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Authors: Eleri Stone

Demon Crossings (8 page)

BOOK: Demon Crossings
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Chapter Nine
 

Sitting on a dusty old stool in the corner of the barn, Grace watched Aiden take care of his horse. He put away the tack, glancing at her every once in a while but trying to be discreet about it. Checking on her. There was a frown between his brows and she thought he might be hurrying for her sake. Hard to tell though—he worked fast but there was nothing sloppy about it. The barn was remarkably well-ordered, though she hadn’t ever been in a barn before. Much cleaner than she’d expected. She shivered when he passed between her and the light.

“Why horses?”

Some of the tension left his body and she realized they were the first words she’d spoken to him since they got back to the house. “The energy surge disrupts mechanical and electronic devices.”

She started to nod but then thought of something else. “What about my car? The tire was my fault. The engine never stopped working.”

“That day you came into town, there’d been a slight surge. Josey, the huntsman on gate duty, went out to check on it but said she didn’t find anything. The surge occurred several hours before you drove through that area and it was only the one demon.”

“Oh.” Grace wrapped her arms around her torso. It was getting colder and she hadn’t packed much for this trip. If all had gone according to plan, she would have been home by now. After her shower this afternoon, she’d put on the only clean outfit she had. She’d never expected that horses would be involved in their little outing. Yeah, the cold, that’s why she couldn’t stop shaking. “How did Josey miss it?”

His frown deepened, cutting a furrow between his eyebrows. He wasn’t really handsome—his face was too hard, his eyes too deep set. Funny how she had to keep reminding herself of that. He looked stern, commanding, as if he’d been born with that sword in his hand. But she knew he wasn’t frowning at her and she liked his face. There was something sturdy and reliable in it.

He closed the door to the stall. “To be honest, I’m not sure she felt the portal open. She’s been drinking again. It will be addressed.”

“By you.”

It wasn’t a question but he nodded anyway and held out his hand. “By me. Come on now. Let’s get you back to the house.”

She took his hand and he pulled her up. He turned off the lights on their way out, the door creaking closed behind them. About halfway across the yard, she realized she was still holding his hand. It felt good, solid, strong and comforting so she didn’t try to pull away, just let him lead her up the steps and into the house, which was still unlocked.

He let go of her long enough to close the door behind them, sealing them in darkness save for the light from the porch lamp spilling in through the high cutout in the entryway. She glanced down and even in the dim light she could see the black gore striping her forearms, proof that the demons were real. She believed now but was still half afraid that belief only meant she was really and truly crazy. The psychotic break her doctors had always feared. She needed something to anchor her to the here and now. And Aiden…he was real. At least, she wanted him to be.

Their attraction was real, had been from the moment she set eyes on him. Before that even. When he was just a pair of strong arms in the dark, keeping her safe. That’s what she wanted now.

She didn’t want to be alone.

So when Aiden turned, she went to him. His arms came up to grip her shoulders as if he meant to comfort, but that wasn’t what she wanted. She wanted, needed, more. She wanted to go back in time a few hours when everything in her life had still been relatively normal. She wanted to forget what she’d seen tonight, a distraction. He could give that to her.

Snaking her arms around his neck, she lifted onto her toes, catching his mouth just as it opened on a question. She followed him when he tried to pull away. His lips were warm, firm yet yielding, opening to the press of her tongue. She caught his lower lip and sucked at it gently. He groaned into her mouth and she swallowed that down too, greedy for anything he’d give her, willing to rip what she needed from him even if he wasn’t offering.

He walked her backward, turning at the last moment to press her up against the wall, and then he held her there with the weight of his body. She could feel his erection through the layers of cloth, the hard rasp of his hands when he lifted them to cradle her face, the scratch of stubble against her cheek and the sweet glide of his tongue exploring her mouth. His perfect body was hard against her, hot and nearly vibrating with restraint. His hip bones dug into her belly, pinning her to the wall. She stretched up, trying to grind closer.

If he would just bend his legs, she’d have his cock exactly where she wanted it. Hollow and needy, she was ready to climb up his body if she had to. But she couldn’t move much, he caged her in, keeping it slow. Keeping it gentle. Drawing out that sweet, soft kiss and driving her insane.

