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Authors: Laurell K. Hamilton

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[Merry Gentry 04] - A Stroke of Midnight (10 page)

BOOK: [Merry Gentry 04] - A Stroke of Midnight
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Mistral fought against the push of the sweet wind. He fought to move his body away from mine, but the wind was like chains, and the best he could do with all that strength was keep his mouth just above mine. Keep himself just out of reach.

“Why do you fight when this is what you want?” the voice said, using my lips.

“You cannot be the chalice. You cannot be the Goddess, she cast us out long ago.”

“If I am not real, then you cannot kiss me.”

“You cannot be real.”

“You were always my doubting Thomas, Mistral. Kiss me, kiss me, and discover the truth. Whether your doubts are real, or whether I am real.” The wind pressed so tightly that it was hard to breathe. “Kiss me!” The voice came from my mouth, and echoed through the wind, and the drowning scent of blossoms.

His mouth touched mine, and the moment it did, he stopped fighting. He gave himself to the kiss with his lips, his mouth, his arms, his body. The wind was only wind again, but Mistral did not notice. He picked me up in his strong arms, his hands pressing me against his body. One hand gripped my ass, an almost crushing grip that brought a small sound from my mouth. That sound seemed to urge him on. The kiss had been thorough before, but it had had a certain gentleness to it; now he kissed me as if he would climb into my body through the opening of my lips. He kissed and ate with teeth at my mouth, biting and holding my lower lip until I cried out for him.

The smell of flowers was gone, and the wind smelled like ozone. Every hair on my body raised in goose bumps. Mistral drove us to the ground with him on top. I wasn't certain if it was to protect me, or to press the swollen front of him against my body. But we were on the ground a second before a jagged white blast of lightning fell from the clear sky and struck the dead tree.

Bolt after bolt fell from the sky hammering the tree, and with each strike the dead bark fell, revealing fresh pale bark underneath.

Mistral covered my body with his, shielding me as the lightning furrowed the earth on either side of the tree, even as it shook the dead away. Until at last the tree stood naked and new and alive. The broken, snaggled branches began to grow longer, fuller, and buds formed on the end of those branches. Blossoms spilled out, white and pink, and the scent of apples was thick and sweet. Her voice came to us at the end of the vision. “Go now, my doubting Thomas, and shake the dead away from the quick.”

We came back to the hallway with Mistral still kneeling before me, my hand on his face, my hurt arm in a sling.

There were more of Mistral's men on the other side of us, but Doyle and Barinthus were keeping them back. I doubted much time had passed, but I heard Barinthus say, “The princess brought me back into some of my power with only a touch. Would you take that chance away from your captain, simply because you do not understand what is happening?”

Mistral smiled up at me, a fierce baring of teeth. His eyes boiled black with storm clouds so that he looked blind. He was suddenly on his feet, my hand still gripped in his. He jerked me against his body so hard it jarred my arm and drove a small moan of pain from me.

A sound came from his throat and deep in his chest, a sound that started as almost a purring, but ended in the low bass growl of distant thunder.

He ran his fingers through my hair, pulling a fistful sudden and tight in his hand. It was a small sharp pain but it was just this side of being too tight, too much.

He stared down at me, his face filled with a raw, naked lust, something separate and primeval like darkness and light. That divine spark that thrust into the first dark and brought life. That power was in Mistral's hands, in the press of his body hard and eager even through the prison of his leather.

He felt so big, so thick, against the front of my body. The press of him, the strength of his hands made me shudder against him. He tightened his grip on my hair, forcing me to fight my body's reaction, or cause myself real pain. My body wanted to buck and fight against his grip, but he'd given me a choice. Control myself or hurt myself. He knew the game, did Mistral.

The feeling of being trapped, of being helpless against his strength, his lust, and what my body needed was almost overwhelming. My eyes shuttered closed at the effort of not struggling in his harsh grasp.

He whispered against my face, and I could not focus enough to see him. “Do you want to ride the storm?” His breath was hot against my skin.

His voice promised no gentleness, no compromise. I knew the kind of sex he was offering, and the thought of it tightened things low in my body, drew another small sound from my throat. “Yes,” I whispered, “yes.”

