The Vampire Queen's Servant (Chapter Thirteen)

Putting down the object she'd retrieved from the drawer, she picked up a bottle and poured a thick clear gel in her hand. When she used it on the small piece of jewelry, he began to understand, enough to be very concerned about that two-inch slender rod under the concave cap.

She came back to him then, her nipples dark smudges, her breasts quivering erotically with her movements under the stretched hold of the lace, her sex taunting him. As she moved, she unlatched the three loops, her fingers glistening with the oil.

"Your lack of piercings didn't surprise me, but the lack of tattoos did. " She cocked her head. "It's rare to see a completely unmarked man your age. Why is that?"

He pulled his attention away from the thing she was treating as jewelry and he was viewing as a potential torture device. From the slight smile on her lips, he suspected she recognized his struggle to focus.

"My brother always said if you mark your body with a symbol, it means you stand by it forever. Only things branded on the soul can be branded on the body. So far I've found the only constant is that everything changes. "

"You always have yourself. "

He managed a half smile, even as his body tensed when she reached for him. "It seems you have me now. "

"I do, " she agreed. "This rod, " her finger caressed it, "is no wider than your opening, actually a bit smaller, and it's going no further than the length of my smallest finger. There are ways to relax the opening if you focus, take deep breaths. Just let it slide in. "

He nodded, but kept his eyes on her face. Her hands gripped him, a cool, slick feeling evoking a moment of panic he could do nothing about. She outlined the tiny slit at the tip of his cock with the rod. "Did you know this opening is called the meatus? Do you think that's why women think of men's penises as pieces of meat?"

He took a breath, then another.

"I won't hurt you, Jacob. Not past bearing. Trust me, Sir Vagabond. Let go. "

He tried. It was startling, invasive and therefore uncomfortable, but she eased it in with gentle fingers. The metal bar was as smooth as the arms of the cross beneath his body. She used her thumb to position the cap on the head of his cock, like pushing in the head of a tack. Then she ran the chains along his outside length. The quiet snick of the broader cuff of the second loop made him jump as she fastened it snugly just behind the ridge of his head. When the third chain loop cinched around the base of his cock and scrotum, his balls drew up at the unusual feeling of restraint. Brushing against his thighs, the extra chain dangled down beneath them, adding weight to the sensation because of the beads added there for that purpose.

"Look down now, " she commanded softly.

When he did, he saw her hands playing with his now well-lubricated cock. He'd lost some of his arousal to trepidation, but her touch and the intense look in her eyes, reflecting her great pleasure in adorning him, made it strain back against the chains, causing pinching. Not unbearably painful, but apprehensively close. She'd made it tight enough to hold him if he wasn't erect, so increasing the size increased the feeling of binding. The discomfort reminded him he was hers, as he was sure she intended.

The bronze disk with a pewter inlay was centered at the tip of his cock, anchored there by the slender rod inserted inside him. A pin-wheel of chains ran from it to the silver cuff she'd clasped behind the flare of his head. The longer chains running down his cock to the base and his scrotum were interspersed with uncut gems that dug into his shaft. He was going to pass a difficult day waiting for her to wake.

"You're beautiful. " She said it softly, barely a breath of sound. She sank to her knees and considered him from eye level, coming close to run her tongue just under the cap, touching his invaded slit. Jacob groaned, a primitive wave of response rolling through his body. He winced as the hold of the jewelry tightened further. But he couldn't stop himself. Oh, holy Jesus… She was lapping, nipping at him, her oiled hands stroking over him, squeezing his balls, fingering at his ass though he reflexively clenched there. Her oiled finger and the nail stabbed at him, wriggled, got past the tight muscles of his buttocks to play around the rim.

"Lady… Mercy. " He had no idea what coming with that rod inside him would do, but he'd never been so aroused and uncomfortable at once. Over all of that, the greatest ache came from the coil of need in his lower belly, which made him want to bury himself in her willing cunt as he had earlier. If the past several hours were what daily life with her would be like, he suspected she'd kill him long before they ever got to the second mark, let alone the third.

