You're his kind now, her mind whispered. No! She wouldn't give in.
A Lykae mate would've let herself be caught. Would be waiting for him, naked and spread in the grass or leaning back against a tree, hips offered up and arms overhead, reveling in the fact that he was chasing her, anticipating his ferocity.
Emma was going insane! How could she know these things? She would never welcome ferocity. Give a cry early, at the first sign of pain. That was her rule.
She'd just reached a clearing when she heard him lunge for her. She tensed for the impact with the ground, but he turned and took it on his back, then moved her bodily to lie in the grass. When she opened her eyes, he was above her, on all fours.
He was larger. His eyes weren't their golden color. That eerie blue flickered across them. His exhaled breaths were low rumbling growls. She knew his body was weakened, she had felt how much so when he ran, but his obvious intent made him strong.
"Turn...over," he bit out. His voice was distorted, grating.
Lightning streaked the sky above him. He didn't seem to notice it, but she stared at it like one might a comet. Could she be more Valkyrie than she knew?
Sane Emma said, "No."
The lightning also illuminated in flashes what he was inside. Fangs of his own, the ice-blue eyes, his already incredibly powerful body rippling with more muscle. He yanked her bag and jacket from her, sliced open her clothes to strip her, snarling and growling while she beheld the lights above in a daze.
"Arms...over...your head," he grated, while tearing his jeans from himself.
She did this. He was still positioning himself over her, bending down to kiss or lick, moving a hand or a knee. Something was happening that she didn't understand. This wasn't just random movement, this was...
As he moved above her, the urge to go to her hands and knees grew overwhelming. To brush her hair aside and present her neck. He dragged a tongue across her nipple and her back arched.
As if someone else were in her body, someone carnal and aggressive, she did as he commanded. Movements behind her that she couldn't see. She could feel his huge erection slide against her backside, then prod against her thigh.
Smell the night, feel the growing moon bathe your skin. She was going insane...knew it when she pressed her chest down into the grass, arms in front of her, and raised her ass up. He growled as if pleased, then immediately kicked her knees open with his own. She could feel herself getting wetter though he wasn't touching her.
She ached. She felt empty. She knew she could feel the scents of the earth if he would just enter her. She rocked back as if to attract him.
"Doona do that," he hissed. His hand landed on her backside, then clutched, holding her in place.
She moaned, her eyes rolling back in her head.
"With the moon...I canna...be as I should. If you knew what I was thinking right now - "
She spread her knees wider, though a beast was at her back about to go mad from the moon, with a shaft that could rend her in two. She should be curled in a ball with her hands over her head. Not rocking front and back trying to attract him.
"Ye've no need for that. Ever. Can barely...keep from..."
She perceived him moving, then...felt his mouth on her sex. She cried out with shock and pleasure. He was lying on his back beneath her, her knees spread over his face, his arms wrapped over her back, hugging her down. She couldn't move if she tried.
He groaned against her, arms tightening if possible. "Dreamed of tasting you again," he growled. "Almost as much as fucking."
Her claws dug into the grass and the cut blades erupted in scent. He suckled her and she screamed. Lightning split the sky like a whip. She couldn't move, she couldn't rock her hips into him like she needed to. She didn't feel the ground abrading her knees as she knew it must be. Going insane.
"Oh, God, yes! Lachlain, please."
He drew his tongue from her, entering his finger. "Please what?"
She was panting, near mindless. "Please make me for once...please let me have - "
"Come," he commanded, with a palm coming down on her ass and a thrust of his finger as he resumed sucking and licking. She screamed and her body clenched instantly, shuddering her through her first orgasm, making her accept the explosion of pleasure. His hands were on her, roughly palming her cheeks, shoving her against his mouth, licking relentlessly.
And all the while she watched the sky as she moved the only way she could, by arching her back, until she could take no more.
When she was spent and fell limp with a whimper, stunned by the pleasure she'd never known, he eased her to the ground and stood. Trembling, she gazed up at him, silhouetted against the lightning still firing though not as furiously. He was like a god. He awaited something.
Ritual. She was on her knees before him. Gazing up at him, she drew him into her mouth as best as she was able, adoring his flesh with her tongue as she should've done before. He cupped her face with shaking hands, groaning. His expression was one of ecstasy mingled with disbelief as he watched her. She reached up to scratch down his torso, nails digging into his flesh, and he shuddered. She could taste him already salty and slick at the tip.
"Canna do this...need to claim you. Here. It will be here..."
She resisted him taking his shaft from her mouth, licking her lips for it even as he moved behind her, kneeling between her legs. He bent down, tonguing her again while trying to fit two fingers inside her. When he was able, he released her, then his whole hand was on her head guiding her down onto her hands. She looked back, saw him holding his erection about to put it inside her. She began shaking in earnest, yearning.
