Wraith started. He hadn’t inserted himself into her dream yet, but she was asking for him? She was kneeling on the bed, na**d except for a pair of fuck-me-baby high heels. A door near the foot of the bed opened, and… he walked out. Not his true self, but a dream Wraith she’d conjured.
Holy shit, she was dreaming about him. All on her own.
As Wraith watched, mouth open, his na**d dream-self stalked across the room, fangs bared, body hard and primed for sex. And that naughty girl, she’d endowed him nicely.
Which, of course, was accurate.
Serena met him at the end of the bed, thighs spread, head thrown back, and the dream Wraith didn’t wait. He sank his teeth into her throat as he sank into her body.
The sex was raw and rough and when it was over, Serena held him.
And he held her.
Wraith’s gut wrenched. This was what she wanted. What she dreamed of on her own. What he could never give her.
Oh, he could give her the orgasms of her life, but the warm touchy-feely cuddles afterward? No, all he had for her was death’s cold embrace.
Guilt pricked at him like a needle, and shame tightened like a band around his chest. He pulled out of the dream and came back into the train compartment.
Fuck. Maybe the toxin was affecting more than just his body. Maybe it was f**king with his mind, too. And wouldn’t that just figure. Roag’s perfect revenge didn’t stop at killing him slowly. Oh, no. He had to saddle him with a conscience as well.
Serena stirred, gave a little yawn. She was so small against him, but she was strong. He could feel it in the taut firmness of her muscles, the hard lines of her body, all the way to the force of her will. And yet, there was a vulnerability to her that brought out a protective side he hadn’t known he possessed.
He ran his hand over her smooth cheek, tracing her jaw with his thumb, feathering a light touch down her long, graceful neck. Her pulse pounded beneath his fingers, and his own veins ran hot with lust. His fangs began to stretch in anticipation, but he couldn’t bite her, and he willed himself to calm down. She might have a vampire fetish, but he seriously doubted she would react well to the real thing.
Still, he couldn’t resist putting his lips to her throat. A sigh escaped her, and she arched into him, her br**sts rubbing against his chest. Gods, she felt good against him. This was so wrong. So right.
She dragged her hands up his back to knead the muscles that had begun to knot at his line of thinking. The intimacy of the innocent act was shocking; females touched him to get sex, not for the simple pleasure of comfort. The sensation ripped through him, leaving him stunned and warm… and really goddamned annoyed.
Enough of the touchy-feely crap. They needed to get down and dirty. Especially after the true-confessions session in the dining car, when he’d rattled on about his childhood trauma like a dumbass.
He dropped his hand to her ass and tugged her hard into his erection. Then he spread her thighs with one of his and curled his fingers into the seam between her butt cheeks. She stiffened, but she didn’t resist when he rocked his leg upward and began a slow, circular grind.
“Oh, God,” she breathed. “This is… you know I can’t—”
“Shh.” He captured her mouth with his and kissed her hungrily, careful, as always, to be the aggressor so her tongue didn’t catch on the sharp tips of his fangs. “Let me make you feel good.”
She arched beneath him. “Good… yes.”
He let his fingers stray lower, so they brushed her cleft through the thin fabric of her skirt. “I’ll be a perfect gentleman. I swear to you, nothing but my hands and mouth will touch you.” He reared back to peg her with another promise that came out in a low, harsh growl. “I also swear that there will be nothing gentlemanly about what I do with my hands and mouth.”
Her sharp intake of breath accompanied a blast of lust that made his head swim.
“Well,” she said, in a deep, seductive drawl, “I should hope not.” And then she kissed him.
Serena felt Josh’s surprise in the tautness of his body, but when she flicked her tongue over his bottom lip, he relaxed and drew her even harder against him
He made an erotic noise of approval when she tugged her skirt up so she could hook her leg over his, putting her core in contact with the large bulge behind the fly of his jeans. Her senses flamed, and she shivered with pleasure.