He pulled back and she bit her lip to hold back a groan. In the dark, she couldn’t make out much more than the glitter of his eyes. He let out a shaky breath and she arched her back, letting her nipples drag across his chest, gripping his hips and trying to pull him against her. He didn’t move but his whole body tightened. She felt like a cat, rubbing herself against a scratching post.

“Please.” And damn him for making her beg when she knew he wanted this too.

“Grace…”

When her hands clenched on his ass, he tilted his hips, pressing his cock against her in a slow, easy arc. She moaned and his lips moved to her cheek, trailed lower over her jaw then slicked down the column of her throat.

“This is a bad idea,” he murmured against her skin.

“It’s the best idea I’ve had since I got in my car to drive north.”

He chuckled and the sound vibrated through her body. “Look how that turned out.”

“Good. Right now is good.” She didn’t want to consider anything but right now.

She lifted her hips from the wall to press into him, and he ran a hand down the outside of her thigh, catching at the hem of her skirt and sliding his open hand back up her leg against bare skin. “Why the hell did you wear a skirt? Did you plan on this?”

“No.” It was all she’d packed. She’d come here looking for information. People, men especially, were more likely to talk to a woman wearing a skirt. And she’d also half wanted to mock Aiden and his friends, so certain they’d been playing a game. A nasty joke on her. And it was a nasty joke, but they weren’t playing games. He tugged at her panties, until they slid down to her knees and then he ignored them. She could feel his eyes on her but his back was to the light and she couldn’t see the expression on his face. She was gripped by a sudden fear that he meant to pull away. So she lifted her chin and looked at him, let him see her face, inside of her if he wanted to.

“Damn,” he said, so low she didn’t think she was meant to hear it. “This isn’t right.”

“Please,” she whispered again and silently willed him closer.

He came, leaning forward until she could feel his heat, breathe in his scent. He braced one arm to the wall beside her head and slid his other hand between her thighs. His fingers were as hard as she thought they’d be, rough and calloused, but incredibly gentle when he first touched her damp curls and then glided between the delicate folds of skin. She hooked her fingers into the waistband of his jeans just to have something to hold onto.

“Grace,” he said, but she closed her ears to the question in his tone and then closed her eyes too.

She let her head fall back and he pressed a gentle kiss to the base of her neck, all the while his fingers moved so carefully, opening her, spreading out her moisture, still maddeningly avoiding her clit. “This is what you want? You’re sure?”

“Mmm.” The calloused pad of his thumb brushed her clit and she swallowed a moan.

He eased one finger inside of her and she tried to ride it. “Shh. Easy. God, you feel good.”

He added a second finger and it stretched her. She went still when he dragged his fingers out. Her body clenched around him, fighting to hold him inside. Slowly, taking his sweet fucking time, he pumped in and out. When she was good and wet, shuddering on his hand, he curled the fingers wedged inside her and then circled his thumb around her clit.

“You’re so close. So close, already. Just let it go, sweetheart. I’ve got you.”

He used his hooked fingers to pull her toward him, sliding his erection into the groove where her thigh met her hip. And he kept that pace, fingers lazily stroking, his thumb drawing circles on the hood of her clit.

“Can’t. I can’t.” Because she could feel his eyes on her and even though she was still dressed, she felt stripped bare. She would be okay with that, she thought, so long as she wasn’t the only one. “Let’s go upstairs.”

Before she knew what he was going to do, he was on his knees, tossing aside her panties and nudging her feet wider, flipping up her skirt and pinning it to the wall with his forearms. The first touch of his tongue made her legs buckle but he grabbed onto her hips to keep her from falling. God he was strong. Fingers flexed into her skin, he held her up and buried his face between her thighs, making some inarticulate sound of need and appreciation. As if this was his first meal after months of starvation. She threaded her fingers through his hair, surprised at its softness when everything else about him was so hard.

He licked his way up to her clit and sucked hard, catching it between his teeth and making her body jerk. Then he slid lower and pushed his tongue inside her.

