The Bitten Chapter One


Chapter One

The lair in St. Lucia

"Tell me your darkest fantasy," she murmured against his ear, gently pulling the lobe between her teeth.

Carlos smiled with his eyes still closed, too exhausted to do much else. Damali sounded so wickedly sexy, but why did women always go there - dredging for answers to questions that they really didn't want to hear, especially while in bed? "I don't have any, except being with you."

"Tell me," she pleaded low and throaty, her tone so seductive that he'd swear she was all vamp.

No. He was not going to go there, no matter what. He was not going to stare into those big brown eyes of hers and become hypnotized by them. Dark fantasies... She had no idea what went through a master's mind. Despite himself, his smile broadened. The things he'd seen... sheeit. Had she any idea of the lifetimes of vampire knowledge he'd acquired from Kemet through Rome and beyond, just by being offered a council seat? And Rome... damn... no way.

He stroked her still-damp back, his fingers reveling in the tingling sensation her tattoo created as he touched the base of her spine, hoping she'd let his love be enough to satisfy her.

"You're my fantasy," he finally said to appease her when she became morbidly silent. But he'd also meant what he'd said, albeit skillfully avoiding the question she'd really asked. "You're this dead man's dream come true, baby."

Her response was a chuckle, followed by an expulsion of hot breath that caressed his ear. "Liar," she whispered, as she slid her body onto his. "I know where you want to go."

"D..." he murmured, too tired to argue with her, and much too compromised by her warmth to avoid being stirred by her butter softness. "C'mon, girl... stop playing."

His hand continued to stroke her back, finding the deep curve in it that gave rise to her firm, tight bottom. He allowed his fingers to leisurely play at the slit that separated both halves of it, enjoying the moistness that he knew he'd created there. Her immediate sigh made him shudder and seek her mouth to kiss her gently, half hoping to shut her up, half hoping to derail his own darkening thoughts. Without resistance, she deepened their kiss, rewarding his senses with a hint of mango, the merest trace of red wine, and her own sweetness fused with his salty aftermath as his tongue searched the soft interiors.

Damn, this woman was fine... five feet seven inches' worth of buff curves packaged in flawless bronze skin, a lush mouth, brunette locks that kissed her shoulders, and a shea-oil scent that was slowly driving him crazy. It always did. He breathed in the fragrances held by her still-damp scalp: vanilla, coconut oils; and then there was also the scent of heavy, pungent sex hanging in the air.

"You always smell so good," he murmured, kissing the edge of her jaw. He could still taste her on his mouth when he licked his lips. "Hmmm..." Sticky, sweet-salty, female. The way she breathed against his neck, and her head found the crook of his shoulder, she fit so perfectly, like a handmade blanket on him. Even exhausted, her slick wetness made him want to move just to maintain their friction, their pulse. Merely thinking about it made him hard again.

"I know you have to eat," she said in a husky tone against the sensitive part of his throat, her tongue trailing up his jugular vein, causing him to tighten his hold on her.

"Yeah, I do... in a few," he admitted quietly, now too distracted to go out hunting.

The way she tilted her hips forward - ever so slightly, a tease, an offering, just a contraction of the muscles beneath her bronze skin - fought with the hunger and was winning. They'd been at it all night, and he glimpsed the moonlight that washed over her through the deck opening. Silver blue hues shimmered on her smooth ass, and he touched the light with his fingers a millimeter above her skin. She shivered at the almost-touch. That was always her most powerful weapon; her reaction to whatever he was doing to her just blew him away. One more round and he'd have to go before dawn trapped and starved him.

"What's your darkest fantasy?" he said smiling, turning the question on her, and not caring that a little fang was beginning to show with his smile. He passed his tongue over his incisors, willing patience as he played the game that she seemed to be enjoying.

Damali brought her head up to stare into his eyes with a mischievous smirk. "My darkest fantasy is fulfilling yours."

He laughed low and deep and slow. "Yeah?" He raised an eyebrow in a challenge. "But I don't have any really dark fantasies... this is all I need."