She’d made out with men before, experimenting, testing her will, each time going a little further. But she wanted so much more than she could have, and heavy petting only frustrated her.
This could end in orgasms for them both, but ultimately, she knew it wouldn’t be enough. It could never be enough with a man like Josh. With him, she knew she’d want it all.
As good as it felt to have Josh’s hand stroking her between her legs like this, so deftly that she was nearly panting, this was a dangerous game. One she couldn’t play.
“No,” she croaked. “No!” She shoved hard at his chest and scrambled away. Too close to the edge of the mattress, she fell over the side and dropped heavily to the floor. Panic weighed her down and she couldn’t get to her feet, so she crawled in a mad bid to get to the door, her skirt tangling in her legs.
“Serena.” Josh’s hand closed on her ankle, and she cried out in surprise and panic and fear. Not of him, but of what she might do with him.
“Leave me alone!” She kicked, clipped him in the chin with her heel. Her fingers brushed the door—
Josh’s heavy body came down on top of hers, pinning her to the floor. She forced herself to breathe at the realization that her charm hadn’t protected her from being caught… and it wasn’t because her charm had failed. She’d wanted to get caught.
She was in a lot of trouble.
“Serena,” he repeated, his voice a sensual purr that rumbled through the weakest parts of her. The parts that were aching for his touch. “You don’t need to fear me.”
She swallowed, going lax in his arms as he rolled so they were both on their sides, his chest to her back, his arms caging her sweetly against him. “It’s not you I’m afraid of.”
His lips skimmed her cheek, his hot breath leaving a pleasant tingle on her skin as he spoke. “Then what?” He slid one hand to her belly to twine his fingers with hers. “Tell me.”
Wetness stung her eyes. “I’m afraid of what I want.”
“And what do you want?” When she said nothing, because her throat had closed up, he squeezed her hand. “What do you want, Serena? Show me.”
Desire swirled, collided with caution and consumed it. Fighting against the force of Josh’s sensuality and her own hunger was a losing effort, and for now, just this once, she’d cede the battle. Slowly, she dragged his hand down. When she reached the juncture between her legs, she arched, involuntarily, into his palm.
“Good girl,” he whispered, and kissed her cheek even as he fisted her skirt and dragged it up her legs. His other arm was pinned beneath her ribs, but his hand was free enough to slip beneath her gauzy blouse. His fingertips tickled her skin as they pushed aside her bra. When he cupped her breast and circled her nipple with his thumb, she heaved a breath she hadn’t known she’d held.
“Oh, yeah.” His other thumb stroked the silk fabric covering her core. “I want to do this with my tongue. I will do that with my tongue. Later.”
There wouldn’t be a later. This had to be a one-time deal.
The sensation of his warm breath on the cool skin of her neck drew her out of the depressing thoughts and back to where her body tingled and her lungs pushed and pulled air that had grown thick with the desire arcing between them. His fingers found the lacy edge of her underwear, and behind her, prodding her rear, was his erection, a massive, brutal presence. Even as he tunneled his hand beneath the fabric of her panties, he ground that male organ against her. Would he come like that? Maybe she should take him in her hand and give him some relief.… She tried to roll over but he restrained her with his strong arms.
“Stop,” he murmured, going up on his elbow to lean over her and kiss her lips. “Just relax and let me pleasure you.”
Her head fell back, her lips parting, and Josh took advantage, sinking his tongue into her mouth with a thrust while at the same time penetrating her with his finger.
She moaned, rocked against his hand where his palm created a delicious pressure against her clit. He stroked her, inside and out, between her legs and in her mouth. The friction built, creating a hot burst of pleasure that streaked from her core to her breasts. Her body liquefied, the blood in her veins approaching the boiling point, and still Josh plundered her mouth and her sex, adding another finger, stretching and filling her.
Her explosion grew imminent. She perched on the edge of orgasm, a blissful, amazing place where only she and Josh existed.
