Dark Wolf Page 53

He was grateful for that small admission. He knew, better than she did, that she was beginning to respond to him. She loved him, and her body had begun to respond to his touch. He felt it with every touch, every look. As they spent time together, he knew, if he was patient and careful, allowing her to take the lead, she would come to want his body as much as he wanted hers. It was another expression of love, she just had to come to realize that herself.

“I don’t know the first thing about pleasing you, Dimitri, and that bothers me. I don’t know how I’ll react when you make love to me. What if I freak out?”

He wanted to assure her it wouldn’t matter. They would stop until she was ready, but again he remained silent, waiting for her to tell him everything.

“I don’t even have my virginity—that was lost long ago,” she added sadly.

That was too much for him. He had to respond, but when he opened his mouth, she shook her hand and laid a finger across his lips.

“This is difficult for me. One of the things I valued most in our relationship was that we could talk about anything. My past, yours, sex, all of it. But we weren’t face-to-face. We weren’t skin to skin. I want to be as comfortable just like this as I was all those times we talked telepathically,” she explained. “So I need to tell you this.”

She linked her arms around his neck and leaned close again, using the healing saliva from her tongue to bathe the worst of the burns around his chest. He closed his eyes and just let himself feel her skin moving over his and the intimacy of her mouth against him. Her br**sts tantalized him, swaying against him. His body was already hard, as it was nearly every moment around her, but he found the ability to feel anything at all was a miracle, let alone such intense desire.

His love for her was all encompassing; if that meant giving her time, he had all the time in the world, now that they were bound together. Whatever she needed, he would provide, and if that was time, it was a very small price to pay, in his mind, for her to be truly comfortable with him.

Skyler ran her hand down his chest, very lightly, just a brush really, but it set his blood on fire. Her palm brushed his thick cock. Again, it was the lightest of touches, but it sent a shock wave through him.

“I know you want me. How could I not? The crazy thing is, Dimitri, I need you to want me. I do. I need to know that you think I’m beautiful and desirable and even sexy. I dream of the time that I can touch you, and love you without reservation or hesitation.”

Once again she sank back on her heels and looked at him with tears swimming in her eyes. He lifted her chin with his thumb and finger, waited until she lifted her long lashes before he leaned in to sip away her tears. Very gently he took her hand and formed it around his heavy erection. No doubt his size was intimidating when he was fully aroused, but she’d seen him na**d several times now.

Her palm was warm as she curled it around his girth, her fingers one by one bending to make a fist, trying to close. He kept his hand over hers, light, so she could pull away the moment she needed to. Her heart beat so hard in her chest, he could almost see it beneath her pale skin.

He tapped his chest. “Feel my heart. Hear it. Follow the rhythm of mine.”

The tip of her tongue moistened her lips, sending another rush of heat surging through his veins, straight to his groin. His c*ck jerked in reaction, grew hotter, swelling even more in her hand. Her thumb slid over the sensitive head, smearing the pearl of liquid. He knew she wasn’t trying to tease him, she was trying to get to know his body, to feel comfortable with it, but her touch was killing him.

Her breathing turned ragged—small little gasps as if she couldn’t get enough air. Her body flushed with color. He very gently placed his free hand over her heart, feeling it race beneath his palm.

“For me, you will always be sexy and desirable. Knowledge of technique or practiced art is never going to be sexy to me. The desire to give me pleasure, to please me in the same way I want to please you is what makes you sexy to me, csitri. I can feel that desire in you with every touch of your hand. Even now, your fingers stroke over my shaft instead of pulling away.”

He stifled a groan of need. Her fingers brushed back and forth, but in that slow, leisurely way of hers, as if somehow she was imprinting the shape and feel of him into her very bones. She was naturally sensual. Given the right circumstances, she would grow in confidence and trust in herself and him, allowing that sensual part of her freedom.

He watched her take a breath, the action lifting her br**sts temptingly. She didn’t realize how intimate, how possessive her touch was. Long ago she had become his, her heart, her soul and her mind. She loved him with every fiber of her being. He belonged to her, body and soul, and she was very comfortable with him, even skin to skin, whether she knew it or not.

He uncurled her fingers one by one from around the thick length of his shaft, pulled her hand very gently back to his chest, and placed her fingertips in the bands of chain. He needed a respite almost as much as she did. His body was on fire. He needed just a few moments to breathe his way through the danger zone.

