Authors: Sondrae Bennett
He wouldn’t let her back away from her feelings. Now, he knew the truth. Everything he’d felt the past month wasn’t as one-sided as she’d led him to believe.
Blocking another blow, he used the moment to spin her around, and pulled her back against his front.
“Close attention,” he whispered in her ear, letting her feel the size of his erection. She fit against him perfectly. Her pert ass cradling his length.
Her elbow made contact with his diaphragm.
He grunted, doubling over.
She spun away, her eyes shooting fire. But the truth was clear, now that he knew what to look for. She might appear angry to anyone who didn’t know her better.
He did, and what he saw encouraged him.
“Stop that,” she demanded. Was that a quiver he heard in her voice?
When he smiled, she attacked again. Her blows became more forceful, but more erratic, good technique flying out the window.
She raised the sword above her head with both hands, leaving her middle vulnerable, as she would say.
But Cameron didn’t take the opening. Using his own weapon, he locked swords with her and advanced until her back hit the wall behind her. She grunted with the impact. Then he kept going until she was pressed fully against him.
Kalindra sucked in a breath, her gaze rapt on his lips.
He couldn’t say who let go of their weapon first, him or her, but with a clatter, their swords fell to the ground.
Arms circled his neck, yanking him forward until his lips collided with hers. He groaned as her taste infused his senses. Intoxicating. His fingers dug into her hips as red-hot need boiled his blood. All he could think about was her.
Deepening the kiss, he thrust his tongue into her mouth. He pressed her into the wall with his hips until she jumped up and wrapped her legs around him.
* * * *
, Kalindra’s head hit the wall behind her, but she paid it little mind. Never had she felt such intensity. Cameron’s erection strained against her core, and she clenched her thighs around his hips.
What was happening to her? Her nipples had hardened to the point of pain, remembering the accidental brush of his fingers earlier. As if reading her thoughts, he slid his hands under her shirt and began a slow ascent, igniting nerve endings along the way until her entire body tingled, desperate for his touch.
She gasped into his mouth as his fingers pressed into a particularly sensitive spot on her side. He took the opportunity to plunder deeper, filling her every sense. All she could think about was him.
His hand cupped her breast, but still he didn’t touch her where she so desperately needed him to. She writhed against him, arching into his hand. Trying to maneuver her chest so that his fingers would brush against the peak. But he resisted. Intentional or not, the lack of contact was driving her insane. When he chuckled into her mouth, pulling back and nipping the bottom lip before diving back in, she had her answer. The tease.
Her hips met his thrust for thrust, making her wish there were no barriers between them. There’d be fireworks if they ever had sex, she could already tell. All heat and passion, burning them both in the blaze they’d create.
Never before had anything felt this good. Felt this right.
The thought was like a bucket of cold water. Felt right? No. Sleeping with Cameron wasn’t part of the plan. Getting attached to a human was never going to be part of the plan. Humans died too easily. They lived short little lives that burned out in the blink of an eye.
So, indulging in some hot sweaty sex? That could be on the table. It
been a long time since she’d truly let herself go. But she couldn’t get carried away.
This was too fast. Too unexpected. Was this the same man who’d called her a monster a mere month ago? She needed to get her head on straight so she could approach this logically. And when she did… Hot. Sweaty. Sex. Nothing more.
She pulled away, pushing against his shoulder until an inch separated their lips. He gazed into her eyes. She could read the concern in his gaze. Their panting breath tangled in the space between them.
Her whole body shivered at the deep timbre of his voice. Control would not be easily gained. She wanted to tumble back into his kiss. Wanted to slide her hands around his neck, and lose herself again. Wanted to feel his touch on her waist, her breasts, everywhere.
But none of that would be conducive to thinking. And she needed to think. Which was why she lowered her legs from around his waist, and put more space between them.
His gaze grew more concerned, so she leaned in and placed a light kiss against his lips.
“I’m hungry. Come on, I’ll fix you a sandwich.”
His hands held her as she tried to slip past him.
Kalindra merely raised one brow until he chuckled and let her go.
“Fine, we’ll do it your way. For now.” A hint of warning hid in his tone.
Knowing he couldn’t see it, she smiled. As soon as she got her head on straight, they’d both get their way. Standing, sitting, backward, forward, and any other ways they could come up with.
“One of my favorite sights,” Cameron said as he walked into the kitchen to find Kali once again bent over the oven.
She jumped at the sound of his voice. Ever since their kiss, she’d been weird around him. Nervous. It was kind of cute. Big bad warrior woman freaked out by a little sexual heat.
It was also strange, though. Judging by the skill she’d shown in that little kiss, she had experience. The woman had tied him up in knots. He almost groaned out loud at the memory of her tongue tangling with his. Of the way her nails had scraped over the back of his neck.
But there was no denying it. The past two days, she’d avoided him. Without success, he thought with a snicker. Every opportunity he got–and he made sure he got a lot of them–he cornered her, reminding her of the passion between them. And every time his lips touched hers, she melted. No better description for the way her body wrapped around his whenever he got close.
She glared at him, warning him not to come closer, and shut the oven door. God, she amused him. As if he was frightened of her. He swallowed the chuckle; she wouldn’t appreciate it.