He ceased the delicious thrusts and dragged his slick fingers through her slit, easing her just off the ledge. She whimpered in protest, felt his smile against her lips.
“I love the sounds you make,” he said, speeding up the long, firm strokes that only grazed the place she needed his skilled touch. “But you’re so quiet. Make some noise for me. Say my name when you come.” He skimmed his finger over her nub so lightly she nearly shattered, but the contact was fleeting, and she cried out in frustration when he denied her the release she so needed. “Say it. Say it now.”
“Yes… oh, yes… Josh… Josh!” She thought she heard him utter a raw curse, but then she went deaf and blind as the mind-blowing orgasm brought her off the floor with such force that he had to throw a leg over hers and tug her tight against him as he brought her down with the gentle strum of his fingers over her core.
When it was over, she dissolved into a quivering puddle, but behind her, Josh remained tense, his shaft throbbing against her. Wriggling around to face him, she saw that he’d closed his eyes as though in pain. She palmed him, but with a hiss, he grasped her wrist.
“No.” His jaw was a straight, grim line, and his cheek pulsed against the grind of teeth. “I can’t… can’t get off that way.”
“Ah, you mean, with a hand?”
“Yeah.” He swallowed. “Weird sexual hang-up.” He let out a long, ragged breath. “I did this for you. Not me.”
Closing her eyes, Serena rested her forehead against his chest. “Why?”
“Because you needed it.”
“I could have given myself an orgasm if I needed it that badly.”
“Not one like that,” he said, with more than a little satisfaction, and she wrenched her arm from beneath him just enough to punch him in the shoulder.
“I was serious.” When she punched him again, he heaved a sigh. “You needed the connection between two people.” He snorted out a laugh. “My brother Shade says that if you pay attention, really listen, you will know what a female needs. I always thought he was full of it.”
She nuzzled his neck, taking in his musky male scent. “Like Wraith?”
She braced a palm against his breastbone and pushed back a little. “How are you feeling?”
His hand curled around hers, and he brought it up to kiss her knuckles. “Better, thanks to you.”
“You said you’d been ill like that before. What was it? Are you sick?”
“Nothing to worry about.” He pulled away, and the temperature in the room seemed to drop.
“I am worried.”
“Why?” Josh sat back against the bed, feet flat on the floor and forearms braced on his spread knees. His heavy-lidded gaze was wary. “Why would you worry about a complete stranger?”
“We’re hardly strangers now.”
He stared at her. “You know what I mean.”
“No, I really don’t.” She shifted onto one hip and smoothed her skirt out, more for something to do with her hands than because she was worried about wrinkles. “We haven’t known each other long, but we’ve been through some pretty intense stuff. More than most people go through together in a lifetime. I like you, Josh. A lot more than I probably should.”
He cursed, which confused the hell out of her.
“What is wrong with liking you? Would you rather I hated you?”
“No. I need you to like me—” He cursed again. “I mean, shit. Just, shit.” He threw his head back and stared at the ceiling. “Just stop worrying about me, okay?”
“Why wouldn’t I worry about you?”
“Because it’s stupid,” he snapped. “I don’t need your concern. I get enough shit from my brothers.”
“Stupid? Shit? I’m giving you shit by taking care of you?” He didn’t answer, and anger roared through her. “I get that you had a horrific childhood, but you have people who care about you now, and you should be grateful.”
“You don’t know anything about my life, and you don’t want to.”
“How dare you?” She scrambled to her feet. “How dare you dismiss what I feel, as though it’s nothing?”
He let out a long-suffering sigh, as though this was all just so much inconvenience for him. “I didn’t ask you to feel anything for me.”
“Well, excuse me for being human.” She whipped open the door. “I’ll just go, since I’m stupid and my worry is such a bother to you.”
Josh cursed. “Serena, wait—”
But she didn’t hear the rest, partly because she’d slammed the door, and partly because her pulse was pounding so hard in her ears that it blocked out everything else.