“You cannot disappoint me. You cannot. It is an impossibility.”

“How do you know?” Skyler asked. “I feel like such a coward. There’s more than just the physical relationship, Dimitri. Knowing the Carpathian ways and living them are two distinctly different things. When I first wake beneath the ground, I feel as if I’m buried alive. Intellectually, I know better. I know it’s natural for us, but I can’t control my reaction, that horrible moment when I feel I can’t breathe and I’m being smothered.”

“That is easily solved, Skyler. I can wake first and open the earth . . .”

“No. No. I don’t want you to do everything for me. I refuse to be a burden to you. I want to be your partner. I need to come to terms with all of this.”

He tugged her braid very gently. “Sívamet, it has been less than a week since your conversion. You were shot numerous times and died, were brought back to life. I am not expecting that you’ll know everything and be comfortable with it. Isn’t that too much to ask even of a woman as powerful as you?”

“No, not when I know what you’ve been through, what you sacrificed.”

Dimitri brushed kisses along her temples, his heart nearly melting in that ridiculous way it had when she was concerned for him.

“I didn’t do anything special, Skyler, although I’m grateful you think I did. Stop worrying so much about being young, or finding new things difficult. Carpathians age differently than humans. At fifty I might be considered your human age or Paul’s human age. We don’t mature fully until we’ve seen two centuries. After that, there is no real aging. Time goes by but we don’t mark it with age. When one has such longevity, age ceases to mean anything. Humans mark time because they have a cycle of life and they become caught up in that and measure all things by it.”

“I didn’t think about that,” Skyler admitted. “Francesca tried to explain it to me when I asked why Josef was treated like such a child when he’s so brilliant. No one takes him seriously, but he actually is a real asset to the Carpathian community if they would just listen to him and utilize his talents.”

“I think Josef will be seen in a different light after your daring rescue. Without the three of you, Skyler, you know I’d be dead. You proved yourself as well.”

She sighed. “I don’t know why I suddenly began feeling so inadequate, Dimitri. Just knowing the things you’ve had to face in your life . . . ” She broke off again, shaking her head.

He shrugged his shoulders. Her fingers were already working their nightly magic, smoothing the burned flesh, easing the tight bands around his chest. The reminder of that agony of silver wrapped around his body like a boa constrictor would always be physically present. Skyler and Mother Earth did their best—and he was certain no skilled healer could do more—but the scars were too deep.

Sometimes, when he first woke, he could feel the bite of the silver burning into his skin, in a hundred places, surrounding his body, slowly, like a snake, penetrating his skin to slither inside him, burning long worm holes through every organ. He knew the memory would stay with him, century after century, right along with the scars.

“I told you everything, my love,” she said. “What are you keeping from me?”

Her fingers traced the burns around his ribs. His left side in particular had been excruciatingly painful, digging deep until he was certain the chain had wrapped around bone, leaving its mark there.

He was branded forever by the Lycans. He was mixed blood, part of the Lycan world, yet half wolf and half Carpathian. Like Skyler with her mage blood, he would have to come to terms with what the Lycans did to him and how he felt about them.

“Mikhail wants me to go before the Lycan council and show them what was done to me.”

Skyler frowned. Dimitri sounded as he always did—matter-of-fact, very steady and calm. But she felt a ripple beneath the surface. She was always tuned to him. He had become her world and she knew the very number of breaths he took at times.

She splayed her fingers over his belly, feeling the tension in him—not sexual as there had been only moments earlier. She felt humiliation and anger. Not anger. Rage. She took a breath, inhaling his scent, wrapping herself in him for a moment while she considered how to best come to his aid. She understood the way Ivory touched Razvan or stood close to him in moments of distress. She wanted to ease any burden, but wasn’t certain how.

“You don’t want them to see these scars?” she prompted. It would be easy enough to slip inside his mind and see for herself what battle he engaged in, but like Dimitri had done earlier with her, she wanted him to tell her himself—to trust his partner.

She loved touching him. It was that simple. Every stroke of her fingers along those terrible burns made her feel closer to him. She tried not to be intimate in her touch, but she couldn’t help the possessive feeling she had when her fingers moved over his body. Dimitri belonged to her alone and so did his magnificent body.

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