"Do I strike you as a merciful creature, Jacob?" She nipped at him again, tugging on one of the chains and inciting a jolt of reaction he felt deep in his testicles. "Do you know you can get much longer rods? They can vibrate, even make musical tones when they vibrate against you, like the rims of wine glasses. "

"Someone has too damn much time on their hands, " he said desperately.

Rising with a glint in her gaze, she pushed on the cross. With the release of a lever, she reclined him back to a forty-five-degree angle. "So you can sleep, " she explained the adjustment. "Perhaps join me in my dreams. "

"You're going to leave me like this. "

"Yes. " She nodded. "As I said, it leaves you nothing but time to think. " She bent over him, her hair falling so it brushed his bare chest. Reaching through the strands, she caressed him again, tapped on the top of the jeweled adornment for his cock. "But if you sleep, I may come to visit you in your dreams. "

He couldn't find words to answer that, not with the desire hot in her eyes, filling him with the unfamiliar desire to beg for something. Her mercy… Her cruelty. Maybe just her. But he bit it back. When he said nothing, she turned away with a bemused look. Extinguishing all but one of the candles in the far corner of the room provided enough light that when she walked toward the bed, the snug grip of the lace on her hips showed him the movement of her ass, the shadow of the cleft in between. Putting a hand to the heavy carved bedpost, she used it to lift herself onto the high bed. For one agonizing moment, she was on all fours, her knees wide enough to show him the lips of her pussy beneath the pattern. Turning on one hip, she stretched out, fanning her hair across her left shoulder as she lay down on her right side. When she flipped it back, it created a shining wave on the creamy linen expanse of the pillow.

"I think I'll sleep on top of the covers. " Her gaze lingered on him like a cat enjoying her dinner. "I expect my dreams will keep me warm enough. "

Balancing accounts, memorizing household duties… Thomas should have drowned him in all the forbidden pleasures of a Spanish bordello so she couldn't so effectively destroy his concentration with things he'd never experienced before. Somehow, however, he doubted that would have helped. What affected his body when it came to her was far more than physical, and she seemed to exploit that at every turn. On how many men had she honed the skill?

She tucked her hands under her cheek like an innocent child preparing to take her repose, unfettered by sins. When her eyes immediately began to droop, the siren's mask slipped, the shadows etching out an exhaustion too startling to be false.

Thomas said she could stay up even to the midmorning hours as long as she wasn't in direct sunlight, and it was barely past dawn. Maybe there was a reason she'd used distraction more than physical exertion to get him onto the cross. It managed to drive back his frustrated lust and tangled emotions enough to realize she'd actually been as tired as she'd said.

She turned on her back, giving him a different view of her body in that scrap of lingerie.

"Tell me who Jacob is. " Her voice, sleepy, surprised him. "I like bedtime stories. "

"Should Arabian Nights come to mind?" She smiled. "Only if you tell me a bad story. "

He chuckled, but Lyssa heard the strain in the tone. His current condition was weighing heavily on his mind. She wanted him thinking, particularly while his connection to her was still limited to one mark. No matter what happened, she didn't mind giving him the one that would let her know where he was, that he was alive. She'd like to keep track of him.

It was another of the many things being alive so long had taught her. A person could make a lasting impression in less than a moment. She cultivated those impressions as if they were physical relationships, visiting with them in her mind when she wanted company, imagining words they might have said intertwined with what they did say during their brief interaction with her.

"Tell me about you, Jacob. I want to see the pictures in my head. Who were your parents?"

"My parents are dead, my lady. "

"Will you tell me how? You don't have to, if it's too painful. "

"I can refuse you nothing, my lady. When you ask. "

She acknowledged the barb, but waited, cognizant of his hesitation.