Need. Attract. She pressed back, but he held her still, spreading her flesh and placing the tip against her. A hand roughly ran down her back, making her arch down with pleasure.
"No' a dream," he murmured in a stunned tone. "Emmaline..."
She was panting, repeating "please" again and again.
He put one arm solidly around her waist. "Waited so long to be inside you." He ran his other arm under her, over her breast, and clenched her shoulder from underneath, holding her immobile. "I claim you for my own." He plunged into her.
She screamed again, this time in pain.
"Ah, God," he groaned. "So tight," he bit out with another buck of his hips. She was so clenched around him he could scarcely move.
She gasped, her eyes watering from the searing pain. She'd known they wouldn't fit.
To her relief, he stopped thrusting, though she wondered how he had when she could feel his body shaking all around her, his shaft so huge and throbbing within her.
He drew her up as he went to his knees, putting her back against his chest and taking her arms to guide them up around his neck, locking them there. "Hold on tae me."
When she nodded, he skimmed his fingers from her shoulders over her breasts and down, then dipped both of his hands to cup and stroke her between her legs. When her wetness returned in a rush, he still refrained from thrusting. Instead he thumbed her nipples and palmed her breasts for long, long moments until she was panting again, feeling a desperate lust like she had when he'd teased her that night in the bathroom. No, worse than that, because now she knew exactly what she was missing.
Remembering her frustration that night and fearing he'd subject her to that again, she wriggled her hips against him.
He growled low at her ear, "Do you want more?"
"Go tae your hands again...let me give it tae you."
As soon as she did, he clutched her hips, slowly withdrew, then eased deeper within her. She cried out, this time in pleasure. When she arched her back and worked her knees wide again, he groaned her name in answer, but his voice had changed. Still as deep but guttural, grating. Almost...snarling.
Another thrust inside her, this time more forceful. Groans, growling. Hers as well?
Thoughts were growing dim as the pleasure increased. Each measured withdrawal made her whimper, each time his skin slapped against hers as he bucked into her made her cry out for more. Her lips curled when the air charged with electricity, and she gloried in the sky, in the scents, in Lachlain wedged deep inside her. He stretched down over her back, and she felt his mouth on her neck. Felt his bite, but not like hers, not piercing the skin, but she reveled in it as if she'd accomplished it.
"Going tae come so hard," he snarled against her skin, "you'll feel it like a thrust of my cock."
She climaxed once more, screaming in ecstasy to the sky, throwing her head back to his shoulder, wanting his mouth at her neck.
"Ah, God, yes," he yelled, then returned to his bite... She did feel him ejaculate, forcefully, pumping his seed so hotly inside her.
Yet when he was finished, he didn't stop thrusting.
He'd come harder than he ever had, but felt no relief. If anything, the need intensified. "I canna stop."
He tossed her to her back, pinning her hands above her, still driving into her. Her hair fanned out, haloing her head, and the scent of it exploded within him. He swayed from the power of it. He was claiming her. At last. He was inside his mate. Emmaline. He gazed down at her face. Her eyelids were shuttered, her lips glistening. So beautiful it pained him.
The moon, completely risen now, fired light, casting silver over her body as she writhed beneath him.
Any control he'd had was disappearing, an animal feeling of possession taking its place.
He could feel the moon on his skin as he never had before and his thoughts came frenzied, ungovernable.
But she'd run from him. She'd thought to leave him. Never.
Control slipping...Christ, no, he was...turning, fangs sharpening. To mark her flesh. Claws to seize her hips when he spent into her body over and over.
Possess her completely.
She was his. He'd found her. He deserved her. Deserved to have everything he was about to take from her.
Plunging into her soft, giving body with the moon at his back. Pleasure as he'd never known.
Make her surrender everything.
Licking, biting, suckling her, slaking his lust on his mate. Unable to tamp down yells, growls, his need to taste her wet flesh. Too rough with her. Needed to fuck her harder. Couldn't stop driving into her.
With the last of his will, he shoved himself away from her.
Her claws rent the ground in frustration, her hips undulating for him. "Why?" she cried.
"Canna hurt you." His voice was not his own.
"Please...come back inside me."
"You want this? Like I am?"
"Yes...need you...exactly as you are. Please, Lachlain! I feel it too."
The moon had claimed her too? At her words, he gave himself over to it.