"Liar," she said again, chuckling from within her throat and planting a wet kiss on his Adam's apple in a way that made him swallow hard. "I bet I know what it is, even if you won't tell me."

She was rocking against him harder now, although she hadn't allowed him entry. Faint sounds from the slick rub of wet skin against skin added to his agony. She had his full attention, his awareness of her engaged. The teasing sensation accompanied with her well-placed nips along his chest made him suck in a hard breath between his teeth.

"This is working just fine," he murmured, tracing her sides and finding both of her breasts to gently cradle.

"But there's always more," she whispered, lowering her mouth to roughly suckle one of his nipples.

"Curiosity killed the cat," he told her, arching, trying to penetrate her without success.

"But satisfaction brought her back." She lifted her head and stared at him hard, her smile strained with anticipation, intensity boring into him from her expression of unmasked desire.

For a moment, neither of them spoke. The exchange was telepathic, electric, and he found her neck, kissed it hard, then her shoulder, licking a path down her collarbone. When she moaned, he almost lost it and bit her.

"Tell me what you want," he murmured hot against her breast, before pulling a taut nipple between his lips.

Her inhale was a deep hiss, a sound that traveled through his body, igniting his want for her that never seemed to disappear. Whatever she asked for, he'd give her one last time before dawn. Didn't she already know, por ella seria capaz de cualquier cosa? Yeah, he would do anything for her. "Tell me," he whispered, "and it's done."

"I've already told you," she said in a rasp, moving to allow him to slip inside her, then contracting around him before withdrawing.

"C'mon, baby," he said, feeling his voice tighten with the contraction. "Right now, I'm - "

"Getting too hot to think about it?" She laughed and mounted him with a hard lunge that forced a groan up from deep inside him.

"Yeah... something like that." His lids closed on their own volition, his eyes rolling toward the back of his skull - the sensation was so gloriously sudden.

"Then don't think about it," she whispered, moving away, but then coming back with quick jerky circles before plunging down again.

"Oh shit, woman ..."

"I know, baby," she murmured, her motions becoming more driven, but then backing away so that only the tip of him was within her drenched, slick valley. "But let me see if I've guessed it right. What would a master vampire's deepest fantasy be? A possible throne-level council member, at that?"

"You have no idea... what you're doing to me." That was the pure truth. A scent that had been locked in the deep registers of his mind filtered into his awareness, gradually at first, until it was all-consuming. Every inhale now was riddled with the maddening aphrodisiac that he'd sworn he'd forget - had to - but it moved his body, banished a portion of his control. Master or not, Neteru was entering his system and slaying him. If she kept this up, he'd slip and take her to the vanishing point with him for sure.

Her hard shudder and the rhythmic squeeze of her inner thighs against his hips was practically his undoing. But it was also her boldness when she threw her head back and breathed out, "I know exactly what I'm doing to you."

He wasn't prepared to argue with her, not now. Didn't she know that that was one of the things he loved best about being with her - she was his match, a pure equal, and had had this effect on him before he'd ever been turned? But there were still some places he wasn't prepared to go with her. Not if he wanted to ever retrieve his soul.

But she was messing with his mind, talking all low and sexy, husky and deep, down the side of his throat, and into his ear, saying crazy things like, "C'mon, baby, tell me what you really want... I'll give it to you," knocking at the guarded black box of his senses, prying him open for a total mind lock while making him want to cum so badly his balls ached. He could feel every cell in his body poised, readied, a burn of pure energy threatening to split them, beginning to deconstruct him down to hot vapor, and her along with him.

Her skin was covered with a light sheen of perspiration, and she slid against him like water flowing over rocks, liquid fire motion, hips undulating in a slow, rolling current, with eddies that spontaneously spun, lurched, took him in to the hilt, then washed him ashore, leaving cold air to knife at the hot surface that had been ejected from her body. His tightening grip would each time be enough to summon his return to her warm, wet center, only to be cast ashore by her fickle tide again and again, until he flipped her on her back and was done playing.

"Enough." There was no nonsense in his tone. He was beyond games as he stared into her eyes; saw a glow of red reflected back from her dark brown irises, knowing it came from his. Her scent bathed him, made him shut his eyes tight as he breathed in deeply and entered her hard. "That's what I want."