She tried to draw him up, move them to a bed, or at least the couch but he ignored the attempt. His hands pressed her hips to the wall while he fucked her with his mouth, driving his tongue in a demanding rhythm and circling her clit with his thumb. This was the kind of lover she’d expected him to be—demanding, intense, deliberate, relentless.

She came hard, losing everything, herself in a blinding collision of need and gratification. He held her up when her legs gave out, her whole body caught in the sudden spasm of pleasure. Only when she tried to stand on her own did he ease his grip, still kissing her, nuzzling at her and wringing every last aftershock from her spent muscles.

He stood, his body brushing against hers, and then he kissed her on the forehead. A chaste peck so wildly at odds with what that mouth had just been used for, it stunned her. Releasing a shuddering breath, he started to pull away. She reached down and grabbed him. He was heavy in her hand, rock hard and very large. He went absolutely still, staring at her through slit eyes.

When she squeezed lightly and slid toward the base, his cock leaped in her hands even as Aiden caught her wrist and pulled her away. “You don’t have to do that.”

“You did.”

He paused. “You…needed it more than I do.”

She’d been shot once and it felt something like this, the shock that hit your body first before your mind knew what was happening. She went cold as realization dawned. His rejection hurt. It hadn’t been about desire then, at least not for him. To him this had been just another part of his job, one he’d performed damn well. To keep her happy. To keep her here. God, she was such an idiot.

She thought they had a connection because in the short time she’d known him, Aiden had been kinder to her than anyone else ever had. But it had nothing to do with her. She was a tool he wanted to use to find his daughter and Aiden took good care of his tools. He was only taking care of her, as conscientiously as he’d taken care of his sword or his horse after the hunt.

So stupid.
She’d thought he wanted her too. She’d been so sure of it. Of course, maybe she’d been right at the time. But she’d miscalculated. Maybe he had wanted her when he might have fucked her and then sent her on her way, no strings attached. After all, it had to get lonely out here. Now they were stuck together until they found Hallie.

“I won’t take advantage of you.” He made a harsh sound in the back of his throat. “Not any more than I already am.”

“I told you what I wanted. That’s not taking advantage.”

“You’ve been through a lot today.” He lifted her hand and touched his lips to her pulse.

She jerked back, happy he couldn’t see how red her cheeks were. Bad enough that she’d begged him—
God
—but she wouldn’t stand here and be mocked too. She started up the stairs, alone. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I’ve changed my mind.”

 

Aiden watched her go. He’d hurt her feelings and he hadn’t meant to. She was embarrassed, her green eyes flashing, cheeks burning. And his oxygen-starved brain couldn’t come up with the words to reassure her. He could still taste her, smell her, feel her. God she was hot. That compact, curvy body and that riot of dark curls. Her body was extravagant, her breasts big for her frame. They’d bounced against his back for the last two hours and he’d wanted to feel the weight of them in his hands, press his mouth into that sweet giving flesh, feel her nipples harden against his tongue. He’d missed his chance there. When it came down to it, he’d bypassed those luscious breasts and gone straight for her pussy instead. Like the starving man that he was.

His cock throbbed and he groaned.
Damn.

He shouldn’t have touched her at all. It was a mistake to bring sex into this. Not when he needed her help. She was too smart and too damn suspicious. She’d question his every motive now.

She didn’t trust him, had gone through most of the day thinking he was insane or playing cruel psychological games with her. She’d been pale with shock, stinking of dried demon blood and stale sweat. And then—he still didn’t understand how it happened—she was in his arms and all he could feel was her great aching
need
. He couldn’t see past it, all he’d wanted to do was fill up that empty space, ease her, touch her, have her.

He leaned against the door and closed his eyes. She wasn’t his to take. He didn’t flatter himself that she’d wanted anything more than simple human touch. All that wariness. All those shields she used to keep people at a distance. And when shock and fatigue crashed her defenses? She literally jumped on the nearest warm body for comfort. She’d had a hell of a day and no matter what she’d said about knowing what she wanted, it still felt like taking advantage. All he’d managed to do was piss her off and give himself a hard-on that wasn’t going away any time soon.

BOOK: Demon Crossings
8.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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