guard was doing drill's upon it. At this late hour, they were more informal, bantering, combining their dedication with the camaraderie.

  Cayden was striding out of the side courtyard and onto that field. Gauging his temper, Jacob expected he was probably going to pummel some recruit half to death. “Should have gone for the early bedtime, mates,” he noted, not without some sympathy. Then he glanced at Lyssa.

  “Keldwyn’s consistently helpful,” he ventured. “Yet another cryptic message that tell's us nothing.” Lyssa didn’t smile. Her fingers curled in the crushed rust-colored velvet of Keldwyn’s borrowed cloak. “You said ‘our son’ that time.”

  “Well, I was pissed off.” Reaching out, he stroked a lock of her hair behind her ear. When he sat down in the window seat, crooking his knee to lay an ankle over his thigh, she let him draw her closer, his hands on her elbows, until he settled her in his lap. He put his hands on her bare body underneath the rich fabric of Keldwyn’s cloak, and felt the satisfying tremble, the little sigh his touch caused.

  I don’t particularly care for his scent being all over you like this.

  She pressed her temple to his shoulder, so that her face was averted from him, positioned so she could still look out the window but he couldn’t see her expression. She gripped his T-shirt in both hands, however, her breath soft on his shoulder. You always have had an inappropriate sense of possessiveness for a servant. Then she spoke aloud, in a near whisper. “Fix it, Jacob.” When he unhooked the clasp at her neck, the cloak pooled to the floor with a puff of air against their legs. He untied the velvet pouch at her waist, handled it gently as he set it aside. I worry about you bringing your father’s enchanted rose with you, my lady. I don’t want you to lose it. Or have it taken from you.

  Something told me to bring it. I don’t know why, but, like you, I often trust my intuition. She gave him a half smile, too touched with sadness for his liking.

  Taking off his T-shirt, he threaded it over her head, guiding her arms through. Then he curled her more fully in his lap, still facing the window. He didn’t like the darkness he felt from her. She was dwelling on all that had happened in the hall. And in that quick, uninvited glimpse, he saw one reaction that had affected her unexpectedly, goading her frustration almost as much as the more serious aspects of it.

  “Oh, my lady.” He cupped her face, bending his head over hers. “Whether you are Fae or vampire, you’re so beautiful it makes any man’s heart break.

  Something else is going on here. She had other reasons for mocking you, trying to humiliate you.”

  “I know that. Which is why this makes me angry with myself. I don’t remember ever being so… vulnerable, even if it is only you who sees it. Does my vanity have such power over me?” Her eyes were shards of brittle green glass.

  “No,” he said. “But even a beautiful, powerful vampire queen can get her feelings hurt. Even in front of a make-believe audience.”

  She sighed, gave a delicate snort. “It has been many, many years since I haven’t been viewed… as someone to respect. I had forgotten how it feels not to have that. Perhaps it’s worse than never having such power at all, because to be accustomed to it and then have it stripped away so suddenly…” She sho
ok her head. “Before Cayden struck you, she did have the power to hold me. If I knew the magic better, I’m certain I could have stopped her from changing me. Some part of me knows all of it, like memories that only need to be recalled. It’s coming to me in bits and pieces. But right then, I was helpless. It was how I felt that awful day in Council chambers when they took your life. That rage and fear…”

  Her nails dug into his arm, as it was still not an easy memory for her, for either of them. “This was different, more selfish. I was a student in front of a classroom, being mocked by the teacher, and all I could think of was myself and the rage that I was being treated this way. For one, pitiful moment, without any other obvious choices, I wanted to disappear, just like a humiliated child. She made me feel hideous. I’m beyond angry at myself for giving her that power. I’m a thousand years old, and should be far past such things. Yet damn it, once again, these past couple years…”

  Her voice lowered, and he heard the minute tremor. Pain like this was always wrested from so deep within her. It was something she had great difficulty even letting him hear, let alone herself.

  “Sometimes I think I will never find that strength, that calm center again.”

