Unraveled, p.30

Unraveled, page 30

 part  #2 of  Intertwined Series

 

Unraveled
 



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Page 30

 

  Aden remained silent, but, uh, maybe this hadn’t been such a good idea. Someone—probably Dan—would hear the noise and come gunning. No way Aden could explain this.

  My God, Julian said. Such strength…

  I’m thinking, I don’t know, run like hell, Caleb said. Just a suggestion to, I don’t know, save our lives.

  Elijah was as silent as Aden.

  Scowling, Victoria turned to the tree in front of her and punched. “I can’t save you. ” Punched again. “You’re going to die. To leave me. Those girls…they’re beautiful and smart, and what if you like them better? You say you love me now, but you haven’t spent time with the others yet. They could charm you. They’re more…human than I am. Or what if they hurt you? I’ll have to kill them. I will kill them. You’re mine!”

  “You’re right about one thing. I’m yours. I’m not going to change my mind about that. I don’t care how charming they are, how human they act. I love you. ”

  Either she didn’t hear him or she didn’t believe him. The punches never slowed. This tree split just like the other, the top half crumbling to the ground. Then, glowing blue eyes finally focused on Aden.

  Aden, listen to me, man. Run. Please. It was the first time Caleb had ever begged. What if she turns all that anger to your man business? We could lose our favorite body part!

  Victoria’s panting intensified, air sawing in and out of her mouth, probably burning her lungs. She stepped toward him, slowly, menacingly. Her hands weren’t cut or bleeding from the jagged bark, he noticed. They weren’t even bruised.

  “Aden,” she growled in a voice he didn’t recognize. It was layered, as if two people were speaking at once. Raspy. Enraged. Powerful. Her beast?

  He kept his expression blank, but couldn’t stop cold fingers of dread from creeping down his spine. He’d asked for this, had commanded it. He had to take the bad with the good. “Yes?” If she wanted to break him in half, just like the trees, he’d let her. He wouldn’t fight back because he wouldn’t risk hurting her.

  “You should not have demanded this. ” One menacing step, two, she continued to approach him. Closer…closer still…

  His eyes widened. Was that…could it be…? It was; it had to be. She was halfway to him, and there was something rising above her shoulders. Something monstrous. He gulped. There was a glittery outline of wings stretching from Victoria’s back, and over her head, he spied a long snout with big nostrils, black scales and eyes he’d see in his nightmares for years to come. Fire swirled in those eyes. Orange-gold flames that crackled with the promise of a painful death.

  The demon reached for Aden, claws outstretched. Not in a threatening manner, he realized with shock, but in…supplication? Surely not.

  Still. Aden expected to be cut down the moment Victoria reached him. What he didn’t expect was for his girlfriend to grab his wrist and jerk him into the heat of her body. Breath pushed from his nose as the world around him faded, as his feet lost their solid anchor, as his mind scrambled for an explanation. What was happening?

  A car suddenly materialized around him. He was at the wheel, Victoria beside him in the passenger seat. She was still panting, and over and over the beast, which was still perched over her shoulders, reached for him, those claws whooshing through air.

  What would happen if the creature solidified, as she’d warned?

  “Uh, I think your wards have worn off,” Aden said, the souls inside him shouting with concern.

  Without a word, Victoria removed her shirt, her bra, leaving her bare from the waist up. Aden’s jaw dropped. Dear God. Over her heart were two tiny swirling black and red tattoos his eyes could have traced forever. Caleb fainted.

  Elijah and Julian merely gasped.

  “No. They’re still there. ” Her voice was still layered. “Now, kiss me,” she commanded, climbing over the console and fitting herself in his lap. Tight squeeze, with the wheel at her back, but he loved it. Her knees pressed against his waist, and her hands tangled in his hair, her nails cutting into his scalp.

  Her lips smashed into his, and her tongue, which he welcomed wholeheartedly, thrust inside his mouth. Hot, branding. He wound his arms around her, flattening his palms against her shoulders, trailing them down her spine. So much heat… Her skin was as hot as her tongue, and he wanted to be burned.

  On and on the kiss continued, until his every breath was filled with her. Until her taste—cherries, of all things—was all that he knew. Until she was purring, her sweet little moans blending with his groans. The windows on the car had long since fogged.

  Elijah and Julian were blessedly quiet, offering no “helpful” advice about how to make this more enjoyable for her, not telling him everything he was doing wrong. They were probably as awed as he was. Just as lost.

