Retribution (Page 20)

Retribution (Dark-Hunter #20)(20)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

And all because she’d been an idiot.

She owed him a debt more than she could pay for standing by her and saving her life. But it wasn’t just obligation she felt for him. There was something so much more. Deeper.

She felt like she was a part of him. And she didn’t want to die without letting him know.

Rising up in the seat, she straddled his hips.

Jess frowned as he looked up into Abigail’s eyes. There was a hungry fire there he’d never seen before. And as she started unbuttoning her shirt, his breath caught. "Um … Abigail-"

She stopped his words by pressing her forefinger to his lips. Then she slid it slowly down his chest, heading south until she reached his fly.

"I know we don’t have long, Jess. But this may be the only time we’ll ever have. And I don’t want to die without making amends to you."

"You don’t have to do this."

She smiled. "I know. I want to do this."

And all his arguments and thoughts scattered as she slid her hand into his jeans and touched him. Oh yeah, he was lost now.

He knew that after this, he would never be the same again.

Chapter 12

Abigail had never done anything like this a day in her life. She’d never even fantasized about it. But as they waited here, so close to death and with her mortality breathing down her neck, she couldn’t help herself.

Jess didn’t love her-she knew that. But it didn’t matter. She’d seen inside his heart to the man he’d been and to the one he currently was. And the woman in her wanted to touch that part of him and share it. Once she was gone from this earth, he’d remember her.

For eternity.

She wanted him to remember her as someone who’d been decent and caring. Not the soulless monster she currently felt like.

Please see the real me.

Just once.

No one ever had. She’d always been so strong around Hannah and Kurt. Never let them see her fears. She’d strived to be a perfect sister and to help them with whatever problem they had, no matter what was going on in her own life, no matter how badly she ached inside.

They had come first.

And of course, to be a dutiful daughter to her adoptive parents, she’d learned to bury herself and her emotions and let no one ever see them. Her one fear had always been that they would regret taking a human into their home and turn her out into the streets if she caused them any problem whatsoever.

Most Apollites tried to hide their distaste about her unfortunate human birth, but she saw through the hollow smiles and false offers of friendship, especially her adoptive father’s. Like the others, he’d tried to hide it. But he couldn’t.

The truth had been forever etched in his eyes, and it had cut her to her soul.

They weren’t her people, and they never forgot that fact. No matter how hard she’d tried to fit in and convince them that she was on their side. That she would fight to the death for them. No matter how many Hunters she pursued for them. There was still a wall they kept in place that she wasn’t allowed to climb.

You’re a human, and that’s all you’ll ever be to them.

But she’d always wanted to be more. In spite of it all, she’d loved them like the family they were to her. She’d always wanted to be accepted by them. To not feel like that needy child staring through a window at a world that would never welcome her in. That isolation had always stung and hurt.

Until now. Now, for the first time, all that desolate pain was gone.

Sundown made her feel like she belonged. Like she was wanted. It was as if he’d opened the door and finally said that it was okay for her to come inside. That he didn’t mind being with her.

That she was welcome here.

For that, she would sell her soul.

Jess lifted his hand to cup her face. Smiling at him, she kissed his palm before she nuzzled the calluses there. His skin was so much tougher than hers. So manly. But that was what she loved about it. She leaned forward to nip at his whiskered chin while she stroked his cock. He was so hard and yet velvety soft.

He watched her from beneath lashes so thick, they should be illegal. "Be a hell of a time for a bee sting, wouldn’t it?" he whispered against her lips.

She laughed. "You’re so not right."

He kissed the tip of her nose. "Yeah, well, you’re pretty damn perfect from where I’m sitting."

Those words made her heart soar. No one had ever said anything kinder to her. Closing her eyes, she leaned into him and held him tight. Why couldn’t they have met under different circumstances? He was someone she could have loved. Had he not been a Dark-Hunter. Had her parents not been murdered.

Now …

There was nothing for them. If they survived, they couldn’t stay together. No hope for any kind of future. This was all they’d ever have.

And she wanted to hold on to this moment forever. To pretend that they weren’t who they were. Just two normal people who meant something to each other, who’d met by mere happenstance.

"Why are you so sad?"

She swallowed at his question. "I’m not sad, Jess. I’m scared."

"I won’t hurt you."

And that made her ache all the more as guilt stabbed her hard. Before she knew the truth, she would have hurt him in an instant. "I know."

He captured her lips as he slid his hand beneath her bra. His fingers teased her skin, sending chills the length of her body. It had been so long since she’d been with any man. Her training had always taken precedence, leaving her very little time to focus on something she’d always considered trivial. Relationships had seemed wasted. You never got as much out as you put in. It was a recipe for disaster and heartbreak, and she’d never wanted to waste her time with it.

Jess would have been worth the effort, though. The way he’d cherished Matilda …

That was what it was all about. Putting someone above you. Loving them with everything you had. Living for the sole reason of seeing them happy even if it meant you suffering for their well-being.

It was so rare that she’d never once allowed herself to contemplate the fact that it might be real. She’d relegated it to the realm of unicorns and fairies. A nice story to hear, but a total pipe dream.

Why couldn’t she have been worth a love like his?

Had Matilda really appreciated what she’d been given?

I hope so. It made the tragedy of their doomed love seem less severe.

Jess cradled Abigail against him. She was shivering, and he wasn’t sure why. Yeah, he could read her mind and find out, but he didn’t like doing that to people. It was downright rude. And something he reserved for necessary times only.

This wasn’t one of those.

A woman’s mind was her own. Matilda had taught him that. It was something to be respected, as was her will. Still, it pained him to have her hurting while she was making love to him. It didn’t seem right.

"Is there anything I can do for you?"