  “You’re a thousand years old, my lady. That means you haven’t been treated like a child for a very, very long time. You had a moment of vulnerability. It doesn’t make you chronically vulnerable.” Cupping her face, he let her see the truth of it in his gaze, as well as the firm belief in his wide open mind.

  She traced his lips as he continued to speak, his sensuous Mistress who never tired of touching him, and he hoped to God she never would. “I’ve had the pleasure of putting my mouth on every inch of your Fae form, every sleek inch of silver skin. I’ve felt those deadly talons of yours rake my back to draw blood in your passion, your fangs sink into my flesh. I can tell you I get fucking lost, mesmerized by your magnificence, in whatever form you are.” He lifted her hand then, nuzzled her palm and gave it a nip, his eyes glinting. “Even as I’m also very cognizant of the woman, her strengths and weaknesses. I love all of you, my lady. She’s playing a game. We’re playing along, trying to figure out the end goal. That’s all. The rest is bullshit.”

  Lyssa frowned. “She’s afraid of something about me and you. No. Not afraid. Angry. Defensive.

  Keldwyn directed her toward this gauntlet idea, but she wants me to fail whatever test she sets. And that’s not just for the ‘benefit of her people.’

  Whatever this is, it’s personal. Keldwyn gave us another clue with what he said just now. This is about Rhoswen and me, not the Fae.”

  “Yeah. Heaven forbid he should spit it straight out rather than holding it all in. Constipated fairy.”

  “I wouldn’t suggest calling him that,” she said. “But in all fairness, it’s obvious he walks a very thin line here. There are rules that we don’t know, and I think there are things he can’t tell us straight out.” She paused then, teasing his mouth with her fingers. As she traced the bottom lip, she pressed her finger on his sharp fang, giving him a small taste of blood. He sucked her finger into his mouth, dipped his head as she stroked through his hair with the other hand.

  Leaning in, she let her lips cruise along his temple, her nose flaring to take in his male scent.

  “What else is bothering you, my lady? Her forcing your change isn’t the biggest thing on your mind.”

  “Yet you chose to address it first.”

  He shrugged. “The small est problem is usually the one you place in the forefront, while you try to sort out the bigger things. I was giving you more elbow room.”

  “I don’t know why I bother to tell you to stay out of my head. That intuition of yours already picks up enough to make it redundant.” Her gaze darkened with a trace of sadness. “I don’t regret what I’ve become with you, Jacob. But it has… weakened me, somehow. I’m afraid I don’t have it in me anymore, to be as cruel and merciless as I need to be to fence with the Queen Rhoswens of the world.” He raised a brow. “My lady, if someone threatened me or Kane, you’d flay the skin from their bodies and let them beg for death. Then you’d rip their heads off. Literally.”

  “True.” She nodded. “That does make me feel better.”

  “I thought it might.”

  It was simple accumulation, he knew. The constant vigilance, being away from home and Kane, what lay ahead of them. He could help her with that, by giving and taking at once.

  Dropping his head, he kissed her collar bone, exposed by the stretched neckline of his shirt. He nuzzled her there, gave her the tip of his tongue, then the press of a fang. She made a quiet noise of assent, and her hands tightened on his biceps as he pierced the vein, taking a slow draw that he felt all the way down to his groin, particularly when her body responded as well, her hips shifting so her bare ass rubbed against him, and her nipple drew up hard and tight against his palm as he cupped her breast.

  When she shifted, he accommodated her, moving together as she straddled him. He withdrew his mouth long enough to manage the switch, but then he sank back in, his bite penetrating deeper as she opened his jeans. The moment her fingers closed around him, it drove away the memory of Rhoswen’s cold touch, though he remembered his lady’s eyes, the way she watched with that Mistress’s expression as another woman handled him. A look that said, He’s mine. You touch him only by my consent.

  Thinking of it, feeling her claim both mentally and physically, he hardened further, growing strong and thick, ready to serve her.

  All mine.

  All yours, my lady.