The roll of thunder echoed down the hallway, shuddering between the stone walls. The sound seemed to vibrate out of his body and into mine as if my body were a tuning fork struck against the rim of some great metal cup. His voice growled against my skin, with the taste of thunder in it. “Good,” he said and forced me to my knees.

CHAPTER 8

MISTRAL HELD ME ON MY KNEES, MY HEAD IMMOBILE IN HIS GRIP
, as his other hand undid the front of his pants. Just watching him do it made my body react so strongly that I might have fallen to all fours if he hadn't held me up. Most of my lovers wouldn't let me go down on them because that wouldn't get me pregnant. Oral sex wouldn't make one of them king to my queen, and they would not waste seed on any other part of my body. I'd offered it as a part of foreplay, but most had refused even that for fear that I would bring them, and a chance would be wasted. I was left begging for the touch of them in my mouth.

Mistral was not worried about being king or making me pregnant. In this moment, he simply wanted me with no plan, no agenda, only his own long-denied need. That he would think first of pleasure and second of politics made me love him, just a little.

My skin began to glow softly. That faint dance of magic underneath my skin traveled up his hand and into his body. A faint white radiance started underneath his skin, like light reflected around a corner. Not the full-out shine of my skin, but something fainter, less sure of itself. I wondered if his glow had always been so hesitant. His body spilled out of his pants. He forced my mouth down on the long, thick shaft and I sucked long and hard on him. It threw his head back, bowed his body, and light burst from his skin. Cool white fire, blazing inside him, so that for a moment my eyes were dazzled.

If I had not held him in my mouth, felt his hand like a comforting pain in my hair, I would have believed that he had become light and power and magic, and had no true substance at all. But he shoved that wide and very solid piece of himself so far down my throat that breathing became an issue. I liked my men large, but I liked breathing more. I began to fight against his hold, my body starting to struggle to breathe.

I pushed at his body, and his hand relaxed, drawing my mouth down his thickness until I could draw breath, around the tip of him. I expected him to draw the rest of the way out of my mouth, but he didn't. He kept the tip of himself just inside me. When I'd drawn enough air, I ran my tongue delicately underneath the rim of his foreskin where it stretched tight across the hardness of him. It made him shudder from the hand in my hair, to the flesh in my mouth, to his hips under the press of my hands.

His body emerged from the radiance in edges, an outline of solid lines melting out of the brightness. His hair had burst its leather ribbon, and fell around him like a fall of white light. It was as if the rest of his body thrummed with light and power, except the part I held in my mouth. Maybe I couldn't have held him inside me if it all glowed like something carved of power.

He shoved himself deeper into my mouth, but I was afraid that he would shove too far as he had before. I distracted him with just an edge of teeth. It made him hesitate, and let me pull myself to the end of him again. I edged my tongue gently but firmly farther underneath the skin than I had before, so that I could lick inside that taut skin and the top of the shaft at the same time. It made him shudder and writhe above me. He looked down at me and his eyes were wide and wild with the sensation of it.

Wind began to play down the hallway, and his white, shining hair flared in that wind, a nimbus to frame his body. The wind grew until it streamed down the hallway in both directions, and I realized it was Mistral.

My hands slid to his pants, and I pulled carefully on the leather fastenings, until I could touch the soft skin of his testicles. They were loose enough that I could tease the skin between them, and roll them in my hands like delicate balls of tender flesh.

I forgot my earlier fear, and drove myself down the shaft of him, struggling to hold the width of him in my mouth. He'd gotten harder, which was more difficult to swallow, but it was worth the effort. Worth it to rest my mouth against those tender bits of skin and flesh, until I could lay the circle of my lips against the solid vibrating warmth of his body. Touching even that much of myself to the shining center of him left my lips tingling, and as I drew myself back down the length of him, it was as if that shivering power followed me. As if the touch of my lips had somehow allowed it to flow down this last length of his body.

I gave a final flick of my tongue, and when I drew him out of my mouth, he did not fight me. He gazed down at me with those wild eyes, and light flashed through them. It took me a second to realize I was seeing lightning. Lightning flashed through Mistral's eyes. Then came the first distant breath of ozone, like a storm that hadn't quite reached us yet, but the scent of it rode the wind and promised great and terrible things.