"It was a lightning strike on the water while we were all at the beach. My brother knew CPR, worked on Dad and talked me through doing it on Mom, because I was eight and didn't know how. It didn't matter, they were both gone within a few minutes. "

She studied the darkness, the way it closed around her but still gave her the sense of him, just to the right of her bed. For Christmas one year, Thomas had given her a set of plastic stars that glowed in the dark. He'd put them on her ceiling for her. She watched them glow above her now. "I asked you who they were, and you told me how they died. You don't like to talk about them, then. "

"When you're eight, your parents are the center of your universe. It's a shitty age to learn the universe can be turned into a donut with nothing more than a thunderstorm. "

"So it was you and your brother. The vampire hunter. "

"Gideon. "

"He's a story for another night. But start the story for me, so I can look forward to it another time. "

"How much time passes before you trust someone, my lady? Before I can sleep next to you, hold you in my arms to keep you safe as you slumber?"

His voice had the rough quality of anger, the edge of panic that overcame a strong man when he realized he was completely helpless.

There was a unique type of alpha who could fight through it, who had the capacity to find the pleasure on the other side of pain. She'd recognized it in him easily, such that the rough edge sent shivers of pleasure through her body.

Lifting a hand, she touched the darkness that held the shape of him as if she were touching him. "That will be up to you, Jacob. But I've never trusted anyone. Not even Thomas. Until the end, when he sacrificed his life for me. "

When he drew in a breath, she discovered another thing Thomas hadn't shared, but that didn't surprise her. "That, too, is a story for another night. Besides which, I keep my human servant too busy to laze around in bed with his Mistress during the daylight hours. " Though the mental picture was far too pleasing.

"Where did the accent come from? The Irish. "

"My parents were from Ireland. I was born and raised here, but being around them and my aunt and uncle… Well, I picked it up. I guess it was something like knowing two languages. I could switch between them both, and sometimes the accent feels more comfortable to me. It made me feel closer to memories of them. For the first three years after their death, I spoke that way all the time. It also went over well at the Faire, so I guess it comes automatically now, in certain situations. "

"I like it, too. The way it comes and goes. " Like a lover's fingers gliding up her spine when they weren't expected. "Give me something about Gideon, since I'm already disposed to dislike him. "

"In terms offeree of will, you two are matching brick walls. " His tone was dry. "But because of him I saw you for the very first time. "

When he shifted as much as his bindings allowed, she noticed his cock had dropped to a semierect state. She ran a hand over her hip, idly cupped her breast to play with the nipple, and watched his organ stiffen, lengthen. Heard him stifle a groan.

"When did you see me for the first time?"

She smiled at his whispered curse, but he answered her. "I trained and worked with Gideon into my early twenties. College wasn't for me. Never did take to the idea of having someone else teach me what I could pick up a book and learn for myself, making my own impressions. We were at a bullfight down in Mexico, because he was on the trail of a male vampire who liked blood sports, as many vampires seem to do. "

"Mmm. "

"You were there. With Thomas and… "

"Rex. " She whispered the name, not wanting to call his image into the room. She didn't want Jacob saying his name, as if it would bring harm to him, like the calling of a curse.

"He seemed very into it. Very amused at how you weren't. "

Lyssa's gaze rose. While he was obviously stimulated by her body,Jacob had his clear blue gaze focused on her face in a way that told her he saw the woman behind the seductive pose. The woman he'd seen that day. "When you got up to leave, he caught hold of your arm. From a distance, even to someone close by, that's all it would have looked like. A man grasping a woman's arm. He never stopped smiling, but he broke your forearm, just crushed the bone and it gave. You went white, but you didn't sit back down. You stared at each other, a stalemate. I remember Thomas was completely expressionless, but something vibrating from him said if he could have called the bull up into the stands he'd have staked Rex on those horns. "

Lyssa turned her attention toward the ceiling. She had a mural painted there. A moonlit night, shadows of clouds chasing the full, pale beauty of the orb. Thomas's stars gleamed among the images. "It's difficult for mortals to understand relationships between vampires, " she said at last. "He was almost invincible. There was no move he couldn't anticipate. He'd read almost every book I'd heard of, and he never slept well. It was as if his mind was constantly accelerating. What did your brother say?"

