"And I understand even less than you," said Seth.

I nodded. "I didn't want you to worry."

He gazed down at me, eyes honest and full of affection. "You have to stop that. I'm not going to break. You can always talk to me about anything. We won't get anywhere without things being open between us. We're in this together, Thetis. What happens to you affects me. I want to be there for you."

"I know," I said. "It's a hard habit to break . . . wanting to protect you."

"One thing struck me . . . what Hugh said. Are you doing something dangerous? He's right about Roman, isn't he? That Roman doesn't face the same consequences as the rest of you? I hate the thought . . . I hate the thought of you getting caught up in one of his schemes, that you might suffer for his rash actions."

"I'm not sure they're so rash," I said. "At first, I did. But now, I think he really might be onto something. About Erik. About my transfer."

"And if he is? What is there for you to gain? I mean, from what I know about Roman and nephilim, it'll be enough for him if he can catch Hell in a cover-up. That's what he gets his kicks from. But you . . . you answer to Hell. What do you get for uncovering some grand plan of theirs? Unhappy employers."

I leaned against his chest, staring off into the night. The sky was clear, but we were too close to downtown to see much in the way of stars.

"I get the truth," I said at last. "I don't know how my transfer plays into Erik's death - or if it even does - but if it's true that Erik wasn't killed by being in the wrong place at the wrong time, then yeah. I need to know that. I need to know the truth."

"It's worth it?" He squeezed me tight. "Worth the risk to yourself?"

"Yes," I whispered. "It's worth it."

Yet, even as I spoke, I thought of Erik - kind and wise Erik who did so much for others, with little regard for himself. Generous, wonderful Erik who had done so much for me and possibly lost his life for it. Finding out the truth of that, what he'd died for . . . yes, I'd meant what I said. It was worth any risk to me, but that didn't negate the terribleness of it all. It couldn't change what had happened to Erik. He was still dead, and the intrigue around us was only growing thicker and thicker.

"What's the matter?" asked Seth. Without even thinking about it, I'd closed my eyes and buried my face closer to his chest, perhaps in some subconscious effort to hide from the storm I felt was brewing around me and my immortal world.

I opened my eyes and sighed. "Nothing. Everything. I don't . . . I don't want to think about any of it. At least for a little while. Tomorrow . . . this is all going to be waiting, I know. But please . . ." I pressed myself even closer to him, keeping my lips only a couple inches away. "Let's go home. Help me to forget about this . . . just for tonight."

Seth didn't need to be told twice. His lips found mine, and we locked in a kiss that was both hungry and desperate. Heat and electricity coursed through me, making me oblivious to the winter night. When we broke away, both breathless, I just barely managed to say, "Meet you at my place."

We each headed off for our own cars, which was a good thing since we probably would have been hazardous together if attempting to drive home in the same vehicle. As it was, I was kind of amazed at my ability to get back to my condo on Alki Beach without breaking any traffic laws. But once we reached my place, pulling into the lot at almost the same moment, that was it. We were all over each other and just barely had the sense to make it through my door before letting go completely.

I'd tried to put up a good front about resisting sex, but the truth was, I'd missed it as badly as Seth. All the flings in the world couldn't make up for not doing it with him, the one I loved. My succubus duties were becoming even emptier and more hollow than usual. I still believed rationing our sex life was the smart and safe thing to do, but right now, I was willing to bend the rules.

He swept me into his arms as soon as we stepped inside my condo, still managing to kiss me at the same time. The cats, normally ready to pounce with love on anyone who came through the door, had enough sense to give us our space as we stumbled back toward the bedroom. Seth lost his balance while carrying me and only barely managed to make it to my bed when he stumbled, depositing us both in an unceremonious heap.

Had it really only been a month? As my mouth tasted his and my hands grew reacquainted with his body, I couldn't help but think it felt more like years. I'd been in a drought. I'd been starving for him. I couldn't get his T-shirt off fast enough and luxuriated in the feel of his bare skin under my fingertips. Seth was busy working on my shirt, which was a little difficult. The Unholy Rollers shirt didn't go over my head so well, meaning each button had to be undone individually. He did it with infinite patience and skill, soon making quick work of the shirt underneath.

Once I was stripped, he gazed at me with the same longing and hunger I felt for him. He ran his hands over the length of my body, reverently tracing the curve of my hips and br**sts. "So beautiful," he murmured, drawing me on top of him. He then stretched back and shifted so that my br**sts hung over his face, allowing him to take one of my ni**les into his mouth. I gasped, not just because of the touch of his tongue - which was exquisite - but because it was Seth.

His lips and tongue teased my nipple until it was aching and tender. Then, he switched br**sts, giving my other nipple the same adoration. Fire flared through me again, along with the silvery sweet high of his life energy. With it came his feelings - his love and passion for me - and the combination of it all was intoxicating. I cried out softly, and he slid me down so that our mouths could meet again, this time in a kiss so deep and crushing, it made the parking lot seem chaste.

As we kissed, I felt him slide a hand down the side of my body, moving toward my inner thighs. His fingers moved deftly as they explored me, slowly moving farther and farther until they slid inside of me. I exclaimed again, but the cry was swallowed in the kiss, which was so deep I felt as though I could hardly breathe. Patiently, those fingers danced around, testing me until he found the place that got the biggest reaction. Starting slowly, he stroked me over and over, playing with how wet I was, while intense pleasure lit all my nerve endings. I could easily put off my own climax as long as I needed, but there was no need tonight. I wanted to lose myself in him and let my body do whatever it wanted. What it wanted, as it turned out, was to come quickly. Seth and I had been apart too long, and my body has missed his touch.

A few more skillful touches, and I felt my lower body explode with bliss, the sensation so overwhelming that I wasn't certain I could handle being touched anymore . . . even though I craved it. Seth continued teasing me until my orgasm finally subsided, and only then did he remove his fingers. He finally broke the kiss too, and we both gasped for breath, our eyes locked on each other.

"Come here," I said, pulling him back toward me. Like me, Seth could've easily dragged out more foreplay . . . and like me, he didn't want to. I guess this was the cost of "rationing." It didn't leave much room for patience.

His body pressed against mine, and I felt him push inside me, hard and ready. I wrapped my arms around his neck and kissed him again as he began to thrust in and out of me. I wanted as much of him as I could get, wanted to make contact with as much of his body as I could. As we made love, though, I had the same sense I always did: even with him in me, pushing as hard as he could, he would never be close enough to me. I always wanted more of him. Our bodies were meant to be together, I decided. There was something so wonderfully, agonizingly right about the feel of him inside of me.

"Georgina," he gasped, as his motions grew faster and more intense. "You're amazing. Beyond amazing. . . ."

If any more sentiments were there, I never found out. His face transformed as his orgasm seized him, his body surging forward into mine with a new intensity. He let out a soft groan as he came, still thrusting as he took every last bit of pleasure that he could. And as he came, I felt the full surge of his stolen life force. It was glorious and heady, and I tried to accept it as part of the rest of the experience. I didn't want to ruin this moment with guilt.

When Seth's body finally slowed, he collapsed onto me, resting his head on my chest. He exhaled heavily and planted a kiss between my br**sts. "Did I mention that you're amazing ?" he asked.

Tags: Richelle Mead Georgina Kincaid Fantasy
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