He made a sound low in his throat, and thunder growled down the hallway in answer.

My skin shone as if the moon had climbed inside me and was trying to melt out through my skin. We painted shadows along the walls. He dragged me to my feet by hair that had bled to red light, and I knew that my eyes were a blaze of green and gold like Christmas lights caught behind snow.

He turned me sharply in against the wall so that only my hands against the stones kept me from hitting face-first.

He kept his hand in my hair, but the other hand slid under my skirt until his fingers found the edge of my panties. He balled his hand into the satin, and I had a breath to brace before he ripped them from my body. The violence of it staggered me, and only his hand in my hair kept me against the wall. I realized that I was using my hurt arm, and it didn't hurt anymore. My hands pressed into the cool stone of the wall, as Mistral pulled my hips against his body.

He moved between my legs but not inside me. The feel of him hard and solid sliding between my thighs made me cry out, but he was more than a foot taller than I. There was no way to have intercourse with me facing the wall, not unless someone brought a box for me to stand on.

He shoved himself against me, sliding all that hard length across the most intimate parts of me. The feel of the head of him gliding back and forth across the sweetest of spots started that heavy warmth building between my legs. It wasn't just the softness of his skin and the hardness of his erection, but the power. The power acted as a sort of vibration against my body. I realized that if he didn't stop soon he'd bring me. I both wanted him to and didn't. Would my orgasm bring his, before he'd shoved himself up inside my body? Did I want him to spill himself across the outside of my body, or deep within? I was still hesitating when Mistral made the choice for me.

He jerked me back from the wall by my hair, so hard that I stumbled. He steadied me with his other hand on my arm, as if he hadn't meant to be quite that rough. He put me on my knees, and released his grip on my hair. It made me fall to all fours.

“On your back,” he said, his voice hoarse, and followed by an echo of thunder between the stone walls. “I want you on your back.”

I started to roll over, but it wasn't fast enough for him. His hands found my hips and rolled me onto the stone floor. He put his hands beneath my buttocks and pulled me forward, my knees bent, with only my jacket-covered back touching the floor.

Lightning flashed in his eyes so bright that it flickered around us like a strobe of light. It left my eyes dazzled, and when I could see clearly again, he was pushing himself against the opening to my body. His skin, his hair, everything was white with light and power. The only color left to him was the storm sky color of his eyes between lightning strikes.

He pushed himself inside me, using his hands to hold my body where he wanted it. The feel of him entering me fluttered my eyes closed, parted my lips, and made me raise my hips up to meet his body.

He shuddered inside me, and when I opened my eyes he still had half his length to go. His fingers had tightened painfully on my body. He held me immobile with just his hands on the cheeks of my ass. “Don't help me,” he said in a voice that was almost lost to a growl of thunder. “If you help, I won't last, and I want to last. I want this,” and he squeezed his fingers tight enough to make me cry out, “to last.”

I nodded because I didn't trust my voice.

He tried to shove himself inside me in one last movement, but he hadn't made enough room. He had to fight for it, pushing hard and deep with his hips, to work his width up inside me. He seemed to fill up every inch of me, as if I couldn't have held another piece of him. He almost drew himself out of me, then again that slow, hard push inside. The feel of him filling me was too much. He brought me screaming, back arching, before he'd made me open enough for him to truly do what he wanted.

I thought it would bring him, but when my pleasure passed, he was still hard and firm between my legs. But the orgasm had done one thing, I was more open. He finally had room to truly thrust, and he knew what to do with the room.

He let me slip to the floor, but I kept my legs up, knees bent, and he stayed propped up on his arms, hands flat on either side of me. I watched him go in and out of my body, as the twin glows of our power grew bright and brighter. I'd always described my glow as moonlight, but this was more like sunshine. My hair and eyes reflected around us like burning blood and emeralds and gold that had gotten so hot they melted into light.

