"Tell me now, what was it you wanted to speak with me about?"

Her eyes became shiny and she blinked. "Everything's happening so fast," she almost whispered. "I mean, a month ago, I was still grieving for Randy, and now you've got me thinking about changing into a vampire so we can have countless years together, and I...sometimes, I don't know if I'm ready for what I feel for you."

She was thinking about changing over? Spade couldn't help but stroke her face while every nerve inside him went taut with anxious expectation. Please, let it be that. By Christ, he'd apologize on his knees for walking out earlier, if that was the case.

"Ready?" he asked softly, but also with irony. "Life never waits until you're ready. I wasn't ready to turn into a vampire, but I did. I wasn't ready to lose someone I loved a long time ago, but it happened. You weren't ready to have your husband murdered, but he was. You certainly weren't ready for a demon to brand you, but he did. And neither of us might be ready for what we feel for each other, but that doesn't make those feelings go away."

Spade leaned closer, his voice lowering. "Here we are, Denise. Ready or not."

She held his gaze, her eyes still shiny. "You're right. I don't care if I'm not ready; I need you. And I think I've come up with a compromise that'll work for both of us - "

Spade couldn't hold back the hunger and desire that slammed through him at hearing Denise say she needed him. His lips crushed over hers, his tongue claiming the dark, heady sweetness of her mouth. Her tongue was like wet, silky fire, stoking his need even further as, after a brief hesitation, she twisted it along his. Spade caught her wrists with one hand, keeping them behind her back. It wasn't out of fear or revulsion over the claws, but because it made her br**sts press more fully against his chest.

Denise moaned when his free hand cupped one of those luscious br**sts, the silk robe and nightgown he'd left out for her no real barrier against his touch. He caught her nipple between his fingers, already so hard, and gave it a slow, sensual pinch. Denise moaned into his mouth.

Her scent ripened to an addictive lushness with her desire. She seemed to sink into his arms even as she rubbed against him with a purposeful, sultry abandon. He'd been a fool to think he could ever let her go. She'd broken through the barriers he'd erected around his heart, making him feel more than anybody else ever had. Even if a few decades were all he'd have with her, it would have to be enough.

Denise ducked her head, breaking off their kiss, her breath hitting his neck in soft gasps.


That's right, they were in the basement with two humans gawking at their every move. Spade swept Denise up and walked swiftly out of the room, claiming her mouth in another kiss. Desire made her taste stronger and sweeter at the same time, inflaming him, making him unable to keep from stroking her hip and her breast as he carried her.

Denise made muffled sounds against his mouth while her temperature seemed to shoot up a few degrees. Her heady scent grew stronger, too, entrancing him. He reached the landing of the first floor when she tore her mouth away with a strength and speed he hadn't expected of her. Something hot, wet, and unbelievably rich swirled down his tongue.

"Spade, I - "

He couldn't help it; he swallowed. His guttural moan made her stop speaking in mid sentence. Her hazel eyes settled on his mouth - and widened. Nothing short of his own death could have stopped Spade from licking his lips, and then hers, to catch the remaining traces of her blood from where she'd moved too quickly and scraped her bottom lip on his fang.

Spade could almost feel the intoxicating ambrosia stealing through his veins. His heart didn't beat, but he'd directed his blood south at their first kiss, circulating it there to keep him hard for her. Denise's blood seemed to race there as well, turning his already-boiling desire into a mindless flat hunger. Now. All of her, now.

As his last consideration to propriety, he staggered into the nearest room, not bothering to see if he'd managed to kick the door closed before he fell to the floor on top of her.

Denise's first thought on seeing her blood stain Spade's lips was Oh shit. Then the fire that leapt into his gaze and the way he dominated her mouth in his next kiss made her decide that self-preservation was overrated. Sure, she should be screaming to Bones for help, as it was clear Spade had no intention of letting her go until the effects from her blood ran their course. But despite her blood obviously affecting him, Spade hadn't tried to bite her. If Denise screamed for Bones, it would mean Spade would stop what he was doing - and she didn't want him to stop.

His tongue plunged repeatedly into her mouth, twining and twisting with such seductive intensity, Denise soon felt like breathing was overrated, too. Spade's one hand still contained hers behind her back, but the other...oh, the other ran over her body in the most erotic, merciless way, squeezing, stroking, and probing her flesh at all her most sensitive points. He tore away her nightgown and robe with a noise of impatience, his mouth at her breast before Denise could even gasp in air.

"So soft, hard, and hot, all at once," Spade muttered as he tongued her breast. A sudden strong suction at her nipple had her back arching, but even as she reveled in the sensations from that, his hand landed between her legs, palm pressing deeply against her clitoris.

Denise couldn't stop the cry that came out of her mouth. She looked at Spade's shirt in frustration, wanting to feel his skin on hers, not fabric. And his pants...had she ever hated anything as much as she hated his pants at this moment?

"Let me go," Denise gasped, tugging at her hands.

Spade's grip tightened on them. "No." A low growl against her breast that wasn't any less sensual for its refusal.

Of course. Her hands had ugly claws and nightmarish fingers. No wonder Spade didn't want her touching him with them; they were gross and dangerous.

Thinking about her hands was a douse of cold water on her ardor. Denise edged back, trying to sit up even though Spade's body was half covering hers.

"Spade, maybe we shouldn't - "

A bolt of pleasure shot through her breast, so sharp and fast, she couldn't breathe. When she did suck in a ragged breath, it ended on a moan as sudden, rapturous heat flamed in her nipple. She didn't have time to process what caused it before her other nipple flamed with the same incredible heat. What had Spade done to her?

Denise glanced down and another cry wrenched from her. Drops of blood pearled on her ni**les next to two distinct puncture marks. They throbbed with the most astonishing pleasure in accordance with her pulse. Somehow, Spade rubbed between her legs with exactly the same intervals as that throbbing, almost bringing her to orgasm right then.

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