Falling Into Darkness Ch. 18byElianna©
Alexander grinned at him.
"Lock it, will you?" he said. "Instruct everyone to stay away from me for the day, too."
The guard bowed and looked at Anna. Even though his eyes were curious, Alexander felt his fangs elongate and he had to hold back a possessive snarl.
"Definitely keep them locked out," he confirmed, struggling to control his fangs. "Darian and Kieran are all right, of course."
"Yes, Ancient One," his guard replied.
Alexander heard the lock click and smiled. He admitted to himself he was like a greedy child running away and hiding with a stolen cookie jar, but he didn't feel one bit of guilt. Instead he carried her to one of his couches and laid her gently down to survey the condition of her wounds. Carefully he peeled away the bloody shirt she wore, though by now the blood was mostly dry. Her beautiful body was covered in its own blood, but she wasn't bleeding anymore. The wounds had all sealed, and with the extra help of his blood, she'd been able to overcome the shots to the chest, too, without spending days in agony as her weakened body fought to recover on its own.
Other than the skin being slightly pink at the entry wounds, she seemed okay. He checked the exit wounds, noting the spots were larger, but still just slight imperfections in the skin that would heal with feeding and rest. Even though she was unconscious and bloody, he felt his body stir as he surveyed her. The emaciation she'd struggled with since he'd known her was gone, and now as a vampire, she was strong, fleshy and curvy. He looked at those beautiful breasts, they were fuller now, too. She wasn't wearing expensive lingerie but on her...
He swallowed and focused on removing her bloody jeans and her shoes. He felt another hungry growl in his throat as he pulled those jeans down her long, sexy legs. Swallowing his desire he checked her wounds to note that the places where her legs had been crushed in the accident were also just slightly pink.
He stared at her with admiration. Not just because he found her so beautiful, but because she had chased a murderer with these wounds, ignoring the pain and weariness from her injuries. Anna had always been determined, but to see how much sheer will she'd used to save Mara reminded him once again of her strength in that horrid tomb. She'd even shared it with him; a beast though he'd seemed to her at the time. Even dying, she'd fought for love and life.
He couldn't help himself as he kissed her lips softly.
"You really are my angel," he whispered in her ear.
She whimpered softly and turned her face towards him. She'd always been drawn to him in her sleep, nestling against him, craving his touch.
He rose almost reluctantly and went to start the water in his bathtub. He couldn't let her wallow in her own blood any longer. Then he stripped down himself and carried her naked body into the tub where he simply sat with her and used the sprayer to wash away the remnants of the battle with Paola. When she was finally clean, he let the water fill the tub and for a while just luxuriated with her in his arms, letting the warm water soak away his stress and worries.
He caressed her soft skin pensively as she rested wearily in his arms, grateful for the large bathtub and for the ability to cleanse her sitting down. This was so much better than trying to manage her poor emaciated body in that wretched shower after their escape just a few months ago.
She cooed again at his touch and her beautiful blue eyes opened blearily.
"Am I dreaming?" she whispered.
"That depends," he replied softly. "Is it a good dream?"
"Mm," she moaned. "If I'm dreaming, I hope I never wake up."
He chuckled. "Sleep for now, Little One. Let your body rest."
She sighed against him and shook her head almost stubbornly as though she was too tired to fight, but really wanted to. He closed his eyes and pushed a little on her mind, sending her back to sleep with a soft sigh. He wondered if he'd ever be able to use his mind against her when she recovered. An unrestrained Anna was a bit of a frightening thought.
Finally he rose from the tub, dried her off and carried her to his bed. The housekeeper had already turned down the sheets for him, so he deposited her on his bed. For a moment, he couldn't help but stare at her again, wanting to remember this moment; the first time she'd ever really been home where she belonged, in his bed.
Then he toweled himself off, threw the wet towel on the floor in the bathroom, and crawled into bed beside her, pushing the button to turn off the lights. He snuggled against her, smelling her sweet flesh, and feeling her soft, naked body against his. He closed his eyes and reveled in it.
She's a crafty one, Kieran thought as he followed the elusive yet sweet scent of Anna's vagabond friend, Mara.
