Read Come As You Are Online

Authors: Melinda Barron

Tags: #Erotic Paranormal Romance

Come As You Are (6 page)

BOOK: Come As You Are
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“Tempest! Go outside.”

The feminine wailing had stopped. What the hell had it been?

Don’t listen to him, sweet one.
Her feet seemed rooted to the floor.
He is not the one for you. I am.

She couldn’t move. Her senses reeled as she tried to figure out what was happening. It was almost as if she’d stepped inside a ride at a county fair. The room seemed to spin and then she was on her back, a heavy weight on top of her.

Had Franco changed his mind? Was he taking advantage of her while she was sleeping? It didn’t seem like something he would do, but who knew? She’d only known him for a few hours, after all.

The pressure on top of her increased, compressing her chest making it hard to breath.

You know how much I love you. Say you love me, too. Say it.

Pleasure swirled through her, her clit twitching and demanding more attention.

“Fuck me,” she whispered. “Oh yes, please.”

“No! Tempest, don’t allow yourself to succumb to him. It’s a trick! Tempest, answer me!” Franco’s voice sounded as if he shouted across the miles.

The force on top of her pressed down, the feeling incredible. “More, more.”

“Tempest!”

You must call for me, little one. Call my name, say it.

From far behind, Tempest heard Franco talking. He said the word Martin, then Dev, then get here now. Who was he talking to?

It does not matter, my sweet. All you need do is say my name and I will take care of you. I will give you all that your need, all that you want.

No, this wasn’t right. What was this…thing on top of her?

Say it, sweet little Tempest. Say my name.

“What…what is it?

Arland. It means pledge. Pledge yourself to me, and I will care for you always. We belong together.

“Tempest!” There was that voice again. Franco’s voice. And were there other voices with it? Men were in the room, shouting. What was happening?

Ignore them. Say it!

The pressure on her chest seemed almost unbearable and she pushed up, but there was no relief.

Say it, you little cunt!

“Tempest! You can control him. Push him off, come back to me, remember? You’d walk through—crap, what did she say? A woman would…Tempest!”

What was he saying? Oh yes, a woman would run through fire and water for such a kind heart. She’d just said that earlier in the night, to Franco. He was so kind, so sweet. He would never call her a cunt, like the—thing on top her. The incubus. The demon.

“Shit! Get off me! Get off me!” Tempest flailed out, her breath coming in great, heavy gasps. Her clothing was in disarray, and she was sweating. How long had she been in this position? To her point of view, it had seemed like only a few minutes. Yet Franco was here, and she could hear Dev and Martin, too.

He’d had time to call them, time for them to get here. Even though they all lived in the Quarter, it would have taken at least ten minutes, if not longer.

Someone grabbed her and it took a few seconds for her to realize it was Franco, trying to lift her off the ground.

No! Not again!

“Command him to leave you alone.” It was Martin’s voice, deep and authoritative. “Take control of the situation. Until he has form he can’t hurt you.”

She pushed again, surprised when the weight lifted off her. “Leave me alone. Go away, now.”

The room grew silent but the cold lingered. Within seconds, Franco had lifted her off the floor and wrapped his arms around her.

“It’s all right,” he whispered in her ear. “He’s gone. He’s gone.”

“For now.” She didn’t want to be frightened, to let the demon get the best of her, but right now, he’d done exactly that. Tears leaked from her eyes and she nestled against Franco’s chest. She felt like she should say something but her voice caught in her throat and nothing came out. It was beginning to look like she'd wasted her life savings on a B&B that she would never be able to open.

Unless they could get rid of the demon, and it didn’t look like they were going to be able to, not after tonight’s incident.

“Cowards die many times before their death,” Franco said, stroking her hair. “It’s the one Shakespeare quote I know. I had to memorize parts of Julius Caesar in high school. This demon is a coward, and he may already be physically dead, but he’s going to die for real. Soon.”

Chapter Eight

 
 

 

 

Weak, so weak

I can barely feel the air around me

How did she do it?

I was so sure it would work this time

 
The bitch had played her part well

I enjoyed tormenting her, making her spirit cry with grief

It worked just as I had planned

Right up until the part that she’d gone to him instead of calling me into existence

Now my strength is depleted and she’s not even here

He’d carried her out of the house

And she’d gone willingly

 
She had to come back at some point

After all, this was her home

I’ll put this time to good use, though

Building back up my strength

Next time, she won’t be so lucky

* * * *

This morning the sunlight held a special gift. Tempest could feel it warming her face, and then the next thing she knew she was receiving a kitty kiss, right on her nose. She’d felt the pressure when Pero had climbed on her chest, but had known it was a good pressure this time, not the evil, frightening force she’d felt last night. She opened her eyes to gaze at her Pero, who was staring down at her. Culo sat next to her, and she could hear his loud purr.

She put a hand on each cat, gently stroking furs until both of them were purring loudly. “How’s it going guys? It’s good to see your smiling faces first thing in the morning.”

“I think they’re pretty happy.”

She turned her head toward the doorway where Franco stood, holding a cardboard tray with two steaming mugs of café au lait and a white pastry bag.

“Stevie, the cook, sent up a huge bowl of shrimp for them earlier, so they’re pretty satisfied. Quinn set up their box, along with food and water dishes. And I brought this for you.”

“The service here is fantastic. Would you like a job when I open my B&B?” Her heart clenched, and she tried to hold back tears. “If I get to open my B&B.”

