Celino jerked back from her, shedding his boots and pulling off his trousers in a violent frenzy. She laughed happily, thrilled that he wanted her, and then he grasped her, still laughing, knocked her back onto the pillows, pinning her down with his weight, and kissed her on the mouth, turning her laughter into a low throaty moan. She locked her hands on his muscular back, feeling every inch of his enormous body pressed against her, rigid with need. He kissed her again and again, on the mouth, on the neck, caressing her until everything faded except him. She wanted him, needed him, and yet he teased her with his mouth and his hands, until she could stand it no longer. Finally his iron thigh edged her legs open. He clasped her hands with his and thrust inside, into her moist heat.

A jolt of nearly unbearable pleasure ripped through her. She gasped, but he gave her no time to come to terms with it. He thrust into her again and again, deep, smooth, hard, each push propelling her higher and higher until at last she burst with pleasure. She laughed, unable to contain rapture, opened her eyes, and saw him come with her first squeeze, his eyes filled with ecstasy of her climax and his release.

He eased himself from her and she curled next to him, her head on his chest. His arm trailed down her back and pushed her closer to him. For a long time they lay intertwined and she listened to his heartbeat until she finally fell asleep.

She awoke in the night because he wanted her again. And then again. Some time in the early hours of the morning she called him a savage, but he laughed and seduced her once more with ridiculous ease.

In the morning he discovered he was late, but he stayed for breakfast. Meli served him shockingly sweet coffee in tiny cups, with a side of red arna berries still on the vine and spicy sweet bread.

He barely touched any of it. His grey eyes looked at her with warmth. He took her hand into his and kissed it.

His tenderness caught her unprepared. She was prepared for a brisk dismissal, but he didn’t seem to want to let her go. In making her strategy, she never counted on his affection or on the stirrings of absurd pleasure that affection made her feel.

“You’re making me feel self-conscious,” Meli said. “Did I finally cook something you hate?”

“Come with me.”

Meli shook her head. “I have my world. You have yours.”

A shadow of former hardness iced over his eyes. “Am I dismissed then?”

She kissed him on the lips, surprising herself with her tenderness. “I wouldn’t do well in your ivory financial tower. I will wait for you here instead. Come to me tonight.”

He pulled her in his lap. “I could persuade you to come with me.”

She smiled. “Ah, the power of sex. Perhaps, you could. But why would you, knowing I don’t want to go?”

“So I can have you to myself.”

“You can have me anyway. Tonight.”

He kissed her neck and she shivered.

“Promise me you will lock your door while I’m gone.”

“I promise.” She whispered the combination into his ear.

“At least tell me your name.”



Celino knew someone had entered his aerial the moment he closed the front door of Meli’s house. He waited until the vehicle’s door slid open and Marcus’s pale features greeted him.

“I came close to sending out a search party, my lord,” the Anglican said softly when Celino slid into the driver seat.

“You would have rescued me from one of the best nights of my life and then I would have had to kill you. I’m a savage, you know.” He guided the aerial straight up, eased it into the flow of traffic and let the autopilot take over. “What have you found out?”

“A lot and nothing. The house is registered to Meli Asole Grey.”

“It’s a false name,” Celino said. Asole and Grey were two characters from Scarlet Sails by Alexander Green. It was a ridiculously obscure old planet book. The only reason anyone would know of it would be by studying the works of the Seventh Romantic Revivalists, who considered Scarlet Sails the purest expression of romanticism. He recalled suffering through Seventh Romantic Revival somewhere between twelve and thirteen. He deeply hated it. “She has an excellent education.”

Marcus nodded. “A trace of the name produced nothing. She simply appeared out of thin air about eight years ago. She doesn’t own an aerial. She has no health card. Her bank balance is modest, never over three thousand a month. She receives regular deposits from a closed fund held at Colonial Bank. The account is rated B. Hacking their security grid to see who put it there will be long, dangerous, and expensive.”

“Do it. Does she own the house?”

“No. It’s owned by Colonial. She makes standard rate payments.”

“Buy it. Do it through Fontaine, Inc.”

Marcus hesitated. “Most likely, she is kin. She is either on the run and doesn’t want to be found or she has excised herself from her family.”

Celino frowned. The excision was rare. An excised kinsman severed all ties with their family, sometimes of his own free will, sometimes because his family judged him to be harmful to their wellbeing. An excise lost all claim to his inheritance, family profits, and protection. It was a drastic step, never taken lightly. He had threatened excision years ago to free himself and assert his dominion over the family, and he had given the matter a great deal of thought before taking the plunge.

Meli was a mystery. An enchanting mystery. He had never before had a woman who laughed in joy when he brought her to an orgasm. He wanted to do it again.

Occasionally excision was done to provide the family with deniability. Great thieves and assassins had been excised, so they could act as a shadowy arm of their families. The family reaped the rewards, while the excises alone shouldered all of the consequences. He considered that possibility, turning it over in his mind.

She could’ve killed him last night. He’d gone to her confident in his ability to defend himself, but he hadn’t counted on how absorbing she could be. She occupied his attention completely. He had fallen asleep holding her. He slept well too, what little of it he had done last night.

It was highly unlikely that an assassin would possess none of the enhancements customary to her profession.

“Keep digging,” he said. He would do some research himself. Tonight.

Celino spent the next night with her. And the next.

On the third morning he surrendered to his fate and cleared his schedule for the rest of the week. He hadn’t taken a vacation in five years.

Tags: Ilona Andrews Kinsmen Science Fiction
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
Articles you may like