The Vampire Queen's Servant (Chapter Four)

She didn't fall into daydreaming, losing sense of place and herself. She didn't act on impulse. Despite those warning signs, she impulsively reached for him now, curling her nails into the firm skin of his biceps, exerting pressure.

She wanted to know how he'd respond to a woman's desire without her commanding it. She almost wished he would fight her,struggle, but he gave her something as satisfying. More so.

Without hesitation, he surged up from the floor. Taking her by her upper arms, he lifted her to her knees on the chair as he erased the distance between them, closing his mouth over hers in a hard, demanding kiss.

All that desire he'd kept banked roared over her in full, raging force, goaded she was sure by the things she'd made him do against his nature.

As a woman, she'd missed this. God, how she'd missed this. She avoided the intimacy of lips when taking a man for her meal. Their kisses came off weak, disappointing, giving her dinner a distracting, unpleasant taste.

This was distracting, but not the least bit disappointing or unpleasant.

Kissing her way deeper into his mouth, she let him feel the shape of her fangs against his tongue, a deadly expression of pleasure. As she raked her nails up his back, there was the satisfying gouge into flesh. Cutting into one of the lash scars, she found the river of life that flowed beneath it.

His breath was hot in the cavern of her mouth, his tongue tangling with hers as his hands gripped her hair. He pressed her body between the back of the chair and the pounding of his heart.

Tracing his lips with her tongue, she opened her eyes to look up into his. They were open as well, filled with desire and determination both. Glory yes, he was a dominant man. In his touch, in the way he held her, kissed her, she felt it. It was instinctive to him to take over, lead and protect. He would whisper things in her ears only fit for a creature of the night to hear. Dark desires, ways he would try to claim her. For a moment she imagined it, trembled with the feel of it, even knowing her own desires were even darker, her will stronger than any mortal man's.

But for this moment there was only dizzying sensation. Waves of it turning colors in her mind, overwhelming her. Tightening his hold on her hair, he yanked her head to the side and gripped her throat with his teeth, his tongue licking a pulsing artery.

She stiffened against him, her fingers digging into the gouges in his back she'd made as her body rippled in uncontrolled response.

"Jacob. " When she spoke his name in a breathless whisper, his hand slid down her back, molding over the curves of her ass before he slid between her braced thighs, seeking her heat. Just the tips of his fingers brushed her clit as he sealed his palm over her throbbing cunt, her skirt bunched up between his touch and her skin. The heel of his hand pressed against the sensitive base of her buttocks.

He didn't break her skin, but he kept that hypnotic hold on her throat. His blue eyes blazed fire over the fragile skin of her face. Her fingers were sticky with him and she wanted that blood in her mouth. Wanted him in her bed. Accessible for play, for a snack, for a full-course meal… She yearned for his arms to encircle her in the middle of the night.

A companion.

"My lady. " His voice was a hoarse rumble against skin as he eased his bite. She closed her eyes, sliding her hand up so it cupped his face even as her body quivered under the touch of his slowly kneading, clever fingers.

She could send him through a window and rolling into the street. She could lay her hands on his skull and crush it with a thought. But at this moment she reveled in the way his hands held her, so powerfully. He had the suggestion of Rex's strength, but none of the cruelty that had kept her from completely surrendering to the passion of her husband's embrace.

Colors. Spiraling colors. She'd ignored the warning sign as well as the dizziness because she'd been impatient for the sensation of the climax, of Jacob's kiss. But now the disorientation was increasing exponentially, clearing the sensual haze over her mind with the cold wind of apprehension.

Lowering her hands to his arms, she began to push, enough that he couldn't resist it. When he tried to maintain a hold on her, a simple additional exertion was all she needed to slam him back down on his knees before her, his grip dropping clumsily but quite pleasantly to the outside of her thighs. He tried to pull back but she merely tightened her hold on his shoulders. Staring at him unsmiling, she waited for him to understand.

A first lesson.

Jacob's eyes narrowed, betraying temper and not a small amount of frustrated lust, an energy she absorbed with pleasure, savoring it almost as much as she would blood.

"You haven't displeased me, Jacob, " she said. "I admit I'm intrigued. But you won't come home with me tonight. You need to think some more. At the moment you're standing in the surf. If you submit to me, you'll be taken deep into the ocean and never touch solid ground again. "

"I came prepared to go with you, my lady. " He spoke low, obviously struggling for the earlier tones of smooth courtesy. "With respect, I think it's you who needs time to think. Not I. "

Arrogant, even if he was also right. She didn't know enough about him, and unfortunately now was not going to be the moment for her to learn more. Time was short. Regardless, she lifted a disdainful brow. "So if it was my will to take you home tonight and make you serve me with your mouth while another man fucked you from behind, that would be fine?" At his startled reaction,she gave a sharp nod. "I will take you far past what you think your limits are, to the level I find acceptable. After that, I might go even further. See how you handle pain, how loyal you would be to me under torture. "

She knew how to do such things, but the thought made her a little sick, especially when her body was still shuddering from that kiss and the orgasm that had surged up like a violent seizure at his barest touch.