"He told me it wasn't our business. That you were a vampire, too. As if that made a difference. "

"It does, Jacob. " She ran her fingertips up her throat, tracing the arteries, feeling the scrape of her own nails. "We never did finish our manicure. I have what you need here. You can finish it tomorrow night. "

"Whatever my lady wishes. " The tone of his voice indicated he was frustrated by her unwillingness to say more. She could ignore that, of course. But something made her want to give him something, just a piece.

She turned back on her hip, one hand draped on it so his gaze could not help but be distracted by where her fingers rested, inches from the folds of her sex beneath the lace. It allowed her the pleasure of looking at him without that too perceptive gaze on her face. Her Irish knight had fine definition in his arms and across his stomach. She'd likely have him shave off all his body hair except on his skull, if she kept him. But she wasn't displeased by the thatch of hair gleaming on his broad chest. She liked the idea of stroking through its softness, tugging. Plus, he'd already proven the worth of his beard and moustache. She didn't go back to his eyes, preferring the sense of physical stimulation only.

"Not all vampires are sexual dominants, but most are. We have very strong sexual compulsions, and we live by a stringent pecking order. You maintain your place on the ladder by proving you can repel any threat to it. Rex had wanted me since we first met. I knew we were meant to be together, for many reasons. But we never could reconcile that part of our relationship. I would not become his slave, for I knew the depths of his cruelty and his need. If I had ever relented, he would have killed me, for he'd have had no use for me. But because I never did… "

She'd become the enduring passion in his life. The one thing he'd loved, as much as he understood what love was. She'd thought loving her could help him become the man she'd sensed he was capable of being. A memory rose in her mind, of Rex sprinkling rose petals over her bare body. While she'd slept, he'd gathered them, every rose from miles around it seemed. She'd wakened from a dream into a snowstorm of petals while he'd stood over her, showering her in them. Pale pink, white, bloodred…

When he'd sunk between her parted knees, she'd scooped up two handfuls and poured them over his head, watching them tumble over his shoulders. He'd looked at her in what for Rex had been a vulnerable moment. Wondering at her, not understanding her. So different from himself but in that blink of time content to know she accepted him. No doubt, no challenge. When she exposed her throat in invitation, he sank his fangs into her, his body penetrating her as well. She'd wrapped herself around him, holding him. Though she'd known it was a fleeting moment, the capriciousness of time was something she understood and accepted as well. Hours later, he created a crown of the thorns and made her wear it so he could lick the blood that trickled down her forehead off her cheeks, her lips.

There'd been only one creature powerful enough to kill him. She had.

"My lady?"

"I'm tired, Jacob. No more stories for now. But… Why didn't you and your brother hunt us that day?"

"We were there for another vampire. It was odd, though. " Jacob paused. "He said he would hunt Rex in time, but he would never hunt you. "

"Because I'm a woman?" She was amused at the thought. "That kind of foolishness must be a family trait. "

"No. He's killed female vampires before. He didn't say why, just made sure I saw you so I'd recognize you were off-limits. Once I saw you… I knew that would never be a problem. I could never cause you harm, my lady. "

Her attention moved deliberately over his bindings, underscoring his helplessness with a mocking look. "I agree. It's also a good thing Rex is gone. He would have killed your brother with as much effort as blinking. "

A muscle flexed in Jacob's jaw and he shifted his hips, giving her the pleasure of watching his cock and testicles move with his body while bound in the uncomfortable jewelry. "I wouldn't underestimate Gideon. "

"I don't. There was no overestimating Rex. Whatever you believe he was capable of, he was. Plus far more. "