His vision went hazy, seeing only the silver of her eyes as they stared up into his and the attracting deep pink of her plump lips and nipples. He stalked over her, caging her in with his body, compelled to lean his head down to tongue and suck her nipples, then take her mouth. He clutched her from beneath, holding her in place as he rose up on his knees. "Mine," he growled with a brutal thrust.
As though out of his body, he heard the low, guttural sounds erupting from his chest, the snarls that accompanied each frenzied thrust. Her breasts bounced, and his eyes were riveted by the tight, hard points, wet from his furious suckling. He felt her claws dig into his skin as the pressure in his cock built and built. Her head thrashed.
"Mine..." She thought to leave him? He fucked her with all his strength.
She accepted it, trying to meet him.
He cupped the back of her neck, yanking her up to him. "Surrender to me."
Her eyes flashed open when she came again. Dazed. Mirrors. He could feel her squeezing around his cock, milking him.
When he followed, yelling out, his seed shot from him, pumping into her...hot...relentless. All he comprehended was that she arched her back and spread her legs wider for him as though she loved the feeling of it.
At moonset, when she could come no more, she fell limp. With a last shuddering groan he fell on top of her, but it wasn't uncomfortable.
Finally he planted a knee and raised up, turning her to face him. He lay on his side and brushed her hair from her lip. Now that the night's frenzy had passed, she felt an overwhelming joy that he'd claimed her, as if she'd waited as long as he had.
She turned to her back and stretched, gazing up at the sky, then to the trees just beyond them. The grass was cool beneath her and the air was as well, but she felt burning hot. As if her eyes couldn't stray for long, she turned back to stare up at his face once more. She felt connected to everything, as though she belonged, a feeling that had always eluded her.
Contentment surged through her, and she wanted to weep with relief that he'd caught her and still wanted her. She found she couldn't stop touching him, as if she feared he would disappear, and wondered how she could possibly have acted cruelly toward him.
She recalled that she'd been angry with him and had run, but couldn't quite recall why. She could never stay angry with a man who was looking at her like he was.
He stared at her as though awed.
"I dinna want to hurt you. I tried no' to."
"It was fleeting. I tried not to hurt you, either."
He grinned, then asked, "Did you hear something inside you? You knew things..."
She nodded. "It was like...instinct, but instinct I was clearly aware of. It scared me at first."
"And then I came to understand it was, I don't know how to put it, but it was guiding me...rightly."
"How did the moon feel on your skin?"
"Almost as good as it felt to run. It was like...heaven. Lachlain, I felt scents."
His body was shaking and he sank back, pulling her over him to lie on his chest, straddling his hips. "Sleep." His lids were heavy, but he kissed her. "Tired from sating my young mate. And from your trick."
Now she remembered the night before, and stiffened. "I only retaliated against yours." If he took her to task about her actions -
"Aye. I like that you give as you get." His voice was drowsy as he said against her hair, "You are teaching me, Emmaline."
At that, the outrage she'd wanted to feel at his actions - or felt she should feel like other, stronger women would - deflated to nonexistence. She was a spineless wuss, she knew it. Because after one mere cataclysmic night in the grass, her first through fifteenth orgasms, and a couple of awed looks, she was tempted to latch on to this strong, bighearted Lykae with two hands and fangs and never let go.
As if reading her mind, he murmured, "Need to sleep. But when I get my strength back, I'll be able to give you this" - he thrust into her, still semihard - "and all the blood you can drink."
Her flesh spasmed around him at the thought.
He grinned. "Every night. I promise you." He kissed her forehead. "Rest for a while."
"But the sun will be up soon."
"I'll have you in our bed well before then."
Her body was warm and relaxed under his hands, but her mind was in a panic. Yes, she wanted to rest in an open field on top of him near the earth they'd torn apart during hours of sex. But an open field - like a parking lot or a football field or, God forbid, a plain - was a death trap. Sleeping under the stars? Avoid at all costs. She craved cover, thick canopy, a cave or some way to get lower in the earth, farther from the sun.
And still the pull to remain here was strong, conflicting with her need for self-preservation. The Lykae Instinct he'd given her was beautiful, compelling, but there was one problem.
She was a vampire.
He rolled over in sleep, tucking her into his side. He put his knee over her to pull her close and then crooked his arm around her head. Protectively. All around her. Better. Maybe just surrender.
"Mine," he growled softly. "Missed you."
Yes. Apparently she'd missed him, too.
Surrender. Trust him. Her eyelids drifted closed. Her last thought was, Never knew day. Or night...
In their bed, Lachlain lay on his side, stroking the backs of his fingers from her navel up between her soft breasts and down again. He felt electricity charging the air and after last night, he now knew it was for her.