  She was in no mood for foreplay. She pushed herself down on him, and he swallowed an oath with her blood at the tight, wet heat of her. Clamping her legs around his hips, she drove him in deeper. In response, he slid his hands under the T-shirt, kneaded her ass to rock her upon him, making sure he was giving her clit the rhythm it needed for the fast, intense climax she wanted.

  You won’t come, Jacob. I want you hard and wanting when you service me and Rhoswen later tonight. I want her to burn with jealousy at what belongs to me, what she cannot take, no matter how she tries.

  A dangerous game, my lady. He answered it with danger of his own, a deeper thrust, a concentrated look as he pushed her up to that pinnacle. He let her feel how he could not only take her there, but, when circumstances were different, he could take the reins from her, push her over and set the pace. And give her mindless pleasure worth the surrender.

  Her head dropped back on her shoulders as the climax rippled through her cunt. Jacob gritted his teeth, barely holding his resolve against the stroke of heaven-sent muscles around his cock. So slick and wet, such a fucking mindless friction. He knew she did it on purpose, making it as agonizing as possible, but he still exulted in her cries, the way her hands dug in, holding on to him. That sinful mass of black shining hair teased his thighs as she dropped her head back, exposing her throat even further, irresistible to a vampire, or even a human servant, so aware of the deep meaning to it. But he left her throat for a different feast, mouthing her nipple through the T-shirt and ratcheting her climax up another notch, from a yearning cry to an outright scream that was echoed by a nearby dragon’s roar, the lowing cal of a unicorn stallion.

  When she finished, he was breathing hard, shallow. She had her arms clasped around his shoulders as she got her own breath back.

  Wrapping his hands tightly in all that hair, he took her mouth in a long, urgent kiss. Making a sound of pleasure in his mouth, she squeezed down on him so he groaned, enduring the torture, fighting his own desires.

  “All mine,” she whispered again, catching her hands in his hair as well to hold his face steady, stare at him.

  “Forever, my lady.”

  The knock on the door disrupted them. The attendants, arriving with Lyssa’s bath. Jacob remembered then that they also intended to “prepare him,” whatever godforsaken thing that meant. All he knew was he was fiercely glad he’d been able to give her this, have her to himself, before all of it happ
ened. Lyssa gave him a knowing look as he set her off him gently, helping her straighten the T-shirt before he rose. Refastening his jeans with careful precision, he strode, somewhat awkwardly, to the door.

  Oh, hell no. Standing outside the door were two large Fae males, taller and broader than himself.

  They had the pointed ears and aristocratic looks of Fae court members, but they wore nothing more than a pair of short half tunics and steel collars emblazoned with the signet of the court. One had shining red hair, the other one jet-black. The jet-black one gave a half bow. “I am Patrick and this is Lorar.

  We are attendants for the Lady Lyssa’s bath. We also have clothes for her.”

  Though he was tempted to snarl and close the door in their faces, Jacob stepped to the side so his lady could see them. As he did, the two shifted forward into her line of sight, revealing two even more brawny males behind them. One golden blond, one with platinum silver locks. They gave him a nod as well, though the platinum one’s eyes were a little too appraising. “We are Arthmael and Cadr, here to make you ready for Queen Rhoswen’s pleasure,” he said. “You will come with us to the preparation chamber.”

  Jacob flashed his fangs. “I’m not leaving my lady unprotected.”

  Arthmael raised a challenging brow, displaying none of the guarded courtesy of the first two. “Think we can’t make you do so, vampire?”

  Jacob braced himself on the doorframe. “If your queen’s preparations for me include leaving my bloody corpse on the floor in here, then let’s get it over with.”

  Patrick gave Arthmael a quelling look that actually seemed to have an effect, suggesting he had the higher rank of the two. Making a polite gesture toward Lyssa, he spoke to her. “We are Her Majesty’s personal attendants. She does you a great honor, offering you our services. You have my word our only charge is to help you with your bath, not to harm you.” He glanced toward Arthmael and Cadr.

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