When she moved to the sink with a pot from the stove, he closed the distance between them. He waited until she poured the contents of the pot into the strainer, let the steam waft up. Then he pressed against her, his hands gripping her hips and pulling them tight against his. Her head fell forward, and he couldn’t resist brushing his lips against the creamy skin at the back of her neck.
She sucked in a breath, her hands visibly tightening on the counter in front of her. No matter what she wanted him to believe, her attraction to him was obvious.
Avoid me all you like, it won’t change a thing
. He had her in his crosshairs, and he wasn’t letting her get away so easily.
Opening his mouth over her shoulder, he swirled his tongue against her skin, savoring the flavor of her skin. He breathed in, pulling her scent into his lungs. Fresh. Earthy. Like summer rain.
The hard edge of the counter slammed into his gut, driving the breath from his lungs. Confusion filled him as he caught himself against the edge, barely preventing himself from falling. His arms were empty. Kali was gone.
* * * *
Darkness filled her vision. The sudden change from the light of the kitchen confused her senses, blinding her. Moments ago, she’d been surrounded by Cameron’s warmth, the desire to pull away from his mouth warring with the ache in her gut. Avoiding him hadn’t been helping her gain control. If anything, it had the opposite effect, making her crave him more.
She’d mistaken the familiar tug in her stomach that signaled the gate’s impending teleport for desire. She had to be more careful in the future. Because she wouldn’t be able to resist him much longer.
. Now was not a good time for distractions. No mistaking where she was, even if she couldn’t see the shimmer of the gate in the dark. Which meant someone, or something, had crossed over.
Blackness surrounded her. Her eyes needed time to adjust to the change in lighting. Lucky for her, nothing attacked out of the night. Could she have been summoned by mistake? It had never happened before, but there was a first time for everything, right?
Something hissed to her left. She spun her body toward the sound, but saw nothing. She opened her other senses, anticipating a strike.
More hissing. A whole symphony of it, like leaks from water pipes. A veritable flood.
A weak person would freak out. No one had ever accused Kalindra of being weak. A smart person would run. But she didn’t have that luxury. So she waited, listening to the sounds around her.
The noise came from her right, as well. Not one hiss, but hundreds. Whatever lay in wait, there were at least two of them. But her special awareness told her there weren’t many more than that. She wracked her brain. What kind of creature made hissing sounds like an army of snakes? Neat trick. Made their enemies think there were more of them than there were.
Kalindra took a step back as her mind snagged on a possible creature. She shook her head, refusing to believe her train of thought. It couldn’t be the gorgons. It simply wasn’t possible. After their sister, Medusa, had been killed by humans ages and ages ago, before the gateways were protected, the gorgons had gone into hiding. No one had seen them in almost a millennium.
But what else could it be? Her senses were telling her only two creatures hid in the woods, despite what sounded like a legion of snakes. Gorgons, with living snakes for hair, fit. The only thing she could think of that did fit.
If gorgons were hiding in the trees, Kalindra might be in trouble. No one knew much about fighting them. They were creatures of legend in Outremer. Even their abilities were mere rumors. No one knew if they still existed. Until now. If she was right, Kali was about to get a crash course in fighting gorgons.
At least it was dark. That worked toward her advantage. Legend had it they could turn their prey to stone with one look. If she couldn’t see their eyes, they had less chance of freezing her.
Those powers were just a rumor, but not one she was willing to test. She had no desire to spend eternity as a statue. Nor to be killed.
After almost a week of inactivity, she’d begun to hope the citizens of Outremer had given up. These two being here now meant they were either so far in seclusion they hadn’t heard the warnings, or they were confident in their abilities to take her. Considering they’d heard about the object in the first place–because Kalindra didn’t believe their appearance after so many years of seclusion was coincidence–she doubted it was the former. Not looking good for her.
What was wrong with her? Kali took a deep breath, letting the change sweep down her body. She’d been chosen as gatekeeper, and had successfully guarded the portal between worlds for centuries. She was Kalindra, fierce harpy protector of this world, and general badass. Freaking out over a couple of creatures who attacked at night and hid in the trees? She snorted, drawing her claws and readying for the fight.
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty,” she taunted, turning in a circle.
If she could pinpoint one of them, she could attack before they had a chance to coordinate an attack. Kali had never been good at waiting.
At the edge of her vision, she saw something come at her. Fast. She spun away from the movement, just missing the slash of razor sharp nails. She started to smile, until she noticed the snakes in the gorgon’s hair lunging for her as she passed. Jeez, she had to watch out for her opponents’ hair, too?
She spun around moments before a bright light flashed behind her. No idea what that was, but no time to worry about it now. Dashing forward, she slashed at the second advancing creature with her claws, catching it off guard.
Not fast enough. Somehow the gorgon slithered out of the way.
Something slashed in front of her face, startling her. She hadn’t seen that coming. Thank the gods her reflexes were fast. For all she knew, they carried poison in their nails.
Another flash behind her as she turned to find the other attacker. What the hell was that?
The gorgon had her head turned, distracted by something in the distance, giving Kalindra the opening she needed. With a sweeping arc, she felt flesh give way, followed by the warm spurt of blood on her claw. The breath hissed out of the woman as she fell to the ground. When the snakes went silent, Kalindra knew the blow had been fatal. One down, one to go.