Mistral found his rhythm and it was hard and fast and deep. He did it as if he could have done it all night. I smelled ozone. The hairs on my body stood to attention, and the air squeezed tight around us. I felt that warm building of pressure between my legs, and just as it rolled over me, spread through my body, he thrust one last time inside me. I knew in that instant that he'd been gentle before, because it was deep enough that it drove me up off the floor screaming. I dug my nails into his arms, half in pleasure, and half in pain.

Lightning cracked down the hallway in both directions. It didn't exactly come out of Mistral's body, but it came from the glow of him. His body shuddered inside me, and the lightning crashed down the hallway, thunder beating against the stones as if the force of it all would bring the walls down around us. And I didn't care.

I was trapped under the force and power of his body, blinded, deafened, by the explosion of his magic. My body became light, became magic, became pleasure. I forgot that there was skin to hold me, bones to move me. I simply was the pleasure.

When I was aware of my body again, the weight of Mistral was collapsed on top of me. He was still inside me, but not as hard or solid. He had thrown those wide shoulders to the side, so I wasn't suffocated under the bulk of him. I could feel his heartbeat thudding through his body as he fought to regain his breath. His hair was its usual grey, and his skin back to its normal slightly off-white, not as pure a color as my own. The armor on the one arm I could see was torn, and blood showed through. I tried to raise my hand to touch the damage, but I couldn't make that much of my body move yet.

A movement in the hallway beyond us made me turn my gaze to where Doyle and the others had been standing. Doyle was kneeling beside the far wall, dazed. Most of the others were flat on the floor, some immobile. Frost got to all fours, as I watched, shaking his head as if to clear his senses.

Rhys came around the corner with Kitto in tow. He drew his gun, obviously thinking it had been an attack. I couldn't blame him.

“Sex,” Doyle said in a hoarse voice, “sex and magic.” He cleared his throat sharply and tried again. “The Goddess and Consort have blessed us all.”

“Shit,” Rhys said, “and we missed it.”

Galen's voice came heavy with afterglow. He was flat on his back, and the front of his pants was stained dark. “It sort of hurt. I don't like my sex that rough.”

I heard groans from the other side of the hallway, and I could turn my head now. Mistral's men were all flat on their backs. Some were struggling to sit up. Adair tried to climb to his feet against the wall, and fell over with a metallic clatter. There was a black burn mark across the front of his armor. “Goddess save us,” someone said in a voice hoarse with pleasure.

“She just did.” Mistral moved slowly so he could raise up enough to gaze down at me. He smiled, and his eyes were the blue of spring skies with fluffy little clouds floating through. I'd never known there was a sky that peaceful inside his eyes.

Hawthorne sat up in his green plate mail, propping his back against the wall. He, too, had a black burn mark across his chest. “The next time you plan to call lightning, warn those of us wearing metal. Mother of Gods, that hurt.”

“And felt good,” another voice said.

Hawthorne dragged his helmet off, showing a pale face, and his dark green hair braided to fit under the helm. He nodded. “And felt good.” He looked at me, and for just a moment in the triple colors of his eyes—pink, green, and red—I saw a tree. A tree on a hill, and that tree was white with blossoms. He blinked and it was just the colors of his iris again.

I remembered the vision and how the lightning had cleared away the dead from the tree. Had we cleared away the old wood here? Had we done more than give them pleasure and pain? Time would tell. For now, we had a double homicide to solve. The police were on their way, and we hadn't even started to question the witnesses.

I said a little prayer. “Goddess, can we slow down the magical revelations until after we solve the murders, or at least until we get presentable for the police?” I didn't get an answer, not even that warm pulse that lets me know she's listening, which I took for a no. It wasn't that I didn't understand that bringing the magic back to faerie was important, maybe more important than solving murders. But I did not want the human police to find us spread around the hallway like an orgy gone horribly wrong.

Someone moved at the far end of the hallway. The person who sat up was female, decidedly female even under the armor. She took off her helmet and gasped at the air. Her curly black hair was cut very short, which was different from last I'd seen her, but the face was still Biddy. She was one of Cel's guards, half-human and half–Unseelie sidhe, even though she'd never been a fan of Cel. She'd once belonged to my father's guard, and when Cel co-opted many of my father's guards, she was trapped in the turnover. What was she doing here?

BOOK: [Merry Gentry 04] - A Stroke of Midnight
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