“You will.” He came into the room and placed the tray and bag on the night table. The cats scampered out of the room and she watched them go.

“They must be pretty freaked, being loaded up in the middle of the night and brought here.” She put her hand on his. “Thank you, by the way, for opening your home to us.”

“You’re most welcome.” He leaned over and brushed his lips over hers, the contact light and sweet, reminding her that she really, really liked this man. “I think they’ll do just fine here. They’ve already staked out a spot on the balcony in the extra bedroom. The sunshine is very good there.”

He sat down next to her on the bed and she pushed herself into a sitting position, accepting the cup of coffee and watching with anticipation as he reached for the bag. He placed it in her lap, then put his arm around her.

“Beignets?” she asked, hopefully.

“A few. There’s also a cruller or two. I wasn’t sure which you would want.”

Tempest opened the bag and grasped the first pastry she’d come to: a cruller. She took a huge bite, moaning in satisfaction as the chocolate coating melted in her mouth. “After last night, anything with sugar is just perfect.”

He stroked her hair and didn’t reply as she continued to eat. “How long was I on the floor with…him?”

“A half-hour.”

Tempest dropped the half-eaten treat back in the bag. “What?” Her voice shook and she still wasn’t sure if she’d heard him right. A half-hour? How was that possible? It had seemed like seconds to her. But it couldn’t have been that short of a time period. Everyone needed time to get there. But a half-hour?

“It may have been a little longer. I wasn’t exactly counting time. I tried to touch you, so I could pull you back out onto the balcony, but your skin was burning hot. Plus you slugged me, hard, several times. After a few minutes I called for Dev and his crew, and he called Martin.” He inched closer to her and kissed her forehead. “Martin made contact with your ghost.”

“Really? That’s good, isn’t it?”

“Sure is. He says…”

Before he could continue, she put her finger on his lips. “I slugged you?”

“Yup. You’ve got quite a left hook.”

Tempest put her face in her hands, fighting back the shame she felt for doing something so horrible. “How did he get hold of me like that? He’s never done it before.”

“Candice, that’s the spirit, told Martin that the incubus, whom she won’t name, feeds off her energy. He berated her last night, repeatedly, leaving her feeling sorry for herself and very sad. He told her the only way he would stop was if she would lure your inside. And then he attacked. He had the energy he’d stolen from you from the last week, plus hers. Those combined made him very strong.”

She started to ask how they would fight him, but realized she didn’t need to.

“Don’t worry, gorgeous. We found a member of our group named Pebbles that’s an expert on demonology. She hasn’t advertised the fact, so we were thrilled to hear from her. She’s coming to dinner with us tonight so we can plan our strategy to rid you of…him.”

“Pebbles?”

Franco’s laugh was wonderful to hear and it lightened her spirits. “It’s a nickname. She won’t tell us her real name.”

Tempest took a sip of her coffee, then turned to him. “You know it, obviously.”

“Yes, I do. But I respect her wishes not to make it known.” He nuzzled against her neck. “She’s a very sweet woman, and I think she’ll be able to help us.”

Relief seeped into Tempest’s body, although she was afraid to let it fully consume her. There was the idea of victory, but it wasn’t there yet.

“Don’t think that.”

She laughed softly, then took another bite of food. “I can’t help but think that last night wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t contacted Quinn; that things would have just gone on as they had been.”

“Yes, and he would have control of you. You would have called his name and he would use you for his pleasure, and for bearing his child. You know that’s what he wants now, right?”

“Yes, I know.” That thought made her stomach churn. She dropped the pastry and passed him the bag. He put it on the table, then pushed them over so that he was on top of her. His lips found her neck, trailing kisses up and down it until she shivered in need.

She might wish she’d never contacted Quinn, but if she hadn’t, she never would have met Franco, and that, she was starting to believe, would have been the biggest tragedy of her life.

Tempest shivered and groaned as he knelt over her, his hands caressing her breasts through the T-shirt she wore, which obviously belonged to him. He put his hands on her stomach and inched his way up slowly, caressing her as she lay there watching him.

When he reached her nipples, he took each one between a thumb and forefinger, applying that wonderful pressure that turned to instant pleasure. He teased them mercilessly as she undulated under him, rocking her hips and trying to come into contact with something that would help ease the pressure that was building in her clit.

She was wearing nothing more than his borrowed shirt and her undies. She didn’t remember undressing last night. She barely remembering coming over to Franco’s, much less going to into bed. Had he undressed her?

Who cares, Tempest. Just relax and enjoy this wonderfully seductive man who is making you feel oh so good right now.

He lifted the shit up to expose her breasts, then bent quickly, capturing a nipple in his mouth while his hand toyed with the other. When he grasped one breast between two hands and then licked the nipple over and over, Tempest thought the action might make her come right then and there.

The sensation was incredible, her nipple aching to be sucked and him refusing to do so, just teasing it repeatedly with his tongue. Need swamped her but Franco refused to be hurried. He lifted his gaze to her and winked, and that one little innocent movement affected her as nothing had in such a long time. Then he bent to the other nipple, grazing the hard bud with his tongue until she finally cried out.

“Franco! Please, I…” She grasped his shoulders. “Lower, please.”

“Hush. Just lay there, sweet Tempest. I don’t want you to lift a finger, do you understand me?”

“But…”

“Not a finger or we’ll discuss that taming issue that we brought up last night.” The look he gave her was stern, and it made her insides tingle even more.

“Fine.” She thought about saying ‘spank me then’, but instead she said, “Love me.”

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