Dark Wolf Page 54

Each time she found herself skin to skin with him, legs tangled together, his palm sometimes cupping her breast while they slept, her body reacted, coming to life when she’d thought that part of her would always be dead. She hadn’t known she could want a man. She’d never felt that tension building in her, the electrical shock running from breast to thighs as fingers of desire pulsed through her, until Dimitri. Sometimes just his scent triggered her body’s reaction.

She was terrified, and yet she was also equally as mesmerized by him. When she’d wrapped her fingers around his thick shaft, her first reaction had been panic, but Dimitri never forced anything on her—certainly not intimacy. She felt safe with him, safe to do some of the things she wanted to do—like explore his entire body. She didn’t want to be a tease—she knew it was difficult for him, that she was lucky he had such control, but she had to know how she would react to him.

He’d felt so soft, like velvet over steel. So hot. Her body had become liquid, matching his heat, an urgent coiling need that burned through her body like wildfire. She had scared herself with a terrible hunger that seemed to come out of nowhere. But Dimitri steadied her. Always, she could count on him.

“I don’t want anything whatsoever to do with them,” Dimitri admitted. “Perhaps they didn’t know what was happening. Maybe they really weren’t the ones to sentence me to such a horrific death, but believe me, Skyler, when I say I planned out each of their deaths very carefully while I hung from hooks on that tree.”

She felt the tremor going through his body beneath the palm of her hand. Not fear—definitely rage. She knelt up again and wrapped her arms around his neck, linking her fingers at his nape. She knew he would never pull away from her, never recoil. There was such freedom in that knowledge. She wanted the same for him. She wanted to give him that gift.

“Dimitri, those members of the Lycan council are nothing to us. Nothing. You survived the worst that they had. They couldn’t defeat you. Standing in front of them is a slap in the face to them and their horrible medieval method of torture. Such a thing should be abolished.” She leaned in to trail soft, butterfly kisses over his face until she reached his mouth.

His hands came up, sliding up her back. His arms wrapped her up tight as his mouth came down possessively on hers. She felt the aggression in his body and waited for the familiar panic, but his kiss was too enticing, sweeping her up like an avalanche of pure feeling, pure bliss. She loved his mouth and the way he kissed. She was learning how to respond, how to give him that same somersaulting stomach and send fire racing through his veins.

He pulled back just enough to rest his forehead against hers. “There aren’t proper words in any language to tell you just how much I love you, Skyler.”

“I feel the same way.” She stroked his hair, fingers massaging his scalp. “You don’t have to go, but if you do, I want to be there, too, standing next to you.”

“I’ll go. You’re right about my presence being a slap in the face to them. Mikhail knows what he’s doing. He’s got the upper hand right now. He wants them to ban hunting Guardians, to acknowledge the difference between Sange rau and Hän ku pesäk kaikak. They assured him I was safe. When Mikhail brings me into that room, he’ll know which ones—if any—are involved in this plan to turn Lycan and Carpathian against one another.”

“What else? What else is bothering you?”

He sighed and straightened, dropping his arms. “You’re so attuned to me sometimes it’s scary, sívamet. In matters of your safety, I prefer to act rather than talk.”

Skyler burst out laughing. “I know that feeling well.”

He took her hand, giving her a dark scowl. “There’s no more flinging your body in front of mine to take bullets or anything else.”

She managed to look innocent. “Isn’t that what you meant by action not words? Why are you worried about my safety when we’re here, surrounded by Carpathians?”

“Because you left behind a blood trail,” he said. “Any wolf worth his salt could follow it easily.”

“That’s true,” she conceded. “Do you think one will be following us here?” She tried not to shiver, but it wasn’t because she was worried about a Lycan hunting her. Standing na**d beside him was much more difficult than lying together or sitting. She felt vulnerable. “Teach me to put on clothes.”

“Yes, I think one will be following you here. I like you na**d. Are you certain you have to have clothes?” There was a little pained note to his voice.

Laughter bubbled up and she found herself relaxing again. “I suppose I could parade around in front of all those Lycans and Carpathians just like this, but there might be a bit of shocked protest from my parents—both sets of them. And,” she added, “if I am going to be bare-butt na**d, you have to be as well.”