The look on her face gut-punched him as she traced the line of his lips with her fingertip. It sent chills over him, but not nearly as many as the adoring look in her eyes as she stared at him. "You’re already doing it."

"Well, I got a fear here that I ain’t doing it right, and I don’t want this to be wrong."

She smiled then. A real one that reached all the way to her eyes and warmed him to his toes. Licking her lips, she lifted herself up so that he could undo her pants. "I promise you, it’s all good."

Maybe, but wrangling her pants off her was another matter entirely. She actually elbowed him in the eye as he tried to maneuver.

She gasped in horror at what she’d done as she cupped her hands around her mouth. "Oh my God, are you okay?"

He rubbed at his eye and considered knifing his Squire when he got home. "Andy needs a bigger car." Damn it. Why did pain have to intrude right now?

She laughed again. "You poor baby." She leaned forward to kiss his eye, and that drove away most of the pain.

When she leaned into the passenger seat and pulled her pants off, it took the rest of it. She had long, shapely legs that begged for a tongue bath. Another thing he couldn’t do in this infernally small car.

I’m torching this thing when I get it home….

She hesitated at the waistband of her black panties. It was sheer torture for him.

"You changing your mind?" Please, don’t change your mind. That’d be downright cruel, and he wasn’t sure he could survive it. Not after they’d come this far.

Shaking her head, she slid them down her legs slowly. Seductively.

Dayam …

He thought he was going to die as he saw her nak*d. She was exquisite. And he was so hard now, he felt like he was about to explode. Before he could catch another thought, she was back in his seat, straddling him again as if she was as eager for him as he was for her.

Ah yeah … he could die right now without regret. This was what he’d been craving.

She raised up on her knees and pulled at his shirt.

Gladly, Jess let her strip him. He was as desperate to feel her skin on his as she was. Never in his life had he seen anything hotter or felt anything sexier than her br**sts pressing against his bare flesh. He ran his hands through her hair, inhaling the scent of it as it stirred around them.

While he was far from celibate, he’d never been with a woman before who knew him. As a human, because of Bart, he’d been branded an outlaw at age thirteen. So by the time he was with a woman, he’d known better than to let her know his real identity. Or anything about him that she could tell or sell to someone out to put a bullet in him.

Then after he’d become a Dark-Hunter, he’d been expressly forbidden from telling anyone about their existence. He’d had to hide his fangs, his age.

Everything.

Only Abigail knew the truth about him. And it made this moment all the hotter. There was no fear of slipping up by letting her tongue brush against his fangs. Or having to be careful when he nibbled her since she might notice his longer teeth.

For once he could be himself, and that was the most incredible feeling of all.

He ran his tongue over her breast, savoring the ridges in her hardened nipple. Her skin smelled like the sweetest nectar imaginable. And the sensation of her hands in his hair …

If he died tonight, it’d be worth it.

She would be worth it.

All of a sudden, she let out a soft giggle. The uncharacteristic sound surprised him. "What are you laughing at?"

Her face turned bright red. "It’s too cheesy to even mention."

Yeah, there was something a man didn’t want to hear in this situation. What did I do? "Now, hon, you can’t leave me hanging like that. I have to know."

Please don’t be laughing at me.

She bit her lip. The expression was so playful and adorable that it made his stomach flutter. "I was thinking of the phrase, save a horse, ride a cowboy."

He laughed. "Well, baby, you can ride me any time you get the urge." He feigned deadly earnest. "I’m here for you."

She wrinkled her nose as she leaned him back in the seat. Damn if she wasn’t the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen.

He slid his hand up her thigh until he found what he was seeking. She was warm and wet and she let out a deep moan as he lightly fingered her.

Abigail couldn’t breathe as Jess slid his fingers deep into her body. Oh yeah, that was what she’d been desperate for. And it set her entire body on fire. Kissing his lips, she rose up and allowed him to guide her down onto him.

She sucked her breath in sharply at the sensation of him hard and full inside her.

This … this was heaven.

Her heart pounding, she rode him slow and gentle, savoring every inch of him. She laved his neck as she ran her hands over his muscled chest. He had a number of scars marring his flesh. Most looked like knife wounds or from barb wire. But a few were obvious bullet wounds.

Anger whipped through her that anyone would hurt him like that.

Until she remembered that she would have killed him, too.

Thank God, I didn’t. And she was grateful to whatever power had brought them together. Most importantly to the one that had kept her from hurting him.

Not even the sight of the double bow and arrow mark of a Dark-Hunter on his arm could detract from this moment. Even it looked like it had hurt when he received it.

She’d never thought about that before. Dark-Hunters had their souls stripped from them. How much agony did Artemis put them through when she took it?

Abigail knew from her own experience, when her own soul had withered and died the night she lost her parents, how bad it hurt to lose one. Her scar had never healed.

Neither had his …

Jess let her take control of their pleasure as he ran the back of his hand across her breast. He enjoyed watching her love him, watching the light in her eyes that touched a part of him he liked to pretend didn’t exist. It made him remember long forgotten things that he’d buried deep inside.

As a human, all he’d ever really wanted was a calm, peaceful home with a good woman by his side. Someone he could grow old with, who would make him laugh and give him a reason to look forward to the next day.

And the ones thereafter.

A woman like Abigail.

She was a little more challenging than what he’d had in mind. But sometimes, cravings left out important, if not irritating, details. He actually liked her stubbornness. Most of all, her spirit.

More than that, there was a spark inside her. A fire that warmed him through and through.

Abigail smiled as Jess took her hand and led it to his lips so that he could kiss and nibble her knuckles. It was so sweet. Until he nipped her flesh with his fangs. Not too hard, but enough to send a quick rush through her.