When he couldn't find anything about her in the public files, he'd gotten more than just curious. This woman was something in the human world, and that something was classified. Not one to allow the humans to keep anything from him, he instantly assigned a few of his best investigators to find out about Natalie Latham.
When he'd learned she was a special agent in the FBI who'd spent three years hunting Paola before she'd disappeared, he was shocked. The vagabond? She was a homeless vampire, living off the streets, according to his people. Mara, an agent? Clearly Paola had tortured her, broken her, turned her into a frightened, weak woman. He'd destroyed her with his horrible hobby for murder. It had been a long time since Kieran had felt sympathy for someone like he did for her.
Then, when Mara met Angel, her behavior changed. She'd become more self-assured and decisive. She grew bold and daring, using connections in the human world that even though they were almost two decades old, were still good. She'd known exactly how to avoid being followed, when they were pursuing her, and now that she was running again, she was still a tricky creature to hunt. He was getting closer; the scent was stronger. She probably believed she'd lost him after weaving through streets, hopping in taxis and on subway cars, but she wasn't slowing. She was smart; she knew he wasn't someone to be fucked with.
At last, after nearly two hours of the cat-and-mouse game they were playing, he finally saw her. Her long, brown hair tumbled messily down her back, her hips swayed unconsciously exuding sex and confidence as she walked. She was looking about as she walked, almost as though she was searching for something.
What are you looking for, Mara? He asked himself.
She looked up at the sky and quickened her pace.
Of course! It will be daylight in less than an hour.
He followed her stealthily for a little while longer, until he finally decided it was time to make his move. He dashed forward and grabbed her from behind, but he was shocked when she used his momentum against him, twisted her body and flipped him over her shoulder. He landed on his back right on the concrete with a loud thud, the air whooshing out of his lungs.
"Damn it, woman," he gasped even as he bared his fangs and snarled.
"Why can't you just let me go?" Mara demanded, backing away from him. "Don't you think I've already been through enough shit? Don't you think I've suffered enough? I don't need the Ancient One to put me on trial for my crimes. I've suffered a consequence worse than death!"
Kieran leapt to his feet and rushed her again. His first thought was to beat the shit out of her, but for some reason he loathed the thought of striking this woman. Snarling angrily at his weakness and at the residual pain in his back he tried to grab her again.
She blocked his assault with skilful moves, deflecting his hands, avoiding his grasp even though he was using his incredible speed. She didn't seem to have any qualms about attacking him, though, for she punched and kicked with all her skill, and though her efforts didn't find a mark upon his body, he was still impressed.
"You must have excelled in hand-to-hand combat in the academy," he said as though they were talking over tea.
"I worked hard on it," she admitted, panting at her exertions.
"I can tell. Most people couldn't have resisted me for so long," he said. "Of course, I figure I've only got to hold out for ten minutes when the sun rises and your strength and agility will wane."
She looked at him angrily and he smiled back charmingly.
"You know I'm right. You have two options, Mara. Give up before you get burned in the sun and come with me now, or you'll suffer the worst sunburn of your life as I wait long enough for it to incapacitate you and then drag you with me anyway. Which will it be?"
Mara stepped back and looked at him, her brown eyes hardening with anger even as her breast heaved. Then she looked at the sky and a shiver ran down her spine.
Kieran had forgotten what sunrise felt like, because he was so old the sun pushing over the horizon didn't affect him.
Mara was a young vampire, though, and she knew that once the sun rose, she'd be weak. Her beautiful brown eyes grew dull with resignation. "I don't have a choice," she finally admitted, her voice sounding sad and defeated.
For a moment Kieran felt a pang in his heart. He could almost hear that same broken voice as Paola used his power to control her and make her commit atrocities. The woman who had seemed so strong only a moment ago appeared to diminish before his eyes, and she seemed somehow tiny and delicate. She couldn't be over five foot seven, and even though her body was muscular, her bone structure was average. She wasn't as slightly built as Anna, but when her fists weren't balled and her legs weren't aiming for the more tender parts of his anatomy, she seemed absolutely delicate.
"Neither Alexander nor I are going to hurt you, Mara," he said, shocked at how gentle his voice was.