He didn't understand how she could still desire him or why she seemed so pleased with him. He'd woken with a heavy regret for his actions. She had been more than he'd ever dreamed, so beautiful, so passionate, and he'd finally claimed her. Again and again. Beneath the full moon, she'd given him unimaginable, mind-boggling pleasure - and a soul-deep feeling of connection with her.
She'd given these things, but he'd taken her virginity on the ground in the woods like the beast she thought him, shoving into her delicate flesh. He thought...he thought he'd made her scream with pain.
Then he'd marked her neck savagely. She could never see his mark - no one but a Lykae could - or feel it, but she would carry this frenzied brand forever. The Lykae would forever know upon seeing it that he had been out of his mind with lust for her. Or they would reason he'd done it to such a degree as an overtly hostile threat to other males. Both would be true.
Yet in spite of all this, the lass seemed pleased with him, chattering happily, reaching up with a dreamy expression to caress the side of his face.
"You have no' drunk today. Are you thirsty?"
"No. For some reason, no." Then she smiled brightly. "Probably because I stole so much yesterday."
"Saucy lass." He leaned down and nuzzled her breast, making her jump. "And you know it's freely given." He grasped her chin and met her eyes. "You do know that, do you no'? Anytime you need to drink, even if I'm asleep, I want you to take."
"You really like it?"
"Like is no' the word I'd use."
"You'd heal faster if I didn't."
"Maybe, but my recovery would no' be so sweet."
Still she was insistent. "Lachlain, sometimes I feel like a ball and chain around your ankle." Before he could protest, she said, "You asked me the first time I drank if I thought you would turn me to a Lykae. Could you?"
He tensed when he saw she was serious. "Emma, you know no living being can change without dying first." The catalyst for the transformation among the vampires, the ghouls, the wraiths, among all of them, was death. "I would have to turn fully, give myself up to it, and then kill you, hoping that you got infected so you could be reborn." Praying that she accepted a piece of the beast into her body and that it would roar to life within her - but not too strongly. "And if you survived, you'd be locked away for years until you could control the...possession." Most took a decade. Some never gained control.
With her shoulders curving in protectively, miserably, she muttered, "And still it almost sounds worth it to me. I hate being a vampire. I hate being hated."
"Becoming a Lykae would no' alter that - just would alter you to a new set of enemies. We're no' exactly universally loved in the Lore. Besides, even were it done with the snap of my fingers, I would no' do it."
"You wouldn't change that I'm a vampire?" she asked, her tone disbelieving. "It would be so much simpler!"
"Bugger simple. It's made you what you are, and I would no' change a single thing about you. And besides, you're no' even wholly a vampire." Going to his knees, he scooped her up against his chest. He ran the tip of his finger over the small sharp point of her ear, then nipped it with his teeth, making her shiver. "Think you I dinna see the sky you gave me last night?"
She blushed, a shy smile coaxed forth, then buried her face in his shoulder.
If he hadn't seen it, he'd never have believed it. Crystal clear sky, moon heavy, yet lightning streaked wildly over it like a net, the light fading so slowly from each bolt. It had taken him a long moment to realize they mirrored her cries. "That's always been rumored to be a Valkyrie trait, but none of us knew for certain."
"The men who see it don't usually, well, live, if they're the type to tell about it."
He briefly raised his eyebrows at that, then said, "You are no vampire. You have your lightning and your eyes grow silver. You're unique to all the world."
She grimaced. "In other words - a freak."
"No, doona say that. You're just your own entity, I believe." He eased her back in his arms and the corners of his lips quirked up. "You're my wee halfling."
She punched his shoulder.
"And I like the lightning. I'll know you're never feigning it." He kissed her, but he was grinning and she punched him again. He seemed to think this was hilarious.
"Oooh! I wish you'd never seen it!"
He gave her a lewd smirk. "And if I'm outside and feel a charge in the air, I'll know to come running to you. You'll have me trained in a day." He was clearly thinking of all the scenarios. "I'm glad we live so far from towns."
He frowned. "But you were in a coven. Everyone would know if late one night you brought yourself to come. No' a lot of privacy."
He spoke so bluntly - he was so aggravating! Face back against his chest, she snapped, "I didn't have to worry about that!"
"What do you mean? You never saw even when you touched yourself?"
She gasped, glad he couldn't see her face. But of course, he leaned her back, not letting her look away. "No, Emma. I want to know. I need to understand everything about you."
She was secretive, shy. Those damn voices were insisting she share.
"Lightning is constant over the manor - any marked emotion triggers it, and so many live there. And anyway, before last night, I've never, um, well" - she struggled with the word - "come."
His eyes widened, and she could tell he was...delighted.
"It was very distressing for me."