Madness still consumed her as she watched the large beast slowly recede into the human form of Sinclair Clarke.
And a fine form it was. Tall, well defined muscles and smooth golden skin. All that and naked. As the wind blew a black curl across his crimped forehead, the familiar sight of him, instead of sending the usual lust through her, just fueled her rage.
“You were about to kill him,” he scorned at her.
“You have a problem with that?” She tilted her head back to level with him.
“You’re not a murderess, Cee.” He shook his head, leaned back on his heels, and crossed his arms at his bare broad chest.
“Your words should have been,” she said, tugging at the string of her sweatpants with annoyance, “wow, Cee, you really know how to defend yourself.”
“I never doubted you. But you are not a murderess.”
“Who’s to do it then? You were all fine with Diesel killing him. What’s so special about Diesel?”
“I’m not in love with Diesel.” There he went again. He used his love to reason with her.
And yet he was sexy, with thick and muscular thighs, his manhood much too there for her to admire. Some of her anger receded at the sight.
She turned away to study the series of candles she had arranged earlier for a peaceful sleep. She would not have her mood influenced by how hot he looked. Even as she was still awed at how much of a strong predator he looked naked, while he could be such a polished and worldly man about town.
“Celeste, do you know the burden of carrying the murder of a living creature inside you?” His deep tone sending shivers to her belly. “Even such a vile one as Burton? I don’t want that for you.”
“You’ve done it before,” she said gently, still not looking at him, quivering now in the frigid room blasted by the winter wind.
“Riespahre.” She swished her right hand.
The shards of glass scattered throughout the room rearranged themselves to reconstruct the window, the surroundings quieted.
“You have turned yourself into a powerful witch, Cee.” He laid a hand on her shoulder before enfolding her in his arm from behind.
She sighed and let him, her mind a jumble of feelings.
“I apologize if I ever let you think I doubted your abilities.” His scent, a mix of spice and expensive soap with that musky hint of the predator, pierced through her last defenses. How could she be mad at him?
“And yes, I have ended lives,” he said, his tone somber. “But it is in my dual nature. Something I must battle with, every day. The man, the beast. It’s not what I want for you.”
She flicked her hand at the candles to light them. “What do you want for me, then?” she asked, staring softly into the flames.
“Not what you got. Not days in Burton’s dark world. When I saw him facing you just now, I lost it.”
“I had him,” she said.
“Still. No matter how masterful you become, I will always worry. When you were under his curse in a coma for so long, it was the first time I ever encountered something I couldn’t fix. I tried everything I knew. But in the end, I could only keep you warm.”
She leaned her head back upon his torso. “I felt you, you know. Sometimes, the nightmares faded and I felt a presence. Calm, powerful, soothing. I was so grateful you were right there with me. It’s the only thing I could hold on to.”
He tightened his embrace and kissed the base of her neck, trailed his lips on her skin, on that spot he knew she loved.
She wanted to turn around and bury her face into his chest, let go of her fears, tell him about Morgius.
She frowned with angst. She would have to tell him about Morgius.
“You always smell so delicious.” His hand slid down along her waist to her navel.
“Sin, we can’t…”
“Yes, we can,” he whispered in her neck. “I know it’s the animal side of me reacting after a shift but we both need it. I thought I’d lost you, sanam.”
She breathed, still drained from the magic of shattering her Serenity ring to slow Burton. She hadn’t had a second thought during the struggle. Just stop him. Fight.
But now, her body eased into Sin’s heat as he found the band of naked skin above her sweats and cupped her waist, drawing tremors of cravings up to her breasts. She relaxed back into his embrace, felt the strength of his thick desire along her backside.
She knew danger was near. That she should be out at her books. Figuring out how to defeat Burton again. How to force him to free her from the demon she carried.
But now she welcomed her moment of weakness in Sin’s arms. He had been her strength and now she needed him. Needed what he had to offer her.
He continued to kiss her skin, tracing a pattern of heat up to the cradle of her neck, burying his face under her hair. His arm anchored her close to him, while his other hand slid up to her chest under the tank top. He cupped one breast and rolled her nipple between his thumb and forefinger. “You need this as much as I do,” he purred.
She moaned as he pinched her nipple tight. Scorching yearning shot deep between her thighs.
She reached out to grasp the back of his head and arched against him. Her body tensed with need and the pent-up energy from her encounter with Burton.
But she would not think about Burton right now. She would think about this. Live this. Sin’s hands all over her, his body, his scent on her, marking her.
Exorcise the awful memory of Burton pretending to be her lover in her wretched dream. Imprint her psyche with Sinclair’s true essence.
He groaned in her ear, pushed her sweatpants down until they fell to the floor, and grinded against her, demanding and solid at the bare cheeks of her backside. Making her want him. Not just all over her, but also all of him, huge and tight, inside her.
His hand slid between her thighs from behind, finding her wet yearning of him.
“Celeste,” he groaned. “You’re so hot right now. You’re everything.”
Her fingers buried deep in his hair. She couldn’t move except to arch her back, buckling her hips back and forth to move against his hand.
He slid a finger along her folds, slow and controlled, touching her just at the right spot but only enough to drive her wild. Pulses of yearning radiated from her core at his insistent and intimate touch.
“Sinclair.” She turned around to reach for him but he grasped her wrists and spun her back to face the wall. He held her arms up there with one hand while the other returned between her thighs to torment her to no mercy, exploring her at will, leaving her panting for more and anxious for release.
“Please Sin, just finish this now,” she begged him, mad for release.
“Not now,” he said, a hint of amusement in his voice. His fingers stopped their sweet and tantalizing motion to trace the curve of her buttocks , up to her lower back, around her hips and down the tender junction above her thighs.
She wiggled on her toes, quivering with the maddening wait for climax, dying from anticipation.
“Not now,” he repeated, his voice hoarse, demanding. “I want all of you.” His legs solidly anchoring her between him and the wall, his hand firmly over hers, he traced up her belly, stop to tease a nipple, then turned her chin toward him to kiss her. His lips gentle on hers at first, then urgently tasting every bit of her mouth.
She relaxed into him, into his kiss, the tension from her fight leaving her, replaced by nothing but pure burning desire for the man who she knew loved her more than anything. And that she knew she also loved more than life.
She would have to tell him about Morgius. She would, but not yet.
Not right now.
I love you too, she wanted to say as she pulled her head back to gaze into his eyes, getting lost into the emerald green pupils with the speck of amber, feverish from sex, showing the glimpse of the feline killer that always resided within him.
I love you.
She almost uttered the words. But held back.
She studied his noble features lost to passion in the glow of candlelight. How he must have suffered when she lay unconscious for so long.
A hint of sorrow settled over her chest. How would he feel to know she was still not free. That a monster still resided inside her mind. That Morgius…
She couldn’t tell him she loved him. Not until she was free. And she couldn’t tell him about Morgius, either. She could not risk the darkness she knew was in her to spill over him. To spill over her family.
She couldn’t leave him behind, as she had planned. But this, the monster in her, he could never know until it was gone for good.
As she let herself fall into Sinclair’s lust, a last thought remained branded in her mind before she lost control.
This, she’d have to take care of herself.