His fingers tangled in her velvet-spun locks, and her arches finally met him in a rhythm they both knew by heart - no stopping, no more teasing, just hard down, uninterrupted returns until he felt his gums give way to the incisors he could no longer hold in check, no more than he could hold back the inevitable convulsion of pleasure that was about to rip through his groin.

Nuzzling his throat, her fingers wound through his hair, and he was surprised by the force of her pull, that her fingers had made a fist at the nape of his neck, and that one of her palms slid against his jaw to push his head back, her breath on his throat in the way he'd always imagined. Trembling with need, the sensation was so damned good... if only... she could... just once... Oh, baby...

Then she suddenly shifted her weight, her legs a vise, and rolled on top of him. Her strength came from nowhere. It happened so quickly. A sharp strike as fast as a cobra's tore at his throat, making him shut his eyes harder, his gasp fused with a groan that transformed into a wail, and the pull that siphoned his throat sent the convulsion of ecstasy throughout his system, emptied his scrotum until his body dry heaved, made his lashes flutter from the rapid seizure, where every pull from her lips erupted hot seed from him into her, sheets gathered in knots within his fists before his hand again sought her skin, shards of color ricocheted behind his lids while he cradled her in him arms, stuttering, "Don't stop... take it all."

His body went hot, then cold, minutes of unrelenting pleasure—her hold indomitable, a physical lock of sheer will, as she moved her hips in a lazy rhythm, ignoring his attempt to rush her with deep thrusts and staccato jerks, his voice foreign to him as it reverberated off the walls of the lair, echoed back, and taunted him... a master vampire, done for the first time, by what could only be a female vamp. A master female. One conjured from his darkest fantasy, riding him with more than skill, precise slow torture that he couldn't stop, even if he'd wanted to.

Winded, siphoned, turned out, he could barely open his eyes—but he had to. Which one of them had taken Damali's place, stolen her form? Damn, his territory had some shit with it, but never in his wildest dreams would he have imagined it to be like this. If Damali ever found out... And how did this female get in here? Where was D?

She smiled, looking down at him, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

"Who made you, baby?" Dazed, that was all he could ask.

"You did," she said, chuckling low, and pressing an index finger over one of his streaming bite wounds to help seal it before stemming the flow with a soft kiss. Then she slowly licked her finger and smiled before sealing the other so he wouldn't entirely bleed out.

"Seriously... look. I've got a lady, and - "

"You're damned straight you do, brother." She cocked her head to the side, giving him a curious glance. "You should have told me that's what you really wanted. It was good, though, wasn't it? The first time's always the best."

There was no denying that fact. Carlos blinked twice, staring. "Damali?" Two inches of fang glistened crimson in the moonlight within her lovely mouth, and a thin red line of blood had dribbled down her chin between her breasts. He resisted the urge to sit up and lick the dark trail to her stained lips.

"Who else?" She shook her head, sat back with him still in her, and folded her arms over her chest. "Oh, so you had some other Jane on your mind while I was working?"

"No... Oh... shit..."

He grabbed her by her hips, and extricated himself from her to stand, stumbling a bit, but he needed motion - fatigue and the siphon notwithstanding. He had to break the physical contact with her. The pleasure wave of aftershocks were impairing his judgment, and if he bit her in this condition, he'd flat-line her for sure. Even standing away from her, he could still feel her hot seal. "No, no, no, no, no - this cannot be happening."

"That's not what you said a minute ago, baby. Last I heard you were hollering, 'Don't stop,' and some por favor mess before you went over the edge. Men." She laughed and flopped back on the bed, lazy and sated, twirling one of her locks around a finger, then closed her eyes. "Damn, that was awesome. We should get you something to feed on, soon, though. I'm two quarts to the good, myself."

He could feel panic bubbling within him, and he had never been the kind of man to outright freak about anything. But this, of all the things he'd seen and been through so far, was scaring the hell out of him.