  “Are you thirsty?” he managed to say when she kissed her way along his jaw, his neck, stopping to lick his hammering pulse. He opened his eyes, and realized the beast was no longer visible.

  “No. ” Another lick of his pulse.

  Tendrils of his jealousy returned. “Who’d you drink from?”

  “No one. I’ve been drinking from bags. ”

  The tension drained from him. Sweet, sweet girl. She knew how much he hated her lips—her wonderful, soft, pleasure-giving lips—on anyone else. “Can’t taste as good as fresh blood. ”

  “Doesn’t. ” The word was slurred.

  “So start drinking from me. ” Please.

  “Want to know you’re with me because you love me, not because you’re addicted to my bite. ”

  Well, he couldn’t fault her for that. Being desired for who you were, not what you could do, was a rare and wonderful thing. He knew because he’d experienced the other side of that coin. Throughout his life, he’d been discarded for what he could do, the person he was never taken into account.

  “More kissing,” she said.

  Like he’d argue with that. Their lips met again, and he lost himself again, hands roaming, exploring. Hers did the same, and he thought this was, perhaps, his first true taste of heaven.

  All too soon she pulled back, still panting, lips glistening, ending the kiss. “I-I’m calm now. I can feel my beast inside me. We should stop. ”

  Aden’s head fell against the seat rest as he stared up at her. Each of his pulse points was hammering wildly. His blood was molten in his veins, blistering everything it touched, and his lungs had long since smoldered to ash.

  “You kissed me to calm down?” he asked.

  She gave a hesitant nod.

  Part of him wanted to be angry. The other part of him was just happy this had happened. “Well, we need to unbottle you more often,” he said, trying to lighten the mood.

  A laugh escaped her, and she covered her mouth with her hand, as if she couldn’t believe she’d found humor in such a horrifying topic.

  He didn’t care. His chest puffed with pride. He’d done that. He’d made her laugh again, just as he’d hoped. That’s what he wanted more of, just as much as the kiss.

  “So why did you teleport us to this car?” he asked with a wave of his hand. “We don’t need it, do we?”

  “Riley and I always keep one nearby, just in case, but no, we won’t need it. I wanted a little privacy. ”

  “Smart. ” He reached up and cupped her face. “Don’t shut me out again. Okay? I think I proved I can handle your beast. ”

  “I won’t. ” She fisted his T-shirt, expression darkening, and his heart jumped up to meet her touch. “But, Aden, you will have to date those girls to keep the peace, and that will make me angry. ”

  “Maybe you shouldn’t tell me that. I like your anger. ”

  Another tinkling laugh filled the car. “Be serious. ”

  “I am. I’m not your father. I don’t want you to be afraid to express your thoughts and feelings. Besides, I’m not afraid of your beast. ” In fact, a part of him still thought the
beast had actually liked him, wanting to stroke him—or be stroked by him. Which was crazy. “And listen. You have my vow. I won’t do anything with those vampires. You’re the only one I want. ”

  She traced a hot fingertip down the slope of his nose. “How are you so wonderful, Haden Stone?”

  He liked the sound of his full name on Victoria’s lips. “You’re the wonderful one. Now get dressed and we’ll join Riley. He’s probably worried about you. ”

  She rolled her eyes as she climbed back into the passenger seat and tugged on her shirt. “His concern is for you nowadays. ”

  The loss of her weight, her heat and the sight of her bare skin left him moaning. Intense concentration was the only thing that kept him talking. “Riley needs a good ass-kicking and if he isn’t careful, I’ll give it to him. ”

  “Please. You like him. You know you do. ”

  At last Caleb woke up. What happened? What’d I miss?

  Dude. You missed the Holy Grail of Babe Land. Awe layered Julian’s voice. I never wanted to leave.

  Caleb whimpered.

  Aden experienced another tendril of jealousy. “Guys, please. She’s mine. ”

  “The souls?” Victoria asked with a smile.

  He nodded.

  “I’ve been thinking,” she said, tapping her chin with a blunt-tipped fingernail painted silver. Well, not silver, but with the same metal as her opal ring. That way, she could dip a finger into the je la nune without injuring herself. “The wards I have keep my monster at bay. What if we tattooed you with wards? That might keep the souls quiet. ”

  For a moment, just a moment, he was tempted. Having Victoria all to himself, kissing her like that, without any interference, every time…

  The souls immediately began to protest.

  “No,” he said. “Thanks for the offer, but I like them and don’t want to hurt them. ”

  They calmed, but only slightly.

  Maybe it’s time for a new girlfriend, Elijah huffed.

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