"The sun's rising," she replied. "It doesn't really matter anymore."
Kieran looked over his shoulder and nodded. "We need to get you underground or inside," he said. "Come on!"
Mara's face had grown pale, though, for the sun was over the horizon, even though they couldn't see it in the city. It wouldn't be long before she was completely exhausted. He grabbed her arm and pulled her along. Then he pulled out his phone and using the GPS system tried to locate the nearest subway stop. She wouldn't last long in the sunlight.
"Come on," he said pulling her.
Mara stumbled beside him, her creamy skin looking white as a sheet as she walked. Kieran glanced over at her frequently as they hustled down the street, his black eyes glittering with agitation. He would be able to move much more quickly if he didn't have to pull her alongside, he wasn't worried for himself. He bit his lip for a moment, knowing that she'd protest violently, but he figured that in her current condition he had her completely overpowered.
He didn't even stop; he simply scooped her up in his arms. She squealed weakly, but he knew she was frightened; she'd never been out this close to sunrise.
"Put your arms around my neck and hang on," he said gruffly.
She nodded and wrapped her arms about him, and buried her head between his neck and his shoulder. For a moment, Kieran was overwhelmed by sensation. The sweet scent that had been tantalizing him all night was overpowering. It was a combination of smells; her hair, her perfume, her skin. Her warm body was lighter than expected and soft to the touch, and the way her breasts pressed against his chest made him swallow hard.
What is this woman doing to me?
He dashed with all his speed towards the subway station, praying that the sun didn't rise over the buildings and hurt her before he got there. He let out a gasp of relief as he descended the stairs; the weakened girl in his arms simply clung to him.
"How is it that you aren't exhausted?" Mara asked in a voice that was husky with weariness.
Kieran shivered at the sound.
"I'm over fifteen hundred years old," he replied. "The sun doesn't hold much power over me."
"Everything is more powerful than I am," she said. "I have weak blood."
"Paola's blood was strong," Kieran argued.
"Paola wasn't my creator," Mara returned.
Kieran was silent for a moment. "Only you would really know that," he said at last. "But I can tell you, you're not as weak as you think."
Mara chuckled wearily. "Yeah, right."
He shook his head. "Good news is you're too tired to argue with me now." He looked around. "Let's see if we can find one of those service tunnels to hide in for the day, now, shall we?"
"You could have just let the sun take me," she said quietly.
"And waste a good night of chasing you?" he returned playfully. "I always get what I want, Mara," he said, his voice growing dark and dangerous again. "Don't forget that. My prey never escapes me, the American world bows to me, and those who run from me are always caught."
He carried her until he came upon one of those service tunnels. He could tell by the smell behind the door that it wasn't just a small mechanical room. This tunnel wound back into the system for a long while. With a violent kick, the lock broke and he pushed his way inside, closing the door behind him as best as he could.
It was pitch black, but to vampire eyes, it was like a dusky gray. The walls were concrete and the floors were dirty, but it seemed sheltered and safe for a while, especially if they wormed their way several hundred yards back.
"Reminds me of the old days," Kieran said under his breath.
"Mm?" Mara replied.
"I said it reminds me of the old days. There was a time, when tunnels and caves like these hid many vampires during the daylight. Especially during the Dark Ages when people hunted us because they thought we carried the plague. Little did they know their own rats and uncleanly habits were breeding the lice that brought about their downfall."
"Has it been hard to live so long?" Mara asked.
"Where are you from, originally?"
"Oh. You're Jewish?"
"This looks like a good spot to sleep," Kieran said. "I'm afraid the ground is cold in caves like this."
He gently lowered her down to the ground, knowing that she could barely keep her head up. Mara curled up in a ball and for a moment, he watched her shiver miserably. He sat down and sighed. He was going to be cold, too. It seemed that over the centuries he'd grown soft.
"Lay close to me, Mara," he said in resignation. "Our bodies are the only way to keep warm."
"Aren't you going to sleep, too?" she asked, her voice even huskier with weariness than before.
Kieran felt another shiver go down his spine at the sound of her voice.
What was this woman doing to him?