"I'm committed to your service, my lady. Whatever it might be. "

But she heard the rage against it in his voice. "I think you're rash and foolish, " she said in sudden anger. "Driven by your cock and your male ego. You're romanticizing the situation, blinding yourself. "

The world was becoming a wavering rainbow. Nothing was as it seemed. She needed to go. Was it time for her driver to return? She couldn't remember when she'd said for him to come. She used her dwindling reserves of strength to send out an urgent compulsion to him, a mental shove that would have him turning the key in the ignition and heading this way before he even thought about the fact he was earlier than she'd suggested.

She'd known the danger of going out like this. It was too much… But she'd wanted a manicure, damn it. One pleasure. But there were no easy pleasures anymore.

"My lady?"

By his alarmed expression she knew her irises had gone blood red, her pale face even paler. Her fangs had elongated and now pricked her lips, lancing the skin and drawing blood. Salty blood that tasted metallic on her tongue.

It was too late. The chair became green, then purple. The fire was now olive drab, with blue flickering lights. She had to trust Thomas's choice and see how Jacob performed under fire. Hopefully not literally.

"Vial… In my bag. I need it. "

After a quick look at her face, he retrieved it from the side table, searched and found the medicine. The room spun. When it righted itself, he was holding her, easing her back into the chair. "My lady, what's the matter?"

"That's not your concern. " His skin was so hot, so alive. She felt the richness of his blood as if she was bathing in it, but the snakes of pain were there too, coiling in her lower stomach.

"I need blood. Fresh. "

"Direct from the source, or mixed with this?" He gestured with the glass tube.

"Mixed. " Though the idea of sinking her fangs into his throat was enough to make her arch off the chair with a cry of yearning, pain tearing at her.

Snatching up a pair of razor clippers, he sliced a line across his forearm with the blade. The arterial blood was quick and red. She wondered how he knew a finger prick wasn't sufficient.

Picking up the vial, he removed the cork and brought the tube against his skin so the blood flowed into it without further waste. It turned black upon contact with the potion. He capped the tube and shook it to accomplish the mix, caught up the towel and swiped it across the outside to keep the blood spilled there from dripping on her clothes.

"Hand it to me. Please. " Propping her head on the back of the chair, she attempted to rest her hands on the arms in a position of dignity, though she wanted to curl in a ball around the pain.

He brought it to her lips instead, cradling her face with his hand. Those vivid eyes and appealing lips were close. She wondered if he knew his eyes turned different shades depending on his moods. Sapphires, a summer sky, the Mediterranean right before sunset…

She drank the bitter stuff but reveled in the taste of him, wishing she hadn't had to spoil her first sampling with this. The way he touched her face, with his palm so close to her fangs… He didn't fear her in the way she hated. Despite her mockery, she didn't sense that obsessive unrealistic fascination with her kind she found contemptuous. She could teach him to fear her in ways that would bring her pleasure, though. Ways that would bring them both pleasure.

Thomas. This is insanity. Who is this human, that he makes me feel this way? Does he understand it? Is that what he hides from me, or is he as confused as I am?

The colors were steadying, reforming. Objects reflected a less surreal perspective. She needed to get to the car, but the potion left her with a hazardous temporary lassitude. She could simply abide here, let Thomas watch over her… No, not Thomas. This was Jacob. She blinked. No, she couldn't stay. She'd been here too long, was too exposed.

Jacob had no idea what the hell was happening. This wasn't the effect of hunger. He was certain of that. This was illness. The woman whose power had nearly blasted him into the next room several times during their brief interaction was now almost ghostlike in her fragility. After she'd consumed the medicine, her fangs had slowly retracted, her gaze returning to that midnight darkness and jade that watched him as if she wore the soul of the night itself. The part that beckoned to a man even as it froze his bowels in fear.

"Trust. Thomas said trust. " There was a feverish quality to her eyes.

"Trust must be earned, my lady. If you allow me, I'll start earning it. "

She looked down. Following her gaze, Jacob saw the arm she grasped was the one he'd cut for her medicine. Now his blood was on her skin and her skirt. When he picked up the towel from the table again, she didn't object as he wiped her palm down. There was nothing he could do for the stain on the skirt. "My apologies. "

She nodded, watching him with an oddly mesmerized expression. "You're fortunate I didn't wear white. I would have taken great pleasure in punishing you for staining it. "

Such a threat from a vampire should have been terrifying. So why did he only feel arousal as the fingers of her free hand drifted over the . Cut?

Get a grip. She needs more than your cock at the moment. Thomas had warned him she had an astounding and often infuriating way of bringing a man's lust into every situation. Right now though, worry was taking precedence.

Her hand stopped drifting, clutched in a sudden spasm. Though she was a petite woman whose head barely reached his shoulder, he was sure he'd have the imprints of her fingers on his forearm and possibly the bones beneath for some time. Pain was part of being a human servant, though. When he'd stood before the altar in the monastery chapel, the blood clotting on his back and making him lightheaded, his body screaming for relief, he'd understood that. Thomas had been preparing him with the flogging. Physical suffering would be part of accepting his lady's regard, and never allowed to distract him from her care.

Therefore, despite the increasing strength in her grip, it was the convulsive movement and the trembling in her hand which shot his attention back to her face. The lines around her mouth had deepened, giving him warning. "My lady. "

When she slumped in the chair, he caught her. Her hair tangled in his fingers.

"Take me to the door, Jacob. " Her lashes fluttered, showing him her green eyes briefly. "It will be all right then. Driver… Mr. Ingram, should be out there. He'll get me home. "