His laughter joined hers, and she was happy to hear how carefree he sounded. “I guess you’re right. Sadly. I like looking at you. And if I walked around this way, I’d scare the children.”

She immediately put a hand on his chest, running her palm down to his flat belly. “Don’t do that, Dimitri. There’s nothing wrong with the way you look. I’ve never seen a more beautiful man. These burns”—she traced one long loop with the pads of her fingers—“these are badges of your courage and mine. We overcame impossible odds.”

He caught her fingertips and brought them to the warmth of his mouth, his teeth scraping gently back and forth. “You have a way of making me feel like a hero, csitri, a white knight from centuries gone by.”

“That’s what you’ll always be to me, Dimitri,” Skyler said. “That’s how I’ve always seen you, and nothing has changed since we’ve been together.”

He shook his head and kissed her knuckles. “Since clothes are so important to you, we’ll start there with your first lesson. Everything starts in your mind, build the image of being clean and refreshed, as if you just stepped out of the shower.”

Skyler was adept at using her mind. She was already more than capable and apparently far too good at it. She stood in front of him dripping wet. Small droplets of water fell all around them.

Laughing, she stood under the warm drops. “Dimitri, it’s raining right here, under your big stone house and underground.” She caught at his arm and tugged until he was standing under the shower as well.

“You have the concept,” he said, amusement coiling in him like warm molasses. She changed his world just by being in it. He couldn’t understand how she could ever doubt herself. She brought joy and happiness. She made him feel alive. He loved watching everything through her eyes. “Try again.”

“Oh, you want more?”

The teasing note of challenge should have warned him. The shower increased, soaking him in a torrent while she stayed warm and dry in a little cocoon she had enveloped herself in.

He found himself really laughing, deep belly laughs, something he had never done in his life. Playing was a new experience as an adult. The house brought back memories of his childhood, but there had been no such antics until Skyler.

He caught her up in his arms, cradling her close to his chest for a moment before lifting her straight over his head as if she was his own personal umbrella. Her fancy little cocoon fell to pieces under the onslaught and her merriment.

Skyler let out a scream as the water went from warm to icy cold. “Okay, okay, I surrender.”

Instantly the water stopped, and he set her on the ground. Skyler gave him a haughty look and swept her hand down her body, drying herself almost as adeptly as any Carpathian with a century or two on them could do.

“I think you know how to do this,” he said.

“Once you told me what to do, I realized it was fairly easy. It’s the details that can mix one up. You have to pay close attention to the smallest detail.”

“That’s right. After a few times, it will become second nature to you. You’re both Dragonseeker and mage . . .”

“And becoming mixed blood like you,” she asserted.

He nodded, frowning a little. “Eventually, yes. Your mind is already fully prepared to use images for dressing, shifting, or creating illusions such as eating or drinking around others not Carpathian.”

She leaned into him, brushing at the frown on his lips. “Mixed blood is simply an enhancement, Dimitri. I’ve been in your mind, healed your body, I know what it’s doing to you.”

“But we don’t know what it will do to you or our children should we have any,” Dimitri pointed out. “I want to find a few answers before you’re in too deep.”

Skyler closed her eyes for a moment, choosing a comfortable outfit, this time, making certain she remembered every detail from the top of her head to her feet. “I’m already in too deep, my love. Stop worrying about things you have no control over. A very wise lifemate said that to me several years ago.”

She turned in a circle, showing off the slim blue jeans, boots and soft flannel shirt. Her hair was in an intricate braid, hanging down her back. “What do you think? Ready to face hunting for my own food? Shifting? Standing before the Lycan council? Seeing my mother and father? Facing the prince?”

He took her hand as he donned his own clothes, going as casual as she had. They didn’t need to go before the Lycan council in formal clothes. He was damned if he’d dress up for them. Evidently, his lifemate felt the same way.

“You look beautiful, Skyler. We’ll hunt first.” He felt her shudder and drew her in close, beneath his broad shoulder. He knew that taking blood from a stranger would be difficult for her. “You know you don’t have to do this. I’m not altogether certain I even want you to. I find giving you blood and taking yours—erotic.”

The low, sensual tone made her blush. “I do, too,” she admitted. “It’s very sexy and the pleasure is like nothing I’ve ever experienced.” There was a question in her tone.

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