"I'll sit up," he said. "I don't need as much sleep as you, and subway stops aren't always empty." He stroked her hair impulsively, the silky texture of her hair on his fingertips making him tremble.
"I'll protect you today, Mara, but tonight, you're coming with me."
She nodded and snuggled against him, greedily absorbing his warmth.
Kieran's black eyes softened slightly, but then he growled at himself angrily.
What is wrong with me?
He closed his eyes and shook his head. He would never understand women.
Anna awoke in her favorite dream. She was in his big, luxurious bed again. His spicy male scent filled her nostrils, and the soft sheets caressed her skin. Her back was pressed against his front feeling his erection pressed against her, and he had draped an arm possessively over her middle. For a moment she luxuriated in the sensation of being close to her lover; her life.
"How do you feel?" he asked her gently.
"Mmm," she replied.
"Let's see how you recovered," he said gently turning her on her back.
"Recovered?" she asked blearily.
"From the gunshot wound," he said.
"Oh," she said, trying desperately to piece together what he was talking about.
Suddenly it occurred to her that this didn't feel quite like dream walking; the sensations were too real. Could it be true? Was she finally in her lover's arms, his home? The last moments of the attack on Paola rushed across her eyes like a surreal dream. She remembered his sickened mind connecting with hers, commanding her to attack her friends, his disgusting hands upon her, the gunshot wounds to her chest.
"Are you all right?" his voice whispered softly.
She looked up at her lover and visually devoured his face like a starving man devours food. His golden hair was slightly awry, his square jaw, jade eyes, slightly Grecian nose, his full lips; her eyes took account of them all. She was finally in his arms!
"Anna?" he demanded when she was still silent.
"Yes," she breathed, her emotions whirling.
He smiled beatifically and tucked a tress of hair behind her ear tenderly. That simple gesture sent a shiver down her spine. Suddenly his eyes glinted devilishly and he caressed ran his fingers down her throat to her chest. He ran his fingers across a tender spot just below her right breast and she winced a little.
"Hmm," he said, "still tender." His hands continued to touch a few other sore spots making her wince, but also making her shiver and her heart pound.
He smiled at her, his beautiful jade eyes sparkling mischievously.
"Tell me," he whispered, "are these still tender, too?"
His fingers lightly stoked a nipple; a feather's touch, and she felt a tingle of pleasure run down her spine. She did her best not to show her reaction, she hated how he was so masterful at tantalizing her body, but she couldn't help the little gasp and the slight shiver that racked her body as he continued to tease her and the little nubs hardened.
"Yes," he said in a breathy, seductive voice. "Those are still quite tender."
Without another word, his glorious golden head bowed over her and his mouth captured one of her now-aching nipples, enveloping it in the warm wetness of his mouth.
She couldn't help herself when she squeaked a little this time. His tongue suckled and lathed her over-sensitized skin mercilessly while his hand enveloped her other breast. He continued stroking her flesh with that soft, feathery caress that made her body jump with little shockwaves of pleasure, her breath hitched each time and she whimpered softly. She reached out to touch him, to hold onto him, as his ministrations sent her careening with sensation, but he caught her hands with his own and hoisted them over her head like he'd done in another dream.
She whimpered helplessly as he dominated her body and held her hands immobile. Then he traced his way down her slender arms with his fingertips lightly brushing her sensitive skin, teasing her once again with his touch. Desperately she tried to get more of his touch, his light brushes served only to torment and tantalize her. She struggled to move her hands, but found them locked in place with his power. Moaning in frustration, she arched her body pressing it firmly into those gentle caresses like a cat arches into a stroke.
His mouth released her breast, the cool air making her already stiff nipple even harder, and he chuckled at her.
"No, no my little kitten," he teased, his voice husky with his own desire, "I have to make sure you're not sensitive anywhere else."
Anna moaned indignantly. She hated it when he did this! Didn't she? She squirmed, feeling the moisture between her legs. If she hated it so much, then why was she so incredibly turned on?
Her thoughts shattered as his mouth enveloped hers, but there was nothing gentle about his kiss this time. It was hard, demanding and forceful, his tongue pushed inside her mouth and danced with hers. She melted under his force, feeling her body supplicate to him, her legs spread to reveal her wet, aching core.