"No!" he said fast, walking in a circle, then going from the deck back to the side of the bed, gesturing with his hands in a naked frenzy. "Something went wrong. I have to get you back to the guardians - to Marlene, your mom... baby, you're turning - "

"Turned," she sighed with a smile, "and I love it. Relax. What's done is done."

"You're supposed to be immune to my bites! What the fuck? No. I'm not having my woman go out like that - oh shit, baby - "

"You're panicking because you need to eat." She ran her finger down the side of her throat, summoning him with a lopsided grin. "You didn't finish... or did you want to save it for when we wake up?"

He shook his head no, and backed away from the glorious temptation.

Damali yawned and nodded toward the opened deck doors. "Suit yourself, but it's late, it's almost dawn, and it's time to go to bed, honey. Just - "

"Oh, my God, D - "

When she hissed and held both sides of her head and glared at him, he could feel hot tears begin to form in his eyes. He could call on the Almighty, but the Neteru couldn't? What the hell had he done?

She was sitting up now, seeming thoroughly annoyed. When she stood to fetch her white silk nightgown, she almost glided; her stride was so smooth, supernatural. Horrified, he watched her sashay out to the deck and turn her face up toward the moon, as though to bay at it.

"I'm going to get us something before the sun fries us both," she muttered, and then was gone.

It took him a moment to process what he'd just witnessed. The edge of his lair was built into a cliff with no passable roads leading to it. But she'd walked down the stairs to the mountainside and was nowhere to be found in the dense, tropical foliage. However, he was painfully aware that the sounds of the night had gone still. She'd turned. Even the creatures knew it.

Instantly, he sheathed himself with a pair of pants and his boots. Near dawn, his woman newly turned, and he was running around two quarts low on blood.

Carlos rounded the deck, stood out on the cliffs, and willed Damali's return. If he'd made her, then she had to come when he called... Then again, she still had a lot of Neteru running through her, not to mention general-purpose stubbornness that not even the underworld could probably sway. But what had gone wrong? Marlene had told them both that Damali was immune. All Neterus were supposed to be able to take a bite and survive it, unturned. He'd held off until she'd crossed over to full huntress... and when did she die? In his arms?

Memories bound him as he thought back on night after night of sweet indulgence with her, no will as her barrier, no prayers to protect her from him; he was welcomed, wanted, considered a Dark Guardian, but approved by the team, nonetheless... and deep down, she'd found his Achilles' heel, the one thing that he knew he could never have with her. A true vampiric bite, in the throes, at the moment of truth - something he had not allowed any female vamp in his territory to do to him, yet... Something that, until now, Damali would never be able to do... or so he thought. Guilt stabbed at him. If he'd done this to her, God help him.

Yet, at the same time, what she'd done to him had been so powerful, totally unforgettable. So where did that leave them? Between another rock and a damned hard place. One taste of that was not going to be enough. That was raw truth. Lying to himself about it wasn't a viable option. He had to take her home, before she came to him like this again.

He had to get Marlene to give her something to turn her back, if there was such a potion or spell - which meant confessing how and when he'd seen her first crest of fangs. Yeah, right... explain to this girl's mother-seer that he'd been hard-rocking her Neteru's world every night for almost a month, siphoning a pint from her until one night she had bitten him? Marlene was gonna have a cow and Shabazz would rightfully mount a posse of Damali's big brothers with stakes in their hands. He couldn't blame them.

But they were the least of his worries. Father Patrick and the Covenant would go nuts and the Vampire Council... there were no words. He was supposed to be protecting their vessel until her next cycle, a ruse to buy him, Damali, and her crew some time. This was not supposed to happen.

But he could have sworn that he felt her ripening right underneath him. The scent of her was undeniable, and the sweet essence of her still lingered in the back of his throat. If her body changed while they were together - it was over. She would be his, pregnant, and there'd be no going back. Yet, how was that even possible, especially if she were already turned? It was like her system was going haywire... Marlene had to fix this, because he sure as hell couldn't, had no frame of reference, nor a big black book of ancient text for answers. This was definitely some new whack shit. Still, the worst part of it was, his woman could be among the undead - the one person on the planet that he never ever wanted to see that way.

Marlene had to bring her back.
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